Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homeless and the Economy

(Photo Courtesy of Daily Pilot)

PAUL ANDERSON'S HOMELESS STORIES
Recently Daily Pilot City Editor Paul Anderson did a fascinating two-part piece in which he recounted his night among some of the homeless folks who live in Costa Mesa. You can read those articles HERE and HERE. It's hard not to squirm as your read his stories.

THE FACES OF COSTA MESA HOMELESSNESS

Yesterday a friend forwarded this link to me from the New York Times online. Take two minutes and nine seconds and view this video. It's part of an article published on 3/10/09 on the homeless in Costa Mesa. You can read the entire article HERE. This one puts faces on the current economic situation here locally.

RITZ C
AMERA CLOSING
While rea
ding the Orange County Register online last night an article about Ritz Camera planning to close 400 stores nationwide caught my eye. It's only one of many outfits lately that have decided to file for bankruptcy. You can read the article HERE if you wish.

LIST OF LINKS

I read the account of the planned closure of several stores and eventually made my way to the bottom of the article ,where I found a list of links that would take me to other similar stories. I've copied and pasted that list here:

COMPRESSED DISTRESS
If you wish to read about any of the stories linked above, simply just click on the title - these links are "hot". I suspect your reaction may have been similar to mine as I read down this list. Seeing those recent headlines compressed into such a small space was a punch in the gut. Yes, I know things are tough all over these days, but just reading that list of businesses in distress really drives home that point.

HOPING FOR WISDOM - SEEING NONE

I find myself hoping, with tightly crossed fingers, that our trainee president actually has a plan - that he's not in so far over his head that he's going to destroy the economic and social structure of this country within a few months. Reading the news accounts of what's happening in our country since he took office makes me very, very nervous. The upward blip from the Dow Jones Industrial Averages earlier this week didn't really do much to encourage me - or Wall Street, for that matter.

LOOKING FOR A PEP TALK

If you read of any good news on the economy please feel free to let me know. There's an email link on my profile, or you can post a comment with the information. I really need a pep talk! This is a really cute picture - one I've enjoyed for many years. However, today for me and many others it's like looking in a mirror. All we can do is "hang in there"... and hope...

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7 Comments:

Anonymous www.jimfisler.com said...

Geoff,No pep talk to deliver, just more bad omens. I just came home from spending the day conducting some business at a major upscale hotel in Del Mar. The parking lot was 90% or more empty. The security guard was not working, was sent home since nothing to do. The banquet manager was setting some tables for a small gathering for this evening. Usually his staff handles this but they have been cut to one day of work per week. The housekeeping manager was cleaning rooms since she had to let go some of her staff. The hotel manager is now the maintenance manager also since they had to let the maintenance manager go. Only five people in the whole restaurant so all but one waitress was sent home. It was eerie in there. And of course it just dominoes to the rest of the economy. When real estate starting going south many people seemed to take joy that those in my profession were starting to hurt financially. I guess they did not think of the effect on car sales, furniture sales, restaurant sales, gym memberships, hotel conferences/trade shows,the stock market etc. Government work seems to still be holding on but for how long, especially with their pay/benefits.Let's hope we can all pull through.

3/12/2009 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Vice Chair Jim, (See, I know your title)

No morale boost there, for sure. I'm not one of those who took joy in the realtor's business tanking. We have many friends who support home building and sales. Sadly, I fear we're still a long way from the bottom. No money for builders to borrow to develop projects. No money for buyers to borrow to purchase. Glut of foreclosed and other distressed homes on the market also depresses new home building. Thanks for participating.. you're always welcome.

3/12/2009 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

This is the best news I can give you and it is all anecdotal.

First, a few people I know are buying houses (first time buyers, not speculators) because of the bargains out there and low interest rates. So at least I consider that encouraging news.

Second, just like trees, businesses need pruning and thinning out. I would hope that even though we are suffering a decline in current business and job prospects, that the healthiest and most innovative will work through this and come out all the more robust on the other side.

3/13/2009 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce,
Thanks. More home sales to folks who can actually afford them is a good sign. I think Jim Fisler will agree with that, too.

Thinning the herd, business-wise, is a good idea. Unfortunately, those who end up "thinned" still have to find work. Maybe some of those business owners and workers can help plant the landscaping along the 405 - that part of Obama's stimulus package that is going to make it to Costa Mesa.

3/13/2009 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Nick Moss said...

It is distressingly amusing to recognize that the politicians who claim to care so deeply about the poor are the same who supported (and continue to support) an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (Hotel Tax) here in Costa Mesa. There are a few conclusions we may come to in explaining this contradiction. They have either not cared to study the economic consequences of their scheme, are too incompetent to do so, or don’t actually care about the poor but claim to be their advocate to create a caring impression of themselves in the minds of voters. Consider the combination of their logical ineptitude with their religious belief that if the government could just generate more revenue (STEAL more from the taxpayer), politicians would be able to create some kind of perfect utopia, it gives us much insight into their thinking and character.

-good post Geoff and apologies as you navigate my run-on sentences.

3/13/2009 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Nick,

Are you suggesting that we provide a break to the poor who rent rooms at stellar local hoteliers such as the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, the Ana Mesa Inn, the Ali Baba Motel, the Tern Inn and the Sea Lark Motor Hotel?

What is it that they all have in common? That's right! Sex offenders!

(See daily pilot article: http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2006/08/14/publicsafety/dpt-sexoffender14.txt )

Not to mention rumors of gang and drug activity.

I personally think we don't really need to financially underwrite such housing. Still, I won’t bulldoze them as Millard might suggest (draining the swamp is what I think he calls it).

On the other hand, what about all of the places I travel to as a small business that have far higher TOT's? I am financially supporting their communities and yet I don't expect the same when their small businesses travel here?

Mansoor and Righeimer tell me that just because someone else has a high tax is no reason for us to. Granted, I am willing to buy that.

I don't buy that we are financially supporting innumerable out of town business and visitors at the expense of services to our community's poor, senior citizens and children.

3/14/2009 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Nick Moss said...

Bruce,

I don’t believe I suggested providing anyone “a break.” I am suggesting that raising taxes hurts everybody.

Raising taxes will not solve any problem with sex offenders or gang activity, but absolutely will make it harder for those living in hotel rooms that are barely able to clothe and feed themselves and their families.

I don’t believe the city should be underwriting any housing, requiring affordable units as a stipulation of any new development, or controlling any rent.

We are not supporting innumerable out of town businesses, they are supporting us with their tax money. Your choice of wording suggests that we are paying them to stay in Costa Mesa when in fact they are paying taxes to do business here.

A few dollars per room does make a difference, especially when companies or a large group is looking at where to book multiple rooms for a conference or business meeting. I have participated in several events held in Costa Mesa with my industry, and hotel cost IS a factor. With JWA, South Coast Plaza, multiple freeways, and quite a few entertainment destinations we should do our best to attract business.

And I do agree that just because other cities pick the pockets of their visitors and poor doesn’t mean we should.

3/15/2009 09:31:00 PM  

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