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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 3,391 total)
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  • in reply to: Has America 'Jumped the Shark'? – Primaries 2016 #1125474

    gramarye
    Participant

    Why even bother dropping out at this point? Might as well stay in and keep things interesting.

    On the democrat side, Bernie is still fighting.

    Campaigning costs money and I imagine the donations were drying up rapidly for Kasich. Even those who might have wanted to oppose Trump might not have wanted to spend money on Kasich if they thought it would be wasted expense (since Kasich had no real chance of stopping him anymore).

    Bernie has been a formidable fundraising machine. He has also won many more contests than Kasich, so he can genuinely claim he’s got more momentum at this point–maybe not enough to win, but enough to continue. More to the point, his donors seem to have stayed somewhat loyal even after it’s become mathematically basically impossible for him to beat Clinton, largely because Sanders donors know that they’re funding a message as much as a candidate, and they at least in part view their Sanders donations as paying him to continue using the campaign spotlight to spread that message, win or lose (and, of course, they take heart from the fact that it’s at least sometimes winning and also often keeping things very close against the even more well-funded Clinton machine). In other words, Sanders has both more reason and more resources to continue a losing campaign. Also note that even Sanders’ resources are not unlimited; there are reports that he’s been laying off staff and taking other measures that indicate a campaign winding down, though he’s obviously not out yet.

    in reply to: Cleveland's beautiful, modern apartment proposal for downtown #1103304

    gramarye
    Participant

    This was the highlight of the article for me:

    The city is considering a form-based code, a more flexible zoning overlay, for the Warehouse District site. The code change, which requires action by the planning commission and Cleveland City Council, would allow the developers and planners to be more creative and get around requirements for a series of variances.

    “This is the start of the process,” said Tony Coyne, an attorney working with the developers and the former, longtime planning commission chairman. “This type of zoning is relatively new to Cleveland … and probably will start a discussion about modernizing the zoning code in general.

    “It’s difficult to look at a typical zoning code and be able to accomplish a 21st century development in an older industrial city like Cleveland.”

    Fantastic, and I hope this goes through. Lessening the number of variances needed to build the kind of development that should be the default (i.e., not “variant”) in urban cores is long overdue. You shouldn’t need special permission to build mixed-use (and possibly with reduced parking); at this point, if anything, you should need special permission to build a single-use building with a giant surface lot.

    in reply to: What video games are you currently playing? #1102984

    gramarye
    Participant

    I tend to get older versions of video games on Steam sales, so I’m actually introducing myself to the Fallout series now by playing Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition (i.e., the one with all the DLC ever released for the game). Interesting, not quite as clean or user-friendly an interface as the Elder Scrolls series (the other major line from the same studio, Bethesda), but good. But I can see myself getting into this.

    in reply to: Why Urbanism Is Considered to be ‘Liberal’ #1102924

    gramarye
    Participant

    As one of the board’s few resident (if dormant) urban conservatives, let me take a stab at this.

    First, I’m speaking for others, not myself. Smart urbanism ought to be a cornerstone of the conservative movement even if Republicans will not control the majority of American city councils or mayor’s offices anytime soon.

    But I can at least identify where most conservative skepticism towards urbanism originates:

    (1) Decentralization vs. central planning. Urban design inherently involves some level of central planning, to which most conservatives (especially the most conservative ones) are reflexively hostile. When speaking as the contrarian among my conservative acquaintances, I counter that it is precisely the need for less central planning that would be a welcome part of a conservative urban agenda. Likewise the need for less NIMBYist levels of review in urban development. You would think conservatives would be even happier than liberals to see Nationwide putting a tower of $600,000+ condos where there had previously been blight, because the concern that we’re “pricing out the poor” is a much weaker counterargument to us than it is to liberals. But nevertheless, urban planning does require some central planning (which could be smart and simple, e.g., a form-based zoning code) that can really only be effectively done with at least some government involvement.

