Yes, trying again... we shall see. I might just be back.


Ignore that last post

What a weak way for the "former" most powerful blog in Roanoke to go out..

Don't worry....


Used Car Salesmen.. unite!

Let's talk for a moment about the lesser understood man - the Used Car Salesman. You think the Big 3 (Ford/Chrysler/GM) are going through some rough times, wait till you see this.

So GM and Chrylser are dumping dealerships left and right. These dealerships (Like Dominion Dodge) have already purchased the very cars you see on their lot. (You thought the Dealer Discount was just a marketing ploy?) Now they are stuck with them, and will have to sell them for whatever they can get basically. Profit or Loss - they need to get rid of those cars.

In the case of GM vehicles, apparently- the Fed is going to back the warranties (no word on recalls or that sort of thing). So what's the risk in buying one? You can get it cheaper than cheap, and you know it will be serviced. Let's look at the dealership across the street. They are not losing their contract - so they are still selling new cars. The same cars that are nearly half price across the street. So now Dealer B (the one no losing it's contract) has to cut it's prices, and compete against a dealership that just wants to get rid of the cars. This is an ugly situation. But it gets worse.

Down the street is a Used Car Dealer. Been there for years, since the time of the Hupmobile. Actually so has the Used Car Salesman. He has always prided himself on selling exactly the car the person needs. And at a great price. Sure, they are not new - but they are good affordable cars. And he is more than happy to send you to his favorite service center who might give you a discount. It's not quite a warranty, but it's close.

Dealership A (loss of contract) has cut it's prices so they are showing a $10 profit on every car on the lot. Some of the cars they are more than willing to take a loss on. They are using every last drop of advertising budget to get the word out - so they can clean up and get out quickly.

Dealership B (with contract) has cut their prices too, but they are still showing a profit - maybe $100 per vehicle. It's going to make things tight, but they can make it back with service plans and optional add-ons that Dealership A can't offer. And it says so right in their ad. They are even offering toasters and gas cards with the purchase of a new vehicle.

Used Car Dealership is sitting there - no one looking at it's cars. Most of the lot averages 5-15 years old, and anywhere between 40-120K miles. It has been days now since anyone has even stopped - except to get directions to A & B. They have nothing more to offer, other than quality used cars. No warranties, no gas cards, no toasters. They don't even have true "vinatage" cars - just some real good lookers.

For each customer they would normally see - 20 rush by to Dealerships A & B. Sure - there's no credit available at A, and B is restricted in it's lending - but at the prices they can afford to charge, what does it matter?

Used Car Dealership closes, and it's cars go to auction, where they bring a pittance.

Extrapolate that. GM is dumping 2,000 dealerships (roughly), and so is Chrysler. 4,000 dealerships + with unsold inventory, and even if each of them only has 50 cars on the lot - thats 200,000 cars (+) that need to go, immediately. That means 200,000 used cars (+) that will not be sold.

God only knows how many used car dealers will go out of business because of this.

This is not going to help the recovery, and what happens to the physical buildings these dalerships occupy? Sell to a competitor who did not lose the contract? Creating more Berglunds - only on a nationwide scale? And what about communities who rely upon car registration taxes for funding?

Nope - this is not a good situation, not at all.


If not now, when?

Some of you might have noticed we had 2 water-main breaks this week in the same day, following the terrible trembler 'NokeQuake 09. One, in the area of 2nd and Franklin - was right down from an area where a good deal of utility work has been ongoing in the past few months. So there's a good chance the pipe has been shaken around prior. The other pipe, well - that's a whole 'nother story.

Remember our old friend - the unspoken blockade to downtown development - the Patrick Henry Hotel?

Well, yes - the pipe bust there. As it was reported, some water did penetrate the PH. Know what that means? More damage to the old lady.

I could post link after link after link to the court documents on this property, it's amazingly un-jailed owners, and how many pension plans were ripped off - intimidated - and outright lied to in regards to this building. It would mean nothing. However, there is hope...

Affirmative Management (aka. Affirmative Equities Company, Patrick Henry Hotel Associates, LP - oh here, read the details in this .pdf) has not paid, well... anything in a few years. Which means, and it has been mentioned in the past - the Patrick Henry Hotel is in arrears when it comes to property taxes. At last check, back in Dec. 2008 - the PH owed the city over 80,000 dollars in past due taxes at the time it's parent company filed for Chapter 11. Well, it's nearing the halfway mark of 2009, and so far - no word has leaked about the City's plans for the building.

Why? Andrew Jubelt has no real intent to develop the property, it's just a pawn for him to use against some pension funds he has tied up in it (see .pdf above). It is crumbling, as has been evidenced in photos taken from the inside recently (roanoke times 10/2/08), and sadly - it's nearing the point of condemnation.

The recent water main bust has surely left some damage, and will only aid in her demise.

How long before the city moves to take the Patrick Henry, and sell it to someone who can make it viable (or at worst case scenario, demolish it carefully - saving what can be saved), and a worthy match for the new Social Security building across the street.

Revitalize Jefferson? Perk up downtown's economy? Rid yourself of a nasty white elephant? Or maybe just extract the name of Roanoke from the business properties of a very dubious charicter.

Will we be lamenting the collapse of the PH in ten years? Or celebrating the smartest decision the city leaders have ever made?


How long?

How long can I keep you waiting? I have not had much of a chance to post lately, and although I still have the same rambling posts in my head - I rarely have time to put them online. Long posts anyway - thats why I tried Twitter, but that became too easy for a one-off complaint. 140 charicters does not leave much for substance.

So you folks tell me, do I keep going - posting infrequently, but with some substance? Do I Twit, and try to be snarky and direct? Or is it time to give up, and leave this Roanoke Blogging stuff to the professionals that are now making up most people's daily reading lists?

I still get dirt from City Hall from time to time, and as you know - I have no problem posting rumors - but with the addition of certain bloggers now in Roanoke - some of my sources are more than worried about saying anything. Especially with the Roanokers article on Queen Darlene. It was a softball article, bringing up some good questions - but not nearly all the questions.

How many city vehicles has she wrecked during her time here? How much did she cost the city in Towing? And what happens to any other city employee who puts a dent in a city vehicle? And of course, there's a ton more they could have printed - but chose not to. They posted a bunch of facts and figures. What I just posted are facts in the form of questions.

They did say one thing in the article however that speaks directly to the problem of the City Council.

Not a single one of them has ever run a business of this magnitude, and most of them have never run a business. So, our City Council - which gets paid 12-15k a year for being on the Council, have no idea why they are being paid for being on the Council. That stipend is supposed to offset costs related to doing the business of the council; missed days of work, travel expenses - basically to replace income lost due to being a member of the council. I wonder if any of them actually NEED that money - or if they are the kind who make money weather at work or not?

2 options surface here: Either an all volunteer Council, no stipend - limited reimbursements OR a fully paid council, this way they would not be beholden to a dayjob - but rather to the dayjob that is the city.

The Govt. of Roanoke needs an overhaul, and I have been saying it for years.

But I haven't been saying much lately. So what say you - keep going? Or let it be.

Let me hear from you....