• Scam Diego alerts

Prices of downtown San Diego condos are plummeting even as more product gets ready to come on line, says an excellent story in the Feb. 9 issue of the Arizona Republic. The story urges Zonies to consider getting in at low prices (although current prices may well go much lower.) According to the article, there are 1,000 condos for sale in the 125-block downtown area, up from 700 a year ago. Foreclosures abound. Although construction has dropped sharply, and some condos are being converted to other uses, there are still 1,300 coming on line in two years. Some prices are down a good deal more than 30 percent. One condo two blocks from the ballpark is listed at $189,900, down from $289,900 at the end of September. One penthouse that sold for $2.1 million in 2004 is now on the market for $1.2 million. Understandably, the article doesn't touch on major problems for San Diego: 1. the Padres promised to build hotels whose transient occupancy taxes would pay down the ballpark debt. The Padres reneged and sold the land at a fat profit to condo builders, helping to create the vast overbuilding; 2 people walking in the ballpark district realize there are few people living there. The condos are owned by speculators, Zonies, Mexicans, Europeans, and Asians who are in San Diego for a short period during the year, and don't spend money at retail, thus not creating sales tax revenue. They also don't contribute to the local economy in other ways.

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Comments

Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 12:31 p.m.

Goodness..!!

Does this mean that all those supposed revenues and benefits from downtown development "spurred" by the "generosity" of John Moores and the Padres have actually put the city at risk of a even more severe revenue collapse?

My, oh my.

So McGrory and Gwinn's machinations have backfired, dooming us to a spiral of debt?

Golly,

The UT cheerleaders still, somehow, hope we'll get out of this?

Jeepers!

Our "leaders" and media cheerleaders still mouth the words of optimism about our glorious future?

Oh, heck...

And we paid them how much to do this to us?

*#%$!!!

Well, at least there's the silver lining that affordable living will return to downtown.

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic today, but I don't see much good coming for San Diego any time soon. At least not unless we have some major, drastic changes.

(yet another sdblogger)

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 1:05 p.m.

Response to post #1: Moores originally promised to build hotels, retailing establishments, office buildings, etc. That's what the people voted for in November of 1998. At the last minute, the council let him off the hook, and he sold ballpark district land to condo developers for enormous profits. Then the council's action was challenged in court, and the city said that if it didn't get a decision in its favor in a month, the team would leave. Of course, in a disgraceful judicial action, the city and Padres got their way. The result is the mess San Diego now has downtown. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 1:40 p.m.

My timing is terrible...I have to wait until I'm 55 to transfer my Prop 13 taxbase into one of those sparkling condos...That's 3.5 more years. Don do you think I have a chance of getting a bargin in few more years?

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 2:52 p.m.

Who wants to live downtown? It did not grow around an infrastructure like other, older large cities. It just popped up on speculation that people would buy - before the other guys got done building -. Bosa from Vancouver made a killing. It's so expensive to live and stay downtown. Where are the small eateries? Small grocers? Everything is a Gas lamp restaurant, chain or something expensive with prices geared toward conventioneers and tourists. There are no schools for married couples children. There really are few open spaces. The parking is terrible and expensive. People are already complaining about the train and trolley noise. The homeless situation has been made worse by the development that made them take to the streets when the low cost hotel/apartments were torn down. So now we have many more homeless or people living 8 to an apartment while so-called luxury condos sit empty. I home people watching the Chargers and their quest for a new stadium are watching this, because the dirty little secret is the ball park in-and-of-itself are primarily responsible for this mess. Maybe that's why the Chargers are shopping their show somewhere else, because San Diego can't afford another mess like Moores created with the Padres.

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:13 p.m.

Not to worry. Moores is going to make up for reneging on the ballpark agreement by taking over all the area around the airport and developing that in the best interest of San Diegans everywhere. I believe him this time, I really do. just because his wife finally discovered he was growing horns after 40+ years is no reason for us to think he doesn't have our best interests at heart.

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:20 p.m.

Response to post #3: In three and a half years, these condos may well be even cheaper than they are today. I fear this economy -- particularly the housing end -- is going to be sick for some time, despite the number of money the Fed will print and the federal government will pour into the economy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:26 p.m.

Response to post #4: The problems you cite may be one reason why such a large percentage of those condo owners are out-of-towners who spend little time in San Diego. You can put up with these woes if you're only in San Diego for a couple of weeks a year. Another factor is that the infrastructure downtown is ancient. Some water and sewer pipes are more than 100 years old. I understand they have problems delivering water to higher floors of the high rises. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:30 p.m.

Mortgage interest can go to 0% and it still will not help make homes affordable. When my parents bought their home in San Diego in the 70's, they paid $39,000 with a household income of $20,000. They tell me the multiplier was usually two and a half times income-to-mortgage ratio. Now obviously wages have gone up, but not 20X like the homes. Given a similar scenario today, my parents would be earning $400,000 to buy their $790,000 home. But their jobs today, one of which is basically gone offshore, would pay perhaps $80,000 combined income.

I think everyone is inheriting money from their parents or are spening more than 70% of their income on housing.

Where are people getting the money to live here, drive fancy gas guzzlers, eat out, travel, and so on? I can hardly pay my rent and I have a masters degree.

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:31 p.m.

Response to post #5: Yes, I understand that through Steve Peace, Moores is making sure the airport expansion is a mess. He has big plans there. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:33 p.m.

I know one thing, I doubt if I'll be able to retire. It's hard to save moeny for retirement AND a $100,000 down payment.

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:36 p.m.

Response to post #8: Yes, the old rules of thumb have been thrown away. I can remember putting more than 30 percent down on a house. Today's mortgage woes -- and they are not just subprime -- are related to excessive consumer debt. It is beginning to unravel. People should use their rebate checks to pay down their loans. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 12, 2008 @ 6:42 p.m.

Response to DON on #12 I'm sending mine to the City Council - it'll be spent before it gets there... Best.

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Anonymous Feb. 12, 2008 @ 7:32 p.m.

If the city council wants to be paid like other cities they need to bring us better government like other cities. Those crazy raises they want should go up for a vote because I don't think the majority of their constituents agree they're deserving of anythingthing like they're proposing. Whatever happened to public service? Half of them are already wealthy and they want to turn their elected positions into high paying careers with pensions after 5 years of service? No wonder this city is heading for bankruptcy.

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Don Bauder Feb. 12, 2008 @ 9:12 p.m.

Response to post #12: If you give your rebate to city council, it will be passed on to some corporate welfare mendicant, probably a developer, in no time. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 12, 2008 @ 9:15 p.m.

Response to post #13: Most of the city council members are bad. The mayor and his entourage are worse. It's a dilemma, isn't it? Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2008 @ 12:56 p.m.

Response to post #15: All the more reason why this year, of all years, we have to finally clean house in San Diego. Best, (yet another sdblogger)

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2008 @ 3:05 p.m.

Response to post #16: The fact that Scott Peters is considering a run for city attorney should alert San Diegans that the muck can hardly get deeper. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 16, 2008 @ 3:39 p.m.

Re: #17:

Well, muckraking is your job, Don.

I'm often tomato throwing and pontificating, and can't honestly say I know all the answers to our various problems in San Diego. Still...

I know enough to know we need change this year, and it's important enough to get serious about it. I'm far from alone.

Sometimes it helps to have a symbol for these kinds of movements.

The old broom symbol, while encouraging a "clean sweep", is dated.

What is our symbol?

  • Is it a blonde haired surfer chick riding a wave of reform?

  • Maybe a burly vaquero whose coarse but upright ways will knock some heads together?

  • Perhaps a reckless troop of troubadours and rabble-rousers blowing whistles and making a spectacle?

  • Or is it really the over-hassled and under-paid college educated mom who's grown very skeptical of what's going on who's willing to say no to the status quo?

It's fun and easy to jest at the expense of the political prostitutes and bufoons who infest us. I certainly enjoy doing it and won't stop.

Nevertheless, it's not enough to just lob killer tomatoes at the likes of highly paid Moores pawn Steve Peace, now is it? He deserves much more than mere ridicule, fun as it can be.

After all, because these hilarious fellows got behind closed doors and ripped us off, other things like, oh...fire protection got neglected.

It means real people, our neighbors and friends, died because of these jokers and their cute tricks. That's not a bit funny.

We have a responsibility to propose something different and much better than the oligarch dominated future envisioned for us. There's a time to have fun, and a time to be serious too.

  • What is it we really want San Diego?

  • How will we pay for it?

  • Who do we trust to deliver this, on time, where it's needed, on budget?

  • Most important, what are we willing to contribute.

Shouldn't we have voluntary training for how to protect your suburban house from falling embers when sheltering in place?

If we face a terrorist threat, where is the first aid training we should be offering all citizens?

Since the budget is too complicated for any one council member to understand, why not open it up to public comment. After all, with enough eyes, every error can be found.

Maybe we should start a wiki and start to build this vision together...Reader, could you install WikiMedia?

I think it's time to open up our own public institutions, these alleged public servants and their policies both, to just as much public commentary and dialogue as poor old Don Bauder manages to handle.

(yet another sdblogger)

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2008 @ 6:14 p.m.

Response to post #18: Alas, the big problem, as you outline, is how to pay for it. With the millions owed the pension system, how does the City repair the rotting infrastructure and avoid privatizing treasures such as Balboa Park? It's something to ponder. Best, Don Bauder

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