March 26, 2004

I Am So Pissed!

This has nothing to do with Napsterization. I just need to vent.

What the fuck is going on? On Monday, on the way up to Tahoe, I paid $2.29 a gallon for regular gas in Berkeley. When I got to Tahoe, in the most trafficy tourist area, I drove by the gas station at North Shore where it's usually way more than anywhere else in the state, and it was $2.11.

Today, I bought gas for $2.39 a gallon and then heard on the radio that while the average price in the US is $1.74, in CA the average is $2.14. Fucking hell.

This isn't about gas (we use too much, my next car will be a Prius, I swear). It's about California. Remind me. Why is this the most expensive place on earth besides London and Tokyo? I mean, I gave up CA wine 5 years ago for two reasons: it was not very subtle in the flavor department (McInerney calls our reds "Arnold Schwarzeneggers" and our whites "Pamela Andersons"), but there was no subtly at all regarding price, which for the same brands had tripled over three years. We were paying for the real estate. I already buy toiletries in NY because they are so much cheaper, as are clothes and shoes, even less in Europe. And eating is less everywhere else, as is the subway compared to BART, and did I mention coffee? Or housing? Or cable? Or the price of cars? A friend told me at a meeting early this morning that she's buying a mini, but the premium on buying one in the Bay Area is $1500 more than everywhere else in the country. She's calling Nevada and Utah right now.

Dang, this is fucking ridiculous. Why can't we pay what everyone else in the country pays? (Oh, and I'll be swearing over this until the FCC regulates my speech too.) Why is this happening? Do they think everyone is a Microsoft millionaire? I know Prop 13 is behind this, because no one will sell their property (they want to keep the low tax basis), driving up demand, and causing massive overbidding of properties on the few sales that occur. Yeah, it may be a bubble, but now even new owners have incentive not to burst it by reforming that law. And the prices are reflected in everything else we do, buy, everyone hired, everything we touch. Way to go NY. You're off the most expensive list. I swear, I love being there partly because it's so reasonable.

This sucks wind out of an exhaust pipe.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming now. I'm done with this rant for now.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 26, 2004 12:45 PM | TrackBack

Yeah! I'm with ya on this Mary. I'd drive over to the county, state, and federal government offices, picket, raise a fuckin' stink. But I can't.

I ain't got no gas and there is no promise I will have later today either :)

Posted by: Michael Perry at March 27, 2004 09:56 AM

Yep, it's crazy. But I think it's called supply and demand. Unless people like me (I moved here Nov 2002 from reasonably priced Salt Lake City...and with no definitive income prospects in Bay Area) stop wanting to live here no matter what the price, I don't see it changing. No one lives here because of the great cost of living - I moved here in spite of it. I came because innovation, good ideas from any source, and entrepreneurship are nurtured and valued.

Posted by: Evelyn Rodriguez at April 1, 2004 12:28 PM

I'm with you to Mary. In fact I'm sitting here in Texas looking for a job, any job, for the reasons you mentioned. I've lived in So. Cal. for 25 years and I can't take the ridiculous prices anymore. House prices here are MUCH less than So. CAL (I've seen NICE 4 BR,2BA, 2300 sq.ft. houses on .5 acres in the city for $150,000 - 20% down payments about $1100/mo. on 30 yr. fixed) and the incomes for skilled positions aren't much different. If you are looking at a retail position, you're going to have problems (but where wouldn't that be the case).
For my personal situation - married with 2 kids and 1 income - selling the house in CA, paying CASH for a house here, and being able to go ANYWHERE on 3 week vacations 4 times a year, but living in Texas, sure beats eating rice and beans everyday in CA. I think in the next year or two, more people will start to realize this and for the people remaining in CA, things may get a little better - that is if the budget,energy, and business climate situations improve. Oh yeah, and if interest rates don't get up in the next 2 to 3 years and the 65% of the people that got the interest only ARM loans and those houses don't get the 50% payment hikes on their mortgages.

Posted by: Chris Freimuth at August 8, 2004 10:27 PM