Sunday, February 11, 2007

"What Have I Done?"

Apparently, one of the authors of the original 1973 county development plan feels some remorse for the mess he helped to create. He says that they didn't realize they were screwing around with the supply/demand equation. I say BS to that. My parents and their friends that I have spoken to all admit now that the unspoken truth at that time was that the county plan would cause property values to increase and that was a major reason for their voting in favor of it. What a crock.
In 1973, Gary Giacomini and Marjorie Macris helped to create the Marin Countywide Plan, a document that helped establish the county's growth patterns for three decades.

Both Giacomini and Macris agree that the plan succeeded in its original goal: to preserve the coastline, forests, hills and farms in the 606 square miles of unincorporated Marin from becoming overwhelmed by development.

And both agree that the plan also led to traffic gridlock and housing prices hardly anyone can afford - consequences county officials hope to address in the latest update to the document.

"In the '70s, I thought we were heroic in protecting the environment," said Giacomini, an attorney who served as a county supervisor for 25 years. "But I think it's a fair rap to say there were unintended consequences. We dramatically affected the supply and demand equation, and the result was a dramatic escalation in the price of housing. And there was the escalation of traffic because people couldn't afford to live or work here.

"As one of the architects of the plan, I have sometimes asked myself, 'What have I done?' "

69 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you must have some cynical folks around you. I can clearly recall the debate surrounding the 1973 county development plan - one of my relatives was involved in urban planning at the time. The debate clearly and unambiguously centered around protecting the environment, just as stated in the IJ article. Property values simply had nothing to do with it.

So, if you are going to call Gary Giacomini and Marjorie Macris liars (both of whom I have met and hold in very high regard), you'd better come up with something better than unsubstantiated hearsay.

Feb 12, 2007, 12:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm normally with you on most postings, but with this one I've gotta say "yeah, and..?". Controlling population growth and protecting the environment will be - and should be - this planet's number one concern over the next 50 years. Hats off to those who had the foresight to protect what little natural space the Bay Area has left. Would you prefer that Marin and Sonoma look like the East Bay? The East Bay sux for many reasons, not the least of which is overcrowding. Oh, and it's no more affordable than Marin, by the way. You'll still pay $1m for a shoebox, but it will have a view of Target instead of Mt Tam. Goody.

Feb 12, 2007, 1:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, it's not hearsay when someone who was there,who participated in the issues, and cast a vote tells you what was on their mind at the time. That's called history.

Feb 12, 2007, 8:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This argument is completely bunk. People ARE part of the environment. If you really and truly want to protect the environment, then why not turn the entire Bay Area into a national park, pack everyone up, and move out. The environment would be in much better shape... wouldn't it?Isn't that what those who passed these laws really want?

The simple fact of the matter is that 30 year ago, the Bay Area was fairly inundated with the 'counter-culture' movement and people who "thought" they knew what they were doing and passed laws that probably had good intentions, like saving trees, old houses, and so on. We- who were not born in that era are and will continue to pay for those decisions.
Honestly, I'd almost rather live somewhere that might be somewhat sprawly yet be better for th well being of my family- in other words- having a better environment for people- than stay here and have to fight tooth and nail over scraps of property. What good is saving the earth when people can't even afford to enjoy it?

This whole dilemma is absurd and everyone knows it. It is amazing to me that so many older folks are confused why some of us who came after them are so angry abut this issue. Listen to what is said here. You'll find that MOST of us feel the same way.

Feb 12, 2007, 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous sam said...

and the traffic is great on the environment? it is great for people who live and work in the breezeway of near constant gridlock?

Feb 12, 2007, 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

"People ARE part of the environment.

My sentiments as well, and I dispute the idea that environmentalism amounts to enclosing some favored land in a bubble, to seemingly "protect" it forever. In Marin's case, what does this "protection" amount to? Certainly, a good portion of land has been maintained as parks, watersheds, salmon spawning habitats, etc. But quite a bit has also been relegated to grazing land, which in my opinion is hardly environmentally-friendly. Among many notable effects, part of Marin's noxious weed problem in "open space" is directly due to cattle grazing's impact on local plant species, which in turn impact several endangered animals that depend on those plants as food.

One also should consider how Marin's "enviro-bubble" has contributed to our dense, urbanized corridor along 101. Ultimately, what is the current state of our "human environment" in Marin, suffering from excessive traffic and compressed living space? How does "no growth" affect you? I have to wonder at the wisdom of allowing development along precarious hillsides, while more stable areas are off-limits to development. What will happen when a fault finally snaps in Marin or Sonoma, and all that energy is released upon aged, stilted homes that sit on sheared serpentine formations?

Marin's concept of the environment needs to be updated to include the human factor. The most forward thinking in sustainable planning already embraces this idea, where residential development is planned in sustainable cooperation with the environment. It makes little sense to trash one area to "save" another. Marin needs to get past their cherished, but outdated notions and take some clues from truly progressive development here in the US and Europe. Wake up, and plan for the future.

Feb 12, 2007, 2:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

I'm normally with you on most postings, but with this one I've gotta say "yeah, and..?". Controlling population growth and protecting the environment will be - and should be - this planet's number one concern over the next 50 years. Hats off to those who had the foresight to protect what little natural space the Bay Area has left. Would you prefer that Marin and Sonoma look like the East Bay? The East Bay sux for many reasons, not the least of which is overcrowding. Oh, and it's no more affordable than Marin, by the way. You'll still pay $1m for a shoebox, but it will have a view of Target instead of Mt Tam. Goody.

It's attitudes like this that make me very glad I'm out of Marin County (or "Marin," as its residents like to call it). I live in the East Bay now, and I don't happen to think it "sux" and it certainly isn't any more overcrowded than is Marin County. I grew up in San Rafael in the 1980s, but I won't even venture there anymore for the simple reason that its streets are now so jam-packed with cars, all day long, weekdays and weekends, that the very idea of entering the town and sitting in that traffic mess fills me with horror. The town didn't used to be like that when I lived there. And why is it like that now? Because it filled up with people, despite the efforts of the county's so-called "environmentalists" to keep them out, exacerbated by the stubborn refusal of the residents to upgrade infrastructure and accomodate the influx of newcomers. (It's taken how long - 30 years??? - to finish widening the highway through San Rafael?) And many of those cars no doubt belong to people who have commuted in because they can't afford to live there. The traffic in my East Bay town (Pleasant Hill) isn't anywhere near that bad. I like my new home. It's, well, very pleasant. And you're just uninformed to say that we have nothing but views of Target. As if Marin County is so rarified and special that it doesn't have Target (it does) plus every other big box store there is. And I can't see Target from my house. The view from here is of Mt. Diablo, thank you very much, and unlike your view of Mt. "Tam" it isn't obscured by thick clouds of "smug" gassed off by the local residents. Saving the environment is a worthy cause, to be sure, but Gary Giacomini and Marjorie Macris didn't do that. They saved MARIN COUNTY's environment, for themselves and their ilk, at the expense of the environments of Sonoma, Napa, Contra Costa, and other surrounding counties. Take me, for example. I grew up in Marin County and left because I couldn't afford the housing there. Now Contra Costa County has one more person (me) adding to their own environmental situation, just so you all over there can pat yourselves on the back at how you've "saved the environment" - by driving out your own sons and daughters. It's a tawdry, disgraceful state of affairs, and you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Feb 12, 2007, 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

(It's taken how long - 30 years??? - to finish widening the highway through San Rafael?)

Quite right. It's shameful.

...They saved MARIN COUNTY's environment, for themselves and their ilk, at the expense of the environments of...

Exactly.

It's a tawdry, disgraceful state of affairs, and you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Secretly, deep down, I think we are. We hide it behind angry outbursts of shock and dismay whenever anyone points it out to us.

Feb 12, 2007, 7:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I live in the East Bay now, and I don't happen to think it "sux" and it certainly isn't any more overcrowded than is Marin County. I grew up in San Rafael in the 1980s, but I won't even venture there anymore for the simple reason that its streets are now so jam-packed with cars".

According to Census data, Marin County's population in 1980 was 222,568. In 2000 the population was 247,289, an 11% increase.
Contra Costa County's 1980 population was 656,380 and in 2000 it was 948,816, a 44% increase!

Feb 12, 2007, 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They saved MARIN COUNTY's environment, for themselves and their ilk, at the expense of the environments of Sonoma, Napa, Contra Costa, and other surrounding counties".

I live in S.F. and (no offense here), but when I think of where to go to ride bikes, hike or go to the beach, Marin is at the top of my list. I personally don't think the traffic is nearly as bad as I've seen in the East Bay.

Feb 12, 2007, 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a tawdry, disgraceful state of affairs, and you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Secretly, deep down, I think we are. We hide it behind angry outbursts of shock and dismay whenever anyone points it out to us."


I think it's sort of like having money....sometimes it feels "dirty', but we never want to give it up.

Feb 12, 2007, 11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

According to Census data, Marin County's population in 1980 was 222,568. In 2000 the population was 247,289, an 11% increase.
Contra Costa County's 1980 population was 656,380 and in 2000 it was 948,816, a 44% increase!


My God. You're actually boasting about that. What a shame for Contra Costa County. Instead of both counties having something like a 20% increase, Contra Costa has to bear the cost of Marin County's "environmentalism." Disgusting.

Feb 12, 2007, 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it sounds like the general consensus here is that Marin should be re-zoned, grazing/farmland/forests and open space should be given over to rows upon rows of cookie-cutter houses to create more housing for more people and thus create a need for more highways, ergo more traffic. Am I right about this? I'm NOT being sarcastic, BTW, this is an honest question. Does creating more dense building increase affordability? Does urban sprawl ultimately increase quality of life for more people bcs it generates more housing?

I, too, wish I could afford Marin to be closer to nicer beaches and forests, but I can't. Instead I live in the East Bay where I have a lovely view of a steel plant, I'm miles from the nearest substantial park/open space and am constantly inhaling exhaust from 580. My neighbhors are so close I can practically see what they're eating for dinner. But is mowing down every last inch of natural space the answer to my woes?

Feb 13, 2007, 12:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone trying to save the environment here is essentially thinking in very narrow terms.

The statement of "saving the environment" is more like saving YOUR environment. In other words, making things better for you- not the neighbors, not poor people, middle class people, or even rich people. Just you.

The reason I say this is that while perhaps California might have an issue with affordability and NIMBYism, I grew up in the Southeast where these issues were non-issues simply because we had a very low population density. This is rapidly changing as many of the smaller cities I grew up around turn slowly into larger cities. While the population density is still somewhat low- especially compared to here- the rate of people moving in the area is astounding.

Why are people moving there? Well the last time I visited, the number of California, New York, and Massachusetts plates tells the reason: Their own states priced them out. Naturally they are heading towards one of the last healthy middle class enclaves in the country- the entire Southeast.

So in reality, the environment I grew up with- a somewhat clean, pristine, preserved area is being deteriorated by the latest onslaught of people priced out from the aforementioned states.

Point being made here is that no matter what you try to do as far as "saving the environment", people will always want a place to live, raise a family, and succeed. If they cannot do so in one area, they will go somewhere else. The fact that they are choosing another area to set up shop does nothing for the environment. The reality is that in a convoluted way, by embracing unrealistic laws that make affordability a major issue, the brunt of responsibility has now been cast onto another area(s). I would think it much more wise to support creative living environments rather than shoo people away.

As for me and my wife, we see little point in ever buying in this area. The cost of living hardly qualifies as matching the overall quality of life here. I fail to see the "fountain of youth" everyone seems to allude to.

Feb 13, 2007, 8:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most people on this. My husband and I moved away because we were tired of the environmental movement that has prevented us from being able to buy a place in Marin.

So we moved to another major metropolitan area where you can smoke where you want, drive an SUV without reproach, and you don't even have to pick up after your dog. The only thing that's bugged me is the view from our kitchen window. Since we moved here it's been wasted on an expanse of grass and some useless trees. Then a couple months ago our prayers were answered. The owner sold the land to a developer who is building an 8 story apartment complex, with 3 stories of parking underground.

We're totally psyched, bcs we'll get to rent a parking space near our place. Even though our city has a world-class public transport system, we're Californians at heart and we really miss having a car.

