The Herm Edwards Train Has Arrived in Tempe

Yesterday was the “official” announcement that Herm Edwards has been hired to coach the ASU football team. This morning, there was a press conference where we learned a little more about how Dr. Crow, Ray Anderson and many others hope to “elevate” this program to another level.

Welcome to Tempe,  Herm!

During the press conference we learned more about the “new model” that will be used at ASU going forward.

Under the new athletic department model being run by Ray Anderson, it sounds like Herm will have roles in management and as the head coach. There will be a multi-pronged approach that is more common is professional sports organizations.

We heard that success in the atletics department is critical to the future of the University. We heard several times that there is a goal to “elevate” the program at ASU.  Ray Anderson gave a lot of credit to former head coach Todd Graham by saying that ASU has done a great job with their student athletes in academics, discipline and character.

We also learned that Herm Edwards is a man of “extreme decency and extreme integrity” who never intended to leave ESPN until he learned more about what Crow and Anderson have as a vision for the athletics programs at ASU. Personally, I think many of us are glad to learn more about the character of Edwards, as we felt that Todd Graham had done such a good job in mentoring the athletes into better players and better people.

Discipline was mentioned several times in the press conference. We also heard Ray Anderson say that this is not a starting over. ASU has been doing a good job in developing, coaching, and preparing student athletes. The new model is being put in place to give the head football coach more support from people outside of what has been the traditional model.

Recruit. Coach. Develop. Elevate.

Those are things ASU plans to accomplish.

Anderson made it pretty clear that he knows there are people who don’t agree with their decision, but he was very clear in the vision to elevate the program to a new level of excellence.

Said Anderson: This train is leaving the station. Jump on board, because we’ve got a seat for you.

Some things I remember hearing from Herm Edwards during the press conference.

I’m on the train!

Herm addressed some of the criticisms about his age and about not having coached for a long time by saying things like: “That’s what I do, I coach football.” “They’re not bringing me here to play.” “I’m here to build a program.”

We also heard a lot about his role and about what it means to be around football players. “Coaches don’t give players talent, God does.” Leadership on and off the field are going to be key initiatives for Edwards. He is looking forward to hitting the recruiting trail, and he is looking forward to getting back in the huddle of football.  He said he’s proud to be the head coach and promised to give whatever he has to work tirelessly and be committed to the vision of Dr. Crow and Ray Anderson.

Herm’s ESPN duties are over this coming Friday. “After that I’m out recruiting.”

Welcome to Tempe, Herm!

Go Devils.

What Should Replace Marcello’s In Tempe?

Marcello’s Pasta Grill has been at the southwest corner of McClintock and Warner for many years. It’s in a really great area in South Tempe where people feel like we are in need of more good restaurant choices.

**Update! As of 10/18/16 it sounds like The Oink Cafe will be moving in to this space! I’m super happy to hear this as it looks like a really great place for breakfast and lunch.

So, please join us in welcoming The Oink Cafe to South Tempe!

Marcellos for sale

For quite some time, we’ve heard “rumors” that Marcello’s would be closing their doors. Quietly, the business has been for sale for months and months. Some would tell you that they were going to stay and they would cite recent renovations and internal changes that indicated they would be around for many more years. Others would say that the changes indicated that the end was near. On May 17th, Marcello’s announced via their Facebook page that they would close their doors for good on Saturday, May 21st.

It is with such a heavy heart that I must announce, after serving Tempe for over two decades, Marcello’s Pasta Grill will be closing their doors for the very last time on Saturday, May 21st. It has truly been an honor to have served all of you for all of these years.

On Sunday, the 22nd, I noticed the large For Sale sign on the building and began hearing a lot of people talking about what is next for the space. People who live nearby are interested in having a quality restaurant fill the space.

What’s Next?

So, I’m curious to hear ideas of what is a good fit for the space. Do you prefer a “high-end” restaurant? Maybe a fast-casual space? There’s several places to eat nearby, but it seems like we need something nice. A cool spot to enjoy a night out. Since we have RigaTony’s on the northeast corner, maybe another Italian restaurant isn’t a huge need?

South Tempe has a style all its own. I’m really curious as to what you think would be a good fit for our ‘hood.

Over Killed In A Tempe Bike Lane

Update: The city of Tempe will be exploring new options for McClintock Drive modifications. Please continue to let the city know how you feel about the bike lanes and let them know how you think it could be modified or brought back to how it was before this failed experiment was implemented.

