Monthly Archives: October 2012

So Why Don’t People Flock to Cities?

An interesting item comes to us from CNBC. Nicole Goodkind, Home Prices Push Low-Wage Workers Out of Cities, October 25, 2012 — click here.

Goodkind reports that Professor Daniel Shoag, the author of a study coming to us from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Public Policy, says:

“San Francisco and Boston are rich places, but people aren’t moving to those places any more. They’re moving to mid-wage places like Las Vegas and Phoenix and what’s happened is that the people moving to Boston tend to be high-skilled workers and the people moving out tend to be lower-skilled workers. That’s driven this differential in income and stopped this process of convergence.” With this being said, many of us have dreams of moving somewhere completely different from where we are now. So whether you’ve already started speaking to realtors such as Eddie Yan, with the hopes of moving to Vancouver, or are looking to move to cities like New York or San Francisco, we all have our reasons. As long as you are doing it in the right way, that’s all that should matter. No matter where people decide to relocate to, moving is never easy. But it can be. With the assistance of companies like CarsRelo, who can transport vehicles to the new property, moving companies who can take packed boxes to the new house and family/friends who can give a helping hand, there are ways to making the process of moving run a lot more smoothly.

Don’t forget though, that it will probably be an incredibly stressful time, particularly if you are trying to sell your house as well. Don’t worry though, if you are interested in a quick and hassle-free sale, then Ask Susan has reviewed over 25 of the UK’s best online estate agents, so this should make your job a bit easier!

“Since 1980 the rate of income convergence has been stagnant. The average income of U.S. workers has remained flat for the past 30 years and the migration of low-skilled workers across states has also slowed significantly.

“This hasn’t always been the case. Between 1880 and 1980 low-skilled workers moved to wealthier states and the average incomes between states converged by an average of 1.8% per year.

“So why has the cost of housing changed so drastically in the past 30 years?

“An increase in land regulation in high-wage states and cities discourage development that would lower housing prices, says Shoag.”

Welcome to the club, Professor Shoag. Two Presidential Commissions on Housing reached the same conclusion years ago, and so has Dartmouth economics Professor William A. Fischel whose 1995 book Regulatory Takings, not only reached that same conclusion, but also demonstrated (using California as an example) how a high degree of land-use regulation accomplishes that. Bottom line: All the babble about how home prices are coming back and how great that is, is just that: babble. High housing costs are not good — they are bad, unless you happen to be an old timer who bought his home decades ago, or one of those comparatively few folks who bought their homes at the bottom of the post-bubble crash. If you’re finding yourself in a hard financial situation and you’re thinking it might be time to move to a cheaper city or place, you get could get cash for homes in Seattle.

People who have to spend most of their incomes on maintaining a roof over their heads have that much less to spend on other things (and on savings for a rainy day), all of which detracts from the local economy. And when in these post-bubble days the mean home price reaches lofty levels of $300,000 (California) and $600,000 (Hawaii), that’s vey bad indeed.

Condemning Underwater Mortgages? Maybe Not.

An interesting item from the (Los Angeles) Daily News. It comes labeled as “Opinion”  but the content appears to be factual. It’s titled Is the Idea of Using Eminent Domain to Stem Foreclosures Dead, or Just Sleeping?, October 26, 2012 — click here.  Here is the pertinent part:

“The [San Bernardino County] Homeownership Protection Program Joint Powers Authority was scheduled to hold its third meeting this Thursday and expected to issue a request for proposals, allowing Mortgage Resolution Partners and any other entities to offer proposals to fix the foreclosure crisis in the county.

But the meeting was canceled “due to the expected lack of a quorum.” County spokesman David Wert said there were “at least three (board members) whose schedules were shaky enough to where it was smart enough to just cancel the meeting.”

                                       *     *     *     *

The next scheduled meeting is not until Jan. 24 — three months from now.”

So it appears that the governing body of a revolutionary, highly controversial program that started this idea, can’t even muster a quorum? Stay tuned.

The California Coastal Commission — Always Good for a Laugh

For the latest on the California Coastal Commussion of which it has been aptly said that it is a government body that tends to confuse the state police power with the power of a police state, check out Katy Grimes, California Coastal Commission Keeps Grabbing Land, Cal. Watch Blog – Click here.

It’s a good, concise history of the Commission and its misbehavior that is worth reading.