Someday we hope to return to the Bay Area when land is cheap and homes are affordable. Don't worry, those NIMBY environmentalists will lose out someday and more and more land in Marin will fall to development pressure. We have our eye on that little valley near Muir Woods that's being wasted on the Zen Center and their pointless farmland. But someday soon those tree-hugging do-gooder Buddhists will get the boot, then maybe the land will be put to good use, like a few acres of affordable condos.

Don't worry, with enough people who feel like we do, it'll happen...

Feb 13, 2007, 9:02:00 AM  
Anonymous NIMBY said...

You could make a lot of whine from all the sour grapes in this blog.

Feb 13, 2007, 9:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tisk tisk tisk... sarcasm detector alert.

I don't think people are whining here either. People are simply frustrated. Many, like myself have actually been successful in every respect, yet when it comes to something as simple as a stupid little house, we're baffled. The whole reason, stated in this post is the cause. Fix the cause and you fix the problems. Both for the environment and for the people who live here.

But again, this is the Bay Area, and likely nothing will ever change.

As far as "wasted space" on things like grasslands, (more sarcasm?)... well yes- you can have affordability, natural beauty, a healthy economy all wrapped up in one. It isn't a strict one-or-another equation. I've spent several years visiting "alternative" cities- 5 so far- and most of these fit the very description of meeting both environmental and developmental balance. Perhaps they don't have Japanese rock gardens... but then again- when was the last time you went to one? big deal.If these cities can make it work... then why can't we? isn't this supposed to be a progressive area? Aren't there supposed to be heapin' helpings of smart people who can make rational decisions?

What's more, many of these cities are places that the average BA citizen might scoff at... yet somehow, they seem to be doing quite well. So perhaps people here aught to see what these other places are doing.Lessons could be learned.

Put in an analytical way, any given metro is more like a giant company. People serve as the human resource that power the mechanism. Mismanage your human resources and the whole system suffers. This area is being mismanaged. Make people happy and they will be good citizens. They will likely do the right thing.

Feb 13, 2007, 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Census data, Marin County's population in 1980 was 222,568. In 2000 the population was 247,289, an 11% increase.
Contra Costa County's 1980 population was 656,380 and in 2000 it was 948,816, a 44% increase!


You must correct for density.

Feb 13, 2007, 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rows upon rows of cookie-cutter houses to create more housing

No one said anything about cookie cutter houses.

Feb 13, 2007, 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, those of you who were fortunate enough to be born at the right time and bought into Marin County back when it was affordable - hey, you won. Congratulations. I guess you can be as smug as you like, because you've simultaneously enriched yourselves and seen to it that you aren't troubled by any more new neighbors moving in and ruining your quality of life with their damnable houses, cars, jobs, and children. I mean, DAMN those people for wanting and needing the same things as you. You can accuse those of us (including your own children) who were priced out of the county of sour grapes and being whiners, but since you've defeated us and continue to control the politics of the county with an iron grip, I guess I feel you could be a little more magnanimous in victory, instead of posting sarcastic comments on this blog. Noblesse oblige and all that. But I suppose that's too much to expect from rich, privileged, entitled Marinites.

Feb 13, 2007, 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say:

Pave Paradise and Put in A Parking Lot!

Feb 13, 2007, 2:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

I live in the East Bay now, as I've stated before. I have also lived in San Francisco. Now THAT is different. But the general lifestyle/quality of life here in the Diablo Valley really isn't all that different from what you get in Marin. They're both freaking suburbs, for crying out loud. One of them just happens to be insanely overpriced and full of stuck-up snobs and phony-baloney environmentalists. Someone on here made a sarcastic comment about "cookie-cutter houses." Well, take a drive through most neighborhoods of Novato, Marinwood, Terra Linda, San Rafael, and Corte Madera, and you'll see just that - cookie-cutter houses. It really looks no different from the suburban 'hoods on this side of the bay. And what's wrong with a "cookie cutter house," anyway? It's a roof over somebody's head. To speak disparagingly of other peoples' shelter speaks volumes about the kind of classist attitudes and snobbery that are rampant in Marin County and why I'm glad I no longer live there. I don't think I've ever seen a sillier place.

Feb 13, 2007, 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the whole Bay Area is Full of Snobs!

http://tinyurl.com/3d2kt

Feb 13, 2007, 4:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, people, Marin is the bestest, specialest place ever, and you are a worthless scum bag if you can't afford a house there. That is all.

Feb 13, 2007, 5:30:00 PM  
Blogger sf jack said...

anonymous # 587,655 wrote:

"I think the whole Bay Area is Full of Snobs!

http://tinyurl.com/3d2kt "

******

Me, too. Good article.

No better description for the crap that spills from locals mouths, and the concomitant attitude, than the term seen here:

"Bayarrea"

"And, with their insistence on their good taste in daily life, San Franciscans can be richly, profoundly off-putting. I find myself sufficiently put off by them to have come to think of their extolling of their own city as unbearable 'Bayarrea.'"

(And how about... "Marinarrea"?)

******

C'mon now - this is getting ridiculous.

All you anonymous posters need to get your act together and start posting with monikers.

Feb 13, 2007, 5:44:00 PM  
Anonymous marinite said...

All you anonymous posters need to get your act together and start posting with monikers.

Yes, show a little backbone. It's hard to take seriously anonymous posts and even harder to carry on a conversation.

For the rest of you: I found an article mentioned on Ben's blog mentioning a San Rafael couple that has moved to SoCal and she is picketing a real estate agency because she feels she was misled (paid too much for her Carlsbad POS as similar houses in the nabe are quite a bit less expensive than what they paid). Anyway, I was thinking of writing an exposé on them as I dug up a lot of info on them on the net. Or would that be too tasteless? But really, people leaving Marin, God's Country for the land of the Devil...SoCal!

Feb 13, 2007, 6:05:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

As of today, Feb 13th, the Marin Heat Index is .57, just in time for the kick-off for the Spring selling season.

Between the traffic and lack of affordable housing, buyers finally seem to be exhausted.

Feb 13, 2007, 6:42:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

The Heat index this time last year was only slightly better than now. I wonder if that means this year's selling season will be about like last year.

Feb 13, 2007, 7:38:00 PM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

"But really, people leaving Marin...?

Sometimes it looks like the sanest choice, because there is so much here I'd like to see changed, but these entrenched problems will continue for decades. In the meantime, the world will change and adapt around us.