Update #2: 12/17/2016 –  Mayor Mitchell along with Council members Randy Keating and Robin Arredondo-Savage have been looking at a compromise to the bike lane fiasco. Here’s a link to an AZ Central article titled: Tempe is committed to balancing cars, bikes in transportation plan.

That is why we’ve directed staff to propose options that will restore the street to its original configuration and maintain a bike lane.

All Tempe residents are encouraged to let the council know your thoughts by emailing them at councilcommunicator@tempe.gov 

Tempe bike lanes

Tempe is certainly a bike-friendly city. In fact, it is an award winning city for being a place where people ride bikes to work and to play. You’ll find miles and miles of dedicated bike paths, and you’ll find tons of great bicycle friendly events where bicyclists are front and center.

Tempe bike lane striping On McClintock Drive, new bike lanes were installed in July of 2015 after “extensive study” and much “community input.” One lane of traffic was removed from McClintock to make room for the new bike lane. Now, there is a bike lane and a warning lane that acts as a buffer between cars and cyclists. There is also a barrier for the warning lane. Seems like a bit of over kill to me. Especially because there are so few people who actually ride bicycles on this stretch of roadway.

Heck, I’d be willing to bet that there’s not very many people in the city of Tempe who have ridden their bike along the stretch between Guadalupe and Southern over the past year than I have. I have personally taken at least 200 trips back and forth over that same route in the last 12 months. Before, during and after the bike lane construction. Prior to the bike lanes being installed, I would mostly ride on the sidewalks. Yes, I know that is evil, right? During construction, I rode both on the street and on the sidewalks along McClintock. Since the new bike lanes have been installed, I am certainly one of the people who use them several days a week. Honestly, I feel safer riding in the bike lanes than I did before, and it seems like the wear and tear on my bike is a bit less. Should there be such a wide lane for bikes? I’m not so sure. One thing I feel pretty strongly about is the candle sticks. They are ugly, they are overkill, they add to the traffic backups, they are bad for business owners in the area, and they are a waste of my ( taxpayer ) money.

The community input is all well and good, but average Joe doesn’t always pay attention to community input surveys until they sit at a couple of extra stop lights during their morning commute. Part of the reason for lack of community input is the fact that there seems to be a huge disconnect between North and South Tempe. Most discussions initiated by our city council members center around downtown Tempe growing upward, building “luxury apartments”, and maximizing “smart growth” in our landlocked city. Urban, urban and more urban seems to be the flavor of the year(s). While that seems to fit in the Downtown Tempe area, it doesn’t seem to sit as well with people south of downtown. Yes, people live in South Tempe, and they pay taxes. A lot of them. Many South Tempeans tune out the noise after a while, because the focus on Downtown Tempe doesn’t always directly affect them. Unfortunately, when people tune out, things like this that are not a good fit for their community get pushed through as an “experiment.”

Below is a McClintock Drive Bike Lane hand out that was provided to the public. It is said to show traffic patterns decreasing in 2014. Interestingly enough, they compare 2014 to 2004. Do you think that is the best comparison to use? People have asked if they looked at the timing of the recession – the period of time when gas prices rose to nearly double of where they are now. There’s a lot of factors that come in to play, and I suppose you can always get someone to post different ways to look at the same type of data to come up with an outcome that serves their purpose.

McClintock Drive Handouts 5.4.2015 <– There’s a link to their study. The photo below shows some of the first page of the report. Click the photo to enlarge it.

Tempe bike lane patterns

Fast forward to December 5th, 2015 and the next phase of the bike lanes were completed. This phase includes a whole bunch of “candle sticks” that act as a buffer between the buffer zone and the bicyclists. Another lane of safety if you are a serious biker. An ugly, unneeded waste of taxpayer money if you are any of the 99% of the people who travel along McClintock Drive each and every day or own a business along this stretch of roadway

Look, I get it. We are bike-friendly, and we need to be concerned for the safety of people on bikes. Many people who know me know that I’m kind of a transit fan. Yes, I’ve been to Tour de Fat, I have taken the time to meet the guys at T.B.A.G., and I think they do a lot of awesome things. While they will certainly disagree with my criticism of these stupid ballards, I am sure we’ll find things to agree on again in the future.

