Weekly Roundup: Consensus Up Your Backyard Edition

Here’s the plot: A Midwestern city is filled with single-family homes, many of which were owned across generations. A bunch of developers come in. Aided by external interests, they rewrite the zoning laws on a city-wide basis, allowing them to place multi-family dwellings anywhere regardless of previous zoning or the existing residents’ opinions. It no longer matters what your neighborhood was or what you want it to be — it’s now fair game for low-cost housing.

In an era of significantly decreasing violent crime nationwide, there’s a reverse trend in this city. Rape, murder, burglary, auto theft — all posting double-digit percentage increases. The established residents aren’t rich, having a median income of $65,000 — but now they’re surrounded by people with a median income of $20k. Anyone who complains is told they’re free to sell their home and move, but their incomes wouldn’t give them a chance at owning a home in most parts of the country. And the future looks bleaker still, because in the next 20 years this ambitious plan will be taken citywide. Worse than that, there are plans to do it elsewhere.

Anybody want to guess how the national media is covering this disaster?

That’s right: as a victory for racial equality in Minneapolis. The Newspeak deployed to praise it should frighten anyone who has managed to achieve home ownership in this country:

Ultimately, Worthington says, promoting racial equity became the central focus of the housing debate, rather than the NIMBY concern of preserving neighborhood character… “When you make these piecemeal decisions, that’s when you really get homeowners and NIMBYs exerting outsize interest,” he says. “[The city] did it across the board, and they did it fairly, reducing the ability of local neighborhood groups to say, ‘You’re singling us out.’”

“Exerting outsize interest.” That’s a fascinating phrase, isn’t it? If you have a problem with zoning laws being changed in your neighborhood, that’s “exerting outsize interest.” The people in a developer’s office or political-action committee dozens or even thousands of miles away, deciding what should be built down the street from you and your children? Their interest is, of course, perfectly sized. And the “consensus” that is “built” by the “community advocates”? That doesn’t mean they’ll convince you of their righteousness. It means they’ll convince the people who hold power over you — at the city, state, and federal level. You will remain unconvinced, which will have approximately as much meaning as Winston Smith’s diary.

It’s being portrayed as an issue of race, of course, because framing a desired social change as an issue of race is like having a 16-year-old girl with various developmental handicaps represent your cause to the United Nations. (Which is to say that doing so puts critics on a permanent back foot. The only way you can criticize children or minorities in America is if they are right of center, in which case you can wish them into a woodchipper or imply that they are house slaves.) We are told that black families can’t afford homes and that putting multi-family dwellings in single-family zones is an act of racial justice. Which it might be, if you could somehow gin up a method for ensuring that the people moving into those multi-family dwellings were black families who had been unfairly penalized by America’s racist economy — but you can’t, at least not without getting the Supreme Court involved. So you won’t be able to guarantee that the new residents will be previously-oppressed people of color. You will only be able to guarantee that they will be poorer than the people into whose backyards they are moving.

The Minneapolis case is an almost perfect synecdoche of today’s corporate wokeness-in-profitable-action. You create a problem that was not previously understood to exist — too many lower-middle-class people who own single-family homes in an area. You identify a racial component to that problem — black people in the area have a median income which cuts them out of the same opportunities. Then you design a profitable solution to that problem — building thousands of duplexes and triplexes, each of which yields more profit than the equivalent single-family home. Since families with a median income of $20,000 can’t qualify for a mortgage of any type, these new homes will be rentals. Which in turn will enrich yet another investor class — the people who will own the rentals. The consequences for the people who own homes in Minneapolis today will be significant, because rental units always decrease the quality of life around them regardless of the color (or creed) professed by their occupants. By the time that is apparent, however, the people involved will be working their next scam somewhere else, having profited mightily from this one.

The fiscal interest in this “YIMBY” movement is easy to discern — but what about the Minneapolis residents who are actively campaigning for these multi-family dwellings, including a group called “Neighbors For More Neighbors”? Well, they tend to hew to a particular type:

I believe that’s called “soyface”, is it not? They’re young, they’re renters rather than homeowners, they’re childless. In other words, they’re itinerant, with few or no ties to the communities they are eagerly re-engineering. Most importantly, they represent the single most important change in American politics over the past hundred years: the change in emphasis from commitment to involvement. Historically, we have privileged the committed over the involved when it comes to local politics. On a national level, my vote as homeowner and head of household is worth no more than that of the boomerang kid who delivers my pizza — but locally, I can expect that I’ll be heard and he will be ignored, because I have made financial and personal commitments to my township. It would take real effort for me to sell my house and move, whereas the renters and the grifters can split with thirty days’ notice or less. I’m also paying more in property taxes than the resident of a thousand-square-foot apartment pays through his rent. So it seems reasonable that my voice would count for more than, say, that of someone who walks (or trains) dogs for a living while “staying at” a studio apartment.

When I was a renter and itinerant myself, I did not expect to have much voice in my community’s affairs. The next generation of renters is not so apathetic. Spurred on by the entirely legitimate concern that they have been priced out of home ownership entirely, and seeing themselves more as members of a global community than tied to any particular locality or identity, these young people are anxious to immanentize the eschaton in their own temporary backyards. No wonder they are so eager for increased housing density, even if it damages the lives and prospects of existing homeowners. They’ll never get a chance to own a home, so why should they care if some winner of the birth-year lottery suffers because the empty space behind his lot is replaced with a duplex, a triplex, or a Baltimore-style housing project?

I also have to suspect that, in some cases at least, the suffering of those homeowners is the primary goal rather than a happy consequence. We’re seeing something similar in the gleeful deconstruction of everything from major-league sports to Star Wars by a new generation of culture warriors who fully understand the power to be gained by taking the things your enemy loves and twisting them beyond recognition. They are no more likely to believe in “live and let live” than the commissars of the Khmer Rouge were to permit the unrestricted wearing of corrective spectacles. Part of my day job involves what we call “saving driving” so I’ve taken a great interest of late in the actions and beliefs of the people who want to restrict or eliminate the ownership of gasoline-powered automobiles. A surprising number of them will admit that they don’t really care if there’s a net climatological benefit to banning the Challenger Hellcat Widebody; they find the existence of such things repugnant on moral grounds and therefore: hey hey, ho ho, the 6.2 has got to go.

The great insight these people have had, and what they’ve learned from their success in Minneapolis, is that it’s easier to destroy the zoning protection of an entire city at one go than it is to work neighborhood by neighborhood. On a city-wide scale, their involvement matters more than the commitment of individual homeowners. This is true of more than just zoning, of course. There was about a thirty-year period in this country prior to District of Columbia v. Heller where local municipalities were free to enact any kind of firearms legislation they wanted. How many of them did so? A lot of folks have some pretty stubborn ideas about what constitutes their own best interest — and if you want to circumvent those ideas, you need to appeal to higher, and more amenable, authority.

(A brief, and possibly amusing, aside: The city of Dublin, Ohio had a long-standing grudge against a woman named Sue Davis, who owned the city’s only gun store. The reasons for this grudge date back to the Seventies and had something to do with a land deal gone bad. She’d also managed to secure a very favorable lease on a building which the city wanted to tear down and re-develop. So in 1993, Dublin passed a massive, and massively complex, set of firearms-related legislation — that only applied to weapons sold in a single square mile or thereabouts. Guess where Sue’s shop was? She got the message and moved to a building three miles outside the city limits. Her former gun shop became the site of a multi-story mixed-use development. The gun laws were promptly forgotten.)

One rather unpleasant byproduct of the shift from commitment to involvement in political power is this: you’ll have no place to hide from it. The entire existence of places like Powell, Ohio is predicated on the idea that the community is guided, and safeguarded, by the commitment of its residents. We’ve all sweated blood (or inherited money) to live here and we are going to be deeply suspicious of any proposed changes. I don’t agree with my neighbors on many subjects from rap music to parking race trailers on the street but I can be assured that they share my general interest in keeping this town a safe and placid place to raise a family. Ninety-four percent of residents own their homes. We don’t have bodegas, street theater, or mass transit — by deliberate choice. The Columbus city buses turn around two miles south of the town limit.

This state of affairs has persisted a long time in Powell, and it will persist as long as the residents are permitted to have a say in the matter. Which would be a certainty in any era where commitment trumps involvement, but what would happen if the Minneapolis crowd decided to come here and take a swing at changing the game? I think they’d find a bunch of millionaire attorneys and doctors to be tougher opponents than the lower-middle-class folks just trying to hold on in Minneapolis — but what if their external supporters could out-spend our local interests? At what point would things become truly unpleasant? As in Katy-bar-the-door unpleasant? And whom would history decree as the “good guys”? I suppose history is written by the victors. So we’d better win.

* * *

I didn’t write this week for reasons I’ll discuss another time. Last week I wrote about another kind of home in another kind of neighborhood: Honda’s Little Japan.

Brother Bark wrote about Flexin’ and droptop Vettes.

111 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Consensus Up Your Backyard Edition”

  1. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    It’s called ‘Agenda 21’ and the whole plan is a lot more detailed than anyone realizes. My sister’s neighborhood got hit with this and I suspect it’s going to kill the value of her house because of all the crime these section 8 people bring with them.
    I guess because it’s the feds or the ‘state’ that they don’t have to obey local zoning laws. But it’s definitely following a game plan. Too bad too many people don’t bother to think before they vote anymore.

  2. AvatarMopar4wd

    Kind of attacking this from opposing angles? Little all over the place.

    So on the racial thing it’s very true lot’s of zoning is in place because of race. And also due to class.

    I mean minimum house size? Requiring 3 car garages? these are meant to keep the less well off out and out of their schools etc.

    I mean the free market solution is tear down zoning rules. But that bothers the upper middle class (and property owning middle class) as their investments (realestate) might get hit. It’s kind of an issue that cuts across party lines but not across wealth lines. Basically the poorer you are the more OK you’re with taking out zoning rules (other then safety and health ones like hog rendering next to the development) While the wealthier and more invested in realestate you are the more you want to protect that. The major exception being developers that will profit, of course.

    Renters get a vote man. I own my house, but don’t you want the renters in your community to be involved with the community? They help push the economy they pay the people that pay the property tax. Saying because you pay more tax you should have a bigger voice is a little contradictory to some of your previous stances on income inequality. That’s the kind of thing that propels political monarchy.

    I live in a dense single family neighborhood, because that’s what I could afford. But honestly after living here for 15 years I would want more space for projects, but the neighbor hood itself is great despite being able to walk a block and hit multi family housing.

