October 22, 2007

"It was nuclear winter. It was like Armageddon. It looked like the end of the world."

A San Diego firefighter.


Maxine Weiss said...

QUESTION: Why do my taxes have to go toward Suzanne Somers FEMA payments, when she makes billions selling all that junk on Cable TV ?????

Maxine Weiss said...

You live in Malibu.

There's a horrendous fire in January of 2007, in which dozens of homes are leveled.

You know there's a looming real-estate bust coming up.

June, 2007: The real estate recession is in full swing, but it hasn't hit the high-end market just yet.

QUESTION: Why on earth wouldn't you get out of the market and sell your house at that time? June is a great month to sell beachfront property.

But no no no no, let's keep holding on.

Now we're in, what looks to be a 10-year decline in housing prices. These things go in cycles and the housing market is completely dead.

And yet, the Geniuses in Malibu are going to ride out a real-estate recession, while risking more wildfires and calamity.

As the taxpayers and working-class mop up the damage.

Business as usual.

Luckyoldson said...

Maxine says: "Now we're in, what looks to be a 10-year decline in housing prices. These things go in cycles and the housing market is completely dead."

Please tell me when there has EVER been a ten-year decline in real estate.

Also, the prices of the homes in Malibu, etc. are still going UP...not down...it the middle that's being hurt right now.

Ship me some of those meds you're ingesting.

Maxine Weiss said...

All new residental real-estate construction in the State of California has stopped. Home builders have been run out of town on a rail.

High-end homes have been languishing on the market.....and that was before these fires.

Who's going to buy a home in Malibu now?

The boom lasted 7, or 8 years, the bust is supposed to last at least that long.

I don't know about commercial real-estate. Not my thing.

Actually, it seems like it's becoming more than just the Housing Market. In addition to failed mortgages... I was reading that everyone's defaulting on their car loans etc..

Now all we need is for the Banks to fail...and real 1920s style Depression. It's not impossible. I could see bombing Iran to stimulate the economy.

Everything happens for a reason.


Maxine Weiss said...

Touching, how you are all concerned with how I'm doing.

Always delicate---on a good day, today my hay fever is acting up. My eyes are watering and my nose is running.

I feel a tickle in my throat.

I put all my monogrammed handkerchiefs in storage, months ago.

How was I to know?

Luckyoldson said...

You're out of your mind if you actually think the real estate market is going to be down for 8-10 years.

The new home building business has been suffering for over a year now and will for a few more...but the top notch homes are retaining value.

Why are you so negative...and why in the world (other than heavy meds) would you think "bombing Iran to stimulate the economy"...is actually realistic???

I thought you were in Bush's corner and that the economy was going gangbusters?

Maxine Weiss said...

You're really starting to get on my nerves. I can't breathe !!!

I'm nowhere near a canyon, but the air quality is terrible around here. And, I'm indoors.

Have a little consideration. If I don't get a little tea and sympathy, some condolensces very shortly....I'm liable to leave here and never come back.

Without me, there is no Althouse Blog.


Maxine Weiss said...

"We put a man on the moon but we can't put out a fire"

Not a fire in a canyon or forest. Fires like that just have to burn themselves out. These big water-dropping jets can't get into the nooks and crannies of a steep canyon.

Wildfires have been happening for centuries. The reason why they are more severe these days is because of all the habitation that was never meant to encroach canyons and forest. The fires feed on that sort of habitation, and homeowners that are dumb enough to reside in those areas.

The Drill SGT said...

LOS, you normally can't tell your ass from .. whatever, but you're correct on this one.

the CA housing market is vastly overpriced, and it will correct for 12-24 months, but it won't stay down for very long. The economic pressure only pushes it up.

said another way. They aren't making any more land with ocean views of the sunset. with CA's environmental laws, new development is harder, thus that puts a price premium on existing homes. CA still has a net inflow of people even if the number of citizens in the state is dropping.

I have't lived there in almost 30 years now, but I go back every few months for weddings and family events. the folks who are gonna lose their homes were in way over their heads based on a fantasy that prices never go down. well they do.. but it won't last forever.

The Drill SGT said...

chnging subjects only slightly:

1. those Malibu types get burnt out every other year and slid down a mudslide in the even years, but they and their insurance companies always find the money. gawd, what their rates must be like.

2. Those old Spanish missionaries look pretty smart don't they with adobe walls and red tile roofs. nothing more fireproof 500 years later. :)

Mission architecture :)

Palladian said...

"I'm liable to leave here and never come back."

A consummation devoutly to be wished.

chuckR said...

The definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes. I don't care where or how often they build as long as I don't somehow subsidize Malibu insanity through some sort of Federal supplemental insurance program. Ditto for idiots who rebuild on barrier beaches. Let the market determine the cost of that risk.

dick said...


I agree wholeheartedly. I have a friend from Walnut Creek, CA whose family has lost their home a couple of times to earthquakes over the years. They go right back and rebuild in the same place. One would think they would realize that building right back on a faultline would not be a smart thing to do but there they go again. OK if they pay for it all; not OK if they expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab for rebuilding their damaged home. I can see helping them the first time. If they go right back to the same place again, the next time is on them.

Revenant said...

Personal update: A lot of my friends have been evacuated from their homes; some are staying with me. Time will tell if I need to be evacuated too. It has never been this bad, but people seem to be keeping their heads and doing what they need to do. Its the anti-Katrina in that respect.

For those people who aren't familiar with San Diego neighborhoods, the fires are basically burning through all of the bedroom communities surrounding the city proper. 35-year-old 1100 square foot econoboxes up through 3500 square foot McMansions -- people from all walks of life are getting hit.

Regarding housing prices: the San Diego housing market has experienced a bad slump before (1990-1997). Given how ridiculously inflated home prices got during the bubble, it wouldn't be surprising if the coming slump lasted 10 years or more. We're so far above the historical price-to-income ratio that even if house prices flattened out, it would take something like 15 years for inflation to return us to the historic average.

Maxine Weiss said...

There were tons of housing projects in mid-development that are stalled. Lenmar Homes was supposed to build 7,000 new homes in Orange County.....all gone.

The SunCal project in Anaheim.....completely off the table, and all the money they invested to buy up the land etc...their finished. They're talking bankruptcy now.

Yes, forecasters are predicting this housing bust will last 8-10 years...

....and this was before the fires!

Maxine Weiss said...

It's not just California....Nevada had a glut of homes on the market that nobody can move, and they've got the highest mortgage-default rate in the Country.

QUESTION: Can someone who defaults on a mortage collect FEMA ????

Cycles of boom and bust, Gold Rush and Wildfires.

They don't call it the Wild Wild West for nothin'

Blake said...


My recollection of the housing market in L.A. tracks pretty closely with Rev's in S.D. In '91, cheap condos were in the high $100s. I thought our "crash" was spurred by the '94 quake but I really didn't pay attention until it was almost over, in 97, when you could buy a decent house for low 100s and even get some land for 200. (Hell, I saw a castle out in the valley going for $600K.)

I don't know how long it will last or how low prices will go, but I think (just like the boom) it won't last forever and houses will settle at a price higher than before the bubble (but not astronomically so). But I'm just basing that on the last several times that has happened since WWII.

Maxine Weiss said...

What makes them think fighter jets are going to switch the wind direction?

Maybe they can. I don't think anything's gonna stop 80 mph winds.

The suburbs and cities aren't burning. It's the outlaying areas at the edge of canyons and hillsides. Downtown San Diego is not burning, neither are the immediate suburbs---although you can smell it, and everybody's coughing.

People think they are gonna move way out to get away from it all.

You can run, but you can't hide.

Gahrie said...

Thwe hill behind my house burned...but my fire was nothing like what's going on in San Diego and Lake Arrowhead.

Maxine Weiss said...

I keep trying to tell everybody on AOL it's not the fire, it's the wind! They won't listen. If it was just a fire, there'd be no problem, they could put it out. Nobody can do anything when you've got 80 mph winds. All the fighter jets in the world are not going to stop 80 mph winds. What exactly is the National Guard supposed to do? What is their function in this scenario? Are they gonna magically get the wind to change direction?


Maxine Weiss said...

I know everything there is to know about Lake Arrowhead, from the wonderful sheepherder breads at Jensons Market, to the butter cookies.... The village..

Is the ice skating rink in Blue Jay still there?

---Orchard Bay used to be my spot on the lake, and the Hamiltair Estates used to be a gated community.

Love, Maxine

Revenant said...

What exactly is the National Guard supposed to do? What is their function in this scenario

Security and logistics, mostly.

Maxine Weiss said...


The Drill SGT said...


how is Tecumula, I've got some family out there. just south of that east west highway with all the wineries on it.

The Drill SGT said...

and Temecula :)

Revenant said...

Temecula's a good 20+ miles away from any fires that I've heard about. It should be fine.

Cedarford said...

Revenent - Time will tell if I need to be evacuated too. It has never been this bad, but people seem to be keeping their heads and doing what they need to do. Its the anti-Katrina in that respect.

It's all about the quality of the people. The NOLA underclass were helpless parasites or violent scum, or both. And they helped elect the local leadership in NOLA and with Blanco that failed to help people unwilling to help themselves (except for all the "free stuff" they could loot).

NOLA was atypical of how Americans outside the black underclass behave, for the most part. Disaster comes, they work together as a community, little looting or crime. And no sitting in piles of their own garbage demanding someone from the "Goh-mint" bother to get them free hot meals, fresh diapers, new sneakers, and pick up the garbage they are sitting in..

Though whites, hispanics and working blacks can be just as bad as the NOLA rejects when it comes to demanding taxpayers subsidize their asinine insistance on building then rebuilding houses on earthquake fault lines, steep slopes of alluvial soil, barrier islands, river floodplains, and fire tinder boxes.....

MadisonMan said...

Cedarford, you are Mr. Classy.

Revenant, I hope you avoid the worst of it.

Trooper York said...

Revenant, I hope you and your family are ok. Taking in people in a time of need shows the type of person you are and should be a lesson to a lot of the mindless louts who spout on this blog. You are showing that you have what it takes.
Maxine, I hope you and yours are ok as well. Seriously. It must be hard to round up all those cats and flying monkeys. I bet you are sorry about all those shots you took at Brooklyn as such an unsafe, scary place. The wheel grinds slowly, but it grinds fine. Just be careful and get to safety and don’t compromise your safety to save a few ball gowns or the odd set of ruby red slippers. Good luck and be careful.

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh Temecula is Cop Country. Don't go committing crime out that way. They'll shootcha dead on.

Both Castaic and Temecula...the greatest percentage of LAPD off-duty cops live there.

Cops who have guns.

At least you feel safe.

Luckyoldson said...

The Drill SGT said..."LOS, you normally can't tell your ass from .. whatever, but you're correct on this one."

Geeee, thanks.

Sgt also says: "...the folks who are gonna lose their homes were in way over their heads based on a fantasy that prices never go down. well they do.. but it won't last forever."

To a degree, but there are foreclosures all over the country, many in areas where people weren't buying based on any type of "fantasy."

They bought because they were offered rates (ARM's) that would allow them to make the payments.

The real estate situation is certainly not relegated t California.

Revenant said...

It's all about the quality of the people. The NOLA underclass were helpless parasites or violent scum, or both.

Eh, that's got nothing to do with it, although the quality of the *leadership* is certainly better here than it was in New Orleans. The 2003 fires were a fiasco. Civilians and government officials learned their lesson, and this time around things are going a lot more smoothly.

Anyway, so far so good here in my neck of the woods. The folks staying with me are pretty sure their houses have been spared, too. I haven't heard from any of my coworkers yet. Thanks, MM and Trooper, for your kind words.

Luckyoldson said...

Information regarding the weather conditions in California:


Trooper York said...

Lucky, you have relatively quiet the last few days. Hope all is ok for you in Cali.

Luckyoldson said...

Right now we're surrounded by the fires, waiting to see if we have to re-locate.

1,250 homes lost and 500,000 displaced at last count.

Luckyoldson said...

By the way, I would never insinuate you would support the Sox.

I'm pulling for the Rockies since they've never won.

Trooper York said...

I was burned out of an apartment three years ago, so I know it can be a bitch. Safeguard the papers and keepsakes you treasure, the rest of the crap you can always replace. I would also prepare a couple of alternate routes so you can change on a dime. Good luck and take good care of you and yours. All the best.

Methadras said...

Well, I'm in Spring Valley, I've had to evacuate since Monday around 4 pm. I'm still not back, but the worst for my area is that I will have to come back to melted ice and some possibly stinky food in the fridge. I'm also glad and appreciate in words and sentiments that I cannot articulate at this time to all the firefighters, the sheriffs department, and the California Highway Patrol for making my neighborhood the most secure in the county against looters. If you are a looter, you have zero chance of even getting into my neighborhood.

I'm basically typing this from my AT&T 8525 because it's the only way I can get on the internet at this point. Revenant, I hope you are safe and any other San Diegans that are on here, good luck and I hope that your safe.

At this point, I'm overlooking all of the petty criticisms about how San Diegans are handling with the fires and their evacuations, so all of you please take care.