Category Archives: business news

Let’s get busy, Mr. Manager

You may count me as a Princeton resident and taxpayer who has a growing fear of the future of what at the moment looks like a construction monstrosity.

They’re seeking to build a “luxury apartment” complex on the south side of US 380, just east of Walmart. Work stopped abruptly on the project in May 2023. The developer said he would hammer out a new deal with a contractor in 30 days.

Well, the 30-day window slammed shut. Still no contractor. Work is still waiting to resume … one year later!

Here’s a thought to toss at Princeton’s new city manager, Mike Mashburn. The city council recently gave Mashburn a five-figure increase in his base salary and extended his contract. This was done before Mashburn actually did anything in his new job!

My thought is that the city’s chief administrator has it within his power to summon the developer and any potential general contractors to his shiny new City Hall office. He should then order all the principals to work out an agreement that enables work to resume post haste.

I am not a construction expert, but I do know that time is not on the side of the contractors or the developer. The longer the complex is exposed to our fickle weather, the more damage is done to the exposed interior portions of the 360-unit complex.

Mashburn clearly has some skin in this game, as he now runs a municipal government with a direct stake in the success of this project.

I can guarantee that no one wants to be scarred by a project that falls victim to disputes of the type that has stalled work on this massive new project, which at the moment looks like nothing more than a massive eyesore.

A boondoggle in the making?

My chronic nosiness sometimes gets the better of me, particularly when I see large public projects seemingly abandoned.

I am referring in this instance to what I have been calling a “boondoggle in the making” around the corner and down the street from my Princeton, Texas, home.

I reached out to someone in authority at City Hall the other day to ask about the status of the “apartment monstrosity” under construction on the south side of US 380 just east of Walmart. The answer I got? “It’s being handled by ‘legal.'”

Hmm. OK. I asked a follow-up question: Does that mean the project is stalled? No answer has been forthcoming.

Now, I spent more than 36 years as a reporter and editor for two reputable newspapers in Texas and one in Oregon. My job was to sniff out problems when I suspected they were occurring. My gut — in addition to my trick knee — are telling me the city has a problem on its hands.

Princeton City Council approved a massive construction project to build a massive complex of “luxury apartments” on US 380. Site preparation was completed and several structures emerged right away. Work crews installed dry wall on several of the structures.

Then, about a year ago, work stopped at the site. A dispute between the developer and the general contractor led to some sort of work stoppage. The then-city manager told me at the time that they were working it out and that work would resume shortly.

Well, “shortly” never arrived, or so I understand. I haven’t seen any sign of human life on the construction site in weeks. The gates are closed and padlocked. The weather has at times been cold and damp, perhaps damaging the unprotected structures.

I am believing in my bones that the city has a problem in the form of an unfinished apartment complex that is looking more each day like a gigantic eyesore.

Cryptic answers about “legal” counsel answering questions gives me reason — I believe — to be deeply concerned about the future of this blight on our rapidly growing community.

Traffic woes to mount

The more I think about the decision to bring a huge new shopping complex to Princeton, Texas, the more I also have to think about one of the consequences of that massive new business endeavor.

Traffic, man!

When I travel through this part of Collin County, I hear a bit of chatter about how Princeton is becoming a city motorists should seek to avoid. Why? Because the traffic along US 380 becomes impossible … and impassable!

Just yesterday, in fact, I was coming home from an outing in Tarrant County. I drove across Fort Worth, along the Sam Rayburn Tollway and then high-tailed it to US 75 northbound. I made the exit onto US 380 in McKinney and started to head east toward the house.

Then I stopped. And waited. And waited some more for the traffic to move. It did. It took a while!

The Princeton City Council has approved a 91-acre parcel to be developed into a major shopping complex on the north side of 380. I favor the decision. I want the business to come to the city I call home. I also wonder about the wisdom of the council’s decision. Why is that? Well, I covered a Farmersville City Council meeting a couple of years ago and watched that council reject an apartment complex because — here it comes — of the traffic problems it would create.

Princeton’s council seemingly doesn’t have such concern, as it approved a mammoth apartment complex a few hundred yards east of where the shopping complex is planned. Work on that project still appears to be far from finished, but when it’s done, it also will spill hundreds of vehicles onto the highway every day.

Maybe I should look at this issue more strategically. Texas transportation planners are hoping to build a freeway bypass around Princeton …. eventually! It is designed to relieve traffic congestion on 380. Last I heard, though, the state is a long way from turning over any dirt on that project.

