Archive for February, 2007

Golden Gate Estates nefarious history

2007 21, 02

Collier-County-Communities-Webserver –

Random excerpts from various websites:

Exacerbating the biological problem is the ever-present human intrusion. The list of affronts to the landscape grows with numbing regularity in south Florida. First the swamp was logged for its cypress; its land was cleared for pasture; its snails and orchids were pirated by collectors. Then came the real estate agents, along with canals and levees and the fly-by-night land sales that have become a standard Florida joke.
The worst of these, according to Levin, was “Golden Gate Estates, the world’s largest subdivision. A projected community of four hundred thousand, Golden Gate Estates
became one of Florida’s most nefarious real estate scams. Spurious salespeople sold twenty-nine thousand lots over the telephone to out-of-state buyers who had no idea that by late June, despite 180 miles of recently dug drainage canals, they would need boats to reach their land.”

In the 1970s Golden Gate Estates’ abandoned roads, particularly Everglades Boulevard, were used as landing strips for DC-3s landed with South American drugs.

Golden Gate Estates(112,000 acres, 880 miles of roads, and 183 miles of canals);

Gulf American Land Corporation
(founded by Leonard and Julius “Jack” Rosen of Baltimore via Miami) which was formed in 1957. [. . .] Gulf American’s subsequent “developments” were land promotion schemes subdividing land, selling lots, and not much else using the technology of the day including the autotype machine, WATS line (and resulting boiler room sales promotion tactics), black & white television advertisements, national newspaper advertising, slick colorful sales brochures, the free steak dinner (to hear the sales pitch), and the “free” trips to Florida, and aggressive salesmen to close the deal. Gulf American purchased a travel agency and a charter airline with 15 planes to fly prospects to its developments at lower cost. By 1967 when Gulf Americans land sales activity peaked, it was Florida’s fourth largest publicly traded corporation with more than 500,000 acres of land for sale in Florida and across the
United States.


The mother of them all

Just south of Cape Coral, deep in the marsh country of Collier County and adjacent to Everglades National Park, lies the mother of all antiquated subdivisions: the 175-square-mile Golden Gate Estates. Lonely canals and little-used roads criss-cross this cypress swamp turned subdivision, which was originally platted in the early 1960s by the Gulf America Corporation. The company dug canals to drain the wetlands and carved the property into 1.25-acre lots. It then promoted Golden Gate worldwide as a vacation and retirement community. Most of the lots were sold by 1965, but unsuspecting buyers still get suckered into paying over $15,000 for a lot worth about $3,000.

In 1974, when the area was less than 10 percent developed, it became apparent to county officials that the project, with limestone roads and no centralized water and sewer system, could not support the number of platted lots. The county downzoned the property that year and required a minimum of 2.25 acres to build a house.

“The county recognized that it would have real problems if the entire area developed as originally platted,” says transportation director George Archibald. The county also took over road maintenance after the developer filed for bankruptcy in 1978. The property was sold to Avatar Holdings of Coral Gables soon after.

Today, three-fourths of Golden Gate Estates remains unoccupied. In 1985, the state targeted 42,000 acres in the southern part for purchase under its Conservation and Recreational Lands Program. Acquisition has proceeded slowly, hampered by the administrative burden of contacting over 17,000 far-flung lot owners. Thus far, the state has bought about 18,000 acres.


Golden Gates Estates was spread out over 114,000 acres of land in southwest Florida in Collier County, encompassing part of what is ominously called the Big Cypress Swamp. A small residential community called Golden Gate just three acres in size was to be surrounded by 113,397 acres of land sold in 1.25 acre tracts. All Gulf American would build was drain ditches and roads. The land sold at $800 an acre with the tag line “Buy it by the acre and sell it by the lot.” Prospective buyers were shown films of Cape Coral, a real successful community with churches, golf courses, and schools, and assumed the Rosens would duplicate their success at Golden Gates. They had no such intention. Leonard Rosen could have not been more clear. He said:

“We’re promising nothing, absolutely nothing. We’re offering what we believe to be an excellent investment at a low cost and with the company’s good name behind it. It will be a place where the unsophisticated investor can take pleasure in his property.”

