a new landscape inquiry loosely springing from an experimental combination of about 300 sheets of expired 4x5 film, an ultra minimalist wooden pinhole camera loaned from a friend, and the simple utter truth that i fell in love with a 14 mile palm-lined boulevard in Fresno

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Running Horse sold

Running Horse project sold
SoCal partnership buys Fresno development.
By George Hostetter and Ken Robison / The Fresno Bee
11/22/06 03:53:25

As expected, but with less fanfare than promised, a Southern California partnership announced Tuesday it is buying the financially troubled Running Horse residential and golf course project in southwest Fresno.

Jack Haney, one of the partners in Running Horse Development Group, declined to reveal the price his company agreed to pay but said escrow should close in December.

"It's very exciting to be involved in something like this," Haney said.

He said the partnership is buying Running Horse because Fresno "is a great place to live."

The partially built golf course, which so far has only two holes with grass, is scheduled to host a $4.5 million, 72-hole PGA Tour event in October. None of the planned 780 houses has been built in the project, which has experienced cash-flow problems.

Haney said getting the course built in time for the tournament "is going to be tight, but we think we think we can pull it off."

He said the Running Horse vision will remain largely unchanged. City Hall officials are counting on the project, with its upscale homes and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, to spur development in a part of Fresno that has long been ignored by many developers.

An auction scheduled for today to sell about 430 acres at Running Horse to pay off a defaulted loan will no longer be held. Haney said that problem has been resolved.

Several million dollars in liens have been filed at the Fresno County Recorder's Office by businesses that have not been paid for work on the project. Haney said they would be paid at the close of escrow.

Tom O'Meara, who has spent more than four years trying to get the project off the ground, said the deal will provide enough money to repay his investors with principal and interest.

O'Meara also said he will settle concerns of unhappy homeowners in the 58-lot Kearney Estates, next to the golf course. Work has stopped on many of the homes.

O'Meara said last week that a sale of Running Horse was imminent. He said a news conference would be held Tuesday to unveil the deal.

But the news conference was canceled Monday, in part, O'Meara said, because a Florida-based PGA Tour official had difficulty making airline arrangements during Thanksgiving week.

Jeff Monday, the PGA Tour's senior vice president for tournament development, said the potential new owner "is fully committed to moving ahead and getting everything ready on the golf course." He said the plan remains to hold the tournament at Running Horse in 2007.

Running Horse tournament director Bob Jeffrey said Tuesday's announcement was a boost as his staff works to secure sponsorships and promotions for the tournament.

"We keep moving forward with hospitality, sponsorships and volunteer recruitment," Jeffrey said. "This gives us a boost by solidifying to the market that this event will be here."

Jeffrey said he is negotiating a multiyear contract with possible title sponsors. Such a sponsorship would average about $3.5 million a year, bringing the total package to between $13 million and $15 million.

The PGA has a six-year commitment to stage the tournament in Fresno.

Barring bad weather, Jeffrey said, Running Horse should be seeded by May, giving the grass all summer to grow. No one will play on the course before the tournament.

"We're confident the course can be completed and we will be at Running Horse," Jeffrey said.

Still, he continues his search for an alternate site in case Running Horse isn't ready. He said an alternate course would be on standby, and would be notified in early June if it would be needed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

fluke or flounder

GEMINI May 20-June 20

Once was a coincidence; twice a fluke.
Seemingly random events are beginning to form a pattern.
Connect the dots.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

friends in fresno

i decide to visit some friends. be with the tigers.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

flâneur of fresno


become, in Baudelaire's phrase, 'a botanist of the sidewalk'

The flaneur, though grounded in everyday life, is an analytic form, a narrative device, an attitude towards knowledge and its social context.

projects around the idea of providing surprises, distractions, and sequences of events for pedestrians.

The flâneur is the link between routine perambulation, in which a person is only half-awake, making his way from point A to point B, and the moments of chiasmic epiphany that one reads of in Wordsworth or Joyce. Like Poe’s narrators, he is acutely aware, a potent intellectual force of keen observation--a detective without a lead.

the flâneur is typically associated with CITY, beginning with Paris (Baudelaire).

all this talk about the rebirth of the postmodern flaneur in the postmodern landscape.

