Saturday, September 29, 2018

Happy 100th Holst's The Planets

100 years ago, a symphonic blockbuster was born in London. The Planets, by Gustav Holst, premiered on this date in 1918. The seven-movement suite, depicting planets from our solar system, has been sampled, stolen and cherished by the likes of Frank Zappa, John Williams, Hans Zimmer and any number of prog-rock and metal bands.

Read and listen at NPR.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pricey, Immobile, and Unequal

Housing in America may be a microcosm of the nation itself: a bit less dynamic, far more costly and uncomfortably more unequal than we’d like.

More at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ventura County BioRegions

Not really a topical post so much as a backgrounder for people who don't have a clear idea of where I live.  This is a rough map of the microclimes and ecosystems of Ventura County. 

The Dawghaus is on the northern slope of what is here called "Camarillo Hills."   I've been to many of these biomes.  With lots of overlap they are as unique as Boston accents. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

CA Proposition 10

CA Prop 10 (2018) Repeals the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins), thus allowing local governments to adopt rent control ordinances—regulations that govern how much landlords can charge tenants for renting apartments and houses. Proposition 10 would also state that a local government's rent control ordinance shall not abridge a fair rate of return for landlords. Costa-Hawkins enumerates the statewide limits of local rent control ordinances. The consequence of passing Prop 10 is that many localities will move to implement new more aggressive rent controls. Here is the official ballot statement in favor. It's all you need to understand that this is a bad idea:
The rent is too damn high! Voting YES on Proposition 10 will free our local communities to decide what rent control protections are needed, if any, to tackle the housing crisis. Prop. TEN protects TENants. Too many families spend over half their income on housing. That’s simply unacceptable. Living paycheck to paycheck means it’s difficult for these families to make ends meet, much less save for an emergency. Seniors on fixed-incomes have less to spend on food and medicine. Many of the people who should be the foundation of our local communities—the teachers, nurses and firefighters— are forced to move far away from the communities they serve because corporate landlords are doubling or even tripling the rent. With so many families struggling, many are driven to move away from California altogether, leaving jobs, relatives and schools behind. Even worse, many are forced into homelessness and living on the streets. With every 5% rent increase, 2,000 more people are forced out of their homes—a devastating blow to them and an even worse homeless problem for California to cope with. Voting YES on Prop. 10 will allow cities that need it to pass laws limiting rent increases. Prop. 10 does NOT mandate rent control. It does NOT force any community to adopt any rent control measures that would not be a good fit for their own housing situation. It does NOT force any one-size-fits-all solutions on any city. Instead, Prop. 10 simply allows communities that are struggling with skyrocketing housing costs to put an annual limit on how much rents can be raised. Communities are free to bring more fairness to housing, ensuring that tenants have protections against huge rent increases, while ensuring that landlords receive a fair rate of return with reasonable yearly increases. Voters have heard a lot of confusing arguments about Proposition 10. Don’t believe the attacks. Wall Street corporations like the Donald Trump-linked Blackstone have spent millions of dollars to fight this measure because they are terrified this will cut into the huge profits they make from the thousands of foreclosed homes they buy. They don’t care that California families are being crushed by high rent. It’s time to take a stand FOR affordable housing and against greedy Wall Street billionaires and corporate landlords by voting YES on Prop. 10. Prop. 10 is a limited measure that answers one question: who decides housing policy—local communities or Sacramento special interests and powerful real estate investors? It doesn’t establish new housing policies, it just lets local communities—which are closer to the people—decide what works best for them. It’s time we had the power to tackle the problems of homelessness and skyrocketing rent within our own communities. California nurses, teachers, seniors, organized labor, including SEIU State Council, housing advocates, civil rights groups, clergy and faith-based groups and other organizations you trust all urge YES on Proposition 10. Remember, Prop. TEN protects TENants.

And meet the minivan that replaced the Expedition:

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

You Don't Have to Like Golf

Just enjoy this video of a course in New Zealand.

It's been a wild week.  Apologies for neglecting my friends.