And if you want an insight into how California courts have been coddling the Commission and doing its bidding, check out an oldie but goodie: Michael M. Berger, You Can’t Win them All — Or Can You? 54 Cal. State Bar Jour. 16 (Vol 54, No. 1), Jan./Feb. 1979, which describes how during the formative years of the California Coastal Act, the Commission won almost nine out of ten of its cases as an appellant, which — as any experienced appellate lawyer will tell you — is like batting 900 in major league baseball — it just doesn’t happen without some help from above.

Check it out.

Lowball Watch — Texas

Tradition has it that everything is bigger in Texas and that goes for lowballing condemnees too. The Associated Press reports what appears to be an epidemic of lowballing in Texas, in connection with the feds’ condemnation of land for a border fence. The story has been published in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, a legal newspaper in Los Angeles, under the headline Landowners Say They Were Shortchanged in Deals for U.S.-Mexico Border Fence, October 16, 2012, at p. 5.

The public project consists of a congressionally authorized, 670-mile long metal fence along the border, intended to curb “illegal immigration” and the taking is for its construction.

The problem that is stirring things up is the great disparity in prices that the feds are paying. Many complaints are coming from owners of small parcels that are being taken, who are largely unrepresented, and who, without legal advice tend to accept the government’s offers in the naive belief that Uncle Sam wouldn’t cheat them. Hah! In fact, condemnees who are represented by counsel do much better than others.

“An Associated Press analysis of nearly 300 Texas land cases found that most of the settlement money went to a small group of owners, all of whom had attorneys. The legal help appeared to pay off: Of nearly $15 million that has been paid out, 85 percent has been awarded to just a third of the property holders.”

Of course, these people were largely owners of larger, more valuable land, and thus had a greater incentive and greater means to hire counsel. But that doesn’t change the fact that even those folks were targeted for lowball offers.

“One recent case involved 8 acres at the entrance to a sable palm grove managed by the Nature Conservancy. The government initially offered $114,000, but in August the matter was settld for nearly $1 million.”

Which according to our calculator comes to over eight times the original lowball offer. In another case,

“The fence forced a developer to scrap plans for an entertainment district along the Rio Grande in Brownsville. The government’s first offer was $233,300. After a three-year legal battle that almost went to a federal trial, both sides settled for $4.7 million.”

Which comes to twenty times — you read it right, twenty times — the original offer!

These lowball offers from which the feds retreat when challenged, are not just limited to cases in which the owners are affluent and well represented. The AP cites the case of one Oscar Ceballos who was offered the “ridiculous” amount of $1600, but who, even when represented by an unspecialized legal aid lawyer, was able to settle for $40,000, or twenty-five times the original offer.

So what’s the feds’ excuse? Get this. “Federal attorneys say the initial offers represented only a starting amount that would permit the seizures to begin and could be adjusted later.” In our opinion, that sounds like bullshit. If memory serves us, the Uniform Relocation Assitance Act requires that prospective condemnees are offered the highest approved government appraisal amount, not some sort of  a “starting” lowball bid. So in our opinion what the feds are doing, is taking unfair advantage of unsophisticated land owners of modest means and cheat them when they can.

We have written about this stuff earlier — see “[Un]equal Justice Under Law,” 40 Loyola of L.A. L. Rev. at pp. 1106-1107 (quoting Keith Harper, MAI, describing from an appraiser’s point of view how typical lowballing works in cases of mass condemnations). Do take a look at it, as well as at the infamous statement of a government land acquisition functionary, threatening landowners with prolonged delays and needless litigation unless they accepted “30 cents on the dollar;” quoted at id. pp. 1105-1106.

Thiese morally shoddy practices were common and were exposed in congressional hearings in the 1960s. The Uniform Relocation Assistance Act was supposed to put an end to such stuff. But as you can see from the AP story reported here, it hasn’t. For an insight into how it was done in the old days, see Curtis J. Berger and Patrick Rohan, The Nassau County Study: the An Empirical Look Into the Practices of Condemnation, 67 Columbia L. Rev. 437 (1967).

So what’s the feds’ excuse now? According to the Associated Press, they say that “the initial offer represented only a starting amount that would permit the seizure to begin with and could be adjusted later.” But as noted above, the Uniform Relocation Assistance Act requires fair offers — actually, the highest amount from an approved cindemnor’s appraisal — and forbids such shoddy haggling. Moreover, for all that appears from the AP article, the feds don’t “adjust” it later when the owners accept the lowball offer.

All of this is yet another reason why eminent domain is so widely despised.

