Spreadin’ Love 554

Somebody at last week's writing conference, told me about Chuck Wendig's blog. Funny stuff. 

Oakland stuff. Wow. Check out this picture of a woman in a wheel chair engulfed in tear gas

Reverse Trick or Treating. Would you? 

Giant Lego Man.

The New York Times article about poverty in suburbia was right on the money. Steve's brother and a bunch of his cousins live in one of the suburbs featured in the story, Parma Heights. My dad who runs a suburban food pantry around here can't keep up with demand. 

I love, love, love the Remodelista app for my iPad. It's partially because of them that I'm about to paint the house white and rock colors (lots and lots of greys). 

5 thoughts on “Spreadin’ Love 554

  1. I don’t know the Cleveland area at all, but the other week I went to a talk on the housing market in Youngstown. It was an alarming display of what happens when the houses in a whole neighborhood become basically disposable. That is, the cost of buying an existing house is so low that landlords have no economic incentive (short or long term) to worry about maintenance. Their (unfortunately viable) business plan is to rent for a few years until a maintenance issue comes up that is sufficient to make whoever administers Section 8 notice and then abandon the house.

  2. A bad economy hurts everyone. On the other hand, I’d bet the population of the suburbs is getting older, too. If you bought a new house in 1975, and stayed in it, you’re now retired, and on a fixed income. The property taxes have risen in the last thirty years, and your income hasn’t risen.
    Peculiar choice of “dead mall” to illustrate the story. According to posters on dead malls dot com, that mall started to fail in the 1980s. http://www.deadmalls.com/malls/randall_park_mall.html
    The beginning of the end for Randall Park Mall began in 1978, when the upscale Beachwood Place Mall first opened, taking away most of Randall Park Mall’s more upper class customers. Some stores started closing in 1978 as well. The crime problems started in earnest around 1979, when the body of the manager of the Father and Son shoe store was found in a snow bank, murdered. In 1985, a well-publicized gang-related riot forced Randall Park Mall to close early.
    We have a dying mall not far from us. It isn’t a testament to poverty in the suburbs–it’s a testament to a series of bad business decisions. During the boom times of the late ’90s, more new malls were built than the local markets could support. It’s a waste of investors’ money, but it doesn’t mean that the shoppers aren’t shopping. They’re shopping somewhere else.

  3. If you bought a new house in 1975, and stayed in it, you’re now retired, and on a fixed income. The property taxes have risen in the last thirty years, and your income hasn’t risen.
    I’m sure that happens, but I don’t think it is the main driver of increasing suburban poverty in places like Ohio. If you bought in 1975, you’ve likely owned your house outright for eight years. In the inner suburbs with smallish houses, property taxes are highly likely to be less than $500 month. SS will pay your bills and food. If you have anything saved, you’ll have a cushion. And you don’t have to pay much for health care, compared to others.
    It’s the people who started out in 2000 and later who are in trouble. It doesn’t take that much income to pay a mortgage on $100,000 houses, but recently more people with lower incomes than ever before were allowed to try and most of them didn’t start out with a cushion.

  4. “It’s the people who started out in 2000 and later who are in trouble. It doesn’t take that much income to pay a mortgage on $100,000 houses, but recently more people with lower incomes than ever before were allowed to try and most of them didn’t start out with a cushion.”
    Yes, not to mention the people who attempted even more (the record holder is probably the CA strawberry picker approved for a $720k house). The NYT article also mentions Section 8 (although not by name, I believe).

  5. There aren’t many $720K houses around here. But they guy giving the talk was especially upset at how Section 8 officials would approve a house and then do nothing after the initial check. And by nothing, in many areas this included not even making sure the landlord kept paying property taxes.

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