Sunday, May 27, 2007

Shut Her Up?

Kinda, anyway. Richard Salzman's My Word column in the Times- Standard today starts off by asking how long the T-S will "subject its readers to.....Kay Backer"- Backer being the hired spokesgal for the Humboldt Economic Land Plan, a group of developers and others that want more land available for development.

Salzman then goes on to suggest Backer shouldn't even be considered as a legitimate voice in local affairs, if only because she's from out of town and a hired spokesperson. Once again, don't listen to her. She's just a hack for corporations....blah, blah, blah.

I actually agree, at least in part, with Salzman's critiques of HELP's solution to the supposed housing crisis. I don't think simply building thousands of more homes will make housing all that much more affordable to anyone.

That said, I am turned off by the conspiratorialist, evil capitalist tone of his message. This was the same sort of thing that reared its ugly head, coming from the Neely side, during the Flemming/ Neely campaign for the Board of Supervisors seat of which Salzman was involved with [on Neely's side].

Salzman's us vs. them rhetoric might serve him well amongst the hard Left, many of whom have expressed similar sentiments here. I think it might fall short amongst those with cooler heads. In fact, the us vs. them type argument might well turn off many of those who Salzman might actually need for support.

He should stick with fact based arguments rather than evil capitalist conspiracy type stuff. That said, except for his obsession with people making money, he does make some points in this latest My Word column.
As an aside, thanks to the footer in his column, first time I noticed Salzman actually has a couple web pages. Maybe someone mentioned it before and I didn't notice, or forgot?

One, for Salzman International, is simply his business web page and not much info of interest there, at least to me. Interesting though that, of the three phone numbers listed, the first two are for San Francisco and New York. The third one actually has a 707 area code but is listed as a FAX number.

Of course, often a FAX machine can serve as a regular phone as well as a FAX. Regardless, I think it's fair to assume Salzman International doesn't qualify as local corporation under Measure T.

The second web page is simply a collection of his past writings, as one would expect. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. One could argue that's what this blog is for me.


At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salzman is just trying to stir the pot before the Marina Center comes up before the city council again and the next election cycle begins. His style is, and has always been, vilify the opposition, divide the community into us versis them, and bad mouth anyone who even attempts to hold a reasoned discussion of how we can all come together on a subject. I agree with you that he is doing nothing but throwing red meat in front of the hard core lefties but while that may get people to turn out and give money, it won't win elections. Even in the recall of Gallegos, there was a huge amount of people who didn't like Paul and hadn't voted for him but strongly opposed what Palco was trying to do. They voted against Palco, not for Paul. Salzman was pretty much left out of the last election cycle, left on the roadside. He wants back into the game. This is how it starts.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Heraldo Riviera said...

He should stick with fact based arguments rather than evil capitalist conspiracy type stuff.

He does have sound, fact based arguments as you acknowledge. Building more homes will not make house prices drop. Using Backer's hometown of Sacramento is a perfect example.

I didn't see any "evil capitalist conspiracy" stuff. You might be projecting there.

But since you brought it up, attacking people for how they make money is not limited to the left side of the political spectrum. However, when it comes to Kay Backer, it seems legitimate to ask how long she will profess to care about Humboldt's poor when she is no longer paid to express such sentiments.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only in Humboldt County is it generally accepted that supply and demand do not have a relationship with prices. Must be too many government employees.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supply and demand is only one of many factors influencing prices.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kay Backer will stop caring about Hunboldt's poor at the exact same time Hillary Clinton will stop caring about our country's poor, the moment she no longer benefits from it.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELP should change their name to SCREW

At 11:02 AM, Blogger robash141 said...

Fred your'e starting to sound like a broken record.

these days, You try to cast every stong opinion from the liberal or progressive side of the spectrum in terms of vaugely Stalinesque demands for censorship. The old "why can't you be more like Alan Colmes" arguement

Salzman merly pointed out the obvious, That Kay Backer is a highly paid Sacramento lobbbyist working for developers.

He was pretty hard on Backer however I don't see where he called for her censorship.

Arkely, certainly has no trouble getting his side of the story out

And Backer gets paid big $$$$ to catch flak on his behalf. I'm not going to give haer much sympathy as long as the check clears

Plus I don't see the equivilance between Salzman's dinky little fax Machine and Arkely employing a high priced PR firm.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Supply and demand is only one of many factors influencing prices.

What are some of those? The big ones that really influence prices? What is the single largest thing we could do to lower home prices?

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Tim said...


Sacramento second for entry-level housing affordability
Sacramento Business Journal - May 17, 2007

The Sacramento region is the second most affordable area in the state for first-time homebuyers, according to a report released Thursday by the California Association of Realtors.

In Greater Sacramento, 43 percent of households could afford to buy an entry level home, up from 40 percent last year. The first-time buyer median price was $310,670, with a minimum qualifying income of $62,640.

The percentage of households who could afford to buy an entry-level home in California stood at 25 percent in the first quarter, down slightly from 26 percent for the same period a year ago.

Statewide, the minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home for $480,670 in the first quarter was $96,910, based on an adjustable interest rate of 6.3 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment.

At 44 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento. Santa Barbara was the least affordable region in the state at 12 percent, followed by the Monterey region at 19 percent.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I suspect, Tim, that might be because the median income in that area is higher, not so much because the homes are any less expensive.

I'm not sure how they come up with the affordability index, but they must take average local income into consideration, don't they?