BOULEVARD is none of this.

anti. i leave my city. travel to fresno to walk into a rural setting - departing the confines of the city on foot walking. the urban decay is left behind. a new decay takes its place. abandoned. halted development. rural landscape.

this confirms the direction then. start from the historic sign and walk towards Kerman. from the city's edge to the open fields.

read this:
“Why revise for a notebook? The fact that Benjamin also transferred masses of quotations from actual notebooks to the manuscript of the convolutes, and the elaborate organization of these cited materials in the manuscript (including the use of numerous epigraphs), might likewise bespeak a compositional principle at work in the project, and not just an advanced stage of research.

Citation and commentary might then be perceived as intersecting at a thousand different angles, setting up vibrations across the epochs of recent history, to as to effect ‘the cracking open of natural teleology.’ And all this would unfold through the medium of hints or ‘blinks’, a discontinuous presentation deliberately opposed to traditional modes of argument.

it seems undeniable that despite the informal, epistolary announcements of a ‘book’ in the works, an eigentlichen Buch, the research project had become an end in itself.”

from here

raisin king

read more about M Theo Kearney.

words. 10 times.

the people i talked to today :

09:45 AM woman cashier at Starbucks
10:15 AM woman ticket taker at zoo entrance
12:20 PM maid at motel (room key did not work)
12:55 PM male Rennaisance Faire worker at Kearney Park entrance
01:05 PM male Rennaisance Faire worker at Kearney Park entrance
02:47 PM male driver lost & looking for Rennaisance Faire
04:23 PM woman driver lost & looking for Rennaisance Faire
06:24 PM woman server at Denny's
07:07 PM male cashier at gas station food mart
07:11 PM male front desk attendant at motel


Thursday, November 09, 2006

taking a stand

Valid during several weeks: Very likely you will have to convince someone of something today. This will probably not be an argument, but rather a situation in which you have to present your case with vigor and energy. But if someone tries to talk you into something, you will defend your own position vehemently and successfully. This influence is not as argumentative as it sounds. People will not see you as spoiling for a fight, nor will they be particularly likely to pick a fight. Instead they will respect you for taking a stand for your own beliefs. Your inner confidence in your ideas and beliefs will help you initiate and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Do not be reluctant to use them. Under this influence you should be successful.

Transit selected for today (by user):
Mercury Sextile MarsMercury(null)SextileMars
activity period from middle of October 2006 until end of November 2006.

and today's horoscope:

GEMINI May 20-June 20

Coming up with the answer isn't enough. You must show how you arrived at it because you'll be asked to do it again soon.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

for fresno

!!!!! MONDAY ::: reserve equipment at CCA, pick up a tripod
!!!!! MONDAY ::: TEST 4x5 FILM for exposure variance & DEVELOP at NewLab

!!!!! MONDAY ::: (night) drop car at mechanic's shop by 8 am tuesday
  1. car repairs: driver side window
  2. car repairs: instrument panel lights / electrical
by THURSDAY ::: back up laptop to ext HD in case of theft, loss
by THURSDAY ::: playlists for iPod

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plans for Fresno:
  • Fresno Historical Society : Kearney Mansion tour [FRI]
  • Fresno Historical Society : purchase Thos. Kearney book
  • Fresno Historical Society : archives review [FRI/SAT?]
  • drive Kearney Boulevard area [FRI/SAT/SUN]
  • walk Kearney Boulevard [FRI/SAT/SUN/MON]
  • dawn, morning light
  • evening light, sunset, dusk
  • field recording at night //
  • bring a shovel. dig dig dig. bury something in the dirt.
  • find a horse and photograph it
  • draw a palm tree for 10 minutes. repeat 11 times for a series of 12.
  • tour Running Horse compound [SAT morning]
  • [Fresno Zoo: the IndoChinese tigers. daily hrs: 10 am - 3 pm]
GEAR packing list for Fresno:
  • Canon PowerShot
  • AA battery recharger
  • card reader
  • 4x5 pinhole camera
  • 4x5 ReadyLoad back
  • 4x5 Polaroid back
  • 4x5 ReadyLoad sheet film
  • 4x5 Polaroid sheet film B&W
  • 4x5 Polaroid sheet film color
  • some kind of BOX to keep exposed film in
  • LIGHT METER <<<<<-------------
  • exposure extender wheels
  • gray card
  • tripod: manfrotto or similar. sturdy.
  • Canon Rebel, 1 GB card, extra 512 card, extra battery
  • lens cleaner
  • mini dv recorder (kit)
  • mini dv tapes [10]
  • mini disc recorder & charger
  • mini discs [10]
  • microphones
  • binaural headphones
  • headphones
  • extra AA batteries

