The Bull Case.

August 8th, 2008 by De Onion

After my recent posts of relative skepticism about the Bermuda real estate market I think it’s worth outlining the bull case for Bermuda real estate. It can be located right here: Royal Gazette Employment Classifieds.

As long as the government continues to allow population growth then Bermuda’s economy will continue to grow largely independent of the rest of the world, and despite poor government (really terrible government could still cause a local recession/depression). However this population growth fuels the decline in standards of living as more of us are packed into condos/human filing cabinets, and spend more of our lives sitting in traffic. This population growth also shields government from responsibility and side effects of having a government producing large numbers of (mostly black, mostly male) people who are only employed because we are building as fast as we can to provide housing for the growing population, so as long as the government continues to keep the demand side for housing growing by allowing net immigration, and as long as they continue to artificially constrain the supply side through incompetent management of urban planning and building control, then we should see prices remain firm.

Of course, we are building a social house of cards by leaving the lower income Bermudians chronically under-housed, and by keeping prices and rents high are transferring wealth from the young and poor to older (mostly white) home owners.

Anyone who claims the PLP is the party of “social justice” is clueless.

Well I never!

May 8th, 2008 by De Onion

Gee, another bus strike this morning. You’d think that the Minister of Transport was too busy puffing himself up to deal with the reality on the ground. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Urban planning on a geological time scale… in a lifetime.

May 6th, 2008 by De Onion

In the spirit of Dennis’ post here’s a nifty link on hypermiling.

And here’s a question: What are the problems we’re going to have 20-30 years from now?
– Rising sea levels?
– Coastal erosion?
– Coral bleaching?
– Changing ocean currents?
– Expensive air travel?

I’ve already suggested a transition to New Urban living principles and Human Architecture, both of which are by nature far more sustainable than current urban patterns that are relying more and more on cars (as it becomes more dangerous to use other forms of transport)… and for me personally, unlike the politicians who are looking as far as a few years ahead, I am looking a lifetime ahead. As with US housing, Bermuda is suffering from an incentive mismatch, I wrote about the consequences a while ago.

Guess that answers that…

April 29th, 2008 by De Onion

A reader comments in response to my post “How bad could it be if they tried?“… and this reader’s answer appears to be “Much worse.”

2 hours & 24 minutes? Try 4:25. When I first got my ticket last month I thought “4 1/2 minutes, wow, that’s efficient”. This was at lunch time (not a bright move, I know), and when I returned at 4:30 (because all of us outside Government have real jobs and can’t sit around TCD reading 2 year old Bottom Lines and watching the same Argus ad on the screen – where is CNN anyway?) my number still had not come up. Of course I had to start again the next day, joining the desperate line at 7:30 (already number 20), because TCD doesn’t carry over to the next day. Good thing they don’t or we would be booking our appointments at the counter like our tests – 3 months in advance.

You would think that a Government so obsessed with taking our money to line their pockets would at least streamline the process of taking it off us – they can’t even get that right.

Rant over.

The rule with this government is simple: No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse. Also, don’t underestimate how efficiently TCD is lining party insider’s pockets. There’s just no money in rote administration… all the money is in physical plant and technology.

How bad could it be if they TRIED?

April 24th, 2008 by De Onion

So we now know for a fact that the Transport Minister is not doing his job. A number articles in the Bermuda Sun highlighting that the bus service is being mismanaged. Personally, I already knew the transport minister was useless thanks to the 2 hour 24 minute wait time at TCD last time I went to get my bike licensed.

2 hours, 24 minutes

In typical fashion, the government has decided to push big ticket systems that come with photo opportunities and perks for party members like E-TCD, emissions control, and fast ferries while neglecting the unexciting job of bothering to manage basic services like having buses running or making sure that there are enough tellers working at TCD. Never mind bothering to make good on long standing promises to end fees.

There really is no excuse.

Over the Mountain

April 24th, 2008 by De Onion

I haven’t really wanted to comment on the whole traffic situation… DAG has it pretty much under control.

However,

I did have to laugh this morning (otherwise I was going to cry). Yesterday morning the police were out pulling people over on East Broadway… everything was very civil. This morning the police were gone and traffic was utter lunacy. I wish I had a helmet cam so I could put the video to a soundtrack of Ozzy Osbourne and upload it to youtube.

Bloomberg had an article a few weeks ago about traffic enforcement in Brazil and that if the new Brazilian points system for driving infractions were magically enforced 100% of the time then on average each driver would keep their license for about 20 minutes in downtown traffic.

Scandal list draft

December 12th, 2007 by De Onion

Recently there have been a number of people in letters to the editor and on blogs saying that the current government can “run on their record”… their web page of their accomplishments is here.

