I live within the 610 Loop in Houston. This puts me within about 5 minutes of downtown. Honestly, this doesn't mean much in a city like Houston that is spread thinly over a gigantic portion of Harris County. But in terms of traffic it means quite a bit. I'm within a 15-20 minute drive to work which is also within the 610 Loop - actually, just right outside the Loop. If I have to visit a contractor's office and since I'm traveling out of the city (most of these engineering offices are located outside the Loop) I'm usually going against the traffic, so again, my commute is easy. I only filly my gas tank twice a month. If I stayed at work for lunch instead of going home, I would only fill up once a month.
It's because of all this I am so very glad I live in the city. For about 10 years I lived in the Clear Lake area which is southeast of downtown and depending on where I worked, my commute was anywhere from 45 minutes to almost 2 hours. Finally, I had had enough and moved.
Without a doubt my quality of life has improved. But there is a large financial price to pay for this peace of mind. After a few years of no property appreciation, downtown properties are starting to move up in value. This means in a short time my taxes will increase.
I noticed my old homestead in Clear Lake went on the market for $140k. In general, prices in the Clear Lake area are substantially cheaper than within the Loop I-610. A similar house in my neighborhood goes for half a million.
A friend of mine told me that his financial analyst told him that Houston is going to be the next LA. I was afraid of that. This thought had been gnawing at the back of my mind for some time.
What this all means is I will at some point have to make a decision when the financial advantage has disappeared. As my property appreciates and my tax burden becomes unbearable, I must decide what that monetary amount is.
And it may not be just the monetary aspect. It may be a life and limb issue as well.
For VDH, this moment has not come. Since he seems to be fairly well off, this "number" may not be reached for some time, I imagine. The magnitude of the vandalism and burglary on his property probably seems something just above an annoyance. If this were to happen to me at where I am in life, it would be heart rendering and I would start counting the costs and making plans to move.
But for him, at some point, that moment will come and he must decide what to do. Because, from what I can tell, things will get a lot worse before they get better.
I think what struck me was his final paragraph:
The four-part solution for California is clear: don’t raise the state’s crushing taxes any higher; reform public-employee compensation; make use of ample natural resources; and stop the flow of illegal aliens. Just focus on those four areas—as California did so well in the past—and in time, the state will return to its bounty of a few decades ago. Many of us intend to stay and see that it does.That's it? That will fix things? VDH, I wish that were really true!! And from what I have read, there is nothing...NOTHING that is being done to reach your goals. With the possible exception of pension reform CA is doing all it can in the OPPOSITE direction! I wish I could point to the articles I have written on the subject, but I accidentally blew them away. (I'm such an idiot...)
I doubt he would ever stoop so low as to read my depressing blog. So, I can say what I want and not worry about any of it reaching him. I think it would embarrass me if it did. But I have been following CA now for almost two years. I started my blog in November/December 2010. I have spent countless hours reading reading reading and then reading some more and believe me the problems are DEEP and WIDE (...there's a fountain flowing....ahem. sorry).
Will CA finally unchain itself and become the Super Entity it is destined to be? Hey, miracles do happen. But as I stated in my blog entry The United States of California, it will take a crash that would be heard around the world to bring it about.