Friday, August 13, 2010

A home for your 24 (!) cars, Coto de Caza

August 13th, 2010, 1:00 am by Marilyn Kalfus, real estate reporter




Tom Gephart, the venture capitalist and charity fundraiser, is selling his Coto de Caza compound – complete with a carriage house that can hold 20 cars.

You can’t just call it a garage, especially when you have rides the likes of a 1929 Packard Opera coupe!

Alas, the snazzy car collection does not come with the property, now on the market at $9,900,000.

The compound at 31632 Trigo Trail is on 2.2 acres, with 6 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.  Each bedroom suite in the 9,500-square foot French Normandy-style home has its own balcony. The house has a 4-car garage.

The walled estate, with additional privacy from 30-foot trees, includes a swimming pool and spa, an imported bronze sculpture fountain, bocce ball court, commercial grade BBQ area, sports court and a garden.

The 8,000-square foot carriage house has a caterer’s kitchen, two offices, a wine tasting room and an extensive media system.

Not a car collector? The listing agent, Realtor Patti Callaghan of Coast Sothebys International Realty, suggests that the facility could also be used to showcase art or other luxuries.

In addition to a private country club with 2 18-hole golf courses, a tennis club and a new health club, there’s an equestrian center and a new polo field not far from this property. 

By the way, Callaghan adds, if you’ve watched TV’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” you may recognize the gates to this estate. They’ve appeared in the show’s introduction. 


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Thursday, August 12, 2010


All the pretty pigs

Sheryl Crow, The Queen Of Green

Singer’s 2010 rider demands recycled toilet paper, offers promoters “greening” tips

AUGUST 11--Touring the United States and Europe this year, Sheryl Crow arrives at venues with an assortment of environmental demands certain to vex concert promoters, according to a review of the musician’s 2010 backstage rider.

The document, excerpted here, actually has a 2-1/2 page “environmental portion” to be “strictly followed and policed.” Seeking to “minimize the overall environmental impact of our tour,” Crow demands that only biodegradable cups and dinnerware be used by the caterer. Produce should be “organic and purchased from local suppliers as much as possible.” And for the five backstage “watering stations,” water “must be sourced from a local spring water vendor.”

According to Crow’s rider, her tour party travels between gigs in two 45-foot buses, while her equipment is packed into two tractor-trailers.

Crow, 48, also offers promoters “venue greening suggestions.” She wants “traditional light bulbs” swapped out for compact fluorescent bulbs in “all offices, dressing rooms and common areas.” “Eco-friendly cleaning and bathroom products” and “post-consumer recycled toilet paper and paper towel” should also be used. Crow’s rider also notes that, “We strongly encourage you to use renewable sources and/or to buy sustainable energy credits where possible. Many local utilities offer ‘green power’ as an option--please check with yours and opt in.”

The document also details how Crow’s backstage hospitality room is to be stocked. The singer needs an assortment of “biodegradable non-petroleum cups” and 24 “disposable napkins made of 100% recycled fiber.” Crow’s rider also lists a wide variety of drinks and snacks that she needs, including organic coconut water and two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon (“Sheryl’s Favorite” is Stag’s Leap Artemis). Two “good quality, dark, organic chocolate bars” are described as “***VERY IMPORTANT***”

[Our copy of Crow’s 2010 rider has a number of items crossed out. It is unclear whether this indicates that the individual items had been obtained, or whether the promoter declined to supply them.]

As in a prior Crow rider, the current version includes her specific liquor schedule. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, she needs a small bottle of Ketel One vodka that will be mixed with a half-gallon of organic cranberry juice. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, Crow requires a bottle of Patron tequila that will be mixed with a half-gallon of organic grapefruit juice. (6 pages)

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Great Whites visiting SoCal

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Newport Beach Council wavers on dog hours at the beach

NEWPORT BEACH –— The Newport Beach City Council bowed to a wave of public opinion Tuesday when it asked its parks commissioners to reevaluate expanding the hours that people can walk their dogs on the beach.

About 50 people packed the Council Chambers to advocate for expanded hours or protest against dog-related nuisances.

Some believe dog regulations limit quality time with a beloved member of the family, while others want strict rules so they don't step in dog waste or have to deal with snarling canines.

The council voted to abolish time restrictions during the less-crowded winter months at its July 27 meeting, bucking the recommendations of the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission to expand the time by one and a half hours. Currently, people cannot walk their dogs on the beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all year. The commission's recommendation would change those hours to 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"When we start making policy that way, we don't get the fine-tuning right," said Councilwoman Nancy Gardner, who had suggested dropping the winter hours.

Before Tuesday's meeting, the council received letters and calls, Gardner said, suggesting ocean and bay beaches should have different rules and that unlimited winter hours may not be the best idea.

The parks commission will reconsider the matter at its Sept. 7 meeting. Commissioner Bill Garrett, who voted against the expanded hours, said that the real problem is unleashed dogs.

"No one speaks for the people who are frightened of dogs," he said. "People go down there with all kinds of scary dogs and let them run loose."


In other matters:

The council voted unanimously to form a citizens bicycle safety committee, which will be charged with implementing some of the changes recommended by a task force in May. Councilwoman Leslie Daigle prodded the city staff to take quick action to make the streets safer, in light of a recent fatal cyclist crash, while Mayor Keith Curry responded by saying many tourists who drive in the city and spend money are equally important.