I asked the posters on the Bermudasucks.com forum (yes, I deeply dislike the name and always will) for some help in creating a government scandal list for the past few years… Here’s what they came up with:

BHC – The big kahuna.
Premier sues the media to keep them quiet.
Limo Importation – Law changed to allow government insider to start a Limo business.
Hummer H3 commercial vehicle
Cedarbrige Mould
Education Statistics
Firing of Hotel Chef
Work Permit of Curtis Mcleod (construction boss v. George Scott)
Southlands Tunnel
Southlands planning approval
Hospital location
Discrimination against non-Bermudian spouses
Equality act
Col. Burch “House ****” comment
Long-line fishing
Berkley over-budget
“we had to deceive you”
Robert Jensen
RC’s profane e-mail
Mount Saint Monica (dump fire)
Calling squatters “criminals”
Faith Based Tourism
Tracking Chips for Vehicles
Emission Testing.. Buildings
Emission Testing… Contract
“settlement” with Pro-Active Construction
Club Med 1
Club Med 2
Club Med 3
Rebecca Middleton handling
Indigent Clinic and firing of Doctor for writing a letter to the press.
Kurron
Stem Cell Clinic
Cedar Beams
SDO’s
Removal of Stuart Hayward and Bermuda’s #1 Eco Farmer from the round table.
Voting from the bathroom (applies to both parties’ MPs). (Gay Rights Issue)
Independence (most notably the BIC report)
After closing the Clinic, the Brown one, signed up as an “approved Dr” then refused to take any patients.
Forcing GPS upon the taxis
Brown’s Relationship with Tina Poitevien , Mark Lay and MDL Investments.
Free Bus & Ferry Transportation (that never was!)
The $11 million spent on cricket
The amount spent on football
The police contracts never being settled
No cruise ships for Hamilton
Building a pier over an historic wreck
The “deal” they cut with the US government re the cost of cleaning up the Baselands [$11 mill towards the bridge when the estimated cleanup costs were $65 mill]
The apparent about face re moving the Southlands project to Morgans Point (and the bill that will stick the taxpayer with)
Pay to Pray
Pay to Play
US Passport
$ 1 million per month spent on PLP travel junkets abroad.
$25,000 to $30,000 to fly entertainers to Bermuda on a private jet for Brown’s love fest
$1 million to set up Govt TV channel
Abdallah Ahad
Racist dog attack on Gibbons
non-Charity (THE)
Alex Scott’s email to Tony Brannon
$82,000 spent on security for Brown’s private residence.
$1,500,000+ for renovations at Clifton, and then overcharging for rent so it remains unoccupied.
“Political eunuch”
China tourist office
Plantation questions
Refusing to answer cost questions
Donation to a US congressman even though EB shouldn’t be an American anymore.
Gay cruise saga
Reducing funding for the Salvation Army.
Firing developers who were ready to go on Club Med.
Health Minister’s notes on need to obfuscate “embarrassing” report.
Bermuda Cement
BHC 2.0

Readers – please help me remove the inaccurate ones and add any others – I have done some of this on my own.

If I had more time I’d like to go through and add up the cost of these various mistakes to the taxpayer – it would probably run into the thousands of dollars per person in Bermuda.

Blame Canada!

December 10th, 2007 by De Onion

How difficult are the following things?

* Future Care – Upgraded Hospital Insurance Plan (HIP) to cover major medical expenses for seniors
* Child Care – Free Day Care services for Bermudian Families
* Public Transport – Free Bus and Ferry Services
* Education – Free Bermuda College for all Bermudians
* Housing – 500 Interest free down payments for first time Bermudian home owners
* Environment – Green Paper on Energy to reduce Bermuda’s reliance of Fossil fuels.

So why haven’t they been done yet?
Oh, and I see there will be a nice report done on fossil fuel reliance. Very good. I look forward to grading it before it gets shoved back in a drawer… unless of course it needs to be rewritten so as not to embarrass the government.

Southlands

August 1st, 2007 by De Onion

I am violating my rule of not commenting on current headlines, but nonetheless I think there’s an underlying fundamental principle at work here.

Southlands would never get approval under a regular planning process. This implies either:
1. The planning system is broken and does not meet the needs of Bermuda.
2. Southlands is a bad idea.
3. Or both.

The problem I have with it is not so much that the construction of a new hotel is happening, it’s that it’s only happening because the government is willing to throw away the rule book for friends and family – which is symptomatic throughout the government. If it requires ignoring rules to do things that make sense then the rules need to be changed to allow a level playing field – that’s what capitalism is good at, sorting out who is the best when given a level and fair playing field.

Incidentally, this lack of amending rules to reflect realities of life in 2007 is the same reason that there’s a housing crisis – and reflects a huge failure on the part of government. The solution, of course, would be to ensure that the Bermuda plan was updated, Planning Department was well run, and the laws met the needs of the people.

Free space…

April 8th, 2007 by De Onion

There are plenty of things we can do to better use Bermuda’s space. Personally I’m a big fan of the creation of high density villages and making much of the island undevelopable – with some motivation to make sure that it’s kept beautiful and not allowed to become a tangle of Brazilian Pepper trees… and I would also like to see any redevelopment of the airport to see the Civil Air Terminal moved over to Kindley Field Road and the large area of the disused runway extending into Castle Harbour used to create an urban village based on New Urban principles and having fast and efficient ferry service – one area where the Warbaby Fox may actually have a hope of speeding the commute.