The Rosens quickly began selling another offering, a 63,000 acre development in central Florida near Lake Wales they called River Ranch Acres with the same rules. No actual construction, just raw land to whomever wants to buy it.

Land which the Leonard and Julius purchased for less than $100 per acre was now being sold for $800 per acre on very soft terms such as $30 down, $30 per month at 6.5% interest. But unlike Golden Gates Estates which is just raw land, their new project was REALLY BAD raw land. Large sections of River Ranch Acres was literally underwater and much of the land that wasn’t submerged was near a U.S. Air Force practice bombing range! To boot, most of the buyers were denied mineral rights to their land since the Rosens believed there might be oil in the area!

Glossy brochures on Golden Gates Estates proclaimed these lots as “the first step to financial security.” Another screamed “It would be difficult to envision a commodity with a greater universal appeal than the type of land which Gulf American makes available to men and women of average means everywhere.” One of their full-color, SIXTEEN PAGE, advertisements appeared in every major U.S. Sunday newspaper simultaneously in 1967. The Rosens were soon spending more money promoting the virtues of life in Florida than the State of Florida’s tourist office itself.


Golden Gate
The Golden Gate Area is located in Collier County; it is not incorporated. The development was another project of the Rosen Brothers and their Gulf American Corporation (now Avatar Holdings, Inc.). Originally, Golden Gate was divided into three sections: Golden Gate City, North Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates. Golden Gate Estates was intended to comprise five acre tracts, with little or no infrastructure built into the community plan. Golden Gate City and North Golden Gate had smaller lots, with some infrastructure planned. While some neighborhoods of these areas are almost fully
built-out, that is the rare case. Most of the lots in these areas are individually owned.

There are so many lots in Golden Gate, that should the area ever experience rapid development, the need for services and infrastructure likely would be overwhelming. In 1995, as part of its Evaluation and Appraisal Report, the Collier County Planning Department presented the following projections regarding infrastructure needs for the Golden Gate Area, using Charlotte County’s methodology. Staff used an average
household size for Collier County of 2.49 persons and applied that to the 23,966 lots in the area. Staff then projected a buildout population of 59,675 people with the following
projected needs.
• 10,640,830 gallons of potable water per day
• 6,959,678 gallons of wastewater treated per day
• 74 acres of community parks
• 169 acres of regional parks
• $10,295,722 for recreational facilities
• 18,981 square feet of library space with 77,649 volumes
• 138 jail beds plus 50 staff
• 7 new schools for K-12 public education
• 148,397 square feet of government office space
Considering that Golden Gate Area is only one of many such subdivisions, the service costs and infrastructure needs could be overwhelming. However, southwest Florida has
made limited strides in dealing with its platted lands. Lots in Golden Gate Estates South are being purchased by the state under the Save Our Everglades Conservation and
Recreation Land Project. This purchase is a critical component in protecting important hydrological connections among Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and the Everglades National Park.


5 Minute Chores (around the house)

2007 8, 02


Copied and edited from a blog entry from:

In the kitchen

Wipe handprints off the front of the fridge and cabinets.

Toss spoiled produce from the fridge’s veggie bin,
wash the bin in the sink, dry it and line with paper towels.
Replace the bin and wipe the bottom inner edge of the fridge.

Remove all items from two shelves of the fridge door. Clean and dry the shelves. Wipe sticky jars and bottles and put them back.

Wipe off spice/herb containers with a wet paper towel and reorganize them on the shelf.

Scrub a greasy or baked-on pan that you’ve soaked in the sink or sprayed with solvent. Dry and put away.

Remove everything from the top of the fridge.
Spray the surface with a de-greaser.
Wipe off and replace items.

In The Bedroom

Change the linens on one bed.
Dust closed window blinds with the linens you’re going to wash.

Refold the clothes in a messy drawer.

Divide the closet and start to conquer it.
Tidy half of a long shelf or two feet of hanging clothes.
Remove and set aside clothes and items you no longer wear or need.

Seperate the items you removed from the closet into bags marked with a destination: a charity, your friend’s kids, a consignment shop. When you’ve finished, put the bags by the front door as a reminder to deliver them ASAP.

Remove everthing from the closet floor and vacuum.
Put back items, reorganizing as you go.
Not perfect after five minutes?
That’s OK–it’s better than it was.

Polish one pair if leather shoes to a major shine,
or make two pairs look a whole lot spiffier.

In The Bathroom

Swish a cleaning product into the toilet bowl.
While the product does its magic, wash the sink.
Then scrub the toilet bowl with a brush and clean toilet surfaces .

Spray the bathtub/shower stall with a tub and tile cleaner.
While the cleaner dissolves grime,
spritz the mirror and faucet with glass cleaner.
Then, working from the top down, wipe down the tub or stall.

Vacuum or sweeep one small bathroom, then mop.

Remove everything from one or two shelves of the medicine cabinet. Toss outdated pills and cosmetics. Wipe the shelf and reorganize the items on it.

Declutter and tidy a small, or half of a large, under-sink cupboard.

In The Laundry Room

Gather a pile of similar-color clothes or linens.
Seperate those that need to be handwashed. Load the rest into the machine, dabbing on spot cleaner as needed, and start.

Handwash one or two small items and hang to dry.

De-wrinkle clothes that were left in the dryer.
Let the dryer run for a minute, then remove,
and fold the warm clothes.

Iron one cotton shirt, spraying with water or steam as you go.

Collect empty hangers and stray laundry baskets
and return them to the laundry area.

All Through The House

Clean the door handles and the faceplates of light switches on one floor. Use a damp rag with a dab of de-greasing dishwashing soap on one corner to attack greasy spots.

Empty every trash container into one large bag or can and take it outside. Replace bags.

Gather old newspapers and magazines and prep them for recycling or donation.

Clean dust and cobwebs from all air vents and ceiling corners using a feather duster or a clean broom.

Wipe down the baseboards you can get at in three rooms,
using a clean dustmop or a rag.

Take down sheer or lightweight curtains in one room
and toss them in the washing machine.

Rehang curtains, putting them back up still wet if sheer or damp if another type.

Vacuum the top and the folds of curtains or valances in one room.
Do the lampshades too.

Vacuum a dusty sofa and plump the cushions.

Clean the top and blades of a ceiling fan with a damp soft rag.

Spritz four or five picture frames or mirrors with glass cleaner, wiping each one down with paper towels.

Vacuum two large rooms, or one room plus the hall and stairs.

Dust furniture in two rooms using a rag and dust-busting spray cleaner.

Change a ceiling lightbulb. Wipe dust and grime from the fixture before replacing.

Hummus Style Dips

2007 8, 02

Hummus Style Dips

Compiled by Ken Udut 12/13/06 []

Ingredients (Basics):


1) the “Meat” [Usually Beans but – See “Meat” Below]

2) the “Smoother” [Oil or One of Several Alternatives Below]

3) Garlic – 1 to 8 Cloves [depending How Much Garlic You Like]

4) Lemons/limes – 1 to 2 [How Lemony or How Much “Bite” You Want in It]

5) Salt – 1 Tsp to 1 Tbls [more or less to Taste]

6) Cumin – a Few Shakes [More or less to Taste]

7) the “Optionals” [Pick and Choose!]

Mix in Food Processor or Blender until Smooth.

The “Meat”


Various Vegetable “Meats” for the Dip.

Note: the Main Rule Is That the “Meat” Needs to Be Somewhat

“Mushy” in Texture. Try Combining Several.

Approximately 4 Cups of “Meat”

1) 2 Cans Chickpeas = Hummus

2) Roasted Eggplant = Baba Ganouj

3) 2 Avocados

4) 4 Cups Green Olives

5) Roasted Carrots (Or Canned Carrots?)

6) Mashed Potatoes – Greek Skordalia

7) Roasted Pumpkin (Can Add Ricotta Cheese + Nutmeg)

8) Fava Beans

9) Great Northern Beans [Or Other White Beans]

10) Kidney Beans

11) Black Beans for Black Bean Dip

12) Steamed/canned Green Beans

14) Experiment with What You Have at Hand.

