Quick Hits

The California Superior Judge who ruled against tenure will have to live a lng time to see tenure die! Tenure was not an option at my private San Diego university. I never heard any full-time or part-time professor complain about not having tenure. Everyone accepted that they were at-will employees, and had to perform at a high level or be replaced. There were always replacements available, and we knew that.

In computer science in San Diego, we had to be retrained every day — particularly when many of our students were working for high-tech companies, often in R&D.

I can understand why K-12 teachers want tenure — actually “permanent employment” — it takes much of the pressure off daily performance, but that is not a good thing…and possibly why our students rank 46th (on average) in the US Department of Education “National Report Card.”


Governor Brown is pushing the State Legislature to pass a bill that will offer some unspecified quick benefits to get the Tesla Gigafactory to locate in California.

You will recall that Elon Musk has proposed a huge factory ($5 Billion construction and 6,500 jobs) to several states, including Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Musk also said California was still in the running but a long-shot.

The question is, what is it about Tesla that is so different from all the other companies that California is losing without a whimper?

I suggest that Tesla is either one too many, or perhaps too visible to lose. I doubt that Brown would go against the environmental movement. Perhaps he is just cherry-picking.


The border problem in Texas, with floods of children as young as 5 years old crossing unaccompanied, is an unexpected problem that tugs on heart-strings in a way that workers do not.

What do we do now? Many arrive with a note of where their parents are for being joined with those parents — who themselves may be “illegal.”

It’s a mess. A growing mess. It is not easily solved and it is a result of our ambivalent policy. While everyone debates the subject, the very lengthy Texas border is almost unguarded. Yes, the announced policy is that only those children who were here pre-2008, but that nuance has been lost in Central American media.

Here, on the San Diego area we don’t have that problem, because we have at least two and sometimes three fences, with sand in between.

Texas has the Rio Grande River, which is little more than a mud hole. Their Border Patrol is overwhelmed.

This is written Saturday night — I can only hope that by morning a heavy air strike will send the well-mechanized assault on the government of Iraq will be out in the open. Many of their troop transports are seized from the Iraqi troops who have thrown down their weapons and fled.

The ISIS troops coming over the borders from Syria are moving quickly. Only boots on the ground can stop the ISIS but air strikes can slow their progress, and with air cover PERHAPS the Iraqi Army can regroup sufficiently to counterattack.

The loss of Syria, because we didn’t react quickly enough, is coming back to haunt us. Failing to react quickly in many areas is coming back to haunt us.

Incompetence, and incompetence compounded.

The president is enjoying his perks — golf, vacations, flights…lots of flights. He is disengaged.

No one is minding the store!


Business Disruption is Good

The Voice of San Diego has an interesting map from Uber showing the usual routes taken by Uber, the “ride sharing” company. The author of the piece tries to make the point that Uber is only used by the young and affluent, as if it is some class distinction.


Any “disruptive” service is more likely adapted by young and or affluent, but it is interesting to me that there is now Uber in Temecula. (I research alternatives for my community “Aging in Place” organization.)

Today Uber (based in San Francisco) announced it is in 100 cities in 35 countries. LyFt — another San Fran competitor, also in San Diego — is in more than 30 cities, and still another, SideCar is in third and moving up.

Options are always good. Competition benefits the user, but not the cab companies. Uber differentiates itself by being app oriented — you call through your cellphone, you see by map how far the driver is from your site, you get a photo of the driver — and when the ride is over you pay and tip through the app, and rate the driver and car. (He also rates YOU!)

Uber releases anyone who cannot maintain 4.5 on a 5.0 scale.

I love business disruption. Cab companies have had the monopoly far too long, and I was in San Diego back when the Mayor lost his job by what was called the Yellow Cab Scandal. Cities limit the number of medallions they are willing to approve, and cities are badly served by the cab company influence. In San Francisco there is one cab for every 550 residents, but in Milwaukee it is one per 1,800.

Uber has four levels of service: UberX is the economy ride; UberBlack is a four-door sedan; UberSUVis self descriptive, as is UberLuxury. Uber is now establishing a package delivery service.