    (2) Agrarian roots. The modern American conservative movement owes much to America’s agrarian past, even though that past is now long past. The “center of gravity” of the conservative movement is therefore just a long way from having an interest in urban issues, and “density” is something of a toxic concept in the harder conservative circles. I view this as a correctable or at least manageable problem, but the fact is that anyone who decides to be the conservative pioneer of urbanist thought is confining themselves to a support or auxiliary role within the movement. The leading conservative urbanist think tank is the Manhattan Institute, and let’s just say that it isn’t considered a polestar for conservatism the way Heritage, Cato, or ATR are.

    (3) Zero-sum views. This is a mistake that both conservatives and liberals make, but of course it manifests differently. But the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of American cities are one-party Democratic strongholds. Conservatives will look at that and ask why we should want to send development to downtown Columbus, where Democrats will impose huge taxes on it to fuel other Democratic programs, when that same development could potentially be brought to Dublin or Upper Arlington or Gahanna (and, of course, many such suburbs are indeed trying to hybridize urban and suburban development, sometimes successfully).

    Like I said, I personally am quite comfortable as the Manhattan Institute type, the urban contrarian who really does think that urban policy matters greatly and the lack of a conservative voice there is both a national liability for the conservative movement and a disservice to the country as a whole. (Witness the reflexive hostility of urban regulatory apparatuses to new, or newly prominent, business models such as ridesharing and food trucks. That was a fantastic opening for a positive small-government urbanist message–just get out of the way and let people work! Good things are happening without you having to lift a finger, stop trying to prevent it just because you can’t take credit for it!–but it was largely just pooh-poohed from a distance and never turned into the real teachable moment it could have been.) But by and large, urbanism is considered liberal largely by default, because it is associated with cities (the overwhelming majority of which are Democratic), density (which conservatism’s agrarian spirit is not as comfortable with as I’d like it to become), central planning, and reallocating resources away from conservative areas.

    in reply to: City Hall Employee Emails in Ashley Madison Data Leak #1090125

    gramarye
    Participant

    Yeah, it’s hard to feel sorry for most of the people whose information might be revealed in this hack. (I saw a spoof today about someone hacking Spotify and threatening to reveal everyone who listens to Nickelback.) But it’s still seriously concerning because of what it says about data security worldwide. Either …

    (1) Ashley Madison was shockingly casual with information that it knew was incredibly sensitive and that, if released, would be immediately and irreversibly enterprise-threatening (and that there would be a lot of people out there who would want to threaten exactly that); or

    (2) Ashley Madison took data security as seriously as a site with that volume of controversial confidential information should (which should have involved absolutely Stalinist level paranoia, particularly in technical staff hiring and firing and in the use of outside IT contractors), and someone was able to get this much information from them anyway. If that’s true, then there’s nothing that would stop this from happening to just about any source of ostensibly confidential information anywhere, and considering some of the other high-profile, high-volume hacks in the past year (the OPM one being the granddaddy of them all), this is a serious threat to the digital world.

    in reply to: Suburban Sprawl Causes Segregation and Isolates the Poor #1089816

    gramarye
    Participant

    There was actually a somewhat complicated Supreme Court decision towards the end of the previous term (back in June) that could result in redirecting an as-yet-unknowable amount of low income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) from urban areas to suburbs. The decision had a lot of hedging language in it, though, which was not really a dodge on the Supreme Court’s part because it wasn’t a constitutional decision and they were interpreting a statute that is extremely complex even before you get into the HUD regulations implementing it. And those regulations are even more complex now with the release of the new “affirmatively furthering fair housing” AFFH rules.