I won't just leave Marin, but the state as well--due to my weariness over cost of living issues and the deteriorating state of communities, infrastructure, and services here.

Feb 13, 2007, 7:53:00 PM  
Anonymous NIMBY said...

"Look, those of you who were fortunate enough to be born at the right time and bought into Marin County back when it was affordable - hey, you won. Congratulations. I guess you can be as smug as you like, because you've simultaneously enriched yourselves and seen to it that you aren't troubled by any more new neighbors moving in and ruining your quality of life with their damnable houses, cars, jobs, and children."

Cry me a friggin' river.

When I bought in Marin it was as expensive relative to the rest of the region/state as it is now and I had just lost 100% of my investment in a house in the East Bay, money that I had spent a decade saving. The fact is, not everyone can afford to live here because for obvious reasons, Marin is highly desirable, sells at a premium in the market and always will.

Feb 13, 2007, 9:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I liked the article about snobbery. What I don't get is that a mini cooper is considered to be an indicator of snobbery. I own one and a fanatical right wing christian-CATHOLIC, no one likes for one minute, ok, I understand why no one in ST Francis town would not like to associate with me, just look at the audacity of that confession! But, a mini cooper is simply a cute small car that gets good gas mileage at a little premium of cost. My wife and two small girls fit quite comfortably in its surprising spaciousness. By the way, I from South Jersey and enjoy your articles on California real estate. I love the Moma & Pappas song california dreaming. Spent one year at Monterey Penninsula studying Arabic, whenever I introduced myself as a soldier at a church in Aurora Colorado, you'd have been surprised at the looks of dread I would get. I thought the view of Monterey Bay we had at the local Catholic church there was breath taking, but the view from the Church in Aurora of the rocky mts was simply heavenly. well, anyway, mini coopers are good cars, take it from a white trash, superstitious middle ages centered catholic like me, mini coopers are simply cute and efficient.

Feb 14, 2007, 2:57:00 AM  
Anonymous fireproff_witch said...

"The fact is, not everyone can afford to live here because for obvious reasons, Marin is highly desirable, sells at a premium in the market and always will."

Once again- another case of plain disillusionment. If what you say is true, and Marin is so incredibly desirable, along with the rest of the Bay Area, then people in every city across the country would be crying themselves to sleep over their woes. "Oh whoas me!- Why can't I live in San Francisco instead?" Trust me. They aren't.

Interesting observation I made recently. I took a trip to Nashville, a city I hadn't really spent any time in. It isn't one of those cities that you hear people spewing volumes about. Sort of off the radar of most 'coasters'. Well the city itself was terrific. Clean, pretty, quaint, and full of things that many in the Bay Area somehow think is strictly indigenous to their 'piece of heaven'.

We ate at a great Japanese restaurant, strolled through 2 art museums ( one was brand spanking new) walked across a massive pedestrian bridge that straddled the river, walked past a brand new symphony hall styled after something you would see circa 1870, walked through several great parks with big duck ponds full of people rowing, and heard several live bands at some clubs. I didn't hear anyone bitching about their city, or how expensive it was- because it isn't. I also didn't hear anyone tell me how much THEY wished they could live in SF after we told them where we were from either. In fact, several gave us these funny looks and said:" how do people afford to live there?" This statement was the most common reaction. All and all- a healthy city functioning the way a modern city should.

I cannot say the same for here. So when I hear people say " oh- well I had to sacrifice all of my money X number of years ago for my house... so YOU should have to do the same, because it is worth it." No- all you are really saying is that you had to pay an arm and a leg for yours, so we better belly-up.It doesn't automatically mean that you made a wise decision anymore than buying now would be a wise decision. That loose veil disguising logic with " everyone wants to live here cuz' it's soooo terrific" doesn't hold any water.

By the way- I could afford to buy here if I really wanted to. But again, I think life is worth living and not blowing it on a mortgage, and paying 700+k for a small home goes against my upbringing of spending money wisely on logical investments.

Feb 14, 2007, 8:44:00 AM  
Blogger cajun100 said...

Referring to the rationale for the 1973 and subsequent Marin plans ...

Well, I was HERE before, during and through all of the action leading to the 1973 Countywide Plan, and basically the stage was set by a less than totally competent and somewhat idealistic planning program:

(1) An already strong desire by many residents to save as much open space as possible -- much of it (then) not needed for housing (yet). An emotional and philosophical thing.

(2) Erroneous assumptions (gladly embraced by the group above) regarding the ability to actually increase density and housing production efficiency in the "urbanized corridor" -- US 101 served communtiies.

(3) No teeth in the Plan to enforce or even encourage the multiple jurisdictions to modify THEIR general plans to reflect and accept the assumptions in both above. Density increases, "in-fill", etc. were seen as evil then, as now.

(4) Almost no consideration of the economics of urbanization and open space preservation.

Proposition 13 and various manipulations of the tax system after that only increased the stress among jurisdictions, and resulted in continuation of "urbanized corridor" integrated, planned development.

This, dear people, gave you first, rapid development of close-in properties, then Petaluma as a fast growing community, Rohnert Park, and on to Santa Rosa and environs. Like taking a small rope and unraveling it from the end -- thinning but extending.

I worked as a consulting planner and development specialist throughout the last 40 years, often here on local projects, and I do not recall being able to add "preserve property values" to my notes at meetings -- until local density increases were the topic.

We are not alone in having large regional plans that are less than effective, particularly those based upon environmental protection as a first concern. Check out the ABAG Bay Area plans for a treat. Same issues -- much larger scale.

Feb 14, 2007, 9:33:00 AM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

Cajun 100,
Thanks for the great comments. It is good to hear from people that actually know about the planning involved that got us where we are today.

I do not live in Marin, but our own little East Bay city has almost the exact same set of regulations passed at the same time that have had the same effect of manipulating supply and demand.So do MOST other BA towns. As in marin, new developments are seen as evil.
What I fail to see here as in many BA towns is the lack of comprehension planners have regarding how economics and housing are essentially one of the same. If you control and manipulate housing, then you will also affect the local economy. As it stands now, our town has been losing industry for years and really doesn't have an economy of it's own.

Instead, almost everyone commutes out to larger industrial zones. The same is probably true in Marin.

