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About jtmbin

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  1. We visited the model homes a year ago or so and were quite impressed, especially with the fixtures, finishes, attention to detail all around, attention to natural light, and with floorplans and elevations that were far better than the usual suburban drivel. The overall quality of the product was equal to or better than some of the better custom home builders here inside the loop. The only downside was that they were only being built and sold in Katy, a couple miles past Katy Mills mall. We weren't interested in living in East Austin, even though similar houses in our neighborhood would cost at least 3X as much as these. We went back out in December and were very surprised at how few had been built. Frankly, they would have sold much better closer to town, much closer. I think that people who move out there are looking for big, bigger, and biggest - not for quality in design, or execution. These homes are competing with other new houses in the area that are much "bigger" for the same prices, even though they may be designed and built like total crap. I reach this conclusion in part from overhearing the rather loud comments from, literally, every other group of people also touring the models during both of our visits, and from visiting nearby developers that are/were selling homes that we would never consider buying. The housing stock out there is just constituted of every exurban cliche known. The KB/Martha homes were great, just out of place.
  2. Doesn't apply to me. I'm one of those people who actually understands that ALL of the things that I want government to provide like libraries, roads, police, etc. have to be paid for and that the currency is taxes. I've not once ever advocated for tax cuts because for 1)ta xes here are incredibly low, and 2) tax cuts equal service cuts and there is not much I want to see cut. I do argue for greater efficiency and less waste - anything and every process can be improved. Frankly I wouldn't mind a tax increase if it resulted in better library service, more streets with sidewalks, more streetlights, more police, better schools, better parks - not just brown fields and rusting equipment, more rail sooner than later, etc, etc. Bring it on, I'll vote for it. No, I'm not one of those lunatics whose home value doubles and then complains about his property taxes increasing. Those people should be shot. Just kidding, sort of.
  3. Not to confuse you Red, but I wasn't complaining about the money spent on the renovation, bond funds, although I could. I am complaining about how little we appropriate for operating the system, annual budget from tax revenues, because it is too little for a city this size.
  4. It is amazing that the Library Dept manages to accomplish anything at all with these numbers: "According to federal statistics for 2006, Houston's library system spends $17 per capita to operate each year
  5. AND you can have any (circulating) book from any HPL library sent to any other HPL library in the system, typically overnight, to be picked up at your leisure with just a few clicks from your home/work computer. You can check it out for up to six weeks. All for FREE. (yeah, yeah I know your taxes pay for it) Try that at Borders.
  6. A bit of info on the "cheese". The patterns and colors in the plaza are themselves the result of a civic art project, not a planning meeting. Sorry to disappoint you, H-town. The pattern is a super-graphic of the floor tile pattern in the historic Julia Ideson Building, the former central library adjacent to the plaza. It is meant to show a connection between the old and new central libraries. The colors are the same colors that will be used in the upcoming LED light sculpture that will be installed in the plaza this summer. The lights in the plaza will be programmed in part by software designed by students at UH-Clearlake. The software uses the library's online computer activity to activate the light patterns. The busier the system, the more active the lights. In effect, the lightwall becomes the LED heartbeat of HPL's electronic/internet/online life. At least, these were the artist's intentions. Additionally, the plaza has been wired for performances and concerts. Three shading devices will be installed in a few weeks that spell out "Houston" "Public" "Library" in the varying gauge of the screening. The shadows of those words created by the screening will move across the plaza has the sun moves across the sky. It will be a cool visual from all of the neighboring skyscrapers. The edges of the plaza will be lined with very red planters filled with very tall-growing bamboo. There will be outdoor seating for the new Inversion Cafe, and new decking has been added under the oaks adjacent to the Ideson. Some may think its all cheesy, but compared to the lifeless half-city block of brown brick pavers inhabited by nothing but the homeless that was there before, some may welcome it.
  7. jtmbin

    Discovery Green

    They are rushing because the project is behind schedule because it rained for TEN straight weeks this summer.
  8. "at least", that about sums up most development in Houston these days, and since this city's administration demands nothing more and its citizens expect nothing more, we get what we deserve - the least.
  9. http://www.houstonlibrary.org/branches/loo_home.html HPL Looscan Neighborhood Library Phone 832-393-1900 Hours M 10-8; T 10-6; W 10-6; Th 12-8; F 12-6; Sa 10-6 Address 2510 Willowick Houston, Texas 77027 (Key Map #492S) Directions From the corner of 59 and Weslayan go north on Weslayan. The library will be on the left just past Westheimer.
  10. It is interesting that your wife thinks that it's a hassle. She can search the catalogue of the entire HPL system from the comfort of her home computer 24/7 and have any book, CD, DVD, book on CD, etc. delivered to any one of 36 locations around town within 48 hours, typically. The item will be waiting with her name on it on the HOLD shelf. In many libraries, she can walk in, grab the book off the shelf, check it out herself using a Self-Check machine just like at the grocery store and be out the door. This might take five minutes. If the book isn't ready immediately, say you want Harry Potter on Day One and all 300 copies are reserved, you'll be sent an email telling you when it is waiting for you on the HOLD shelf at the library of your choosing. She can renew the book up to two times for a total of six weeks of check out time, all online, without risking a late fine. She can track and store books that she browses online, track books she's read, blah, blah, blah. I could go on, but I guess you get the picture. Regarding the retail model, libraries have simply stolen the customer service page back from the retailers, or at least they are trying to by offering amenties that people have come to expect. Comfy chairs, a cuppa coffee, wi-fi, and later hours are all parts of the equation. It is notable that while the city's wi-fi initiative is on hold, HPL completed adding free wi-fi service to every library last year.
  11. It is very different from the last new HPL building, the Stella Link Neighborhood Library which opened two years ago. That one is very contemporary, very colorful, glass and steel. It is also one of the top two most popular branch libraries in the city. It will be interesting to see how Looscan stacks up when the performance numbers start rolling in.
  12. Try this link http://web.mac.com/bindana/iWeb/Site/Looscan%20Library.html
  13. Pics from the Opening of the new Looscan Neighborhood Library. http://web.mac.com/bindana/iWeb/Site/Looscan%20Library.html
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