The Way I See It
By cj pollick
Memorial Causeway Landscaping Costs - Readers of the Gazette have asked about costs and expenses related to landscaping along Memorial Causeway.
According to Clearwater city officials, Memorial Causeway landscaping costs ($170,000) were borne by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). (State tax dollars).
However, expenses to maintain Memorial Causeway landscaping are to be borne by the City of Clearwater.
Sold For About Half The Purchase Price -There was a time on Clearwater Beach when the Adams Mark Hotel was one of the area's most successful hotels. In fact, folks were surprised to see buyer Taylor Woodrow clear the property for a more aggressive development plan. The investment by Taylor Woodrow? Over $31 million.
Last Thursday a company called Salt Block 57 LLC, purchased the Adams Mark property for a price of about $17 million.
A new hotel planned for what was the Adams Mark Hotel?
Yes, the new owners are hotel managers . . . and that probably means we will see a new hotel built within the next few years.
No Election In Belleair Beach - With only one open city council seat and only one candidate who applied to run for office, there will not be a need for a city election. Two incumbents, Mitch Krach and Richard Crowl, decided to run for re-election and the third "open" city council seat will be filled by David Dumville.
Belleair Beach Causeway - Construction on the new high-rise Belleair Beach Bridge is moving at record speed. Most of the new bridge pilings have been completed and work is being done to complete the expanded new bridge access roadway. Of course, all of this bridge construction is being completed with minimal local traffic delays. It is amazing how fast this bridge project is moving towards completion in 2009.
Well done, Pinellas County and all the sub-contractors.
Belleair - The Belleview Biltmore new owners have presented development plans to the City of Belleair regarding remodeling planned for the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel. There have been some folks who wondered if the new owners would actually present a development plan for Belleair officials to review and hopefully approve. Well, that presentation is now official.
This action by the new owners is good news for the many citizens who have followed the sale of the Belleview Biltmore hoping for future re-development of the hotel. In fact, if local citizens have not visited the Biltmore over the holiday season, there is still time to visit and enjoy the holiday decorations and Christmas trees.
Top 10 New Year's Resolutions -
How many people might keep New Year's resolutions?
Kelton research says that 80 percent of people surveyed believe it is more likely to keep their New Year's resolutions than win the lottery.
Times Have Changed, But For The Better? - There was a time when Americans proudly bought cars from prominent US automakers such as GM, etc. Those days are gone and now Toyota has replaced all US automakers as number one. In fact, recent reports state that Toyota has about 48 percent US market share and GM has a meager 25 percent.
Talk about a change in attitude, it only seems like yesterday when we Americans thought foreign made cars and trucks were inferior to US made cars. Now, it appears that the name Toyota is more respected by US consumers than General Motors. Of course, Toyota has many US employees and makes many cars and trucks in the US, therefore, Toyota does have a large financial impact in the US economy. This financial impact in the US may also be true of other foreign-owned automakers. Fiat and other foreign automakers are now looking to make "their" cars in the US by developing new US auto plants. Some of the reasons for such a large investment in the US? Cheap money and lower production costs. Imagine.
Foreign companies are looking at making goods in the US due to lower corporate costs and a falling US dollar.
When you consider that the US dollar has lost 14 percent against the British pound the past year and lost 20 percent against the Euro the past two years, foreign investors believe that making goods in the US helps to lower costs and bottom-line investment dollars. For example, Alstrom of France is planning to build a $200 million plant in Tennessee due to the declining value of the US dollar.
Canadians have also benefited from the falling US dollar. It was only two years ago when Canadians were complaining about the strong US dollar and their weak Canadian dollar. Today, the two "dollars" are about equal in value. A good deal when encouraging foreign travelers and investors to the US.
More foreign ownership in America?
Yes, and foreign investors are not just looking at large US banks and US financial institutions, they are looking for good buys considering the low value of the US dollar.
Perhaps, but what price must we pay in America when we lose control of important US businesses to foreign ownership? Will these major corporations one day control the political landscape of America?
Foreign Ownership Of Large Banks - Two of the largest banks in the world, Citigroup and UBS, one a large US bank and the other a large European bank, will soon change in corporate ownership thanks to risky mortgage management decisions. Billions of dollars have been lost by these two huge banks due to sub-prime mortgage lending.
Who are the new investors in these banks?
Funds from Singapore, China and the Persian Gulf.
What were once considered third-world risky financial centers are now helping to bail-out Citigroup and UBS (the big Swiss bank) by investing billions into the banking companies stock. Of course, the new investors will have board of director management seats along with the investments.
More banks to follow?
If you follow the poor financial performance of companies such as Bears Sterns, Countrywide, Washington Mutual, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and a host of other US financial companies involved in the sub-prime mess, then it is likely that more money and ownership from far-eastern investors could occur.
My how times have changed in the financial sector of business.
Oregon - Can you imagine a state government rebating excess tax dollars back to the taxpayers?
That is what happened in Oregon. The state recently rebated (returned) over $1 billion in excess tax collections to Oregon taxpayers.
Now that is government in action. Most Oregon taxpayers received about $600.
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