Sunday, November 10, 2013


Mom and I were up in her home town on Friday and ended up going in a trailer somebody had abandoned in the one park we still own, needing to get a serial number to get wheels in motion to get title to the thing. I thought it was gonna be empty, but that was far from the case.

In fact, despite the fact that it's been vacant for over a year now, it was as if it had been vacated last week.  There were clothes in closets, shoes hanging in shoe holders on doors, with mold growing on them.

But mostly there were videotapes.  Hundreds of them, mostly junky horror movies with psychopaths holding scythes and blood dripping off of this or that. I looked them over quickly, searching for recognizable titles and starts, but there was really little to hold on to, it was the leftovers of another culture altogether.

It smelled in there from being vacant for a while, and the bedrooms are little, but if it had been neat you can totally see how somebody can live in there.  We had a single-wide down at the beach in the late 70s-early 80s. The really depressing thing was the movies, all that blood and gore, and that they had collected them.  They could have spent $3000-5000 amassing that many videotapes, unless they snatched them up at thrift stores (really the only place to buy videos).

Next door, our hispanic tenants had erected a nice new shed to give themselves some storage.  We always like to see that, tenants not just putting down roots, but adding things, showing some pride.

Later, we were driving around through another neighborhood looking for something, we kept passing by all these old abandoned houses, and some of them had huge piles of trash out in front of them.  Nobody cares. And then we went through a mobile home park we had developed in the late 80s, where we (mostly mom) took great care to lay out the lots to preserve trees and pave nicely so there'd be good drainage.  We sold this in 2004 and it has gone downhill since then, it is now reputed to be gangland.  One woman is said to sleep in her bathtub to protect herself from stray bullets.  Occupancy is now down around 50-60%.

Things are complicated.  It's not easy being poor in a rural county, far from an interstate. Unemployment is high there, above 9%.  There's lot of drugs, not much industry.  The police have in recent weeks trumpeted a big wave of arrests of drug dealers and users, over 100. It gives them something exciting to do, and to print in the newspaper, but the root causes run deep.  And both the Democrats and the Republicans have points in this debate:  education is hugely important, as are jobs, and dense regulations are a indeed a disincentive to investment, as we ourselves saw in discussions with local officials on Friday. I could type all day on this, but it's nice out, so I'm gonna stop.

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