I don't know.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Fred, that was fast, you are correct. It is related to median household income, interest rate, and median home price. I don't remember the exact formula off the top of my head.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What are some of those? The big ones that really influence prices? What is the single largest thing we could do to lower home prices?"

One of the biggest would be to increase interest rates. This would have a big impact on actual house payments, which is a more important factor in affordability than the list price of a home.

Another big factor is desirability. While our area remains a desirable place to buy by folks from out of town, to invest and live, our prices will always reflect affordability from their perspective not ours.

Sure we could build our way out of this. But only when we’ve built so much that it is no longer desirable to live here (like the urban sprawl the surrounds Sacramento). Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the HELP!

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You propose to raise interest rates for purchasing homes in Humboldt? Although you are right, home prices would go down, that would not address affordability. You merely lower the demand by doing that. See previous post.

Also, I was talking about 'real world' not Humboldt Fantasy Land.
How are you going to raise interest rates?

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or how about this as a solution. Only allow residents of Humboldt County (of at least one year) be allowed to buy a house in Humboldt County. And only if they are going to live in the house. That would remove all the pressure from outsiders and speculators making the market "fair" for locals.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Tim said...

12:07 -
Did you know the 10 year annual average of lots (housing sites) approved by the Planning Commission from 1995-2005 is around 1/2 the number as the 1985-1995 average? Food for thought.

I posted the Sacramento article because there was a discussion of supply, demand, and prices, not to suggest we copy them. I thought I'd post a fact that may further the discussion, or inform the readers (unlike the Bravo/anti Bravo posts - why is that crap all over the place?)

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Carson Park Chairman said...

"Only allow residents of Humboldt County (of at least one year) buy a house in Humboldt County."

Then we could further relieve upward pressure on the housing market by only allowing people to have one child.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Question. If one is living on fixed incomes from the government where do we live except for rent-subsidized housing? Owning a home is totally out of the question yet our average age in Humboldt County is going towards proportionately more seniors. Even if you've worked all your life and saved money, the first or second catastrophic illness to hit you will give your savings to the docs and hospitals.

While anti-Arkleyites push for more crowded urban development they seem to have lost all sight of the fact that urban development in California usually sits on top of the best farmable land around.

Wise use of our county lands would be to have the close proximity hillsides developed leaving the flat lands for agriculture and the forests and prairies beyond the immediate foothills to wildlife habitat and commercial forestry. But foothill development is being done for expensive exec homes, not for low-income people.

We need a General Plan that saves our agricultural lands as well as forests and prairie lands from subdivision development yet Progs want to see more density in the urban flats and no development in the hillsides. HELP wants the opposite. Neither have a very good vision of the kind of housing development we really need here or so I think..

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen, you are not listening very well to the so called progs. None of them are calling for development of ag lands quite the opposite. Urban infill is what is being asked to be prioritized.

And of course foothills are being developed for the Mc Mansions. They are the only ones that can afford the view.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Did you know the 10 year annual average of lots (housing sites) approved by the Planning Commission from 1995-2005 is around 1/2 the number as the 1985-1995 average? Food for thought."

So if we had doubled the number of lot approvals from 1995-2005 would the price of homes be any less now. I doubt it. Would we have had more crapy and poorly planned developments like were built from 1985-1995. I think so.

Just because the development community is slow to learn what good development is (and I include county staff in that) doesn’t mean our county should now be bullied into badly planned subdivisions that we all have to live with for the rest of our lives.

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supply and demand. Look it up.

Please enlighten us with your definition of "good development"

Where are these so-called crappy and poorly-planned developments? Do the people living there feel they are crappy? Seems not, or they wouldn't have purchased them. You are probably living in one.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Rose said...

This latest "My Word" is absolutely hysterical. Talk about projecting, heraldo!

Looks to me like he couldn't get Elizabeth Conner and the rest of the "Healthy Humboldt" crew to submit their My Words, and had to do it himself again (he's sent in at least one other almost identical to this one in the past, so his opening question really applies to him too, as does almost everything else he wrote.)

..."professional spin doctors ... repeating ... worn-out arguments" being hired to "badger county government and bamboozle the public..." He talks of "another front group ... shedding crocodile tears.." And he asks "Where will (fill in the blank's) concern for our community be the day after (the) paychecks stop coming in? Will (fill in the blank) ... just go on to (fill in the blank's) next lucrative public relations campaign?"...

Ya gotta love it!

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you saying he is hypocritical but I don't hear you saying he is wrong.

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Supply and demand. Look it up."

If you really think that the most basic supply and demand theory will explain everything about the economy and the price of housing then I guess you think that mechanics of a jet fighter can be easily explained by the equation Force = (Acceleration) x (Mass). The world is not that simple.

If you don’t know what good planning looks like I recommend that you read up on it. There are many good books on the subject.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"If you don’t know what good planning looks like I recommend that you read up on it.".

And those books wouldn't be written by folks along the lines of those from HELP, or Healthy Humboldt?

I realize much might have been written on the subject, but it's probably not much more than been written here: Mostly by people with agendas, of one kind or another.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Here is the Prog politically correct myopia in action:

"Stephen, you are not listening very well to the so called progs. None of them are calling for development of ag lands quite the opposite. Urban infill is what is being asked to be prioritized.

And of course foothills are being developed for the Mc Mansions. They are the only ones that can afford the view."

Because Progs see reality in terms of political battles between Right and Left, they actually can't see the ground in front of them.

"Urban infill" is mostly all on the flat lands that should be used for agriculture priority. It's where European-Americans have traditionally built their cities--on the easiest land to develop for human housing-flat land.

And because the rich are being directed towards foothill developments, Progs can't even look at these sights for their low-income potential development because all their eyes see is their enemy-the mainstream wealthy.

So instead of really trying to work out community development without prejudice, Progs put political prejudice everywhere they can and thus create a social war instead of cooperative community development plans.

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I realize much might have been written on the subject, but it's probably not much more than been written here"

Believe it or not there are many great reads on the subject that go into greater depth on many issues and ideas not yet discussed in these blogs.

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Most of this thread sounds like the minutes of a politbureau meeting in 1956 Leningrad.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen, maybe you are not clear on the concept of "infill". Infill areas are those areas surrounded by urban development to such as degree that they are unusable for things such as productive agriculture. Infill can also include creating mixed uses in commercial areas and conversions of former industrial sites as appropriate. It does not mean spreading development out beyond current urban boundaries.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wow! Most of this thread sounds like the minutes of a politbureau meeting in 1956 Leningrad."

How would you know?

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:23 -
Weak, weak, weak.

I never wrote that supply and demand "will explain everything about the economy and the price of housing", you wrote that and I would not defend it.

Ceteris paribus, cutting supply by 50% will raise prices.

Then you give the nice "if, then" statement, relating to jet propulsion? What the hell does that have to do with anything. Let me try one: If you believe your jet argument has anything to do with housing prices, then you probably believe the world is flat. Do you see how stupid that is? Weak.

Instead of talking about infill, smart growth, walkable communities, public transit, and the rest of the talking points, you write, "There are many good books on the subject" but do not suggest one. To me, this suggests you do not know what you are talking about.

yours truly,

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Still laughing!

You know that first line? How often is the Times-Standard going to subject its readers to the repeated rants of...

Well, then there's his previous rant against Backer. Is it identical? Virtually?
HELP is of no help to Humboldt
My Word by Richard Salzman
Article Launched: 04/13/2006 04:27:25 AM PDT

In response to Kay Backer's My Word of March 22, “Getting Humboldt leaders to lead”: Kay Backer is a paid professional spin doctor from Sacramento. Hired by local developers, she is paid to badger county government and bamboozle the public. She feigns concern for our families by shedding crocodile tears about so-called affordable housing here in Humboldt County.... blah, blah, blah

Nothing Salzman is doing is going to make housing more affordable here in Humboldt County. And nothing is going to make a minimum $340,000 "low income" house affordable either.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim? Is that you Mr. Flemming?

Back at it after some of the worst hate filled letters to the editor during Nancy's supervisor run?

Please pick up your meds and get out of town

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you fix it Rose?

Open up all of our hillsides to clear cut practices?

The timber queen (rose) is spinning it pretty well herself.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I don't see a solution - except that you have to make more to be able to afford a house anymore. Which should mean that wages will rise to ensure that people can afford to buy houses, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. But the term "affordable housing" whether slung by Ms. Backer or Richard Salzman, is a misnomer that solves nothing.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Rose said...

And, no, 9:09, opening the timber lands up to clearcut practices would not make any building materials, (nails, insulation, tile, etc.) or permit fees or land costs any more affordable. Why - that would be "logging the way it used to be" - and despite what Salzman's AEB ads said, none of us want to go back to that.

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose is the scariest person on the blogs. Get ahold of yourself woman!

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets try smaller houses.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You were the one that wrote "look it up". No references there. To me, this suggests you do not know what you are talking about.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who is presenting the information at the HELP workshop?

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

....(sigh)..."Stephen, maybe you are not clear on the concept of "infill". Infill areas are those areas surrounded by urban development to such as degree that they are unusable for things such as productive agriculture. Infill can also include creating mixed uses in commercial areas and conversions of former industrial sites as appropriate. It does not mean spreading development out beyond current urban boundaries."

You don't get it. We shouldn't have built up those urban areas to begin with that sit on prime agricultural Before it got developed into city. We need to start thinking outside the box.

Rip up two streets leaving a 16 block core free of roads. Use the torn up road asphalt for bottom cores of privacy stone walls inside the 16 block area. Create a variety of interior housing types from single occupancy to multiple family. Encourage the old style family compounds where three generations live in the same compound. This will encourage families to keep together and re-establish the grandparents true relationship within the family unit instead being shunted off to nursing homes. Build these big for big families or communal households. But not a five bedroom house for a rich couple and their two dogs. Build houses with big patios and large gardens, even small orchards. Have trails between houses and lot's of trees, fewer houses in comparison to existing urban design but more density overall with family compounds and communal compounds encouraged.

But next time think of saving the flats for ag purposes and keep the human development always aimed at the unarable lands like hilltop castle-towns of old (See my Chateau Marmoset concept in my blog).

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:35 -
My "look it up" post about supply and demand was in response to, "So if we had doubled the number of lot approvals from 1995-2005 would the price of homes be any less now. I doubt it." I was suggesting that is an ignorant statement, especially taking into account the Salzman column that mentioned Sacramento's "astounding" rate of building, and the above article that notes Sacramento as the second most affordable area in the state for first time homebuyers.

But, apparently Measure T had larger consequences than we all imagined and the law of supply and demand is void in Humboldt County. How does one go about creating affordable housing? I haven't seen one post yet. Stephen's permaculture plan makes sense, but does not address affordability.