Afterthought.  All this talk about a border fence stimulates a question. Why is it that when we build a border fence to keep out poor Mexicans who are only looking to better their lot in life, it seems OK and you don’t see lachrymose op-eds lamenting this activity and denouncing  our government for it, but when the Israelis do the same thing to keep out bloodthirsty terrorists out to cross the border to kill innocent men, women and children, the bien pensant, politically correct folks get their knickers in a twist?  Jes’ wonderin’.

More on the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Scam

We invite your attention to an article by Roberta Brandes, The Great Brooklyn Bait-and-Switch,, October 5, 2012. It inventories the various promises and projections made by the city of New York and the redeveloper, about what the Atlantic Yards redevelopment project would produce when it was completed, and how most of that stuff is not coming about. Ms. Brandes’ article is concise, but provides the reader with a clear picture. Well worth a read. Here is a link Click on it.

A Belated Comment — Did You Hear the Latest About the Cause of Municipal Bankruptcies?

Sorry it took us so long to write this post, but we have been on the road for a while. Even so, we gained a new insight into matters of causation after reading an op-ed piece by Bill Fulton, former Mayor of Ventura, that ran in the the Los Angeles Times on October 1, 2012, at p. A11 (William Fulton, The Banruptcy-Sprawl Connection). If you haven’t read it, drop what you are doing and do — it will broaden the horizons of your understanding of municipal finances and explain to you that it wasn’t municipal profligacy, but sprawl — yes, sprawl — that was the cause of municipal bankrupties. We didn’t know that. We still don’t.

Mr. Fulton explains that what has been causing urban bankruptcies in California wasn’t municipal profligacy, or overly generous public employee compensation,  including generous, unfunded pensions (though Fulton does concede that those “are a huge problem” but offers no solution to it). And it wasn’t the waste of public funds on “pork” whose real purpose was to placate local politicians and special-interest groups by spending tons of federal (and state) aid money on all sorts of chimerical projects. And it wasn’t urban redevelopment that diverted tons of money from local tax revenues into the pockets of redevelopers. And it wasn’t municipal waste like for example the $170,000,000 Los Angeles “Intercontinental” Airport in Palmdale that never got off the ground, or the $200,000,000-plus  “Belmont Learning Center” in Los Angeles, that was thoughtlessly built on top of a former oil field and couldn’t be used for its intended purpose because of seeping methane. Or the North Hollywood redevelopment project that swallowed over $117,000,000 without producing any of the promised new studios, but succeded in inspiring such fury among the local population that the redevelopment agency had to move its offices to a more secure building. Etc., etc.. There is more.  But ignoring all that, Fulton says that the real cause of municipal bankrupties has been — ta, da! — sprawl. And Proposition 13, of course, which is the source of all municipal evil in the Golden State.

If only those suburban homes weren’t so far apart, says Fulton, they would be easier to reach by infrastructure, and to get to by police cars, ambulances and fire engines, and it would be ever so much cheaper to run a city that way, don’t you see. Of course, that “huge problem” of excessive unfunded pensions would still be with us, but hey man, says Fulton, we could handle that if it weren’t for that awful Proposition 13, an argument that translates into plumping for a municipal ability to double or triple property taxes ad infinitum — which is what motivated the pro-Proposition 13 voters to begin wit.

Speaking of which, we should say a word about that, being old enough to remember these things. Proposition 13 was the result of local taxing authorities running amok with tax raises. The legislature ignored the homeowners’ complaints, and the so-called “Watson initiative” (named after the then Los Angeles County tax assessor who understood that skyrocketing taxes were storing up political dynamite, so he tried to limit them)  failed at the polls. Local politicians took that to be a carte blanche to tax and spend some more. But it didn’t work out. Along came a pissed-off demagogue named Howard Jarvis and he inspired Californians to go to the polls and pass Proposition 13 limiting property taxes. Thus, vox populi was heard from. But instead of heeding it, and reining in spending  which is what the voters intended, local politicos went whining to Sacramento and persuaded the state legislature to make up the Proposition 13 decrease in local revenues with state funds, so the spending game could continue. At least it continued until the state ran out of money too. The rest is history.

Of course, Fulton does not indicate how that despised “sprawl” came about. But if you are old enough to remember the post-World War II period, you know that expansion of suburbia was one of those ideas whose time had come,  and, more important, the result of an explicit government policy that was promoted and financed by a host of government laws and gimmicks that made suburban living better and cheaper, and tax- sheltered to boot. In the mid-1950s you could buy a nice little two-bedroom house for $10-12,000 with total payments around $70 per month, that appreciated faster than the total of payments.  What a deal! Who could resist it?

The explosive growth of suburbia was also encouraged by the consistently chosen and fiercely defended life style of wealthy Americans who co-opted local land use regulators and enlisted them in creating and protecting expensive and exclusive, large-lot suburban homes which became the habitat of choice of wealthy suburbanites adhering to the NIMBY philosophy. Two Presidential Commissions on Housing came to the conclusion that this was the cause of excessive housing cost and profligate consumption of suburban land for large homes.

And don’t forget the courts. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas captured the essence of that world view when he noted approvingly in Belle Terre v. Boraas, 416 U.S. 1, 9 (1974) that suburban low densty was a desirable habitat: a “quiet place where yards are wide, people few, and motor vehicles restricted;” these  “are legitimate guidelines in a land-use project addressed to family needs,” and as such properly subject to imposition via local regulations.  (In other words, it’s nice to be able to live in the sort of place where God would live if He could only afford it.)

But this isn’t news. Back in 1924, Federal Judge David C. Westenhaver who presided over the trial of the first zoning case, concluded that “[i]n the last analysis, the result to be accomplished [by zoning] is to classfy the population and to segregate them according to their income or situation in life.” Ambler Realty v. Village of Euclid, 297 F.307 (N.D. Ohio 1924), rev’d. 272 U.S. 365 (1926). And folks like President Herbert Hoover and New Dealer Rexford Tugwell (who was in charge of FDR’s greenbelt policy), were all in favor of displacing urban populations, moving them to the suburbs, and converting their erstwhile urban habitats into parks. No, we are not making this up. You can read about it in Jane Jacobs’ classic book, The Death and Life of American Cities.

And it didn’t take the middle class long to figure out that what was good for folks of quality was good for them too, particularly after World War II when the GI Bill produced a large, new, college-educated middle class population, eager to assume the lifestyle and trappings of the middle class, not the least of which was a middle class suburban single-family home. They got a taste of homeownership with all those Levittown-inspired, two-bedroom, no money down suburban homes, and decided that this was good stuff, and that moving into bigger, more upscale suburban homes would be even better. 

In other words, sprawling suburbs became residential areas of choice, financed by Uncle Sam through federal mortgage loan guarantees and favorable tax treatment. In time suburban living became favored by local land-use regulators ever-ready to cater to the perceived needs and wants of their constituencies, with the courts lending a hand by approving just about all land-use regulations, no matter how extreme. Bottom line: Sprawl would not have been possible without government support. That is how sprawl became the favored and aspired-to mode of suburban American living, and any local officials who would try to restrain this constituency by compelling it to live a Fultonesque lifestyle of high density housing, would quickly find themselves voted out of office.

For those of our readers who are interested in exploring this topic further, we recomment a book by Prof. Bernard Frieden of MIT, entitled The Environmental Protection Hustle (1995), and the classic, insightful and witty The Zoning Game (1966), by Richard F. Babcock, the late dean of the American land-use bar, as well as Chapter 6 (Capitalizing on Land Use Regulation: Evidence From California) in Prof. William  A. Fischel’s book Regulatory Takings: Law, Economics and Politics (1995) at pp. 218-252, which demonstrates irrefutably how a high degree of land-use regulation inspired the skyrocketing California housing prices.

Space limitations prevent further exploration of the factors involved in the mass migration of urban populations into the suburbs following World War II, that was encouraged and subsidized by the government every step of the way. You could say that Uncle Sam bribed your Mom and Dad to get out of the declining, increasingly racially divided, violent, crime-ridden and riot-torn cities, and settle in the suburbs where the living was generally more pleasant, access to city jobs was provided by federally-funded roads,  the schools were better and safer, students were safe from forced busing, and a family home quickly became an appreciating asset — at least until other government policies (like the Community Reinvestment Act and its reckless implementation by greedy bankers and reckless borrowers) inflated the “bubble” to its bursting point.

And speaking of those federally funded highways, our Prophet-Without-Honor award goes to Detroit’s Mayor Jeffries who in 1944, in testifying to Congress, worried out loud that those federally-financed highways would not only make it easier for folks to come into the city, but would also make it easier for them to leave the city and settle in the suburbs, with predictably disastrous demographic and economic consequences — which is exactly what happened, particularly but by no means exclusively in Detroit.