Some of the things you mentioned very much indicate what I've been observing for years.

Feb 14, 2007, 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

Cry me a friggin' river.

When I bought in Marin it was as expensive relative to the rest of the region/state as it is now and I had just lost 100% of my investment in a house in the East Bay, money that I had spent a decade saving. The fact is, not everyone can afford to live here because for obvious reasons, Marin is highly desirable, sells at a premium in the market and always will.


Based on this post, the "obvious reasons" don't seem to include nice neighbors or a well-developed sense of community.

Feb 14, 2007, 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I bought in Marin it was as expensive relative to the rest of the region/state as it is now

That's not even close to being true. Just look at the multiple of income needed to buy in Marin now as opposed to some other time, say the 60s or 70s. Your statement is patently false and another example of entrenched Marin wishfull thinking.

Feb 14, 2007, 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm renting in San Anselmo right now and I can't believe the motley group that lives here and Fairfax. There is no way the vast majority of the people living around here could possibly buy their home today. There are so many broken down vehicles and unkept yards I'm afraid to buy because these yahoos will keep my property value down. I do love the open spaces, Mt Tam and being close to the ocean. If you think you're going to living next to high wage earners, think again.jb

Feb 14, 2007, 1:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

I'm renting in San Anselmo right now and I can't believe the motley group that lives here and Fairfax. There is no way the vast majority of the people living around here could possibly buy their home today. There are so many broken down vehicles and unkept yards I'm afraid to buy because these yahoos will keep my property value down.

Sounds like Fairfax hasn't changed much since I lived there (1974-77).

Feb 14, 2007, 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

Sounds like Fairfax hasn't changed much since I lived there (1974-77).

I should add: Except for the fact that in those days a person of modest middle-class means (i.e. my father) could afford a house there. In fact, that was why he bought there - it was affordable. Now it's not. What has changed? Not a thing other than the home prices, I guess is my point. If you want to spend $800,000 to live there, that's your lookout I guess, but my folks raised me to be a little more sensible with my money.

Feb 14, 2007, 2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add: Except for the fact that in those days a person of modest middle-class means (i.e. my father) could afford a house there.

So to the person who argued that the affordability of Marin relative to the rest of the Bay Area, how do you respond?

Feb 14, 2007, 2:57:00 PM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

I think there needs to be some rectification here.The bare-bones analysis of this situation is complex and drawn out.

Simply put, it has always been expensive here, but predominantly when compared on a national level: California on average has been 50% more expensive than the national median. At the same time, wages were for quite a long time considerably higher.The wages covered the added costs. Good case in point is my neighbors, an older couple who bought their little house in 1963 for $30,000. In 1963, that was A LOT of money, and double the national average of 12k. My parents built their own 2 story home on several acres of land in the Southeast for less than 20k in 1975. 20k in the South in 1975 was considered a princely sum. So even then, the comparisons were extreme.

People were more willing to accept the expense because the economics worked out ok. More money meant you could adapt to the localized pricing.

Fast-forward to now and the issue is no longer the case being that higher wages warrant higher home prices. The real issue is that almost no level of income- even income in the 6 figure territory will get you even a base starter home. There is no longer any lateral movement. Those that buy are likely doing so with considerable sacrifice.

By having these imposed regulations, the problem has only been amplified. A limitation on an already expensive supply.

I simply do not buy that the " it was always expensive" statement has anything to do whats happening right now. It isn't simply just a matter of expense, but impractical fundamentals that defy economics.

Feb 14, 2007, 4:25:00 PM  
Anonymous marinite said...

Fast-forward to now and the issue is no longer the case being that higher wages warrant higher home prices. The real issue is that almost no level of income- even income in the 6 figure territory will get you even a base starter home.

Which is why housing prices can only remain at current levels if A) credit remains incredibly lax in CA and gets more lax to compensate as prices rise, or B) Incomes rise (double or more) to justify the price and continue to rise in lock-step with rising house prices, or C) house prices decline to be in line with wages.

Credit is quite unlikely to remain so easy and I seriously doubt most employers would double salaries even in a time-graded fashion.

I think C is the most likely outcome but I could be wrong. Of course, C can only happen if credit tightens.

Feb 14, 2007, 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous marinite said...

"C" is for Crash of course.

Feb 14, 2007, 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

Anonymous said...

I should add: Except for the fact that in those days a person of modest middle-class means (i.e. my father) could afford a house there.

So to the person who argued that the affordability of Marin relative to the rest of the Bay Area, how do you respond?


I'm not sure exactly which person you mean. But when my father bought his first house in 1974, Fairfax was affordable to him. He did okay, but we weren't rich, and my mother didn't work. Yet, with one income and a small loan from my grandfather (repaid with interest!), he was able to afford a decent-sized house for us. Fairfax was less expensive than other towns because it was way out on the fringe of civilization, far from the freeway and (by the standards of the day) a long commute to San Francisco. Dad would have preferred living in SF itself, or Berkeley, or somewhere closer to his job, but he couldn't afford that yet. My point was that Fairfax was a nice enough town, but it wasn't really all THAT nice (it definitely had a seedy side to it in the mid-1970s), and it sounds like it really hasn't gotten any nicer since I was there - just a gazillion times more expensive. Why? Is it any more desirable a place to live than it was then? Doesn't seem that way to me. It looks more or less the same. It is true that commutes have grown to epic lengths since then, and Fairfax probably seems a nice short one now, but I sure wouldn't want to spend my mornings and evenings sitting on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (which, naturally, has never been widened or improved at all since I lived out there).

Feb 14, 2007, 7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

It is true that commutes have grown to epic lengths since then, and Fairfax probably seems a nice short one now.

Fortunately you haven't tried to commute in from Ross Valley, but on some mornings (especially w/ road construction), San Anselmo/Fairfax residents can putter along for 30+min before they reach 101.

Feb 14, 2007, 8:37:00 PM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

"It is true that commutes have grown to epic lengths since then, and Fairfax probably seems a nice short one now..."

That is an overwhelmingly true statement. My car has well over 200,000 miles on it, as does my wife's... and my house mate's. I sometimes wonder just how detrimental commuting is on families. By the time I get home, I am outright exhausted.More like a zombie.

I know some people who commute back and forth to Sacramento. Every day. Some commute to San Jose from Berkeley. I commute almost 400 miles a week.