The “Smoother”


Keeps Dip from Being Too Chunky + Burning out Food Proc. / Blender

Note: Non-oils May Need 1 Tsp Oil and Some Water or Other Liquid

Try a Little More/less of Each until You Find the

Texture You Desire. You Can Extra Liquid While Blending

If Machine Is Struggling, but Add it in Very Small Amounts

to Keep Mixture from Being Too Watery.

Like Other Items, Try Mixing to See What You Come out With.

½ – 2/3 Cup Oil

1/4 – ½ Cup Yogurt

1/4 – ½ Cup Sour Cream [American-izes It]

1/4 – ½ Cup Mayo/miracle Whip [More Guacamole-ish]

1/4 – ½ Cup Tahini [Authentic]

Note: the Additional Liquids Can Be:

A) Reserved Liquid (½ Can Liquid) from Canned Beans

B) Chicken Broth

C) Water

The “Optionals”


None Are Required but Any of Them Should Be Good. Not All

Combinations May Work, So You Have to Use the “Taste Tester”

In Your Mind to Envision What Tastes Good Together and What Does Not.

If You Do Not Have a Developed Mental Taste Sense, Then Get Your

Ingredients and Ask Someone Who Does, “Will this Go Together with

That?”. or Try it Anyhow and See How it Works for You.

Everybody’s Tastes Are Different, and Experimenting Is a Blast.

Note: Saute Almost Anything for Extra Rich Flavor

Chili Powder [A ‘Kick’ and a Nice Flavor]

2 Tbls Coriander [Exotic Flavor]

Parsley Flakes [For Color]

Mint [Exotic “Greek-ish” Sweet Flavor]

Paprika [For Color]

Cayenne Pepper [Heat!]

Roasted Hot Peppers [Heat!]

1/4 Cup Chopped Onion

Onion Powder / Onion Flakes



Hot Sauce [Americanizes It]

Curry Powder [Sweetens / Indian-izes It]

Sesame Seeds [Gives Tahini Flavor, since Tahini=sesame Butter]

Turmeric [Nice Yellow Color, Indian Flavor]

½ Cup Sauteed Spinach Leaves

Allspice [More Syrian]

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers

T Tablespoon Minced Tomato

2/3 Cup Toasted Walnuts

1 Cup Salsa

15 minute bedroom cleanup!

2007 8, 02


1) Grab all dirty clothing and put it in a hamper.

2) Grab all clean clothes and refold or re-hang.

3) Grab all trash and put in the trashcan.

4) Make the bed.

5) Pickup all the misplaced items on the floor, bed, desk, etc.

6) Straighten surfaces.

7) Sweep and mop or vacuum.

Your 15 minutes is now up.

With your newly cleaned space, NOW you can consider deeper cleanups like filing paperwork, throwing out clothes that you don’t wear at all, etc. But don’t do ANY deep cleaning UNTIL AFTER you did the basic quick cleaning.

Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed!

What other good cleanups can you do in 15 minutes? Add a comment!

30 30-second chores

2007 8, 02


1. Empty the trash in the bathroom.

The small trash cans in our homes can sometimes be overlooked until they are overflowing. Make this chore easier and more quickly accomplished by storing extra liners in the bottom of the trash can. It will only take a moment to wrap up the used liner and open up the new one.

2. Dust the TV screen.

The television screen seems to always need a good dusting. Try a used dryer sheet to help keep dust from resettling.

3. Change the vacuum cleaner bag or empty the dirt bin.

Whether your vacuum cleaner is a bagless or bagged a vacuum full of dirt puts more wear and tear on your machine.
Take a moment and double check your bag or bin.

4. Clean a mirror.

Try using vinegar and newspaper to clean your mirror. The vinegar will help the mirror dry streak free. Newspaper will leave less fuzzy residue than paper towels.

5. Wipe down an appliance.

Take a moment and wipe down the outside of your dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, washing machine, or dryer. Don’t forget about the outward appearance of the machines you depend on. Wipe up spots and spills quickly, and your appliances will only need an occasional thorough wipe down.