    One last incoherent thought. When I was a kid in elementary school my teacher used to sit me in with the trouble makers, why because apparently I had a calming effect (their words not mine). I was fine with it made friends with the bad kids, some had pretty rough lives for 5th graders. My parents had doubts about it but I told them I was fine. What does that have to do with zoning? Well if you want a more just world where people can pull themselves out of poverty, and get a good education, I think the best way is to disperse pockets of low income people to better towns and their kids to better schools. Just like when I was a kid it requires you not to go with your knee jerk reaction, and yes it will likely mean some of the problems spread around but I think the net effect will be positive.

    • AvatarNewbie Jeff

      “Just like when I was a kid it requires you not to go with your knee jerk reaction, and yes it will likely mean some of the problems spread around but I think the net effect will be positive.”

      I mean, like, is it really a net positive when the area’s crime goes up, man? I mean, like, sounds like a step in the wrong direction, man.

      • AvatarMopar4wd

        The net positive typically comes over time and across a wider geographic area. Basically the crime level in the concentrated poor area should go down, while it will go slightly up in the less poor areas with new influx. At some point it hits an equilibrium. It’s one of those things do you want to keep what I have or give up a little to try and make the larger world a better place. My town has built a large number of apartments in the past few decades and I’m fine with it honestly. Crime has actually fallen a bit on average despite the fact were at 45% of the town being renters (it used to be around 38-40%). We are also one of the only towns not losing population in our area thanks to the lower housing costs. The average age is younger too.

        • AvatarNewbie Jeff

          “Basically the crime level in the concentrated poor area should go down, while it will go slightly up in the less poor areas with new influx”

          You’ll just have to forgive all those “NIMBY’s” for not willing to experiment with their property and neighborhood to see how long that theory takes to materialize. People work hard, save, and for most of them, their home purchase is the most significant investment they’ll ever make. It’s not unreasonable for them to expect their neighborhood to more or less stay the way they found it… not to mention that they would lose significant value in their most significant investment, all thanks to this grand social engineering theory based on specious interpretations of cherry-picked data, implemented by bureaucrats who wouldn’t spend a single night living next to a HUD property.

          • AvatarMopar4wd

            I think it’s unreasonable to think your town will never change. I also have a bit of an issue with home as investment.
            The current movement is a little interesting because they have decided to focus more on tearing down rules then building projects. Basically it’s the free market capitalist solution, it;s my land I can do as I please.
            For the really rich it doesn’t matter anyway, here in CT there are rules requiring towns to have affordable housing. The really wealthy ones just send developers thru hell for permits and then when that fails they usually try stopping it with environmental laws. It seems to work in towns with a billionaire or two.

          • AvatarNewbie Jeff

            …of course it’s not reasonable to think your town will never change, which is why I said, direct quote: “it’s not unreasonable for them to them to expect their neighborhood to more or less stay the way they found it”. Common sense says this means residents will come and go, people will paint their homes, and the power company will have to come take down some trees… but there won’t be things like landfills, helicopter pads, or massive low-income housing projects developed in the middle of the neighborhood because, “hey things invariably change!”

            …of course you’re from a blue state. Declining population, extreme gap between old money residents and the subsidized class… where do you think everyone else is going? My state. And then they vote for the same party that f’d their state and created the NY/NJ/CT diaspora. I swear the north has to be out of GD yankees, and yet they just keep coming….

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      ” Saying because you pay more tax you should have a bigger voice is a little contradictory to some of your previous stances on income inequality.”

      I’m not saying that I should get two votes for President. What I’m saying is that renters and itinerants shouldn’t have a voice in local political issues which primarily affect the committed. I shouldn’t be able to move to a small town, vote in the Wal-Mart, then leave without consequence when the place collapses due to the failure of local businesses.

      If I don’t own property in a city, should I be able to vote on property taxes, city levies, and financial policy? I can basically vote myself free city services. It’s an externality.

      • AvatarBark M

        You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. The hot dog, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mom’s apple pie. That’s what everyone’s fighting for. But who’s fighting for the decent folk? Who’s fighting for more votes for the decent folk? There’s no patriotism, that’s what it is. And no matriotism, either.

      • AvatarDaniel J

        Making a terrible assumption people who rent aren’t committed to their communities. That’s elitism at its finest. I have neighbors who own who aren’t in town but 6 months out of the year as they have a summer home. Who’s more committed again? There is absolutely nothing special about home ownership over a renter. I’ve done both. I’ve lived in the same city for 20 years. Did the day I get my house I’m now magically committed to my city? Did my relationships change with the people around me? Hell no. I could move to another state tomorrow.

      • AvatarMopar4wd

        I hear what your saying, but I find it’s better to have people involved in the process, it makes them invested in the community and more likely to stay. I know an engineer who has rented the same 2,500 sqft house for 15 years I think he’s invested. Look there are always people moving in and out. Most won’t be involved enough to make a difference. During the boom realestate years people were buying houses in my neighbor hood and moving out within 2 years as the value went up. Plus I know in my neighbor hood the rents are a fair amount higher then a mortgage including property tax would be.

    • AvatarDaniel J

      The libertarian in me absolutely agrees with tearing down zoning laws.

      My city is still under a federal desegregation order. What happened? White flight straight to the next city over. The judges thought they could fix the issue but it made it much worse.

      I also agree with you on renters. Jack has discounted renters in the past because they don’t pay property tax but they indirectly do as it’s rolled into their lease. In some cases they pay MORE because municipalities will tax at a higher rate per unit to the owner.

      He’s generalized in the past about renters don’t own because….well I don’t know. We rented for a long time out of cost effectiveness and convenience. Note, I didn’t say we couldn’t afford to own.

      As far as Jack not expecting not to have much voice, that’s his experience and expectation, not mine. My vote counted just as much as a home owner a block away. My voice was heard at council meetings just as everyone else’s. A bit of projection going on here.

      I live in the south so maybe I don’t see this rent for involvement. What I do see is, going from the boomers Al the way to the millennial, the lack of understanding of civics. Point blank, look at voter turnout for local elections, state elections, and national elections. People vote for national seats much more yet those federal positions don’t have the roads, they don’t control the local schools, they don’t set zoning laws.

      So where did these millennials get this idea being apart of some global community and not a local one? Just look at the voting turnouts.

  3. AvatarJason smith

    I bought a few guns from Sue when she had her shop in plain city back in the late 90’s. I didn’t know that the city Dublin ran her out of town.

  4. AvatarJohn C.

    Gosh what an inspiring story of cheerful fathers in white overalls sleeping restless. Can we actually do this. Can we pay workers less, Can we offer fewer benefits, Can we still charge more than the other guy. Can we send all the profits back to Japan. Can we rely on boomers to buy our crap for themselves and their sons out of self loathing and the vestigial loathing of their own countries big business.

    Those guys really did have a lot to worry about.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I get what you’re saying, but let me address your allegations individually.

      Honda didn’t pay workers less. The overall compensation package has always been similar to union work — and unlike the domestics, Honda tends to honor the employment for life promise. The UAW backed down from a vote in 1982 when they realized they weren’t gonna win:


      Honda doesn’t offer fewer benefits, with the exception of employee discount purchase policies. Honda takes a whole-health approach to employee benefits and I’ve never met a Honda worker who didn’t feel fairly treated on that score.

      When the Accord arrived, it cost less than the Chevrolet Citation. Even today, the Accord is cheaper than the Malibu at every trim level.

      If Honda sends all the profits back to Japan, you wouldn’t know it to look at Route 33 in Ohio, which has eleven massive factories, hundreds of supplier facilities, and tens of thousands of middle-class homes, all paid for with Honda profits.

      Your last point is valid and I addressed it in the article. A lot of people bought and praised Hondas because they had contempt for their own auto industry. But the Civic and Accord really are better mousetraps and they deserved to succeed. Where Honda product doesn’t match up — Ridgeline v. Colorado, for example — it tends to fail.

      • AvatarJohn C.

        A couple of points. Honda according to your own articles uses contract laborers on the line. Would the UAW allow that? I certainly hope not.

        Of course Honda sends profits back to Japan. Where else would they go. Profits either go into facilities, to award investors, or the taxman. In each case the bulk of those would be Japanese.

        Notice once established in Marysville, the cars quickly shifted from 1.8 five speed hatchbacks that they admittedly had a flair for to midsize American style sedans. Notice they quickly separated rest of world Accords from American. That you guys in the auto press didn’t call the fowl to that shows how stupid or even worse in the tank you were.

        In 1993 when the two cars were identically sized, the Corsica had standard ABS, got better mileage and offered an optional V6 the prices were 11,395 for the Corsica and $13950 for the Accord DX. If you think GM was making more money given the UAW American assembly you are just silly. The Corsica was hardly a low quality car, you can ask me I owned one.

        So you had a few jobs in Marysville for assemblers while their white overaled masters looked on. What about the guys in Lordstown and Wilmington where the Corsica used to be made. What about the American engineers who designed them.

        What did we gain for sending all that money to Japan. Nothing! The Germans didn’t allow it and they still have a car industry that ambitious young engineers in Germany are dying to work for. 95% of countries could not build a half decent car to save their life. Yet there you were in the auto press making sure we bend over and take it.

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          ” Honda according to your own articles uses contract laborers on the line. Would the UAW allow that? I certainly hope not. ”

          No, the UAW has two-tier:


          Tier two earns Honda contractor money but they also get to pay union dues.

          “Notice once established in Marysville, the cars quickly shifted from 1.8 five speed hatchbacks that they admittedly had a flair for to midsize American style sedans. Notice they quickly separated rest of world Accords from American. That you guys in the auto press didn’t call the fowl to that shows how stupid or even worse in the tank you were.”

          From the third generation on, there were multiple sizes of Accords. In the beginning the big ones stayed home in Japan. In the fourth generation it came over as the Acura Vigor. In the sixth generation, the US-market Accord moved from the small car to the big car. It was widely remarked upon in the automotive press at the time.

          “, the Corsica had standard ABS, got better mileage and offered an optional V6 the prices were 11,395 for the Corsica and $13950 for the Accord DX.”

          Alright, now we have to disagree a bit. The 1993 Corsica was a rehash of the N-car which in turn was a rehash of the J. The bones of the Corsica were engineered in 1979. The 1993 Accord was the fourth year of a four-year car that shared almost nothing with its predecessor. I have extensive experience in Corsicas, since my father’s company used them as fleet cars, and I have driven a few thousand miles in fifth-generation Accords. There is no comparison between the two. Inside and out, the Honda was demonstrably superior.

