WOT 1-12-2007

Weekend Open Thread

Since we are getting so many comments lately, and since our update posts recycle these comments, it has been suggested we create an open thread for weekend discussion. Here you go.

159 thoughts on “WOT 1-12-2007

  1. Chicken Little

    Prediction: the FOMC will lower the funds rate by at LEAST 50 basis points at the Jan 29/30 meeting to speed up the recovery of the RE market, and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year.

    Limits on socialized (GSE) mortgages will soon be raised to $1MM and $0-down, with good credit.

    Prices in OC will reverse course and begin rising again by Q4 2008. This isn’t Detroit folks, people actually want to live here.

  2. ex-tangelo

    I’m looking for a new refrigerator and dishwasher. The seals no longer seal, the freezer no longer freezes, and the washer no longer… you know.

    Any recommendations? I’m looking for efficiency, quiet, and reliable. Cost isn’t so much of an issue if it lasts 20 years.

  3. ex-tangelo

    Is there something I can find on Irvine history? When I look at the map, there’s crazy development in places I never knew about. Were those neighborhoods there before and I was just oblivious, or were they all built in the last ten years? (both are possible) And freeways? *zooms in on google maps* Are those toll booths??!?!? In California?! No way. The world must truly be coming to an end.

  4. ex-tangelo

    Yes. I am, in fact, a retard. With a lot of effort I can be what you call a “high functioning developmentally disabled person”, and on the internet, it’s hard to tell the difference.

    I also left Irvine in 1994, and until I found this very funny blog, I hadn’t given it a developmentally-disabled thought.

  5. Chicken Little

    If you want to know when a neighborhood was built, you can click on a few of the houses on Redfin, Zillow, etc. and look at the “Year Built” field.

  6. Stupid

    There are good descriptions on this board itself as IrvineSingleMom was kind enough to profile the different neighborhoods. Just search for the neighborhood names.

  7. FairEconomist

    Toll booths? Yeppers. Google up “San Joaquin transportation corridor” Somehow a lot of fascinating controversies seem to have become buried in the googlesphere, like the fact the the San Joaquin will probably go broke and needs to be bailed out by a merger (sound familiar?) It’s already gotten some bailouts in the past, but those weren’t sufficient (does that sound familiar too?) If you look at the list of entities involved in the merger finacial team here: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/3072 you might see why it sounds familiar!

  8. 25w100k+

    Something funny happened to me yesterday. Went to countrywide’s website to see how much they would lend me using their automated tool.

    I entered my income, my debt, and my estimated down payment. Hrm… it didn’t work. Tried again, looked for typos, still didn’t work. Ok, I had an idea. I changed my downpayment from 100,000 to 99,000. Worked perfectly. Tried it again with 100k. Nope, just hangs indefinitely.

    Looks like they don’t loan to people with a six figure down payment! 😀

  9. irvinesinglemom

    Thanks for the kudos but it was actually IrvineRenter who profiled many neighborhoods last fall, not me.

  10. Chicken Little

    When you own a business that is losing money, you are allowed to deduct the losses from your gross income for tax purposes. This is hardly unusual.

    And don’t forget that BofA paid $6 billion for the privilege, and is now responsible for an entity that is losing hundreds of millions every year.

  11. Lani

    This blog is full of Negative Nellies.

    And anyone who sells property for less than what they paid for it should be shunned as a party-pooper.

  12. lawyerliz

    The Black Swan book has some interesting things to say about checking the predictions of so-called experts. Apparently very few analyses have been done on this (doesn’t benefit the experts to be checked of course).

    The only correlation one study found was that the more famous the experts was the less likely he/she was to be accurate. So I guess it is a good idea to watch what the tv experts are advising, and with thoughtfulness, when appropriate, do the opposite.

    Of course, they weren’t reliably wrong, just more likely to be wronger.

  13. Kirk

    Agreed. I predict the median home price for Orange County will be $1.2 million in Q4 2009. People forget about all the foreigners that will flock to the United States when we start bombing their countries.

  14. BethN

    I’ve always had good luck at Pacific Sales. They have a great selection and the staff is very knowledgeable. The sales folks don’t pressure you in any way. They also don’t try to sell an “extended warranty”. I t helps to have a good idea of what you want, so try to do a little research before shopping.

  15. Chicken Little

    It is impossible to deny the need for additional road capacity in SoCal.

    Rot in hell, NIMBY.

  16. Chicken Little

    Sorry, it’s just that people with that attitude are responsible for the current sad state of affairs.

    As long as there is buildable land, the population will continue growing. We need infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century, not leftovers from the 1960s. The 241 extension is part of the solution.

    Also realize that if traffic wasn’t so horrific (thanks to NIMBYs and enviro-wackos) there wouldn’t be so much pent-up demand for residential property near job centers. Consequently, we wouldn’t need internet communities to complain about housing prices in Irvine.

  17. CapitalismWorks

    Used car pricing is going to become very attractive as we enter into a full-blown recession.

  18. lendingmaestro

    Many fridgerator brands are actually made by the same company, Electrolux, in Greenville (Grand Rapids) Michigan

  19. lendingmaestro

    I believe many people on this blog would consider themselves realists. SInce our current reality is very negative, then yes I would be a negative nelly.

  20. awgee

    I work for CalTrans, and it is my experience that it does not matter how many more feet of asphalt we put down. New linear footage is filled before it is laid. In other words, it does not matter how much more freeway you build. It will be congested.
    If the 241 is extended, before it is finished, more residential and commercial buldings will be built before the asphalt cools. Kind of that, “If you build it, they will come.” thang. More asphalt will not solve the congestion problem. More asphalt just brings more cars and more people. And the politicians do NOT want you to know this. They want you to vote for more taxes that they control. Governor Brown knew this and stopped all freeway building. Congestion got no worse than before or after.
    The only thing that will relieve congestion and the influx of people into SoCal is a massive increase in the price of water. NIMBY, although true, does not cause congestion in SoCal.

  21. carmichael

    Its funny, the RE bulls are now looking to the US Government to save the day for their overpriced RE assets. Like, expanding the conforming limit is going to change anything. Fixing the RE mess is way too big a problem for the FEDS to fix, and they will soon turn their sites on helping other sections of the economy. RE will be cast to the wind, no help forthcoming.

  22. Chicken Little

    Sorry pal, road capacity isn’t driving the growth in this region. Perfect weather, high-paying jobs, abundant recreational activities, attractive people, and land availability are the most common reasons why people still flock to Southern California. “They will come” no matter what you do or do not build. And “they will come” whether the water bill is $25 or $125. We can and will build infrastructure to keep up with the rapid growth.

    If you really work for Caltrans and are opposing common-sense measures to reduce traffic congestion, shame on you. Your defeatist approach is clearly not aligned with the public’s best interests, and if it was up to me you would be out on the street.

  23. mediaboyz

    Kirk, how did you come up with that Math? Irvine Median household incomes are $85K, tell us all how will that float $1.2M mortgages?

  24. alan

    if you want an RV’s mid 08 thru 09 is projected to be a great time to buy as the recession progresses

  25. mediaboyz

    But..but…but they need $120K to buy the $1.2M homes on $85K median household incomes that Kirk mentions above! How will that work??

  26. Chicken Little

    Raising the conforming loan limit to $1MM, as proposed, would dramatically lower the bar for marginal buyers and increase homeownership in high-cost areas like coastal California.

    The GSEs are less risk-averse than real banks and will qualify large numbers of borrowers who are having trouble getting jumbo loans today. The GSE interest rates are kept artificially low, insulating borrowers from the costs of rising long-term rates and inflation.

    In effect this is a MASSIVE government subsidy for the housing sector. The market forces that would ordinarily limit the number of eligible homebuyers are rendered moot.

    You may not agree with this plan, but you can’t deny that it will have a pronounced effect on the marketplace.

  27. Chicken Little

    Kirk is a troll (look at his blog) and doesn’t even live in SoCal.

    Please do not feed him.

  28. IrvineRenter

    Kirk is only a part-time blog troll. Sometimes he comes here with astute observations and contributes to the debate and conversation. In this instance, his question is legitimate.

  29. IrvineRenter

    Below is info from her website…


    RE Revealed- it’s never black and white! We watch current Real Estate trends whether in regard to technology, blogs, websites or print marketing. When you’re trying something new, we’ll be watching!

    LANI ANGLIN is the acting Director of Business Development at Single Pointe Realty in Austin. She is able to watch the industry from the perspective of a non-practitioner and opine accordingly. Lani also moonlights over at the Bloodhound Blog and Beautiful Chaos and is an avid blog commenter. She has a sharp eye for RE trends, a quick wit, and is the beloved OCD irritant around the office!

  30. IrvineRenter

    Chicken Little,

    You are starting to sound like Kirk… 😉


    If I lived out in Coto, I probably would not want the road to go through either, but if I lived in San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano which must endure all the I-5 traffic, I would be pleading for this road to go through ASAP.

  31. IrvineRenter

    The market for previously leased BMWs and Mercedes given up by former realtors and mortgage brokers will be particularly good.

  32. IrvineRenter

    It is one of the core truths of financial markets: the herd is always wrong. If a famous expert gives a prediction which is acted upon by the herd, the prediction will be made incorrect by the herd’s activities.

  33. WINEX

    My God you are right!

    If there is a problem that is begging to be solved, it is lowering the bar more for marginal buyers. I’m sure that Wall Street is drooling over the prospects this will create right now!

  34. Chicken Little

    Correct, Wall Street will favor anything that preserves or inflates housing values. The last thing they want is to be left holding the bag.

  35. IrvineRenter

    This would either put the government on the hook or create an even bigger bag for Wall Street to be left holding.

  36. frank

    to all the real estate agents on this site: are you kidding me? are you kidding me? It is over. O V E R. Go back to waiting on tables or what ever you were doing before. O V E R

  37. WINEX

    Of course Chicken Little. It’s a travesty that marginal buyers can only borrow $417k. We need to get these people deeper in debt!

  38. No_Such_Reality

    I you want to improve traffic in SoCal, double deck the 5/405 from San Diego to the Grapevine and then do the same with the 91 and 10 from Redlands to the Sea.

    Gas mileage will improve, commutes will be reduced and I suspect pollution will actually reduce as our cars run efficienctly.

    People will whine about Nimitz, but like Nimitz, the actual death count will be miniscued compared the annual lifetimes savings of the reduced commutes.

  39. Chicken Little

    Like it or not, this is what the politicians and the Fed want. More subsidies for the flagging market in a crucial election year.

    They have nothing to gain by letting the crash play out the way you want it to.

  40. tonye

    $1MIL for a conforming loan?

    Hey! I want to refinance…. take all the money…. invest it in Euros, Gold, Chinese Monkey Brain Sausage companies in Shanghai, Tijuana Taxis, you name it. Anything outside this country. Anything not measured in US dollars.

    Sounds like the dollar will go the way of the peso and the lira…. The “Six Dollar Burger” soon will be the “600 Dollar Burger”… you want cheese? That’ll be another seventy five bucks.

  41. Chicken Little

    That sounds a lot more expensive than a couple of self-financing toll roads. Especially when the state is $14 billion in the red.

  42. tonye

    Unfortunately Kirk is also a Born Again Agnostic so you can not trust him. You can only trust Evangelical Zoroastrians like me.

    We are the keeper of the RE flame.

  43. tonye

    Kitchen Aid makes the fridges for most Upper Type stuff. Viking, for example. So, if you want the quality and don’t need the dual compressors ( SubZero) or bling! bling! go get a Kitchen Aid. We got a 48 inch wide, counter top depth unit. It was “naked” and had the carpenter make the wood door panels to match the cabinets. You can get it with white or stainless… but it’s a big motha and the stainless will really overwhelm your kitchen -IMHO.

    For dishwashers I like our Bosch. You can stand next to it and you can’t hear it. We got it in stainless, but you can save some money and order it in enamel.

    Pacific Sales has very good prices, but there’s a place in El Toro that actually has better prices ( We got the Bosch there ) but I forget the name.

  44. tonye

    SR73 is a den of CHP with radar. On a friday afternoon you’ll see them all over. Once I counted 15 CHP cars between the southern terminus and UCI.

    The thing is that SR73 has steep inclines so it’s very easy to do 85+ on those long downhills… The CHP knows this and hide at the bottom of the hill.

    The way I look at it… if I’m paying four bucks to take that road I have the God Given right to haul ass. Otherwise what’s the point of taking the toll road?

    55? Yikes… that’s slow.

  45. tonye

    Are you one of the Directors in my HOA’s Board? You know? Those goody two shoes on the surface with a huge need to assert control and no life outside taking your kids to school and make Mac and Cheese for dinner?


  46. tonye

    Hey, it’s simple. Increase the efficiency of our current freeways. MINIMUM speed limit on the HOV and Lines 1 and 2 of 85 mph.
    On the number 3 make it 70 and a nice 65 on the slower lanes.

    Then, no big ass SUVs on the HOV and fast lanes. Minivans are OK ( at least my Odyssey is good to 110++, maybe the Toyota and Caravan are unsafe at 80?)….

    Anyhow, that will fix it.

    And, no one who came from some Asian country after the age of 22 and learnt to drive within UCI while going to grad school should NOT be allowed on the freeway…. or on Culver for that matter.

  47. ex-tangelo

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

    It was the loveliest party that I’ve ever attended
    If anything was broken I’m sure it could be mended
    My head can’t tolerate this bobbing and pretending
    Listen to some bullet-head and the madness that he’s saying

    This is where the party ends
    I’ll just sit here wondering how you
    Can stand by your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    You and your racist friend

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

    Out from the kitchen to the bedroom to the hallway
    Your friend apologizes, he could see it my way
    He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking
    Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist friend
    I know politics bore you
    But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
    And your racist friend

  48. tonye

    Have you ever driven in UCI? I don’t think so man…. There’s nothing racist about my comment, it is just a pure and simple statement of fact.

    Hell, talk to my chinese american friends.. they are the first ones to run away from those UCI grad students and their wives when they get on their Toyotas.