car repairs: replace windshield wipers
car repairs: add fuel injector cleaner (twice) on trip

Saturday, November 04, 2006

spirit of '76

Lindsey Buckingham is on PBS singing a really old Fleetwood Mac song with Stevie Nicks, who has come out to join him for a few acoustic songs towards the end of his shoot for sound|stage. well my my my he sure looks good. no aging rock star here. he's gotta be in his 50s. this is a nice surprise. no i wouldn't have gone looking for that.

Fleetwood Mac
(1975), the first album i ever bought myself.

we had no television when i was a kid. we had a stereophonic radio in the living room. as a tiny child i would lay in between the speakers and listen.

one evening when i was five, my dad arrived home and rapped the brass door knocker persistently and loudly. illuminated by a pair of porch lights, he was standing at the door with a turntable, receiver, and a pair of very tall Bose 501 speakers. the boxes and equipment filled the porch in a display for us that he had set up before knocking. we gathered as a family for the spectacle and celebration and received all this audio gear into our house. my world expanded.

our family's first two records were Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and Shaft (1971). my dad brought these home with the stereo that night. i learned immediately from my father how to operate the sleek turntable with its diamond stylus and played these albums endlessly. there would be many more musical friends for me over the years.

in 1976 for my eleventh birthday, my brother gave me Frampton Comes Alive. that was the first album all my own. i thought Peter Frampton had purple hair. a few days later i brought ten dollars of my birthday money down to Amber Records. my brother helped me pick out two albums - he worked there. Fleetwood Mac (1975) was the first suggestion & the other album he helped me choose was History: America's Greatest Hits (1975).

i like that, coming back round to the early beginnings.

like my first camera, a polaroid from Lenny's L&L Camera (he's still there in town), also a birthday present. would also be my birthday in 1976 i guess. Lenny took a polaroid of me in the parking lot. i still have that photo somewhere.

and the Fleetwood Mac record, that is on a shelf in the closet back in NY.

the wooden edged Dual turntable, well i have that here with me.

Running Horse : trouble staying on track

Running Horse has trouble staying on track
Hopes for development to spark more interest in southwest Fresno fading.

by George Hostetter and Sanford Nax / The Fresno Bee
photo: Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

22 October 2006

A sobering reality has settled over the proposed Running Horse residential and golf course project in southwest Fresno.

Gone is the lofty talk of the past four years that marked much of the public discussion about Tom O'Meara's master-planned community, which proposes 780 upscale houses bordering a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

It's a project that has fueled hope by many city and community leaders that Running Horse will spark developer interest in the city's historic but long-neglected southwest side.

"O'Meara sees diamonds where others see dirt," said Fred Burkhardt, then the city's director of housing, economic and community development, in 2003.

But recent financial and legal problems at Running Horse have cooled the rhetoric, even from O'Meara.

"This is not fun," he said. "This is a business."

No houses have been built, nor has a home builder been selected by Running Horse officials. Construction work on the project has all but stopped — in part, O'Meara said, because the crews need a rest. And money problems have slowed the progress of O'Meara's adjacent Kearney Estates residential subdivision, which is separate from Running Horse.

"It will be a travesty if [Running Horse] doesn't succeed," said Keith Kelley, president of the Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development. "But all hope is not lost."

Only two of the Running Horse course's 18 holes have grass. On Tuesday, a Florida-based official with the Professional Golfers' Association Tour visited two Fresno-area golf courses to see whether they might serve as substitute sites for a $4.5 million tournament scheduled for next October at Running Horse. Tournament officials said they're optimistic that Running Horse will be ready but want a backup course just in case.

O'Meara also acknowledged that Running Horse is negotiating a loan of about $60million to keep the project going. Another option is selling parts or all of the project, he said.

There are other challenges:

More than $3.7 million in contractors' liens have been filed at the Fresno County Recorder's Office against Running Horse or companies contracted by Running Horse. These liens mean a business contends it hasn't been paid for work on the project.

O'Meara said the liens are a routine legal step that he encouraged contractors to take if it made them feel secure while he settles his cash-flow problems.

Routine, though, is a matter of perspective. Emmett's Excavation Inc. of Clovis filed a $1.5 million lien for work it did at Running Horse dating to 2005. Said company Vice President Lucretia Emmett: "It's an awful lot of money to be without."

Two lawsuits were filed against Running Horse in 2005 alleging that the project's partners agreed to sell all or substantial portions of the project to two different buyers at the same time. One lawsuit was recently settled in a confidential agreement, according to Fresno County Superior Court records. The other could go to trial in May, O'Meara said.

Many of the homes at Kearney Estates, the nearby 58-house project started by Running Horse, sit vacant or partially built. Running Horse sold the lots, and buyers contracted with other companies to build the houses.

Darryl Bowen, 64, said he is happy to be living in Kearney Estates, even though construction of his home took many months longer than promised: "But I wouldn't do it again."

Matt Estes, 43, has moved into his Kearney Estates home, but said he's still trying to get some construction problems fixed: "If everything was done, I'd be a lot happier."

O'Meara is a 1969 graduate of California State University, Fresno, who has more than 25 years of real estate development experience, including work on several golf course projects.

Contractors, subcontractors and lenders will be paid, he said. The course will be ready for the golf tournament. Houses will get built.

"I'm here every day," O'Meara said while sitting in the portable building on the corner of Hughes and Whites Bridge avenues that serves as Running Horse's headquarters. "I'm not going anywhere. I take all phone calls.

"I tell people: We're going to resolve it."

But how? And what went wrong?

The simple answer: money.

A loan of nearly $60 million is ready to be signed, O'Meara said, declining to reveal the lender. The money, among other things, would finish the golf course, pay off the liens and refinance current loans, he said.

Two other key steps are naming a builder for the first of the residential project's three phases, the 228-lot section called Cypress, and starting work on the golf course's clubhouse.

But rather than take the loan, O'Meara said he'd prefer to tap money put into escrow by people who have bought 208 lots in Cypress.

O'Meara said lots in Cypress are selling for $150,000 to $250,000 each. Lots in the other two phases — Augusta and Masters — could sell for $300,000 or more, he said.

But Running Horse still hasn't filed what's called a final map for Cypress with the city Planning Department. Until that step is taken, and O'Meara finds a builder with an insurance policy that guarantees the on-site infrastructure will get built, the money in escrow is out of reach.

O'Meara said last week that he might announce the builder as soon as last Friday. However, on that Friday afternoon, he said negotiations with a possible builder were continuing.

O'Meara said he's being careful in naming a builder because he doesn't want a replay of the Kearney Estates "fiasco."

Running Horse has a city permit to begin work on the clubhouse foundation, but not on the structure. O'Meara said the original plan of a $15 million, 42,000-square-foot building has been scaled back to about 34,000 square feet and less than $10 million.

"Is it uncommon for a developer to run into cash-flow problems?" O'Meara said. Shaking his head no, he added, "It's been a monster."

He said a six-month stretch this year — during which several loans were approved, then killed — proved devastating. He had already told subcontractors to go ahead with work; when the loans failed, he couldn't pay them.

Said O'Meara: "I've said to quite a few suppliers: 'We're not going anywhere. We're going to pay you.'"

The two lawsuits show O'Meara and his partners twice almost sold part or all of the project in deals worth tens of millions of dollars.

According to court documents, Running Horse and another company, IRC/RH, signed an agreement in March 2005 to be partners in a new company called IREC-Fresno.

Running Horse and its partner were to be co-managing members of the new company.

The new company was to buy 536 lots at $65,000 each from Running Horse — $34.8 million.

Running Horse also was to name its partner as exclusive builder of homes in Cypress. Profits from the Cypress homes were to be split by the partners.