That work likely will outlive this old geezer’s time on Earth.

Don’t misunderstand me, as I am not going to reverse myself and oppose the business complex. I am a pro-biz guy and the revenue the shopping complex will generate will be very good for this city.

We’d all better prepared ourselves, though, for some major teeth-gnashing as we seek to get home in time for dinner.

Princeton’s evolution continues

My wife and I moved into a city that appeared to be a place without definition, without an identity.

Princeton, Texas, though, was — and is — a city in transition. It is transitioning from a tiny burg that straddles a major U.S. highway into something that is, well, considerably more significant.

The city council’s decision this past week to rezone a 91-acre parcel on the north side of that highway, U.S. 380, to make room for a major shopping complex signals how the city has decided to identify itself.

As a new resident, having lived here for five years, I welcome the change. It provides us with a variety of choices to spend disposable income and to boost the revenue stream for a city that is growing — rapidly, I must say — into municipal adulthood.

The retail complex will comprise 36 outlets. Some of ’em are huge, man. About the only thing missing that would satisfy my taste is a movie theater; but perhaps that also will be on the way … maybe even soon!

I have mentioned already that I do have a concern about the traffic that is bound to be affected dramatically along the aforementioned highway. It’s already become a proverbial “parking lot” during rush-hour in the morning and late evening; westbound traffic comes to a halt in the morning, while eastbound traffic does the same thing in in the evening.

The state wants to divert much of that traffic to bypass lanes that would skirt around the highway. Princeton is one of many communities facing the same traffic woes along 380.

I am going to welcome the new business that is headed our way. It helps turn Princeton into something much more than a community full of new houses with occupants who at this moment have to go somewhere else to invigorate other cities’ economy.

I certainly am hoping Princeton can join the municipal “big leagues” in pretty short order.

These guys were ‘really rich’

Quiz time: Did you ever hear Mitt Romney, or Nelson Rockefeller, JFK, RFK or Teddy Kennedy proclaim to adoring crowds that they were “really rich”? 

Time’s up. I didn’t think so.

But yet … this year’s presumptive Republican presidential nominee has made such a proclamation. Many times, in fact, since he became a politician in the summer of 2015.

Well, it turns out he might not be quite as “really rich” as he bragged. It is being reported widely that the guy who also proclaimed himself to be “really smart” and would hire “the best people” to work for him cannot raise the $400-plus million bond he is ordered to pay in the defamation case brought by E. Jeanne Carroll, whom a jury has ruled was raped by the former Idiot in Chief.

I am reluctant to say “I told you so,” but I have maintained all along that anyone who claims out loud to be as rich and smart as the former POTUS more than likely is neither.

New York Attorney General Leticia James now faces the prospect of seizing the ex-POTUS’s assets to make him pay for what he owes the court. Wouldn’t that be, um, rich beyond belief.

Mitt Romney said out loud what many of us knew already prior to the 2016 election. He called the so-called “really rich” guy a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Am I stunned at what might happen soon? Yes! Am I surprised? Not one little bit!

Loathe the man and his standing

My noggin cannot comprehend a lot of things in life, so to be clear I want to stipulate that at times I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Among the more incomprehensible elements of life that puzzles me is the standing that the 45th POTUS continues to have among Americans who think he deserves another term in the White House.

I won’t regurgitate the many negative comments I have made about him since the moment he and his wife rode down the NYC office tower escalator in June 2015 as he announced his first run for the presidency.

I’ll make one exception, though. I want to remind every reader of this blog of this fact, which is beyond dispute: This bozo spent his entire adult professional life — every … waking … minute of it — with one goal in mind: self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. He did not devote a single moment of his miserable life to public service.

Yet he stood there and proclaimed himself to be the champion of the “little guy,” the individual he personally loathed as a “loser” and a chump. He called himself a populist, even though he likely doesn’t know the definition of the type of pol he proclaimed himself to be.

His goal in life was to make lots of money for himself. It has been revealed now in court proceedings brought against him that he is as Mitt Romney described him: a “phony and a fraud.”

Anyone human being who feels the need to declare out loud the he is “really rich” and “really smart” never achieves such wealth, nor is he smart enough to know that undeniable fact.

Yet here this guy stands. He was impeached twice by the U.S. House. He has been indicted four times by federal and state grand juries on 91 criminal counts. He vows to be “your retribution” if he’s elected later this year.

And they still believe in this guy?

God help us if this all comes to pass.

He still can become POTUS?