Real suggestions would be neat to see, not "just have the Czar lower the prices"

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose is a thinker. She is right on point almost ALL of the time. She seems to do pretty well keeping Salzman and his ilk in check.

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real question is; how often is the T/S going to expose it's readers to the repeated rants of richard Salzman, R. Trent, Sara the dog, and whatever name or persona he makes up?

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the links. I especially liked the one from Salzman during the recall about how Gallegos is a man of the people and doesn't represent any special interest groups.

What a joke Salzman is. His ego is out of control, as doucmented by his website on all his letters to the editor and such.

The word that comes to mind is LOSER.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Well maybe Arkley should sue the residents of Fieldbrook who succesfully prevent any sewer systems from being put in which provide for the opportuntity for development.That certainly doesn't help solve any housing crisis.That place has acres upon acres of usable land,so why don't developers put pressure on the residents of Fieldbrook or entice them to put in necessary sewer systems to allow for future development?

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And, no, 9:09, opening the timber lands up to clearcut practices would not make any building materials, (nails, insulation, tile, etc.) or permit fees or land costs any more affordable. Why - that would be "logging the way it used to be" - and despite what Salzman's AEB ads said, none of us want to go back to that."

I was thinking more along the lines of higher paying jobs...

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea mresquan, that would save the groundwater a lot of sh*t, and open up some choice places for development; not that you'd see anything near "affordable" housing.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Rose said...

Fieldbrook has 5 and 10 acre minimums, I believe, in the interests of preserving that real quality of life, that not one house on top of another, somewhat off the grid kind of life, where you can have some horses and other animals, have a big garden, that kind of thing.

And, yes, 8:15, higher paying jobs are the only solution that makes any sense.

I don't really see how suing the County is going to solve the problem either. But every builder knows that dealing with the County is a horrific experience, that drags out projects, runs up costs, forces density and often dumbs down projects.

But I guarantee you that Salzman, with his socialist mindset, that you will force everyone who splits a lot to "give" lots to the city, punish the evil builders and developers, impose higher and higher fees and impose more and more restrictions, does not have any viable solutions to this problem. He just hates Arkley.

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Rose,developers in every county will tell you that dealing with their county is a horrific experience.It's not just here,it'a nationwide phenomenon.Developers are worse than lawyers(and a lot are actually lawyers),when they don't get their own way,they take it out on taxpayers by bullying the county government which represents the taxpayers.
Well I sure hope that residents in Fieldbrook are not people who are in agreement with HELP's concerns about the county's affordable housing crisis when they aren't willing to give up their 5 and 10 acre lots.
Fieldbrook could be a nice place for a project like Scott Riley has proposed in Manilla.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's more than just hating Arkley. He got a taste of power and he likes it!

Local Solutions

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

developers that work in multiple jurisdictions will tell you that dealing with Humboldt County is the worst. It is not the rules, it is how they change in the middle of the game, how they are ignored. Planners contradict eachother, the list of items to complete that grows with each visit or phone call. No communication with the applicants. It is a very negative atmosphere. First, they try to talk you out of what you want to do. Then, if you are not persuaded to drop your project, they will throw up problems. As you overcome these (or learn they are not relevant), there will be more identified. This is not how we should be treated by our government. We should have a clear set of policies and guidelines that are followed. The problem is everything seems to be at the discretion of every planner, and then finally, to Kirk G. Thousands of dollars and countless hours are wasted on this circuitous process. It seems like somebody could write a simple software program where you plug in your zoning, acreage, area, etc and get a list of what is/is not allowed. But that would take away to power to say, "no".

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Rose said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Rose said...

Not everyone who wants to do a lot split, and either sell the lots or build houses is a "developer," but it works as a word that casts them as evil, and all reasonable discussion of the problems stops.

Many "developers" would like to put in subdivisions with 1/2 acre or acre lots, some would even like to give more acreage, but being forced into postage stamp lots with backyards that barely qualify as a driveway is not contributing to quality of life. And they are forced, if not by the County, by the costs associated with a lot split. The more amenities they have to put in, foot the bill for, the smaller the lots get in order to cover th costs and allow for some profit.

'Course that's just my opinion. I don't see them all as evil. Some may be, but most are really great people who take pride in their work.

And you know - people keep buying the houses.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The progressives seem to want to stop all progress and development in Humboldt County and have adopted the progresso party line ....... I got mine and to hell with everyone else ......

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an interesting discussion on Erics blog about calling a truce with Salzman until the Loco Solutions gangsters are dealt with.

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everyone who wants to do a lot split, and either sell the lots or build houses is a "developer," but it works as a word that casts them as evil, and all reasonable discussion of the problems stops.

Same can be said of the word "activist."

At 6:57 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

I like it a lot better when Richard focuses on LTE’s that would stop NFL game blackouts! But he does say things that you have a hard time arguing against. I just think that it was a liberal “fluff” piece with little hard core data.

One thing that Rose brings up that really speaks to the issue of affordable housing is the lack of jobs paying a living wage in Humboldt County. We need to focus on diversifying our economy by maximizing the value of our raw recourses, and really coming up with solutions of how to do that taking into account our environment.

And how about someone coming up with an agreed consistent definition of “affordable.” Lot’s to argue about there.

Oh, and speaking of Humboldt County: Mr. Salzman, do a spell check on your Salzman International website. Humboldt is spelt with a "D". Not Humbolt.

I shouldn't throw stones, as I know I have my own spelling issues, just doesn't look right on a Web site.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Dang typos!
Articles and editorials regarding Humbolt County community interests and activities.

OH - the shameless plugs! What? No link to the North Coast Journal?

Voters Reject Attempt to Recall North Coast D.A.
Richard Salzman, Gallegos' campaign manager, joined volunteers on a busy intersection to wave "No Recall" signs for the early morning commuter most of them in pickup trucks.

DA candidates look ahead to March
Richard Salzman told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat earlier this month that Gallegos supporters are prepared to spend $250,000 or more.

Local Doctor, Former PL Employee Endorse DA
Richard Salzman said there will be more commercials before the election including two more testimonials soon........

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Tim said...

FYI - "affordable" is the house that a "median household" can purchase. That affordability index in the news all the time is the % of "median households" that can afford the median priced home. Humboldt is around 13%.

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

However Tim, the numbers that you referenced in the article above for the state above were specific to "first time home buyers" and "entry level homes". Let us make sure we are comparing the same thing.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Rose said...

What's affordable for someone with a $50,000 a year income? $100,000 a year? $150,000 a year?

What's the payment on a $330,000 house?

Can you even find a house for $100,000 - and, who is going to be able to build a house that you can buy for $100,000 anymore? And would you want to buy it?

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure how it works up in Humboldt, but here in San Francisco, the local government requires developers to sell a percentage of a units within a development for low income families... its at a significant discount, up to 60%.

Not sure if are possible up north, without government subsidizing. Let's get our supervisors on it.

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a contractor buddy of mine grumbling about the County. He said what they do is easy: Go slow and say no.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Why does the wacko left follow this guy anyway? The sad thing is that he also seems to pick up some of the normal lefts too. I wonder whats Richard's view on Carbon Offsets.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Tim said...

7:34 -
You're right, I didn't catch that before. They are using 85% of the median home price with 10% down, while the Humboldt # uses 100% with 20% down. If you re-figure the #'s (I did not do this), I think we will be less than 20% for first-time buyers. In any case, apples to apples, our index has gone down from the 40-50% range to the teens in the last 5 years.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such rage! Funny, though. It all seems to be directed at 'progs','activits, and 'lefties'

Just curious, WHY are you so afraid of us? Apparently, according to you- we are all ignorant and hypocritical, and only believe what we are told by some sort of local progressive-leader? BTW- not true-sorry. We actually think for ourselves, and actually care about this place-no matter who lives here!

So, if we (progs) all move to Oregon, who are you gonna blame for everything? What are you conservatives-righties' doing to improve the future of Humboldt? (Other than posting "I hate you all!" letters to local blogs, I mean.


Just wondering.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Rose said...

As opposed to "I hate you" My Words in the TS?

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope 11:23, no rage here, we just get tired of divisive people like sleazeman.

We'd also like to have reasonable debates without fingerpointing and name calling (from either side.

Nope, not "afraid" either, just tired of condescending posts like yours...

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Oh yes,the Coalition For Jobs,now that wasn't divisive one bit.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh mark, you guys just HATE it when another group uses the same tactics that you guys do...kinda of like the "Baykeepers", eh?

Or perhaps CREG?...

Btw, the group you mention, is that the one that put out the Kerrigan hit piece? If that is the case there are those that swear it was put out by Sleazeman.

The difference, Mark, as I see it, is that the idealogues such as yourself, on BOTH sides, have NO problems with their side doing it, all the while demonizing their opponents for doing the same thing, wheras I see sleazy tactics for what they are, no matter which side of the political spectrum it originates from.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Most people think it was Arkley. I have also heard speculation that it was Salzman's tactic, but no proof either way.

Shadow groups of any stripe are not what we need. People have a right to know who they are really donating to, how the money is being spent, where it is really coming from, and who they are really being influenced (attempted or otherwise) by.

No investigation of the "Eureka Coalition for Jobs" should be undertaken without including the so-called "Alliance for Ethical Business" which predated, outraised, outspent and out-influenced the flash in the pan "Coalition."

At 5:44 PM, Blogger mrsb814 said...

I'm voting for Salzman as the owner of Humboldt Coalition for Jobs. I have to agree with Rose that most if not All of what Richard said about Kay Backer is looking in the mirror a bit too much.

Affordable housing is also in rentals and I proposed last year that we develop sliding scale housing to one developer-also that he incorporate the building trades classes on a contractor's timeline to give them on-the-job training.

We can't keep out of the area buyers out of our market (its a Free Country mostly) and as long as they are willing to pay these inflated prices-housing will stay up. The solution is migration and there is affordable housing in other areas of the country. This isn't the old days unless your parents have a big enough house to move all the younger generation in with them until they are 'done with it'.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sacramento has higher affordability because the State Government is the main employer there and pays a living wage. That is, a wage sufficient to afford a local home.

Being in a valley, Sacto has lots of flat land. Finally, most new homes in Sacto are on 1/4 acre lots or less because a typical Government worker doesn't need or want a big lot to maintain and also doesn't want to commute the longer distance that larger lots would create.

Sacramento has better ag land than Humboldt but some of it is being developed with less sprawl and that menas it is actually going to a better use.

Humboldt has no major living wage employers, is full of poor people who dream of being land barons and want plenty of space for their junk cars and to shoot their guns off. The preserving ag land issue in Humboldt is a joke because if developers were required to build higher densities as they do in Sacto, not that much ag land would be needed to add hundreds of new homes.

What isn't possible is keeping ag land AND having homes on 5-10 acre lots. So the developers are employing Backer to use the affordability issue to justify developing McMansions on ag land.

Sure they'll put in a few smaller homes but the vast majority will be sprawl and the affordability index won't rise.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows Arkley is behind the "Humboldt Coalition for Jobs"

Who else has money like that to throw around?

Really tough one to figure out

MrsB enjoys living in her own little world of denial

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Hey Leave Mary alone!!!
And Mary if housing prices stay where they are here,it doesn't matter because they are still falling elsewhere.If this trend continues,homeowners looking to sell here won't be able to rely on an outside buyer paying a high price,not until employers here pay a decent wage.The problem is that this area is being planned on the idea that retirees will move here,and that just won't happen as housing prices fall elsewhere and those communities are much more prepared with the necessary medical services and public safety concerns which entice retirees.

So back to the Coalition For Jobs,
Eureka Times-Standard
Berg to coauthor campaign disclosure bill

Friday, December 17, 2004

By Andrew Bird

The Times-Standard

North Coast Assemblywoman Patty Berg will become the principal coauthor of a state Senate bill that seeks to require nonprofit groups that run political ads to disclose who they are.

Berg signed onto SB 36, introduced by state Sens. Dean Florez and Martha Escutia, in the wake of an ad campaign that targeted Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan in last month's election.

About a week before the election a group calling itself the Eureka Coalition for Jobs mounted an ad blitz critical of Kerrigan, laying the blame for the region's lack of jobs at the incumbent's feet.

To date, the Eureka Coalition for Jobs has not revealed its membership. The group's front man, influential Sacramento lobbyist Wayne Ordos, has maintained his clients are not required to follow campaign disclosure laws because the ads did not specifically advocate a vote against Kerrigan or for Kerrigan's opponent, Rex Bohn.

Bohn, whom Kerrigan soundly defeated on Nov. 2, said he has no connection with the Eureka Coalition for Jobs, and denounced the highly critical ad campaign against his opponent.

Ordos has said a 2002 California appeals court decision involving the re-election committee of former Gov. Gray Davis shields his clients from disclosure.

The Times-Standard has asked California's Fair Political Practices Commission to force Ordos and the Eureka Coalition for Jobs to file disclosure documents.

Florez, a Democrat from Shafter, east of Bakersfield, was targeted in a recent but less-direct ad campaign by a nonprofit group that has also failed to file campaign disclosure documents.

A registered nonprofit called Consumer Alliance for a Strong Economy ran ads in August and November that said Florez was not as moderate as the senator claims.

Florez, who is not up for re-election until November 2006, unveiled SB 36 at a press conference this week at the Capitol.

It would require all non-profit organizations with an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(4) tax-exempt designation to file disclosure statements just like a campaign committee.

"Consumer Alliance for a Strong Economy should be held to the same standard as other political entities and reveal its financial backers so the public can make informed decisions about both the content and purpose of political ads," Florez said.

Berg Thursday said she has long felt campaigning should be conducted in the open.

"Secrecy and democracy don't mix," Berg said in a press release. "When you find a glaring loophole like this, you've got to try to close it."

The loophole Berg and Florez want to close revolves around the interpretation of issue-oriented versus direct advocacy ads.

Ordos, the front man for the Eureka Coalition for Jobs, and the front people for the Consumer Alliance for a Strong Economy maintain that because their ads don't directly advocate a vote for or against a candidate or ballot measure they qualify as issue-oriented advertisements.

The California appeals court, relying on past U.S. Supreme Court decisions, ruled in the 2002 Davis case that groups who run issue-oriented ads are protected under free speech freedoms.

However, the ruling does not specifically state that all ads not advocating a vote for or against a specific candidate or ballot measure qualify as issue-oriented.

Senate Bill 36 would clarify this distinction by requiring that an "advertisement that clearly identifies a candidate for elective state office, but does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of the candidate" be required to disclose under the rules set forth in California's Political Reform Act.

However, SB 36 would only apply to registered nonprofit groups.

The current language would not stop groups such as the Eureka Coalition for Jobs, which is not a registered nonprofit, from running clandestine ads like those targeting Kerrigan last month.

Will Shuck, Berg's press spokesman, said there will be plenty of time to amend SB 36 to make it more comprehensive.

"It's rare that a bill makes it through both houses of the Legislature without amendments," Shuck said.

# # #

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:14 your assumptions are not correct. There are many good places for 5.10.20 acre developments that would make much more livable communities. Small ag operations and amuch more healthy way of living. You talk a good game of classism but your way is the true support structure for multi-nation/ag/world trade. I don't want your vision. I don't want Arthur Daniel Midlelsons vision. I don't want George Soros' vision. Humboldt will do better with all of you.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry 614, but the 5-10 acre mcmansion market is not moving. Developers will only build what they can sell.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Everyone knows Arkley is behind the "Humboldt Coalition for Jobs"

You mean "Tricky Rick" Salzman

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Trouble is, mresquan, Berg focused on "The Eureka Coalition for Jobs" and totally ignored the elephant in the room, "the so-called Alliance for Ethical Business." Why is that?

Regarding housing and the comments above, to say anyone who wants 20 acres or more just wants to shoot of their guns is bullshit. Maybe they want a garden, an orchard, horses, goats, or, you know, just SPACE.

The whole debate is really weird. What's an affordable house? You want the government to give everyone a house? It doesn't work that way. You want everyone to be able to afford a house? They better have a job. Even the rents here aren't exactly as "affordable" as they were just a short time ago. And what jobs are there here that enable you to pay - at minimum $330,000 for a Pierson-style tract house on a small lot, with a water and sewer bill, electricity and gas bill, garbage bill, cable bill, house insurance, maintenance and upkeep. It's not small undertaking, but it is not different than it has ever been. Why has the debate gotten so convoluted? It's exasperating to see the twists and turns of the spin doctors trying to use terms like affordable housing to gain some kind of advantage.

The rising housing costs are spreading northward, and moving more as more and more baby-boomers retire and leave the cities, or inherit property which they sell and then use the money to buy somewhere like here. It's not a bad thing. People from here go other places. You can't keep everything stagnant as if that is going to make it better. Salzman himself moved up here and has now paid a high price for a home. It's just the way things are.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In any case, apples to apples, our index has gone down from the 40-50% range to the teens in the last 5 years."

Tim, so how much has the index changed in other areas of the state compared to here?

At 9:37 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

Tim: may I once again state, "And how about someone coming up with an agreed consistent definition of “affordable.” Lot’s to argue about there."

If a badly built 1960's Pierson 1200sq ft home is going for over $300,000 in Eureka, which it is, we have an affordability problem.

You need to make nearly $85,000 per household to afford to buy this garbage. That is reality! Others should back me up here!

Here is the elephant in the room, "there is very little affordable housing for potential local home buyers! And very few jobs here to qualify them!" People are coming into the area with their home equity from elsewhere.

Now let's talk about solutions.

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Build more smaller houses. The more McMansions that are buildt the more the affordability index is skewed.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Smaller houses may be part of the answer, but that's been being done, with smaller and smaller yards. The result? A proliferation of storage units - nowhere to put your stuff, no room to put a lawn mower. Nowhere to put in a garden, nowhere to grow your own food...

And calling someone's dream home a McMansion is not helpful. Most Victorians were far bigger than today's tract homes. There's room for both - and for the people who have sold homes elsewhere (or earned the money working) who can AFFORD the $700,000 or $800,000 house, more power to 'em.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Tim said...

9:09 - Without doing a bunch of research, it is safe to assume statewide, housing is less affordable. It is surprising to me that "Greater Sacramento" is at 40% (this is the "first time #), the state in general at 25%, while Humboldt is so low (less that 20%), on par with much wealthier areas.

Richard, I agree it is confusing with the different terms, but there are so many factors it would be hard to standardize a specific # that is "affordable". To me, the solution is jobs and business friendly policies (Humboldt and CA both). Where is Amulet? Yakima? Why do they leave?

At 12:27 PM, Blogger mrsb814 said...

Thanks Mark-I'd stick up for you too! And Rose! I've noticed the level of this conversation has elevated. How come the county doesn't ask the blog community to solve its problems? I have to reluctantly agree with Mr Salzman on a couple points like *we* really don't want housing prices to drop and it doesn't make sense that developers would want to drop housing prices.

I'm not in denial that a huge group of people can't afford to live here on what they're making. Operating a service business, I realized that when I make a living wage-the people I work for get pinched and are less likely to work normal hours 9-5, M-F.

But as a neighborhood watch captain-I also realize that we could tear down a couple slums here and there and (infill) build decent affordable housing or sliding scale housing like that in Medford. I really hate it when someone suggests we change Eureka/Humboldt to be just like some other place-but once in awhile an idea looks good that we might, maybe use.

The Jabobs Education Center site is about 17.5 acres and at 15-20 units per acre there is enough room to build something affordable-that is still attractive, safe and close to services.

In Medford-there are apartments built on winding roads with gorgeous landscaping, recreation facilities, laundry etc. and its sliding scale housing. That means rent is based on income-a certain percentage is reserved for low income families and you can't tell by looking which apartments are lower income (they all looked great!)

If we could do something as nice on the Jacobs site-the projects could be torn down next and replaced with this type of housing and voila-no stigma for being poor and people have a chance to go on and be fruitful and give their kids some pride and whatever else it takes to erase welfare mentality. Ok maybe that's too rose colored glasses-but that is My dream.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is that people who have no exceptional skills or ability shouldn't be so greedy to expect to control 5 to 10 acres of property that could be used for other people to live on. People who are gainfully employed don't need places to inefficiently grow some food, or a vast yard just to claim as their own. Greed by those who want more than they deserve, both workers and land owners/developers is resulting in inadequate housing. People everywhere has the same needs and those in many European countries live very happily on smaller individual parcels with extensive community gardens and parks to enjoy in common. Thats a better way of life than the get it all greed that infests the minds of those who want only to exclude other people from their sight or gain profit at their expense. Large indvidual parcels are just wasteful of resources and deny others a place to live. That's what has happened in Humboldt and is still happening. We need higher density of housing which will result in it being less expensive and more affordable. and we need more close by public commons spaces for gardens, parks and open vistas that people can share use of.

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you get the idea that higher density is cheaper? Study after study has shown that 'smart growth' communities command higher prices. Also, we are in America.

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The truth is that people who have no exceptional skills or ability shouldn't be so greedy to expect to control 5 to 10 acres of property that could be used for other people to live on"

Are you then saying those with skills or abilities that YOU deem acceptable should have the ability to "control" property?

Dude, last time I checked we still live in America, and if someone has the means to aquire and "control" property that's his or her right.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Rose said...

2:57 seems to want us to live like Communist Russia, 9 people to a one room apartment. Yeah, that's real nice. Not for me, though.

And, I agree. Mary. Apartments and condos are a part of a solution.

Still, whether you live in an apartment, a trailer, a middle-class tract house, or a dream home, we all live better than the kings of old. We have hot and cold running water, light and heat on demand. Wars would've been fought in the old days for what we take for granted now. Sometimes it helps to look back and see how far we have come.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:57, it scares the hell out of me that people think the way you do. It is your right, but it is scary. Not the density, but the "special skills". What do you mean? Doctors? Lawyers? Artists? Farmers? How's this for a thought - the people that can afford those large lots have special skills that are rewarded with high wages?

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puleeze, Commie red-baiting has been discredited since Joe McCarthy. And if, as some write, anyone who can afford to has the right to purchase a property and do whatever they want with it then there is NO PROBLEM currently in Humboldt. Because properties on the market are selling in a reasonable amount of time to buyers that pay a price agreed to by the seller. So you'd all forget about "affordability" becase if a property is sold that means it IS affordable.

As to this being America, I very much agree. And we Americans have agreed to regulations and restrictions on how land is used and transferred. We also have agreed to have zoning rules, special use permits, and tax levys. What some here write, call all that anti-American. Well slavery, child labor, and no vote for women was part of an America at one time. I'd say you'd like to bring THAT kind of America back. Well I've got news. A civil war was fought to defeat the kind of thinking you're espousing. And Americans won't let that kind of thinking ever prevail again.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we all agree that zoning, rules, use permits, etc. have their place, but the devil is in the details. Just because we agreed to live by sets of rules, that doesn't mean we agreed to live by your rules.
That was slick, though:
If you believe in capitalism, you can't believe we have a housing problem.
If you don't agree that current zoning and regulations are appropriate, you are a... racist? woman hater?.....child exploiter?

Slick - except for the fact that we have the government artificially limiting supply and and driving prices up, and despite what you may write we can apply less restrictive policies and not be a "reb".

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:38 You're a gentleman(gentlewoman) and I'll take back equating those who back Backer with human exploiters. I hope everyone would drop accusations of unpatriotism and bigotry as tactics to rebut an argument.

But I think the economic truths can't be lightly dismissed. Both money and people are very mobile in our economy and becoming more so. The prices of goods in Humboldt are very connected to prices in the larger region and even the world. Those here who produce lumber and fish or consume petroleum and medical services understand that quite well. Housing is no exception. Both Fred and Saltzman, to cite polar opposites, agree that simply constructing more houses designed solely to maximize builder's return won't increase "affordability" in Humboldt.

So, absent destroying capitalism by restricting money and humans from flowing into and out of Humboldt, local authorities can only adopt policies that constrain builders to construct houses that many Humboldt working residents can afford. I maintain that those houses have to be smaller, on smaller lots, and built more "greenly" to lower the cost of operating and maintaining them. And since the economic ability of residents is overall lower than in the greater region, those houses and lots should be smaller (and greener?) than those in the greater region. If a Humboldt working resident decides they'd rather rent a ramshackle rustic farmhouse or trailer than own an efficient green home on smaller lot, they can. But I believe most will make the switch becasue it will "make sense" to do it. Some education and marketing will be needed and I think local officials should be taking up that role to reduce the economic risks to builders.

And those smaller homes won't be as desirable to out of area capital to use as investments. But ultimately, out of area capital IS what will drive the market cost of housing in Humboldt. And no local authority has control over that.

I'd like to offer a small analogy to refute the supply siders. Some people say that by reducing services to homeless people, homeless people will leave from our midst, by moving away or obtaining housing. In essence reducing the supply (of services) will reduce the demand (of homelessness). It is very clear thats not the reality of what happens. Even Fred and Saltzman could agree on that.

At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:02 thanks, that certainly was not the response I expected. Mostly, I agree with your points, although we differ on the supply issue.

Complicating the supply and demand issue, construction costs have risen, but it is the cost of the raw land that has really gone through the roof. Also, the delays and requirements added by the County to each project adds cost. A 1000 SF home is not 1/2 the price of a 2000 SF home. The difference is the labor, materials, etc. of the homes + the fixed costs of the development allocated to that parcel. Although the trails, detention basins, sidewalks, roads, open spaces are assets, they are not free and built into the price of the new homes. If the planning commission, planners, and BOS, would get on the same page and actually do something to ease the constraints and requirements I believe one could actually build an affordable unit. It is strange our officials do not seem to understand that you cannot always require a development to enhance a wetland, construct a trail, preserve open space, improve an intersection, and maintain affordability for the future homeowners.

Also, while I am at it, stating they are trying to preserve our rural way of life and unique atmosphere while homogenizing our developments, limiting large-lot construction, and densifying the developed areas to levels not previously seen in Humboldt is a joke. I agree that some increased density may be the solution to some of our problems, but the density at planning department will not solve anything.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:57 - what an elitist pig you are. I am sure glad there is a constitution and bill of rights. Are you for displacing the ranchers here in Humboldt and California?

You live in the city and I will live on my 10 acres, raise my horses, chickens and ducks and grow my own veggies.

What an idiot you are!


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