Housing Prices, Location Filming , Homelessness, Rain and the Harbor

HOUSING  PRICES: The December Humboldt Economic Index  published a couple of weeks ago showed a dip in County housing prices that would be pretty scary if it continues, but it probably won’t.  Median home prices in Humboldt fell from $264K to $234K, but not to worry. Dr. Erick Eschker of the HSU  Economics Department advises that the figures should be read as a four-month moving average and provided an additional graph that shows the dramatic shift since 2006 and the slow upswing we are now experiencing. The Index of Home Sales is 24.3% higher than at this time last year, which is nice.

FILM/TV INCENTIVES :  The Economist (Jan 17) reports that Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles has appointed  Tom Sherak, “an old industry hand” to lobby in Sacramento for the city’s interests in luring the industry back to LA.  Film and TV production in California has been decimated by the grander film subsidies and incentives offered by other states. New Mexico and Louisiana have been particularly aggressive,  and  California was particularly late in realizing that they needed to get into the incentive game also. Mr Sherak may find this a difficult year in which to persuade the legislators of the urgency, with so many other unfunded needs. Humboldt County, by the way, is doing well, even in the rain. Cassandra Hesseltine, our Humboldt-DelNorte Film Commissioner, reports that filming locally has become a year-round activity in the last couple of years, not limited to the “good weather”. She says the right now crews are in town filming a print ad and a reality show, about which she didn’t want to say too much but it wounds like a well-known hairy creature from Willow Creek is involved. Let’s wish Mr Sherak well in his new job. Film is definitely one of our strengths.

HOMELESSNESS DOWN, NOT UP:  Considering all the focus on homelessness lately, I am amazed that so little attention has been paid to Daniel Mintz’ excellent piece in the Mad River Union which gives some good solid numbers to think about (Eureka’s homeless count was 1100 in 2011, 650 now). This is a problem which will never be solved without clarity on the extent of the problem. Sadly, 37 homeless students were identified in the  Northern Humboldt Area.

HUMBOLDT BAY HARBOR WORKING GROUP: Maybe it was the rain, but the Group’s meeting on Wednesday was the most downbeat I have attended. Three speakers discussed short-sea shipping and were refreshingly honest. Most of our lumber goes to LA, and we can’t even fill a barge from up here. The labor doesn’t pencil out either. The Harbor Commission study on the East-West rail initiative was definitely putting a damper on the proceedings as without East-West, or even with it, it appears that at present we just don’t have enough cargo to make it short-sea shipping worthwhile, and a Walmart center in Gerber won’t do it either. I  personally feel that the old North-South rail route is a much better idea and could not only move freight but revitalize the tourist and rental car businesses, but what do I know?

Happy Lunar New Year! See you next week.

4 thoughts on “Housing Prices, Location Filming , Homelessness, Rain and the Harbor

  1. The following was emailed in by our friend Sid Berg; “On Jan 31, 2014, at 9:00 PM, Sid Berg wrote:

    North South RR would be wonderful, but if we can’t even straighten a mile of 101 through Richardson Grove without cutting one old growth redwood, we will have little chance at rebuilding the tracks through the Eel River Canyon.
    Bottom line, if we are to ever have a viable economy, we need infrastructure, which includes a rail link to the outside world. It’s only 130 miles to Gerber, and if we could fund an In depth market analysis and feasibility study, and if it proves economically doable, investors could be sought. A new state of the art railroad could most likely be built with bicycle and hiking trails and there is no doubt that the new diesel electric hybrid or natural gas powered locomotives are more environmentally favorable than diesel trucks. I cannot understand why there is not more community support for at least a comprehensive study.
    Sent from my iPad

  2. Fred, I drove by it Friday and saw the U-Haul Truck and the place being dismantled. The only person who would talk to me said that he wasn’t able to give details but the new tenant will be another franchise. I was not a fan of Church’s; wish they’d bring in a Pioneer or a Popeyes. Seems that place was just limping along when it was a KFC and it couldn’t be a better location.

    • Never tried Church’s, but figured it wouldn’t last long if only because KFC went out of business in the same place.
      Any word on how Stufft Potato is doing in the old Babbetta’s place in Victoria Place?

      • I stopped in a couple of weeks ago and she seemed content with how things were going. They’re serving breakfast, lunch AND dinner now. I think if they can stay open long enough for people to find them they’ll do ok. Certainly a lot more parking than the old location.

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