Monday, November 01, 2010

Election Predictions

Prop 19: "Doobie Doobie Due." YES. How can anyone look at the prohibition era and not draw the correct lesson?
Prediction lose 46/54.
Prop 20: "Revenge of the Gerrymandered." YES. The 2008 Prop omitted Congressional districts – this simply adds them.
Prediction win 59/41.
Prop 21: "Fees For Trees." NO. State Parks are everyone's responsibility. An $18 per car tax increase whether we use the parks or not is classic blame shifting for a legislature that connat accept responsibility for their mess. Stealing money from highway travelers used to be called "highway robbery." Now it's called "Proposition 21."
Prediction win 53/47.
Prop 22: "Here let me hold and count that for you." YES. Sacramento has gone far beyond egg management fees. They are stealing dedicated fund flows outright. Local governments are hardly paragons of virtue, but local tax revenues should remain local.
Prediction win 62/38.
Prop 23: "Business Isn't Completely Dead. YES. In 2006, Sacramento's rocket-scientists enacted AB 32, imposing draconian restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions (yes, that's the stuff you exhale). Prop 23 merely holds the Environmental Left to its promise: it suspends AB 32 until unemployment stabilizes at or below its pre-AB 32 level.
Prediction lose 46/54.
Prop 24: "Kill a Business, Save a Union." NO. $1.7b in hard negotiated business tax policies are about to be end run sponsored by the people who originally didn't negotiate in good faith.
Prediction win 51/49.
Prop 25: "Single Party Budgets." NO. This changes the 2/3 vote requirement for the state budget to a simple majority. If the 2/3 vote requirement for the budget does not restrain spending this can only make things worse.
Prediction lose 48/52.
Prop 26: "Quacks Like a Duck." YES. Under the infamous Sinclair Paint decision, virtually any tax may be increased by majority vote as long as it is called a "fee," gutting the 2/3 vote requirement in the state constitution to raise taxes. Prop. 26 rescinds Sinclair Paint, restores the Constitution, and calls a tax a tax.
Prediction win 51/49.
Prop 27: "Petulant Politicians Preying." NO. Want to go back to the days when politicians drew their own district lines, literally choosing their own voters? This will starts us there.
Prediction lose 60/40.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Unbelievable Gap Closure

Bloomberg:California last sold general-fund backed bonds in June, when it offered about $120 million of debt for veteran’s homes. The state sold $450 million of public-works bonds in May and $5.9 billion of debt in March.

The standoff drove the extra yield investors demand on 10- year California bonds to 119 basis points above AAA rated municipal securities today from as low as 109 basis points in August, Bloomberg Fair Value Index data show. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders will hammer out the details of the agreement when they meet again in Sacramento on Sept. 27th.

Bullshit. This is all about bond rollovers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bloat Don't Float

In the 1950-51 fiscal year, California had 10.6 million residents and the state general fund budget was $587 million. $55.40 per capita. Adjusted for inflation; $442.51 in 2010 dollars.

FY 2010-11 37 million residents and $83 billion. $2,243.24 per capita.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Recession is Dead, Long Live the Recession

This is what the NBER says they used to determine the recession ended in June 2009:
Macroeconomic Advisers’ monthly GDP (June)
The Stock-Watson index of monthly GDP (June)
Their index of monthly GDI (July)
An average of their two indexes of monthly GDP and GDI (June)
Real manufacturing and trade sales (June)
Index of Industrial Production (June)
Real personal income less transfers (October)
Aggregate hours of work in the total economy (October)
Payroll survey employment (December)
Household survey employment (December)


IMO they saw an inventory replenishment and called it a recovery. Regardless, the graph Rockefeller Institute pdf] at the top tells the real story. it is all about the health of the government sector not the whole economy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arrrgh! Talks Among Yerselves

Almost time to resume regular posting. California is heating up and the Great Double Dip is upon us. Finally some things worth talking about.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Stop me if you've heard this one...

From Craigslist:
Completely working fountain, pump newer and active. Provides quiet water serenity flowing down seashell background.

Lions Heads in Picture are just sitting on Fountain.......They are not attached, and don't go with the fountain. If interested, a deal can be made for the lions heads as well. They are in need of tubing and water source to sput water out their mouths.

The fountain breaks down in to 3 pieces and is very heavy. Would require strentgth.

Divorcing/Moving, need to downsize, and sadly cannot take it with me this time.


It starts small and poor but it gets bigger and more upscale. The great dispersal begins.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Welcome Hoocoodanoders

Bill and Ken are switching over. This is but a pale excuse, a shadow of the true Amber as it were but addicts don't complain.

2010 Census
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Huevos Grande

Give 'em credit. It takes a big pair to bring this one to market:
271 Myrtle Ave Oxnard, CA 93036

$/Sq. Ft.: $223
Lot Size: 0.69 Acres
Property Type: Detached, Modular/Manufactured
View: Other/See Remarks
Year Built: 2000
Community: El Rio / Nyeland Acres

What's the big deal? Location, location, location. Here's the aerial:

Best described as "construction adjacent. Bet they don't mention the freeway is being widened. Not that it matters. Look at the sales history:

Mar 23, 2010 Changed $579,000
Feb 16, 2010 Listed $649,000
Dec 02, 2009 Sold $450,000
Jul 13, 1999 Sold $216,000

Nice flip. Fail.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HELOC I Love You Won't You Sell Me Your Gain?

Today's Ventura County Star has more than seven pages of NOTS (Notice of Trustee's Sale). The prices at roughly $5 million dollars per page. $35m worth of foreclosures in the paper toady alone. Let's look at some:

1291 Newman St Simi Valley CA 93065
4 beds, 2.0 baths, 1,740 sq ft
06/16/2005: $495,000
NOTS: $719,416.33

1676 Glider Ct Thousand Oaks CA 91320
4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,742 sq ft
04/10/2002: $472,000
NOTS: $806,195.30

5083 Dodson St Somis CA 93066
4 beds, 2.0 baths, 2,362 sq ft
12/23/2002: $393,000
NOTS: $766,737.25

All these last sold at prices much lower than the foreclosure price. You have to wonder how many have seconds, HELOCs, thirds, etc. that aren't even counted having already been written off to zero.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Desert Living Large

10131 JENNY St, Hesperia, CA 92344

I said living large. I mean that two ways.
SQ. FT.: 4,246
$/SQ. FT.: $90
LOT SIZE: 1.86 Acres

Too bad the people who bought it for $282k in January want $382k now.
Date Event Price Appreciation Source
Mar 18, 2010 Listed $382,500 -- MRMLS #C10029262
Jan 07, 2010 Sold (Public Records) $284,025 -15.5%/yr Public Records
Feb 04, 2005 Sold (Public Records) $650,000 22.6%/yr Public Records

Good luck with that flippers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bad Teacher

LATimes: CalSTRS' $130-billion investment portfolio lost more than a quarter of its value in the recent recession. The projected shortfall at the state's second-largest public pension fund ballooned to $43 billion by last June.

"There's no doubt about it -- we need to come up with a new financial plan," Ehnes said.

The 97-year-old pension plan must ask the state Legislature, the governor and taxpayers for billions of dollars. Getting that money -- even with an expected massive lobbying campaign and a bruising political battle -- is no sure thing.

Must be nice to gamble with OPM.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Half Off!

I love my neighborhood and it looks like we'll have some new neighbors at 3153 CalleDe Marejada:

Sprawling Single Story Custom Estate Home, 5 bedrooms, spacious office, 6.5 baths, 3 fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, granite, new stainless steel appliances, crown molding, surround sound speakers, etc. Too many features to list! Awesome backyard featuring covered patios, pool & spa, guest house w/ 2 bedrooms, bath & kitchen, flagstone pathways, pool bath, gazebo and outdoor kitchen island ready to add appliances. 4 car garage with paver motorcourt & half-circle drive.

Date Event Price Appreciation
Mar 10, 2010 Listed $1,599,800 -- VCRDS #10003829
Oct 28, 2009 Sold (Public Records) $1,360,000 -17.3%/yr
Jun 02, 2006 Sold (Public Records) $2,600,000 103.8%/yr
Aug 08, 2003 Sold (Public Records) $350,000 1.2%/yr
Oct 13, 1989 Sold (Public Records) $295,000
I did the math. The previous owners lost $1000 per day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

CRE Hopium

Craigslist find:

Price: $150,000
This furnished restaurant is ready to go right now with an Outdoor Grill and food service area. Kitchen needs some remodeling work to become fully functional.There are 5,200 Sq. Ft inside and a large outside patio with a fire pit. It overlooks the habor and the boat docks, attacking herds of people to the location. Inside there is a fireplace area to relax in and a beautiful rock waterfall area to sit and enjoy a cocktail and meal.

This restaurant recently closed due to poor management....
... the rent is only $2.24 a Sq. Ft (including the patio Sq. Ft)
Eh. What could go wrong?

The Definition of Insanity

... is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Does anyone still care except for waiting for the inevitable?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Go Amazon!

Amazon Dumps Colorado Affliates
[From Inc.]
Mr. Cause meet Mr. Effect. Last week, the governor of Colorado signed a new law levying sales taxes on online retailers.

Amazon has officially balked.


The States are desperate for revenue no matter the cost. That never ends well.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

California Default Watch II

March 8 (Bloomberg) -- California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s bid to sell $2 billion of bonds this week, his first issue since November, may benefit from a falling risk premium after lawmakers at his urging passed a bill to prevent the most- populous U.S. state from running out of cash.
A special session of the Legislature approved measures to chip away at a $20 billion budget deficit and give state officials powers to put off as much as $5 billion in spending. The delays are intended to sidestep cash shortfalls like those last year that forced the state to issue IOUs to pay bills and triggered cuts to its credit rating.

And an excellent blogger I haven't mentioned in a long time, Of Two Minds:

Why California Is Doomed (March 9, 2010)

California is doomed for two simple but profound reasons: the cost structure is too high for most businesses to survive, and a boom-dependent economy.

The dysfunctions crippling California would easily fill a volume: a dysfunctional Legislature that has been gerrymandered to protect virtually every seat; a dysfunctional proposition system which enables special interests to craft Protected Fiefdoms via the ballot box; recalcitrant public unions who don't see anything wrong with public servants getting 90% of top-pay in pensions while still earning big bucks as "contract employees," an enormous population of undocumented workers who pay only sales taxes, and whose employers pay no payroll taxes, either-- and that just scratches the surface.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Thieving Rat B@st@rds

Stealing. There's no other word for it. No matter how they torture the language in the end the legislature has taken money out of the Stat highway Trust Fund and used it to cover general fund debt payments. It gets a little complex and involves weird concepts like different kinds of money but follow me here.

From Businessweek:
The swap allows some accounting maneuvers that would funnel more money into the state's general fund, where the deficit exists.

The tax exchange is estimated to generate $1.1 billion for the general fund while continuing to provide close to the current level of funding for public transit and repairs to highways and streets.

Californians would see no difference in prices at the pump.

Bullshit. The Trust Fund carries a close to $9 billion balance. The State won't spend it because as long as it sits there it helps balance the bookson paper. What about on the streets? KTLA:
Huge Pothole Flattens Tires On 101 Freeway
KTLA News7:17 AM PST, March 1, 2010

The 101 south through downtown was closed by a massive pothole. (February 28, 2010)

LOS ANGELES - Late last year, a national transportation research group stated that Los Angeles had the worst roads in the nation.


They robbed the Trust fund and we pay twice.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Feb 06, 2010 Listed $559,900 -- VCRDS #10002095
Dec 10, 2009 Sold (Public Records) $490,000 14.5%/yr
May 29, 2003 Sold (Public Records) $202,500 -31.4%/yr
Oct 08, 2001 Sold (Public Records) $375,000 5.7%/yr
Nov 16, 1993 Sold (Public Records) $242,000 --

I imagine the 2003 price was a divorce split.

2004-2009 Total assessed value: = $541,708 = $552,542 = $563,592 = $574,863 = $586,359 = $495,000

We'll watch this flip closely. Here are the neighboring zillow comps:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

GRM 13.8

GRM is gross rent multiplier. That means annual rent as a ratio to purchase price.

$2,200,000. That's $220,000 per apartment. Now, I prefer the other GRM, monthly, not annually. Multiply by 12 is all. That's 165. In other words in this market 40% overpriced for a recovery. 60% overpriced for rent deflation expectations. They claim $ $13,000/mo in rent receipts. Taxes would eat the first $2000 every month. Ouch. Debt service also says 40% overpriced on a cash flow basis.

Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Craigslist Laugh of the Day

Date: 2010-02-24, 10:57AM PST

I have a 2008 Toyota Prius that is the top of the line version, loaded with leather seats, nav, premium Bose 6 disc CD stereo/speaker system.
It is white, and is in pristine condition.
Has 21,400 miles currently.
My wife and I are having our 2nd baby soon, and the Prius is just too small for us now, and we don't drive enough to get the savings on the gas.
So we want to have someone take over the loan and payments on the car.
This is a great deal for someone who doesn't want to put a bunch of money down, and get a great car with low mileage.
The car has always been serviced at Toyota of Thousand Oaks, where it was purchased, and there have been no problems.
It was just serviced and they did check the gas pedal just in case last week.
Clean title and no accidents, of course.
Payments are $607.11 per month including tax, and the loan has 53 months left.

$607.11 x 53 = $32,176.83

Brand new '10 Prius? 3-12 thousand dollars cheaper. Pathetic.

The End of a Perfect Day II

Thomas kinkade painting or generator for trade..... (fillmore)

Date: 2010-02-24, 10:01AM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Ive got a thomas kinkade painting END OF A PERFECT DAY II comes with certificate of authenticity and a Briggs and Stratton xl4000 generator used twice like new for trade need my front and back yards done.... (sod, lil plants ect) your gonna need to haull out levvel the dirt and plant the sod. Let me know what you got in mind lets talk..............

Location: fillmore
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Any takers? The great unwinding continues. Imagine this one. A frou-frou painting for hard labor or a solid pice of hardware for hard labor. "Stuff" is so mis-allocated. It ain't over.

Monday, February 22, 2010

California Debt Watch Resumed


NEW YORK—California, owner of the worst credit ranking among U.S. states, plans to tap bond markets for $4 billion in March to finance infrastructure improvements, a spokesman for State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said.

The sales-a pair spaced several weeks apart—would come at a time that the Golden State's budget is bleeding about $20 billion in red ink through fiscal 2011 and when some portfolio managers have cautioned that investments in California debt are turning riskier.

The state, however, is counting on a new cash-management tool that it expects to gain legislative approval Monday to put a floor under its short-term needs and to improve both market and investor confidence in the finances of the world's eighth-largest economy.

"We need a credible solution to our cash-flow situation," and this legislation will help Controller John Chiang and the Department of Finance to defer general-fund payments for specific programs and for specific time periods, if needed, in order to maintain an adequate cash cushion, Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Mr. Lockyer, said in a telephone interview Sunday.

The program would remain in place for the balance of this fiscal year, ending June 30, and through the next fiscal year, giving the financial officials more flexibility by not having to seek legislative approval each time.
"California is done with financing its deficits with the issuance of bonds," Mr. Dresslar stated Sunday.

Thus endeth the nobel experiment in democracy. not with revolution but with a "cash-management tool."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

You Bet Your Sweet BP


ConocoPhillips, BP America and Caterpillar pulled out of a leading alliance of businesses and environmental groups pushing for climate change legislation on Tuesday, citing complaints that the bills under consideration are unfair to American industry.

The sudden pullout of three corporate giants from a leading alliance of businesses and environmental groups could be the death knell for climate change legislation languishing on Capitol Hill.

Funny, the MSM and AGW crowd made a much bigger thing about this when they joined.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Out Behind the Barn

94 acres near St. Thomas Aquinas College. 4425 Ojai Rd, Santa Paula.
This beautifully rugged property is located about 2 miles north of downtown Santa Paula on Hwy. 150 and is less than a mile south of Steckle Park. Ojai would only be about another 5 miles. There is enough level to rolling area for a small farming operation. Horses and other livestock would be a natural here. Enjoy the Little Red Barn. Use it for storage or a place for you and your family and friends to meet. There are roads to take you through the property and to the tops of the hills to enjoy nature and the panoramic views, including the ocean, Topa Topa and city lights. There is abundant wildlife, which includes: deer, quail, dove, rabbits, etc. Part of the property is on the east side of Highway 150 and actually fronts on Santa Paula Creek. Only minutes to town and about one and a quarter hours to L.A. What a great place for a weekend getaway!!!

Am I forgetting anything? Oh yes. The barn:

Hittin' the ATM

Nice place. Been owned so long that zillow has no sales history. The tax data support this. They are paying a whopping $1492 per year in property taxes. That puts the purchase most likely in the mid 1980s for less than $100,000. Sweet deal eh? Slapping down a $600 mortgage and $80-$120 taxes for 25 years and looking at a balance of ~$25,000. And in 5 years even that car payment sized mortgage goes away. Right? Wrong. Opening bid at auction tomorrow (Feb 19th, 2010): $675,000.
Realtytrac listing.
Zillow for what it's worth(less).

What in the world were these people thinking?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Fog - Bad Fog

Apparently the California Coastal Redwoods are in danger from a lack of fog caused by... you guessed it; global warming.

At the same time earlier today a jet owned by a principal of Tesla Motors crashed killing three taking off from Palo Alto in heavy... you guessed it; fog.

Coastal Fog: WUWT and UCSB

Tesla Exec crash: Reuters and Auto Spies

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wagons! East!

California braces for repeat of last fiscal crisis

The emergency budget session, called by Schwarzenegger, will not tackle the entire $20 billion deficit that is projected over the next year and a half. It will target the $6 billion shortfall in the current year, leaving longer-term funding for core services such as public schools, colleges and health services in a state of uncertainty.
Democrats are searching for ways to sidestep the rule that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for tax increases and to pass state budgets.

Repeat. This is not a revenue problem, this is a spending problem and no amount of taxing authority will fix it. If the Democrats succeed in obviating the 2/3rds requirement the exodus of business and upper income people will be breathtaking.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Little Off The Top

Why rent when you can buy? Then again why not buy and rent it out? Here's a tri-level town home in the new Riverpark complex. Let's run the numbers. Actually that's old hat. Let's run just one number; carrying cost ex-mortgage.

614 Green River St, Oxnard, CA 93036
3/ 2.5/1,519/$188
YEAR BUILT: 2008 MLS#: 90013806

Great tri level condo available in the gorgeous RiverPark development. The home features granite counter tops with Stainless Steel Appliances. The home will include the washer, dryer, softwater system, alarm and refrigerator. The home includes a third level with a huge room and walk in closet. Walking distance to parks and schools.

Now the important numbers:
Homeowners Association Dues: $211
Tax (2008) $5,384

Got that? $660/mo for the privilege of ownership.
You might get $1300/mo renting this out. That leaves $640 for debt service. That sets the value at $143,000. Asking price? $285,900. It's almost as if they were working the numbers backwards except multiplying by 2.

Economics 101

Blatantly stolen from "Eric" at Calculated Risk and duly integrated into the Misean Institute's curriculum.

All the economic you'll ever need to know.
21 Economic Models Explained
(I like the Royal Bank of Scotland Venture Capitalism best.)
You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of
credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute debt/equity
swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back,
with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a
Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells
the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one
more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving
you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want
three cows.
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and
produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ?Cowkimon? and market it
You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and
learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
You have two cows. You worship them.
You have two cows. Both are mad.
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.
You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Young Guns vs. the Vested Interests

Capitol Weekly has a wide ranging discussion of California's long term obligations. As I've long suggested the tragedy of split employment has been raised:
“But I have come to the conclusion it’s a very strong likelihood I would be looking out for future employees by negotiating a second-tier retirement system,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is leave it to the initiative process.”

Creating a second tier of lower benefits for new hires is one way to lower pension costs. But significant savings can take decades, until employees with the lower benefits begin to retire.

Pensions promised current employees and retirees are regarded as vested rights, protected by contract law, that cannot be reduced without providing something of equal value.

File this one under crueler harder society as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Safe For Now

Live cam:

No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the congress is in session. - Clemens

Nice, snow. Stay on the mountains and on the slopes.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Put Down Your Beverage

I will not be responsible for damaged keyboards.

This gem from nearby Thousand Oaks. Get a load of the description.
Ready for another amazing asset? Well my fellow hardworking agents and brokers this could be the one! Hurry today because we all know there is no inventory and this sweet little nutter butter is priced so well - so don't procrastinate on this jewel - make an offer quick! Those buyers who have been sitting on that unsturdy fence - now is that time to jump in the market - so put the pen to the paper and get r done! This single story home is bursting with many features like a open and neutral interior with clean carpet and tiled entry and baths, updated kitchen, gas stove top, cozy fireplace in the living room, covered patio, 2 car direct access garage, and a sparkling pool with some views from the huge rear yard of the distant mountains. This home will be on the market for a limited time only - you could be the lucky winner - just make us the best offer in which the Seller can't refuse!