Bottom line: sprawl was the direct consequence of government policies, administered by the government which made ownership of suburban homes — the bigger, the better — a lucrative part of the American birthright. Until the bubble popped, that is, and people discovered the hard way that grandma was right: you should only buy things you can afford, which includes homes as well as everything else, and if you are in the money lending business you should only lend it to people who can pay it back.

This post was last edited on October 19, 2012.


What’s With Justice Stevens’ Jihad Against Private Property Rights?

“What is it about takings that gets Justice Stevens going? Is he also making talks rehashing other constitutional issues that he didn’t get to rule on? We’re not being facetious here, we’re really asking. If you know of other examples, please ping us. “

So says our blogging colleague, Robert Thomas on (post of October 16, 2012), and a good question it is. The last time Justice Stevens had a good substantive word to say about the property owners’ side of a controversy involving a taking, was when he joined the dissenters in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York in 1978. But not thereafter, with the exception of Del Monte Dunes where he voted with the majority, but without expressing any views, leaving his readers to wonder why he switched sides (our own speculation is that, like most of his colleagues, he was incensed by the crude, lengthy harassment of the plaintiff-property owner by the city, and he liked the majority’s plaintiff-friendly holding that under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 a plaintiff is entitled to have a jury try the fact-bound issues of the case — a view deemed anathema by the “police power hawks” who seemingly never, ever see a taking case they like, and want to make sure that the aggrieved owners’ chances of winning, if they exist at all, are minimized. Nor are they willing to concede that British history is clear that juries were used to fix compensation in eminent domain (or, as they put it, “compulsory purchase”) cases until 1845, which means that juries should be used in eminent domain cases as a constitutional right under the Seventh Amendment. But they aren’t. So in our book, Justice Stevens gets a point for joining his colleagues in advancing this modest step toward the right to a trial by jury.

Of course, saying that property owners are entitled to a jury trial to resolve fact-bound issues in inverse condemnation cases brought under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, and actually providing them with one, are two very different things. If you don’t think so, do read or re-read the part of Del Monte Dunes dealing with the right to trial by jury, and then show us a single federal case (apart from Del Monte Dunes itself) in which that right was actually afforded to a constitutionally aggrieved property owner claiming a taking. Interesting, eh?

Justice Stevens also wrote against the owners’ submissions in Kelo v. New London (direct condemnation), where he took pains to eliminate what was left of the “public use” limitation on the federal taking power, and subordinated a property owner’s constitutional rights to assertedly “thorough” but actually half-baked “planning” of a small-town redevelopment agency that, as it turned out, couldn’t find its own posterior in broad daylight with both hands. Though Justice Stevens has written about his Kelo handiwork in nonjudicial media, after the fact, he never took note of the incontestable fact that the municipal plans touted in his opinion as thorough and well-nigh conclusive, turned out to be not just a failure, but a total calamity — nothing was ever built on the 91-acre Kelo waterfront property, and instead, the taken 91-acres of land is now a trash-strewn vacant parcel that instead of generatig taxes (which was the raison d’etre of the redevelopment plan) has been consuming them — at least $100 million and counting. One would have thought that in light of that municipal-fiscal disaster, and of the preexisting rule that where the acts of a city are intended to inure to its own benefit, its adversaries are entitled to a heightened level of judicial review — at least our memory tells us that that’s what the court said in U.S. Trust v. New Jersey — but you better check us out on that one), Justice Stevens might have used polite language to say something like “oops” or perhaps even “sorry about that.” But as far as we can tell, he never so much as tipped his hat in the direction of the project’s total failure, as if case outcomes played no role in the judicial calculus, to say nothing about after-the-fact extra-judicial writings.

And in Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (inverse condemnation) Justice Stevens likewise did what he could (including rewriting of the Question Presented) to reduce the historical property right of user to a nubbin. There he held that the government could deprive hundreds of  small land owners seeking merely to put their land to reasonable use, for an indefinite period of time — in the Tahoe-Sierra case some 50 owners of such single-family lots (on which they intended but were not permitted to build retirement homes) died while the case wended its way through the federal courts, in the name of maintaining a “moratorium” that extended over a period of decades. While this was done in the name of “saving the lake,” the Los Angeles Times reported at the time that  fat cats like Michael Milken and heirs to the Singer sewing machine fortune were building lakefront mansions without let or hindrance from the Agency.