Then, in April 2005, Running Horse signed an agreement with Reynen & Bardis Communities Inc. to sell all 780 lots at $95,000 each — $74.1 million — to the Sacramento-based developer.

Reynen & Bardis sued Running Horse, alleging in part that Running Horse officials broke the agreement by asking it to pay more for the property than the two sides had originally agreed to.

Eric R. Garner, a lawyer in Sacramento for Reynen & Bardis, said the trial is scheduled to begin May 7.

IRC/RH sued Running Horse for breach of contract. The lawsuit was settled this year in what court documents called a "confidential conditional settlement."

But the question remains: Can a large master-planned community thrive in a southwest Fresno that has seen little new residential development for decades?

"In theory, it could be viable, but I think the price range for homes in that area has to be reasonable," said Steve Lutton, division president of Lennar Homes.

A major amenity such as a golf course helps, said Paula Conner, who sells luxury houses for London Properties. She just sold a house at San Joaquin Country Club for more than $1 million. It was on the market for only a few days, she said.

Ken Hopper, a real estate appraiser who helps value golf courses, said, "People will pay a premium to be on a golf course." But, he added, "Running Horse doesn't have the only game in town."

O'Meara and his partner Scott Webb are competing in a market that includes the homes and lots at Fort Washington, Copper River and Brighton Crest country clubs.

Fresno real estate analyst Robin Kane cautioned against making quick generalizations about Running Horse based on what could be the developer's temporary money woes. He said it often takes decades for large, master-planned communities to get their legs and succeed.

Deep pockets and a developer with staying power are vital, Kane said. But, he added, don't underestimate the power of a dream: "Having a vision is not enough. But having no vision will never get it done."

Kelley of the Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development said O'Meara already has helped raise the region's profile: "He came in with a vision. He got mocked and scoffed, but you have to give him credit for making things happen."

City Council Member Cynthia Sterling, who represents the Running Horse area, is confident another company will step in if O'Meara stumbles. The PGA tournament may have to be held elsewhere in 2007 but could be held in southwest Fresno the following year, she said.

One of the most pressing issues facing O'Meara is Kearney Estates. He acknowledges that his company is partly responsible for the project's problems.

O'Meara said he and Webb plan to spend millions of dollars to help finish the houses.

"If we walk away from that, we'll be like any other so-called builder running out of town," O'Meara said. "And that's not the way we're going to do that. For two reasons. One, it's not the right thing to do. The second thing is if we do that over there, can you imagine the damage it would have [on Running Horse]?"

The reporters can be reached at, or (559) 441-6330.

Fresno Bee article :

Running Horse in Foreclosure

Is there a Fresh Start for Running Horse?

02 November 2006 - A fresh start and an influx of money is what Running Horse needs. At this point, the PGA remains confident Running Horse can host a pro event a year from now. The City of Fresno says a new buyer for Running Horse is close to reaching a deal.

Action News has learned one of the interested parties is a partner in cornerstone communities, a home-builder in San Diego.

Tom Boyajian, Fresno City Council, said, "That's the key. Getting someone that has a background in development along with golf courses and combines those two because they are behind and have been behind for a year or so."

Ctx Mortgage, a division of Centex, sent a letter to Running Horse property owners offering financing to finish their homes. Hien Nguyen, who has already filed suit against Running Horse, says he'll wait to see how the proposed sale pans out.

Running Horse managing partner Tom O'Meara refused to discuss the possible sale. But, foreclosure proceedings on Running Horse have begun and a public notice shows the property being sold "as is."

The unfinished championship golf course is supposed to host a PGA fall event next October. Tour spokesman Wayne White says "We are optimistic its all going to work out. A golf course can mature (in the amount of time left), and we can still play in October."

The PGA has begun looking at alternative sites for the tournament. If a buyer for Running Horse is not found by November 22nd, the property will be sold at public auction outside the Fresno County Courthouse.

Running Horse tournament director Bob Jeffrey told Action News if the course is seeded by March, it would allow enough time for the grass to mature and be playable by October.

