Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just for Cobradriver

Kunstler's Eyesore of the month is a Seminole Gaming project.

"Located 30 miles east of glitzy Naples, Immokalee is one of the most economically depressed areas in the US. It's home mostly to recent immigrants who work the nearby fields. The city is notorious for crime and general destitution. Its decaying buildings are seemingly held together only by the bars visible on every window. Many newer structures don't have windows. It's that kind of place.
"For decades Immokalee has been a blemish on the repute of nearby Naples, both located in Collier County. And for just as long, residents of Naples have attempted to create a newer, better, cleaner Immokalee, but with little success. The latest proposal calls for a massive addition to the existing Seminole Casino, a dingy outpost of video poker and 28-deck-shoe blackjack that occupies a pimped out ex-aircraft hanger on the skirts of town. This, of course, is being sold as What Immokalee Needs.
"Curious is the artist's representation of a south Florida hotel with hills in the background."


Mr. Outspoken said...

First off, I am so sick of people promoting gambling as an economic boon. It only works when it is rare. Now everyone has the same idea of using it to balance their budgets. Especially here in Ohio, where suddenly voters are in favor of approving a plan they voted down five times before. In my opinion gambling is a tax on stupid people. I'm not in favor of taxing stupid people who tend to be poor anyway. The ultimate in regressive taxation.

Property Flopper said...

Two comments: First off (not to be confused with a "FIRST" call)... wow, that is a REALLY ugly building. I am assuming the architect is blind. If not, I'm hoping he was blinded shortly after producing this, so he/she won't do it again.

Secondly - what's wrong with taxing stupid people? Lottery tickets, cigarette taxes, Indian casinos, credit card interest rates, sub-prime loans. We have a long history of taxing those who don't understand math.

Monica said...

Are rents cheap? Can any houses be bought really cheap or occupied for free? You say that there are nearby fields. Are there any opportunities for living dirt cheap in dilapidated homes and getting cheap food by subsistence farming, buying cheap from farmers or even gleaning or stealing from fields within reason?

If so, in a way, living there would actually be a good idea. I wish I could move to some dying town where rent is cheap and perhaps I can even squat or buy dirt cheap some property. I cannot even if I knew where because I have a job and no car, but Casey could do that if he could find a place.

In fact, since he is largely unemployable, maybe he could start by working wherever those new immigrants are working. Employers may be less picky. If ever anything better than the most menial jobs became available there, he would even seem competent compared to some of his coworkers.

wagga said...

Is this the scenario where kc (no job/but has a van) hooks up with Monica (employable/no car)?. In Florida? Key West?

In CL Lingo: BBW (Big Black Woman) or BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) seeks SWF (Skinny White Fag)?.

The economy has picked up, so I'll donate $10 in gas to move kc 50 miles easterly if we can find 59 more donations.

wagga said...

Oh, while we are on the subject of fruit loops.

Jean ValJean said...

From Wagga's article:

research showed that, while shoppers wanted more information, they did not want to hear negative messages

Hmm... now where have I seen behaviour like that?

Lord Windemere said...

Call it: Jenga Towers.

A more apt tribute to human folly I cannot imagine.

Cobradriver said...


Nice. Everybody wants to be like Naples. My step-nephew just got married a month or so ago. Him and his wife bought a place in one of the major Naples country clubs. They paid ~170K for a really nice home that sold during the peak for 450-500K.

As of last month there were 60! foreclosures in the development. He figures he lost 70-80K so far on his purchase.

Heck,even my sis in Bonita Springs is upside down and she bought in 02with 20% down!

As a sales FYI,as of yesterday we sold 230 properties under 250K in my county. Over 250K?...11

One final note. The house across the street from the parents sold in three days. 2700 sq/ft. Completely remodeled after Charlie. Pool. The place had a cash offer of 78K and a financing contingent offer of 91K on a 115K ask. The bank took the cash.
That makes the parents place worth about the same. The parents have 1.5 acres and the other home is a single .25 acre lot.

Mom and Dad paid 131(cash) in 2002.

Immokalee has areas outside of town that are not to bad. I don't know the area really well though. It is generally known that west of I75 is somewhat nicer than the eastern side. The lots tend to the larger the farther into the middle of the state. The center of the state is more geared towards ag.

But as an overall statement,5-10 miles from the water drops drasticallly in price.


Unknown said...

It's a shame you don't know the real Immokalee, only buy in to shameful stereotypes. Educate yourself, please:

Unknown said...

This AM on his ustream session, Casey showed his Scottrade acct open buy order for the $10K GSPG million shares at 0.01. He told us that this acct is his "corporate account." Also, used a chart to show when he sold it, at about .011 about $11K. So he'll net $1K (if the $10K order goes thru)....


Unknown said...

About the above, this means that if Casey cancelled the GSPG buy order, he'd immediately have access to this $10K via his Scottrade acct checks and debit card.

Rob Dawg said...

So much for paying back every penny.

Unknown said...

Given Casey's cavalier attitude towards following the law, it's only a matter of time before he's ground into dust in the criminal justice system. His parents can't protect him forever.

I still think it's well within the realm of possibility that he'll be prosecuted for his original mortgage/wire frauds.

w said...

Rob, any thoughts on the flood maps for Riverpark? Is this minor or major?

Seperately, I heard they had reclassified homes on the South side of Santa Rosa Rd as being in a 100 year flood zone as well.

Rob Dawg said...

The Riverpark designation will be in the courts for decades. An additional $120/mo just kills them. Might take Oxnard down a few notches as well.

They absolutely deserve to be in the flood zone. It was disgusting when hundreds got up and said flood and the city council said no.

Santa Rosa is IMO a potential disaster. The channelizing and rip rap and velocity increases coupled with the upstream similar treatment is going to guarantee the banks get undermined. It isn't as obvious but Camarillo is far more corrupt than Oxnard.

Lost Cause said...

Casey never learns.

Property Flopper said...

Fish live in water.

We breathe air.

Lost Cause - is the "state the obvious day" or is there some new low that loser-boy has sunk to?

Property Flopper said...

Arg!!! make that: is THIS "state...

I type faster than I can think. :(

w said...

Thanks Rob.

By the way SCE just told Linda Parks that they plan on putting another 230 kV line in 7-10 years next to the 66 kV line they are about to construct. This will be entertaining.

Lost Cause said...

I love Kunstler. I love just saying Kunstler.

Pleather Murse said...

How 'bout an ACORN post one of these days ... there's supposed to be more stuff coming out about them next week relating to possible complicity in "helping" unqualified folks get subprime loans and possible large scale falsifying of applications.

From the Acorn site:

Negotiated landmark agreements with banks in St. Louis, Baton Rouge, Boston, Bridgeport, New York City, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, Little Rock, New Orleans, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Brooklyn, Des Moines, Dallas and Washington, D.C., making over a billion dollars available for loans in low-income neighborhoods. Blocked the gutting of the federal Community Reinvestment Act. Forced Fannie Mae to establish a precedent-setting program to buy community reinvestment mortgages.

Lost Cause said...

People are picking on Acorn because of the Obama connection. Poor people did not cause our economy to collapse. Poor people have no political power. An Acorn destroyed is a loss for America. Owners in poor neighborhoods bring stability. There is enough government help for the rich in this country. Picking on the poor looks very cruel. If you want to make a difference, hold the rich and powerful to account. They are the ones who are running this country.

Peripheral Visionary said...

The problem, LC, is not the poor, but the people who use the poor for their own advantage, and who try and use the poor as a shield against their own bad behavior. Whatever ACORN may be, poor, they're not; they have jobs, if not high-paying ones. The same goes for other self-appointed "community activists", politicians, dial-a-lawyers, government housing office workers, mortgage brokers, etc., etc. They claim to represent the poor, but whether they're actually advancing the poor's best interests is an open question; the only thing that's certain is that they are advancing their own interests.

If we really wanted to help the poor, we would focus on the one thing that helps them more than anything else: the availability of jobs. When jobs are available, poverty disappears. But too many politicians and government activists are not as interested in job creation as they are in extracting money from captive businesses.

Reducing the cost of housing would also help, but there's an easy and straightforward solution: open up more land for redevelopment, expedite building permits, tear out public housing projects that keep crime anchored in otherwise desirable neighborhoods, and let the supply catch up with the demand. But those aren't popular solutions because, well, if developers were free to build enough cheap housing to meet demand, what would the community activists do for a living?

Property Flopper said...

PV - I'd agree with job creation as a way to reduce poverty. I'd also suggest education... with the same goal - put the person to work in a productive job. The two are tied, jobs are only useful if the person is qualified to do the job and education only works if there is a job at the end of it.

Redevelopment does not always lead to lower housing prices though. Around here (SF Bay Area), opening up more area for redevlopment usually just means more yuppie condos. Developers only build low cost housing around here when required to as part of a high end development - the standard "x percent must be below market price" type of deal they strike to get the development approved.

It's simply a matter of economics - it costs too much to build cheap, small (but affordable) places. There is a higher profit to be made putting more expensive places up in the same space.

Add to that the overhead costs (building permits, various development fees, school fees, etc.) and it simply is no longer affordable to create affordable housing.

I've always been a fan of the market driving that - when an area becomes too expensive for low income employees to live in, companies can't find low income employees. Wages have to go up to attract anyone.

Not a perfect solution by any means, but one that works.

DCprogrammer said...

The best thing to help the poor in regards to Housing would be to simply let the housing market crash instead of pumping billions into keeping the market artificially inflated. If the market were to go down 70-90% from peak as it would without all the government "stimulus" low income people would be able to buy homes and pay them off in 10-15 years.

How? Remove mortgage interest tax deductions; remove first time home buyer "credit"; tax real estate profits at the same rate as any other investment; stop bailing out bad banks; stop bailing out deadbeat RE flippers and expedite foreclosure on empty homes.

And, this would free up capital to create REAL jobs... jobs for the poor.

THAT is the help for the poor.

Property Flopper said...

Outside of wastelands like Detroit, housing won't fall 70 to 90% from peak. There is enough demand for rentals / investment homes to keep it above that point. When it hits 50 to 60% off of peak, I'll step in and pick up three or four myself.

Removing the tax deduction is a non-starter politically. Too many voters depend on it, won't happen. It makes sense to get rid of it, but what politician is brave enough to even suggest it?

I'd agree with taxing real estate (and other cap gains) as regular income. The theory is that people will only invest if they see a good return (true) and that having a lower cap gains tax is required for this (false). If cap gains goes up, people aren't going to stuff the money in a mattress, they'll continue to invest. They'll be more careful perhaps, but they will still invest.

DCprogrammer said...

Property Flopper:

Agreed that many of my points are a no-go politically... at least for now.

That said, I hold to my estimate of 70-90% off with all subsidies/interference removed. Things I left out was to eliminate fractional reserve banking and a return to sound money (based on gold or something else not easily manipulated).

Think about it... we are already looking at, what, 30-50% drop in many places and that is WITH all of the subsidies and interventions still in effect! Even the first time home buyer credit (handout) didn't do much but cause a bounce on the way down.

That said, basically we are looking at 2 bottoms (Rob, would you give me an appropriate pic?)
1) False bottom. Bottom we reach with all of the subsidies in effect.
2) True bottom. Bottom we reach without all of the subsidies.

True bottom. Bottom we reach when:
- We eliminate fractional reserve banking.
- We return to sound money.
- Eliminate the Federal Reserve.
- We eliminate first time home buyer credits.
- We eliminate mortgage interest tax deductions.
- Tax real estate profits at the same rate as other investments.
- Stop bailing out bad banks.
- Stop bailing out bad homeowners.
- Equal protection of laws: Prosecute ALL loan fraud.
- No loan mods except in BK.
- Market value interest rate.
- Expedite foreclosure. 120 days... no payment... out. Auction on day 121.

Now, even though TPTB would rather die than institute the above... what kind of bottom would that give us?

sm_landlord said...

Property Flopper,

It doesn't make sense to tax long-term investment gains at high rates. The reason is inflation, which is almost a permanent fixture in the economy. In real terms, in a non-boom environment, property appreciates only slightly faster than the inflation rate. Without the LTCG rate, most of the taxes paid would be on the inflated price, not the value gained. Which would be crazy. Inflation is already effectively a tax, so taxing the results of that tax is double taxation.

Captain Nemo said...


The tax rules could be changed so that capital gains would be calculated after taking inflation into account.

Property Flopper said...

sm_landlord - Yes, that is a very good point.

I'm OK with cap gains being lower than normal income, but current rates are too low. It definitely favors the wealthy.

Speaking of which - how about a 70% rate for any income over 1mil? If you want to reduce the incredible salaries CEOs are making, that would pretty much do it. Wouldn't impact 99% of the country either.

Also - Rob... definitely time for more cheese cake. The ugly building has been up for several days and it just isn't quite as nice as the lovely lady on the waverunner.

TJandTheBear said...

Property Flopper,

The MID is a non-starter because of lobbyists, not voters. For most homeowners it doesn't beat the standard deduction; it's just a unmerited tax break for the higher cost homes & home markets.

averagerainfall said...

No more blog updates, Walrus? :-)

Or are you just preparing for your mega-birthday bash when you hit the big "50" late next month? ;-)