Courts, in places like St.Louis and Houston are looking into the disruption, as cities and cab companies lose taxi revenue and customers, but in the end technology will win. It always does, but it is called disruption for a reason — and in Paris, France the cab drivers physically attacked Uber cars leaving the airport.



In spite of my all-too-long ago Naval reputation, I am not by nature a mean person, but I admit to a fair share of Schadenfreude. Witness my contention that in the modern age of transportation, anyone can live anywhere else on the US Mainland in five hours.
That is an appropriate observation as the East Coast suffers under feet of Global Warming, while I enjoy 82 degree days in the middle of February.
That is my choice. I left Texas at 17 after a year at Trinity University as a Math major, and Enlisted in the Navy. I took a long train ride to San Diego Boot Camp, and while I only pulled a couple of liberties before joining my first ship in Korea, it was pretty obvious that San Diego and my hometown of San Antonio had little in common, weather wise.
Upon graduating from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland a few years later, it was obvious to me that just as San Antonio had been to hot, and Annapolis too cold, San Diego was “Just Right.”
I spent ALMOST my entire Naval career (Submarines) in San Diego — after telling my Detailer that if he wanted me out of San Diego he would have to send three large men, and he was going to lose two of them.
The problems in the middle of the country, and on the East Coast, while recently unusual are within historical “norms” even though near the outside range. Of course those in Southern California and Hawaii are happy that we are not even more crowded, still we wonder “Why.”
I remember that when I visited Adak, Alaska, that some men re-enlisted to remain there because they lived hunting and fishing. Obviously, the human mind can find reasons to accept, even love, anywhere. (Adak has the Adak National Forest — a clumping of about 10 trees planted in WWII. Those trees were five feet tall when planted — and are five feet tall today!)
I see people living Cheek to jowl in NYC, and in remote ranches in Wyoming, so intellectually I understand that there is a wide range of comfort levels. I even had a rather close family member sent to live with the family of a Musher who raised sled dogs in the wilderness of Alaska — complete with a frozen out-house, and no hot water.  (The Laundromat in a nearby town had showers for those who came in to do their laundry.)
Normally, I can sit out on my lanai, and watch the Golfers and my Koi for 10 months a year. This year it is 12 months, and I do so hearing of pile-ups on Eastern freeways caused from snow.
But everyone lives where they want to live.

A $200 Million Homeless Shelter


Let me admit that I have railed against public libraries in affluent communities, and about 20 years ago I opposed a new library in Rancho Bernardo, one of San Diego’s Golden Ghettos.
I was immediately verbally attacked back in the day by the local Friends of the Library, when all I said 20 years ago in a column that re-run in the San Diego Union, was that in view of technology, libraries would have to change.
As I have subsequently remarked that if you are ever lonely, just write a column suggesting that libraries are not pluperfect, and your phone will ring off thee hook and your mailbox will be full!
As a result of my column, I was asked to speak to a class of Librarians meeting, appropriately, at a library!
I was gobsmacked when San Diego proposed, and then built a new, $200 million downtown library. The old downtown library held many of the downtown homeless, and, according to a Channel 10 documentary just released, the homeless — and sex perverts — have found the new library as well.
Duh! I don’t understand — my Great Grandson’s new High School doesn’t have a library — at least not one with those quaint things called “books.’
Now, the City Hall is a public building and it has dark corners and public restrooms in which the homeless can groom — but they don’t.
And the same SHOULD hold for the downtown library.

Minus 40 Degrees in Minneapolis is just FINE With Me!

While looking at the -40degree weather in Minneapolis just remember that is what drives San Diego real estate. As a San Diego Real Estate Broker – I revel in their discomfort.

“Schadenfreude” is the German word loaned to English that encompasses the delight one has from the suffering of others – and I do a bit of that every Winter. I have a beautiful Lexus convertible and almost every year on Christmas I take a photo of top-down, shirt-sleeve enjoyment to make my cold-weather friends jealous.

Of course, everyone lives EXACTLY where they want to live. We have thousands of flights daily in the US – you can be wherever you want in just hours. After leaving Texas when I was 17, joining the Navy and being assigned to San Diego Bootcamp. It was obvious where I wanted to be, and I have been here since graduating from Annapolis. Momma didn’t raise no fool!

The inexorable movement to San Diego has been going on for decades.

That has been the case since Harry Summers designed, and built Rancho Bernardo (RB) — a community at that time was outside of San Diego’s borders where Harry could build without much interference — and then he marketed almost exclusively in Minneapolis.

The lure of warmth appealed to those shoveling snow, and they came. Then their friends came, and the train has continued as RB residents continued to tell their friends still shoveling snow.

Not all settled in RB, but those with money came to Southern California or Hawaii, and those who could not afford those places went to Arizona or Florida.

Those who flee the snow drive our market, freeing up those who have lived here longer and built up equity to move up. Minneapolis is just the key catalyst for our growth, and while Minneapolis is just a metaphor for all of deep snow company, actually that community is the driving force.

Temperatures in the -40 range in the upper Mid-West is just fine for us in real estate. Here in San Diego County, our weather is variable right now — yesterday I had the top down, and will again tomorrow — but today it may not reach 70.

Quick Hits

I broke down and upgraded my iPhone 4S to a 5S, and now must quickly upgrade my Generation Three iPad to the new iPad Air because both my phone and tablet should at least have the same connectors!

It would really be confusing, and annoying not to have the right USB cable and connector at the right place.

On the subject of technology, I HATE the idea of cell phone use on airplanes for phone use, but applaud the use for music through earphones. I can’t even imagine how annoying it must be to have to listen to teenagers discussing their lives in the seat next to me for five hours, San Diego to Honolulu!The TV talking heads recommend “Noise Canceling Headphones” — what they apparently do not know is that those only cancel noise with a continuous frequency — like airplane engine noise — but not talking or music.

Now, you who read this from cold company may wonder why anyone living in San Diego would fly to Honolulu, and that’s a good question. It’s call Marginal Utility — Honolulu is marginally warmer.

Today, I showed one of my real estate listings to a couple who just flew in from Chicago, where it was 10 degrees. Even though  is “cold and rainy” by San Diego standards, compared to Chicago…

Everything is relative.


In any other news cycle, the taxpayer loss of $139 million in the Fiscar car collapse, a la Solyndra, would be good news, but this Democrat power grab, the collapse of Obamacare, NSA spy revelations, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the illegal use of the IRS, …and does ANYONE remember the name James Rosen…

Heck, even a lousy $$139 million doesn’t make Honorable Mention!

The nation is suffering Scandal Fatigue…for good reason.


One wonders if anyone has seen the videos of Obama, Biden, Reid (“it would be the darkest day of the Senate”), and Pelosi saying the the 60 vote rule should never be changed — when the Republicans had control of the Senate.

I understand why the Republicans are not replaying those videos — when the Democrats are destroying their Party with Obamacare, why get in their way with a distraction to that overwhelmingly disastrous policy. Democrats are eating their seed corn, which is why Reid, Obama, Pelosi, Hillary, Biden, et al have ALWAYS opposed the nuclear option on filibusters.

Like the General Motors executives who gave in to unions for years to gain immediate peace from strikes, passing the problem to future executives with the hope the debt comes due when the peace-seeking executives have retired, the current Democrats have gained immediate advantage at the cost of Democrats in future Congresses.

Reid, Obama, Pelosi, Hillary and Biden all recognized this — and forcibly expressed it, previously. This is more likely a ploy to change the subject from Obamacare because the Democrats will plead for return to filibuster rules in the next Congress — and Republicans will probably relent because it is the right thing to do.

I wouldn’t but they will.

The ONLY state where “Young Invincibles” are paying their way of the Medicare sign ups is Connecticut. If this trend continues into the new year, and there is nothing on the horizon to change it that is visible, the Democrats have a mess.

My own son’s premium just went from $400 to $916, with a higher deductible.

Winning enemies, and certainly influencing people.