    “The beat goes on
    And you’re so wrong..”

  49. Chicken Little

    Jesus Christ bud, use a little common sense here. Irvine is about 90% chinese, 98% if you count UCI. So maybe it’s not so smart to make chink jokes on the IRVINE housing blog??

    The ignorance of some people is just plain flabbergasting…

  50. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    Hi, this is Lani from RE Revealed. The Lani who commented above is not me- I don’t make commentary of this nature and I’m sorry for any misunderstanding. I’m surprised to learn that there is another Lani in the blogosphere.

    When this popped up on my Google notification, I was rather perplexed and had to read the thread several times to understand what happened. If you need verification, I’m sure you can verify the IP addresses in the backend now that you have mine. I would ask that IrvineRenter (or anyone else with admin access) please email me directly as soon as possible.

    On a sidenote- we actually encourage a healthy dialogue about the successes and failures of any local market. Thank you for providing such a fantastic service to consumers!

    Lani Anglin-Rosales

  51. Kirk

    You people talk as if inflation is a bad thing. Inflation is only bad if you are a money hoarder. Money is meant to be pumped back into the economy, not stashed away for Hanukkah. Maybe if you acted a little more American and bought some stuff you wouldn’t be so unhinged and bitter.

  52. Kirk

    To answer the math question:

    The median price for an existing home in Orange County is $610,000. We are all in agreement that 2008 is going to go sideways until the bombs drop in Q4 and we wipe out the excess inventory in various Middle Eastern countries.

    But, from 2008 Q4 to 2009 Q4 we can use the industry standard National Association of Realtors calculation for appreciation:

    $610,000 x 2 = $1,220,000.

    All the data is right here:

    I should have specified existing homes in my original comment. Sorry if that caused some confusion.

  53. evan

    I’m in the market for one and I was thinking along the same line as you. Just waiting for those realtors to finally give up their rides.

  54. Lost Cause

    Perfect weather? You mean perfect for smog formation. Do people really want to breath poison, as the induldge in their recreational activities?

    I don’t see any other reason that make SoCal “special”compared to Detroit or any other industrial city. Look around, somehow you overlook the fact that Irvine, too, is an industrial town, with a few houses in between.

    And the growth pattern is simple. Build a freeway, and then developers can make their millions.

    Sections of the Detroit area, at least, demonstrate a respect for the landscape.

  55. Jack Dawson

    I was wondering.

    The 10-year is REALLY low.

    Not as low at the bottom in 2003 but REALLY low.

    How is the business for conventional, conforming loans? (was NEVER one of these sub-prime guys/gals)

    Are these loans closing? Is it (getting) busy?

    Call me crazy but I’m thinking about dusting off my plantronics headset and returning to a call center (is there still one across from South Coast?) to take some aps.

    If u have any info. I’d appreciate it.

  56. graphrix

    The GSEs are less risk-averse than real banks and will qualify large numbers of borrowers who are having trouble getting jumbo loans today. The GSE interest rates are kept artificially low, insulating borrowers from the costs of rising long-term rates and inflation.

    Sorry, but it seems you lack some basic knowledge of what is happening with the GSEs, and the way that pricing/rates work.

    First OFHEO, aka the guberment, is against the idea of raising the loan limits. So, regardless of the pandering of a senator, this is not in the best interest of the GSEs. Fannie and Freddie both have capitalization issues, and by taking on larger loans, this will only exacerbate the capitalization rules. “A $500,000 mortgage owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would require twice as much capital for regulatory purposes as a $250,000 mortgage,”

    Second, Fannie and Freddie have increased their g-fees, or the “risk” based fees
    . Fannie announced major changes here, and here. Freddie announced major changes here. As the delinquencies rise, this will only get worse, and standards will get tighter. To think, even if they raised the loan limits, that the GSEs wouldn’t add a risk priced fee, is just ill informed. So, while you like to imagine that the GSEs are less risk-averse, it appears in their statements they are becoming more risk-averse everyday.

    Third, if the GSEs do not add a risk based fee for the larger loans, then the investors will. This will effect all GSE loans, and not just the larger loans. You see, the only reason investors get a lower return on GSE loans, are the underwriting/loan limit standards, not the guberment sponsorship. You do know, that the GSEs are not backed by the guberment, and there is no guarantee by the guberment, right? So, what happens here is, the investors think the higher loan limit loans are riskier, and will bid for a higher return. Meaning that GSE rates will be at, or near, jumbo rates.

    So, if you think this will help, then great. However, if you have some basic knowledge of GSEs and MBS, then you would know, this is not a viable solution. In fact, it would only make things worse.

  57. djd

    Uh, GE is a huge industrial conglomerate… Are you really boycotting such things as:

    jet airplanes (GE makes most of the engines)

    trains (GE is the leading builder of locomotives)

    electricity (GE makes turbines, generators, and switchgear)

    NBC, Universal, Bravo, USA, SciFi, and Telemundo entertainment brands (GE lists them under “products and services”)

  58. djd

    “if I’m paying four bucks to take that road…”

    But you pay in tax for taking any road. Taxes which aren’t collected via tolls must ipso facto provide only an indirect link between using a particular road and paying for it.

    Per Wikipedia: “State Route 73’s toll road was the first to be financed with tax-exempt bonds on a stand-alone basis including construction and environmental risk.”

    So, you’re likely paying similar rates on the average for all highway travel – but since you don’t ahve to ante up on the spot, you don’t notice.

    Do you have FasTrak? If not and you make at least 9 trips per month on SR73, you can get a $0.75/trip discount with FasTrak, if I understand the pricing scheme. (You save money in an absolute sense with only 2 trips per month, but unless you pay $25 or more in tolls, there’s a $1 fee for the transponder rental.)

  59. Laura Louzader

    If upfront cost is no object, get a Sunfrost. A 16 cubic foot Sunfrost runs on 150KwH a year, and is available in many different finishes, including stainless, or can be customized. It’s about $3,000.

    If you want something reasonable, the Frigidaire line is top-rated for reliability in fridges, ranges, and dishwashers. They are the most reliable on the market, and beat out “premium” lines like Jenn-Air, SubZero, and Viking for performance and reliability. Their fridges are the next most energy-efficient. A 21.5 cubic foot top-over-bottom Frigidaire Energy Star runs on slightly over 400KwH a year. Their dishwashers are also among the most efficient. These are all very low-cost appliances, also. But they don’t make an induction cooktop. GE’s induction cooktop is the best deal if you like induction, which is the most energy-efficient cooking.

    Kenmore has fallen in the reliability ratings, but they are still better than the “premium” lines.

  60. djd

    Correction – only 8 trips are needed to guarantee $25 in tolls, ragardless of when you travel.

    Also I was not aware of the financial difficulties of SR73 (see FairEconomist’s 10:56:58 post below) which is apparently currently operating at a loss.

  61. djd

    Chicken Little: “Sorry pal, road capacity isn’t driving the growth in this region. … We can and will build infrastructure to keep up with the rapid growth.”

    But how much will this infrastructure cost per person? Since the roads are being built to support commuters, each additional lane serves about five thousand people (at 1 person/vehicle, 2k vehicles/hr/lane, 2.5 hour “rush hour”). That’s why additional capacity is consumed so quickly; as awgee said: “More asphalt just brings more cars and more people.”

    Why not convert existing lanes to HOV/carpool lanes? Each lane thus converted is the equivalent of adding another normal lane: for a 3 person/vehicle requirement and the 70% lane capacity factor observed for HOV, 1 HOV lane = 2.1 normal lanes. This could drastically reduce congestion for a (relatively) very low cost.

    No_Such_Reality: “Gas mileage will improve, commutes will be reduced and I suspect pollution will actually reduce as our cars run efficienctly.”

    This is true. However, is it worth spending tens of thousands of dollars per commuter to deliver these benefits? Is it worth the traffic restrictions which will be needed to ensure that the number of vehicles traveling the route does not increase?

    tonye: “Have you ever driven in UCI? … There’s nothing racist about my comment, …”

    I think this may be a college thing more than a race thing. I can’t comment on UCI but have seen some amazingly dumb driving around UCSB, especially from cyclists. (A large number of people around here, particularly students, believe bicycles have the right of way over motor vehicles at all times. Many also believe stop signs don’t apply to them.)

  62. Genius

    I hope you’re being sarcastic Kirk. If not, please slash your wrists immediately. Remember: down the road, not across the street.

  63. tonye

    My chinese friends who live in Irvine don’t like how those Chinese Grad students in UCI drive. They were the first ones to point them out to me.

    This is not an issue of Chinese folks living in Irvine, it’s an issue of those grad students that came to the UCI only knowing how to ride a bicycle. Next thing you know they get a Toyota and go out there terrorizing the country side…

    Seen the type? They drive in and around UCI ten miles below the speed limit, no turn signals, running through stop signs and the occasional red light. I’ve followed several…. Once a young woman almost ran four pedestrians as she was making a left turn at California and Campus….. Yikes…

  64. tonye

    Irvine is NOT industrial.

    All of Irvine demonstrates a respect for landscape.

    Development in Irvine is completely planned under the Master Plan. The Growth Pattern is laid out.

  65. tonye

    We got the GE Monogram convection oven and built in Advantium oven too. The electronic control panels are a source of trouble and run about 300 bucks to replace -after warranty of course.

    Other than that they work fine.

    I prefer gas for counter top cooking. The Viking range tops are built to last and are really quite simple.

  66. tonye

    The problem with Fastrak is that you must PREPAY….

    So, if I gotta take the 73 I’ll pay cash. Most of the time I just take the 405/5. My commute nowadays is northwards anyhow.

  67. awgee

    I don’t think I said that road capacity is what drives growth. What I was saying , or was trying to say is that the growth will appear wherever the roads are built. Traffic congestion does inhibit growth. Any increase in cost will inhibit growth, and commuting time and frustration is just another cost.
    IR – Extending the 241 will not relieve congestion for the folks driving from San Clemente or wherever. Before the toll road is finished, more res and commercial construction will be finished to negate any supposed benefit. You are in the industry. Where do the developers develop? Commmuting access is a huge factor in that decision process. Think about it. Have you ever known a freeway to become less congested during rush hour because of freeway additions? Have the 405, 5, and 55 become any less congested as a result of the tollroad completions. I see the results of the traffic studies before and after. Guess how much difference there is?
    CL – Attacking me personally and being offensive does not change facts or make your argument any more valid. What you call common sense is actually just common myth. It is believed by the overwhelming majority that if you build more freeway, that congestion will be somewhat relieved. If you have lived in SoCal for a long time and you think about it for a few days, you will realize that this common belief is a common myth. We do constant traffic studies. The only two things that relive congestion on a consistent basis are more commuters per vehicle and mass transit. Those are the facts, no matter what you think is common sense.
    My job is not to determine how much or whether to build freeway. That is decided by the voters and land developers and politicians who lie to you in order to raise your taxes and sell bonds so they have more of your money to control. Stop reacting for awhile and think. Has building more freeway ever relieved congestion in SoCal? Some folks define insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  68. ex-tangelo

    What Awgee said.

    The costs of freeways and water are extremely distorted in California and encourage kinds of development that wouldn’t happen if their costs weren’t so externalized.

  69. IrvineRenter


    Don’t build it and they will not come? Development is coming, the only question is whether or not we will be prepared for it with sufficient infrastructure. In California, we are always behind the curve with infrastructure, and NIMBY resistance makes the problems even worse. Take you argument to the other extreme. Why not rip up the roads we currently have. If we make the traffic situation bad enough, may some people will leave.

    Traffic congestion will not go away. I remember reading about the Washington DC beltway project. As soon as it was opened, it was operating at capacity. They had careful traffic counts on all the streets in the area both before and after. They found that the new road actually generated trips because it was now easier to get around. Congestion is something we must all deal with permanently. What additional capacity does is it allows us to change our adaptations to congestion. Instead of having to get up a 4:30 to avoid heavy traffic, a commuter may be able to sleep in until 5:30. Instead of businesses having to run flexible work hours, they may be able to have all their workers in the office at the same time. Additional capacity relieves some of the stress of our unusual adaptations to dealing with congestion. This has value.

  70. Trooper

    On the subject of smog. I (shudder) bought a house in Corona about 5 years ago….yes, I got caught up in the “cheap, big new house thingy…..anyways, I had a killer view of the entire IE Valley from my hillside home. The smog was unbelievable… brown brackish crap that just hung there.

    I was home on 9/11 and remember looking out the windows searching for planes. The smog was still there.

    Two days after 9/11, 48 hours worth of not many commuters and no planes….let me tell you about the view I had. It was crystal clear and beautiful. Talk about a quick fix to the air pollution… ground all planes and park all cars ! 😉

    The smog returned one week later when life moved on.

  71. Chicken Little

    “The only two things that relive congestion on a consistent basis are more commuters per vehicle and mass transit.”

    Nobody in the suburbs wants to carpool or use crappy mass transit. Especially in SoCal. The only people you ever see at OCTA bus stops in Irvine are the mexicans commuting back to SA after a hard day of flipping burgers.

    Heck, even the hard-core libs in LA refuse to use the bus system or the subway, despite billions of taxpayer dollars poured into it. They’d rather take their chances on the gridlocked freeways.

    So much for your brilliant theory. Like it or not we need to build the 241 extension.

  72. Chicken Little

    “First OFHEO, aka the guberment, is against the idea of raising the loan limits.”

    Both the President and Congress are FOR the idea of raising the limits for conforming loans. As is Treasury Secretary Paulson. The devil is in the details: the President wants a little more accounting oversight, and Congress is resistant to it. If they can reach an agreement, it’s a done deal, no matter what OFHEO says.


    “You do know, that the GSEs are not backed by the guberment, and there is no guarantee by the guberment, right?”

    Wrong. There is an implicit government guarantee which investors can and do take into consideration.


  73. Chicken Little

    “First OFHEO, aka the guberment, is against the idea of raising the loan limits.”