City Manager Dave Kiff reported the city's performance on a series of measures it began tracking during the 2009-10 fiscal year. They included police response time, street sweeping regularity and other indications of government efficiency. Generally, they painted a rosy picture of city services. Kiff said he was concerned that the Development Services Department was taking too long to process plans.

Revealing the city's first example of a mixed-use building near Lido Marina Village, the council tentatively approved plans to convert an office building to a residential-office mix. The bayfront building, at 3388 Via Lido, would have two condominiums above office space. It requires special approval because the zoning ordinance that would allow such a mix of uses has not yet been approved by the city.

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FHA launches refi program for underwater borrowers

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) last week provided details on its “FHA Short Refinance” program that will enable lenders to provide additional refinancing options to underwater homeowners.  Beginning Sept. 7, the FHA is offering eligible underwater non-FHA borrowers the opportunity to qualify for a new FHA-insured mortgage.

Participation in FHA's refinance program is voluntary and requires the consent of all lien holders. To be eligible for a new loan, the homeowner must owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth and be current on their existing mortgage. The homeowner must qualify for the new loan under standard FHA underwriting requirements and have a credit score greater than or equal to 500. The property must be the homeowner's primary residence and the borrower's existing first lien holder must agree to write off at least 10 percent of their unpaid principal balance, bringing that borrower's combined loan-to-value ratio to no greater than 115 percent.

Additionally, the existing loan to be refinanced must not be an FHA-insured loan, and the refinanced FHA-insured first mortgage must have a loan-to-value ratio of no more than 97.75 percent. Interested homeowners should contact their lenders to determine if they are eligible and whether the lender agrees the write down a portion of the unpaid principal.

More info.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Newport Beach succulents

Étta finishing up our State of California year end taxables

3 Reasons Why a Ban on E-waste Exports is Wrong

  • Given the increased use of electronics, the problem of e-waste is bound to get worse.
  • But trade bans can cut jobs and push recycling to the black market.
electronic waste recycling factory

Workers dismantle old computers and electronics at E-Parisara, an electronic waste recycling factory, 28 miles from Bangalore, India. Click to enlarge this image.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Three Reasons Why a Ban on E-waste Exports is Wrong

You have no doubt seen images like the following: an Asian child sorting through in a pile of junk electronics, a young Nigerian burning bundles of copper wires, an Indian woman soaking circuit boards in acid.

It’s a fact that computers and other electronics are often exported from rich countries to be recycled in China, India, Thailand and Nigeria by unregistered business operations (“backyard”) that use primitive recycling process. The hazards are serious. The mere presence of these goods can contaminate the air, water and soil. Wire burning emits dioxins and other pollutants; acids can burn.

Backyard recycling is a clear and present danger, and given increased use of electronics around the world, the problem appears slated to get worse without public response.

The prevailing solution bandied about by many is to ban the trade in end-of-life electronics. In fact, the European Union has banned exports of end-of-life electronics. The U.S. Congress is currently considering H.R. 2595, a bill that would ban the export of end-of-life electronics from the United States. China, India and Indonesia have largely banned imports of used and scrap electronics. And some countries such as Thailand and Mexico only allow imports of used electronics.

But contrary to popular belief, banning electronic waste is not the answer, and here are three big reasons why:

1. Trade bans have negative economic and social impacts by cutting jobs in the refurbishment sector and reducing supply to used markets.

Many people in the developing world make a living from fixing and selling used electronics. Not only is this a source of employment where it is greatly needed, but it also increases access to computers and other electronics that play an important role in the development and education of poor people.

Some export bans such as H.R. 2595 in the United States require that electronics are refurbished in the developed world, making used electronics prohibitively expensive for many, and closing down refurbishment businesses in the developing world.

2. Trade bans push the backyard recycling towards the black market.

While China officially banned imports of end-of-life electronics in 2002, smuggling has replaced official trade and electronics reportedly continues to flow into the country much as before the ban. Substantial amounts of end-of-electronics are still exported from Europe, partly through internal trade within Europe to areas with lax enforcement.

The enforcement challenge also increases the involvement of organized crime. In 2002 members of U.S. environmental NGOs visiting the Chinese town of Guiyu, an informal recycling center, were free to walk the village and interview local workers. Since the ban organized crime has become involved and reporters visiting the town are now driven out.

3. Within a decade, more e-waste will be generated in the developing world compared to the developed, waste that without other interventions will be recycled with high environmental impacts.

The underlying premise of a trade ban is that imports from the developed world are the main problem. But research conducted by myself and my colleagues shows that by around 2016, the developing world will generate more waste computers than the developed world. Global volumes of computer e-waste are expected to triple between 2010 and 2025 and by around 2025, the developing world will generate double the developed world’s waste computers. Not surprisingly, developing Asia, due to its high population and rapid growth, is a major contributor to this future waste stream.

Export bans will not only fail to solve the problem of informal recycling, but also cause negative impacts on vulnerable people in the developing world. A broader policy agenda is needed. Surprisingly, there has been no official policy action to directly clean up the impacts of backyard recycling.

One option could be to divert recycling fees in order to pay backyard recyclers to turn in components that are dangerous to process. The United States and other rich countries have a role to play in providing financial and technical support.

Eric Williams is a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University in Tempe. He helps run the IT and Environment Initiative and has testified at a hearing on e-waste held by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology. His views are not necessarily the views of Discovery News.

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HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles