As Gorman observed, he feels like we packed more entertainment content into the paper this week than a typical issue of Variety.
So I guess we should punch it up a little bit here.
From my pea brain, a few articles I thought worth mentioning and a few general observations.
1.) “Airbnb Moves In” from the April 29 issue of the New Yorker. The article talks about the impact Airbnb has had on the city of Barcelona. A local activist is quoted as saying, “A decade ago, talking about tourism as the source of problems was just perceived as crazy … It was the official truth that tourism was a good thing and nobody challenged it.”
But by 2017, 60% of Barcelona residents felt Barcelona had reached or exceeded its capacity to host tourists. This number was up from 35% in 2014.
Airbnb means that permanent housing supply goes down and rents go up. Good for owners. Not so good for the rank-and-file.
The article suggests that Airbnb is pretty helpful to those places which may not be on the map yet – the up-and-coming destinations. But that there’s a gentrification and an oversaturation which occurs in the more prime, well-known destinations.
2.) “Rising Rents Give Rise to New Lenders” from the May 14 issue of the Wall Street Journal.
So check this out. Young people, in order to pursue their dreams in cities like L.A. and San Francisco, borrow money from high-interest lenders to cover mortgages they can’t otherwise afford.
One company, “offers loans up to $16,000 that carry no interest for the first six months and an annual interest rate of 15% to 17% on average after that.”
A 2017 survey showed … 16% would pay rent by credit card if their landlords would agree.
So as I understand it, after we encourage young people to load up on student debt, we extend the cycle by offering to load them up with post-student debt. It’s madness.
3.) I spoke to a few folks regarding Rodger Guffey, who died last week.
From Tom Cage: Your kids are a reflection of you. His daughter is a wonderful person, smart, well-centered, community-minded.”
From Sam Walker: “Rodger was never stuck for an answer, and never shy about offering his opinion.” And, “We all have friends where we can’t explain why we’re friends. We don’t agree with them on anything, and yet, you’re in the same town, in the same business, so you know each other for fifty years. You’re co-conspirators in a way. We competed fiercely [in the restaurant business] but there was always a civility. Somebody needed something, you helped ‘em out.” And “Rodger never sold anything. His was worth gold. Yours was worth s&*t.”
From Eric Wasserman: “He was never too busy not to lend a hand, and never too shy to offer his opinion.”
From Matthew Lehman: “He was gruff (Gruffey?), but I liked him. He said it like it was.”
4.) While it is difficult to near-impossible to stay awake during a County Strategic Planning discussion, something that Information Technology Director Nate Greenberg said a few weeks back has stuck with me.
Greenberg observed that 95% of department head’s jobs and budgets are set in stone via state mandate.
So why spend an inordinate amount of time creating a whole bunch of slick looking graphs and charts and waxing philosophic about how strategic you’re gonna be, when realistically, each department head might have one opportunity to pursue a wish list objective.
Honestly, this is how I would have done it. Instead of throwing a $35,000 raise at Greenberg under some pretext that he’s taking on “extra” work with this strategic planning initiative – when all he’s really helping you do is gain a fuller appreciation of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” – Supes should have interviewed each department head and solicited three elective ideas for that magical 5% leeway each department head has. Discuss, narrow to one initiative, done. In twelve months, revisit.
No charge for my services.
While we’re at it, conducting 15-county surveys to determine proper taxeater salaries is ludicrous. We pay more because the taxeaters who commission such surveys say it’s more expensive to live here. Exactly. This is an attractive place to live, so a lot of people, the non-government people, take less money to live here. The taxeaters can take less money, too. I can see why you’d have to pay someone more to live in Stockton, but Mammoth? You think Nate Greenberg will ever walk away from his gig? You don’t think there’s another guy dying to walk through that door at $150,000/year? Why are County Supervisors so out of touch?
5.) Which brings me to Supervisor Bob Gardner, who continues to grandstand about the County Office Building being built in Mammoth, thundering that it’s a $20.5 million dollar building and not a penny more every chance he gets.
You know what, Mr. Gardner. If you want to build something that doesn’t turn out like a complete piece of s&*t, you’re gonna have to get off your high horse and get off your number and the sooner you do it, the better we’ll all be for it.