So I guess what is ironic in this whole argument over whether developing more housing in communities is environmentally friendly, well not only does limiting supplies cause more traffic and longer commutes, but it also wastes untold millions of gallons of gas and resources in the form of cars that wear out in 10 years or less from the extreme mileage imposed on them.

Feb 15, 2007, 7:28:00 AM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

"Credit is quite unlikely to remain so easy and I seriously doubt most employers would double salaries even in a time-graded fashion."

Don't know if I agree with credit staying easy here. As mentioned on this blog, there are now efforts on both the federal and state level to start cracking down on irresponsible loan practices. Subprime lending agencies are getting absolutely hammered on Wall Street, Home builders are losing money, and so on.

I do think that despite what we hope for here, the immediate Bay Area will be the last to fall in price even though it was the first to rise. Outside cities and burbs really built the heck out of themselves. Places like Sacramento are rapidly cooling. This will cause outer BA areas to cool as well, which in time will effect the heated core- the BA itself.

I'm totally calling a crap-shoot here, but my prediction is that all those homes that got taken off the market during the winter will go right back up again for the "spring bounce" right along with all the new homes. Almost a trillion dollars in ARM and IO loans will reset for the first time in this state in record numbers. This will cause even more homes to be added to fuel the oversupply equation that got firmly cemented in place last year. Even now, my neighborhood has more homes this winter for sale than last year.

At the same time, credit will become more difficult to obtain. This will dramatically reduce the number of high-risk buyers who kept the bubble artificially inflated from 2003-2005. Remember- on 2003, there was a decline in home sales. The lending and banking industries came up with exotic loans to prop up sales. Thus it is perhaps safe to say that values obtained from 2003-2005 were artificial since they did not rely on good credit. Kick the last leg out from under this mess- easy credit- and you lose most support for current prices, perhaps causing values to topple towards pre-2003 levels, but with inflation added into the mix.

So in my opinion, this spring will give us our answer. If we see massive oversupply and continued erosion of values outside the immediate BA, then I will then have no doubt that we will be into a healthy downward cycle.

Easy credit caused this dilemma. It will also be it's undoing.

Feb 15, 2007, 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous marinite said...

Remember- on 2003, there was a decline in home sales. The lending and banking industries came up with exotic loans to prop up sales.

If you look at historical charts of housing values, 2003 was fairly clearly the cyclical peak of the normal housing cycle. And then, like you say, lenders pumped the markets by coming up with so-called exotic mortgages and the like. I would think the decline will take values well below 2003 levels. Given how fast and how far prices were run up, not even inflation will save most people on a nominal basis.

But yes, the BA was the first to bubble up and will be the last to go. The first to go are the resort/vacation areas where nonessential purchases were made. The patter of results that we are now actually observing fit that pattern very well.

And another thing to consider is that as areas around the BA get relatively cheaper (than they already are), more people will choose to live there than closer to SFO than already do. That can only put more pressure on the BA and Marin.

I laugh at people who expect prices to drop 50% or whatever overnight. Most critics of this and other blogs like to say "see, prices haven't 'popped'". The truth is that is not how housing prices pop. THey pop over time. THink about it...it's not like some seller wakes up one day and says "gee, I am going to drop the price of my house by 50% today". Nope. It happens begrudgingly. Give it time. Given how out of whack things are I seriously doubt inflation will save people in the short to medium term.

Feb 15, 2007, 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

Whatever the case might be here in the Bay Area, I'm definitely not holding out for prices to fall for the next "x" number of years.

In the past I spent a lot of energy studying the BA economy and it's expensive standard of living. I've gauged expense compared to quality and uniqueness.Indeed, the BA is unique, but the costs now far outweigh the positives. I figured spending some of that energy on what other choices I might have would be more effective.Trying to change things here is often frustrating.

So for the last 4 years I have been studying alternative " micropolitan" cities. I am now familiar with no less than 6 different cities across the country. Many I've visited in person.

Basically, I've studied their economies, industries, local personalities, climate, arts, culture,food, and so on. Last but not least,I've done realistic studies as to what their cost of living situation is and what I would need to save up in order to buy a home Lock-stock-and barrel at any number of these alternative locations, hence negating any risks that might come as a result of jobs perhaps not paying as much. If all my major life's purchases were taken care of firsthand(house and cars), then risk would be eliminated.

All of my choices have 500,000 citizens or less.All are within moderate to temperate climate zones.All have younger populations, with the avg age being below 35. (A sharp contrast to the BA). All have low unemployment rates. The avg is less than 2% on average. All have good housing in safe, historic neighborhoods with low prices from 55K and upward of 150k.

I've also chosen cities that are off the radar screen of "coasters" because these chunks of populations live in the most expensive cities and seem to congregate in very specific cities. Usually cities that are seen as "smart" and progressive. So certain cities like Denver- the city of choice for LA refugees- is off my list. I get a feeling Austin TX will soon be joining that list.

The results are that I've found that almost all of these choices are of pleasant, clean, progressively changing, upwardly mobile cities with great unspoiled characteristics.

This is merely a backup plan. Of course I wish for prices to fall. If they did to a level that I found acceptable, then I'd probably start looking for a place to buy. But if the worse comes down to worse, I do have other ideas.

Again... this spring will be very telling. I hope it goes the way I would like to see it.

Feb 15, 2007, 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

Denver is still on my list... but that's because it comes with a bevy of friends.

I miss them.

Feb 15, 2007, 7:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Feb 15, 2007, 9:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So for the last 4 years I have been studying alternative " micropolitan" cities... I've studied their economies, industries, local personalities, climate, arts, culture,food, and so on...I've done realistic studies as to what their cost of living situation is..."

Sounds like you've got it all figured out!!!

Feb 16, 2007, 7:43:00 AM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

So for the last 4 years I have been studying alternative " micropolitan" cities.

If you blogged your findings, it would make for very interesting reading.

Feb 16, 2007, 8:22:00 AM  
Anonymous fireproof_witch said...

"If you blogged your findings, it would make for very interesting reading."

Well, there is really too much info to post about these findings. But I'll elaborate a little. Most of these are not uncommon in the vein of alternates. So here's some findings:

Alternate cities:

1.
The Triange.
This area encompasses a wide area in North Carolina. Like the BA, there are 4 or 5 cities within close proximity. The major ones include: Raleigh, Durahm, and Chapel Hill. It is experiencing somewhat of a tech boom. Like Berkeley, Chapel Hill is a cute, smaller
town with education and the arts a major influence. A little more scenic and pricey. Durahm and Raleigh are close together. They comprise the bulk of the local tech and medical research of the "triangle". This area might very well change drastically in the next few years as it has somehow become a favorite for both Californians and Northeastern relos.Since it is now one of the fastest developing tech research areas in the country, I imagine the higher prices will eventually turn it into a southern version of another northeastern city, meaning in 10 years it'll be overpriced.

2.
The Blue Ridge Parkway ring.

There are 3 other smaller towns that encompass an area immediately within the Smokey Mountains- part of the Appalachian chain- that cross the TN/NC borders. Asheville, Johnson City, and Knoxville. Asheville is a fairly robust music and performing arts city. Knoxville is home to several major cable tv networks as well as a hub for education and medical research. It has a growing music community that comes from a rebirth of interest in regional music. Johnson city is simply beautiful but just now barely starting to develop into a modern town.But it has promise.Incredible musical community that draws lots of young people. It won an award a few years back for being one of the best small towns in America. Knoxville won the distinction of being one of the top 5 cities to live in last year in Forbe's.

3.
Atlanta. This is a big city with way more than 500,000 people, but it is very healthy with an enormous amount of business development. The traffic is awful and the sprawl goes on forever. But if you like big city living, you can do so here cheaply, with decent homes as little as 100k. can you say BBQ?

4: Nashville. Can't say enough about this city. Clean, pretty, with strong city leaders that advocate public transit, parks, museums, art, and of course- music. The whole city sings. Rapidly growing film and music industry. Home of CMT. Biggest employer: Medical Insurance.

5. Texas.

I like Texas a lot. Lots of really cool big and small cities. Really friendly people.
top TX picks:
Austin, Houston, Dallas. Again, Dallas is huge... but it is again very affordable.Austin seems to be getting filled up with California expatriotes. It is no longer super cheap. Plus TX has a 3% property tax. Ouch.

6.Couple of weird cities in OK and Kansas: Kansas city and Tulsa OK. Been reading a lot about Tulsa. Sounds like a really neat place but the weather might kill me!

But be forewarned: If you are from California and plan on visiting any of these, you need to be aware that they are not and will not be like California, and especially not the BA. The lack of protective anti-development means many will have lots of sprawl and chain eateries, stores, and so on. Don't expect the weather to be reliable. It isn't. These areas are still predominantly middle class, so don't expect to see as much penache' as you would expect to see in SF. Not many coiture' fashion stores or 5 star french bakeries.
Admittedly, some of these areas are more conservative. Places like Asheville and Chapel Hill are actually quite progressive. So are cities like Atlanta and Nashville. But be aware that there will be differences of opinion- some that go way against what you might believe. There will be more churches. Lots of them. Expect to not see many people at Wal-Mart on Sunday morning. They are at church.

But if you are open minded and willing to take a different adventure in your life, then you might find these places refreshing and new. Since you could likely afford a comfortable lifestyle there, you might actually enjoy it. These areas are all changing at a torrid pace. They are in essence slowly repeating what has happened to SF. Eventually they will likely be just as gentrified and stratified as it is here. Timed correctly, you might find yourself in a good position of having bought cheap but living in a newly minted progressive city that you can easily afford to enjoy.

Anyhow, that's just my thoughts. Again- I'm doing my best to make things work here. But as mentioned, I know what else is out there. Don't take my observations as fact. Go out and look for yourself as well.

Feb 16, 2007, 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

fireproof_witch, Nashville is on my top five list. Unfortunately, a lot of the work I do is in California, so relocating to another state, while it is something I would love to do, is definitely a gamble for me. Essentially my choice is to stay here and be assured of lucrative (but not lucrative enough to afford a house) employment, or move someplace where the lifestyle is definitely cheaper (not to mention more relaxed and less aggressive/hostile), but where the job situation will definitely be hit-or-miss. I'm hoping that in a few more years I'll be able to bail on California for good.

Feb 16, 2007, 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Buyer_2be said...

A lot of emotional responses here. Some responses here are also way off base, especially in discussing the East Bay area.

Having lived everywhere in the BA except the southbay, I will tell you that the crowds and traffic are nearly not as bad in the Marin\Sonoma. I found some comments here to the contrary really out of reality, unless you are in Brentwood...

However Marin suffers from congestion in micro areas (like Fairfax and the miracle mile) due to no development in its infrastructure with roads circa 1960s. With few points of in and out from 101 and other valid issues, the arteries simply don't logically apply - like 4 lanes of 101 in MV, but 3 lanes in SR.

I will say that there are good positive reasons to strictly control Marin in the development of more housing and keep greenbelts and open spaces plentiful. That makes it unique to most of the BA.

However it also is the case that it can't without equal improvment in road infrastructure and mass transit beyond "buses".

I think some here have an emotional response to the bubble pricing of homes to argue to just build more homes. However voters will tell you they don't want it - and as angry as some of you sound about it - its their right and it's our democracy.

Geographically Marin cannot become a commerical center in the way other BA cities have been. I cannot see how people think that could be done. It can grow in its unique markets, but it needs infrastructure nonethless. Especially this before thinking of expanding residential building.

Good article by the way for discussion marinite.

Feb 16, 2007, 3:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, Friday 16 February the headline on the Press Democrat a Petaluma Paper read: Median Housing in a Slump!!! Yet on this same day, today, the cover of the Marin Independent Journal read: Median Housing prices on the rise!!!

Everyone should read it, more Marin Realtors nonsense, funny as hell!! When will they learn?

Feb 16, 2007, 5:53:00 PM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

Fireproof,
Thanks, those micropolitan snapshops are interesting. Several of my friends have moved to those areas after college, and for good reason: their lives are now stable. The BayArea has this perception that leaving means a severe lifestyle cut, but I suspect the opposite is often true.

I have considered a few of those areas already, despite coming from a northern clime. It's good to know there may be better options than staying here and waiting for an eventual correction.

Feb 16, 2007, 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Yet on this same day, today, the cover of the Marin Independent Journal read: Median Housing prices on the rise

That's because unlike everyone else Marin's appreciation stat from DataQuick was +10% in Jan. It is obviously bogus (especially when viewed in recent historical context). So obviously bogus that I actually called DataQuick and asked them what's up. They said that an unusual number of condo conversions in Novato reduced the Jan, 2005 median down way more than normal, Jan 2006's median was more normal so the YOY is anomolously high. THey said real appreciation was in the low single digits. This can happen in Marin because the number of houses bought/sold is so small; smaller samples are prone to higher variability. I'll post the Jan results when all my usual sources are in. (Taste: the foreclosure data for Marin is scary).

But did the IJ bother to ask questions? Did they bother to do any investigative journalism at all in the face of what is so obviously a bogus stat? Or did they just run with something that they could make a big pro-RE deal about?

Feb 17, 2007, 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Oh, and the fact that DataQuick changed their methodologies starting with the January data. That impacted the Marin calculation more than anyone else because we are such a small market. DataQuick is no longer using a weighted median calculation (I didn't know they did and could not get out of her how they were weighting sales...and why would you?) and is now using a standard, straight calcuation of the median which is what everyone thought they were doing in the first place.

Feb 17, 2007, 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

...And I think this is info the IJ should have dug up, not me some lame-o blogger. I mean, don't they have a journalistic responsibility to ask questions and get to the truth? Or are they just a mouth-piece for others with veested interests?

Feb 17, 2007, 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Ex-Marinite said...

I think some here have an emotional response to the bubble pricing of homes to argue to just build more homes. However voters will tell you they don't want it - and as angry as some of you sound about it - its their right and it's our democracy.

Just because people have "emotional" responses to the situation here doesn't make their responses invalid, as you seem to be implying. Remember, most voters are motivated to get out and vote when they are angry, not when they are fat and happy. And there is indeed a lot of anger out there about the housing situation. Marin County is just an extreme example of what is happening all over California. I wonder if those who defend this current state of affairs will be so enamoured of "democracy" when democracy starts going against them, as it almost certainly will when the older generations who are still running the show start dying off in large numbers.

Feb 17, 2007, 1:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of moving out of CA to other states that are cheaper, one thing that's hardly ever mentioned (or considered enough in my view) is weather. If you've lived in CA (northern or southern) for any significant length of time, then you would likely be in for a surprise in most other parts of the country. Isn't it honestly worth more to live in a place that escapes high humidity, broiling temperatures and very snowy, icy winters? Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. And as for lifestyle, I left southern CA years ago for the pacific northwest, only to find that even the more "upscale" and "sophisticated" areas had comparatively little to offer. Ultimately, I moved back to CA and even with expensive homes, I'm glad I did.

Feb 17, 2007, 2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, 2 days into the heat and humidity of the southeast, you will be closing your eyes and dreaming of the dry California breeze. I'm from Marin, have lived across the country including four years int he southeast, and the summertime weather is indeed a dealbreaker, although if you have never spent time out of California I'm sure you can't see how that could be.

No one here has mentioned the Sierra foothill towns - starters still about 350k, less for a fixer, solid climate - a little hotter in summer and 45 inches rain in winter, close to incredible outdoor areas, Auburn and Nevada County cities commutable to Sacramento, and most importantly, a better general attitude than what I've seen upon revisiting Marin.

Anyway, Marin is a special place because of the incredible open space within walking distance of anywhere, but the peace of mind from financial security and being able to put family first in another beautiful area with great schools and wilderness areas nearby make certain foothill towns right up there.

Feb 17, 2007, 4:42:00 PM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

"Isn't it honestly worth more to live in a place that escapes high humidity, broiling temperatures and very snowy, icy winters?"

Weather. It's highly subjective, and something you can get used to, unless you expect a carbon-copy California experience. BTW, when relatives visit me from the North, they don't like our "perfect" Marin weather. Go figure.

Feb 17, 2007, 5:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"great schools"

That's a laugh. Maybe great schools by California standards. But California is like third from the bottom as far as education goes.

"weather"

The weather hasn't changed in the last five or six years.

These sorts of nonsense just detract from the issue... there's been a real estate bubble and it will suffer the same fate as all speculative manias; it's a question of when not if. No sympathy from me for people who foreclose or are stressed.

Feb 17, 2007, 5:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marin Explorer: As for subjectivity on the weather issue, and it being something you can get used to, that sounds alot like someone who's never spent significant time in, then away from, CA. Perhaps it's something you understand only if born/raised here, but I'm sorry - after 8 years I still wasn't used to it elsewhere though I certainly didn't expect a carbon copy weather pattern. I did try, though, because it was a heck of alot cheaper to buy a house in the pacific northwest. It just didn't work.

Anon 5:18: I don't even get your weather comment so don't know how to respond to that. What I can say is that while CA as a whole may be close to the bottom in education nationwide, that is certainly not the case in southern Marin. It may be more true in metro LA, and in the central valley, but look at it this way - would you rather pay for private school for a couple of kids in an area in which you won't earn like you do here, or pay significant (but less expensive and tax deductible) interest/ppty tax on a Marin mortgage? You call it nonsense, I call it relevant to the house value equation... Again, you get what you pay for.

Feb 17, 2007, 8:28:00 PM  
Anonymous marin_explorer said...

"that sounds alot like someone who's never spent significant time in, then away from, CA."

Anon:
Actually, that sounds a lot like someone making glib generalities about anyone's ability to handle change. I can only guess that means some people could not handle living anywhere else, because California is so "special".

But since you bring me into this, I'll give you my example. I'm originally from 1000 miles N, but I've lived here many years. And yes, I (eventually) got used to the weather here. I've also lived in Europe, where I experienced a starkly different climate. California weather is not my first choice, but guess what? Humans are very good at environmental adaptation. (Well, at least most of us.)

Feb 17, 2007, 9:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, while we're on the subject, did anyone see the article in Forbes magazine? The top city to work and live in the country is Raleigh, NC. In fact, many cities in the Southeast made the list. Why? Because the payscale is rising, the cost of living is low ( in fact, housing is falling there too) and the public schools are excellent.
Fascinating how the pendulum has clearly swung the other way.

Feb 19, 2007, 8:33:00 AM  

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