Tag Archives: Measure A

Today’s forecast: increase in rental units in Alameda…

Oh yay.  (Not.)

San Francisco Bay area home prices slid 4.7 percent in February 2011 from February 2010.

Distressed sales accounted for half of all transactions.  Note: discounted prices of foreclosures and distressed properties reduce home prices across the board.  Duh.

Ummm, let’s see:

Negative price pressure +  falling sales + tight credit markets = very few traditional home buyers.

Viola!  In February 2011, the SF Bay Area saw:

– 31% of homes sales purchased with cash (yep, no mortgages)

– 23% of homes sales were purchased by absentee buyers

What do we call those types of buyers?  Oh, right: investors.  You know, those people that don’t actually live in the properties they buy. They rent them.  … Continue reading

Homes sales spiraling downward…

Homes sales volume for Alameda County dropped 22.1% for February as compared to January 2011. And that my friends is 18.4% lower than a year ago (you know, the year people–as recently as say, March 8th—believed was worse than this year?).

All Bay Area counties, except San Francisco, are healthier than Alameda.


By comparison

Since January ’11:  healthier cities and counties are showing declines in the single digit percentages, you know, under 10%. The decline of our home sales volume is double or triple over that of other counties. Except for Contra Costa County whose decline is only 2.8% ; that means Alameda County’s decline is 700% greater than theirs (!).

Since January ’10: healthier cities and counties are showing single digit decreases with a few—Marin and Contra Costs–showing increases since last year.


Some Realtors say they expect the home sale volume to reverse in May and April as they claim they themselves are seeing more buyers signing offers–and you may believe them.  If so, you probably voted for Measure A.  And don’t be fooled with stories of great sale/list-price ratios: the only homes selling well are the absolutely great looking ones. Those few and exciting small bidding wars [$10K over asking] are not the norm. Houses either sell right away, like that, or sit on the market for over a year.  Later this year, there will be a small spike in sales of the nicest-only-homes in the nicest of neighborhoods when the Facebook and Zynga IPOs create local gazillionaires. But I digress…

February 28, 2011, the Pending Homes Sales Index declined 2.8%, dropping lower than December 2010, and 1.5% lower than the prior year. That means actual home sales (volume) will be down for April and May 2011. What’s that? Oh, the opposite of what some Realtors are saying they have on their books now.

The trends are downward. All the indicators are pushing the average American family  harder and harder just to make it through the day. And Alameda? Alameda just instituted the most expensive school parcel tax in the state of California, and not just the most expensive parcel tax, but a parcel tax that rewards (thereby promoting) big business while punishing (thereby discouraging) small businesses (retail and real estate) and single-family homes.


I’m just sayin’.

Shrovetide, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras

Is that why nothing is making sense today?

Let’s see….

1. The City of Alameda now fines you $25 if you don’t have a current sticker on your license plate and are parked on a city street; the ticket calls it “Illegal Parking”. No more courtesy Fix It tickets.  HUH?

2. I’ve been trying for 2 weeks now to look into my vehicle registration online. But the DMV’s website says my license number and my VIN number don’t match (yes, they do), and won’t let me use their system. …   Continue reading

The “Hard Times” Generation

60 Minutes coined the phrase last night for the children of today. Today’s children will be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.

That’s some serious characterization of how hard life has gotten for so many…so what the f-bomb do the Yay-on-A folks think is going to happen to our city under their exorbitant tax?!

I’ll tell you: people won’t be able to afford this additional increase. There will be more Free Lunch kids. The housing market will stall even further as housing sales fall, rents increase, and renters find cheaper cities to live in. Independent businesses will be hard pressed to survive as their costs of doing business becomes impossible; many will fail, other’s won’t even bother opening up shop in Alameda. Think: EMPTY storefronts, houses, apartments.

Measure A is one messed up proposal. It intends to be both:

A. as socially-progressive (leftwing) as Berkeley and

B. as conservative (rightwing) as Texas


1. having the highest school parcel tax in the SF Bay Area (relative to Median Family Income) and

2. placing that exorbitant tax burden squarely on the middle and lower classes.

At a time when the middle and lower classes and small businesses can ill afford any additional increases. The following extremely challenging conditions we are ones we are faced with now and this fall. They are not optional (while Measure A is 100% optional [vote NO]):

-Cost of Gas: 25+ increase

-Cost of Food: 10% increase

-Health insurance premiums are rising 20% or more (over 40% for some)

-Unemployment is at 9 percent, job creation is S-L-O-W

-Estimated poverty rate for children in this country: 25%.

-Consumer Wages, Spending and Core Index – everyone in the US is pulling back on discretionary spending (non-essential spending)

-The Pending Homes Sales index dropped = a stalled housing market in the spring (real estate’s best season)

-1 million new foreclosures expected in the US this fall on top of the millions we’ve already seen

**FACTS** (remember those?) … Continue reading

Get Real v2

Is this just another Exercise in Egoism for those in positions of authority?

What is it with this city?  Do they really think we’re that stupid?

Today I’m talking specifically about Ronald Cowan and his personal, open letter that he mailed to every Alameda resident (I’m assuming, because I got one) telling them to vote yes on Measure A.

“Dear Alameda Voter:”  his letter begins. Just TrustMee, and blindly follow my lead because I’m an important person and I know best.  Seriously?

Mr. Cowan offers no facts, no statistics. Just TrustMees ’cause I’m a GOB.

I found Mr. Cowan’s letter so offensive. Didn’t you?

If you’re going to waste my time (and your money), a SWOT analysis would be nice.  Go ahead, we can take it.  Really. We have brains and minds and we think for ourselves.

So I cannot for the life of me figure out why …   Continue reading

Time to get real about Measure A.

Many people–in their Letters and Op-Eds in the local papers–fear our city will fail if Measure A does not pass.  Ladies and Gentlemen: it is the exact opposite. The exact opposite.

Consider the added and significant deleterious effect a passed Measure A will have on us individually, on our businesses, and our overall local economy this fall when we are faced with other conditions that we cannot control. What I mean is, it’s already going to get bad later this year due to circumstances not under our control. We do have control over whether we pass Measure A or not, we do have the option for self-determination about what we want for our future.  And here, the magical thinking promulgated by the pro-Measure A folks is astounding.  What will the real impacts of Measure A be on our city given all other known conditions we will be facing this fall?

If you haven’t looked up the exact dollar amount you will be paying, you really really should; go here and download an Excel file that contains every parcel number and the Measure A annual tax amount.  To figure out your total 2011 special parcel taxes, remember to add $298 to your total amount in this file; that $298 is the annual AHD (Alameda Healthcare District) flat parcel tax levied each year.  When you look at the total per year, it’s stiff. When you look at the totals for a decade (they never seem to sunset), it’s shocking. … Continue reading