It seems like these ballards / candlesticks / bike lane delineators are popular in many  places in the country and maybe in other parts of the world. I would think they are rather useful in a very urban environment. In fact, I have no doubt they help bikers stay safe, but this stretch of McClintock Drive certainly is not the most urban environment in the city or the state. Heck, you’ll find a LOT more soccer moms than bicycle commuters on this stretch of road. The percentage of people that these help vs the number of people they do not help appears to be far out of line.

These two photos show a couple of examples of why people seem to dislike the ballards in the road. 1, They appear to create a barricade in many places that is less than business friendly. 2. They seem to get in the way of traffic. YES, that is the idea but…

I know there are a lot of people who think these barricade things are an awesome idea. In fact, I’ve seen reactions from people like:

These are a great addition. Someone get Phoenix to step into the 21st Century, too, please.”

“These are a positive development and should be encouraged. They send a clear message that the bike lane is not to be used for parking or right turns.”

“So glad Tempe is taking steps to make the city safer for cyclists. Change is hard. These barriers can be literally mean life or death for cyclists.”

It has now been a few weeks, and I’ve tried to have a wait and see attitude about the ballards in the bike lanes. While I do enjoy riding my bike in the bike lanes, I still feel like this experiment is overkill for the area. It just doesn’t seem to make $ense to provide so much for so few. While I understand that my vote doesn’t always count, I hope that any future expense is relegated to a true need in an area where it might make more sense, instead of some feel good experiment by a city council member who thinks that it is “just a small part of the budget.”

Bike Lane Problems? Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell:

I’ve seen some of the broken ballards and have reached out to let Mr. Granville know about them. While I asked how much it would cost to replace them, I was just told that “staff” would be notified.

Less than two weeks later, I saw two more broken poles in the same place as where the others had been replaced, and I was told the exact same thing. “Staff” will be notified. I guess Mr. Granville doesn’t want me to bother with details.

Tempe bike lane ballard

 

Here’s the text of a letter sent to one of our city council members. I thought it was reasonable. I’d be curious to know what you think of these candlesticks that have been installed in Tempe. Feel free to leave a comment. Yes, I know people have differences in opinion, so please be civil with your remarks or they will be deleted.

In a future post, maybe we can discuss the traffic issues caused by the removal of lanes due to the additional bike lanes…

 

** Update: 1/5/15 ** Third Strike on McClintock:

So, less than a month after the first photo of the broken ballard on McClintock and the EXACT SAME ONE has been run over again. That’s ( at least ) three replacements of the exact same “candle stick” within a month. It makes you wonder how many extras we have and how much is being spent or being done to replace these. I know, I know… It’s a small piece of the budget.

Tempe bike lane casualty

3rd Bike Lane Casualty

January 22nd, 2016 bike lane casualty number FOUR for the exact same ballard. Heck, this one lasted a lot longer than the first three. Things are getting better! Maybe someone should take a look at the safety of drivers when trying to drive northbound on McClintock as they attempt to head east on US60. I’m no expert but I’d be willing to guess that these candle sticks are causing a lot more damage to vehicles than they were “expected” to do. The following photos shows a piece of the ballard still hanging on by a thread. I’d be willing to bet a LOT of money that this piece will be hit again very soon and will be gone before we know it. As you can see from the black tire marks, it has probably been struck several times. Good thing the city ordered more. Right?

Tempe bike lane fiasco

4th casualty – 1/22/16

After Four Strikes, Battered Ballards Removed from the bike lane:

Just a couple of weeks after the fourth time these candlesticks / ballards had been replaced they have been removed from this section of the bicycle lane. It make us wonder if they will remove more in the future? Here’s a pic of the section of road that is now ballard free.

Tempe bike lane candlestick

Zillow Takes Data Inaccuracy To New Level

You’ve decided it’s time to buy or sell a home. If you are like most people, you begin researching online, even if you already have a favorite REALTOR. And, if you are like most people, you’d like accurate and truthful answers to your real estate questions.

The accuracy of online data has been a fairly hot topic in the real estate industry for a long time. Quite often we find Zillow’s “Zestimates” and the like to be at the center of that data conversation. While the Big Z freely admits their home valuation model is not meant to be a true value of a home, many people believe them to be an accurate estimate of value. In addition, when people see homes for sale on the site, they assume the homes haven’t been sold months ago.

