Sunday, March 05, 2006

Marinification of Bakersfield

Well lookie here...it's the "Marinification" of Bakersfield. They have started down the path of chronic indifference and the destruction of their own community in the name of the almighty dollar. Next stops are narcissism and conceit. Soon the young couples will arrive using a calculator to decide whether to have children. Well, change happens and is inevitable, I guess, but even so I sure hope the busting of the bubble there stops the process before it is too late for them.
"If you have lived in Bakersfield longer than five years, you probably developed an inherent modesty about real estate appreciation. This was Bakersfield. We liked living here. Houses were as plentiful as tumbleweeds. Affordable housing. That was our mantra. It was good for the town’s spirit. People could afford to live here.”

“When prices skyrocketed, one of the first things that went bye-bye was cheap housing. People said things like: ‘I’m happy about the appreciation, but the days of affordable housing are over. It’s too bad.’”

“No, it isn’t. Once you’re on the Love Boat, your sympathy for the less fortunate wanes as you drift farther toward the islands. Even if those waving on the shore are some of your own children. The point is houses went from something you lived in to the smartest thing you’d ever done. The best investment you’d ever made. Why not borrow against them because they are going to keep going up forever?”

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

visted Marin this weekend. Most any other state in the West, one can live like that for less money, less traffic, and friendlier denizen. What is up with the Hole Foods? Is that the only place to show off plastic surgery ? NO wonder Sean Penn carries a piece!
You could go to any small town spend 1/16 the amount and meet friendlier people. As for Bakersfield, go figure, as they say in North Berkeley. Pop, bubble, pop.

Mar 5, 2006, 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Athena said...

What's with everyone being a consultant in marin? I remember when I lived there back in 99 and 00 and I chit you not, four neighbors on one side, were all "consultants" and two neighbors on the other side also "consultants" and the worst part... they all seemed to know what they meant when they said it... and I never did learn what exactly any of them "consulted" on...

Mar 5, 2006, 11:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the scenery in marin.

I love the close proximity to SF.

I'm not a fan of the sock-her moms and "entitiled folks" with "better than thou" internal architecture.

Hole Foods sucks, but the food is good.

This bubble is bursting.

I suggest a 30% decline and much shock and awe.

It is sticky, but so is old chewing gum.

Mar 6, 2006, 1:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Destruction of the community?

Well, let's see:

(1) Percentage of families in my childhood neighborhood still living in Marin: 0%

(2) Number of junior high school classmates (Del Mar in Tiburon) still living in Marin after graduation in mid-70's: about 5-10% (based on info gathered at classmates.com)

(3) Percentage of high school classmates (Redwood HS) still living in Marin after graduation in late 70's: about 5-10% (based on informal poll at reunion and info gathered at classmates.com)

(4) Percentage of high school classmates of my younger brother(Redwood HS) still living in Marin after graduation in early 80's: "basically zero" in the words of said brother

(4) Percentage of other assorted relatives, personal friends, or friends of my parents: less than 1% (a step-aunt still lives in Novato).

(5) Percentage of persons noted above who who answer "Housing prices" when asked why they moved out of Marin: 100%

Destruction of the community? Sure looks like that to me.

Mar 6, 2006, 4:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, it seems like the way of the world (lately). Everybody wants to find "the best" and have it for themselves. There are more and more people trying to get their piece of the pie. It's supply and demand. Marin is a place where more people want to be for various reasons (weather, proximity to rural areas, yet close to the city, etc.) Other areas that come to mind for their own reasons: Monterey/Carmel, Santa Barbara, Pacific Heights, Manhattan, Prime areas of Hawaii.

This kind of thing is happening in lots of areas of my life. Concerts come to mind. It used to be, if you wanted to, you could wait in line at a TicketMaster outlet and get a great concert seat. Now, the only way you can get great seats is by paying the highest price on eBay or through a broker.

It sucks!

Mar 6, 2006, 8:42:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

To me, it seems like the way of the world (lately)...

