Saturday, January 24, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
The Wall Street Journal:
New Survey Shows 66% of Millennials Want to Live in the Suburbs
Karla Kingsley and Matt Chwierut chose a single-family house in a neighborhood in Portland, Ore., based on its proximity to the city center. PHOTO: AMANDA LUCIER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
KRIS HUDSONJan. 21, 2015 10:19 p.m. ET
LAS VEGAS—One of the hottest debates among housing economists these days isn’t the trajectory of home sales, but whether millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, want to remain urbanites or eventually relocate to the suburbs.
Some demographers and economists argue that the preference of millennials, also called Generation Y, for city living will remain long lasting. And surveys of these young urban residents have tended to show that they don’t mind small living quarters as long as they have access to mass transit and are close to entertainment, dining and their workplaces.
But a survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders, a trade group, suggested otherwise. The survey, based on responses from 1,506 people born since 1977, found that most want to live in single-family homes outside of the urban center, even if they now reside in the city.
“While you are more likely to attract this generation than other generations to buy a condo or a house downtown, that is a relative term,” said Rose Quint, the association’s assistant vice president of survey research. “The majority of them will still want to buy the house out there in the suburbs.”
The survey, which was released at the association’s convention in Las Vegas, found that 66% want to live in the suburbs, 24% want to live in rural areas and 10% want to live in a city center. One of the main reasons people want to relocate from the city center, she said, is that they “want to live in more space than they have now.” The survey showed 81% want three or more bedrooms in their home.
The preferences of millennials are important to nearly every U.S. industry because of their size, which is estimated at between 70 and 80 million.
Not since the baby boomers, a generation that counts roughly 76 million people, has there been such a big population bulge.
For home builders, the survey results carry particular importance.
“The preference for the suburbs suggests that future demand will be in the form of single-family homes rather than condominiums more prevalent in cities,” said David Berson, chief economist with Nationwide Insurance Co. “That’s also good news for future suburban single-family sellers, many of whom are baby boomers.”
The survey results, though, could be skewed because they included only millennials who first answered that they bought a home within the past three years or intended to do so in the next three years. That excluded young people who intend to rent for many more years, which is a large and growing group, in part because of hefty student debt and the tight mortgage-lending standards of recent years.
The homeownership rate among heads of household 35 years of age or younger was at 36% in last year’s third quarter, the most recent data available. That is the lowest figure since the Commerce Department started tracking the data on a quarterly basis in 1994 and well short of the recent high of 43.1% in the third quarter of 2004.
Another factor leading to fewer young people buying homes is that women are waiting until later in life to have their first child. The average age of a mother at her first childbirth was 25.4 years in 2010, up from 22.7 in 1980, federal statistics show.
Stockton Williams, executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research group, said that many millennials still don’t have the financial resources to buy a home in the aftermath of the recession.
“There may be a strong interest, but there might also be a recognition that, at least for some, the opportunity to own a home might have to wait,” he said.
Some millennials said that they prefer to live in a house, but still enjoy living close to the city center.
When Karla Kingsley, a 32-year-old transportation consultant, and her fiancé bought a single-family home last month in Portland, Ore., for $375,000, she said the couple’s top priorities were finding a home close to restaurants, shops and their workplaces downtown.
“That was most important to us, to be able to walk to things from our house and to bike to work,” she said.
Kent Piacenti, a 33-year-old commercial litigation lawyer and his partner, took a similar approach when they bought a three-bedroom home less than four miles from downtown Dallas this month. The couple, who previously rented an apartment downtown, wanted more space for their two dogs and a pool.
“My absolute preference is to be as close to the city center as possible to be near work and near friends,” Mr. Piacenti said. “Our entire work and social network is in the city center.”
Thursday, January 22, 2015
California farmland-preservation program subsidizes high-density development
By Steven Greenhut 02:55p.m. Jan 21, 2015
SACRAMENTO — When it comes to consumer goods, most people understand the simple concept of supply and demand. If lots of people want the newest electronic widget and the factory in China hasn’t made enough of them yet, the price of the widget will go up. Once the factory starts cranking them out, the price will go down. Obviously.
