Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Tale of Two Cities

Our Mayor Bill DeBlasio (original name Warren Wilhelm) speaks of "a tale of two cities", but there is another tale.  The tale of the unequal tax assessment of real property in New York City.  We recommend that you read A History of the Real Property Tax and Equalization in the State of New York for a discussion of the history of this situation.

This is a preliminary analysis of the New York City Assessment of Property Value over the Market Value.  The ratio of the these two values seems to cap at 6%.  There seems to be a lot of tradition and black magic in these traditions.

Our study compares Park Slope Brooklyn NY and Bed Stuy Brooklyn NY.   Yellow is the lowest tax assessment / market value ratio (near 1%) and Red is the highest ratio (near 6%)

Our current mayor Bill DeBlasio has one of the lowest tax assessment / market value ratios at 1.4%

The logic seems to be if you buy a home and pay millions of dollars for it above the previous purchase price, that fact seems to not affect your assessed value by much because there is a law that caps increases to 6% and 20% for a 5 year period.  See$$RPT1805$$@TXRPT01805+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=42288330+&TARGET=VIEW

But if you improve your home legally then the full value of the improvement is added to your market value and also proportionally added to your assessed value.  Which in turn increases your tax payment proportionately.

This seems to be a counter incentive.  We punish people that invest in their homes with real improvements and do nothing or little to those that speculate or buy homes at high or inflated prices.  Why???

We should encourage people to renovate their homes.  There are programs to abate taxes for improvements but these are limited programs and you have to do that before you start renovation.  In some cases, you buy a renovated home from a developer and you were not involved in the renovation, yet the tax increase will be applied and it appears you cannot file for an abatement after the fact. 

Comparing some of our mayor's assessment ratios. Bloomberg comes in at a middle value of 3.61% and an assessed value of $615K on a $17 Million home.

NEW_FV_T: 17025000.0
TN_AVT_A: 615444.0
accessed_value_to_market_value_percentage: 3.6149427312775333
location: 17 EAST 79 STREET,new york,ny 10075

While our current mayor Deblasio assessed ratio is a low 1.4% on an assessed value of $16.7K on a $1.15 Million home.

NEW_FV_T: 1158000.0
TN_AVT_A: 16719.0
accessed_value_to_market_value_percentage: 1.443782383419689
location: 384 11 STREET,brooklyn,ny 11215

Unequal Tax Assessment - Red is high, Yellow is low
Mayor DeBlasio has one of the lowest tax assessment ratios

For live data see: Live Map

More interesting areas, our Governor Cuomo is proposing capping property tax increases at 2% (even lower than our New York City 6%)  But it excludes New York City (see

Also our Governor Cuomo is calling for more tax reform here

Monday, February 17, 2014

Does anyone know the status of FIOS in Bed Stuy Brooklyn NY?

Does anyone know the status of FIOS in Bed Stuy? Here's data from Verizon:


Coverage in Bed Stuy Brooklyn NY
Coverage in Park Slope Brooklyn NY

It shows that Park Slope is connected much better than Bed Stuy. We need to advocate for our neighborhood.

It appears that Verizon has a monopoly/contract and they are the only company that can bring FIOS to our neighborhood, but also the contract tells us that they are obligated to bring fiber to some percentage of the homes in New York City. See

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Use Google Glass as a personal memory aid by looking up information in your own spreadsheet

Use Google Glass as a personal memory aid by looking up information in your own spreadsheet.

One use case is to allow users to store their own personal memory key value pairs or even for companies to store information key value pairs for customers or employees.  For example, let us say a museum would like to give personalized information about their ever changing collection.  A museum goer could receive a pair of Google Glasses and simply say the name of the item and Glass could provide the custom information that the museum would like the museum goer to see or read.

For example,

Of course, the result could be text or annotated image or even a web page.

Another use case is looking up all the Taxi and Limousine license plates in New York City.  The database is loaded with thousands of TLC license holders and you can speak the license plate and the system returns the owner.

For example,

Since the Voice recognizer seems to try to always make words out of your speech, when appropriate, we translate back to more probable license plate values.  For example, you say "1a20b" and Android/Glass/GDK returns "1 a 20 be" and we search for "1a20b" since that is a more probable license plate value.

Here's something that I'm discovering about Glass. It's almost impossible to dictate strings of letters and numbers and have glass translate them correctly.


For example


will return unpredictable results

such as

1812 be
181 to be

almost never


so i'm put bandaids in the code to translate

"to" to "2"

I even let the user use the "able" "baker" "charlie" words
but that does not even help enough.

I'm implementing plan B. use the image of the license plate or the medallion number and see how that works :)