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Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Town Talk: Lawrence home sales for first half of year up nearly 11 percent; Americans for Prosperity rep. urges City Commission to dump sustainability posts

July 18, 2012

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News and notes from town:

• Well, it has taken about a half a year, but there is some genuinely good news on Lawrence’s real estate front.

New numbers are out for June home sales in Lawrence, and they confirm summer homebuying definitely has picked up. In fact, the summer months have been strong enough that Lawrence homebuying is now in positive territory for the entire year.

The new numbers from the Lawrence Board of Realtors show 621 homes have been sold through the first six months of 2012. That’s an increase of 10.9 percent from the same period a year ago.

Sales in the month of June had a lot to do with that success. Sales in the month of June increased by 26.1 percent compared to June 2011. Sales increased from 153 in June 2011 to 193 in June 2012.

The June numbers mark the third month in a row that home sales have increased from the same period a year ago. The last two months have been particularly strong. Home sales in May were up nearly 26 percent from May 2011 totals.

I’ve said for awhile now that three months in a row of increasing home sales would be the best sign yet that a true recovery is under way in Lawrence’s real estate market. Well, we’ve had those three months now. It will be interesting to see if the momentum can be maintained through the rest of the year.

One other number, though, will bear close watching in the second half of 2012: median selling prices of homes. The new report shows through the first six months of the year the median sales price of homes in Lawrence is down 4.3 percent, to $154,000, from a year ago. That price correction is probably helping to fuel sales, but it won’t help with the budgets at the County Courthouse, the school district and other governments that rely heavily on property taxes. We’ll see what the second half brings on that front as well.

Here’s a look at other numbers from the Board of Realtors monthly report:

— Sales of newly constructed homes have eked into positive territory for the year. The new numbers show 35 sales of newly constructed homes for the first six months of the year, which is up from 34 a year ago. So, there is improvement, but builders still have quite a ways to go before they reach what could be considered robust activity.

— The median days on market stands at 61, unchanged from a year ago. The mean days on market is at 99, down from 100 a year ago.

• We are past the half-way point when it comes to creating the city budget for 2013. City commissioners are scheduled to give final approval to the budget at their Aug. 7 meeting.

At their meeting yesterday afternoon, commissioners got some public feedback on the recommended budget, and it wasn’t the type you normally hear in Lawrence: The city should cut back on its efforts to be environmentally sustainable.

Jim Mullins, a local field director for Americans for Prosperity, urged commissioners to take out all funding for the joint city/county sustainability coordinator position. He also urged commissioners to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board.

Mullins told commissioners that there is mounting evidence that this sustainability movement ultimately will start taking away people’s property rights. Specifically, Mullins expressed concern about the city’s membership in ICLEI, which is an organization of about 1,300 local governments who have “made a commitment to sustainable development,” according to the group’s website.

The group was founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, and it takes part in the United Nations’ climate negotiations, which is a red flag for some groups.

Mullins went on to cite concern about a U.N. provision called Agenda 21, which is a U.N. initiative related to the environment and sustainable development. It has become a hot-button issue in some political circles, particularly with the Tea Party. Alabama earlier this year became the first state in the country to pass a law making it illegal for local governments to implement policy related to property rights issues that can be traced to Agenda 21. The Kansas House earlier this year passed a resolution condemning Agenda 21 as a scheme to take away property rights and as one legislator said “the most aggressive attack on our liberties . . . that we have ever seen.”

Mullins predicted that Kansas lawmakers in the next legislative session will pass a law similar to the Alabama bill, and Lawrence’s membership in ICLEI could become a major issue.

Mullins told commissioners that he and many other people are convinced the environmental movement is intent on taking away people’s private property rights, and the Agenda 21 and ICLEI efforts are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

That brought a quick response from audience member K.T. Walsh, a longtime East Lawrence resident and activist. She told commissioners that Mullins’ “tip of the iceberg” comment was the most relevant one he had made, since global warming likely will ensure that “we don’t have those anymore.”

Commissioners showed no inclination to remove the funding for the sustainability coordinator or to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board.

Comments

maggielou 1 year, 9 months ago

Sustainability is code for United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, which is a very real plan that is being implemented all across the country as we speak. It is based on the philosophy of communitarianism, a blend of communism and capitalism in which individual rights must be surrendered "for the greater good of the community" while public tax dollars are diverted to favored corporations for so-called sustainable development projects. The San Francisco Bay Area has been ground zero for this creeping assault on the rights of individual property owners. Please read, watch, and educate yourselves before it is too late for Lawrence: http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/index.html

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Windemere 1 year, 9 months ago

Let's get to the heart of the matter: who is the coordinator, what has he or she done, what money/resources have been saved, what is the position's salary? Love that we have journalists to help us with this stuff. U rock

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Les Blevins 1 year, 9 months ago

And the current pay for this position is fully outrageous..

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Les Blevins 1 year, 9 months ago

On the other hand I am in complete support of sustainability. But we need some competent person at the helm that we can hold accountable. What we have in no way helps.

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Les Blevins 1 year, 9 months ago

I concur with rvjayhawk's position; The joint city/county sustainability coordinator position is a total waste of taxpayer money! Has the coordinator done one thing to help the residents of the county. Absolutely not! Our county administrator's job should include the duties currently detailed in the sustainability coordinator's job description. Only in liberal counties such as Douglas do we find such ridiculous wasteful spending!

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lunacydetector 1 year, 9 months ago

it looks like the local kook contingent is out in force......maybe the city should spend $25,000 in taxpayer dollars on some so-called "carbon credits" again to make amends for someone voicing their opinion about scam environmental positions.

1

LloydDobbler 1 year, 9 months ago

Whenever the federal government tries to implement a progressive initiative, such as the First Lady's emphasis on a healthy diet, conservatives always cite personal freedom as a reason to push back. State's rights are also a simplisitic battle cry of the GOP to argue against progressive social policies. So, to follow this line of logic, it should stand to reason that a state government should not impose prohibitions regarding progressive social or environmental policy on its counties or municipalities.

In the next 20 years, a shortage of safe drinking water in the United States is inevitable. It is time that we start thinking about, studying, and implementing progressive sustainability policies within our city, state, and nation. The consequences of not thinking about our system of water supply, food production, and energy supply are too dire to ignore the concept of sustainability.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 9 months ago

It's a shame the J/W puts a spin on the home sales. What would be interesting is if the facts were presented of the county valuation, the listing price and the actual sales price.

I know of 3 properties right now in Prairie Park, one now reduced under the original purchase price, another listed for under the county valuation and no offers, and another with no offers about to come off the market.

Come on Chad, lets present some real factual numbers so folks are being mislead that their homes will sell fast.

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insidR 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't know much about Mr. Mullins or Agenda 21, but I do know that the city and county spend a LOT of money on fuel and utility costs. Fuel for ambulances, fire trucks, law enforcement, city and county maintenance vehicles plus the cost of heating, cooling and providing water for all the public buildings really adds up. Add in street lights, lawn mowing... well, you get the idea. The reason the city and county created the position and want to continue funding it is because the cost savings in efficiency so far have already MORE than covered the salary, and will only continue to improve. Agenda 21 or not, I wish AFP would shut the hell up and let our local government do what they can to save taxpayers like me some money.

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ThePilgrim 1 year, 9 months ago

Why would AFP even waste their time in Lawrence?

And why did our legislators waste their time on legislation about a non-recent UN resolution? BTW - what did those nimrods over at the legislature accomplish this last session? Using Kansas as a tax "experiment" is the only thing that they passed.

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verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Sustainability is bad?

I reallly don't get out enough.

Growing up on the farm, we either sustained or went broke. But I guess times have changed.

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 9 months ago

Chad, will you get fired (or your boss get an angry phone call) if call Mr. Millins a lobbyist instead of "local field director".

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donttreadonme 1 year, 9 months ago

Does Mr. Mullins live in Lawrence? If not, perhaps he should take his conspiracy theories to his town.

1

mikekt 1 year, 9 months ago

Is anyone aware that koch industries owns Georgia Pacific Co., a major brand name in the building materials forested products industry ?

Now why would they care enough to send a "field director" ( ooowww !!! ) from the AFP to Lawrence, to lobby our local leaders ? Why, that's almost like having intergalactic guests !!!

It's those evil commies at the UN !!! .....And tree huggers !!!..... They've got to stop them !!! Right ?!

Time for another mindless resolution about the UN, from Topeka !!!........& we pay them to do that!!! REALLY?1

I think that i'll start a rumor that people from the moon want to take over the earth & see if Topeka will pass a resolution & running commercials adds condemning the Moon People !!! Ha, Ha, Ha !!!

Yes, ....It's going to be Jethro Bodine down at the cement pond,... and he will personally approve of that add !!!!

Brownie ought to take Mr. Mullins on his next great field agricultural disaster tour .

After all, .....Mr. Mullins is a " Field Director ".!

If they served a free lunch and his movie was also free, i might be up for up for seeing Mr. Mullins preview film !!! Ha,Ha,Ha!!!

What do you bet that they will serve us the same old "Kool-Aid"....... with the lunch !!! ......& then try to bill us for it later ?????

As george w. bush would probably say, "YOU GOT TO LOOK AT.... "THE BIG....PITCHER ""

( For the TEA PARTY & the Whoever else,... that is a joke ..,,,,& a reference to the cartoon "Kool-Aid Man" ......& bushes fine command of our spoken english language )

1

pace 1 year, 9 months ago

Americansuckers for Koch Prosperity. enough

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socnick 1 year, 9 months ago

The main intent of the environmental movement is to take away property rights? What a conspiracy.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 9 months ago

The joint city/county sustainability coordinator position is a total waste of taxpayer money! Has the coordinator done one thing to help the residents of the county. Absolutely not! Our county administrator's job should include the duties currently detailed in the sustainability coordinator's job description. Only in liberal counties such as Douglas do we find such ridiculous wasteful spending!

0

local_support 1 year, 9 months ago

"Mullins predicted that Kansas lawmakers in the next legislative session will pass a law similar to the Alabama bill, and Lawrence’s membership in ICLEI could become a major issue."

What an elite group. (Alabama and Kansas, not ICLE)

2

JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

What's the median selling price for the homes sold? That's an important bit of information, LJW. I'd also like to know the change in total sales dollars.

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dhupeseib 1 year, 9 months ago

To Mullins: Where were you when a foreign corporation condemned Kansans' properties, including some of the best farmland in the state, from the Nebraska border south to Oklahoma so tar sands oil could flow south to Houston and on to China? Where were you and AFP when private property including homes were condemned by the government and then transferred to private business to build the Legends complex in Wyandotte County? I certainly didn't hear any protest by AFP or their founders when those condemnations of private property occurred.

6

Larrytown 1 year, 9 months ago

The rule that I follow is that if the Tea Party is against it...then I'm for it. Or vice-versa.

Unfortunately, there are too many whack-jobs in the Tea Party who lack basic skills (i.e. rational thinking).

3

consumer1 1 year, 9 months ago

Get a real job KT. by the looks of your yard, you shouldn't be pushing to take away property rights anyway! You may get told to clean that junk up!!

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question4u 1 year, 9 months ago

Mullins has neatly illustrated the problem. The only prosperity that Americans For Prosperity care about is short-term and personal. For them sustainability is for suckers who care about the longterm and the common good. Brownback has made it clear that Kansas is an "experiment" in this kind of philosophy.

What kind of future can you expect when you are devoted only to exploiting the present? In Kansas you'd think that people would be smart enough to know not to eat the seed corn, but politically too many seem to care only about the moment. Kansas needs thinking like Mullins' and Brownback's like it needs a shot of curare to the heart. Poor Kansas.

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ssargdons 1 year, 9 months ago

"The city should cut back on its efforts to be environmentally sustainable," because clearly bike lanes and compost bins are the work of the devil. These people are bananas! Here's an article that better explains what ICLEI does (and what the raving lunatics of the Tea Party see as infringing on their liberties): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/us/activists-fight-green-projects-seeing-un-plot.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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Keith 1 year, 9 months ago

Mullins needs a new tinfoil hat.

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bigtoe 1 year, 9 months ago

"Sustainability" movement = Soros money!

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reverber 1 year, 9 months ago

'...as one legislator said “the most aggressive attack on our liberties . . . that we have ever seen.”'

I thought that one was called "Homeland Security"

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 9 months ago

"Jim Mullins, a local field director for Americans for Prosperity, urged commissioners to take out all funding for the joint city/county sustainability coordinator position. He also urged commissioners to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board."

Of course he did. I won't even comment on the Agenda 21 "sustainability conspiracy" delusion. Remember, AFP = Koch money!

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