    Where does it lead? I’m not sure. For one thing, the new AFFH rules are vague, to the point where Obama can basically do whatever he wants with them and a hypothetical Walker or Cruz administration could do the exact opposite, so knowing the regulator is in many ways more important than knowing the regulation (not a good thing). For another, changing urban and suburban socioeconomic realities might change the results of the research backing up the whole endeavor. The suburbs have a lot of staying power, yes, but it’s at least within the realm of possibility that subsidizing moving more poor people to the suburbs now might still be a good idea (from the perspective of those families, at least–there’s obviously going to be more resistance in some of the destination communities), but the pendulum on that could definitely swing in the future if suburban poverty continues to grow, unsustainable suburban infrastructure begins to be abandoned, and vital services for lower-income families prove hard to access in the burbs.

    in reply to: Charter Challenge: Petitions Submitted for Council Reform #1086425

    gramarye
    Participant

    Aren’t the ward system and the number of seats two separate issues?

    I could be quite amenable to expanding the size of a city council the size of Columbus’ to larger than 7. That would make it harder for a single person to be a good enough fundraiser to basically bankroll every race.

    In contrast, the more I learn about ward systems, the less I like them, to the point where if I were ever going to make this a political hobbyhorse, I’d work to dismantle ward systems where they currently exist and encourage more municipalities to consider the benefits of citywide voting rather than Balkanizing communities into arbitrary districts that encourage intra-city provincialism. “East Side-West Side” rivalries and the like should not be enshrined in law.


    gramarye
    Participant

    “Instead of following in the footsteps of their parents who married, bought homes, and had kids, Millennials are renting everything from homes to bikes, phones, and software …. Some of these arrangements make sense over the long term, especially when the underlying assets are depreciating, but it also means that Millennials are missing out on recouping the gains from owning appreciating assets.”

    Something of a bait-and-switch there. None of those, not even owner-occupied homes outside of neighborhoods that get hot, are actually appreciating assets. Bikes can last a while but are still durable goods; phones and software are obsolete within a couple of years at best.

    in reply to: 166 new apartments planned for Grandview Yard #1082985

    gramarye
    Participant

    I agree that Third is going to be underutilized in that design, with the sea of parking and normal suburban-shopping-center outparcels in a constellation around the Giant Eagle Market District; the parking lot is large enough that even residents of these new apartments will have a farther walk than they might appreciate to get to that store, just because of the need to walk past all the autocentric infrastructure. That said, I don’t think a Market District would be viable without that much parking; I just wish they’d put the store closer to Third (and made it part of the same building with places like the Panera) and put the parking behind/north of it. In fact, I think that was something of a missed opportunity because the Market District concept could have allowed for patio dining and other outdoor portions of the market near the street (these places are much more than grocery stores), which could have really made the street seem more alive.

    in reply to: LeBron Returning to Cleveland Cavaliers #1082916

    gramarye
    Participant

    There’s almost no chance that he goes anywhere else.

    in reply to: 365 by Whole Foods Market #1081513

    gramarye
    Participant

    While there’s been no official announcement yet, there have been strong indications that one of these 365 concepts will be coming to the Wallhaven urban neighborhood here in Akron, near where I live. The property on which an independent upscale grocery here (West Pointe Market) sits was recently purchased by an out-of-town developer that seems to specialize in building Whole Foods stores, and the footprint of this urban parcel is too small for a full-sized Whole Foods (and the neighborhood probably doesn’t have quite the level of money you’d need to draw in a full-priced store, either). If even Akron is getting one, I have to imagine Columbus will be getting one as well.

    It seems to be rather turbulent times in the grocery industry, at least by the standards of what is generally not exactly the most wild and crazy sector of the economy. Sleepy little Akron just got a Giant Eagle Market District, and Mustard Seed, a boutique local organic grocer, recently opened an urban-scale store in Highland Square (our pale imitation of the Short North). Our local mainstream grocery chain, Acme (not to be confused with the Philadelphia chain of the same name, though as a Philadelphian by birth, that seriously confused me for a while when I moved up here) has gotten in on the act, too, with a lot of major remodels all at once. I’m amazed at how many grocery stores now have sit-in cafes, community rooms, and other things that seem to aim to make them part of the “just go hang out somewhere” scene that used to be the near-monopoly province of indoor malls. That Mustard Seed in Highland Square actually has a second-floor restaurant (in a town where second-floor dining is not part of the scene at all) with a decent rooftop patio, and while it still has the cachet of newness for the moment, it seems to have developed a decent following in a short time.

    I’ll know the movement had jumped the shark when Aldi gets in on the act.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1076081

    gramarye
    Participant

    Creepy.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1076078

    gramarye
    Participant

    Core isn’t creepy. His dog is, though.

    in reply to: 2015 Gahanna Mayoral Race #1076027

    gramarye
    Participant

    The Gahanna Charter can deny reality, but it doesn’t change the reality. Ohio Supreme Court elections are ostensibly nonpartisan, too. And I approve of that formality, but I don’t have rose-colored glasses about how much that actually eliminates partisanship in the campaigns.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075966

    gramarye
    Participant

    All that aside, I wanted to clarify so we don’t spend 10 more pages speculating:

    1) CFL restaurants each have their own ownership structure and LLC. What happens at Surly Girl has no bearing on Tip Top. Ever. Period.<br>
    2) Betty’s closed in 2014 because that business model was no longer profitable in the quickly gentrified Short North.<br>
    3) Betty’s was unable to reopen on Gay Street because we weren’t able to meet the timelines set by the landlord. The landlord was eager to get a tenant up and going and found someone able to open sooner than I was able to commit to. Locations fall through for lots of very boring and innocuous reasons all the time, they don’t fall through to slight customers/haters, never seen that happen in my lifetime actually. I have since scouted other locations for Betty’s, even came close to leasing one on campus, but I haven’t found what I’m looking for as I’d like to reopen that concept to 24/7.<br>
    4) Jury Room never met the goals I had for it. I decided to sell the business when the lease was up and a buyer came forward when he heard from a friend of a friend that I might be leaving. The timing was determined so that my staff could immediately start new jobs at Chintz Room without missing a single day of work. We closed Jury Room on Sunday, staff started jobs the very next day at Chintz Room. All of the Jury Room staff with the exception of one person started at Chintz Room the very next week.<br>
    5) Carmen is focusing on Grass Skirt. She loves the tiki bar concept/theme and feels she’s never been able to devote the time/energy to it due to Surly Girl eating up so much of her time. The three Surly partners felt that we accomplished what we wanted to at Surly Girl and it was time to move on from there. No mystery there, the Surly Girls grew up and wanted other things a decade later.<br>
    6) Jim Sweeney called me last month and said he is receiving a lot of pressure from the powers that be and he would like to go ahead with another operator for Franklinton. While I was disappointed because I’ve worked on that space for nearly a decade now, I know the neighborhood comes first and my main objective all along was to promote the neighborhood. If you know me, you know that’s what I care about.<br>

    Trying to keep the thread about Surly Girl primarily, and I did want to follow up, if you’re of a mind:

    You closed Betty’s but plan to reopen it; you closed Surly and do not plan to reopen it, but you also didn’t sell it a la Jury Room. If Surly was still doing well, wouldn’t the better option have been to sell it as well? Especially if it owned its own building? I get that you outgrew it, but there might well have been a younger you out there ready to take over and run with it. (Or a corporate group of old men who thought they could fake it convincingly enough.)

    There’s really no reason to comment on any financial items, they don’t carry any relevance to my restaurant group or the Columbus public. It’s my own personal and private business. I am not ashamed to talk about having tough financial times, especially if there are lessons to share with my peers, but if the goal is to dissect it for reasons of pure schadenfreude, there’s no reason I should engage. If you’ve ever taken a big risk in life, you’ll know it comes with it’s own set of lessons and challenges.

    I agree about the Schadenfreude and I called it out in my first post in this thread. But on the public vs. private divide: In fairness, you occupy that gray zone between public and private. At the very least, anything that touches on the health of your restaurants (and I’m not singling you out here, I’d say the same about any local restaurant operation, whether it’s CFL or Wendy’s) is a matter of public concern, and unfortunately, when it comes to closely held businesses, it’s somewhat inevitable that the personal financial health of the owner(s) will become relevant in some way, sometime, somehow.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 3,391 total)

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