          Yes, the Corsica was reliable, and yes you can still find them for sale today, as is the case with 1993 Accords. The Corsica SHOULD have been reliable. It was on its twelfth year of platform development. Even the Trabant got its act together after twelve years.

          I’m about as far away from an import-car advocate as you can get in this business — the long-time reader will recall that I’ve owned a LOT of domestic-brand vehicles and currently use a Silverado and MKT as daily drivers. But the idea that the Corsica was reasonable competition for the Accord… come on.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            On the Corsica, When you give out ABS that the other guy makes you pay the world for it, you are building a better car
            When you offer a V6 that takes the car beyond mere economy, you are building a better car

            When your car is completely galvanized and the other guys aren’t, you are building a better car

            When you have a stainless steel exhaust, and the other guy doesn’t, you are building a better car.

            When you include the AC and stereo at the factory instead of forcing your customers to be screwed over by the dealer to get it, you are building a better car.

            But yes Honda had nice blinker stalks and trunk releases. I haven’t actual experienced them, but it was all they talked about in the road tests, and the auto press could never be wrong.

            Don’t get so excited about fresh platforms. The replacement Malibu had a new platform and it stunk because GM had been gutted and demoralized by then. New platforms didn’t help Honda much either, You have to talk about Civics here because of Accord size shifting but it was the 80s ones people remember so fondly, not this century’s with all their so called enhancements

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Okay, let’s hash this out a little more.

            * The Accord EX and SE had standard ABS. It was basically free because the price difference was no more than it had been before the introduction of ABS.
            * The Accord’s standard engine had 40 more horsepower than the Corsica’s standard engine. The EX had a 140hp I-4 with 142 lb/ft against the Corsica’s 140hp/180lb-ft, but the V-6 made the Corsica heavier than the Accord.
            * In Midwest practice the two cars rusted at a similar rate, but of course Corsica experienced far more major engine failures and were frequently junked before they could rust out.
            * Only the Accord DX came from the factory without A/C and a stereo. The LX had it as standard equipment.

            Yes, that “updated” Malibu of a few years ago was terrible and the rear-seat room was nonexistent. The eighth-generation Accord came in for quite a bit of criticism because they made the car too heavy. But you’re not going to get anywhere with most people comparing the 1993 Corsica and the 1993 Accord. The latter is a classic that still brings good money today. The 1993 Corsica has literally been consigned to the junkyard of history. If you can find a mint-condition Beretta Quad Four with the big wheels and spoilers, that’s a different kettle of fish — but the Corsicas were pretty stale bread.

            There’s one area of Corsica superiority, however, that I’m surprised you didn’t mention. Viewed in retrospect, the Corsica was an almost absurdly handsome car. It had nearly perfect proportions. The Beretta and Corsica proved that GM Styling could still get it done once in a while.

          • AvatarCarmine

            The Corsica was a 1987 car that should have been re-designed in 1991 or so if we were following the old traditional GM 4 year model cycle, that it was still pretty much the same car in 1993, much less in 1996, it last year where it was pretty much a decade old embarrassment.

            They were competitors in 1987 but time moved forward and the Accord advanced more, the 1987 Accord was re-designed in 1990 and then again in 1994 adding a V6, while the Corsica was the same 1987 car with an SFI 3.1 instead of an MFI 3.1 now and an airbag.

            You would have expected more. It didn’t need to be totally re-designed, styling changes would have been enough, Chevrolets mid compact sales finally recovered when the Malibu was introduced in 1997 and unlike the Corsica, they’ve at least attempted to keep the Malibu fresh and competitive with regular restyling.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Jack you are wrong on the base Corsica’s horsepower, 92-93 it had 110 , The LX/DX Accord had 125. The Corsica was lighter and got better mileage, manual or auto. The slight high rpm horsepower defecit was further offset by the torque peak being 800 rpm lower. Important in a family sedan.

            The lower price point saw the car going to a less well off clientele and fleets. This then further eroded resale and the ability to fix in old age. With slightly better treatment and the same drivetrains you can see all around you how long A bodies last. The Corsicas had better rust proofing than those

            I know this talk all sounds crazy to you and your haleluyah choir, but these cars and other domestics offered a lot and were given short shrift or no shrift by an auto press bogged down in their politics, biases and douche baggery. Import buyers didn’t look at them. Some domestic buyers didn’t consider foreign either but unlike the inverse there was no duty to.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            You’ve created an import straw man out of me, which is remarkable given that I worked at a Ford dealer, was a Ford Motor Credit employee, and have bought a dozen domestic cars and trucks new compared to a single Honda, a single Nissan, and no other Japanese-brand cars.

            There are all sorts of class-competitive domestic products on which to build an argument for media favoritism, generational bias, et al. The Corsica isn’t one of them.

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            I find it ironic that someone is slagging Honda for not offering A/C and a stereo as standard equipment. It’s been more than 40 years so I don’t remember if Honda offered a stripper version, but my brother bought one of the first Gen I Accords in 1976 that was rather revolutionary compared to the domestics in that it came with A/C and a stereo standard, Other than the fact that it was a rust-bucket (which everything else that wasn’t made in America or Sweden was as the time), it was a very well engineered, well thought out automobile. It was so good that my dad, who was very happy with the Mercurys he was driving then, bought an ’84 Accord hatch with a stick shift.

            I’ve lived in the Detroit area my entire life and want GM, Ford and Chrysler to make lots of money selling great cars, but you can’t deny that the 1st and 2nd generation Hondas were great cars that in many ways changed the auto industry.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Ronnie, on cars from Honda where A/C was not standard, and I am positive that includes the gen 1 Accord, it was not a factory installed option, but rather a dealer installed kit priced higher than a factory option. This was also true on basic Integras. Giving the dealer a chance to screw the customer again and to screw up the installation. So yes I slagged them. That Honda was wonderful is not some creed that should be taken on faith. They weren’t the best handling car, the best riding car, the most durable car, and certainly not the best value in cars, Neither was the Corsica. They were just cars. I am sorry that some smiling Japanese man coming to town to underpay locals and replay their Nanking fantasies doesn’t excite me the way it does you and Jack. The USA could have gotten along just fine without Honda

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            You’re my age (47) or more, right? Do you remember what domestic cars were like in 1975? 4 out of 10 Fords were deliberately sabotaged on the assembly line. Very few cars could make it to 50k without major repairs and very few engines could turn “the miracle mile” of 100k. Virtually no engineering of any kind got done between the ’63 Chevrolet and the ’77 Caprice. The domestic automakers abused our trust in them to earn unimaginable profits. Let’s not even talk about the known safety defects in the X-bodies.

            I love our domestic automakers but they screwed the pooch big time. They GAVE Honda a market. It was a national disgrace. At least we didnt end up with British Leyland.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            I am 50 and I remember what foreign cars were like in 1975. Rabbits and Fiats that drove well but broke down every day. Cars from Japan with much stolen tech that drove terribly, were reliable when new but had short lives. Disciplined production lines will not insure a long life when basic engineering skill is lacking. The customer was better off sticking with America and we sure didn’t owe those guys anything.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            On the no engineering between 1963-77. What a fallacy. Was it 90-95% percent of the pollution that was engineered out of even our biggest cars. Were figuring out the new crash standards not done here for the whole world to follow. When the standards were toughened even alleged by them leaders in safety like MB and Volvo had to up their game. Yes not every engine made 100k but a lot more of ours did than the other guy and that includes Mr. Honda with early CVCC being quite short lived. To their credit, their 2 speed auto that lasted till 79 was done in house. What genius!

          • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

            As I’m a bit older than both of you, I experienced 1975 cars as a driver when they were new. From my experience the only advantage SOME Japanese cars had was better initial build quality and minor engineering advantages. A Datsun (pre Nissan name change) rusted away at the same rate as a Pinto, a Toyota had as much chance to make 100K miles as a Trans Am, and a Honda got comparable fuel economy as a Vega. In the low price range NONE were a “fun” car, they were basic transportation at best, same as today.

            FWIW; I have owned 2 Japanese vehicles, both Datsuns in the 70’s. One car,1973 LB110 (1200 coupe) and a 1978 720 pickup. Both had their fair share of problems, no better or worse than domestic made vehicles.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Dingus, both your 70s Datsuns really benefited from what our Japanese friends really had a talent for, intellectual property theft. The 1200 had of course the British Leyland A series engine, that the fools of every age will tell you is junk when installed where it belongs in a British car but magically transforms into something of delight when pirated away to Japan. You were really getting the prize swag with the truck and its Mercedes by way of Prince engine.. Don’t worry Datsun Saves, and not just on R+D, their engineers made just enough adjustments on the engines that they don’t think they had to pay royalties. Such clever fellows!

          • AvatarCJinSD

            “I find it ironic that someone is slagging Honda for not offering A/C and a stereo as standard equipment. It’s been more than 40 years so I don’t remember if Honda offered a stripper version, but my brother bought one of the first Gen I Accords in 1976 that was rather revolutionary compared to the domestics in that it came with A/C and a stereo standard,”

            One of the revolutionary characteristics of the first Accord was that it had lots of standard equipment. It was also only available in three and then four colors. Honda made this decision partially because it simplified Honda’s job as a small car company. No factory options beyond automatic transmission meant no logistical complications.

            The idea was so successful that Hondas were sold on waiting lists in order of arrival for huge markups. Honda wasn’t making nearly as much money per car as their dealers and their easily corrupted distributor were. Their response was the Accord LX, which was the one that added standard A/C instead of dealer installed A/C and an AM/FM radio. Calling it a trim level allowed Honda to raise the price significantly and keep their fair share of the increase.

          • AvatarCJinSD

            “The 1200 had of course the British Leyland A series engine, that the fools of every age will tell you is junk when installed where it belongs in a British car but magically transforms into something of delight when pirated away to Japan.”