Later, not content with winning his point in Kelo, if only 5 to 4, Justice Stevens — evidently taken aback by the outraged popular reaction to his handiwork — took to the soapbox, first before the Nevada Bar Association and in the pages of the Nevada Law Review, and later provided us with another piece of legal commentary in the form of a 2011 speech at the University of Alabama School of Law (available on the Supreme Court website),  to reargue his Kelo position again. Which strikes us as a case of  “the gentleman doeth protest too much.”

Now he’s at it again, this time telling the world in the pages of an upcoming isue of the Chicago-Kent Law Review, about what he would have done in the Stop the Beach case, had he not been recused by virtue of being a Florida beach owner. Here he argues that the issue of taking was moot because, as the majority found, the Florida Supreme Court’s holding did not effect a taking and the issue of judicial taking had not been raised below. But the majority also found that no judicial taking had occurred in the Beach case, thus inspiring Justice Scalia’s immortal line that to the extent this decision delineated in any way the contours of a judicial taking, it was like answering the age-old question of how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. With all due respect to judicial gravitas, we like Justice Scalia’s formulation better.

So why has Justice Stevens been doing it? Like Robert Thomas, we have no idea because this judicial equivalent of an end-zone dance was unnecessary. But we have a hunch that Justice Stevens is one of those ideologically besotted types who cannot let go of the idea that it has somehow been divinely ordained for them to wage war — or, a jihad, if you will — on private property rights. Why that would be so, we don’t know. After all, property rights are explicitly protected by the Constitution, and Justice Stevens purports to be a great supporter of liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights — at least “liberties” as viewed by the left-of-center segment of the American polity — and there is nothing so conducive to maintaining all liberties as secure, than legally protected property rights. That is why American judges have life tenure: to protect their “iron rice bowl” from competing politial forces. So if Stevens is going to go on in the law journals about what he coulda, shoulda and woulda done on the court, the least he might do for Americans is explain why he has been disregarding Justice Potter Stewart’s admonition in Lynch v. Household Finance that personal liberty and private property rights are interdependent and neither could have meaning without the other, and enlighten us as to what it is that in his view makes private property unworthy of a full meaure of constitutional protection, like what is freely afforded to other provisions of the Bill of Rights.


California Governor Jerry Brown Drives a Nail Into Redevelopment’s Coffin

The latest dispatch from Sacramento is that Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed six bills passed by the California Legislature, intended to resurrect redevelopment agencies. Go to for an article by Steve Greenhut, a long-time California redevelopment abuse watcher and an author of a book on that subject. Click here.

Is that the end of redevelopment in California? We sure hope so.

Is California Reinflating the Bubble?

They never learn, do they? Today’s Los Angeles Times reports that the median price of a Southern California home has gone up to $315,000. Alejandro Lazo, Median Home Price in Southland Climbs as Supply Is Squeezed, L.A. Times, October 14, 2012.  And remember that this means that one-half of local homes sell for more than $315,000. And that median figure is based on all of Southern California which includes areas like the Inland Empire, Riverside County and other distressed areas. We can attest to as a Southern Californian, that should you find a home below the median $315,000 in a decent — not upcale — community, you woudn’t want to live in it.

And to make things worse, home prices are trending up again — up 12.5%  from last September, because of a reduced inventory of homes available for sale.

So with all due regard to the law of supply and demand, it looks like my fellow Californians haven’t learned their lesson.

Follow up. But then again, as we listened to Robert Thomas’ presentation at the Brigham-Kanner Prize Presentation program at William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia, we couldn’t help being impressed by this bit of data from the Sandwich Islands. It turns out that the median home price in Hawaii is $673,000 — more than twice the California median. Yikes! See Robert Thomas, Professor Ely, You Magnificent Bastard, I Read Your Book!, October 15, 2012, In case you don’t recognize that line, it comes from the movie Patton which, if you haven’t seen, you should.

New Legal Journal on Property Rights

While spending the end of last week at William & Mary College School of Law for the annual Brigham-Kanner symposium and the award of the 2012 Brigham-Kanner prize to Professor James Krier of the University of Michigan Law School, we learned that William & Mary has inaugurated a new law journal devoted to private property rights. We are pleased to report that the name of the new journal is The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Law Journal. Volume 1 is out and may be obtained by contacting the William and Mary College School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Our granddaughter has opined afer viewing that first volume that “This is cool.” We can’t help but agree with her.

We will have more to say 0n this subject (the new journal, not our granddaughter who is pretty cool herself) but we are still on the road and won’t be back in the saddle until next week.