Monday, February 16, 2009

A Game of Expectations.

On a day to day basis, my business is humming. I'm all chipper. Everything is hunky dory.

If I look at sales compared to last year, however, I'm down a full 20%. This is exactly what my middle case scenario predicted. It's a little better daily average than last month, though last month I was only down 10%. (January last year was much worse than February, or March, or April, or any month until Sept.)

But I find myself current on bills, and well stocked. In fact, for the first time I can remember, there is nothing I need order next week. I'd be ordering graphic novels, I suppose, except my distributer Diamond is moving their warehouse and are unavailable.

I don't need games, toys, cards or books that I can see.

My budget next month, which because of billing starts next week, is more than generous.

I think the difference is, that I can spend about the same amount of money as I could last year, because I'm not having to pay an employee. But unlike last year, I'm not bringing in a new product line (new books or new games) but just trying to maintain a good level.

Of course, I do have the rather large new book order I made in January. I considered that an investment, to be paid off in equal amounts each month. I might be able to hack into that a bit faster than I expected.

I'm going to skip reorders next week, and apply the difference to my book order.


Mrs Sally Heatherton Esq said...

Well Dunc, life should be easy now.

Let's see you cut the employee over-head, which means no quarterly's, hopefully your paying your self a big ZERO, which means ZERO on all form-oq, and form irs 940, ...

Thus now you can just sit and your only real expense is paying the rent. It's employees that kill small-biz, but unless you have ran a biz, you wouldn't know that.

But now you'll be making tons of profit, ... and eventually you'll yearn for freedom to take days off and let other runs you biz, but you know that those days may be over, ...

Mrs Sally Heatherton Esq said...

Mother fucking 'OUCH' ...

Money can't buy love, but a few dollars can buy all the BULL love you wish in BEND.

Money can't buy you love, but can it buy you building rights at the Metolius?

Carla Axtman

Since developers at Dutch Pacific Resources and Ponderosa Land & Cattle don't have rights under the law to build destination resorts at the Metolius, what's the reason for all the media interest in the last couple of weeks? One likely scenario is the fact that the Oregon Legislature could ban destination resort building in the region.

In 2007, Senate Bill 30 would have done just that. And it had a good slate of support. But at least one of the hearings for the bill was reported as heavily weighted to give testimony to those opposed to the bill, while supporters were stiffed. A heavily weakened and hardly recognizable version eventually died in a House committee. Sources have told me that the bill was allowed to languish and die at least in part due to fears that the lobbyists and media would beat down other legislators in the way that it was unjustly done to Senator Betsy Johnson.

In 2009, at least part of that pattern began anew with the Oregonian's late January (and early February) swipe at Governor Kulongoski, Senate Senator Ginny Burdick and Johnson.

The Bend Bulletin (subscription only) has consistently shilled for the developers and supporters of the resorts as well, virtually ignoring the uptick in support by locals for banning resorts at the Metolius. With the exception of a Nick Budnick piece this week on the Oregon Water Resources Department's second thoughts on giving water rights to the Ponderosa developers, the Bulletin appears to be the lapdog for those who flog these resorts. And from what I've seen, the PR departments of these interests have taken full advantage.

The Dutch Pacific and Ponderosa groups also appear to have a solid cache of financial resources and they're not afraid to go to the well. They've got at least 3 lobbyists between them, as I understand it. Hasina Squires lobbies for Dutch Pacific. Rick Allen appears to be the lead media spokesperson for the Ponderosa folks, and is lobbying for them. I'm told that Dave Barrows also lobbies for Ponderosa. Thomas Barrows is listed as a lobbyist for Ponderosa in the 2007 session but I haven't heard anything about his participation this time around.

James Kean is the Portland entrepreneur behind the Dutch Pacific proposal. He complained to the Oregonian that he's spent $3.8 million on his plan so far. Kean and business partner Shane Lundgren dropped $1.1 million to acquire their 627 acres of property around the Metolius. I have yet to determine the exact cost of maintaining the services for lobbyist Hasina Squires for two legislative sessions, but I'm told that fees for Oregon legislative lobbyists generally range from $5k to $40k per month. So averaging it out on the low end of $20K a month for the six months of the 07 session and the two months (so far) of 09, that's $160k for lobbyist fees.

That leads to a look at campaign contributions. Since the end of the 2007 session, Dutch Pacific has dropped about $20k in campaign donations to Oregon legislators and candidates. If you click on the link, you'll see that both Democratic and Republican campaigns/PACs were the benefactors of Dutch Pacific's largesse.

Ponderosa Land & Cattle is led by the Colson family. William Colson heaped a generous $15k to the campaign of State Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) in 2006. Ferrioli wasn't up for reelection until 2008, where he essentially ran unopposed. Color me cynical, but I'm going to guess that Ferrioli redistributed generous portions of that contribution among his GOP member candidates. There's no way to definitively track that money trail, but that's my educated guess.

Ponderosa Land & Cattle LLC has spread campaign cash around since the end of the 2007 session as well. They've dropped over $32k to legislative candidates and PACs, the majority of which went to Republican interests. Two of the benefactors, Ferrioli and Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) have gone out of their way to shill for the development. There is some possible justification for Ferrioli's work on this, as the proposals are within his district. But Whisnant? This is outside his constituency. So the only explanation for his involvement are the cash contributions to his campaign. Unless he's ideologically predisposed to conferring building rights outside of the law, of course.

The 2009 Oregon Legislature will be taking up the matter of banning destination resorts at the Metolius. Governor Kulongoski's legislative effort is currently under heavy fire from Oregonians In Action and Republicans. OIA president Dave Hunnicutt is complaining that such legislation would take away the rights of these interests to build resorts on their land. Hunnicutt has yet to explain how rights that don't exist can be taken away, but I digress. Perhaps a future screed by Hunnicutt will enlighten. I'll keep an eye out for it.

As I understand it, the only item before the Oregon legislature having to do with Ponderosa Land and Cattle and Dutch Pacific Resources is the building of destination resorts at the Metolius.

Alternative legislation banning destination resorts at the Metolius is coming from State Representatives Ben Cannon (D-Portland) and Brian Clem (D-Salem), or so I hear. As that bill emerges and goes through the process, I'll report further.