All of the homes shown on public sites that are not really available, and all of the problems with “appraisals” that can be tens of thousands of dollars off, just go to show that algorithms can be an inexact science. OK, fine. They are working on getting better, we’re told.

Money For Nothin’ And Clicks For Free

Most of the public web sites get real estate data from the real estate industry for free. After that, they sell it back to the same real estate industry that gave them the data.  More homes, for sale or not, on their site mean more clicks, attracting more agents to advertise. More ads means more dollars for shareholders. So, what’s the problem with having a bunch of extra homes on the site? It’s all good, right? $ure it is.

Zillow Adds Agent Transaction Data

Now Zillow has added transaction histories to agent profiles on their website. You know, it’s a transparency thing, they just want to help you, the consumer. Just one problem. THEY DON’T HAVE THE CORRECT DATA.

We can’t get buy-side transactions from public records, and Agent Doe’s feed doesn’t send buyer agent info. But, agents can manually enter buy-side transactions into their profile in a few simple steps. – Zillow response on Inman News

You think Zestimates are off? You think it’s deceptive or wrong that a large number of homes they display as being for sale are not actually for sale? Heck, those numbers are nothing compared to the inaccurate sales data they are displaying next to most real estate agent profiles.

I’ve been selling homes since 1992. According to Zillow, I have “22 all time sales.”  Accurate numbers? Not even close. See this photo? It is a screen shot of some of the homes I have sold in the southeast valley.

22 sales Nick Bastian

Heck, if you want to know information about my sales data, just ask. Over the past 25+ years, I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of people buy and sell homes. Is that the biggest reason why I feel like someone should hire me? NO. My main selling proposition is that I’m a straight shooter, I look out for your best interest and I know the business inside and out.

OK, maybe this is just another way for Zillow to get clicks and to get agents to provide them more free data so they can continue to sell “leads” back to them. Fine. But, if they can’t provide accurate data, is it helpful?

I don’t pay a lot of attention to the large sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and the like. But, because they have some relevance to a small portion of our clients, I feel a need to follow what they do. If your are here on my web site, I hope you will do more extensive research and allow us to help with your real estate needs. As always, our promise is to help you through the entire buying or selling process effectively and efficiently.

Look, some agents love the Zillows and Trulias of the world and some really don’t care for them very much. Around here, our only goal is to provide you with accurate, honest and up to date information while we work together to achieve your goals. Period.

The video below will show you a little bit about our web site and how to easily use it. Please feel free to call 602-803-6425 to discuss how we can help with all of your real estate needs.

Communication Skills Are Always Important

In my business, communication is extremely important. Without open lines of communication with buyers, sellers, other real estate agents, mortgage professionals, inspectors, escrow officers, etc. it is difficult to have a successful career.

When I started my real estate career, we had corded phones, cell phones were very uncommon, and these kinds of crazy new things called the internet and a fax machine were changing the way we could communicate.

Fast forward 20 years or so and the internet has certainly changed. Fax machines aren’t nearly as cool as they once were and a ton of new communication tools are available.

Text messages, instant messaging, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, email and many more communication tools are available in today’s world. As a real estate agent, I feel like it is a good idea to try and find out how our friends, customers, clients, and business associates prefer to communicate so that we can help to facilitate a transaction that is as smooth as possible.

It’s funny, one client will think email is lame, some hate to text and others live by it. The instant or direct message can be useful for some and a headache for others. A phone call? NO WAY say some and yes-please say others.

When I talk about communicating these days, I almost always mention the tools available through Google +.  From text messaging and phone calls to using Google Voice to video conferencing and photo sharing, document storage and delivery, the options are many. Heck, you’re probably on Facebook and you might even have a Twitter account, too. What’s your method of choice when contacting friends or business associates?

Mixing business with pleasure:

While much of my life revolves around my real estate business, most people know how close I am to family and friends. I recently bought a little Chromebook computer for my mom so that she can communicate easier with family, friends and her grandkids.  I like the video below because it reminded me of my mom and it is a fun example of some of the personal uses for Google+, which is just one of the ways we communicate with grandma.

So, if you are a friend, colleague, client or family member, I hope we’ll be able to keep in touch. It’s nice to know we have so many options…

Nick can be reached at 602-803-6425 as well as on all major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more.