Monday, January 26, 2009

Yet another Monday morning assortment

Prairie Heights, shoveling, and a public service announcement

I was interested to see a couple mentions of Prairie Heights in the QCTimes in the last 2 weeks. Last Sunday in the Home section the featured open house of the week was a home in Prairie Heights, and yesterday there was this article featuring the first family to move into the subdivision. I was waiting for the storm of comments relating to the dad's comment about the Promise being part of the reason they chose Davenport, but for some reason there was only 1 comment, and not about that. Since Ruhl is doing a terrible job of promoting the development, at least the Times is hyping it a little. I'd hate to see it fail due to lack of publicity and then for people to point to that and say that new urbanism doesn't work. I wonder if Ruhl is purposely neglecting it because promoting tradition neighborhood design by definition makes suburban style developments (which 95% of new construction is) look worse.

And then there's this one...
Snow removal policies bother many residents -QCTimes
While even I will admit that 10 hours is a short window to get your walks shoveled, the landlord quoted in the story didn't have his shoveled 4 days later! He threatens to leave the city and never have rental property here again. I say don't let the door hit you on the way out. I wonder if he's the same person that posted this rant several times on the City-Data.com Iowa forums. Hopefully what comes out of this complaint is an extension of the time to shovel from 10 up to maybe 18 hours after the snow ends. I mean, people work 12+ hour shifts, and shouldn't be punished for it. On the other hand, if its still not shoveled 4 days after the snow, I wouldn't be opposed to the city charging an extra fine. Its part of the responsibilities of owning a home.

Finally, I wanted to do somewhat of a "Public Service Announcement". I know a lot of people are working their way through the switch to digital television. If you don't know what I'm talking about, and don't have cable or satellite, go to this website. As most of you have surely read, the government is even considering pushing back the final switch to the digital-only format because so many people are still unaware. Also, if you have an HDTV and digital Mediacom cable, you can go out there and trade in your digital box for an HD one that gets 15 or 20 HD channels for free.

However, this isn't my main topic. Many people are buying new HD TVs, both because of the digital switch-over, holiday sales, and the upcoming Super Bowl. If you have certain things like a HD cable box, PS3, or a Blue-Ray player, you'll need to connect them to the TV with an HDMI cable to get the best picture. Here's my point (finally): Do NOT buy one of these cables for more than $20. The brick-and-mortar stores are all banking on people just accepting the idea that these cables should cost $40, $50, even $100. This week Best Buy has an HDMI cable "on sale" for $80. Its ridiculous. Here is a review on CNET.com, which is a well-respected computer and electronics website, explaining how the $6-10 cables that can be found online are just as good as the $40 cables bought at Best Buy or WalMart. The fact that these stores are essentially price-fixing these cables in order to fleece people makes me want to open an HDMI cable store that sells them all for less than $20. It would work until the big stores realized that their free ride was over and lowered prices to a reasonable level. Here's a link to the cables I use from a reputable seller, which I plan to add to my link bar later. Feel free to donate some of the money I just saved you to the Promise, Riverfront Thumbtack fund, or D1.

31 Comments:

At 1/26/2009 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI
Do you shovel a sidewalk on a regular basis? Just wondering. Thanks

 
At 1/26/2009 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I about died when I bought an HDMI cable at walmart. Forget exacly how much it was, but I remember Consumer Reports always saying you don't need to spend a fortune on cables (i.e. Monster cables).

What realy pi$$es me off is that I don't see a big difference between blueray and dvd !!

 
At 1/26/2009 12:55 PM, Blogger Robbie C. said...

qci - good call on the hdmi cables!

thats a cause i have been championing for a while! after my ps3 impulse buy this summer, i went ahead and waited a few days for my newegg cable to come instead of blow more money on the store cables.

 
At 1/26/2009 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should be a trendsetter QCI and buy one of those $200,000 homes at Prairie Heights. No need to worry that in a few years the value might drop 50 thousand, or that it might end up being the next Americana Park. That way you can be a pioneer and get yourself a wife and have the traditional 14 kids. You will enjoy paying high Davenport property taxes and every fee they can come up with. You will enjoy taking on a second full time job and giving up all your vacations to pay the bills. With a wife on your arm, people won't view you as an old maid. There's also one more bright side to you purchasing the second home out there. If this thing doesn't take off, you will be living with one other family on 220 acres, with everyother taxpayer in the city of Davenport picking up the tab. Life doesn't get any better than that.

 
At 1/26/2009 2:43 PM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

2:05PM - On the one hand you complain that people out there will be paying every tax and fee that Davenport can throw at them. Then you go on to say that "every other taxpayer" will be picking up the tab.

Um, they will be, too, since they are now taxpayers. In fact, if that place fills up with residents, as we all hope it will (right?), we'll have a whole neighborhood full of new taxpayers. And guess what? They will be helping to pay for services that benefit all taxpayers within the city. That is the big advantage of economic growth.

 
At 1/26/2009 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

go away Keith

 
At 1/26/2009 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time the City of Davenport tries to get into the real estate business they fail big time. First, look at the Happen program. It failed once, then was taken over by Community and Economic Development, and is still failing. They have had about 3 completions, and two of them would have happened without taxpayer assistance. One was actually a payout to US Bank. Then the city decided to try the 100 homes program. No mention has been made about successes, so this program must be a flop also. Then look at Prairie Heights, and only one family has moved there. The newspaper makes no mention if they were given additional incentives to move there such as qualifying for a downpayment paid by the city to minority families. Our democrat council needs to be replaced by some republicans who know how to spend wisely.

Also Pioneer, instead of wasting money on Prairie Heights, the money would be better spent SOL reparing some of the boarded up blisters. All Malin Heights will do is cause more boarded up houses as people move from the ghetto, with no tax dollars comming in from the abandoned shacks. You think that people are going to move to Davenport, but with all the good employeers laying off existing help, where will new residents work? At least ones that can afford a mortgage on 2 or 3 hundred thousand for the 'new urban houses.'

 
At 1/26/2009 5:03 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Oh boy, where to begin.

11:09. Yes, I shovel walks. The only years in my life that I haven't shoveled snow consist of the 2 years I was away at college and the 2 and a half years I lived downtown.

2:05. I don't have much interest in buying a brand new home, but I don't understand what your problem with Prairie Heights is. People are buying 2 and 3 hundred thousand dollar houses in other subdivisions; why is it only a problem at PH?

And finally to 3:58. Where are you getting this idea that the city is the one that owns these homes? The city has sold the property to developers, who are building the homes and (supposedly) marketing the subdivision. So exactly what money did the city waste on Prairie Heights? Or are you talking about the park? Reading your post its hard to know what you're talking about. You complain about the efforts to revitalize SoLo but of course offer no better plan. You act like people won't move to Davenport, despite census estimates that we've grown by thousands in the last few years.

 
At 1/26/2009 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally tired purchasing a lot in the PH development and was going to build a home. I had a builder that I wanted to use, but because he wasn't one of the approved builders for the development they wouldn't sell me a lot. From the article it looks like they may have changed their stance on that, but you couldn't pay me to buy a lot from that developer. Any developer that won't sell a lot in this economy is an idiot. I hope PH succeeds, but I have my doubts with a developer like that.

 
At 1/27/2009 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

monoprice.com

Hdmi cables for $3. Work like a charm.

 
At 1/27/2009 10:36 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I have heard a lot of good stuff about them, including the CNET article. I just went with Newegg because they've never done me wrong.

 
At 1/27/2009 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happen and the 100 Homes programs have created success stories. Just because they aren't on the front page of the paper doesn't mean they don't exist.

 
At 1/27/2009 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prairie Heights just needs a boost, something to draw the folks out that way other than a promise of a library sometime in the future. I guess some of the blame should go the our own community planning department. It's a bit discouraging when comparing Davenport's growth to Bettendorf's. Maybe if we can get those slumlords to follow through with they're threat to move, only then will neighbors take pride in their own neighborhoods. First thing would be is ride the council of those who support slumlords.

 
At 1/28/2009 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:19 p.m.:

If you want to verify what a failure that HAPPEN and 100 homes has been, just go to the City of Davenport website, where there is a list of completed projects. You can count them on one hand and have fingers left over. When calculating, don't forget to subtract the two projects that were paid even though they were already started projects at the inception of HAPPEN, but were paid anyway to make the results of the program look better.

Add to the cost of these two programs all the highly paid persons working at City Hall to administer these programs.
The numbers are staggering, and kind of amazing how little bang for the buck that these programs produce.

 
At 1/28/2009 8:54 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

So if anything doesn't work in a couple of years, we should immediately stop trying it? I think I'd prefer the city take a bit longer view on whether these programs are benefiting Davenport.

 
At 1/28/2009 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shovel my walk on a regular basis, I do know however there are quite a few houses on my block that never shovel. I know the City hasn't been out to shovel them either. Usually the only way the City gets involved is if there is a complaint by someone (usually a neighbor). I really do feel though that if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing you wouldn't have the fines or citations. It's basically common sense, but we all know a lot of people are lacking that.

 
At 1/28/2009 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not saying to quit programs that fail, I'm saying make changes to make them successful.

If Walmart has Pepsi priced at $9.99 a case, and it's not selling except for a few blind people picking it up who couldn't see the price, Walmart would have a conference meeting to get to the bottom of the problem on why it's not selling. The error of their ways would be determined, and a plan put in place, such as lowering the price to $4.99, and statistics would be kept on how that change in price affected results. After a very short time, if $4.99 wasn't the answer, they might look to other solutions such as lower the price again, change the location in the store, or maybe a $2.00 off coupon.

Walmart would be all over the problem, and not wait years to do it.