    Both the President and Congress are FOR the idea of raising the limits for conforming loans. As is Treasury Secretary Paulson. The devil is in the details: the President wants a little more accounting oversight, and Congress is resistant to it. If they can reach an agreement, it’s a done deal, no matter what OFHEO says.

    “You do know, that the GSEs are not backed by the guberment, and there is no guarantee by the guberment, right?”

    Wrong. There is an implicit government guarantee which investors can and do take into consideration.

    (My original reply had links but apparently they trigger the spam filter.)

  74. awgee

    “Additional capacity relieves some of the stress of our unusual adaptations to dealing with congestion. This has value.”
    I know this is the conventional thinking, but it just ain’t true. At least not in reference to more asphalt as additional capapcity.

  75. Kirk

    Graphrix: I think you are confusing Fannie Mai and Freddy Mac for Ginnie Mae. While Ginnie Mae has no backing by the government, the other two are backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” While I enjoy watching your debate with Chicken Little I must say that you both miss the big picture: Inventory. It never ceases to amaze me how many liberals ask, “Why did we invade Iraq?” Can’t they connect it to the markets? When the bombs were falling, housing was rising. Now that things have calmed somewhat housing is going sideways. I mean are these people going to be asking the same question about Iran? Housing is a global market just like oil. It is in our nation’s interest to ensure that countries like Iran don’t recklessly crash the market by overbuilding.

  76. Chuck

    I am curious about how the IHB readers would rate the different villages of Irvine. When I first looked at Irvine in the late 80s Turtle Rock was generally thought to be #1 (due to the “hilly” location and University High) and Woodbridge seemed to be #2 (great amenities). I beleive Westpark was #3 (newer but fewer amenities than Woodbridge).

    Now with all of the new communities like Quail Hill, Woodbury, etc., I wonder if and how these ranking have changed in the eyes of a buyer with a young family. I live in Woodbridge now and love the pools, lakes, etc., but I also realize that the home designs are a little outdated vs some of the new communities that have “great rooms” and larger master bedrooms but may lack the parks, etc., of some of the older communities. So, please chime in with your opinion! Let’s leave Shady Canyon out of the ranking due to the extreme high prices there….


  77. Hmmmmm

    I have a question about the weather in SC. If it is great how come the houses in Irvine have no yards? Living in the East, I have a romanticized view of CA inside/outside living with big windows and doors open all day allowing for maximum living….where is that in Irvine?

  78. CK

    You have to walk to the neighborhood park to find the big yards, or drive down to the beach. I will say, however, that Irvine has a excellent system of city, neighborhood, and community parks to enjoy…..As a matter of fact, I am walking out the door right now to take my daughter to the wading pool, since it’s already 80 at 11:55am. 😉

  79. ex-tangelo

    Because land in metropolitan California is very expensive. Irvine is very young; it’s nothing like cities back East that grew mature before World War 2 and the advent of freeways, cheap energy, and the rise of a large and strong middle class. Irvine is a city that assumes that nothing needed to be walkable or centralized, and that anyone traveling would do so by private automobile.

    The illusion of Irvine having any similarity to East Coast suburbs is because all of Irvine development is low-rise, high-density — as you point out, “no yards”. But Irvine isn’t suburbia, it’s very urban. Take any moderately-sized East Coast city of about 100,000, and convert the centralized, narrow-streets, walkable downtown into many individual buildings with lots of parking lots and wide, multi-lane boulevards.

    East Coast suburbs are an utterly different animal. They grew organically, chaotically, in fits and starts. The land usually started out as farmed land owned by many small landowners. They sell their land at their own pace, so development happens in a patchwork.

    For the most part, the eastern suburbs were where land was cheapest, because it was harder to get to (pre-dating freeways and a large mobile middle class). So eastern suburbia had larger lot sizes, and lots of gaps between developed lots.

    Where Irvine is unusual is the Irvine Company owns almost all the land in Irvine (I’m fuzzy on details here). That allows them to dictate all aspects of development – how much, where, when and how. They wish to make as much money as possible, that means the maximum # of housing units per square mile that they think their market can bear. (“Their market” apparently being the upper-middle class)

    But I don’t think the Irvine Co really cares about single family homes on small lots; if buyers preferred multi-unit housing with transit and stores and so on within walking distance, the Irvine Company would build that.

  80. CK

    Since we all have very different tastes, this is very subjective and depends on what stage of life and what is important…But I’ll throw in my .02 — the most important thing to us is a newer neighborhood with a good share of young families and good neighborhood schools. Our ranking would be:

    1) Orchard Hills (if it is ever built)
    2) Northpark and Woodbury (tie)
    3) Northwood Pointe or Northpark Square (tie)
    4) Turtle Ridge (if prices come back to earth)
    5) Quail Hill or Laguna Crossing (if built)
    6) Turtle Rock
    7) Portola Springs or Columbus Grove or West Irvine (tie)
    8) Brady Bunch Northwood
    8) Oak Creek
    10) Woodbridge
    ….Everything else off radar….

    I’m sure others may have a very different opinion.

  81. Chuck

    CK – thanks for your $0.02! Aside from the new houses in these new communities, are the schools thought to be better and/or more up-to-date than some of the older communities like Woodbridge? And are these new communities where the new young families are headed? I have heard some people comment that Woodbridge is currently made up of older empty nesters, however I always seem to see a lot of kids down at the lagoon in the summer…..

    By the way, where is (or will be) the Orchard Hills development?

  82. CK

    I don’t know that the schools in the newer communities are any better, but because of the higher concentration of younger families in the newer communities I think the parent involvement in the schools (as well as the school’s influence on the community) is higher.

    I will note, however, that as far as community master plan goes, Woodbrige is my favorite of all Irvine neighborhoods, with Northpark as my 2nd favorite community plan.

    Orchard Hills will be across Portola Pkwy from Northpark and Northwood Pointe, but word is it is delayed until 2009 or later.

  83. ex-tangelo

    There is more than one way to develop. Car-dependent, freeway-dependent single family homes in single-type zoning developments farther and farther out is just one way to accommodate population growth.

    And in the event of adding roads/freeways further out, vehicle-miles travelled per person rise. The farther out you develop, the farther the average trip will be, even if job locations are decentralized. This is a paradox of our modern society.

    And there’s also the Network (Braess) Paradox. Adding new roads/freeways to an existing system increases the cost (congestion, time lost).

    And increasing capacity nearer a core of development is a Sisyphean lost cause. Because of the paradoxes above, any time you make it easier for someone to choose to live out where the land is cheaper and the commute is no longer as congested, they WILL choose to live farther away, incrementally increasing congestion on the road network, until equilibrium is reached (rush hour traffic hell).

    Increasing freeway capacity (adding lanes) on a congested network increases trip length, adding freeways at the furthest orbit of an urban area just increases car-dependent development and increases congestion on the existing network, and adding a new route is a net negative.

    Of course, in the real world one can come up with perfectly reasonable examples where a new freeway/alternate freeway/widened freeway can help; but chances are, you’ll end up with a lot of the same.

    Anyway, I respect your preferences; I’m not saying you should ditch the car and live in Manhattan or anything. But there are many other ways and we need to find a better way.