            I pirated away a twelve pack of Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA from Harris Teeter. They didn’t mind though, because I paid for it and they sold it willingly. Datsun’s engines were fundamentally improved relative to the A-series that they built under license by 1966. They’d moved the camshaft to the opposite side of the block which allowed them to get the pushrod tubes out of the way and go from five ports to eight. If that wasn’t enough to take the engine beyond the terms of the licensing agreement, why didn’t Austin upgrade their version of the A-series to the same degree? Datsun’s superiority to Austin wasn’t lost on the UK market either. In 1973, ‘Motor’ magazine found out that Datsun Cherry owners were by far that most satisfied car owners in the history of their surveys, making the VW Beetle look little better than the British jokes it had previously towered over.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            It was of course natural the need for simple logistics in their apparently threadbare facitities should trump the needs of the customers. That’s how in works in a colonial-master relationships with Americans getting the honour of playing the coolie. I wasn’t aware of the sadness of their American distribution short changing our most honorable masters. Gosh darn those slippery American sheisters.

            Thanks CJ for mapping out the pirate transformation of the A series in Japan. FWIW Leyland got around to big upgrade of the A for the Metro city car in 1980 and the engine lasted into the millennium. Ironically most of the last ones went to Japan in Minis. The Metro remember being the last British designed and built minicar, their biggest car segment. The Metro slogan was send the foreign invaders back where they came from. The people decided instead to ashcan the industry, stop making things and rely on their homes and their friends in the City of London to preserve wealth. Stupid decision of course but less work I suppose.

          • AvatarCJinSD

            Those Japanese devils made us take rear window defrosters, carpets, remote hatch opening, and day/night mirrors whether we wanted them or not! They should have advertised a loss-leader price and made everything other than the speedometer optional, like Ford and Chevrolet. Getting cars with lots of standard equipment was so terrible for consumers that Hondas have enjoyed high resale values ever since.

            Honda’s American importers went to prison in America, where they ripped off American dealerships by selling allocations of desirable cars, also known as the cars Honda was making instead of Detroit.

            Austin upgraded the 1950s A-series only fifteen years after Nissan replaced it in their own offerings? What was your point again? 1980 was pretty late to be putting serious effort into a pushrod engine that usually displaced only a liter too.

            The UK caught socialism earlier than we did, and their destruction is far more advanced than our own. It doesn’t really matter if there was a point when they were ahead of some other countries technologically. They stopped moving the ball at least fifty years ago. Meanwhile, their labor unions were incredibly influential in convincing people that they should be paid whether they produced anything or not. If you have people getting paid to take three day weekends and stand around the rest of the time, importing goods will be the only way to keep them from starving.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            The ultimate question is whether you think the joys of the Nissan Micra over the perfectly solid Metro or the joys of the Accord over the perfectly solid Corsica are worth ashcanning an important industry that many rely on. I frankly can’t believe any of you can even think that a close question. The labour strife you keep bringing up is silly. Austin dealers in England kept plenty of Metros in stock and were at the ready to fill additional orders. Same of course with the Corsica here. It is no crime for a worker to organize for more pay, especially when ever more of their classmates are riding the ever more lucrative inflation adjusting dole. If the strife here or in the UK was so horrible, Honda would have been foolish to go to Marysville or Nissan to Sunderland to have the coolies slap together the kits and avoid the tariff.

            Interesting your talk of jail for American Honda officials. Well I guess with colonization comes extra-territoriality and show trials. Our masters must be placated after all.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            “The ultimate question is whether you think the joys of the Nissan Micra over the perfectly solid Metro or the joys of the Accord over the perfectly solid Corsica are worth ashcanning an important industry that many rely on.”

            This question is worth highlighting because it applies to so much of American life. I spend real money — let’s say an extra $20-30k a year — on purchasing American-made clothing and products. I do this even when I have no expectation that the USA-made item will be better. Similarly, I’m driving a Silverado and an MKT even though I might get better service from a Tundra or a Kia Telluride.

            The unfortunate problem is that my “American” products were made in Canada and Mexico, while the Tundra and Telluride were made in the USA. Should I side with the workers or the suits here?

          • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

            “ashcanning an important industry that many rely on.”

            The domestic auto industry, both corporate and labor, has been ashcanning itself for decades. Between shortsighted corporate decisions and lackadaisical labor efforts, garbage has been foisted on the consumer. As most consumers are not as rabidly “Buy American” as you, the post author, and to a large extent myself are, they purchase what they feel is the best bang for their buck. Many use Consumer Reports, safety reports and resale value as a guide for their purchase. In many cases the imports score higher in all cases. Is it all correct assessments of our domestic iron (which is increasingly made elsewhere)? Probably not in all cases, but in more than a couple it is.

            Since 1980, I have only bought or leased domestic badged cars and trucks, either new or used, for road use. The exception would be 5 BMW motorcycles and 2 English cars (for track use). I did keep the 1200 Datsun, which was built into a hot rod by transplanting a 3.8 Buick engine and drive train, until 2003.i will not however browbeat someone else for their vehicle choices (other than anyone who bought a Yugo, WTF were you thinking?). Reason being that somewhere in the supply chain, an American is making a living working for that brand. Might not be UAW level wages, but far better than welfare.

            Speaking of the UAW, I’m currently on a project in Kansas City. From where we are staying to where the project is, we went by the GM Fairfax assembly plant which is currently on strike. On the second afternoon I went past one of the entrances to the plant, one of the strikers held up a “honk for solidarity” sign. I didn’t because I don’t have a dog in that fight, and was promptly shot a bird by that striker. I REALLY don’t like being shot the bird by some schlub that puts windshields in cars all day and was tempted to shoot one back. Instead I just pointed and laughed. Its actions like that, that will turn off some folks from buying GM products in the future. It’s also actions like that, that keep 3 KC police cars parked nearby 24/7. i now take a different route to the job site, so I don’t end up having a confrontation and end up wasting time talking to cops about it.

          • AvatarCJinSD

            I’m going to make this short and sweet. Those ‘solid’ Metros started failing MOT tests at three years old. Had my parents bailed on Detroit in 1979 and bought an Accord instead of a Horizon, then they would have followed it with another Accord in 1985 instead of a Lancer ES Turbo. Would the Horizon that was replaced with a Porsche 924S in 1986(’87 model ordered 6/86) have been replaced so soon had it been an Accord? I seriously doubt it. Would the ’85 Lancer have been fully depreciated in February of 1988 and replaced with a BMW 325 if it had been an Accord? No. After that, it is impossible to fully calculate the repercussions of buying good cars instead of horrible ones made by people who funded the DNC. Not buying Detroit garbage for one decade less would have netted my family a beach house or early retirement. John C drives a Chinese car now. He doesn’t occupy the high moral ground.

          • Avatarstingray65

            I’ve been following this debate between John and Jack/CJ/Ronnie and a few others with interest. John seems convinced that the car testers and general public of the 1970s to 90s were deluded/irrational in increasingly preferring/choosing Japanese cars versus superior American competitors. Yet this premise does not really pass the “smell” test because John fails to explain why patriotic Americans with first hand experience/memories of the Japs bombing Pearl Harbor and killing/wounding their fathers, husbands, and sons in WWII would gladly pay above sticker for a supposedly inferior Japanese car? Or why auto writers would falsely praise “inferior” Japanese cars when American car makers were far bigger advertisers of the magazines and newspapers that employed them? Or why would so many buyers of Japanese cars continued to return to Japanese brands and pay above sticker if they had terrible experiences with their “inferior” Japanese cars?

            I think what pissed off a lot of Americans during this era was the fact that they also remembered when American cars were the best in the world in terms of build quality, value, and performance. C&D rated the 1965 Cadillac the 2nd best luxury car in the world after the MB 600 (which cost 3 times more). The auto magazines pretty much universally loved the Corvair, which was a technological pioneer in turbocharging, and the Corvette has almost always been praised for its value proposition and the C2 from the 60s was arguably the most advanced sports car in the world at the time (fuel injection, disk brakes, IRS, knock-off alloys + luxury options such as air conditioning that actually worked, power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission). Meanwhile Ford won LeMans multiple times and created whole new exciting product categories with the T-Bird and Mustang, Chrysler was playing with ground shaking Hemi V-8s and winged Superbirds, and little Kaiser/AMC Jeep was pioneering the SUV market with the Wagoneer. Many of the same positive things could be said of the 1950s-60s Brits (i.e. Mini, MGB, E-Type, XJ, Shadow).

            Unfortunately, 10 years later the same American (and British) manufacturers were making awful cars such as Vegas, Pintos, Gremlins, Volares, rubber bumper MGBs, Marinas, etc. that were some combination of shoddily built, awful to drive, and technologically behind their much smaller and poorer foreign competitors. You can blame this downfall on poor management, exchange rates, unions, anti-trust threats against GM, Arab oil policies, or any number of other things, but for the consumer it was simply a choice between buying American/British cars that were visibly inferior to both many foreign competitors and American/British cars of the previous decades. For many at the time it was a bitter pill to stop buying brands they had grown up with and made by their countrymen, but the price/quality/performance/technology gap with the foreigners gradually become too big for many to ignore.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Stingray, of course what I was saying about the Corsica above doesn’t pass the smell test by those indoctrinated. How many of you were checking if the Corsica was really fully galvanized or had SS exhaust, had abs standard or such a price difference? The car just occupied zero mind space among those import oriented. As such you are just at a loss on how to discuss beyond some what even you must realize is a shallow, it sucked. I owned one, no it did not.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            CJ, you are just being silly. In UK you fail an MOT over rust. Most Metros, city cars lived their life in London. I doesn’t snow there. Even the Japanese competitors were safe.

          • Avatarrpn453

            I would pay good money to not have GM ABS from the 1990s. Even my father’s 2008 Montana needed the fuse yanked for acceptable winter braking, despite the same factory-studded Gislaved winter tires that allowed my Mazda3’s ABS to function so well.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Early Chrysler ABS isn’t much better. As late as 2006 it was putting Neons in trackside jersey barriers.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Yes, much better not to have it. That is what Honda thought. Mazda also thoughtfully kept it off 323/Proteges and only gave it to you on 626s after paying $950 extra on their so reasonably priced cars.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I realize you’re being sarcastic but some of the early ABS implementations did more harm than good. For instance — choosing my target carefully here so I don’t malign a domestic car — while the 1993 Infiniti G20 had “four-channel” ABS and could brake each wheel independently, the J30 and megabuck Q45 had “three-channel” so they braked the rear wheels as one. Not great.

            With that said, GM was sticking the customer with three-channel ABS until after the turn of the century.

  5. Avatarstingray65

    Jack, don’t you know that diversifying and densifying neighborhoods is good for society and helps the environment? It just isn’t fair that all those white middle class homeowners hog all the good public schools, clean parks, safe streets, and high property values for themselves, when people of color (POC) are living in neighborhoods with bad schools, needle filled parks, crime infested streets, decaying housing, and declining real estate values. Fairness requires government forced/subsidized diversity so that POC can enjoy the bounties of white privilege.

    Perhaps an even bigger unfairness, which has not received enough government attention, is the invasion of white interlopers looking for cheap “fixer-uppers” in established neighborhoods of color. Pretty soon these privileged gentrifiers start to improve the housing stock, insist on law and order, attend PTA meetings to improve schools, and bring in their coffee bars, art galleries, Whole Food stores, and other manifestations of Western culture to take the color out of the neighborhood and create an unsafe space for POC and other victims of Capitalism, patriarchy, and white privilege. Government must do more to stop these gentrifiers from using their own money and talent to invade places where they don’t belong and are not wanted by the locals.

    • Avatarredlineblue

      Chicken Dinner. When a “family” of 11 non-English speakers rents the townhouse next to one I own, parks 5 sugar-bombed mouth-breathers in my daughter’s 1st grade class, and starts breaking 40s on the sidewalk to celebrate their landlord’s heart attack, it’s “diversity”. Which of course must be promoted.
      When I sell out, quick, and use the money to buy 2 City houses because fair winds and Whole Foods will meet me there (just) soon enough, it’s “gentrification”. Which of course must be stopped.
      Son of Jamaican immigrants who busted their asses to become, and raise *Americans*.

  6. Avatarpanatomic-x

    it’s incredible to me that they are going this way in minneapolis. hopefully, they learned something from the disastrous urban renewal programs of the seventies. my hometown of newark, nj was destroyed by housing projects. the neighborhoods where my family had lived for over a hundred years without locking their front doors turned into war zones overnight. it got so bad that eventually they tore many projects down and replaced them with single family affordable housing because the experts learned what everybody else already knew – home ownership makes neighborhoods.


    i believe in urban planning, but running roughshod over local communities is not the way to do it.my understanding is that nj currently enforces that all school districts must include some high density housing. they let the towns workout how to accomplish the rezoning. there is usually some tense nimby resistance that eventually leads to a compromise with townhouses being built near the downtown area and some of the units being reserved for lower income families in return for tax subsidies to the developer. hopefully, minneapolis will do something along those lines.

  7. AvatarNewbie Jeff

    The most important aspect to understand about HUD housing is that its fiercest advocates never have to live next to it. My mom bought the only house she’s ever owned right next to a Section 8 property. The landlord lives in Florida. The property management company gets its cut and will certainly, definitely answer the phone if you call to complain. The mayor lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. The city council loves to talk about all they’re doing for low-income housing.

    …meanwhile, the tenants drift in and out, at best they’re just quiet and let the property decline into disrepair. At worst, a drug dealer boyfriend moves in and sets up shop.

    The concept of “commitment” – or in this case, the lack thereof – is readily evident. The neighborhood is a great little middle class area, mostly young homeowners and some renters, too. Guess which property has no lawn and cars parked in the front yard? When the drug dealing got too much, my distraught mom hastily put the house on the market. I watched a young family of buyers pull in and they knew instantly what the “deal” was as soon as they saw the house next door. There’s the value of the only property you’ve ever owned taking a dive in real time.

    …for the record, I fully support Section 8 housing, with one stipulation: build the first unit right next to the mayor’s residence.

  8. Avatarhank chinaski

    Soyface is just a useful idiot with little influence. Follow the money. Look at the politicians involved.
    This is also happening in Maine.

    It’s also a very clever way to gerrymander.

    “Gleeful deconstruction” is a perfect descriptor.

  9. Avatarjcain

    “They’ll never get a chance to own a home, so why should they care if some winner of the birth-year lottery suffers because the empty space behind his lot is replaced with a duplex, a triplex, or a Baltimore-style housing project?”

    As a millennial, I definitely understand that sentiment. That stereotypical winner of the birth-year lottery may be perfectly happy to tell our generation to stop whining about student loan payments, so why should we bother to listen to him whine when someone builds a 10-unit apartment building next to his house? When he bought in, he took a risk that someday the adjacent land that he doesn’t own would be used for something that he doesn’t like. He also took the risk that more housing supply would come online and his house wouldn’t appreciate as much. But that’s capitalism, right? He was free to not take on the risk of buying a home, just as we millennials were free to not take on the risk of going to college or grad school. Whether either of those options would have been feasible/realistic is a matter of individual circumstance.

    Also, since I got my five-figure property tax bill yesterday and was thinking about this: California’s Prop. 13, which limits property tax increases to ~2%/year, makes the generational divide in housing even starker. Jack mentioned that he pays more in property tax than the (implied) payment made by an apartment dweller, but in CA you often have the opposite situation. In my area of Los Angeles, new small lot/townhouse units can cost $1mm with a $12K tax bill, while houses currently worth $1.5mm can have assessed values of $200K and a $2.4K tax bill, if they were last sold in the 80s/90s.

    I understand Jack’s point about the “transience” of renters vs. homeowners, but thanks to Prop. 13 a disproportionate share of the ongoing financial investment in my area is born by newcomers. That includes renters, whose rent payments fund their landlords’ high property tax payments, and recent homebuyers (like myself) who pay high property taxes directly. As such, relatively fixed assessment values mean that when I hear “large long-term homeowner resident base” I think “low funding for schools/parks/etc.”

    Anyway, this is obviously specific to California and our… challenged… housing policy, but just wanted to present a scenario where one’s tenure in a community is actually inversely related to their ongoing financial investment. Personally, I don’t feel like I should have more of a say in community affairs because I own vs. rent and/or pay higher property taxes than others.

    That said, it does get a bit annoying when people paying 0.2% property tax rates oppose new housing development that will increase supply and, hopefully with time, let newcomers without $200K+ household incomes afford to buy in LA proper. But they got theirs, I guess, so now it’s all about “preserving character” while sending those who don’t work in tech, finance, medicine, or law out to the burbs for hour+ commutes. And then they wonder why traffic is so bad and we don’t have the density to make public transit work.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      All very sound points — and yeah, California definitely operates differently from, say, Ohio.

      The problem with California is best summed up like so IMO: In a world where very few people do tangible work that is directly tied to a farm, a factory, or another geography-specific location, why not move to the place with the best weather? If all the good jobs have been given to H1-Bs and service work is all that’s left, why not work in the Beverly Hills Starbucks instead of the Peoria Starbucks? It was a (seemingly) unforeseen consequence of destroying the manufacturing economy.

    • AvatarDaniel J

      I live in Alabama where property tax is fairly cheap except for commercial property or property that doesn’t have a homestead exemption. My wife worked in real estate for a bit and come to find out many renters in apartments were paying more in property tax than a similar sized home in the same area. I later found out that is why when pushing more than two bedrooms it was simply cheaper to rent a home than it was a three or more bedroom apartment as rental homes property tax was cheaper per sqft than a unit in an apartment complex.

    • Avatarstingray65

      The problem is California and many other Blue states is that the voters continually vote for politicians and policies that make matters worse. When you have government that approves union contracts that offer six figure pensions for retired 50 year old lifeguards, bus drivers, teachers, police, firefighters, etc., provides free legal help to keep illegals with felony convictions from being deported, and free needles and tents to drug addicts, you are never going to have enough tax revenue to cover the costs. Proposition 13 was supposed to keep a lid on public spending, but hasn’t done the job because of the continuing stupidity of the majority of voters who keep thinking socialism will finally start working if we only allow government bureaucrats to take more private property away from the productive and law-abiding and give more “free” stuff away to the deadbeats, criminals, and retired public “servants”.

  10. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    All of the above, including the comments, are why 24 years ago I moved out into Bumfuque Ga.The closest “big town” has anything I need, so I only need to hit metro ATL about once every couple months (other than hitting Hartsfield for a flight) and that is quite often enough for me. Property values are steady, no big rise or fall, major crime is when somebody in the trailer park gets drunk and thumps his woman, or gets drunk and thumps her husband and I can do pretty much what I want on my property. Race car? Check. Loud motorcycle? Check. Rusty parts car for a resto project? Check and check.Target practice with anything short of class 3 weapons? Check. Wander around my property in my underwear? i guess if I wanted to I could.

    My way of living isn’t for everyone I realize, but it works well for me and millions like me.

    • AvatarDirt Roads

      🙂 I’m kinda jealous, except for the whole bit about Georgia. But I don’t want to say where I live, stay away! 🙂

  11. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    A lot depends on the quality of the investor in the rental properties. I live less than 1,000 ft from a couple of decent sized apartment complexes, located in a neighborhood of middle and upper middle class homes. In general, there’s a rental market around here for young families just starting out which the apartments serve. One of those complexes has been owned by a company that has continously invested in the property and has almost always had close to full occupancy. The other, larger one, for a while had an absentee landlord who rented it out to Section 8 renters and didn’t put a dime into it. Occupancy plummeted to maybe 20% if that, some entire buildings were empty. Street crime became enough of an issue that city actually had a cop walking a beat in my neighborhood for a while. A new landlord came in, made some needed investments, startred renting to a better class of tenants, and now the place appears to be about 75% full.

  12. AvatarJames

    Completely off topic post for Jack. Didn’t know how to get it to you otherwise. Bought one of these the other day. Advertised as one of those mythical “Made in the USA” products. Seems legit.


    As to the article. Mostly agree.

  13. AvatarDaniel J

    I emphatically disagree that just because someone doesn’t own a home or have children doesn’t have ties to their community, town, or city. We rented for years because it’s far more cost effective to to rent long term than to own.

    I don’t disagree that many in the left feel that governments should force affordable housing in a particular area regardless of the cost to the single family dwellings in the area.

    As a moderate, I see it as a balance to much of the unneeded gentrification going on in my area.

    • AvatarDaniel J

      Since I couldn’t edit,

      No Jack, your voice doesn’t count any more than the dog trainers. No more than the retired teacher. No more the cashier at Walmart.

    • AvatarNewbie Jeff

      “I see it as a balance to much of the unneeded gentrification going on in my area.”

      WTF? So you’re not so much into community renewal? I guess you could throw some bricks through your windows to even everything out? I have a ton of used race tires I could drop off in front of your house… you know, so things don’t get too gentrified wherever you are.

      • AvatarDaniel J

        Some of my statement was tongue and cheek and some of it not. Gentrification in my area is making the problem worse, not better. The people who are buying have zero interest in the community Jack is talking about. But they are “buying”.

        • AvatarNewbie Jeff

          I’m sorry you live in an area of vibrant economic activity and increasing property values? Quick, lease your property as a HUD home and immediately inhabit the most blighted area of city. No one will question your commitment to your city.

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          You’re obviously passionate about this subject but when it comes to renting you’re a zebra and most renters are horses.

          • Avatarstingray65

            There are different types of renters. There are the young strivers who mostly pay their own rent as they seek to save enough money for a down payment on a house/condo (or to start a business), who want a stable and safe place to live whether renting or owning. There are also a few stable moderate income renters who don’t want to be tied down with a house (or think it is a poor investment in their current environment), who also mostly pay their own rent and want a stable and safe place to live.

            In many places, however, the largest group of “renters” are people who mostly don’t pay their own rent, and are on welfare because they suffer from mental illness and/or low IQ that leads to a series of continual bad life choices such as having kids for the extra welfare they bring, abusing drugs and alcohol, career criminality, not showing up for work on time, choosing to major in gender studies at a private college, etc.. Some of these people may also want a stable and safe environment to live in, but it is also from among this group of “renters” that invariably spring the creators of unstable and unsafe environments that create great costs to taxpayers, landlords, and neighboring property owners.

            Some renters struggling to pay their own way and many of the welfare “renters” may be prone to fall for Leftist rhetoric about “unfairness”, “privilege”, and getting “free” stuff from government, which is the great danger to Democracy, because if too many people decide to vote themselves a share of the money earned by the talented and hard working (aka privileged), the talented and hard working will leave to greener pastures and only the losers will remain. Thus there was wisdom in the early laws that only allowed male property owners to have the vote, because they were the ones likely to bear almost the entire cost of any public spending. I also believe that we would have much more responsible government if voting was limited to only citizens who are net taxpayers (i.e. pay more in taxes than they get back in government benefits and salary), but of course such a policy will never be voted in by the deadbeats, druggies, delinquents, and bureaucrats who benefit from the current crazy public spending.

          • Avatarpanatomic-x

            “There are also a few stable moderate income renters who don’t want to be tied down with a house (or think it is a poor investment in their current environment), who also mostly pay their own rent and want a stable and safe place to live.”

            that’s me. i’ve been renting this apartment for over 25 years. also, i live in a building where the rents on the equivalent apartments can vary by 500%. we have everything from section 8 to full market rate living peacefully side-by-side. but it’s an anomaly in the usa basically the result of socialist type laws in new york that date back from before i was born. it’s incredibly complicated and taxpayer money benefited the landlords even more than the renters over the years. i’m not saying it’s a good system but it is what it is and it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

  14. AvatarWidgetsltd

    I lived in the Minneapolis area for nearly twelve years – from early 1996 to late 2007 – so I know a thing or two about how things are there. I owned a single-family home on 1/2 acre in the suburbs rather than in the city limits. I have to ask: where did you get this apocalyptic view of current events in Minneapolis? Who says that Section 8 housing will be built? When I poked around, I found a few stories with complaints from people in neighborhoods near the chain of lakes (Linden Hills, Carag, Lynndale, etc) who likely live in homes worth $500k – $1 million. These people feel that the character of the neighborhood will be changed by the addition of a few 4-plex buildings.

    • Avatarstingray65

      Have you considered that the homes are worth “big money” because they are in a location with a desirable “character”? Perhaps these “greedy” people with a $800K mortgage are concerned about owning a house that is suddenly worth $400K because the character of their neighborhood is being changed in the name of “diversity” or “wokeness”? I lived in the Cleveland area for several years, and remember going through neighborhoods filled with former million dollar mansions that were then falling apart and available for literally nothing because the character of the neighborhood had changed in an undesirable way.

  15. AvatarWidgetsltd

    My point is that nobody is going to build section 8 homes in those neighborhoods. It’s just not going to happen. Will some upscale, multi-unit properties get built? Yes, and that’s not going to ruin the place.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Well I think we are making the same point, and it’s this: the people who have million-dollar homes are likely to escape much of the trouble because the land is expensive there, while the median $60k crowd will be forced into cohabitation with the $20k crowd.

      As for where I got my apocalyptic vision… Minneapolis crime stats are publicly viewable. Around the country violent crimes are down by double-digit percentages since 2000. In Minneapolis they are trending up by similar margins.

      • AvatarBooty_Toucher

        “the people who have million-dollar homes are likely to escape much of the trouble because the land is expensive there, while the median $60k crowd will be forced into cohabitation with the $20k crowd”

        Jack, this is unfortunately not true. They’re trying to pull this BS all over the SF Bay Area and California. Look up the housing policies CA Senator Scott Weiner has been pushing. It hasn’t worked yet, but we have to be careful of millennial sentiments… reading the reddit forum for the sfbay is truly frightening. They can call us NIMBYs all they want, but it’s the YIMBYs we really need to be afraid of.

  16. AvatarSobro

    Nice discussion. Jack does tend towards the edge cases in his arguments but that form of rhetoric does promote interest and comment from which we all can learn.

    As the old country boy says, “At breakfast the pig is committed and the chicken is merely involved.”

  17. AvatarCJinSD

    Virginia is so Blue these days that our governor is a racist, our lieutenant governor is a rapist, and they’re both remaining in office. “Low cost housing” developments always mean “high cost to the taxpayer housing” developments. They serve to further flush the working class out of cities and large towns while replacing them with people who will not be living off their own wages. An early job I had after graduating from college was located near a new apartment complex. I visited the rental office only to learn two things: I couldn’t afford the rent and still have enough money to buy a twelve pack of Diet Coke. The other thing I learned was that I made far too much money to qualify to live there as a single male. Anyone who could live there was likely to qualify for WIC and housing assistance. They would be single mothers with lots of kids that would be attending the elementary school I attended for two years, and they would be paying zero in taxes towards that school. Chances are they would still need to make these subsidized apartments available to their drug dealer boyfriends to make ends meet.

    Twenty-five years later, the only business in walking distance that has stayed recognizable is the Putt-Putt. Fences and locking gates have sprouted. Restaurants tried dress codes and then failed or got tired of violence and closed anyway. Title loans and payday loans became the store fronts of choice. Bodies found by waste removal workers are only newsworthy when they turn out to be manikins. You need a friend on the police force to hear about someone getting shot in the face in the middle of town. The uptick in crime has served the greater good though, because very few people report crimes and Virginia is now a Democrat stronghold.

  18. AvatarCarmine

    Wow Bark, taking a shit on the new Corvette….so edgy. I remember the first time a so called journalist spewed their verbal diarrhea all over their hatred of the Corvette…..I was 10, it loses it effect after a while……

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Two things I’d note here:

      * Bark, like most sane people, was a huge fan of the C7 when it was introduced. That almost universal enthusiasm isn’t happening this time.
      * I’m now hearing early drive reports from people on a private basis which suggest that the base C8 doesn’t measure up to the base C7 as a driving experience.

      I’ll reserve my own judgment until I drive one. It certainly has tremendous visual impact when you see one on the street.

      • Avatarstingray65

        It would almost be a pleasant surprise if the C8 right out of the box was superior to the C7 because the C7 was a refined version of the C6, which was a refined version of the C5 – its hard to beat 20 years of polishing a pretty solid set of bones. Throw in the packaging problems that plague all mid-engine cars, which usually makes them less practical than traditional front engine/rear drive models everywhere except the race track and the C8 has a very steep hill to climb in beating the all-round goodness of the C7.

        We will see how it plays out, but if I was running GM I would kept the Corvette on the C7 platform and branded the C8 as a Cadillac while increasing the base price and hope it plays the same role for that brand as the R8 played for Audi.

          • AvatarJon L

            C7 a clean sheet car? Correct me if I am wrong but it still uses transversely mounted composite springs same as the C5 and C6. Having studied the CAD data of the C7 supplied directly from GM through SEMA and comparing it to a C6. I wholeheartedly disagree that it is a clean sheet car.

            It was designed to be assembled in the same factory with much of the same equipment. They moved the engine rearward in a bid to get the most out of the chassis at one point calling it a “front mid-engine car”. I recall reading an article where the Corvette chief engineer uttered those exact words. The end result is less cabin space. Taller fellows don’t fit as well in the C7 as they do the 5 or 6.

            The C7 was supposed to be mid-engine car. The crash of 2008 killed those plans. The engineers did the best with what they had to work with. The end result is an evolution of the C6 chassis. Same basic suspension geometry. Same basic frame design. Same basic front and rear cradles. They did not clean the sheet before they started designing the C7. C7 test mules ran around under C6 chassis and the world never knew about it. They couldn’t do that with the C8.

            The C8 IS a clean sheet car. One part carries over from the 7. It will not be perfect out of the gate. Very few new products are. Let alone one so complex as an automobile. I am willing to give them the chance to refine it and get it right. This is not a team of guys that have been building mid-engine Ferrari’s their entire carriers. They have been building Corvettes.

            So I do agree with your other commentator that auto journalists should not be so quick to trash the car. Or do I….

            One other thing to consider is that GM does not want the base C8 to be better than the C7 Grand Sport. After all they still need to sell quite a few C7’s and C7 Grand Sports. People are beating down the doors for a C8 while C7’s sit on a lot. A couple articles saying the C7 Grand Sport is a better car won’t hurt that situation.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            You have access to more information than I do. I’d probably be on safer ground saying this: I can see the commonalities between C5 and C6 everywhere from the drivers seat to standing under the lift replacing an exhaust. The C7 appears to share none of those hard points inside or out, and it is so different to drive that it may as well share nothing with the C6.

        • AvatarNewbie Jeff

          Re: C8

          I feel like I need to throw some support behind John C’s point… American automotive journalism trashed domestic OEM’s my entire adolescence, with very real effects on public attitudes towards the product. I distinctly remember when the big thing to do in media was to trash GM for pushrod V8’s when everyone else had overhead cam mills (and with the LS-series engines, no one’s talking trash now, are they?). Ford put a brilliant overhead cam engine in the SVT Lightning and the press was like, “Ford is stupid for wasting it on a truck” (…or brilliantly prescient?).

          …an OEM would “evolve” to address its “deficiencies”, and then they would get trashed for something else. It’s like they couldn’t win, the press would find something to shape the narrative that the Big Three were always, hopelessly deficient. The media has that soft power (and obviously not just in the automotive world)

          …and so it begins with the C8, Jack. You’ve “heard” the base C8 doesn’t measure up? Isn’t that premature considering you haven’t driven the car? But you said it anyway, and now everyone reading this blog has heard it, too. The seed is planted, the narrative subtly shaped: the car’s a dud, and the excitement is contained to just the fan-boy community. Decades of anticipation for a mid-engine ‘Vette and you’re trashing it before you’ve driven it… I can just hear the editorial: “Chevy tried to make a McLaren and fell way short… it has none of the experience of it’s predecessor. And the buttons are stupid!”

          It’s like they can’t win…

          • AvatarCJinSD

            I don’t recall many pushrod V8s getting panned, although there were a few years in the late ’70s when many of them had absolutely abysmal performance. The exception may be Cadillac’s HT V8 which was a pathetic performer when released combined with atrocious reliability and durability. While it was eventually developed to levels of mediocrity, it had the misfortune of spending its last few years being compared to Lexus and Infiniti V8s that were a generation past the German SOHC engines that the Cadillac HT was already behind.

            The Detroit pushrod engines that were usually panned were four and six cylinder engines pressed into service for the ’80s because of GM’s inability to get the Vega OHC engine right combined with bean-counter insistence on continuing to use engine production tooling from the ’50s. There was nothing unfair about their criticism. In many cases, GM was using more modern engines in other markets.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Let me rephrase. I had a conversation with someone who has won races in both junior pro karting and club racing who gave me detailed feedback on how the car behaves on track and I am not encouraged by that feedback. I trust this person and I would name him if it wouldn’t cost him a job. This person was an avid supporter of the C7GS by the way.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Remember in 82 with the new Z28 and the criticism of the car for having the crossfire 305. C/D wanted it to have a DOHC version of the 60 degree 2.8 V6 and said the old small block was just a place holder till it was ready. Imagine the pony car disaster if they had been right or if GM had listened to them when facing Mustang’s annual power bumps from the 302. Instead they asked themselves the right questions about how could they get the L82 heads on the 305 block and when the next generation of FI would come on stream. Curiously amid their complaints, C/D got the crossfire in at 7.9 seconds to 60, the best time I saw for that combo better then the 350 crossfire in that years lighter then Z28 Corvette.

          • AvatarScottS

            “I trust this person and I would name him if it wouldn’t cost him a job. This person was an avid supporter of the C7GS by the way.” It’s Matt Farah, and he lives in a parallel universe when it comes to cars. Talented driver? Yes. Relates well to car buying public? NFW

            I too was taken aback by Mark’s incredibly cynical opinion on the C8 Corvette, and his highly negative comments abouty those present at the reveal. I actually went to Carlisle in August to see the C8 in person and talk to the many talented people responsible for the car’s creation. I would not describe the C8 as “super ugly or hideous”. Within an hour of the C8 launch I had messages from some much younger friends of the Eurocar persuasion who were very excited about the C8 both visually and base specification. I think GM is finally going to attract some younger buyers away from the B and P brands with this one. While I mostly like the C7 Corvette, I skipped that generation because it didn’t move the bar over the C6 Z06/ZR1 in any way what the mattered to me. I do think a C8 will find a home in my garage. I still have fever dreams there will be version with a NA, push rod 7-liter. The C8 doesn’t move the bar, it’s an entirely new game, and I’m excited about that.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Oh shit no, Matt’s never won a race in his life where I wasn’t his co-driver. Definitely NOT Matt.

          • AvatarScottS

            You pitched it over home plate and I took a swing at it 😉 Research ensues!

            I have no expectation that the C8 will drive like the C6/C7. It’s a radically different architecture. But I do expect that the engineering team made damn sure it’s better in every performance metric from its predecessor. My observations of the attendees at Carlile was interesting, to say the least. Demographically they mirror the crowd at the recent convertible reveal that Mark attended. Most of them at best have one more new Corvette in their future, and they are about evenly split on whether to like the C8 or not. Some definitely love it, some want to like it but it’s a big unknown and they are risk averse, and some definitely hate it and are rushing to buy a new C7 while they still can. GM knows these folks are in the sunset of their sports car driving days and the C8 is an acknowledgment of that fact. At the same time, they need a lot of the traditional owners to come along to the future. These are the people who have always spent the money. It’s a fine line to walk but without risk, there will be no future for the Corvette. Harley-Davidson is facing the same dilemma but they are still navel-gazing and thinking about Chinese batteries.

            Mark displayed disdain if not utter contempt for the “customers” at the event, and made it clear to the reader that he is above the fray and spending his time looking at tits and working out. Ya, I get it these kinds of events get a little tiring after many years, but the readers deserve better than that. It just came off as self-indulgent and lazy.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Part of the “business” model at Riverside Green is intra-staff disagreement. Bark just turned forty and I think that when he looks at the Corvette crowd he is primarily trying to figure out how not to become those people.

            I’m about to turn 48 and I have accepted my middle-aged mediocrity. Enough so that I’ll probably own a Corvette again before too long — but I gotta have a clutch in mine.

  19. Avatarrambo furum

    Is there really any housing shortage anywhere in this country, or is it all largely an effect of toying with the economy by trying to boost development and usury? Seeing how actual American birth rates are below repopulation levels, why does a single house need to be built anywhere? I’ve heard that if every the unoccupied houses in America were to be divided up among the homelesses, that they would each get seven of them.

    Secondly, the notion of political officials as coerced instead of bought off does not jibe with my experience. Every city council type I’ve ever met drools at “ratables” and the tax money they bring in, and it is almost unconceivable that they are not being wined, dined, and otherwise bribed by the developers. When there are state impositions on things, that merely allows the keyfabe to be a little more believable as there are threats of lawsuits by the developers to which the complicit government handily buckles without a fight.

    I also don’t believe that the issue of race is artificial. The fact that race and crime has a distinct correlation annoys the left, even though they pretend it is all somehow based on discrimination. They’d love to muddy the waters so that there are not obvious disparities in neighborhoods. It is very similar to the national way that the EU really needs all nations to accept “migrants” less the ones that don’t unsurprisingly prosper in comparison for all to see.

    Back to the whole usury thing, note that every field where prices are out of control is one where people are not really paying with money they currently have: health care, education, housing being the prime examples. The invisible hand gets slapped and supply and demand no longer determine pricing.

    • Avatarhank chinaski

      These developers may also get tax abatement deals to bait them into a project, and saddle the locals with the costs of ‘incidentals’. This may include a school district diverting resources to ESL students, or police and hospital ERs dealing with knife and gun club business.

      It goes without saying that the devs are not local to their projects, or may only be people in the ‘corporations are people, my friend’ sense of the word.

  20. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    The last Corvette, especially Z06, could not adequately cool the engine under extended track use and had to throttle the power down. How could putting it in the back possibly improve this situation? I predict they will catch on fire.

    I think the styling is okay, just an evolution of the C7, which was just an evolution of the C6, which are all just okay. In my opinion the C5 is beautiful, these cars really need hidden headlights.

    • AvatarDirt Roads

      I still have to throw in that none of them would’ve existed had the C4 not been the successful transition it was from the C3, which was dying on the vine in its later days. The C4 was a huge leap forward in the early 80s and it brought buyers back to the fold. Then came the C5 and there was no looking back.

      My C4 is a DD and although it rattles and rides like a buckboard, it’s fun to drive and corners like it’s on rails. Pretty good deal for a 30+ year old car and that cast iron pushrod V8 up front.

  21. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    I had to think about this one. If the LA guys are pulling the ladder up behind them, then these guys are extending the ladder all the way to the bottom. This isn’t to say your wrong, but to remind everyone that the solution is always in the middle.

  22. Avatarsgeffe

    Since I moved into my current condominium in 1998, an entry-level middle-to-upper-middle-class development in the same type of cookie-cutter early-1970s suburban subdivision, a few blocks from my parents (we moved here in 1984), we’ve had a few ups and downs with renters. After having close to 40% non owner-occupancy (and at 50%, it means higher mortgage rates for any paper that any lender would write for a unit), we rewrote our incorporation documents to require that any new sales be to people who would reside in the unit, which has helped a little, though current owners are grandfathered, and can use their units as rental properties. Unfortunately, we’ve got two owners who essentially sit and just rake in the rental money and won’t lift a finger to intervene in any rule violations committed by their tenants! Both trouble units, naturally, are in my vicinity. We have forty units in ten buildings, with a common garage shared among the four units in each building. (In case you’re wondering, none of the issues I’m about to describe arise from race; there are folks of all different color and creed in my town, and nobody pays attention to that! No problems with acceptance, or anything of that sort; in general, most folks of a non-Caucasian heritage around my town are harder-working and better-spoken than some Caucasian folk! We’re majority Caucasian, but have a very good representation of folk of Hispanic descent, along with a lesser representation of African-Americans and folk of Oriental descent, Indian, and a few folks of Arabic descent. I’d say we have “unforced diversity.” There was one incident a year ago when racist garbage was spray-painted on a garage door in one of my town’s more expensive “McMansion” subdivisions just around the time an African-American couple was going to submit an offer to purchase the house, but rumor had it afterwards that the Realtor might have done that to gin up publicity for himself, which worked; he got right out in front and made sure that everybody knew he wouldn’t tolerate what happened, a vigil was held outside the home, the mayor proclaimed that we don’t tolerate that racism garbage here, a new garage door was donated, the couple purchased the house, and everyone lived happily ever-after!)

    One of these units is in my building, owned by the owner of a local real estate agency. The tenants aren’t horrible people per se, but the couple constantly leaves the garage open, and have had visitors’ cars stacked up like cordwood on the parking apron outside our garage, to the point where it’s been nearly impossible to be able to get another vehicle in and out of one of the garage doors. (We have one assigned parking space per unit adjacent to that unit’s building, and all other visitors’ vehicles are supposed to be parked out on the street, for a total of two vehicles per unit, including the garage space.) I often take the liberty of closing garages that are left open in my building, and a couple years ago, reversed out of my garage at full-throttle after the mentally-unstable husband had “caught” me closing their garage—fortunately, I was in the car with engine running preparing to leave, or I think the motherfucker would have taken a swing at me; a couple weeks ago, I arrived home from work to see no vehicles present, and the garage wide open, and after closing it (had it been left open all day? A few hours?), found out that the adult daughter residing there had been locked out! (Ever heard of taking a key with you and locking your house when you go out for a walk??!!) As I said, sending letters to the landlord is a useless endeavor!

    Same with the landlord in a unit in an adjacent building, who owns a few rental properties in my town, and also works for the owner of the first unit I mentioned. The human debris in that unit is likely on some form of public assistance, and there’s been enough weird stuff there that if only the other occupants of the units in the building had better evidence, the police probably could have brought criminal charges against the occupants for child neglect (a couple years ago, the couple’s two toddlers were running around outside playing, clothed in only long T-shirts/sleepers and diapers, and barefoot, from April through October, and constantly screaming at a blood-curdling pitch; last year, the parents bought the older of the two a small bicycle with a bell which sounded just like a Salvation Army bell at Christmas, which was not pleasant—mercifully, it didn’t last long, as I discovered driving out to go to work, and seeing the bell in several pieces on the lawn, a couple months later! They’ve had multiple people living with them in the past, perhaps more than the unit could legally hold at one time, including one chap who would rev his Harley motorcycle’s V-Twin engine at all hours! (Do you need to rev one of those to redline before shutting it down? One wonders!) They occupy multiple parking spaces out on the apron with impunity, and during a party where several of their relations were standing around in the garage and drinking, one of my neighbors overheard one speaking about their upcoming court date for assaulting a police officer! The husband is razor-thin, and appears to be about 120 pounds soaking wet, so my suspicion (along with another neighbor lady in my building) is that he’s probably on meth or opiates.

    It got worse a couple years ago in the fall, when a couple high school-aged kids, probably related to the family, and sent there for my town’s above-average schools, moved in, and shortly thereafter, their friends started showing up en masse; as you might surmise, the entire cohort isn’t and wasn’t the top of the class, confirmed by the daughter of the lady I mentioned above! Their multiple vehicles take up parking spaces adjacent to the building, and the arrival and departure of their vehicles seems to be a contest as to which car has the most durable subwoofer! For the piece de resistance, the neighbor lady I mentioned thought she’s observed multiple instances of drugs being sold on our condominium property by a couple of these miscreants, but unfortunately, there’s been no evidence of that caught on video! When I was in high school, the police in my town, and one beat cop-now-retired-detective in particular, had an attitude that a couple kids just walking down the street were likely guilty until proven innocent, but one time last summer when I had finally had enough of the damn “music” coming out of one of their vehicles as a bunch of them were playing volleyball on the adjacent lawn, and called the police, a patrol unit showed up, but drove through and didn’t even stop to question the gaggle of six teenagers standing around with music blasting! (Catching anyone in the act of anything is a crapshoot, given the response time of the police!)

    Ironically, two years ago, I called the police for one noise disturbance for each of these units on two consecutive evenings in May, almost exactly twenty-four hours apart! The first one was on the unit in my building after their daughter hosted a loud birthday party down in the garage space (my unit is upstairs, over the garage), and by 10:45, after asking the people to tone things down and waiting a half-hour, the police came and asked them to take the party somewhere else. (Unfortunately, no arrests for underage consumption, as a couple people there looked to be riding the line!) The next night, after the idiot with the Harley had been tinkering with the bike all day, and who came into the complex and wouldn’t stop blipping the throttle, I called the police (after I was awakened out of sleep, in my closed house, A/C running and a box fan running in my bedroom, by the noise), but of course, by the time they arrived, aforementioned Harley d-bag had gone inside, bike engine off! This same moron, when confronted about the noise and the fact that the bike was taking up a parking space, proceeded to do several tire-smoking donuts on the driveway before flipping the accuser the bird and speeding off at full tilt, on several occasions!

    In each of these cases, a letter was sent to the landlords, and they’ve done nothing, or have paid lip service to doing something! The people in my building, to their credit, are a bit more careful about visitors, but the garage is left open constantly! As for the other unit, since drug sales are a possibility, it isn’t a good idea to directly confront anyone, since there’s a good chance that someone could be armed and dangerous! I’m a stickler for closing garages because our rules state that they are supposed to be closed at all times, and we have had a couple break-in attempts over the years; hell, I’m afraid one of the punks from across the parking lot might try to stroll in and see what damage they could do!

    As you can probably surmise (again—I like that word), renters leave a bad taste in my mouth! As Jack implied, they have no “skin in the game,” so they think they can do anything they want, just as if they were in a house! In a condominium complex where you’re in closer proximity to your neighbors than in a separate house, you’re going to have more of an effect on your neighbors, whether it be from a barking dog, loud children at play, or possibly putting other units at risk from vandalism or theft when leaving a garage door into a common space open, or by idling a car in the garage for thirty minutes after arriving home in order to complete a phone call on the in-car Bluetooth!

    We’ve had, and have, good renters in my complex who do follow the rules and respect their neighbors, and whose landlords will dependably follow-up on any complaints! But we’ve also had some bad apples, and it gets frustrating at times, especially when one has to deal with them and their actions on a regular basis.

      • Avatarsgeffe

        Just a closet with the water meters in it.

        If some random ne’er-do-well happened by, they could “bump” an entry-door to a unit if the deadbolt wasn’t locked. No open garage = no temptation!

        The pipes in the upper units over the garage are sometimes prone to freezing because of drafts from open garages in the winter. The buildings were poorly built; fortunately, many issues have been resolved over the years, at some expense for the condo association, of which I’ve been secretary since the early aughts.

  23. Avatar-Nate

    Interesting comments .

    Some years ago my city decided to down zone my neighborhood in exchange for allowing multiple residence construction along several major boulevards South of my old (teens) neighborhood, closer to the freeway and commercial districts .

    Older multi – tenant rentals are still allowed to exist but some that had fires etc. were refused new permits for multi family units like they’d had before and so were torn down and replaced with smaller, single family dwellings . this benefitted a very small part of town .

    I still live in a Ghetto but it’s manageable to some extent .

    One dodge the developers use is : buy a house or two adjacent and leave them boarded up a few years while they “get ready to fully restore these beautiful classic & historical single family homes” .

    Then of course, the bums burn them and so the lots (most often co joined or adjacent) are re zoned to multi family high density apartments and the nice, quiet old neighborhood begins the inevitable slide and decay .

    Few seem to grasp that proposition 13 was a 1%’er scam that _permanently_ fixed the property tax rate for _corporations_ whilst allowing the rest of us to have endless annual property tax increases .

    Any time a corporation wants to divest itself of property, it simply sells the entire corporation or division, the properties are “corporate assets” not properties per se so they get ZERO PROPERTY TAX INCREASES IN PERPETUITY .

    This was sold to the voters with a one time re adjustment downwards of private owners property taxes .

    Just like President trump’s fake tax scam : _YOU_ will pay for it in perpetuity (that means FOREVER) whilst the rich get permanent tax breaks .

    Stupid is as stupid does .

    BTW : I know some older lifeguards and no one gets 6 figures on the job nor in retirement ~ only the 1%’er management gets that, no working class schlubs ever did nor will .


    • Avatarstingray65

      Some pension examples that illustrate why California is on its way to bankruptcy:





      • Avatar-Nate

        Thanx ~ .

        I find it odd that these all seem to make more $ in retirement than I ever did when on duty and none of the other retirees I know are making this much $ .


    • Avatarstingray65

      Nate – my response with links has disappeared, but if you Google “California Lifeguard Six figure pension” you will get lots of links showing that retired lifeguards are getting $100,000 pensions in their early fifties, along with many thousands of other California public employees.

      • AvatarCJinSD

        I’ve broken bread with the ‘mythical’ fifty year old retired California lifeguards who have waterfront homes on Mission Bay and trophy wives. They don’t even look like they spent too much time in the sun. I’m willing to believe they were administrators instead of spending all their time in red bathing suits, but you’ve got to live in a pretty crummy neighborhood to not be surrounded by youthful retired state employees. While private sector employees try clinging tenaciously to the middle class in California as the state regulates their employers out of existence repeatedly, California state employees always have money and security to buy up nice homes when the market craters. It doesn’t seem like anyone will save California from its third-world stratification, crime rate, and education level. Oh well. It seems like living there is good preparation for retirement in Belize, typically by federal government young retirees who lived in California during their careers.

        • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

          I have looked into retirement in Costa Rica. I went there for a work project 2012 and really liked it there. I started looking into living there about 5 years ago and there are some serious pluses to retiring there.

          • AvatarCJinSD

            I know several career military officers who have purchased properties in Belize or Costa Rica. They did it under the Obama regime, as before Trump was elected they assumed the US would implode. Belize was particularly attractive to the ones with families, as they have a history of treating American lives as being more important than those of their own citizens. I can’t help but to think that it will no longer be the case when said American lives are no longer backed by a strong dollar or the potential for force projection. Ex-pats in those countries will just be surrounded by people who have good reason to resent them.

  24. AvatarRyan


    I live in a city that is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Real estate values in the city center are also appreciating at a rate that rivals the top two or three in the country. So here’s how it works: A family buys a house, and in roughly five years it has nearly doubled in value. They then buy a second home, to be an investment and rental property. This continues, and now my friends have three or four properties. Meanwhile, as the median house price rises astronomically, people at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder can no longer afford the starter home that is the first rung on this ladder to financial success. The leap to the second or third rung is too much, so they’re stuck renting, and rent is also increasing, year on year. Why aren’t there starter homes anymore? Land is scarce, and the land that exists is already zoned for single family homes. Single family homes in this city are not starter-home priced in this city. There are no starter homes. The financial interests of those who own multiple rental properties keep pressure on city officials to prevent the type of re-zoning which would allow a new type of starter home. One of the tropes Jack uses to great effect is the ‘pulling the ladder up behind you’ image. This is precisely what is taking place in my fair city. The push for multi-family dwellings is simply the recognition that there need to be some rungs on the ladder towards the bottom – in the same way there were for the current landed elites.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I would absolutely agree, assuming that a nontrivial percentage of those homes will be owned rather than rented. The validity of those assumptions might be different for every market.

    • Avatar-Nate

      Or ;

      You can do like I did and buy any affordable home in some crime infested area and work diligently to make it and the neighborhood better and raise your family….

      One of my inflexible life desires was to buy and hopefully own before I die, my own home, not some trailer out in tweakerland desert town either .

      In time my area began to turn around and by the time my grand daughter inherits my crappy house it should be a really nice neighborhood again that she can live in or make decent $ renting / leasing .

      You gotta walk before you can fly .


    • Avatarhank chinaski

      You’ve touched on the key problem. They aren’t buying homes to live in, they are buying them as investments, as the developers that are promoting high density housing. They are encouraged to so by artificially low interest rates, tax incentives and/or leverage. “Making money with other people’s money”. Property values in particular are never allowed to correct much in a downturn.


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