Gov gets it right. By accident.

May 31st, 2008 by De Onion

Harmony Club Sold

Government has bought the dormant Harmony Club hotel in Paget in a deal worth $6.25 million to house overseas Police recruits.

I am glad to see that the government agrees with what I wrote over a year ago. Namely that most of our hotel properties are worth more as housing. If each studio/one bedroom were worth say $300,000 ($2,000 per month income stream after improvements at @ 7% cap rate) then the government just bought housing worth on the order of $12 million in housing for $6.25 million. The sales price implies that it was worth even less than that as a hotel.

Why the discount? Because hotels aren’t worth as much as housing. Moral of the story: We get a better improvement in standard of living from using land as housing rather than hotels.

Of course, this government doesn’t care because they get rich when new hotels start… screw the rest of us who want to have a decent middle-class lifestyle.

Just an FYI

May 30th, 2008 by De Onion

How to engineer a massive drop in crime.

1. Raise crime after an election. Perhaps by getting political appointees responsible for the parole board so they parole unfit inmates who then cause a massive spike in crime.
2. Stop giving parole a few years before the next election. Get the trouble-makers you paroled re-incarcerated.

Voila! A multi-year record of lower crime.

Then all you have to do is just campaign on the past few years since you caused the crime surge and subsequent drop (to still super-normal levels), hold fancy press conferences, and repeat the short-term numbers over and over again until the mantra becomes “crime is down”.

Dishonest? Yup.
Lying? Nope.

Un-%$*&ing Real

May 24th, 2008 by De Onion

Dear PLP,

If you do not remove Dr. Brown both from his position as the party leader and seriously consider recalling him as an MP then you as an organisation have unequivocally proved your commitment to power for power’s sake. He has shown quite repeatedly now that he cannot be trusted with other people’s money and he should be moved to the back bench and should be face a full investigation and if found in breach of ethics (ie. if anything in the paper is true) then both he and his branch should be forced to resign. Period.

If Dr. Brown is the only one of your parliamentarians capable of accomplishing ANYTHING without massively screwing it up then you need to get some better candidates. Otherwise we are going to have disaster after disaster every time you get elected.

Alex Scott, Dale Butler, Paula Cox, Jonathan Starling, Shawn Brown, et al. This means YOU. Grow a pair. Throw the bastards out. You know who they are.

With rapidly fading respect,

De Onion


May 19th, 2008 by De Onion

There’s a quote somewhere that management is “Doing the right things well.

We all know that governments are not good at doing the right things… but it’s always a shock to find out just how badly things can actually be done.

Staff are said to be angry with the increasingly dilapidated state of the building and no longer consider it safe.

The letter is believed to have complained that a proposed multi-million renovation of the 300-pupils school never materialised — and as a result it will shut in June.

Honestly, is this a joke? Or are we going to see a contractor suddenly step up and do the work at the last minute at great expense?

It’s so hard not to get completely cynical.

Drugz R BAD, k?

May 13th, 2008 by De Onion

Hint to Dale: Here’s a link to some research, because “Just say No” doesn’t work.

Mr. Butler said: “Our campaign entitled ‘Stand Up’ calls for each person in the community to stand up and be accountable for the successful reduction in the supply and demand of and for drugs on our Island.”

Ah yes, the magic “accountability” once again showing up without any actual accountability to anyone and where the incentives are overwhelmingly skewed to make sure people have good reason not to be accountable for the actions of themselves or others.

Realistically the only way to keep people out of the drug distribution business is to make sure they:
a) have good alternatives, and
b) have something to lose.
If you are a 20something uneducated single male then you are very likely to have neither. Of course, the government’s failure to manage housing, education are the two big causes. People who can afford a place to live, and have the skills to have a good job tend not to need to sell drugs. Secondary causes have been the failure by government to provide expanding social, education, and vocational services and instead piss away record government revenue through incompetence, corruption, poor financial control, and pet projects.

Realistically the only way to make people take responsibility for other’s actions is to make sure they won’t get chopped or shot for hurting someone else’s drug distribution business.

I can’t make this post without wondering if it’s too much for the politicians to prove that they’re not on drugs themselves *ahem*.

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.

So, what do we REALLY want?

May 5th, 2008 by De Onion

The focus on numbers is turning into a Vietnam War style “Body Count”

The politicians are busy focusing on the number of companies, the number of tourists, the number of dollars, and really failing to address fundamentally what we really want – those numbers exist to serve us, as do the politicians! So instead of asking “how many?” we should really ask “What island do we really want to live in?”

Call me an angry Buddha, but one of my favorite quotes from The Four Hour Work Week where the author challenges us “…to have more quality and less clutter. To have huge financial reserves but recognise that most material wants are justifications for spending time on things that don’t really matter, including buying things and preparing to buy things. You spent two weeks negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off? That’s great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on the keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?”

So Bermuda? Do we have the beauty we want? Do our buses run on time? Can we get our planning application approved? Can we get our bike licensed quickly? Are our children getting the education they deserve? Can they ride their bikes to the corner store? Or are we spending our time negotiating with foreign developers to get a new hotel?

Just something.

May 1st, 2008 by De Onion

I think it’s worth noting that independence is our Iraq War. Namely a path of hugely negative cost/benefit analysis that is favored by a group of idealogues who favor intangible benefits while ignoring the real costs.

Remember, anyone who opposed the Iraq war in 2003 was just a liberal terrorist who didn’t support the troops… whereas now they’re just sane.