The numbskull who wants to become the next president of the United States has been determined unfit to run a business in New York.

A judge has fined him $355 million because he defrauded investors over his supposed vast wealth. This is on top of the $88 million he’s been ordered to pay a journalist for (a) raping her and (b) defaming her character.

And yet … the U.S. Constitution apparently continues to clear the way for this idiot to campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination and then — if nominated — run for the U.S. presidency.

What in the world is wrong with this picture?

Economy gets in GOP’s way

Republicans have been hoping for an economic collapse to fuel their mantra that President Biden’s stewardship on our finances would lead them back to the White House.

Except that the news just keeps getting better.

This week the Labor Department announced the economy added 353,000 jobs to the workforce. The unemployment remains at 3.7%. Inflation is under control. Wages and salaries are outdistancing the inflation rate. Mortgage interest rates are sliding down.

What the heck? The GOP presidential frontrunner can’t make the case that Joe Biden’s policies aren’t working. Instead, he’s left to look for other issues with which to bludgeon the president.

Politico reports: And though far from certain, it’s now possible that the nation’s economic health could become an electoral asset for Biden in an unexpected way.

“I think that is the question of the day,” said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and an economist with FreedomWorks who is close to the Trump campaign. “You can’t blame the president when policies go wrong, and then say he’s not responsible if things are going right.”

Biden’s economy keeps messing up Trump’s message – POLITICO

Moore touches on a singular political reality, which is that presidents too often take blame they don’t deserve while being denied any credit they might earn. That is true for presidents of either party. So often matters out of their control dictate downward economic spirals.

The inflation rate is an example. Americans who endured the COVID-19 pandemic were denied opportunities to purchase big-ticket items. Then the pandemic broke and Americans released all that pent-up demand, which contributed to skyrocketing inflation at almost every level.

Who took the blame? Joe Biden!

Then the president pitched what he called the Inflation Reduction Act. Congress enacted it. The IRA intent was to target the supply chain, seeking to loosen it sufficiently. It worked. Inflation is under control.

Has the POTUS gained much from the impact of the IRA? Not yet!

The economy is fading as a talking point that Republicans can use against Joe Biden. The president’s campaign team now must devise a message that drives the point home that, yes, we are better off than we were four years ago.

GDP up, inflation in check! Who knew?

President Biden keeps getting these political gifts from the bean-counters who work for the federal government. And yet … he continues to languish in the minds of Americans who seemingly are struggling with trying to process this good news.

The salty Democratic political genius, James Carville, once coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid!” in setting the tone for the 1992 presidential election. He was right then. Carville would be right today were he in the game working actively to re-elect Joe Biden.

GDP rose at an annual rate of 3.3% while inflation continues to flatten out, remaining somewhat stable, said the Commerce Department today.

Good news, yes? Of course it is. Ahh, but the doomsayers on the right and on the MAGA right say it’s nothing of the sort. They choose to ignore the findings and focus instead — and it’s good political strategy — on the issues that continue to plague the Biden administration.

Immigration and the southern border crisis? Yep! That’s a big one. The money we’re spending to help Ukraine fight the Russian invaders? That’s important, too. But not as critical as the border. I mean, the Russians must be defeated and Ukraine needs help from its allies to accomplish that task. The ongoing Israeli pummeling of Hamas terrorist compounds in Gaza? That’s big, too, given the immense civilian casualty toll among Palestinians.

The economy, though, well might have cleared the hurdle that the naysayers said would bring it crashing down. Wages are up. Jobs are up. Production is up. Joblessness is down. Inflation is slowing dramatically.

These are economic issues that President Biden should be proud to herald as he seeks re-election.

Yet I hear conservative commentators tell their audiences that Joe Biden is “the worst president in history.” Good grief! The numbers simply say something quite different.

It truly still is the economy … stupid!

Bidenomics: It’s working!

How is this going to play out? For the life of me I cannot fathom the current trend.

President Biden’s economy is rocking along. The nation added 199,000 jobs in November; joblessness is now at 3.5%; inflation registered a 3.1% uptick, which is far better the 9% it was registering earlier this year.

And yet …

Republicans keep yammering about the “sagging” economy. How Americans are unhappy with their lives’ economic trajectory.

President Biden and Congress approved the nation’s largest infrastructure bill in history. He got Congress to approve the Inflation Reduction Act. We’re investing in “green energy,” and the GOP calls that a bad thing.

It’s working, man! Yet the GOP keeps lying to us that it isn’t.

I am shaking my noggin. I do not get it!