Thursday, February 2, 2012

Noodling Housing, Redevelopment and Gehery

It’s The Market Stupid
I always wonder about politicians, then again don’t we all. We listen to their speeches, announcements, and pronouncements and shake our collective heads. Either I’m just not getting it or they are as dumb as a box-of-rocks. In an effort to wave a federal wand and change the course of housing, banks, financing and apple pie; President Obama is escalating the fight over how to revive the housing market. But one critic Paul J. Miller, a bank analyst at FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia, said that while it doesn’t “have a prayer in hell of passing,” the proposal may help Obama score political points. A bank tax is “bad public policy, but it’s populism at its highest,” he said. So there you have it, Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead. GO HERE   for the story. My hero Ludwig von Mises must be chortling in his grave. I repeat again, “The market is supreme.” You can’t legislate, cajole, bribe, or intimidate the market; it will ignore you and do what is in ITS own best interest. Ask the Soviet Union, China, solar power makers, electric car builders, and Apple acolytes.

The Law of Unintended Consequences
California Governor Jerry Brown must be all puffed with pride over his flaying and gutting the redevelopment districts of California. With the Democratic Assembly and Senate with Supreme Court acquiescence he was able to eliminate these bothersome agencies. But they may still rue the day. They were shut down, I think for a number of reasons: 1) No politician understood them, 2) For the most part they were successful in helping cities move forward, 3) They had huge bags of money hidden under the floorboards. For a couple of perspectives GO HERE for an article in the Wall Street and HERE for a southern California viewpoint.

Builders Survive – But is it Slow Suicide?
Builder Magazine states the obvious regarding the current condition of home builders at the start of 2012. Their survey which poles 345 readers, who represent a hard-core (or hard-headed) set of survivors, “all united by a resolve to carry on.” GO HERE to get up-to-date on the latest. A builder is quoted: “I do all the work: sales, bills, marketing, management, and field work. Sixteen-hour to 18-hour days just to pay the bills. NO PROFIT.” Wrote another, “Nobody gets a salary any more.” And, I ask, why wouldn’t you just go to Hawaii and wait it out?

A Voice of Sanity – I Think
In a January ruling the Alameda County Superior Court ruled that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s guidance regarding the mitigation of air quality issues for new development was clearly in violation of California’s environmental quality act. These guidelines were challenged by a group led by the Center for Creative Land Recycling (a group I have never  heard of). The new guidelines would have made it even more difficult (as hard as that is to believe) to get a project approved in the Bay Area. GO HERE and HERE 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Doghouse
To show that he wasn’t just one of America’s greatest architects, FLW took a commission to design a doghouse for a client’s son. It’s now in a movie and a book. In 1956, Jim Berger ask the architect for a favor, please design a doghouse for his black lab, “Which would be easy to build (unheard of in FLW’s vocabulary) and would go with our house.” GO HERE   for the complete story. I wonder if it too, leaked? BTW, I wonder what Frank Gehery’s dog house would look like?
"Dog House" Architect Frank Gehery
Stay tuned . . . .

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