Running Horse lawsuit

New Lawsuit for Running Horse Development

25 October 2006 - It's a development plagued with problems. Now, Running Horse is facing legal troubles over the stalled construction of homes. It's not the first lawsuit against Running Horse, but this one comes from one of the people who bought a lot out here years ago, and who is making monthly payments for a house he can't live in because it's not even close to finished.

Running Horse development homeowner Hien Nguyen says cob-webs in the windows of his unfinished home tell the story..."It's been sitting like this for over a year."

He's among dozens of home buyers in Fresno's Running Horse development who are still waiting because construction stopped when contractors stopped getting paid.

A new agreement between Nguyen and developers in February promised to finish construction by May 31st and pay Nguyen for time and money lost. The document even says he'll get a membership at the golf club. But, Nguyen says none of that's happened and now he's suing.

He says, "I am approaching legal action because I need to protect myself. This thing has been dragging on for so long."

However, Fresno City Councilmember Cynthia Sterling says Running Horse could still be bought out and she says some developers are interested in taking on the unfinished homes, not just the golf course.

Running Horse managing partner Tom O'Meara declined to comment. But, fellow partner Scott Webb told Action News that Nguyen will be paid the money he's owed in the next thirty days.

Nguyen said, "I'm still hopeful it's going to get done, but is that wishful thinking? I don't know."

Nguyen says he wants the project to succeed, but as expenses go up he says he may be forced to sell his unfinished house as-is.

Running Horse : Up for Sale?

Running Horse Golf Course: Up for Sale?

09 October 2006 - The PGA is starting to look at alternative sites for a pro golf tournament scheduled next year in Fresno. Construction is behind schedule at the Running Horse golf course in Southwest Fresno. Now, talk of a possible sale is only adding to the anxiety for people with unfinished homes in a development nearby.

The Running Horse Golf and Country Club was billed as one of the most spectacular additions to the Fresno golf scene. Construction took off at a quick pace and the upscale housing development across the street was sold out in just a matter of months.
But, over the past year, managing partners Scott Webb and Tom O'meara have been plagued by money problems and now have reportedly put Running Horse up for sale.

Fresno Deputy Mayor Roger Montero recently met with the PGA tour director about next October's tournament and said that if Running Horse wasn't complete in time for the tournament the PGA tour would seek another Fresno location for the first year.

But, financial problems at the Running Horse housing development across the street may be more difficult to solve.

The builder who started the work two years ago never finished. Only a third of the 58 home sites are occupied. Lupe Sanchez is one resident who are still waiting.

Sanchez said, "It's been a struggle for us. You still have to pay rent, interest payments and all other bank penalties that come along with it." Sanchez pays $900 a month for his mortgage, and bank penalties add an extra $1,300 dollars.

Many of the homeowners are still holding out on a promise made by managing partner Tom O'meara that he would cover all extra costs incurred by homeowners.

However, a source tells Action News that's unlikely to ever happen.

Running Horse Construction Continues

Running Horse Course Construction Continues

24 August 2006 - The PGA has committed to come to Fresno next year to play a course that's not yet complete.

Only two holes are done at the Running Horse Golf Course in southwest Fresno, but the course is scheduled to be completed in December.
Running Horse will host its inaugural PGA tournament between October 22nd and 28th of next year.

While there is much work to be done, the PGA is confident the course will be ready by the fall of 2007.

"I'm moving forward under the assumption the course is going to be ready," said tournament director Bob Jeffrey. "I have no reason to think otherwise. Again, its something the PGA Tour is definitely aware of and wants to track, but at this point we have no reason to think it won't be ready."

"We have nine holes that are totally ready to be seeded. We're holding off seeding, because it is so hot right now," said Tom O'Meara, from Running Horse.

City leaders say the PGA event will bring in over $50 million to the local economy.

people are talking

great, just what i was looking for!

i found this site Fresno Famous a few weeks back and it seemed quite lively, a good place to find out where folks are doing creative things down in Fresno.

today i was poking around checking for any art stuff happening, is it dodgy on the motel strip, suggestions, etc . . . and finally wound up in the posts, messages etc forum area.

there is some ongoing discussion of Running Horse

Fresno Famous tag: "Running Horse"

this is very helpful - hearing people's comments.

and it leads me to find out more news of Running Horse

thanks Jarah and Fresno Fabulous.