Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sebastopol Snapshot

Via Tom Stone [Century 21] A chart of Sebastopol Prices courtesy of Nick Dunlop [Dunlop Appraisal Services]
Peak pricing? Permanently high plateau? Limited supply? More data to come with "paired sales" individual properties coming soon.

Side note:  Pulled some grass and discovered I had one of these.
The Dawghaus and Echo Beach share this view to the north.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oroville News

Damage, design flaws in Oroville Dam spillway point to lengthy repairs, consultants say

From the SacBee:
The main spillway at Oroville Dam is riddled with design flaws and so badly damaged that an independent panel of experts hired by the state has concluded it’s probably impossible to repair the structure completely before the next rainy season begins in November.
The panel of four engineering consultants, in a recent memo to the state Department of Water Resources, said it believes the concrete spillway can be made functional enough to release water from Lake Oroville during the next rainy season. But the panel noted it’s “questionable” whether the state has enough time to replace the badly damaged lower half of the 48-year-old spillway. The bottom of the structure is now split from the top by a gaping chasm that extends into the neighboring hillside.

Read more here:

Screen shot of the video at the link.
And the rock roses came out this morning. 
By "lengthy" the consultants mean "expensive." 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SI Has Swimsuits EN Has Flowers

A little break from this March of never ending winter with a few pics I took.  Took me less than five minutes within a 25 foot radius.  The gardens are a mess as you can see.

Is it safe to come out mom?  no, Bambi.  the meadow is a dangerous place.

Succulents w volunteer annual. 

Hanging basket fuschia. 

Statice awaiting transplant.

Weeds of some sort.

Bush on the hillside.

Different covers fighting for space. 

Technical details.  Samsung WB150F no digital adjustment full frames.  23MAR17. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dawghaus Details

 Flooring is a tough thing for both homeowners and landlords.  Quality can last longer and command a rent step.  Might last longer and believe me saving just one replacement is a big deal.  Then there are challenges.  One place has a thin subfloor.  The Dawghaus has slab.  You have to think before rolling out the Home Despot sale of the week.  Here is the majority of the Dawghaus:
8 layer engineered hardwood flooring. 

The field effect.
And as promised the xeriscape sector. 

Yellow Signal Checklist 
The cartoon has nothing to do with the subject unless you are still wearing your Nov 7th tinfoil hat.

What are some warning signs of a rough economic path ahead?

✓  Auto loan delinquencies
✓  1% market decline
✓   Capital flows of unusual vector
✓  An Exurban Nation post on the subject

We've all been watching auto loans deteriorate.  Even the Fed:
a significant net fraction of banks reported they expect asset quality of credit card and auto loans to deteriorate somewhat over 2017.

As to the 1% market decline.  I fibbed.  It wasn't the declines of the last days but the lack of bigger market behavior for the past several years.

Although emerging markets (VWO) are enjoying popularity amongst equity investors, as mentioned in the previous article, the situation remains bleak in terms of overall capital flows. The Institute of International Finance expects capital outflows from emerging markets to continue for the fourth consecutive year in 2017.
According to the Institute, the 25 emerging markets in its group are forecast to see capital outflows amounting to a total of $490 billion.
China (ASHR) will lead the aforementioned group in outflows. The Institute expects China to witness net capital outflows of $560 billion.

 Nothing big yet but from tiny acorns mighty oaks emerge. 

A final thought.  Sears/Kmart (SHLD) has a square foot of retail floor space for every person in the nation.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Not to Sell a House

11623 Azure View Rd, Pinon Hills, CA 92372

6 beds 3 baths 3,069 sqft

For Sale
Price cut: -$20,000 (2/12)
Granite top through out house kitchen beautiful Model home cabinetry
Trabertine floors in master bathroom
Porche full length of house in backyard
Horse Property 2.3 acres fenced

What I love about the home

Great multifamily home or grandma home attached with spare room bathroom and kitchenette Feel free to come by and see this elegant Property. call to make appointment at your convenience dropped 20K to sell quick and it will. PLEASE ENTER AZURE VIEW RD FROM BEAR VALLEY FOR LESS DIRT ROAD


Wouldn't want to track road dirt over the trabertine tiles.  Snigger.
Screams "CURB APPEAL!" doesn't it? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Useful Data Site - AHS

We've used the American Housing Survey here on Exurban Nation for more than a decade but for supporting specific topics.  Time to recommend the latest version as a general resource.

