January 2008

Ummel vs. Little: The Today Show Inteview

by The Editors on January 25, 2008

Ummel TodayAs a Carlsbadistan.com commenter pointed out yesterday Marty Ummel and her husband Vernon are taking their fight against local Realtor Mike Little to the media with a vengeance.

Yesterday, Marty appeared in a feature story on the Today Show then she and Vernon sat down on the couch with Ann Curry for an extended interview.

This story is getting even more legs because, as everyone knows, the entire real estate industry is incentivized by getting buyers to pay as much as possible for property. If Realtors representing buyers were paid a commission based on the amount of money they saved their clients vs. the asking price, then they would likely be more interested in getting the best deal possible for their clients. But then, of course, they would get paid a lot less.

[Link: The Today Show]

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Tuberculosis Testing At La Costa Resort

by The Editors on January 25, 2008

After a former La Costa Resort and Spa worker was diagnosed with tuberculosis the County Health and Human Services Agency is now testing more La Costa workers.

The resort didn’t specify yesterday how many of its 1,000 employees have been tested but said that everyone who had been in contact with the former golf maintenance worker has received a skin test. No other active cases have been found.

Luckily, TB is typically spread “through the air – not through food or touch ,” so resort visitors are “not at risk because the worker (who left the resort in November) hadn’t interacted with the public.”

[Link: San Diego-Union Tribune]

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Valley Middle Schoolers Seize The Media

by The Editors on January 25, 2008

2007ApriltopCarlsbadistan’s Valley Middle School is teaching students all the skills they’ll need for careers in TV broadcasting thanks to teacher Doug Green’s award-winning program VMSTV.com.

The class broadcasts a closed-circuit news program periodically to 1,000 fellow students, teachers and staff members. Replays of the news programs are broadcast on the school’s Web site, so parents can view them. Individual segments also can be seen on the school’s Web site.

So far the school’s network has received a Golden Bell award from the California School Boards Association. TV (and media in general) suddenly becomes not so mysterious once 13 year olds understand that they can create it just as easily as anyone else.

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune]

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State Energy Commission Encina Workshop

by The Editors on January 25, 2008

We didn’t make it to the “energy workshop” hosted by the State Energy Commission yesterday, so we’re going to depend on the intrepid North County Times reporter Barbara Henry’s coverage instead. She says there were “some 30” people (the Union-Tribune said 60) in the audience during the five-and-a-half hour long session. Five and a half hours? Good lord.

The city of Carlsbad wants an air quality monitoring device installed at the Encina Power Station, so that neighbors can see what a recently proposed addition to the facility could produce. . . . City officials also are asking for temporary “story poles” —- sticks used by developers to show a proposed building’s height —- to be placed where the power plant’s owners want to put two rapid-fire, “peaker” power plants.

[Link: North County Times and San Diego Union-Tribune]

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La Costa Canyon Water Porno?

by The Editors on January 23, 2008

According to a story in the North County Times, a group shot of eight former La Costa Canyon boys water polo team members (as well as players from other high schools in Southern California) have appeared on several “Internet pornography” sites lately and officials are trying to find out how they got there.

The photos caught widespread attention after the Orange County Register reported Saturday that water polo players from least 11 Orange County high schools as well as schools in Los Angeles and San Diego counties appeared on five Web pornography sites geared for gay viewers. . . . La Costa Canyon athletic director John Labeta said the photo of the Mavericks players posing poolside in their swimsuits appears to be five to seven years old. None of the players still attends the school, he said.

Oh, the horrors. . .

[Link: North County Times and Orange County Register]

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Realtor Lawsuit Going To Court

by The Editors on January 23, 2008

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In 2005 when Marty Ummel, 60, and her husband bought their home in the Serenada neighborhood of Carlsbad they say their Realtor Mike Little of RE/MAX Associates caused them to pay $150,000 more than they should have by not showing them comparable home prices in the area. The Ummels claim Little did this because he was more interested in his commission than the deal they got on their house. But the Ummel’s were not happy, according to story in the New York Times.

What makes Ms. Ummel different is that she is suing her agent, saying it was all his fault. . . . Ms. Ummel claims that the agent hid the information that similar homes in the neighborhood were selling for less because he feared she would back out and he would lose his $30,000 commission.

Of course, Little says it’s not his fault:

They simply didn’t do what is expected of a knowledgeable, sophisticated buyer, and are now looking for someone other than themselves to take responsibility,” Roger Holtsclaw, an agent who was hired by Mr. Little as an expert witness, said in a court deposition.

What this all comes down to is how responsible are Realtors for the transactions they make. If they’re not responsible, then what is their whole purpose? Obviously, Realtors who represent the buyer have always been incentivized in the wrong direction, but that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. What makes this even more interesting is the seller was also a Realtor.

The case begins in North County Superior Court Monday, January 28, 2008. For all the details click the links to the following stories.

[Link: New York Times and Voice of San Diego]

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TaylorMade’s r7 CGB MAX Limited

by The Editors on January 22, 2008

Taylor CbgIt appears that golfers will buy almost anything to trick themselves into thinking they’re improving their game. Carlsbad golf company TaylorMade’s new r7 CGB MAX Limited is a prime example.

. . . an advanced new driver engineered to flawlessly deliver the next level of driver adjustability by incorporating, into one club, TaylorMade® Movable Weight Technology™ (MWT™) and TaylorMade SelectFit Technology. With nine changeable weights and three changeable shafts included, the r7 CGB MAX Limited offers an astounding range of launch conditions.

TaylorMade is getting right in there with Callaway in confusing golfers into having way, way too many options when it comes to whacking a ball through a park. But then, as we’ve said many times before: we don’t golf.

[Link: World Golf]

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Hunter Stewart Races For A Cure

by The Editors on January 22, 2008

Hunt StewartCarlsbadistan’s Hunter Stewart is an 8-year-old trophy kart driver who is racing to find a cure for breast cancer, according to a story in AutoWeek magazine.

He does this not simply because his 34-year-old mom, Alycia, has the insidious disease. He does this because he believes it is the right thing to do. Hunter races a Ford Ranger Trophy kart to raise money and awareness for a cure. If his first season is an indication, he might get the job done.

Hunter finished fourth in the championship “earning a ride on the top-flight Team Adrenalin Trophy truck for ’08.” Aside from all the other money he has raised Hunter donated $1,000 of his own allowance money last year to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and has been featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show. We hope the best for Hunter and his mother Alycia.

[Link: AutoWeek and Hunter Stewart Racing]

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Deepak Cashing In On Depression

by The Editors on January 22, 2008

Gi 0 DeepakchoprasizedApparently, business is booming at Carlsbad’s Chopra Center for Wellbeing, thanks to a growing number of Americans who “suffer from diagnosed anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.”

But Deepak Chopra, M.D. and his partner David Simon, M.D. couldn’t be happier because they have the solution: The Perfect Health Program offered only at their Carlsbad location.

Perfect Health participants experience a week of personalized treatments that integrates the advances of modern Western medicine with the therapeutic practices of Ayurveda – the 5,000-year-old healing system of India. Each day, guests experience Ayurvedic massage treatments, cleansing therapies, and expert instruction in yoga and meditation. In addition, the Perfect Health program includes one-on-one consultations with the Centers medical staff – MDs who are also experts in the field of holistic healing.

The five-day sessions only costs $3,475 per person (not including food or lodging). If money causes depression, this is a sure way to get rid of it.

[Link: Chopra.com via PRWeb]

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Schwarzenhacker Suggests Huge Education Cuts

by The Editors on January 22, 2008

With a “projected $14 billion budget shortfall over the next 18 months” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is suggesting slashing funding to most state agencies, according to a story in the North County Times. Carlsbadistan educators are not happy:

Carlsbad Superintendent John Roach called the governor’s command for across-the-board cuts “cowardly, lazy and thoughtless. . . When a governor proposes an across-the-board cut, he’s taking what work should be his and giving it to others,” Roach said Thursday. “Slashing everyone equally doesn’t take any real thought.”

The cuts will mean Carlsbad Unified School district will need to cut $4.3 million. That’s not cool.

[Link: North County Times]

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