That was an interesting comment. Although I have to laugh at the comparison of Marin to the "prime areas" of Hawaii and to Carmel, etc. But the trend you identify (and illustrate with the concert tickets example) is definately something to consider. So thank you for making a contribution to this thread and resisting the urge to flame. There does seem to be a move towards exagerated elitism and a larger desire to "show off". Is this the effect of the process of developing a two class society that others have discussed? Is assuming massive debt to live this sort of life style the end game of the common expectation that "our life style or quality of life must be better than that of our parents" line of thinking? I tend to gravitate towards the latter as that trend was a fact after WWII and for understandable reasons. But at some point it has to come to an end and we may be living in that transition period now...where most folks are forced to assume huge debt loads to live the lifestyle that they feel entitled to.

Mar 6, 2006, 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Or is it because the affluance baby boomers, who are such a huge demographic, is all the more apparent to the younger generations than it would otherwise have been and so these younger generations feel that there must be something wrong with them if they cannot live the lifestyle the baby boomers are currently enjoying and have earned for themselves?

Mar 6, 2006, 9:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I feel the same way. I don't think this entitlement society can last but it could take a decade or two for real changes to occur.

First of all, entitled people become lazy and inefficient. This HAS to show up over time in the economy. It's human nature pure and simple and history will back me up on this one.

Secondly, you can live on debt as long as you're working and economic variables don't change enough for you to default.

I'm convinced many boomers will realize how much they needed to save and how little they have soon enough... when their house goes down in value and the next recession somewhat erodes their net worth at exactly the same time they can't afford to see their portfolios go down in value.

Many don't have enough money to retire. Many will be healthy enough to keep on working but many will get sick. The writing is on the wall. I think things will come to a head when they'll want to take the Gen-Xers money (which they don't have!) to pay for their treatments and their mortgages.

My grandparents are currently enjoying a great retirement without having had to contribute their fair share during their working years because the social net was only created at the end of the 1960s. There are currently 5 workers per retiree so we don't yet feel the strain on the system. At its worst this ratio will dwindle to 2/1, unless benefits change we'll feel the strain at that point.

I think the entitlement issue will take a hit at the next consumer recession but the full effect could take a while longer.

Mar 6, 2006, 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true. I grew up in Tiburon and I'm a high school graduate. There's NO WAY I can afford a house there.

Mar 6, 2006, 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

Marin is a place where more people want to be for various reasons (weather, proximity to rural areas, yet close to the city, etc.)

Perhaps I'm not "with it", but local population stats suggest people aren't moving to Marin in droves. In regards to the weather, I think Marin climate is highly specific to the locale, such as comparing Sausalito to Nicasio in terms of sunlight, rainfall, maximum temps. And of course, we all know how recent weather has affected San Anselmo and other areas. Not to mention, my particular area gets 50% more rain than my hometown of Seattle (but more sun). I like Marin, but I still think it's hugely overpriced.

Mar 6, 2006, 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm not "with it", but local population stats suggest people aren't moving to Marin in droves.

Nor are people moving to Manhattan, Tokyo, San Francisco, Carmel, Santa Barbara "in droves" They are built out.

They are moving to outer Sacramento, Tracy, Las Vegas, Reno and other places that are not built-out.

Mar 6, 2006, 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

Nor are people moving to Manhattan, Tokyo, San Francisco, Carmel, Santa Barbara "in droves" They are built out.

However, populations in many SF Bay areas, including Marin, have dropped since 2000; I've posted that data before. People aren't leaving because there's no more room; they are because of housing costs (articles on this site). And yet, there is still some room to build, and they are doing just that...even in Marin. Has anyone ever researched how much land in Marin (and I don't mean just Sausalito) is open for eventual residential development? None? That's what I thought...

Not to mention, I see an incongruency in lumping places like Santa Barbara and Carmel in with San Francisco and NYC. Like many downtowns, Carmel is obviously "built up", but open land does exist out there, such as nearby Carmel Valley, and so on. I don't see the "land shortage" that is widely touted to support recent price runups. Who else is able to find the elusive 'open land' near their towns?

There is no more land to build, prices haven't been pushed up by speculation, professionals are moving here in droves (and can afford it), home inventory is below demand, let the bidding wars continue!

Mar 6, 2006, 1:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention the fact that Marin was just as "built out" five years ago as it is now. And Marin's premium is already baked into prices. We are talking about "the bubble" here.

