Sorensen stepping down

USC leader considering other posts at university

Every Little Bit Helps…

2008 Mileage Allowances

The mileage business allowance increases from 48.5 cents to 50.5 cents per mile. Charitable deductions for the use of a car will remain at 14 cents per mile driven. The rates will apply for mileage on or after January 1, 2008.

McDonalds Tops List. Coldwell Banker #1 Real Estate Brand; #12 Franchise Brand Overall…

Below is the list of the Top 15 Franchise Brands. Although it is very interesting, keep in mind that these are “franchise” brands. Brands like Coke, Pepsi, Bud, Chevy and Starbucks are all corporate owned, not franchise opportunities….
Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS (my company) is the largest franchise within the entire brand. We are (CBUR) also one of the Top 10 real estate brokerages in the world.

Has anyone ever heard of #3 on this list??? FJ

Coldwell Banker Ranked #1 Real Estate Brand
The 2007 Franchise Times Top 200 issue came out and Coldwell Banker is again the number one ranked real estate brand for the eighth year in a row. The brand is 12th overall.*
Below falls the top 15:

Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Ace Hardware
Burger King
Pizza Hut
Circle K Convenience Stores
Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites
Taco Bell Corp.
Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts

Cola’s Best Organization; Cola’s Best Party… Great Job JLC!

One Of The Most Fun Branding Pieces I’ve Ever Done…. Is That Ice In a Wine Cup?

JLC Holiday Market Co-Chair Linda Ferrante. Great Job! Dress and bow-tie by LaRoque…

Gorgeous Friend & Client, and Gorgeous Wife…

3/4 of the Real Team. Where’s Amy???

Once again, The Junior League of Columbia showed their stuff at this years Holiday Market Preview Party. A grand time was had by all, as leading women in our community kicked off one of Columbia’s most successful fundraisers. Great job, JLC. In my bias, you are the best philanthopic organization in the midlands.

If you are ready, willing and able, I encourage any of you to offer your time, talents and treasures to The Junior League. This group can magnify anything into great works….
Scroll for Santa… 🙂

HO, HO, HO !!!

This sweet baby is not loving on FJ Santa at the JLC’s Holiday Market this year.

Our Neighborhood, My Deed!

OK. I spent 5 hours with the City of Columbia Planning Commission tonight. Good grief….

Yes, we were there from 5:15 to 10:00pm tonight. After some specific parcels were voted on, they finally took up the measure of the “Interim Measures for Community Character Protection.” After all was said and done (many times), they finally decided (I think) to give individual neighborhoods 90 days to get 50% + 1 of the residents, to decide if they want to participate in the measures. Wales Garden is immune from this, as they have already qualified themselves to move to the next step of “character protection.” When all is said and done, they may regret it.

One major contention from moving this motion forward, is that it seems that only a handful of residents shouldn’t speak for an entire neighborhood. The glaring example is Shandon. It seems that maybe 20-30ish folks attend the meetings four times a annually, to discuss the issues of a neighborhood of 1,600. Obviously, there is a concern here.

The bigger issue in my mind, is property rights. I can tell you, that if a person has purchased a home in Shandon (or any other downtown neighborhood, for that matter), they may very much regret such a purchase, if some of the talked about measures become city ordinance.

Someone is bound to ask the question, “Do I own my property, or does the neighborhood?”

We all strive for a more perfect Columbia. Having said this, there must be a better way than painting incredibly broad stripes on such a pinstripe situation. Some would argue the contrary, but the nuts and bolts of it is, that the property owner…owns the property.

Our Neighborhood, My Deed!”

More Red Tape On The Way?

Below is an email that many of us received today from the Home Builders Association. Some of these bullet points sound borderline intrusive. I hope that “Red Tape” does not get in the way of my soon to be installed black shutters…. FJ

Call To Action
The City of Columbia Planning Commission will discuss the adoption of “Interim Measures for Community Character Protection” for the following neighborhoods at their meeting on Monday, December 3rd beginning at 5:15 pm in City Council Chambers – Cottonwood, Heathwood, Hollywood/RoseHill, Shandon, Wales Garden, and Sherwood Forest.

