Comment history

Baldwin City Council approves resolution stating its intent to issue industrial revenue bonds

I attended the city council meeting last night and also spent some time reviewing Industrial Revenue Bonds. There was insufficient information available both to the council and to the public to make any kind of assessment about whether Dawn Fiber is a viable business. What I did learn is that IRBs do not obligate the city and taxpayers to anything. The costs of issuance, repayment, and default risk are all take on by the investor that buys the bonds. This means that the venture can fail with no real impact on the city.

I am still unsure of whether this is a good idea for the city. Something seems fishy but I think that the city council is capable of deciding whether it is a good idea or not. I remain thankful for representative government as this material is deadly dull.

Nathaniel Johnson

November 5, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council approves resolution stating its intent to issue industrial revenue bonds

I have never been involved in local politics before except to occasionally comment on the Signal's page but this is worth my and your time. This is an wildly inappropriate venture for the city to be involved in. I am willing to take a little time to explain why I feel this way.

1) It's not for residential users:
Extremely active users who stream netflix on multiple devices, play MMO and FPS games, and stream music utilize about 1-10 Mb or about 0.1-1.0% of what a Gigabyte line offers. Providers of these services, like netflix and amazon throttle your connection speeds so you can't use even all of the bandwidth you are paying for now.

2) Its not for business users.
A business that runs its software on the web, say an online store or an accounting firm, deploys its software onto hardware platforms provided by companies that offer dedicated servers. This is called "cloud computing" and a company can rent a server like this for $20/month from companies like Rackspace, Amazon, Google, and Digital Ocean to name just a few. These companies offer not just cheap servers but are also:
Responsive to bandwidth fluctuations: They are backed by hundreds of lines not one single line.
Scalable - The server and bandwidth can grow with your needs.
Redundant - Your software runs seamlessly from three or more different regions of the country or continents if you have an international business, meaning that if one goes down, the others step in without you having to do anything.

The final mile problem. Gigabit internet requires a fiber line go straight into your house. This is not the cable line or telephone line but a completely different technology that has not been built in Baldwin. Just like phone lines or electricity, every street would need this cable placed. Special optical routers would need to be placed to manage traffic. In short, an entirely new infrastructure.

This project would benefit one company and perhaps Baker, though I doubt that even Baker would benefit very much from this as they are already pretty well provisioned. I tried to research the company Dawn Fiber and only found a stub page. Clearly an LLC designed to protect Reflective Group.

I would ask that if you are as concerned about this as I am, that you contact me at my email listed below. Perhaps if we work together we can understand if there are some hidden details that make this plan reasonable and if not we can stop it before yet another bill is handed the people of Baldwin.

Nathaniel Johnson

October 23, 2013 at 8:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council approves resolution stating its intent to issue industrial revenue bonds
The public needs to see the companies balance sheet, revenue statements, and a business plan. We are talking about a $5 million dollar loan that can not even approach covering the cost of this venture. Gigabyte Internet generally runs around $1,000/month per household unless subsidized by an entity like Google.

Nathaniel Johnson

October 23, 2013 at 5:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape

Upon very casual research it does seem that brick streets are cheaper to maintain. Most of the evidence was anecdotal but I guess there isn't a great call for a huge study since not many brick roads are going in these days. I will say that I HATE maintaining my brick walk and am gradually letting the grass consume it. Some later homeowner can curse my lack of historical respect.

August 17, 2013 at 1:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape

I agree with 1776Attorney but I would highlight that I think that the survey targeted the wrong issues. Most of the surface streets may be in good shape but the problems are not the surface conditions but the drainage, sidewalks, and signage of many of these streets. I have heard it suggested that homeowners are responsible for the sidewalks and that would be fine, if that were applied equally to all parts of the town. It isn't applied equally but the tax burden is. I do think that it was a good investment to pave the road in front of the highschool soccer fields since it is heavily used. It should have been done long before the 1055 sidewalk to nowhere. As far as bricks go, I would like to see the statistics on maintenance costs but I suspect that brick streets are far more expensive to maintain. Personally, I only see their charm in the downtown and do not care for driving on them as they get very slick and are hard on tires.

Apropos of signage: When are we going to put a Stop sign for East-West traffic on High Street at 6th Street? I use that intersection every day and it never fails that traffic coming from the East slows down as if they can't believe that there is no Stop sign. That is a crossing point for the safe sidewalk for students.

Nathaniel Johnson

August 15, 2013 at 10:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Morning walk

I guess their is a family of foxes that live on the Baker Campus. I have see them at night playing in a parking lot. Unusual for such a shy animal.

July 28, 2013 at 9:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Eisenhower Street upgrade to get underway

@Goldie The Plumberg's live on Orange Street as far South as you can in Baldwin.

July 21, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County dispatch commitment contributes to proposed city mill levy increase

I would second what 1776attorney is stating and add some additional ideas. We are a bedroom community with a small number of day-trip tourist type businesses. We could easily increase our tourism by playing to our strengths. I admit that I have a personal interest in seeing us as a stop between Lawrence and Ottawa for bicyclists. For those who are unaware, 2.4 million in Federal and State grant money is being used to upgrade the Flint Hills Nature Trail which runs over 100 miles, East to West through Ottawa and is expected to eventually connect with the KATY trail in MO. There is a spur off the Katy trail in MO to Columbia that brings a huge number of visitors that could be used as an inspiration. Although it is unlikely we could have an actual trail, Highway 1055 could be widened to include reasonable shoulders and a bike share lane to at least make it a safer road to ride. 1055 runs from Lawrence to South of Baldwin and connects with another paved road all the way to the trail heads in Ottawa. While this is not solely a Baldwin City project, our city leaders should be looking to cooperate with other local governments to realize this kind of opportunity.

Nathaniel Johnson

July 21, 2013 at 9:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Growing tech company finds needed talent in Baldwin City

Seriously? Just Google "What it takes to bring gigabit internet to a community". Hair brained ideas indeed.

-Nathaniel Johnson

June 21, 2013 at 6:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin school district shortens calendar as cost-saving measure

Your child can get a good education in this district - one of the better districts in Kansas - if he or she actually works and attempts to take more challenging classes. If all you know about your child's education is that there are youtube videos in cooking class then you need to become more involved in your child's education. To be clear, you couldn't get daycare provided as inexpensively as public school and since, clearly that is all you are expecting, you should be thankful.

-Nathaniel Johnson

June 18, 2013 at 9:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )