Letter to the Editor
The wiki letter was sent today to the editor of the Marin IJ. I seriously doubt they will publish it as they seem to be favoring a more one-sided, dismissive approach utilizing ad hominems. But we'll see as I don't want to dismiss the IJ just yet. Below I reprint the letter that was sent so that we can compare it word-for-word with whatever (if anything) the IJ publishes:
Dear Marin IJ editor:
This letter is in response to the two Letters to the Editor in your Sunday Readers' Forum (http://www.marinij.com/letters/ci_3299992 ), one by Jack McLaughlin and the other by Jim Taylor, as well as your article entitled "Blog jabs at Marin real estate 'bubble'" by Keri Brenner (http://www.marinij.com/marin/ci_3283644).
Despite the well-intentioned yet nevertheless modest donations made towards affordable housing by realty groups and others, the negative social implications of this housing bubble for many families in Marin and the greater Bay Area (and not just those of the poor) are very real, persist, and have escalated with each passing month. In fact, the California Association of Realtors estimates home affordability at an all-time low. Despite the claims of so-called "experts", we find it very dubious to connect today's housing prices with the supposed strength of our local economy or phantom demand. With the median-priced home in Marin doubling since 2000, have we seen a corresponding increase in wages among Marin residents? Is speculation the sort of "demand" that realtors refer to when they speak of "supply and demand"? Has Marin become twice as nice as it was just a few short years ago? Nevertheless, if we are to believe what we are told that Marin housing prices will only rocket (inexplicably) upwards, ad infinitum, who will buy these homes? Certainly not our adult children!
If Marin becomes a progressively less attractive home to working professionals, how will that change the demographics and the future of our community? In a future Marin, where many professionals and families have left for a better quality of life elsewhere, who will remain? Is that the future we want for our community? Is that going to be our legacy? Our concern is that people who have been scared into buying now "before it's too late", may face long-term financial instability especially if they have taken on risky mortgages. For those individuals who have advised home buyers to take on risky debt, speculating on the future, and/or being reliant on future appreciation, do they bear any responsibility at all to their community? Or is it simply "profits come first, people come second"?
Many of us believe that housing prices have been pushed well beyond any semblance of reasonableness and the dictates of healthy market fundamentals due to excessive liquidity, extremely relaxed lending standards, a speculative mania, and the increasingly irresponsible "cheerleading" of vested interests. After the dust settles and people look back upon this extraordinary period of history, who will be vindicated, who will be vilified, and how will we appear to our children? Certainly those who have their community's best interests in mind and who seek to inform the community will be remembered well. That has been and will continue to be the intent of this blog.
Marinite, Marin County
Robert Daumier, San Rafael