Junk Vs. Junk

This week’s starving-artist feature (“Artists Have to Eat,” Cover Story, March 31) asks humanity’s oldest question, “Should artists be able to live off their art?” The humane answer is, yes, they should, which in turn asks the crucial question, “Why don’t they?” In the late-20th and early-21st Centuries in Southern California, most art patrons don’t want the art produced, and they affirm that lack of interest by not buying much art.

To follow that back another step or two, artists have to ask themselves what they’re doing wrong that puts patrons off from making an art purchase or buying a ticket. For this patron and consumer of art, the answer is low quality. There’s a lot of junk on the market, vying against a lot of other junk. I turn away from it.

There’s no perfect rule in art, but I see artists who do live off their art, producing art that patrons want to buy. The failures are those with the attitude that they alone know what good art looks like, and they alone produce it. It might always have been thus, so large is the human ego.

Jim Varnadore
City Heights

Oh, Please

How can anyone claim they own the color pink (“Pink Stink,” “SD on the QT,” March 31)? No one can own the exclusive right to the name of a color.

The Walk for Women’s Cancer uses the color pink. Are they supposed to change it to another color? People say they are “in the pink” when things are going well. How ridiculous can you get?

Probably just an excuse for attention.

Tired of Protests
San Diego

“SD on the QT” is the Reader’s “almost factual news” feature. — Editor

Good To Let Go

You are a great writer (“Just a Place,” “Diary of a Diva,” March 31). I see people in “short sale” and foreclosures every day. The biggest accomplishment they’ve made is letting go of the materialistic things. (Yes, even a home is a material thing.) Humbling.

Marianna Rivas-Moran
via Facebook

Too Many Houses

Your column made me cry (“Just a Place,” “Diary of a Diva,” March 31). My husband and I have been struggling with this exact decision. I loved my house the minute I saw it — we had purchased a house just a year earlier, and when I saw this place, I had to have it. We bought this house before we even sold the old one!! (The days of easy loans.) But even though we can afford the mortgage, it’s just becoming a drag. The upkeep alone is ridiculous! When we crunch the numbers, it makes so much sense to sell it, but I am still emotionally attached. Thanks for reminding me that home is where your heart is.

Lorie Grant
via Facebook

Love’s Best

Your piece “Just a Place” (“Diary of a Diva,” March 31) was beautifully written. Just goes to show that there is nothing like the love of a good man!

Kevin DeFreitas
via Facebook

Lessons Learned

Don Bauder’s March 31 article “Housing Turnaround?” (“City Lights”) was interesting if for no other reason than the divergent opinions he found from different economy “experts.” Maybe I can feel better that the housing market here has long puzzled me.

I moved to San Diego in 1970 and bought a home in 1971. That house cost about twice my annual income. Then with the market changes that decade, values roughly tripled. But average income didn’t triple, and I wondered how so many families could afford to buy at those inflated prices. I finally had two realizations: many more wives entered the workplace during the ’70s, thus increasing household income, and people were buying and then selling quickly, leveraging their profits.

So on to the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, and aside from a couple of downturns, home values continued to climb significantly. The result was that San Diego became one of the least affordable housing markets in the country, based on the affordability index (median housing cost divided by median household income). How were individuals and families affording to buy homes that cost five or six (or more) times their annual income? By around 2006 we got some answers. Many folks believed that price increases had no ceiling, so there was no problem going further and further into debt to buy. And the home mortgage business was operating with questionable practices — requiring lower and lower down payments and failing to verify buyers’ incomes. What a change from my first purchase in 1971 that required 20 percent down (and that only because I had good credit) and detailed income verification.

So today I could feel some regret that I didn’t sell five years ago (20/20 hindsight!), at the peak of the market. But, in fact, I’m glad to see this adjustment to more normalized market values. I just hope now we’ve learned our lesson and do not again expect to get rich quickly with 10 percent or more annual market increases.

Tim
San Diego

Mixed Media

I believe that Mr. Nascimento shouldn’t complain too much because his ads in Craigslist are flagged down by malicious competitors who employ dirty tricks and Craigslist’s management doesn’t seem willing to do something about it (“Hey, Craig, Where Did My Ad Go?” “City Lights,” March 31).

Any sound business plan requires investing some of the revenue in advertising in order to entice new customers. Craigslist is good to supplement your paid advertising but cannot honestly be relied upon because of its unreliability and exposure to malicious flagging by other parties. Buying some space or placing classified ads in other media (such as ComputorEdge or the Reader itself) could be a wise way of getting potential customers interested in Mr. Nascimento’s services without spending a fortune.

If Craigslist also offers paid advertisement, as the article says, then Mr. Nascimento should just open his wallet and let his business graduate from free-but-unreliable postings to paid and reliable ones. That’s a way to make it grow too.

Arturo Camillacci
via email

Doggone Shame

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