6. Change the towels in a bathroom or in the kitchen.

Prevent cross-contamination of germs and bacteria by frequently changing hand towels and kitchen towels.

7. Test your smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least annually. Try testing the battery on the same day of the month to help you remember. Similarly you might replace the batteries yearly on a memorable date. Many people replace batteries when they change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

8. Dust air vents.

The vents and wall around the vents attracts dust. Take a few moments to wipe down the vents in a room or two.

9. Change the battery in a clock.

It may seem like a little thing, until you need to know the time.

10. Sprinkle baking soda into your trash can.

Occasionally sprinkling baking soda in your garbage will help prevent trash odors from overtaking your home.

11. Toss junk mail, catalogs, or magazines.

If stacks and piles of papers, magazines, and catalogs litter your home, try taking a few moments to throw out some junk paper. Get extra tips for reducing piles of paper in your home.

12. Treat a stain.

It only takes a few moments to remove many common stains.

13. Dust or water plants.

Keep plants healthy by remembering to dust and water plants regularly.

14. Wipe down a countertop.

The newest disinfectant wipes make it easy to quickly wipe down a countertop to prevent germs from spreading or food from sticking to your surfaces.

15. Wipe down the forgotten areas.

Wipe down door knobs, handles, switch plates, remote controls, and telephones.

These often used items rarely get remembered when its time to clean. Take a few moments to quickly wipe them down.

16. Clean out the fridge.

Thirty seconds may not be time enough to do a thorough cleaning, but it is enough time to pour out the expired milk hidden at the back, or throw away the mysterious foil-wrapped package lurking in the deli drawer.

17. Replace the box of baking soda in your fridge or freezer.

Using baking soda in the refrigerator is a great way to reduce odors, but the box of baking soda does need to be changed.

18. Clean the lint filter of your dryer.

Lint not only keeps your dryer from running efficiently, it can also pose a fire hazard. Take a few moments and double check your dryer’s lint trap.

19. Sweep the entryways of your home.

Most of the dirt that ends up on our carpets and floors, gets tracked into our homes by unsuspecting guests. Sweeping the entryways helps keep more of it outside.

20. Clean out the cupholders and cubby holes of your car.

Don’t forget to maintain the interior of your home on wheels. Clean out the hidden places where trash gets stowed.

21. Throw away empty cleaning containers.

Wherever you keep your cleaning supplies, you’re bound to have a few that should be tossed. Make more space for the things you really use by throwing out old or empty cleaning bottles.

22. Go through prescription medication.

Throw away expired and unused prescriptions. Not only will you help free up space for other items, but you’ll also reduce the risk of poision or accidental indigestion.

23. Prevent or help drain clogs with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water.

Baking soda and vinegar can be a great help to freshen and unclog drains. It only takes a moment to prevent major headaches.

24. Shake out your entry and exit floor mats.

It’s best to have two door mats for each entrance of your house.

One mat should be placed inside while the one with the bulk of the work to do goes outside. Remember to regularly shake out and clean these rugs to prevent dirt and debris from ending up in your home.

25. Toss trash and clutter from one small area.

Try cleaning out your junk drawer. Taking a few moments to clean trash and clutter out of one small area will give you motivation to accomplish even more challenging projects.

26. Dust down a ceiling fan.

Grab a duster and wipe off the blades of a ceiling fan. You’ll prevent dust from building up, and keep the fan in good condition for use.

27. Wipe down the blinds.

You can use a used dryer sheet or microfiber dust cloth. Wipe accross the blinds to keep them dust free.

28. File today’s mail.

We can get overwhelmed with the amount of mail we receive, but after you toss out the junk, take a moment to put away mail that needs to be kept.

29. Vacuum tops of doors and windowsills.

Take a half a minute to vacuum a windowsill or the top of a door. Dust often collects in these areas, but may go unnoticed during routine cleaning.

30. Make a plan.

If you have time for nothing else, take a few seconds to write out a plan of things that need to be done. When you find yourself with a few more moments to spare, you’ll be ready to go.

[Anybody have any additions? Ken]