San Francisco

The Golden Horseshoe

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I’ve been having an ongoing series of conversations with my young friend Gracen up in Toronto about how to make sense of the Canadian real estate market. We see each other a few times a year as we both travel around North America.  read more »

California's Low-wage Jobs Crisis

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Media, the political class and policy wonks have identified the “housing crisis” as California’s existential challenge.

Yet, in reality, more critical may be a “jobs crisis” that is condemning ever more Californians to permanent low-wage purgatory.

Viewed in aggregate, California employment growth in the past decade has outperformed the rest of the country, although the state lags its prime competitors Utah, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Nevada. In more recent years the state has remained ahead of the national average, although clearly losing momentum.  read more »

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

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“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta,” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. “Not only can we lead California into the future . . . we can show the nation and the world how to get there.” When a movie star who once played Hercules says so who’s to disagree?  read more »

Afterburn

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Here in California we’ve just received our first rain since last winter after another brutal round of massive forest fires. Our Mediterranean style climate cycles from a long dry hot period to a few short cool wet winter months. October is our most fire prone time of year. It’s hot, the earth is bone dry, the vegetation is brittle, and windstorms stir up fires like a giant hair dryer. Cyclical burns are part of the ecosystem here and are normal and necessary.  read more »

Charles Schwab Moving San Francisco HQ to Texas

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Nov. 25, 2019: The brokerage firm Charles Schwab announced today it would acquire TD Ameritrade in a $26 billion deal and as part of the transaction Schwab will move its headquarters to the Dallas-Forth Worth area.  read more »

Unsustainable California

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The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population.  read more »

The Expanding and Dispersing San Francisco Bay Area

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This decade has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area or CSA), with the addition of three Central Valley metropolitan areas, Stockton, Modesto and Merced. Over the same period, there has been both a drop in the population growth rate and a shift of growth to the Central Valley exurban metropolitan areas.  read more »

California's Man-made Power Outages

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Californians are mired in a conundrum of conflicting goals to accommodate its growing population, its growing number of registered vehicles, the need for more housing to accommodate its growth, and the unrestricted growth of its forests where much of the housing is encroaching.  read more »

Even Before the Blackouts, Most Californians Considered Leaving

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For virtually all of its history from statehood in 1850 to 2000, California was a magnet drawing households from the rest of the United States for better lives. Indeed, in a nation that had its "American Dream," California had its own "California Dream."  There was no Oregon dream, despite its mountains , seashore and proximity to California, nor was there a Maine or South Carolina dream.  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

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The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »