Monday, December 15, 2008


A few weeks ago, in a discussion about corruption, a highly educated Philippine-American challenged my schoolboy sense of morality.

When the Philippines were ruled by the Spanish (1565-1898), my friend explained, the laws and rules of the economy were simple:

In such a situation, he asked, is it really corruption for the native Philippinos to disobey the law and engage in shadow economics?

Especially when the straight and narrows leads to world-famous Smoky Mountain.

Sometimes I wonder about the legality of the backyard building projects on my block.

I know that this big white extension went through a permitting process, but all the other outbuildings?

Check out the piping. My naked eye saw it as electrical conduit, to power the outbuilding. Closer inspection shows it to be a downspout from the roof of the little extension emptying onto the roof of the outbuilding, which has it's own downspout on the other side.

Not that I'm complaining. The low density nature of this neighborhood couldn't persist through population growth and the real estate boom. Many of these houses were originally owned by city workers--firemen, policemen, my best friend's dad was a building inspector.

And each house was occupied by one nuclear family, with one car, parked overnight in the basement. The average number of occupants per house was maybe 4.

Our house was built with about 1100 sqft of living space, which ain't gonna cut it for a current buyer paying 50-60 times the original selling price.

Most owners built (non-permitted) in-law units in the otherwise empty basement. In recent decades some owners have turned their entire basements into living space, and some into apartments that they rent out, also non-permitted, with revenue, I imagine, unreported.

I can handle the increased density. What bugs me is that these backyard projects are ongoing and will be for the foreseeable future, which means that on any nice day, especially on weekends, when I open my windows wide to let in the beautiful ocean air, it's all hammers and buzz saws.

There's one guy, not in these pictures, who has a commercial (I assess) carpentry operation in a backyard lean-to. On nice days he likes to bring his sawtable outdoors.

It's like a tenement, sort of.

So, do I want to sic public officials on any of these people? Hell no!

I'm thinking Ed Jew isn't the only Ed Jew-type in city government.

BTW: According to wikipedia, Spanish explorer/culturefucker Ferdinand Magellan was killed by native Phillipine warriors led by Rajah Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan.

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