California

A New Vision For Southern California

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Since the start of the last century, Southern California has been a pioneer in building ways of living, and an economy, that broke with normal convention. Our region created a new paradigm, one both defining suburbanism and friendly to middle class aspirations, that attracted millions here.  read more »

In The New Year, Worry-Free California Has A Lot To Worry About

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Propped up by media idolatry, California is moving from denial to delusion. Case in point: A recent AP story claimed that the state “flush with cash from an expanding economy” would consider spending an additional billion dollars on health care for the undocumented, as well as a raft of new subsidies for housing and the working poor.  read more »

Bringing Down Housing Prices in the Bay Area

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On Sunday the New York Times ran a story on the difficulties of building new housing in California, focusing on the city of Berkeley. There’s a lot of good in the piece, including the insane difficulties of getting approvals to build even when you propose something in keeping with the existing zoning.  read more »

One In Five L.A. Community College Students Have Experienced Homelessness

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One would not usually associate homelessness with college students but in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) about one in every five students has experienced homelessness, according to the LACCD Report on Survey of Student Basic Needs.  read more »

Orange County’s Low Hanging Fruit

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There are things that we can do as a society to work through our big structural difficulties at an institutional level. And there are other things that can be done independently at the household level by individuals. I don’t have the technical skills, political skills, social skills, credentials, patience, or desire to engage the large scale systems. To be honest, I don’t think most people do. But there are all sorts of things that ordinary people can and should do on their own that can make a huge difference on the ground at room temperature.  read more »

Robert Iger For President? To Many Democrats, The Mouse May Look Like A Louse

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Few global companies enjoy as much public good will as the Walt Disney Company. The entertainment giant regularly ranks highly on lists of the most admired or trusted companies, including ones from Forbes and Fortune.  read more »

What Happens After Half Your Town Burns Down?

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Last month I wrote about how insurance companies are getting ahead of the curve by preemptively dropping coverage and/or significantly raising the cost of policies for properties believed to be at increased risk. Less than four weeks later forest fires ripped through Sonoma and Napa counties and destroyed 7,000 structures – most of them single family homes. These fires are now ranked as the most destructive and expensive in California history.  read more »

Protecting Cities in Fire-Prone Regions

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If you live in a fire-prone area, which includes most of California, it is not a good idea to allow ivy and other plants to cover the sides of your building, as this winery and this church did near Santa Rosa. Both were lost to last week’s wildfires.  read more »

Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism

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This is the historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. Back in 1874 land was platted in small twenty five foot wide lots and sold off with minimal infrastructure. Individuals built modest pragmatic structures with funds pulled largely from the household budget, extended family, and short term debt. This was long before the thirty year mortgage, government loan guaranties, mortgage interest tax deductions, zoning regulations, subsidies, economic development grants, or the codes we have today.  read more »

California Politicians Not Serious About Fixing Housing Crisis

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California’s political leaders, having ignored and even abetted our housing shortage, now pretend that they will “solve it.” Don’t bet on it.  read more »