Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Will Marin become a two caste system too?

Will Marin become a two caste system too?

Playgrounds for Elites
The increasingly left-wing politics of leading U.S. cities clashes with the aspirations of middle-class residents.
By Joel Kotkin & Wendell Cox — December 12, 2017

Kill the Mortgage Interest Deduction Now!

The case against the mortgage interest deduction.  I don't have problems with it as long is it is a part of wholesale tax reform- such as the flat tax.  Just eliminating the deduction will give a HUGE tax hike for the average homeowner.  Short of massive tax reform, I think it is foolish to consider changing it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Judge Halts Indiana Town's Cruel Attempt to Fine Residents Out of their Properties

Judge Halts Indiana Town's Cruel Attempt to Fine Residents Out of their Properties

Property owners were ordered to pay thousands for violations unless they agreed to sell to a redeveloper.

Pleasant RidgeInstitute for JusticeA judge in Indiana has stopped a city's nasty plot to make people sell their homes to a redeveloper or else face thousands of dollars of rapidly accumulating fines.
In Charlestown, Indiana, a community north of Louisville with a population of less than 8,000, the mayor and other city leaders have been trying to transfer ownership of private plots of land in the low-income neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge to a developer. This developer would then raze all the properties and build an entirely new neighborhood.
Charlestown did not take advantage of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court decision that allows the government to transfer property to a private developer via eminent domain. That would have required the city to pay the property's current owners.
Instead, the city targeted Pleasant Ridge with ruthless code enforcement. Property owners were cited and fined hundreds of dollars for every individual violation. Unlike the usual practice in code enforcement, the owners were not given any grace period to correct the problems before the fines were levied: They were levied immediately and compounded daily until the problems were fixed. And even when the violations were fixed, the owners had to pay the fines. The only relief offered to them came if they agreed to sell their properties to the developer.
Once the developer bought and boarded up the homes, by contrast, the city refrained from citing it for code violations. Neighbors complained that the company's properties were overgrown and full of garbage and weeds, creating a public health risk. But the law wasn't being used to target public health risks; it was being used to target people who wouldn't sell.
In February, the libertarian attorneys of the Institute for Justice stepped in, representing several landowners and a neighborhood association. Yesterday, a circuit judge in Scott County sided with the institute and its clients. Judge Jason Mount ruled that Charlestown had violated its own code enforcement regulations in order to target Pleasant Ridge. He has ordered the city to give property owners the opportunity to appeal citations and a grace period to actually fix problems before the city is permitted to start levying fines.
In a release, Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Anthony Sanders took note of the victory and the judge's acknowledgment of the unfair enforcement:
Today's ruling unmasks the City of Charlestown's and developer John Neace's actions for what they are: a naked land grab, taking from the poor to give to the rich. With this injunction in place, the city either must force Mr. Neace's company to pay several million dollars in fines or waive the fines it has illegally and unconstitutionally issued against the residents of Pleasant Ridge.
That's two wins in less than a week for the lawyers at the Institute for Justice. That's good news for private property rights.
Read more about the case here

The Vampire Cure for Aging

The Vampire Cure for Aging

Watch out Millennials! Baby Boomers are out for blood.

Human blood enables vampires to remain physically attractive and mentally sharp according to ancient lore. But the anti-aging properties of blood may be more than a legend. Researchers at the biomedical startup Alkahest in California are actually running a small clinical trial that involves injecting human blood plasma from young people into dementia patients. The hope is that factors in the blood of young people will repair and rejuvenate ailing brains. It worked in mice, so maybe it will work in people.
Researchers associated with University of California, Berkeley, biologist Irina Conboy jumpstarted the hunt for youthful factors in blood with their work with mice involving heterochronic parabiosis. Heterochronic means differently aged and parabiosis means next to life. In their experiments the researchers basically sewed together young mice and old mice to see what would happen as their circulatory systems melded. They discovered that tissues in geezer mice were rejuvenated. Apparently, something in the blood of young mice stimulates the worn-out stem cells in old mice to start proliferating again to repair damaged tissues.
Stem cells are surrounded and supported by cells that regulate their activities and also respond to biochemical signals transported through the circulatory system. The support cells accumulate damage over time and lose their ability to nourish and protect the stem cells, which, in turn, lose their capacity for repair and replenishment of damaged tissues. In addition, factors found in the bloodstream also diminish the regenerative capacity of the stem cells.
Experiments on mice by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco all find that young blood rejuvenates tissues and organs including muscles, liver, heart, and brain. Neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray heads up the Stanford Brain Rejuvenation Project and is the founder of Alkahest. In May, 2014, Wyss-Coray and his team reported in Nature Medicine that "exposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level." Specifically, they found that factors in young blood restored function in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are consolidated. On the other hand, exposing young mice to old blood speeds up their decline. The researchers also found that it was not necessary to stitch old and young mice together. Injecting them with blood plasma was sufficient to elicit the effects.
NosferatuNosferatuThe finding that exposure to young blood improves brain function is what is behind Alkahest's clinical trial to see if infusing blood plasma from young people into patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease will improve their cognition. The company expects to enroll 18 patients in the coming trial, half of whom will receive infusions of human blood plasma donated by men under age 30 once weekly for four weeks. The other half will receive saline. The trial will chiefly focus on the safety of the treatment and compliance by participants. Additionally, researchers will compare both groups to see if those treated with blood plasma perform better on a number of tests for Alzheimer's disease and if changes suggestive of cognitive improvement can be identified in their brains. The trial ends in October 2015.
What factors in young blood are responsible for its rejuvenating effects? As it happens, Harvard University researchers Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin in May 2014 reported in two studies in Science that the protein growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF 11) alone rejuvenated the vascular systems, muscles, and brains of old mice. They injected GDF 11 into the brains of geezer mice and found the protein improved blood flow and jumpstarted the growth of neurons. It is an open question if GDF 11 fixes damaged stem cells or enables them to overcome biochemical stop signals after which they then proceed to repair aging damage.
In September 2014, Science noted that University of California, San Francisco's Peter Ganz and his colleagues have followed nearly 2,000 elderly heart patients for nine years. Their so far unpublished data indicates that lower levels of GDF11 in the blood predicted higher rates of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, and overall mortality. The Harvard researchers expect to have GDF 11 in initial human clinical trials in three to five years.
The good news is that if GDF 11 and other anti-aging factors can be isolated from young blood and synthesized, we baby boomers can then avoid having to siphon blood plasma from Millennials in order to maintain our position as the most (self-)important generation in history.

They're leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

They're leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

DEC 03, 2017 | 7:00 AM

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It’s close, it’s a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you.

You'd like to think it will get better, but when? All around you, young and old alike are saying goodbye to California.

"Best thing I could have done," said retiree Michael J. Van Essen, who was paying $1,160 for a one-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake until a year and a half ago. Then he bought a house with a creek behind it for $165,000 in Mason City, Iowa, and now pays $500 a month less on his mortgage than he did on his rent in Los Angeles.

Van Essen was one of the many readers who responded in October when I reached out to people who got sick and tired of the high cost of living in California. I heard from someone in Idaho and others who moved to Arizona and Nevada.

Solid recent data is hard to come by, but 2016 census figures showed an uptick in the number of people who fled Los Angeles and Orange counties for less expensive California locales, or they left the state altogether.

"If housing costs continue to rise, we should expect to see more people leaving high-cost areas," said Jed Kolko, an economist with UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation.

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It's close, it's a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper, with plenty of brand-new houses going for between $200,000 and $300,000.

So I went to Sin City to see whether, when you add up all the pluses and minuses, there is life after California.

Cyndy Hernandez, a 30-year-old USC grad who grew up in Fontana, says the answer is yes, absolutely.

"It's easier to live here and have a comfortable lifestyle," said Hernandez, a community organizer with NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada.

Play VideoCyndy Hernandez, a 30-year-old USC grad who grew up in Fontana, moved to Las Vegas because of the cheaper housing costs.

I visited Hernandez in the two-bedroom, mountain-view "apartment-home" she shares with a roommate. Each pays $650 a month in a gated development with free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and cabana-shaded deck, fitness center, media room and complimentary beverages. It's like living at a resort.

Like other transplants I spoke to in Nevada, Herndandez didn't want to leave California. It's home. It's where she went to school and where her parents still live in the house she grew up in. But unless you choose a career that will pay you a small fortune to manage costs driven higher by a stubborn shortage of new housing, California is not a dream, it's a mirage.

Moving to get a better job or move up the workplace chain is nothing new. But what's going on here seems different — people leaving not for better jobs or pay, but because housing elsewhere is so much cheaper they can live the middle-class life that eludes them in California.

After college, Hernandez worked as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., and then went to Chicago for a few years. But the West drew her back. Not California, but Nevada, where she worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Las Vegas and then joined the staff of a state legislator in the state capital.

"I started looking at the bigger picture in Carson City, where I was able to pay the rent, have a car and a comfortable life and put some money into a 401(k)," Hernandez said. "Would I be able to do that in California? Probably not."

She moved to Las Vegas in June, enjoyed exploring the city beyond the Strip and made new friends, and her financial stress melted away in the desert sun. Now she's saving up for a house, which she doesn't think she would ever have been able to do in California.

Hernandez connected me with Arlene Angulo, 23, who grew up in Riverside, worked as a cast member at Disneyland, loved the L.A. culture and got her teaching credential at UC Riverside. She had her pick of two teaching jobs — one in the Los Angeles area and one in Las Vegas.

"L.A. would have been my first choice, and I didn't want to have to leave California," said Angulo, an English teacher who understands basic math. She knew that on a starting teacher's salary, "I couldn't afford to stay there."

In Summerlin, a Las Vegas suburb, Angulo and a roommate each pays $600 for a big three-bedroom apartment. Angulo is in graduate school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while teaching by day, and said she's going to start saving up to buy a house in the area.

Jonas Peterson enjoyed the California lifestyle and trips to the beach while living in Valencia with his wife, a nurse, and their two young kids. But in 2013, he answered a call to head the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the family moved to Henderson, Nev.

Jonas Peterson, in front of a billboard promoting Las Vegas, moved to Henderson, Nev., with his family from Valencia. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

"We doubled the size of our house and lowered our mortgage payment," said Peterson, whose wife is focusing on the kids now instead of her career.

Part of Peterson's job is to lure companies to Nevada, a state that runs on gaming money rather than tax dollars.

"There's no corporate income tax, no personal income tax...and the regulatory environment is much easier to work with," said Peterson.

Some companies have made the move from California, and others have set up satellites in Nevada. California, a world economic power, will survive the raids, and it will continue to draw people from other states and around the world. Its assets include cutting-edge tech and entertainment industries, major ports, great weather and dozens of first-rate universities.

But the Golden State is tarnished and ever-more divided by a crisis with no end in sight, and this year's legislative efforts to spawn more housing for working people lacked urgency and scale. Slowly, steadily, and somewhat indifferently, we are burdening, breaking and even exporting our middle class.

Breanna Rawding, 26, felt the squeeze. She grew up in Simi Valley and until recently worked in Anaheim as a marketing coordinator, but lived in Burbank because family friends let her stay in a tiny backyard cottage for just $400 a month.

Breanna Rawding, 26, manager of marketing communications of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, spends time with her dog Bodie in her apartment in Las Vegas. She moved from Burbank to escape a long commute. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

Her commute, by car and train, took between 90 minutes and two hours each way. She wanted to move to the Platinum Triangle area, near her job, but scratched the idea when she saw that studio apartments were going for as much as $1,700.

Rawding endured the commute, as well as a long-distance relationship with a boyfriend who was raised in Torrance and went to UCLA, but lived in Las Vegas. There, he could afford a nice apartment on his teacher's salary, and he recently signed papers to buy a house in a new development.

"I didn't want to leave California. I love the weather, I love the outdoors, I love my family and friends," said Rawding, a Chapman University grad.

But in California she saw a future in which she'd be trapped, indefinitely, by high rents, ridiculous commutes, or some combination of the two.

"I saw articles about millennials leaving California because they were never going to be able to have houses they could afford," she said.

In June, everything changed for Rawding.

She got a marketing communications job with the Global Economic Alliance in Vegas and rented a lovely $900-a-month apartment that's so close to work, she goes home at lunch to let her dog Bodie out. And it's near her boyfriend's place.

Nevada's gain, our loss.

California, the place where anything was possible, has become the place where nothing is affordable.

Sunday, December 10, 2017



 An ASS and a Fox had become close comrades, and were constantly in each other's company. While the Ass cropped a fresh bit of greens, the Fox would devour a chicken from the neighboring farmyard or a bit of cheese filched from the dairy. One day the pair, unexpectedly met a Lion. The Ass was very much frightened, but the Fox calmed his fears.

"I will talk to him," he said. 

So the Fox walked boldly up to the Lion.

"Your highness," he said in an undertone, so the Ass could not hear him, "I've got a fine scheme in nay head. If you promise not to hurt me, I will lead that foolish creature yonder into a pit where he can't get out, and you can feast at your pleasure."

The Lion agreed and the Fox returned to the Ass.

"I made him promise not to hurt us," said the Fox. "But come, I know a good place to hide till he is gone."

So the Fox led the Ass into a deep pit. But when the Lion saw that the Ass was his for the taking. he first of all struck down the traitor Fox.

Traitors may expect treachery.

Garage Apartment ideas

Tiny Apartments

Friday, December 8, 2017

Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD tepid response to Illegal Tree Removal on the Nature Trail.

Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager

Email sent to me by Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager on 12/7/2017:

Considering what we have learned of the resident, an elderly widow who recently lost her husband and have owned their property for over 40 years, I seriously doubt she had any malicious intent in her actions.  We are attempting to make contact and speak with the resident, upon which time District personnel will decide the most appropriate course of action.  Ideally, this will be done in a neighborly fashion with and in the cooperation and understanding of the resident. Thank you for your concern and bringing this to the attention of the District. Eric

Here is how the Marin Board of Supervisors responded to a similar situation in 2010.

Marin will throw the book at San Rafael tree vandal suspect

Marin County will throw the book at a San Francisco dentist accused of vandalizing McNears Beach Park by cutting eucalyptus trees.
Marin County supervisors emerged from a closed session Tuesday to report the county will sue Dr. Rebecca P. Castaneda in civil court for damages after the tree cutting in which one eucalyptus was chainsawed and others stripped of branches this summer in an apparent bid to open up a backyard bay vista.
Castaneda was charged with one count of felony vandalism and two misdemeanor counts of illegal tree cutting in a complaint filed by District Attorney Edward Berberian in Marin County Superior Court on Monday.
But the county board agreed that in addition to the felony case pursued by Berberian, the county will press a civil action.
"The board has authorized county counsel to file a civil action against Rebecca Castaneda and any other parties county counsel determines are responsible, in connection with cutting of trees on or about Aug. 3, 2010 on county property in McNears Park," the board said in a written statement distributed by president Judy Arnold.
Arnold did not elaborate but Supervisor Susan Adams said all agreed that "there should be a clear message sent that destruction of public property should not be allowed to happen."
Adams added it was unfortunate Castenada "did not call me" to discuss the tree issue in her San Rafael-area district.
Officials have said the county might recover "treble damages" in civil court, and one county estimate put the damage at $80,000.
Castaneda's attorney, Marc Stolman of Larkspur, has called the vandalism charge filed by Berberian ridiculous, saying "the real issue ? is the county's failure to maintain the trees."
Stolman was not immediately available for comment on the county's civil suit.
The towering trees are just below Castaneda's home at 64 Marin Bay Park Court in a gated subdivision off Point San Pedro Road, north of the entrance to the county park.
Stolman has called for a settlement, saying that "although my client does not admit anything, she has offered to take all action necessary to replace any dead or damaged trees, preferably with safe, native trees, and she will help make McNears Beach Park nicer than eve

Editor's Note:  Mr Dreikosen's response is glaringly inconsistent.  Several months ago, Alan Miller, 50+ year resident of Marinwood and Marin IJ writer asked the Marinwood CSD to help pay for landslide repairs after a landslide from Marinwood open space destroyed his backyard.  Dreikosen stonewalled the Millers and the last reports were the issue may have to be resolved in court.  Dreikosen has refused to mediate against the advice of many residents.

The Anti YIMBY Millennials

After dealing with insufferable, millennial YIMBYs on Twitter who want to destroy the Marin County way of life, it is refreshing to listen to young musicians enjoying life without regrets, anger and entitlement.  Chill out.