November 19th, 2006


The Meaning of Landmark in SoCal

Thanks to the City of Santa Monica, we have a new definition of what a landmark is: A landmark is an apartment building that the tenants are afraid might be redeveloped, improved, or modernized, so that their sweetheart deals under rent control might go away.

What do I mean? Well, let's take the Teriton Apartments on San Vicente. The City's historic resources consultant did a lengthy review of the building, and said it met NONE of the requirements for designation as a landmark. The tenants said that 1. It was at the end of the block, 2. Some people who later became famous stayed there, 3. It is just like lots of other apartment buildings built at the time, 4. We know the architect's name, and 5. It's been there a while.

Moral of the story for future landlords: redevelop frequently. Blow up the buildings before the City can decide it's a landmark, or you have forfeited any right to change the use of the lot, modernize it, or expand it.

Driving in Sunny Places is Dangerous

Thinking about sunny California or bright Florida for your next vacation?

Stock up on some car insurance before you get there. As it turns out, they have about 50 times the risk of colder places like Vermont or North Dakota when it comes to "transportation fatalities" -- that's death on wheels to you and me.

Nevada is about 6 times more likely as Vermont, too, though it is still less likely than an average state, being in the bottom half, while Arizona is in the top half of states. Maybe we have alternate sunny places to retire, folks ....