Weekly Open Thread (2015-06-15)

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Here is your open thread for the week of June 15th, 2015. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Note: The comment limit in open threads is 25 comments per person.

NOTICE: If you have comments to make about politics or economics that do not somehow directly relate to Seattle-area real estate, they may be posted in the current Politics & Economics Open Thread. If you post such comments here, they will be moved there.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

27 comments:

  1. 1

    Snippet:
    “…Report: San Francisco To Shut Doors Over Rising Rent

    Popular Bay Area City Seeking New Location

    SAN FRANCISCO—Saying that staying in its current location was no longer feasible, sources across San Francisco confirmed Thursday that the popular Northern California city would be shutting its doors at the end of the month due to rising rent.

    Residents and business owners of the iconic West Coast metropolis, which has occupied the same peninsula for generations, told reporters that spiraling costs had reached such a level that remaining in its 47-square-mile waterfront space was simply beyond its means.

    “The city’s in such a great area, but ultimately we just couldn’t find a way to make ends meet each month,” said San Francisco resident Jaime Gonzalez, speaking on behalf of the city’s 850,000 citizens, all of whom recently gave notice that they would be vacating the premises by July 1. “We’ve been here for so long, it’s hard to imagine this city anywhere else. But the reality is that we just aren’t making enough to justify what we pay to be here.”

    “Unfortunately, we just can’t afford to keep San Francisco in San Francisco Bay,” Gonzalez added.

    According to sources, the city’s rent has increased by more than 40 percent since 2010—including 16 percent in the past year alone—requiring San Francisco to set aside a greater share of its income each year until finally pricing it out of the Bay Area completely. While San Franciscans expressed their hope that the municipality could stay somewhere close by, they noted that rents have also risen sharply in the East Bay and that the costly Silicon Valley area was “completely out of their price range,” leaving the city with no choice but to look for a spot further inland.

    “We’ve been here for so long, it’s hard to imagine this city anywhere else. But the reality is that we just aren’t making enough to justify what we pay to be here.”

    Additionally, city representatives conceded that it has so far been a major challenge finding a new location with the same features they’ve always enjoyed at their current spot, including its desirable outdoor space, easy access by public transit, and impressive views.

    “It would be great to end up somewhere with the same proximity to the ocean and mountains, but these days, finding anything on the coast that’s affordable is next to impossible,” said bike messenger and community member Mia Khoo, noting that the city had already considered Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Jose, but was unable to locate anything it liked that was also within its budget. “The Central Valley is a little more reasonable, though I’m not sure how we’re going to move such a large Chinatown all the way out there, not to mention the Golden Gate Bridge.”

    “Chances are we’ll have to leave those behind,” Khoo added.

    With the municipality’s departure imminent, San Franciscans have reportedly begun the task of preparing for the move by calling to disconnect the city’s electric and water service from the local San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and beginning to pack up the city’s many cable cars.

    “This place isn’t perfect by any means, but San Francisco has been a fixture in this area for years, so the thought of leaving has been really tough,” said Gonzalez, noting that anyone who wanted to stop by San Francisco’s original location should do so in the next three weeks before it closes for good. “The bottom line is that we have to move out if we want to keep our heads above water. Sure, our new San Francisco location might not look as nice or have the same character and charm of this place, but that’s the trade-off we have to make if we want a space we can afford.”

    “Besides,” he added, “for what we’re paying here, we can probably get a place that’s newer and way less cramped.”…”

    http://www.theonion.com/article/report-san-francisco-shut-doors-over-rising-rent-50634

    At press time, a piece of paper reading “Thank You For 239 Great Years!” had been taped up on each of San Francisco’s city limits signs.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    DrRick says:

    Hmmm.
    Last post in the “Politics and Economics Open Thread” was Feb. 24, 2014. Happened to be by Kary.

    I just posted a couple of articles around the election and political economics that you might find interesting.
    https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2013/01/01/politics-economics-open-thread-3/#comment-250252
    Fel Temp Reparatio

  4. 4
    DrRick says:

    OK, I have no idea where this should be posted, but it’s just too “good,” in a bad way, to pass up posting. If you like Drones, you’ll love this.
    http://billmoyers.com/2015/06/15/let-john-oliver-convince-you-to-finally-read-americas-damning-torture-report/

    censor function makes you have to scroll down to John Oliver segment.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

    not so much

  5. 5

    This seems really odd, and incredibly stupid. Having a stock market where you severely limit who can invest.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/business/Saudi-Arabia-opens-585-billion-stock-market-to-foreign-investors-307397041.html

  6. 6

    Here’s a case which came down today where a homeowner didn’t prevail on a MERS argument, but primarily because they didn’t act soon enough.

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/329941.pub.pdf

  7. 7
    Blake says:

    RE: DrRick @ 3
    Great links Dr. Rick! And John Oliver is a treasure…. I may have to splurge for HBO!

    Watching US politics is like watching a bad sci fi movie… you really have to suspend disbelief and pretend that it isn’t all bullsh!t. I’d laugh, but it is so tragic and sad… They do think we are idiots, yet too many people are idiots and pretend that when the pols say something it is sincere. At least we have John Oliver and Stephan Colbert and other great satirists to call them out on this! thx

    Sadly, the most gullible and mendacious idiots seem to be reporters workgin for the corporate media who simply swallow whole everything their government and corporate sources feed them. That Sunday Times reporter who “broke” the story last weekend about Snowden’s documents being decrypted by the Russkies and Chinese is just a joke! A “useful idiot” as they say…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/06/15/sunday-times-reporter-on-snowden-story-we-dont-have-a-clue/
    A classic quote: “We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government at the moment.”

  8. 8

    By Blake @ 7:

    RE: DrRick @ 3
    Great links Dr. Rick! And John Oliver is a treasure…. I may have to splurge for HBO!

    I have free HBO, and that show is the only thing I watch on HBO.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    DrRick says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    This seems really odd, and incredibly stupid. Having a stock market where you severely limit who can invest.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/business/Saudi-Arabia-opens-585-billion-stock-market-to-foreign-investors-307397041.html

    It’s consistent in a non democracy where you don’t want broad market involvement, just qualified investors.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

  11. 11

    RE: DrRick @ 10 – Who Really Owns the Big Three Auto Companies?

    You’d have to do a thorough stock ownership analysis to pin that down, it may be foreign controlled. I just follow the real manufacturing base, where the engineers operate from. If they’re foreign [usually higher paid], that’s where the manufacturing will eventually end up as we phase down car production due to lower global wages. It will all move out of our country.

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 11 – Your Charger was built in Canada. Why do you hate America?

  13. 13

    RE: DrRick @ 10

    More on Stock Market’s Possible Future Instability to DOW 6000

    “…Housing prices will fall again, by as much as 40%… the so-called “recovery” of 2013/14 will diminish faster than an ice on a hot summer day as mortgage rates rise and the wrong group of investors – a.k.a. speculators – lose their taste for the market….”

    http://economyandmarkets.com/exclusives/greatest-stock-market-collapse-great-depression/?z=366817

  14. 14

    RE: Blurtman @ 12
    I Could Care Less About Who or Where the Foreign Lords Build It

    They could care less about my career field and the feeling is mutual.

    Build it on the moon, as far as I’m concerned, as long as American engineers and techs designed it. The Charger’s engineering tech force is in America. Not so for the “made in America” high priced, dinky and expensive units designed by engineers from Japan and Europe for high foreign profits.

  15. 15
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 13:

    RE: DrRick @ 10

    More on Stock Market’s Possible Future Instability to DOW 6000

    “…Housing prices will fall again, by as much as 40%… the so-called “recovery” of 2013/14 will diminish faster than an ice on a hot summer day as mortgage rates rise and the wrong group of investors – a.k.a. speculators – lose their taste for the market….”

    http://economyandmarkets.com/exclusives/greatest-stock-market-collapse-great-depression/?z=366817

    Harvey Dent is a complete laugh stock.

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 14 – I say raise tariffs on all imports. Time for gunboat diplomacy.

  17. 17
    redmondjp says:

    By Blurtman @ 16:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 14 – I say raise tariffs on all imports. Time for gunboat diplomacy.

    I’m with you, but our global corporate overlords will never allow this. We export all of our jobs and technology, and import iphones and cheap stuff from China. That’s fair trade, right?

  18. 18

    RE: Blurtman @ 16
    That’s Exactly What Our Founding Fathers Signed To
    If the imports exceed the exports. Now we call it racism or trade isolation.

  19. 19

    Foreclosures Rise in May
    Snippet:

    “…Many foreclosure actions are stalled and delayed for years and years.
    How ?
    By the actions of sharp lawyers who keep getting paid for stall tactics and local politicians who stick their nose into the case for “cousin Tommy” or “my poor brother-in-law”.
    So it’s all about the political payout and the greed of the “not so honest” lawyers who get paid every month to delay and stall. They play the courts like Iran and Greece are playing Obama and the EU..
    After all, it’s cheaper for the homeowner (who really doesn’t own the house) to pay the lawyer the $200 a month than to move and pay rent much higher. Some lawyers have hundreds and hundreds of “pending” cases they are stalling while billing the the defaulted homeowner every month. I’ve heard several say “it’s cheap rent”
    So it’s not about the law, it’s about the money lawyers and politicians pocket….”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-foreclosure-activity-may-bank-040644059.html

    The shadow inventory?

  20. 20
    Blake says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 14
    SWE… here’s what our engineers are working on: $1 trillion+ and immediate design/build failure… cost plus!!
    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-pentagons-concurrency-myth-is-now-available-in-supe-1689810660

    Also: Looks like the 787 isn’t holding up very well:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoglia/2015/06/17/british-airways-787-flight-what-a-difference-a-year-makes/?utm_campaign=yahootix&partner=yahootix
    I flew from London to Hyderabad once again this past weekend and there was little of that pleasant customer experience left. The seats had lost their plumpness. The entertainment system had fallen victim to a poorly designed head-set jack so that it only worked if you applied constant pressure to the jack. The jack is placed on the inside of the armrest about midway from the seatback making it vulnerable to damage, especially if a passenger gets up with the jack plugged in. This was not an isolated case. The flight attendant offered me the one empty seat in coach but I found the same problem there with the head-set jack. My seat mate also complained that in order to get the sound to work she had to apply constant pressure on the jack in exactly the right place or there was no sound. She also gave up using the entertainment system because pressing a jack on a long flight is not easy. I heard others complain, as well. It was also apparent from the flight attendant’s exasperation that this was not the only malfunctioning headset jack on this aircraft. Without a working entertainment system, the 10 plus hour flight was certainly less enjoyable. And also made the annoying metal box at your feet that much more annoying. The bathroom sensors in at least three different bathrooms no longer worked and required pressure to activate. But perhaps most disconcerting for a former airline mechanic was the repair to a broken interior panel. The broken section was held together with tape.

  21. 21
    pfft says:

    Just to follow up on what I would do if I were elected president.

    1. mostly revenue neutral carbon tax. this would address global warming. Some extra money would be given to lower tax brackets. some money would given to make spur clean technologies and for energy efficiency programs. it’s revenue neutral in that money collected thru the tax would be offset by lower income taxes. it’s a tax shift.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Carbon_tax

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_shift

    2. free college! k-12 is free, why not college? nobody would ever make high schoolers pay tuition. why college then?

    3. a guaranteed basic income.

    Basic income: the world’s simplest plan to end poverty, explained
    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6003359/basic-income-negative-income-tax-questions-explain

    4. big infrastructure/stimulus program to close the output gap.