Screen Capture of the AHS table generator.

Link - American Housing Survey Portal



A "fun" place to poke around with sometimes surprising results.  Try separating housing situations by age for instance. 

Half the Population in 1/20th the Counties

I dare say near everyone participating here is in one of those Counties. 

List here:

You will find Ventura in the middle between Hartford and Worcester. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017


The numbers in red represent where water levels are into flood control management levels. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Farming Going Straight from 18th Century to 21st

Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines.

Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Just a reminder, "ain't nothing price won't fix."  And  before you suggest that table prices will explode, not really.  Farmers will try to claim that wages are a big portion of their costs but with the skim between farm and table in the totsl cost, not much. 

Edit:  A couple pics for fun.  The cabbage before cooking and the "Emerald Isle" drinks our kid made.


Friday, March 17, 2017

What Surveillance?

A laptop computer containing floor plans for Trump Tower, details on the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and other national security information was stolen from a Secret Service agent's vehicle in New York City on Thursday, law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

Authorities are still searching for the laptop. Police expect to quickly identify the suspect from video evidence, the sources said.
The computer is encrypted and authorities are able to wipe the hard drive remotely if needed.

If needed?!  IF NEEDED?!  Wipe that evidence quick!  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hoomins v2.0a

Sir—There are few things of which the present generation is more justly proud than of the wonderful improvements which are daily taking place in all sorts of mechanical appliances. And indeed it is matter for great congratulation on many grounds. It is unnecessary to mention these here, for they are sufficiently obvious; our present business lies with considerations which may somewhat tend to humble our pride and to make us think seriously of the future prospects of the human race. If we revert to the earliest primordial types of mechanical life, to the lever, the wedge, the inclined plane, the screw and the pulley, or (for analogy would lead us one step further) to that one primordial type from which all the mechanical kingdom has been  developed, we mean to the lever itself, and if we then examine the machinery of the Great Eastern, we find ourselves almost awestruck at the vast development of the mechanical world, at the gigantic strides with which it has advanced in comparison with the slow progress of the animal and vegetable kingdom. We shall find it impossible to refrain from asking ourselves what the end of this mighty movement is to be. In what direction is it tending? What will be its upshot? To give a few imperfect hints towards a solution of these questions is the object of the present letter. [continues...]


The above is an excerpt from:

Darwin Among the Machines — [To the Editor of the Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 13 June, 1863.

What has changed? Not much in intent just greatly in extent.  And never forget, if cats had thumbs humans would be thought of as their hairball reducing snack treats. 

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.  As I get asked every year this year I am putting up my recipe for this traditional meal.  But first let's meet the main ingredient:

3.4 lbs Flat Point minimal fat corned beef.  I've named him Flatrick. 
And now the recipe.

It the crock pot on high, yes high, submerge the meat in "not rice" beer.  Rice beer (aka Bud) may be (debatable) good for the chef but definitely not for the beef.  Whet, rye, barley sources provide the proper proteins.  The high setting allows the fat and beer to chelate and rise where you can skim it off.  Once done you can add the spice packet if desired.  A couple bay leaves works in addition or instead.  Now is the time for low setting and another beer.  Let it go as many hours as indicated .  Prepare the unpeeled red or gold potatoes (quartered, no smaller) and carrots.  If the carrots are large, half microwave to kickstart cooking.  Dump them in and top with... yup... beer.  About 20 mins before dinner quarter (no smaller) a small cabbage and place on top don't have to be entirely submerged.  Nobody ever eats a lot of cabbage anyway.  Flip the cabbage halfway through and peel of the overcooked outer leaves.  Nobody likes those anyway.  Turn off the crockpot or better, set the ceramic bowl uncovered on a trivet on the table.  At least 5 mins to cool.  Then drain and slice the beef cross grain to preference.  Enjoy. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sea Otters Rock

High fives all around. 
San Francisco, March 7, 2017 — For the second time in as many years, a federal judge last Friday upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to end the “No Otter Zone”—a failed program that the government determined would harm the sea otter population by excluding the animals from their historic range along the southern California coast.

Several fishing industry groups had challenged the federal decision to end the management program in two separate lawsuits. In Friday’s opinion, Judge Gee ruled against these industry groups by declaring that the law does not require the Service to continue a failed and harmful program.



The commercial fishermen hate them.  They eat the best sea goodies. 

China Determined to Outdo the West

China Home Sales Surge 23% 

in First Two Months, 

Defying Curbs

So called "Ghost City" awaiting people.


China home sales remained resilient in the first two months of the year, signaling policy makers are struggling to check the booming housing market.
The value of new homes sold rose 23 percent to 912 billion yuan ($132 billion) in January and February compared to the first two months of 2016, according to National Bureau of Statistics data released Tuesday. Sales rose 17 percent in December, the last time the data was released.
The surge comes after top policy makers used this month’s National People’s Congress to reiterate a pledge to curb property speculation, and some local governments expanded home-buying restrictions.
New banking regulator Guo Shuqing has said he will pay close attention to real estate bubbles, after 45 percent of new loans in China last year went to the property sector, with most going to personal mortgages.


 No way this ends well or remains contained. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fair and Equitable

Admit it.  You don't want me to post a subject related graphic.

These sex toy customers are happy, but not for the reason you might think.

A sex toy company has agreed to pay customers up to $10,000 each in a class action lawsuit it settled in federal court last week after its connected vibrators got a little too close for comfort. An Illinois woman sued the parent company, Standard Innovation, for secretly collecting intimate details about its customers’ use of the We-Vibe through the accompanying app, which allows users to control the device remotely and customize its features.
According to the lawsuit filed in the North District of Illinois Eastern Division District Court, the We-Connect app was transmitting information including dates and times of use as well as vibration mode and pattern to the company’s servers along with personally-identifiable email addresses without notifying customers.
Standard Innovation, which is based in Ontario, Canada, will pay $4 million Canadian dollars ($2.9 million) and is now required to collect only non-identifiable information in aggregate form and inform customers it is doing so. Customers who used the app to control the We-Vibe device before Sept. 26, 2016 are eligible for up to $10,000 in fees whereas those who simply bought a device are eligible to receive up to $199 each.
Standard Innovation told MarketWatch in a statement it is “pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement in this matter”:

Canadian sex toys?  Now there's some fertile humor territory.  

SoCal Home Prices

Back in 2006 we noted that VenCo prices briefly spiked above Orange prices.  That hasn't happened this time but more because Orange County is just running away price wise.

CoreLogic details here.  (pdf)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Useful Data Site - DCI

High School degrees, housing vacancies, adults not in workforce, poverty, income.  All kinds of useful and quick and detailed data here at links:
E​IG is a bipartisan public policy organization, ​founded in 2013, ​
combining innovative research and data-driven advocacy to 
address America’s most pressing economic challenges.
  • The Distressed Communities Index (DCI), a new and interactive way to visualize economic distress and prosperity across 25,000 zip codes in the U.S.
  • The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery, a jarring look at the limited and concentrated nature of new business creation since the Great Recession.
  • ​The Millennial ​E​conomy, a national survey on the Millennial Generation’s views on everything from their personal financial situations to the jobs available in their communities to the trustworthiness of American institutions.
  • Dynamism in Retreat, a new study examining the critical implications of declining economic dynamism in the United States.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A world where value has no meaning

Nice.  I've always entertained having an anvil.  My dad had a real one.  I have 10lb for tight work.  No, a -real- anvil. 

The problem?  $1300 for this 200lb example.  Worse?  The stand is not included.  Is it an artisan anvil and I am not appreciating the beauty?  Apparently.  The text mentions Manufactured by Kohlswa Gjuteri AB, Kohlsva, Sweden for more than 70 years. The material in Kohlswa anvils is a special alloy steel, developed specifically for anvils.


Hoocoodanode that Exurban Nation would return?

Here is the latest traffic data:
The take away is "self sustaining."  Thanks to all who made it worthwhile. 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

We can’t stay all liberal and let everyone in

Wait.  It isn't what you think.  This is a classic.

Full context:

But Shelly Tan, a Los Angeles area parent, said qualified California students should have the advantage. Her own child was turned down by her top three UC choices two years ago, despite SAT scores and a grade point average above the 90th percentile. Her daughter ended up at a fourth UC campus.“Given the economic climate and competition, California parents have to start being selfish,” Tan said. “We can’t stay all liberal and let everyone in.”

Now the kicker.  "resident."   Go ahead.   Use the most cynical interpretation of that word and you will be right.  Provided you are sufficiently cynical. 

1982 NYTimes when it was a real news source:


LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27— California's public system of higher education, long the envy of many other states, is edging toward acceptance of something even Ronald Reagan, as Governor, could not force upon it: tuition.
The California Postsecondary Education Commission recommended earlier this month that the state abandon one of the cornerstones of its college and university system, a pledge that the state will pay instructional expenses for all residents.
The recommendation was the latest evidence of deep stresses bedeviling the long-admired California system of higher education. In hindsight, many educators say, the system was allowed to grow too large in the 1960's and is now having difficulty adapting to the falling birth rate, a state fiscal crisis and changing demands from students.
The no-tuition concept was embodied in the state's 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, which established a three-tier system of free public higher education and led to vast expansion.

1970 a long long time ago:

 March 1, 1970

The escalation of the tuition by the Regents on February 20, dramatically reveals that we are now in what I have described as the “era of the politics of tuition.” It is no longer possible semantically to argue that we have not adopted the tuition principle in California because of the Regents' action and we can expect tuition consistently to be more a matter of budgetary consideration in the future and we can expect, I suppose, an even greater escalation in tuition.

The following figures are rather interesting: In 1956 the fee at the University of California for a semester was $42 or $84 a year; in 1957 the fee went to $50 per semester or $100 a year; in 1958 it went to $60 a semester or $120 a year; in 1962 it went to $75 a semester or $150 a year; in 1964 it went to $110 a semester or $220 per year: and in 1968 it went to $107 a quarter or $160 a semester for a total of $320 per year.

Fees, as between 1957 and 1970, increased, therefore, from $84 to $320, which means that they have increased four hundred percent, which is certainly much greater than inflationary increases over that period of time.

The Regents acted on February 20 to provide for an increase in the admission fee for 1970-71 over present levels in the amount of $150 a year or $50 a quarter, which means that the fee will be $320 plus $150—about $470 per year. In 1971-72 the fees will go up an additional $150 and reach the neighborhood of $600, having doubled over a two-year period. This is for undergraduates. Because of Reagan amendments to the modified Hitch proposal, graduate students will pay an additional amount which will be $180 the first year and $360 more the second year, which means grad students will be paying in 1970-71 about $480 per year and in 1971-72 about $660 per year.

Incidentally, no provision, as a consequence of the action taken by the Regents, was made with regard to low-income students, although the increase in revenues which will amount to about $7 million, as I understand it, will go to the University to be used for the purposes determined by the University.

Statements were made to the effect that every effort would be taken to utilize current scholarship and fellowship funds to take care of needy students. But, no specific action was taken, and, of course, this means that the students must take a means test. to obtain the additional money necessary to attend State College.