And this sweetheart? $/SQ. FT.: $355
Get a load of the curb appeal:

The history:
Jan 09, 2010 Relisted -- -- VCRDS #90020149
Dec 25, 2009 Delisted -- -- VCRDS #90020149
Dec 19, 2009 Listed $450,000 -- VCRDS #90020149
Oct 28, 2009 Sold (Public Records) $403,055 -6.7%/yr Public Records
Jun 18, 2004 Sold (Public Records) $585,000 32.3%/yr Public Records
Apr 03, 2002 Sold (Public Records) $315,000 8.3%/yr Public Records
Aug 06, 2001 Sold (Public Records) $299,000 11.5%/yr Public Records
Dec 02, 1999 Sold (Public Records) $249,000 3.7%/yr Public Records
Oct 24, 1991 Sold (Public Records) $185,000 -- Public Records

Got that? Sad. But then I'm not a "fellow hard working agent." What do I know?
886 Camino La Maida
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

My new mailbox since the one in the picture is o ugly:

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010

Wendell Cox Takes (on) the Train

Extended excerpt because WSJ pulls articles too fast:
The administration is giving California $2.25 billion for trains that are expected to reach 220 miles per hour between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The cost of building this rail line is now estimated by the California High Speed Rail Authority to be more than $40 billion and could be $60 billion or more.

Even after adjusting for inflation, the projected cost of the system has increased by half over the original cost in the past decade. Ridership projections have also fluctuated wildly, from as low as 32 million annually to nearly 100 million; now the rail authority estimates the train will carry 41 million passengers each year.

High-speed rail does little to unsnarl traffic jams because most highway congestion is within urban areas, not between them. It also has negligible impact on airport congestion. The world's strongest high-speed rail market, Tokyo to Osaka, is also one of the world's largest airline markets. Even with high-speed rail, there is still frequent air-shuttle service between Paris and Marseille.

Environmental claims are misleading. Using California High Speed Rail Authority's data, Joe Vranich and I estimated that the California system would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, at a cost of $2,000 per ton. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that we should be able to meet its greenhouse gas targets by spending $50 or less per ton.

California Default Watch

The grind continues. Never mind the headlines and reports of recovering consumption. Here's the truth:

Betty T. Yee, Chairwoman of the Board of Equalization [pdf] (BOE), today released California gasoline and diesel consumption figures for October 2009. The demand for gasoline decreased 0.4 percent and diesel declined 11.1 percent compared to the same month last year.
“Following a long period of much volatility in gas prices and consumption, both were fairly stable last fall,” said Chairwoman Yee. “However, diesel consumption continued to decline, reflecting continued weakness in economic activity.”
Through October 2009 California gasoline consumption had declined 1.3 percent compared to January through October of 2008.

This is why the State is facing a $21b deficit. Now observe the follow on effects:
LA County officials consider spending freeze
Jan. 26, 2010 | KPCC Wire Services | KPCC

Los Angeles County officials said today they may face a $600 million deficit next year and are considering a non-emergency spending freeze on fixed assets, services and supplies.

The Board of Supervisors gave staffers 14 days to develop recommendations for implementing the freeze and ensure that salary savings from the hiring freeze are not spent on other items.

"Every computer and every desk we hold off on buying today means the impact will be less tomorrow,'' said Supervisor Don Knabe, who proposed the freeze to the board.

Even churches:
Economics are forcing Southern California's Crystal Cathedral to suspend its "Glory of Easter" pageant, sell property and lay off workers, officials say.

A 27 percent decline in revenue in 2009 has prompted the megachurch founded by Robert H. Schuller to cut its televangelist "Hour of Power" programs as part of a series of "tough decisions" made by the cathedral's International Board of Trustees, The Orange County Register reported Sunday.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, who was appointed leader of the Crystal Cathedral by her father, Robert Schuller, said the economic crisis forced this year's suspension of the Easter pageant, which features angels suspended on wires and a parade of animals, but the extravaganza would be back by 2011 or 2012.

The church also plans to shut down its 20-acre retreat in Rancho Capistrano, leaving 50 employees out of work.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shrinking Society

It is no secret that economic and social changes are driving us to a harder more cynical place. Here we have another landmark; the Pasadena Playhouse closing its doors.
PASADENA - Faced with mounting bills and more than $1.5 million in debt, the Pasadena Playhouse will close its doors Feb. 7.

The playhouse, which was founded in 1917, will close after the final performance of its current production, "Camelot."

Maybe we can convert it to a prison.

Let It Snow

Fresh tracks!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Humor works best when there's a grain of truth inside:

No camera? no multitasking? No flash support? I wanted this:

And got this instead:

iPad. Mrs. Dawg's first comment was "Cripes, didn't they have any women involved in naming that thing? Will the upgraded model be called MaxiPad?"

Predictions: When shipped 32/64/128Gb for the same prices. Massive educational ties-ins will be announced soon. There will be a storage option.

And let's face it, no camera, no storage port equals no teen market.