If you own properties in these neighborhoods your homes/investments could be affected in the following ways:

  • If you want to expand or change your house in any way that is visible from the street (additions, shutters, screen doors, convert porch to room, etc.) except paint color, you will need permission from the Design Development Review Commission (DDRC).
  • All residential structures used as housing are affected.
  • All changes made to your house must make your home look consistent with the other houses in the neighborhood (height, materials, design).
  • The Design Development Review Commission’s decisions are appealable only to SC Circuit Court (not City Council). This process could take several years.
  • If you have a large lot and you want to subdivide and sell it, you no longer can do so in most circumstances.
  • If you want to demolish your house, you will need permission from the DDRC.
  • If you want to demolish an old house that will cost more to renovate than rebuild, you probably cannot do so anymore

We expect some favorable amendments to be offered to the interim measures requiring a majority vote of the property owners to opt in for the “community protection measures” rather than a decision of those that may have attended a meeting of the Homeowners Association. You need to attend the Planning Commission meeting in support of this amendment.

You should also plan to attend the Public Hearing before City Council on January 16, 2008 at 10:00 am. This may be the last chance you get to speak for yourself and your investments.

Party of the Year, Every Year…

Tonight holds one of the most fun events that Columbia has to offer. The Junior League of Columbia blasts off their annual Holiday Market via the incredibly popular Preview Party.

The Preview Party serves as the venue where all that attend bring out their best.

I know we have Gamecock tailgating, St. Patrick’s Day, The Carolina Cup, Governor’s Gala’s, etc., but this seems to serve as an outlet where some of Columbia’s hardest working women get to have “their night.” Perhaps the best part about it is that the men support them, and then some.

More people know one another at The Preview Party than any other event that I have attended in Columbia. I dare anyone to try to move more than 20 feet for a drink or a catfish bite without giving someone a hug or shaking a hand.

Once again, this year’s chairs (Tracy and Linda) seem to have done an incredible job. You and your committee are a great microcosm of why The Junior League is so successful in all of it’s endeavors. Congratulations! The building looks great!

See you in a few hours!!!

USC/CLEMSON: First Game of Season?

Should Carolina/Clemson be the first game of the season?
This thought may not sit well with many people, but it may be worth taking a good look. In time, the move actually may act as a pioneer among rivalries.

I bring this up as a strategic move for both programs. Given the way teams move up and down the polls in the BCS era, if a team is going to lose, it is far better to lose early. Having said this, one never knows how a rivalry game is going to end up. If we play the “Big Game” early, it will only help both programs (obviously the loser), to get that loss out of the way. I recognize that for this strategy to even matter, one or both team’s records have to be worth a flip. I’m just setting up a good situation for both teams, if one or both had outstanding records.

If “buildup” is the dilemma, I can’t imagine anymore anticipation than 8 months of no college football, only to be “kicked off” by Clemson/Carolina.

Think about it. Here we sit with deflated Clemson fans (from last week’s loss) and disappointed USC fans (it started w/loss to Vandy), half heartedly cruising to Williams-Brice to play this game. What I’m getting at is, there isn’t much hype this year for this rivalry game, and there is a reason for this. Conversely, if this game were the first one of the year, it would be HUGE every year by default.

At the very least this idea warrants some discussion and at most I think a “first week” Carolina/Clemson game would be followed by other rivalry games.

How about a 3 year pilot run?

Travel Season Begins…

Well, the statewide traveling season began today.

If you are like me, you will crisscross South Carolina’s web of asphalt to see your many family members for Thanksgiving. I hope all of you have a great time hanging out with your inlaws and/or old high school buddies.

I think it’s cool to see buddies at different gas stations or rest stops as we all travel to our different hometowns. For me, the most popular station without fail is the one at the “Big” Clinton exit (where 385 splits off from I-26). You all know it well. Its the one with the dueling Waffle Houses.

Anyway, I’m halfway to Anderson at the moment (in Clinton). Jenna and I hope to be back in Columbia on Friday afternoon (so I can show a house). That will give us all of Saturday to devote to USC/Clemson!!!