A $200 tuition increase produces $9 million. Since the University increased the tuition to $150, the state will be saved about $7 million. With a California population of 20,000,000 that is about 459 per person per year. The increase, however, will adversely affect the ability of students to attend because they must project the increased costs into the future. A student contemplating entering the University this year, who financially is a marginal student, will have to have $150 more income next year, $300 in 1971-72, and if there is no increase thereafter an additional $300 for two years in order to achieve an AB degree. This means that his increased expenses will be $1,050 over four years.

If the recent history of the tuition increases mean anything, a student can be assured that the tuition will be in excess of this amount by 1972-73 because the tuition, which is now a matter of budgetary politics, will, I am certain, be escalated.

A critical fact that is important is that Section 23753 of the Education Code provides that State Colleges may not levy a tuition in excess of $25 per year or $12.50 per semester. Out-of-State residents and foreign students pay tuition fees. They also pay the regular fees which the resident student pays.

The difference between a fee and a tuition fee is that a fee is used for non-instructional purposes—it is for student services such as parking, materials, medical health care, etc. It also is for student association buildings and things of that nature. There is every reason to think that the State Colleges, which now have combined fees of $158 a year, are in violation of the law. Certainly, if the State Colleges raise the fee to match the University's increase in tuition, the State Colleges, in my view will be in violation of the law because some of that money will certainly be used for educational purposes.

The point that I am making is that before the State Colleges can increase the State College tuition to match the level of the University's increase, the language in the Education Code will have to be changed. This will take an urgency clause if it is going to be put into effect for 1970-71. If this change is not achieved, it seem to me that there will be an immeasurable diversion of students from the University to the State Colleges next year. There is quite possibly likely to be, therefore, another crisis in enrollment, at the State Colleges, because we probably will budget adequately to take care of the University of California enrollments, but we will underestimate and under-budget the State Colleges.

The critical factor at the State Colleges is instructional staffing. In a couple of years the problem will be one of building—libraries, cafeterias, faculty offices, and things of that nature. Right now it is primarily a matter of staffing.

The Governor does not want lines of students denied admission to the State Colleges or the University next year. Every effort will be made to stop this, but I think that it will be very difficult to accomplish such a goal because of the confused picture with regard to tuition.

What's Up Outsider?

A blatant attempt to get her to stop in and say hello.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Supply/Price Decoupling?

EIA weekly petroleum report (emphasis added):

Prices remain stubbornly high while inventories cannot shrink to even upper storage levels with the switch to spring fractions here already.  IMO retail prices should be much lower but i am almost always wrong due to my stubborn adherence to facts and supply/demand economic theories. 

Two hundred? Two Million Eventually

CalPERS set to slash pensions for nearly 200 workers

CalPERS wrote a letter to the cities in February asking them to make good on the debts LA Works owes to the fund.
“Our view is they have a moral and ethical obligation,” CalPERS General Counsel Matthew Jacobs told the CalPERS board in February. “They’re the folks who put this thing together, and it’s their employees essentially.”
The cities – Azusa, Covina, Glendora and West Covina – say they are not responsible for the debt because the LA Works joint powers authority was created in 1979 as a distinct organization outside of their control.
“While it is regrettable that the consortium has reached this point, its obligations to PERS are not the obligations of the city of West Covina,” wrote Kimberly Hall Barlow, an attorney for the city of West Covina in a Feb. 14 letter responding to CalPERS final request for payment.
The organization that used to be LA Works faces huge bills if it wants to fund completely the pensions of its former workers.
It could pay the $406,000 it owes CalPERS to catch up on its delinquent bills and then revive regular contributions to the pension fund. Or, it could pay a $19.3 million termination fee that CalPERS would invest in a low-risk pool to provide retirement security to the former workers.


Seems the  projected returns assumed were too high.  If only someone could have seen that coming.

Eight years ago?  Wow:

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Braceros 1959

Before there was a wall there were buses. 

Click the title for the source video. 
We didn't get here all of a sudden. 

53 Cities over $1 million Median House Price

CoreLogic reports the low & slow month of January 2017 in California has 53 cities with a median price over one million dollars. 

Gilroy BTW is the "Garlic Capital of the World." 

Click here for the CoreLogic full report. (pdf)