When it comes to a more complex issue such as land use, people often ignore their Economics 101 textbooks. They see absurdly high home prices in, say, San Diego and figure that’s just what it costs to live in paradise. They focus, perhaps, on half of that equation: demand. But the other half is equally important: supply.
So much of California’s land is off limits from development – and government rules impose high costs on builders who want to construct anything on the remaining, developable land. It’s not a surprise the state has many of the nation’s priciest markets, and current policies are likely to exacerbate the problem.
I routinely hear from people who warn me about “Agenda 21” – a 1992 United Nations program that promotes so-called sustainable development. But the biggest force for constricting construction comes in city councils, county planning departments and state agencies, not from a confab in Rio de Janeiro.
How many Californians know the California Strategic Growth Council addressed new guidelines on its “Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program” this week? How many people even know that California has a Strategic Growth Council? The council’s staff report provides insight into California’s land-use conundrum.
The council’s plan provides a blueprint for spending $130 million appropriated in the 2014 budget to fund projects to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions “by creating more compact infill development patterns, encouraging active transportation and mass transit usage, and protecting agricultural land from sprawl development.”
Its goals are to “manage growth within discrete boundaries,” which, in practicality, means halting suburban-style developments and permanently locking up farmland for agricultural purposes in accordance with the state’s landmark 2006 anti-global-warming law (Assembly Bill 32) and Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that prods “metropolitan planning organizations” to require more “sustainable” development (attached housing and mass transit).
“The whole push is to get people to live in cities,” said Michael McSweeney, senior public policy adviser for the Building Industry Association of San Diego County. “The unintended consequence is when you constrain the use of land … the price of everything goes up.” Only 16 percent of San Diego County has been developed – and when it is fully “built out,” only 18 percent of its land will have been developed, he added. The rest is for agriculture, open space, government uses and parks.
There’s growing demand to live in San Diego, and other California metropolitan areas. The San Diego area needs about 12,000 new houses, condos and apartments a year to keep pace with the population, McSweeney said, but last year only expanded supply by 6,300. Homes aren’t widgets – but the principle is the same. Policy makers respond by subsidizing low-income housing, but that can never meet the demand – and most people want to buy market housing, not be stuck in deed-restricted low-income loss leaders.
It’s debatable whether high-density construction even alleviates global warming, but whatever the impact on the climate, it’s clear the impact on home affordability. And the state has been on this path for a long time.
“I don’t think these are going to make any difference,” said Randal O’Toole, a housing and transportation expert with the libertarian Cato Institute. “California has already forced 95 percent of its people to live on just 5.5 percent of its land – concentration that is far greater than in any other state. The ag program you mention will have little effect on this other than to subsidize some of that high-density housing.”
O’Toole estimates that “California housing prices could be as affordable as anywhere else in the country if as little as 3 percent more land were developed.” Just a little more supply would help meet the growing demand. Let’s hope California’s policy makers can do a little simple math.
Greenhut is the California columnist for U-T San Diego.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
A roomful of supporters of Susan Adams sends their fond farewell wishes to Susan Adams who was defeated in a landslide election in June 2014. The crowd was a who's who of Non Profit, Developers, Union executives and High Density Housing Advocates that formed the core of her base. Few supporters from Marinwood appeared.
Mary Jane Burke, the Marin County Superintendent of Schools sang a tribute to the tune of on the "Twelve Days of Xmas" a song of praise of what Susan Adams "Gave to Us".
Mary Jane Burke, the Marin County Superintendent of Schools sang a tribute to the tune of on the "Twelve Days of Xmas" a song of praise of what Susan Adams "Gave to Us".
According the www.transparentcalifornia.com, Mary Jane Burke earned $274,765.60 in 2013 in total compensation. I imagine she has much to be grateful for. Her taxpayer supported pension must be worth millions.
I guess you have to pay the big bucks for top talent. Listen to the song and you be the judge.
If you'd rather not watch either one of the above videos, here is a clip from the Wizard of Oz to entertain you.
If you'd rather not watch either one of the above videos, here is a clip from the Wizard of Oz to entertain you.
There’s No Such Thing as an Unregulated Market
It’s a choice between regulation by legislators or by consumers
JANUARY 14, 2015 by HOWARD BAETJER JR.
Filed Under : Free Markets, Government Intervention, Market Process, Regulation
A big economic problem the world faces is semantic. That is, “regulation” has come to mean “government regulation.” We don’t seem to be aware of the alternative: regulation by market forces. That’s a problem because it leads us to accept so much government meddling that we would be better off without.
We want the aims of regulation — regularity and predictability in markets, decent quality and reasonable prices for the goods and services we buy — and thinking that government regulation is the only way to get those, we accept a vast array of unnecessary, wrongheaded, and usually counterproductive mandates and restrictions.
But government regulation is not the only kind of regulation.
To regulate is to make regular and orderly, to hold to a standard, to control according to rule, as a thermostat regulates the temperature in a building. Market forces do this continually as competing businesses offer what they hope will be a good value, then customers choose among the various offerings, then the competing businesses react to customers’ choices. That process is the market’s regulator.
Markets regulate prices
To take an example of market regulation so ubiquitous that many people are as unaware of it as a fish is unaware of the water it swims in, market forces regulate prices. In healthy industries, market forces are the only regulator of prices (and it’s common in economics textbooks to find that the moment governments start to restrict prices, the result is surpluses or shortages). The terms of exchange offered by some sellers restrict the terms of exchange other sellers can offer in any realistic hope that they’ll be accepted.
If the Giant supermarket near my home is charging $2.00 a pound for red peppers, the more upscale Eddie’s Market will not be able to charge a whole lot more than that and still sell many peppers. Neither will other grocery stores or the farm stands that open nearby in the summer. All will charge nearly the same price. There is strong regularity to the prices of red peppers at any place and time. This regulation is accomplished by each seller’s reaction to the actions of his customers and competitors.
Markets regulate quality
The same goes for quality. My wife won’t buy peppers that aren’t fresh and firm as long as she thinks she can get better peppers at some other store. The grocers might wish they could sell last week’s peppers that are getting soft on the shelf, but customers like my wife, along with the self-interested actions of other stores, won’t let them. Their customers’ choices and competitors’ actions restrict (that is, regulate) even the quality of produce they can offer for sale — let alone actually sell — because customers like my wife spurn stores whose produce is shabbier than that offered nearby. Stores in competitive markets cannot afford to put off customers like my wife, so they maintain decent quality, even if they would prefer not to. In this manner, market forces regulate quality.
Government regulation hampers market regulation
Regulation by market forces weakens as a market becomes less free. Imagine a grocery store with a legal monopoly on red peppers. Such a store, lacking competition, could charge a wide range of prices, offer a wide range of quality, and still be able to sell. Legally, its customers would have nowhere else to turn.
The same would apply if there were competing grocery stores, but restrictions on importing peppers: the pressure on domestic producers to maintain quality and hold down price would be reduced. That is to say, quality and price would be less tightly regulated.
Freedom of exchange makes regulation by market forces tight. Where competing grocery stores are free to sell red peppers, and red pepper customers are free to take their business elsewhere or go without, prices and product quality are tightly regulated. This beneficial regulation by market forces weakens as markets become less free.
So we have a paradox: the less a market is regulated — no, that’s not the right word; the less a market isrestricted — by government, the more it is regulated by market forces. Conversely, the more government restriction, the less regulation by market forces. There is a direct trade-off between the two.
We never face a choice between regulation and no regulation. We face a choice between kinds of regulation: regulation by legislatures and bureaucracies, or regulation by market forces — regulation by restriction of choice, or regulation by the exercise of choice.
There is no such thing as an unregulated free market. If a market is free, it is closely regulated by the free choices of market participants. The actions of each constrain and influence the actions of others in ways that make actions regular — more or less predictable, falling within understandable bounds.
Government regulation is not the only kind of regulation; market forces also regulate. Recognizing this, communicating it to others, and getting the awareness into public discourse are key steps toward greater economic liberty.
The benefit of this semantic change — opening up the meaning of “regulation” to include regulation by market forces — is to raise the question, which works better? Regulation by market forces works better, but that’s another argument. The first step is to recognize that market forces regulate, too.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Monday, January 19, 2015
see original post HERE
I have lived in my current neighborhood for about four years now. On this earth, I have lived in 7 total states including the one I live in right now. I have traveled to different countries on a couple occasions and have lived in rather diverse neighborhoods growing up. I would say I’ve taken advantage of most opportunities life has given me when it comes to places I have been. There is a reason behind me saying all this. At an early age around junior high, I learned a little about libertarianism. Skip ahead a couple of years to high school. I was still a libertarian but there were some caveats, such as closed immigration with the current safety net and, well, I wouldn’t say I was for a national language but was not opposed either. Mind you, this was way before I became an anarchist.
Was this position a bigoted one? I don’t know. That is debatable. While I don’t mean to stray off into immigration, my point is more to the overall premise. I wasn’t actually saying or believing people of different ethnicity shouldn’t come in the U.S. or learn English because they were below me as a human or by any means that I was superior. Nonetheless, I had these views until I moved to New York to finish high school. It was here where those views completely disappeared. Looking back on them, I am glad they are behind me. With New York’s cultural melting pot, I was able to notice how many cultures mingled with each other. I lived in a Colombian neighborhood, but walking from street to street I saw those neighborhoods go from Colombian to Jamaican to Indian (dots, not feathers) to Korean. During those couple of years living in NY, I traveled outside of the U.S., and it was during those couple of years that I felt as though being around and experiencing different cultures made the race issue obsolete. People wanted to pursue their own interests, trade, and what you looked like or where you came from was not a matter. Sure, there are some bad apples, especially in NY (no pun intended), but from experience, I would say it is true that people mostly forget about race or it was never an issue to begin with. This brings to mind the famous quote by Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” I whole-heartedly agree. Like Twain, I like to think that traveling, culture, and trade erases much hatred out of people’s lives, which is why I referred to my own such experiences above.
Some people’s lives aren’t as advantageous though, and some don’t share this stance, which brings me to the next part of this tale, my neighbor. As was stated in the beginning, I have been living in my neighborhood for about 4 years. One day about two and a half years ago, I was walking from the train when I heard someone playing their
Sunday, January 18, 2015
The Power of Non-violence
Martin Luther King, Jr.
June 04, 1957
NOT TO HUMILIATE BUT TO WIN OVER
Another thing that we had to get over was the fact that the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. This was always a cry that we had to set before people that our aim is not to defeat the white community, not to humiliate the white community, but to win the friendship of all of the persons who had perpetrated this system in the past. The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.
Then we had to make it clear also that the nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system. And this is why I say from time to time that the struggle in the South is not so much the tension between white people and Negro people. The struggle is rather between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. And if there is a victory it will not be a victory merely for fifty thousand Negroes. But it will be a victory for justice, a victory for good will, a victory for democracy.
Another basic thing we had to get over is that nonviolent resistance is also an internal matter. It not only avoids external violence or external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. And so at the center of our movement stood the philosophy of love. The attitude that the only way to ultimately change humanity and make for the society that we all long for is to keep love at the center of our lives. Now people used to ask me from the beginning what do you mean by love and how is it that you can tell us to love those persons who seek to defeat us and those persons who stand against us; how can you love such persons? And I had to make it clear all along that love in its highest sense is not a sentimental sort of thing, not even an affectionate sort of thing.
The Greek language uses three words for love. It talks about eros. Eros is a sort of aesthetic love. It has come to us to be a sort of romantic love and it stands with all of its beauty. But when we speak of loving those who oppose us we’re not talking about eros. The Greek language talks about philia and this is a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends. This is a vital, valuable love. But when we talk of loving those who oppose you and those who seek to defeat you we are not talking about eros or philia. The Greek language comes out with another word and it is agape. Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men. Biblical theologians would say it is the love of God working in the minds of men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. And when you come to love on this level you begin to love men not because they are likeable, not because they do things that attract us, but because God loves them and here we love the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. It is the type of love that stands at the center of the movement that we are trying to carry on in the Southland—agape.
SOME POWER IN THE UNIVERSE THAT WORKS FOR JUSTICE
I am quite aware of the fact that there are persons who believe firmly in nonviolence who do not believe in a personal God, but I think every person who believes in nonviolent resistance believes somehow that the universe in some form is on the side of justice. That there is something unfolding in the universe whether one speaks of it as a unconscious process, or whether one speaks of it as some unmoved mover, or whether someone speaks of it as a personal God. There is something in the universe that unfolds for justice and so in Montgomery we felt somehow that as we struggled we had cosmic companionship. And this was one of the things that kept the people together, the belief that the universe is on the side of justice.
God grant that as men and women all over the world struggle against evil systems they will struggle with love in their hearts, with understanding good will. Agape says you must go on with wise restraint and calm reasonableness but you must keep moving. We have a great opportunity in America to build here a great nation, a nation where all men live together as brothers and respect the dignity and worth of all human personality. We must keep moving toward that goal. I know that some people are saying we must slow up. They are writing letters to the North and they are appealing to white people of good will and to the Negroes saying slow up, you’re pushing too fast. They are saying we must adopt a policy of moderation. Now if moderation means moving on with wise restraint and calm reasonableness, then moderation is a great virtue that all men of good will must seek to achieve in this tense period of transition. But if moderation means slowing up in the move for justice and capitulating to the whims and caprices of the guardians of the deadening status quo, then moderation is a tragic vice which all men of good will must condemn. We must continue to move on. Our self—respect is at stake; the prestige of our nation is at stake. Civil rights is an eternal moral issue which may well determine the destiny of our civilization in the ideological struggle with communism. We must keep moving with wise restraint and love and with proper discipline and dignity.
THE NEED TO BE “MALADJUSTED”
Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word “maladjusted.” Now we all should seek to live a well—adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things. I call upon you to be as maladjusted to such things. I call upon you to be as maladjusted as Amos who in the midst of the injustices of his day cried out in words that echo across the generation, “Let judgment run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln who had the vision to see that this nation could not exist half slave and half free. As maladjusted as Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery could cry out, “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth who dreamed a dream of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. God grant that we will be so maladjusted that we will be able to go out and change our world and our civilization. And then we will be able to move from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.
Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Jan. 17
Marin Independent Journal
Open the doors on closed-session pay talks
Dick Spotswood's Jan. 14 column regarding the secretive process that is the fossilized standard for labor negotiations was repeated by our county's Board of Supervisors on Jan. 13.
Item 16 on the Board of Supervisors' agenda was: Closed Session: Instructions to labor negotiator (Human Resources Director) regarding negotiations with various unions representing virtually all of the county's employees.
The supervisors completed Item 15 during the morning session, which was videoed and adjourned at .
Upon reconvening at (the video, if any, not posted), according to the assistant clerk of the board, the results of the closed session, Item 16, were announced as: "Instructions were given to the labor negotiator."
That's all. No details.
Those who pay the bills had no input and evidently don't deserve to know.
Spotswood's opinion that the public is shut out of almost every aspect of the process was confirmed yet again.
Considering Marin's massive unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities, the only responsible approach towards labor negotiations is to conduct them in a transparent manner.
Last year, the Southern California city of Costa Mesa finalized its labor agreement with non-safety union members using a process known as Civic Openness in Negotiations. The process involved numerous negotiations, including costs of salaries, benefits, etc. and the impacts on long-term costs of pensions and retiree health care.
All the offers and counter-offers by the city and the union representatives are posted on the city's website. Before acceptance, the proposed final agreement was presented at two council meetings where the taxpayers had the opportunity to review and comment on the terms and conditions.
It is time for this open negotiation process to be adopted — immediately — in Marin County. Write your supervisor and demand it.
— Richard G. Tait, Mill Valley, Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans