Monday, February 08, 2016


Every once in a while this fallacy comes around and local politicians get all excited about how little families can live in little housies and live happily afterward.  But let’s get real. If we want to help with the problem of just housing folks why don’t we start by seeing how much  is really earned by the poor families? I’m not talking about students who are usually included it these studies, just people who could work a full time job.
Let’s start with how much a wage earner takes home at the bottom of the pile. You can always get a job at Burger King, and let’s assume the minimum wage has got up to  $15 an hour. That’s $120 a day, $720 a week, $3600 a month ($43,200/ yr). Now I don’t know anything about what is taken out of his paycheck for Workmans’ Comp, Health Ins., etc, etc, but in our perfect world, he gets it all until his wage gets to a certain level. We are talking about an Ideal world, aren’t we, like Socialism?).
Let’s talk about a single person first, no kids.  What can we do with him (her,it).?  If his take-home is $3600 per month, housing should be no more than  a third or $1200 . That’s his rent.  He may need help to pay for a security Deposit of $1800 (In case he trashes the place in a Heroin or Cocaine Rage) so maybe there is a place where he can work nights to save up for it (It has to be about equal or greater that the rent).  Let’s give him a small studio apartment in a multilevel building , max 3 stories, no elevator (Too many encounter problems). Now we’re  getting into the realm of City Planning, or how is this poor sap going to park his car where it won’t get trashed, etc. Is he near a bus route?  Where is the Whole Foods Market, Pharmacy, etc.? Is there a bike locker?
Let’s leave him in his snug little pad and look at a young (or old) couple who have a couple of kids. Here’s where life gets sticky. One of them can’t work (Take care of kids)  unless it’s a night job. Let’s just say that the State has a Tiny Tot pre-school Day Care plus  schools for up to Junior High?  If the State ran it, it would be more costly but let’s say about an average of $700 per child per month. It would be free but paid by Income taxes (We are getting out of the War business, in my World).  (There must be precedents in Europe or somewhere). Then, both could work and earn and now pay $2400 a month rent. But now that they make more, they will have to have more taxes  taken out of their check Old Age Security, Health Ins., Workmans Insur.)  as they don’t seem responsible enough to handle the money. About now, they’re making a lot more than I and my wife do, but then, we’re self- employed, and we don’t count. So now let’s build them a 3 BR (small) with compartmental toilet in our 4 level apartment house with a glass elevator on exterior for safety.
Let’s not even discuss their  buying property or a house because  you don’t make enough money to own your own, so  just forget it. Although, here’s a problem, sometimes the mortgage payments are the same as a rental Apartment, it doesn’t seem fair. However, don’t forget all the big property tax bill, insurance, etc. etc. has to be added to your costs.
Lets go back to the teeny house concept and see why that doesn’t work out.  Alrhough It’s the ultimate American Dream sequence; A house on property (This could be a rental also?.) 
Here are some of the problems to do this.
1 Buy the property.
2.  Approvals, Engineering, Planning, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REVIEW,  don’t forget the neighbors and their property values.
3.  Borrow a whole lot of money.
4.  Install infra-structure (Sewer, water, roads, lighting, drainage, power, gas  etc, etc.).At this point you will have to pay $10,000 for sewer service.( per teeny house)
5.   Now you can build  ONE house for one person  on a lot? Or a three story apartment building. Housing maybe 24 families?
6.  You’ll have to convince the Planners to forget all the Development Fees; around $15 to 20 thousand dollars for each dwelling unit.
7.  Surely the Guy developing this should get a 10% profit for all his work, sometimes several years of his time (and all the folks who work for him).
8.  So how much is your lot going to cost you? .Now comes the real problem; DENSITY.  The cost of each unit will be how many units can you build, let’s assume there are no Zoning restrictions here.
Who are these HOMELESS? Why are they homeless?  According to my son who spent two weeks living among them on the streets, it’s like this;  1/3 are too into drugs or alcohol, 1/3 are just plain crazy ( We keep closing our nut houses), 1/3 are in transition and really want to get into a small place to live which they can afford.  I was really upset when they demolished the Vagabond Hotel in Coddingtown as it would have made a great place for a hundred small families.  But, lo! It is being done in south Santa Rosa at a defunct motel. I wish him the best.

AELIER TWO CONDOS  Back in 1990 I tried to build 14 condos across the street from my Atelier One building in Graton.. These would be metal cubes, partially finished inside. This would be a real Live-Work environment and fairly affordable at 100k at the time. I had a building permit ready but we could not get financing. All steel construction, colored  industrial siding with 50 year colors. Solar orientation, & hot water from sun.  Roof deck. 20’ ceiling! Who would want to live there for $100,000?



Obviously I wasn’t the first one to wonder how old the Earth was. But who first called it Earth?
450 BC  Aristotle                                          Eternal
70 BC  Lucretius (Roman Emperor)         1500 BC (As Records only as far back as Troy)
Archbishop Ussher                                     23 October, 4004 BC (A real believer in Bible)
           ( Was that began or completed, Bish.?)
1770   Compte de Buffon                           75,000 to 186,000 years
1859   Charles Darwin                                306. 6 Million
1897   Lord Kelvin                                        24 Million
1900   Sam. Haughton                                2.3 Billion. To 153 Million
1904   Rutherford                                         700 million
1926   Arthur Holmes                                  4.55 Billion (Closing in)
1930   John Joly                                           89 million  (Git outa here!)
2016   Current  GOT IT !!!                            4.56 Billion (from meteorite material)
But wait !  There’s more. Do we wait for the age of the Solar System?  Find out when the Earth-Moon system formed? Do we wait until we find out when the earth’s core was made?  ?  ?
The Brits say ”Aluminium”,  Americans say “Aluminum”, why?
When Davey first isolated the element, he called it aluminum. Four years later he changed  it to ‘aluminum’.  Americans adopted the new term, but Britishers disliked aluminum, pointing out that it disrupted the –ium pattern established by sodium, calcium and strontium, so they added a vowel and syllable.
Died of  Leukaemia (radiation) in 1934. The real reason we know the age of Earth is due to her discoveries. Her papers, from 1890’s, even cookbooks, are too dangerous to handle. Her lab books are kept in lead-lined boxes and those who wish to see them must don protective clothing.
WHY WE GO TO DENTISTS  (Nitros Oxide) We have been told that using is abusing all our life but in 1800’s it was viewed slightly different.  Take the Akasian Society; they would put on laughing gas evenings in theatres where volunteers could refresh themselves with  robust inhalation and then entertain the audience with their comic staggerings and behavior. It was only about 1846 that anyone thought about using it as an anesthetic, ergo, that’s why our trip to the dentist is not as pain-full anymore, but more fun.

The difficulty of measuring temperature was due to the difficulty of making a glass tube accurate enough. A Dutchman, Gabriel Fahrenheit, a maker of instruments, solved the problem in 1717. But he calibrated the instrument in a way that put freezing at 32 degrees and boiling at 313 degrees. I suppose it wouldn’t make any difference if you were the first one doing it. However, by 1742 Anders Celsius, a Swedish astronomer, came out with the competing scale, making freezing point 100 and boiling zero.  But soon, someone finally got it right and reversed the scales. But us Luddite’s in the US aren’t going to be so swayed are we?  Celsius seems too metric for us.

Around 1665 Robert Hooke, one of the great men of science, discovered miniature bodies (cells) with the latest in micro instruments, of about thirty times magnification.  However, about a decade later a Dutchman in Delft (One of my favorite existing  Medieval towns), started sending out exquisite drawings of objects using an invention of his, a hand held gismo of dowels and bubbles of glass. But this was a magnification of 275 times! His name was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and he was so secretive he never let anyone see his instrument. He was helping Vermeer with his paintings , using a Camera Obscura. No one really knows how he (Vermeer) got such detail and Leeuwenhoek never let be known, as he was Vermeer’s executor.  Anyway he discovered protozoa, and counted 8,280,000 of these tiny beings in a drop of water. No one had any idea!  (Pass the Perrier, please!) Later, in 1683, he discovered bacteria, and the rest is history.