    5. a financial transactions tax that will help fund GBI and free college programs.

    http://www.cepr.net/publications/reports/the-benefits-of-a-financial-transactions-tax

    All this might seem like a a lot of new spending and taxes but it isn’t. You have to take into account how they can be designed to be revenue neutral. Any increase in tax revenue collected will be mostly offset by reduced income taxes but in a progressive way. Free college is only around $50 billion a year. The GBI would cost more but not as much as you think. A lot of welfare programs would just be displaced by a BGI. All new taxes will tax something we don’t want(like pollution and a financial-heavy economy) and encourage people to work through lower income taxes. Reducing pollution saves the government and society money through increased productivity and lower healthcare costs. An educated workforce and efficient transportation system helps the economy and therefore actually increases tax revenue.

  22. 22
    redmondjp says:

    RE: pfft @ 21 – Who cares? You’re never going to be president. And this has to do with housing how? It seems like you are describing a utopia found only in a Star Trek episode. Is this your Soros-mandated weekly propaganda post?

    Why not dream bigger? If you were president of China, THEN you could actually do something!

  23. 23
    pfft says:

    By redmondjp @ 22:

    RE: pfft @ 21 – Who cares? You’re never going to be president. And this has to do with housing how? It seems like you are describing a utopia found only in a Star Trek episode. Is this your Soros-mandated weekly propaganda post?

    Why not dream bigger? If you were president of China, THEN you could actually do something!

    LOL. you’re obsessed with Soros. why do you hate him so much? he escaped the Nazis. he started a hedge fund and became a bazillionaire. Seems like someone you’d want to be.

    I get it though. you mad bro. uh so mad bro!

    “And this has to do with housing how? ”

    open thread bro. stay made though. you play it well. good schtick.

  24. 24

    By redmondjp @ 22:

    RE: pfft @ 21 – Who cares? You’re never going to be president. And this has to do with housing how? It seems like you are describing a utopia found only in a Star Trek episode.

    Wow, you actually read more than the first sentence? I can’t imagine a worse hook to get someone to read something. Even your Star Trek reference isn’t enough to get me to go back up and see what I might have missed.

  25. 25
    mark says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 17 – I’m with you, but our global corporate overlords will never allow this. We export all of our jobs and technology, and import iphones and cheap stuff from China. That’s fair trade, right?

    RE: pfft @ 21 – Who cares? You’re never going to be president. And this has to do with housing how? It seems like you are describing a utopia found only in a Star Trek episode. Is this your Soros-mandated weekly propaganda post?

    Why not dream bigger? If you were president of China, THEN you could actually do something!

    And this has to do with housing how?

  26. 26
  27. 27
    DrRick says:

    RE: John Wake @ 26

    Interesting article. I can’t help but wonder, as I look at the construction cranes and new vanilla cladded apartment boxes, how long this can last and what the consequences will be.
    It reminds me of other booms that most of us are too young to remember.

    The Kaiser Shipbuilding Company transformed Vancouver and Portland during WW2, hiring many thousands of workers, opening opportunity to non traditional employees such as women and blacks. Kaiser built thousands of homes to house them, and medical facilities to keep them healthy to continue working. While there is little physical evidence left, Kaiser Permanente continues as a $53 billion healthcare company.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Shipyards

    http://www.ronyasoft.com/products/poster-forge/templates/propoganda-posters/we-can-do-it-poster-template/images/we-can-do-it-poster-template.jpg
    (tip to the hat to David Losh)

    The various mining booms including copper, coal and iron in the Southwest, Appalachia and Midwest brought jobs and immigration , but left ghost towns and vestigial industries behind.

    Post WW2, Detroit exploded with manufacturing and “family wage” jobs, propelling many workers into the middle class, at least temporarily, but now Detroit is a donut hole city, with bulldozed hectares of previously occupied homes.

    I was in Seattle during the ’70s when the Boeing Bust occurred and housing prices sagged. Hard to believe it’s the same city now.
    http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs026/1111061163475/img/3.jpg?a=1111211619856

    Also, I’m reminded of a great read about stock investing called “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” describing the unregulated craziness of the 1920s stock market, and how seemingly indestructable institutions like Banking and The Railroad Industry went from riches to rage within a few years. Fascinating read.
    http://www.amazon.com/Reminiscences-Stock-Operator-Edwin-Lefevre/dp/1500541052

    Makes me wonder what the next disruptive technology looks like.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

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