november, 20, 2004 archives

there’s something about paul graham’s essays that always rubs me wrong. his latest, made in usa is about things he says americans do better than people in other countries, and why. one of the things he cites is movies, and i think he overstates the role of directors in ensuring the quality of american films. i think there is a much better explanation: quantity. relative to our population, the united states pumps out a prodigious number of films, especially once you expand the definition of the film industry to include television and the adult film industry. (and i would include them, because there is a lot of crossover of actors, writers, and directors between the film and television industries, and as i understand it, a lot of crossover of production folks between the adult and mainstream film industries.)

la weekly has a long article about ed reyes, los angeles council member, whose pet issue is affordable housing. (he had to take back what he said about fellow council member tom labonge.) i will fully admit that it’s not an issue that i’m intimate with, but seeing it phrased in terms like “developers must devote 12 percent to 15 percent of the project to affordable housing” make me think it is destined to fail. it does seem like a good way to encourage development outside of the city.

and on that note, the los angeles times recently had a story about los angeles residents buying out-of-state properties for rental, as a way of building up equity for purchasing a home in southern california. it makes a certain amount of sense, but of course you’re betting that your returns on the rental real estate will be better than what you could do with other investments. and as the article points out, you’re taking on the headache of out-of-state tenants.

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