  84. Lost Cause

    Denial will not change the facts. Just look at the satellite photography of Irvine. I’d say no more than half of it is residential. It is simply another worker’s camp. That is also the plan.

  85. Hmmmmm

    Thanks for the info. I do wonder where the small cities of 100,000 are on the east. 🙂 It seems as though everything these days is ahuge megalopolis or country town. Not much in between.

    I guess what I meant is that if I moved to SCA for the weather, I sure wouldn’t pick anything in Irvine to live in. We have large planned communties here also, Reston VA for instance, but even after almost 20 years in the development industry I have never seen anything like Irvinr for packing them in.

    Of course the zoning here is much more restrictive and maybe as CA is a “newer” state, the zoning allowed for much more flexability and creativity in planning this community.

    I am curious… Reston and Columbia MD, two large signature communties here, were started in the late ’60’s. When was Irvine started?

  86. Genius

    I’m about as conservative as they come. What on Earth ever gave you the idea I was liberal? Or are you still being sarcastic?

    It doesn’t count as violence if you do it to yourself.

  87. tonye

    Surely you don’t think that carpet bombing Riverside and San Bernardino is the answer, huh? Cramer did propose that we bulldoze it, which is a better alternative I think.

    Bulldozing the Inland Empire is labor intensive and will require lots of money invested. Besides it will be good for The Home Depot and we can move that pesky human collateral before we plow it down back to desert.

    Bombing, OTOH, is very efficient and we should only do it when we bomb other people’s countries. I think our biggest mistake in Iraq has been to employ iraquis. We should have spent our money on Americans to do the heavy lifting ( OK, maybe a few illegals off the Home Depot parking lot ).

    Besides, does anyone know what the RE is like in Baghdag nowadays? Can I borrow from Fanny Mae to buy a five story apartment building five blocks from the Green Zone?

  88. tonye

    Industrial implies factories… look it up.

    Irvine is R&D and office land. Very little production gets done here. Most production is outsourced to cheaper places filled with low paid slaves: China, Thailand, Detroit, etc…..

    We actually have lots of greenbelts and hiking areas.

    Take another look at those satellite maps… Maybe you were looking at Newark instead?

  89. tonye

    In OC it all comes down to how close to the ocean you are.

    All of these new communities are nice right now, but give them five to ten years to age a bit and then things will settle down as usual.

    Shady Canyon
    TRidge and TR.
    Quail Hill
    University Park

    and then the rest all of those newfangled homes way inland past the Santa Ana Fwy.

    Besides, University High is still champ and you know what that means to RE prices. The schools that draw from UCI are more competitive: Turtle Rock Elementary, Rancho and Uni.

  90. tonye

    Irvine got started in the mid 50s.


    While the lots are tight, they have not always been that tight. In my part of Irvine, Turtle Rock, our lots average 5500 sq feet and up. That is a “standard” lot for a SFH in a city.

    Another thing to take into account is that we do have quite a few parks ( homeowner’s association, City, County, State ), large swaths of greenbelts and the Upper Newport Bay near my house (by UCI).

    Also there is a segregation between commercial and residential. The commercial is mostly light industrial and office parks, there is no heavy industry.

    Services like medical, City Hall and larger shopping centers are central in the City.

    The residential areas are congregated in “villages” with their own supporting commercial ( supermarket, restaurants, gas station, etc…) and with major arterials connecting each village. Within a given village you do not have to cross arterials ( except Woodbridge that is bisected by Alton and Main ).

  91. Lost Cause

    There are only a couple of thousand Iraqis coming to the US. I think that we are afraid that they will hold the fact that we blew up their families against us.

  92. Lost Cause

    By your reckoning, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are not industrial areas. Have you never driven down Redhill? Rockfield? Are you unfamiliar with the Spectrum? University Research Park? The airport?

    Many of us flatlanders of OC consider Irvine as, mainly, an industrial park.

  93. ipoplaya

    CK and I are often of the same mind with regards to preference for particular neighborhoods. We discard anything that feeds University High as my wife teaches there and we don’t our kids in the same HS that their mom works at… Similarly, we don’t care much for year-round school either, so the nicer park of Westpark gets downgraded for us as Plaza Vista is year-round.

    That being said, our list goes like this:

    1. Northpark
    2. Northwood Pointe
    3. Woodbury
    4. Northwood II
    5. Northpark Square
    6. Woodbridge
    7. West Irvine
    8. Westpark
    9. Portola Springs
    10. Brady Bunch Northwood

    I have a feeling we’ll end up move to Tustin Ranch though. I want a 4/3 with 3-car garage and they aren’t too common in Irvine, especially in newer construction.

  94. IrvineRenter

    I think we might find common ground on this one. To get a substantial increase in capacity, we need to give up our reliance on the automobile and develop integrated rail and bus systems to more efficiently move people. The problem with roads is they don’t give much marginal capacity per additional lane. If roads are analogous to the circulation system in the human body, the arterials (arteries) would need to be about 100 lanes.

  95. Chicken Little

    “To get a substantial increase in capacity, we need to give up our reliance on the automobile and develop integrated rail and bus systems to more efficiently move people.”

    But realistically, most people don’t want to live that way. Especially the kinds of people who choose to live in places like Irvine.

    There is a serious quality-of-life tradeoff that few are willing to make (although we all want everybody ELSE to take the bus).

  96. awgee

    It isn’t theory. It is fact. You are correct than Southern Californians do not want to use mass transit, but it is fact that laying more asphalt does not relieve traffic congestion during peak hours and the developers and politicians and traffic engineers know this. They also know that more commuters per vehicle and mass transit does relieve congestion during peak hours. Not for a second do I delude myself into thinking that Southern Californians want to, are willing to, or will use mass transit. I never said they would. I said mass transit and more commuters per vehicle are proven methods to relieve congestion. Nor do I delude myself into thinking that extending the 241 will relieve any congestion during peak hours. Nor do I delude myself into thinking that it won’t be built. The masses are sheep and believe what they are told. The campaign contributions have been made and the voters will vote the way they are told. What’s new?
    The real reason more highways, tollroads and freeways and lane additions, are built is so that developers can make money. Developersand contractors campaign for more asphalt under the guise of traffic reduction, but the truth is more asphalt is the developer’s way of the getting the taxpayer to subsidize their costs and make developments more attractive at the taxpayers expense.
    If you all want to think that building more highways will relieve traffic congestion during peak hours, be my guest. But don’t be suprised if the 241 extension makes absolutely no difference and there is just another “necessary” road on the table in a few years. Let me ask those of you who have lived in SoCal for thirty, forty, or fifty years a question. Has building new highways, extending existing highways, or adding lanes ever relieved traffic more than a few months?
    NIMBY may not be attractive, but that unattractiveness does not change facts. Stop reacting and think for awhile.

  97. awgee

    djd – Tollroads actually cost the taxpayer very little in initial outlay. They are paid for by the drivers. But no matter the cost, it doesn’t change the fact that building more tollroad does not relieve traffic congestion.

  98. 25w100k+

    Interesting, my response would be quite different then CK. I think all of irvine is nice, but its not all my style.

    So, my list would be:

    1. Shady Canyon. 😉

    2. TRidge/Quail Hill. Reason: newer homes, close to beach, close to 405 and views.

    3. Woodbury. Nice newer homes that are much more affordable.

    4. Oak Creek. Location, close to 405, nice homes.

    5. Portola Hills. Nice view, newer homes.

    6. Northpark has nice homes, but no views and the location isn’t very desirable for me.

    7. West Irvine. Nice homes, bad location imo.

    8. Woodbridge, old homes, decent location, nice neighborhood.

    I’d say the rest isn’t somewhere i’m reallyh looking at all, a little too old for my tastes.

  99. awgee

    You are right. Southern Californians do not want to live that way. I am not making a judgement call on the advantages of mass transit as compared to new asphalt. I am just telling you that it is proven time and time again that new asphalt does not relieve traffic congestion. I know it is a bit counter-intuitive, but many times facts are.

  100. ex-Tangelo

    For comparison purposes, 5500 sq ft lot is an eighth of an acre. That is tiny compared to east coast suburbs, where 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 acre lots are more common.

  101. Chicken Little

    Comparing the OC toll roads/lanes to publicly owned freeways is disingenuous, as congestion-based pricing has proven its ability to reduce peak loads and keep traffic running smoothly. Do the toll roads solve the entire problem? Maybe not, but we’re better off than we were without them.

    The fact of the matter is that as long as the population and the economy keep growing, more and more roads will need to be built. The same thing can be said for most other pieces of our infrastructure: water pipes, power plants/lines, fiber-optic links, etc.

    Throwing your hands up and telling everybody to stop building anything is simply not an acceptable option. If that’s how you want to live, go ahead and move to Old Europe where “stagnation” is the name of the game.

  102. Lost Cause

    Do you realize that all the Metrolink and light rail trains are full everyday? That the Red Line has the highest subway utilization in the country? And that those buses are also full everyday? Just look up the ridership numbers.

  103. ex-Tangelo

    RE: “Large swaths of greenbelt”

    Open space/greenbelts: 2202 acres
    Total area: 65 sq miles (41600 acres)

    % of city that are park or greenbelt: 5.2%
    Or, acres of park per 1000 residents: 10.9 acres/k

    For comparison:
    New York City: 6.2 acres/k, 25.7%
    San Francisco: 7.6 acres/k, 19.8%
    Los Angeles: 8.1 acres/k, 9.9%

    Not quite a fair comparison, though, these cities are all out of Irvine’s weight class.


  104. Chicken Little

    Yeah… full of mexicans. They would drive, but quite a few of them are afraid of getting pulled over in OC.

  105. awgee

    So you really think that constant mischaracterization of what someone else has written gives any credence to your fallatious arguments?

  106. Lost Cause

    How can anyone leave out smog when talking about freeways and mass transit in Southern California? Ignore the demand for mass transit — demonstrated by the incedible ridership numbers –and even ignoring the congestion on the freeways, and you are still left with the dirtiest air in the country. This should be the primary reason for abandoning new freeway and tollway construction, because SUVs in Irvine and San Clemente contribute to asthma in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

  107. Chicken Little

    No, OC/LA pollution mostly winds up in the IE due to the coastal breezes. That is how it’s always been (except when the Santa Anas are blowing).

    If you have breathing problems, you’re an idiot to live somewhere it never rains. Of COURSE bad stuff is going to build up in the air – particularly carbon particles from buses, trucks, and ships. It’s got nowhere else to go.

  108. carmichael

    Limits will not be raised. As much as there is this belief that investors will keep flocking to Fannie/Freddie MBS, with prices declining in major metros, there is pressure just to maintain what the conforming limits are now. If you raise the conforming limit, but don’t raise the amount that can be serviced by Fannie/Freddie, you actually allow lending to FEWER potential homeowners. This is the other side of the equation people aren’t getting. You only help a few select markets and ignore most of the US, which is well below the current conforming limits. Conforming limits won’t get raised, even on a temporary basis.

  109. soapboxpolitico

    Couple of different opinions to share, two topics discussed here:

    On preferability of Irvine “villages”, it really all comes down to what is most important to you. We Americans have this deference to the new so frequently we lean toward new as better. Of course this is not always the case. Bear in mind that nearly all villages/developments built within the last 5 years in Irvine are high-density, mixed use. Woodbury would be a good example. New retail space combined with about a 1000 homes in a roughly 1 sq.mile area meant to maximize ROI. Speaking generally, even SFR’s are close to zero lot-line. IMO there is also a high degree of “cookie cutter” architecture. If you value a little more architectural diversity, older villages like Northwood and El Camino Real will offer larger lots and more diverse looking homes but with that comes homes roughly 20-30 years in age. Not that older homes are bad, frankly I prefer them but that’s me and those are just two factors to consider.

    On traffic congestion and roadbuilding … I tend to side with awgee on this one but I recognize the closely held beliefs either way. Building more roads whether toll or free is counterproductive to relieving congestion. As awgee pointed out, the facts are that mass-transit and HOV are the only proven methods. I submit that if we stop building roads development may slow or cease. I have no facts to prove this, just my observations as a time-worn observer of human behavior. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that traffic and air quality ARE driving people away from So.Cal. as there has been a small net migration out of California. Perhaps not enough to make an appreciable difference but it is possible that we can reach a tipping point where congestion and air quality concerns outweigh all other factors when people consider the move to California. If you spend increasing amounts of time in your car, your recreational opportunities by default lose out. It does seem that we Southern Californians are resistant to giving up our cars but I also submit that will not always be the case. The LA/OC/SD metropolis grew-up after the advent of the car, thus the rampant suburbanization and rapid growth outward. Times are changing and we’ve got some tough choices ahead. Perversely we are in the midst of an odd time in our growth timeline. Suburbanization is not sustainable, building more roads are not the solution. So many of our job centers are wholly disconnected from any usable and reasonable mass transit, we enjoy no real major urban core. Conversely it is nearly cost-prohibitive to build comprehensive mass transit. So what do we do? Having grown-up in Chicago, I can attest the the usefulness of mass transit, but like many, I do SO love my car! But I think if we made mass transit clean, quick, convenient and useful many in LA/OC would adopt it for their workaday transit. Unfortunately mass-transit suffers from an image problem, especially here. (Previous comments about “mexicans” and “immigrants” crowding the LA system) I submit a challenge, ride the bus somewhere, anywhere in OC and I think you’d be surprised at the “normality” and diversity of your fellow riders.

    Just my $.02. Cheers!

  110. Lost Cause

    The reason why LA/OC is so spread out, is because of the light rail system (the Pacific Electric Red Cars) built at tremendous personal profit by Henry E. Huntington and others. It is not that way because of the auto and the freeway. The freeway system, as originally designed, was never completed, and, for the most part, represents a failure. Anybody sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic knows this intuitively.

  111. tealeaf

    Talk about going from one knife-catching product to another! The glut of used cars is and will continue to be STAGGERING.

  112. Chicken Little

    Why would the people on the bus look any different from the dregs of society we see waiting at the bus stops?

    Why would somebody want to ride a bus or a train that stops every few blocks, when their car is faster, more comfortable, more convenient, goes anywhere on demand, and doesn’t force them to cart around their possessions by hand like a bum on Skid Row?

    “There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that traffic and air quality ARE driving people away from So.Cal. as there has been a small net migration out of California.”

    So your solution is to make everybody so miserable that they want to leave? Somehow I don’t think the voters will go for that plan.

    BTW, in 2006 and 2007 there was a net migration IN to California from other states. Look up the United Van Lines statistics.

  113. graphrix

    Sorry, but Fannie and Freddie are not financially backed by the government. Even from the link Chicken Little provided:
    “Even though the company’s debt offerings clearly state otherwise, the financial markets believe that Fannie Mae’s status as a government-sponsored enterprise implies that the government will provide full faith and credit for Fannie’s debt. It is for this reason that Fannie Mae maintains a AAA credit rating.”

    “This implicit guarantee lives in the never-never-land of doublethink (or, to use a more proper term, cognitive dissonance). The government itself has never said it would guarantee or otherwise underwrite Fannie and Freddie’s portfolios (Barney Frank once excoriated the HUD Secretary for saying so, thus making manifest what everyone agrees should be an acknowledged article of faith), but everybody — and I mean everybody — has acquiesced in a situation where everybody believes that the government would and thus doesn’t press the government to say anything.”

    Granted, the government would most likely step in to bail them out, but they do not have to. Here is the charter of the GSEs, and it doesn’t say that they will fully back them.

    All the government guarantees, is the tax break and no SEC regulation. All of which equals a better AAA rating because it is implied it is government safe, and lower interest rates for borrowers because of that and the ability to work with a larger profit margin from the tax break. That’s it, there is no guarantee of any thing else.

  114. djd

    awgee – I guess I didn’t make my position clear. I did quote you re: asphalt bringing cars, and I agree (see my argument that 1 lane = apx 5000 commuters, really not very many). I was going to say that tollroads are obviously better because they make explicit the cost of the particular road, instead of hiding it in a lump-sum tax. However, since SR71 is currently operating at a loss, I am now concerned about what would happen to a “white elephant” toll road – it can’t be liquidated like most industrial facilities because the resale value is so low.

    Cal’s Caddy – traffic on Pardall legitimately does have the right of way at both Embarcaderos, because they’re two way stop. (I’m pretty sure that’s true, I’d have to go look to be certain.) This is problematic at times, particularly around noon on weekdays. It’s amazing how much better it is at off-peak times, my trip today was a breeze.

  115. djd

    And the 5000 figure was based on a 2.5 hour rush. It’s much lower if we correct that to the kind of times people want to have – say ½ hour ∴ ≈ 1000 commuters. (Although the average is slightly more than 1 per car, so maybe 1200 with 1.2 persons per car? And that 30 minute figure is a guess.)

    The point is, the capacity of a certain amount of freeway is surprisingly small in terms of a population of commuters who all try to travel it at the same time.

  116. djd

    Definitions from WordNet ® 2.0 via http://www.dict.org

    adj 1: of or relating to or resulting
    from industry; “industrial output”

    2: the organized action of making of
    goods and services for sale

    I agree that the word “industrial” does make me think more of oil refineries or steel mills than of cube farms (or most actual factories), however the usage appears to be recognized.

  117. djd

    “their car is faster, more comfortable, more convenient, goes anywhere on demand,”

    Well, unless there are a lot of people trying to go in the same direction at the same time, as happens at rush “hour”. Then the car doesn’t go by the driver’s demand, but by what the circumstances allow.

    If the problem is the freeway system, why isn’t the traffic bad all the time? Peak demand greatly exceeds available capacity, true, but building additional freeways to meet peak demand would mean that the average utilization was very small. Who’s ready to call for the massive new taxes to fund these roads?

    In reality, the roads are going to stay congested, and we’re going to pay for congestion relief efforts that are doomed to fail, because we don’t want to do what’s required to succeed.

  118. djd

    “and doesn’t force them to cart around their possessions by hand like a bum on Skid Row?”

    You carry everything you own with you in your car?

  119. skek

    “People forget about all the foreigners that will flock to the United States when we start bombing their countries.”

    OK, Kirk, I know you are a troll, but that was very funny. Well done.

  120. furious sugar

    It’s Renwes- in Lake Forest on Dimension. Beats Pacific Sales hands down for customer service (you don’t have to “take a number” there) and the prices are better

  121. CMY

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that instead of focusing on the commuting and car-culture that is L.A., we actually take steps to build co-working office spaces throughout the city (and even in apartments and neighborhoods).

    VoIP and email make the need to travel to an office redundant (aside from meetings) and I wouldn’t mind actually getting to know my neighbors during the day.

    It’s an uphill battle but SoCal needs to encourage work from home/co-working spaces in order to balance out the traffic here.

  122. soapboxpolitico

    ChickenLittle – I was referring to census data collected for 2007. Dunno where United Van Lines is getting their data but this comes from the California Dept. of Finance and confirms another report I saw released by the state census bureau.


    For what it’s worth, I know more than a handful of people who are far from the “dregs of society” and in fact earn more than the median income for OC. They chose to use mass transit for a variety of reasons. On a personal note, my daughter rides OCTA home from school and the couple of times I rode it with her to show how it works, it was quite normal and the buses were clean.
    I personally would love nothing better than to ride a train to the office. I’d save my blood pressure and arrive at about the same time as if I drove, not too mention the stress. As djd pointed out, do you carry around all your possessions in your car? I’m also guessing you haven’t spent much time in LA/OC traffic lately.

    LostCause – Unless I’ve been blind the last dozen years I’ve lived here I cannot recall ever seeing a light rail system in OC. The closest thing to it is the light rail extension to Long Beach and that’s LA. Although I can’t prove it, I would seriously doubt light rail caused more sprawl around here vs. the car.
    Previously quoted stats seem to indicate that roadbuilding is a prime engine in suburban development over the last 40-50 years. Additionally, if we just give it the ” let’s just take a look test” how would you explain the development of south Orange County (Laguna Nigel, Mission Viejo, San Clemente etc.) over the past 10 years? There is zero light rail infrastructure and yet there all the home building remains. (I don’t count the Surfliner as light rail, it’s commuter rail and it’s been there for decades.)

  123. Kirk

    Chicken Little: NHHN.

    Genius: Give me a break. You are just a far left nutcase posing as a conservative to try and make us look bad with your lunatic ranting. No one here is falling for it.

  124. tonye

    I wouldn’t compare the refineries in Carson and Torrance or the rail yards and containers and cranes in the Ports of LA and LB to the Spectrum office parks….


  125. tonye

    Hmm… there’s a very nice set of trais that climb up to the hill in the middle of Turtle Rock. Climbing up there you can see a loong ways over the flatlands of OC.

    I can see that hill from my house. I guess I have a view of the hills… ;-?

  126. tonye

    Can you smoke a cigar and play Zappa real loud without wearing headphones?

    Didn’t think so.

    I think I’ll keep my Acura TL.

Comments are closed.