Needs to be the same with HAPPEN and 100 Homes. There is a problem, and nobody seems to be able to fix it. All these years have gone by paying salaries to staff to produce only rare results.

You love suggestions QCI, so I have one. If Davenport would give Cruiser a few boarded up houses, and the 3 salaries of the people that administer the programs, plus the money available in those two funds each year, you can bet that he would be bringing 10 houses or more per year back to their original glory. The staff people are making in the area of $60,000+ a year, and if they were fired, and the money spent wisely, wouldn't Davenport be ahead in the longrun, getting boarded up houses repaired professionally, and getting new families living SOLO?

 
At 1/28/2009 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another vote for monoprice.com.

I've bought cables from them a couple times (never HDMI, but component video, TOSLINK and others) and they've been excellent quality for a fraction of the price you'd pay at Best Buy or Walmart or Radio Shack.

I buy lots of computer products from NewEgg. They're a great store. But it's hard to compete with monoprice on price or selection when it comes to cables.

 
At 1/28/2009 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little Happen History: Actually it began before it was even called Happen, with first the neighbors who joined together in neighborhood cleanups talking about the problem. Talks became a little more formal, and meetings started to take place on occassion at the LeClaire House, with some of them being very well attended, and alot of great ideas being tossed around. Next Charlie Brook was elected, and things went downhill from there. He got into the picture, and appointed Jo Suiter-Vandecar, Pat Yegy, and Janette Higgenson to chair and name this committee. It didn't take long before it became a dictatorship, with the three women making all the decisions, and nobody else able to have any imput. Charlie did nothing to stop them, and time went on, and it got to the point where they were the only three, plus a couple of Davenport Staff attending the meetings. The three were on a power trip, and that is why no houses were being repaired and rehabbed. Next there was a big blowup, and the three went before council and quit. Bruce Burger took over, and not much has happened since.

 
At 1/28/2009 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww, our precious Pat Egly a dictator? No, not Pat!?!?! She just suffers from a bad case of REJECTION. Not to worry though, she will find something else she can run into the ground to fulfill her HUGE ego in that short body of hers.

 
At 1/28/2009 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PH homes won't sell if they all go for 280K. Thats too high of a price point.

 
At 1/28/2009 8:05 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

It appears the couple in the article got theirs for under $250k, and the article also mentions them possibly building homes in the $180k range. The one for sale right now is $290k.

 
At 1/29/2009 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ruhl & Ruhl's Prairie Heights page says "Price Range: From the mid $100's to low $300's".

 
At 1/29/2009 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those mid 100's homes will either be the row homes or the homes on the 30 foot wide lots. I just don't see those homes on the 30 foot lots selling. Those homes will be only 20 feet wide.

 
At 1/30/2009 7:06 AM, Blogger Pho3niX said...

To all of the Anonymous posters: Personal attacks are uncalled for... even if it is about how short Pat is.

I can't really blame the city for lack of success with those programs. I mean, just ask Pat how much success EDDC is having giving away a half million dollars of HUD money in their neighborhood. "We didn't ask for it!" That's the best THEY could come up with for an excuse?!?

We're in a recession, folks!

 
At 1/30/2009 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, this is great. Bloggers getting back into everything that is bad about Davenport and the city!!!
What we need is a little bit of Wayne Hean and that McGivern guy to spice things up a bit. Then these blogs will be fun to read again.
And whats the deal about Alderman Ambrose and the editoral today. He wants the city to give us a tax break? Guy downed one to many...

 
At 1/30/2009 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: 10:38

If you enjoy entertainment, check out Cruiser's blog. For the last week or so Robbie has had his panties all bunched up. Cruiser's threads are a hoot.

 
At 1/30/2009 11:39 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I felt those threads on Cruiser's blog were pretty hard to read.

While in some ways I miss a little of the action of our old crazy councils, I don't actually wish for a return to them. Just go back and read some of the archives if you're really looking for people attacking each other.

 
At 2/01/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Nikki Bowels debunked building project is in foreclosure. I feel sorry for the one or two that families that bought into it. While across the street in "Irish Woods" houses are going for a lot less.

 
At 2/03/2009 10:45 AM, Blogger Robbie C. said...

anon - were you implying i had my panties in a bunch?

i actually was surprised i was attached so aggressively by everyone. i was instantly labeled as a pro-promise person and everyone assumed they knew everything about me. it was kinda funny. i could care less about promise myself, and was just posting info because cruiser mentioned not knowing who ran the site. so i looked it up.

though i think he has enabled comment moderation now. took my comment about 12 hours to show up yesterday.

i thought it was all pretty funny myself.

 
At 2/07/2009 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be fair and balanced Robbie, isn't just YOU that is being comment moderated on Cruiser's blog? And didn't he do that to you after giving you multiple warnings for breaking the few rules that he has? Cruiser gave you more chances than most blog operators would have.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home