Mar 6, 2006, 1:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever researched how much land in Marin (and I don't mean just Sausalito) is open for eventual residential development? None? That's what I thought...

Makes me wonder...is there any way we could rally together to break that Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT)?

http://www.gaviotacoastconservancy.org/progress/03_03-16_urbansprawl.html

http://extras.marinij.com/special/workforce/workforce1.html

Mar 6, 2006, 1:51:00 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

That was an interesting comment. Although I have to laugh at the comparison of Marin to the "prime areas" of Hawaii and to Carmel, etc. -marinite

I know, that gave me a chuckle too -- they aren't nearly as nice as Marin.

Mar 6, 2006, 5:59:00 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

...and you thought I was joking. No, I really am a conceited Marinite.

Seriously, Hawaii is seriously crappy -- it has an extremely high poverty rate, serious racial tensions betweens the whites and the natives and you should look at some suburbs of Honolulu for a new source of PoS's. And then there is that disgustingly hot and humid weather. I don't get the appeal, but then I don't surf or lay on beaches.

As noted previously, to each his own. :-P

Mar 6, 2006, 6:02:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"What's with everyone being a consultant in marin? "

Well business consultant comes to mind, and then there are technology consultants that usually love to golf and ski.

"our life style or quality of life must be better than that of our parents" line of thinking?"

I'll try this, not sure if it will sink in, most people that post here are after all from Marin.

I would be willing to bet my 40% apreciated house value (in two years), that a majority of parents in the U.S. WANT their kids to have a better life than they did. Again, I have to take into account my audience here and assume that you or your parents never had to really worry about money to the extent that MOST Americans do.

I am pretty sure this debt society we live in was well underway before gen x'ers came around.

I also don't understand the fascination with living where you went to high school, get out, see new places, meet new people, I don't udnerstand what is so special about Marin.

Mar 6, 2006, 8:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marin is anything but "built out." Ever been out to West Marin? Over 2/3 of the county is undeveloped ranchland and protected open space. And why? Because we care about the "environment" and want to protect it? What nonsense. Your own house sits on what was once "open space," too. People have to live somewhere. It's obscene that all that land in West Marin is barred from development, so rich Marinites can ride their mountain bikes on it (or worse, never even visit it at all), while prime Central Valley farmland continues to get paved over for houses because places like Marin are allegedly "built out." There was once a plan to build a city in the Marin Headlands. There were extensive plans to develop Stinson Beach, Bolinas, and on up through Inverness and Point Reyes. They were even going to put a freeway out that way. And it was all stopped by the nascent environmental movement in the 60s, and people still celebrate this as some kind of victory. Well, sure it was a victory. Your homes are now worth fortunes. Please don't pretend it has anything to do with the environment.

Mar 6, 2006, 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

anonymous-

Right, that was a defeat. I suppose the endless sprawl of San Jose was some kind of victory? The average Sunnyvale home is pushing $750k and you can't accuse Sunnyvale of having an abundance of open space. The high prices in Marin (or the Bay Area) are only partly to do with limited buildable land. As noted elsewhere on this blog, artifical demand has been created through speculation. Also, CA has the highest permitting and approvals costs in the country. Those costs get passed on to the home buyer. These are just a few reasons why it is expensive here. Paving over the headlands in the 60 would have made little difference to the supply of homes, and therefore the prices, in Marin today.

Also, we residents of Marin paid for much of that open space by assessing ourselves for it. Every property tax bill in Marin has a line item for Marin County Open Space District. So we have literally paid our dues. The Headlands, Muir Woods and Point Reyes are administered by the National Park Service -- just like Yosemite -- and therefore are paid for by every taxpayer in America.

You would not advocate building a suburb in Yosemite, would you?

Mar 7, 2006, 7:37:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"Also, we residents of Marin paid for much of that open space by assessing ourselves for it."

The previous and original owner of my home went 'in' with other residents of the area and bought a farm that was for sale, then donated it to the open space preserve, there wasn't any threat of development, but I am sure that is why they did it. In the end this is about the $ to developers, home owners, etc...

It is very amusing to think developers really care about any community, and spins like this are really amusing.

Mar 8, 2006, 2:05:00 PM  

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