The Ad That Makes Me Cry

I’m talking about the GE ad that shows an Idea, in a costume that looks like it was recycled from the Farmer’s ad about “gaps in your insurance coverage”. The Idea is a scruffy, shaggy creature that no one wants around because it’s ugly and disturbing.  It hangs out at coffee shops till they close. It’s homeless, living in a box in an alley. Finally a yuppie takes it in but by that time my eyes are filled with tears.

Cherish your ideas! Every business in this community started as an idea. Cherish your ideas- nourish them, love them, work on them, discuss them and above all be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Do You Go To “Free Dinners”?

Like everyone else, I’ve been aware that sales operations pushing timeshares, questionable real estate developments and other bad ideas sometimes entice their victims with a free meal. Lately there are even out-of-town hospitals inviting our folks to sit through a presentation on the glories of their particular institution while munching on a free hotel meal.   I can’t imagine why anyone shows up.  I’m really put off by the notion that I’m such an imbecile or so broke that a free meal would cause me to choose one vendor over another.  For a free meal, I couldn’t be bothered to drive downtown, not unless it was catered by Wolfgang Puck in person and we got to keep the chinaware. 

But hundreds of people show up at these things. I’ve heard about people who show up  at ALL of them.  I wonder how many of you got an invitation, on thick paper, to a “Free Eureka Dinner Conference” involving real estate investing, at the Red Lion on Monday Nov 30th. According to the flyer, this is “sponsored” by a couple of A&E TV personalities but  they will not be present.  Nowhere in the literature can you find the name of the entity actually presenting this “Real Estate Income Event”.   The return address is a “unicorn ” office In NYC, a virtual office where no one actually works. If you want advice from these folks, you’re welcome to it. I think I would recommend consulting one of our many local realtors or brokers, or taking a class. If you go, let us know how it was!!


The HSU Economic Index For October Is In!

The Index of Home Sales fell in September but is almost 14% higher than this time last year.  30-year mortgage rates in Humboldt County have decreased fro 4 per cent to 3.875 percent, while the median home price rose from $268,000 to $270,000.  In other words, things are pretty flat.  See the full report HERE..

Hazards of Landlording-here’s one you never thought of

We’ve been offline for a couple of weeks, during which we experienced a lot of what all of you have- the cellphone outage. out-of-town visitors, more visitors, family reunions, and gaining five pounds from all the eating out. We’ll catch up little by little but I wanted to tell you first about a lesson learned re: the US Postal Service.  This lesson may save you some grief.

I have a 3 BR/2 BA house and for several years I have rented out the extra bedroom and bath.  On the same day that we had visitors from New Jersey,  one tenant moved out and another moved in.  Meanwhile my friend from LA , with whom I was planning a road trip to British Columbia, also showed up and realized he’d left his passport in LA. He got a friend to fetch his passport and mail it to my place using certified mail.  I use a PO box for 90% of my mail so I didn’t notice we weren’t getting any mail in the mailbox.

After a few days his passport hadn’t shown up so he accosted the mail carrier, who told him that he hadn’t delivered any mail to us for a few days because the house was vacant. Vacant!  Never mind the cars in the driveway and parked in front! Never mind the well-tended and watered planter box next to the mail box! Never mind that there were three adults and a dog living here the week this happened! Never mind that the house has not been vacant for even a day since I bought it in 1993! He thought the house was vacant.

Why?  Because he saw the forwarding order from the tenant who moved out and concluded that the house was empty. He apologized profusely for his error but by that time the passport had been sent to some kind of postal clearing house in Sacramento. We called the post office on Clark and they advised us to wait a few days. We did and nothing happened. To make a long story short, we went down there twice and enlisted the help of a supervisor named Eley,  The passport finally showed up this past Saturday, after being lost in the bowels of the USPS for almost three weeks. The stress on both of us was extreme.

The USPS is like any other organization- only as strong as its weakest link. Every supervisor we talked to at the USPS said the carrier “needed to be talked to”. How ’bout he should be retrained??  The lesson learned is that certified mail, which costs $3 and change, is useless.  If you have something valuable to send, send it REGISTERED which costs $12 but at least they can locate it. Registered mail is signed for at each stage of its journey, much tighter tracking.  I notice that Fed Ex has a small package option for $8.  I suspect that when Fed Ex loses something, they find it pretty quickly. Again, they have a signature for each transfer.

Next time, Fed Ex for sure. And folks, don’t bother with certified.  It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.  If you have any stories about lost mail and the USPS we’d love to hear them.



Well, the phones are down anyway so we’re checking out early. Enjoy the weekend, drive carefully and if you haven’t seen it yet, “Straight Outta Compton ” is surprisingly enjoyable for those of us who aren’t big hiphop fans. Good performances, and it’s helpful to us oldsters that Ice Cube’s son- who plays Ice Cube-actually LOOKS like his dad. And of course the music is great. Recommended. See you next week.


Home Values Compared

Here, courtesy of Zillow and the HSU Economic Index, are some figures to ponder.

Current Median Home Value US:  $180,100

Current Median Home Value Humboldt County:  $251,950

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Humboldt County: $340,000 briefly in Jan 2008

Current Median Home Value Sacramento:  $339,600

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Sacramento:  $442,300 in December 2005

Current Median Home Value San Jose:  $894,700

Hopefully you didn’t buy in Sac in 2005.  Take heart: you can still get houses in Cleveland for less than $70K. Hey, if it’s good enough for Michael Symon…


Redding Safeways Under Seige

The local media in Redding has been debating whether or not there is a crime wave over there. KCRA reported that their two Safeways have had different experiences lately.

From KCRA:  “Crime statistics by the Redding Police Department show in January 2015, the Safeway on Pine Street had 151 calls made to police from that location with 15 arrests. In February, after the store changed its hours, the number of calls dropped to police to 67, with arrests dropping to seven. Those numbers stayed consistently lower for the months to come.”

Translation: when this store started closing between midnight and 6am, their police calls dropped to less than half the former numbers. However, the other Redding Safeway, which continues its 24-hour open policy,  has seen its police calls GROW from 57 calls and three arrests in February to 109 calls and 19 arrests in May.  In other words, they doubled.  

It appears this is a whack-a mole situation- the trouble calls move around to where the OPEN stores are.  What if they BOTH closed down during the wee hours? What a concept!