Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

When The Right Turn is What's Left

After all the Support our Troops ribbons have been bought up; after all the coffee klatches filled with political debate have ended; after the day’s hammering of we say/they say has been endured; after all the rhetoric; it’s time to come home to one’s own reality.

I have a customer, let’s call him Jose Rodriguez. Jose might once been Mexican, Cuban or Philippine for all I know—now he is all American. He’s damn proud of his success in this country, so proud that he’s moved into a place called “Liberty Trails”. On the left is a map of his neighborhood, or at least as much of it that Goggle Maps has so far. There are more streets, and none of them is named Kennedy or Roosevelt, if you get my drift. I’m actually impressed that someone knew that a Whig like Tyler was the same thing as a Republican. My guy has his bit of the housing bubble plunked down on Hoover.

That would scare me.

Jose and his lovely wife have a couple of raggedy-ass little pooches and called us to give them an estimate for a fence. We talked over the options and about a year later the decision was made to go with low maintenance elegance. Spending a little extra Yankee dollar, the R’s ordered an ornamental aluminum fence, kind of like wrought iron but of a more modern, clean design.

Excellent choice. The order went in and the proper authorities were applied to, put it on the board.

Today Jose Rodriguez isn’t so happy. It turns out that the premium, durable and maintenance free option of aluminum fence is not allowed in his neighborhood. Fences must be cedar to maintain the hometown pseudo-colonial motif of this little Yankee Doodle Dandy enclave. Ornamental fences are for Italians and such and you know what communists they all are!

Turns out life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a little more complicated than you might have thought, Jose. We must consider the property values, you see. We may talk a fine game about too much government but when it comes down to your money and my money—even on the corner of Reagan Boulevard and Hoover Trail—a little socialism can be just the ticket.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger Bullock said...

In California, we have housing codes known as CC&R’s: covenants, conventions and restrictions. When we bought our first house (still in it), our real estate agent who was an excellent communicator, gave us a 2 inch thick photocopied tomb to ‘peruse’ at our leisure, then gave us the edited version: authorized paint colors, authorized house addition styles, authorized landscaping, etc. Probably something in there about fences, too. This was, after all, a master planned community. You pretty much know what you are getting into when you buy here. Funny thing, the higher priced the tract, the more enforcement of the CC&R’s. But, I never thought the rules were all that oppressive. The ‘burbs weren’t going to change my attitudes or political party.

Now, having said that --nearby there is another community, quasi-master planned with their own set of rules. A sampling: garage doors cannot be open more than 15 minutes, no car repair or car washing in plain sight (guess you do that in your garage, which in CA is impossible due to your adult toys in the way), absolutely no motor homes parked on the streets (which rules out the in-laws comin’ in from Missouri).approved landscape options for front lawns (select one of 4 lovely options) and the usual approved house colors, addition restrictions, fence heights, etc.
Socialist? Hmm, maybe. Provincialism, for sure.
Maybe be more in the pages than the cover of the book. Time will tell if your clients can distinguish the difference in this land of opportunity.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger sequoit said...

My point was principally that when you get right down to the nuts and bolts, the upper middle class is not so opposed to a collectively arrived upon and enforced solution that protects thier own interest against the rugged individual, and I thought this was a pristine little example. No doubt this builder was a flaming neocon and most of the people moving in there were aware of the statement being made and were approving. There are hundreds of other new developments to choose from within 15 miles.

It just never occured to anyone that the thing they insist they are fighting for is not what they really want in the end.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger JD said...

I'm frightened. Please make it stop. People are now actually living in subdivisions based upon political philoshophies? To be 16 with a car full of TP....

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Bullock said...

There have always been upper middle crust gated/non gated communities to basically insure their own self interests, especially in the suburbs. The packaging and re-packaging of real estate industry doesn't have a whole lot of social consciousness built into their thought processes, it's mainly about the profit.See the Fortune 500 list for most profitable companies last 10 years--home builders & developers.
Jose & family probably could have known what they were buying into but probably their first priorities were cost of ownership, good schools for their kids, close to work, etc.
Like I said, I knew I was moving to John Birchville when I came to OC. I don't regret the move but continually rage against the machine in my own way.
And, JD, if you are going to TP, be careful, very careful--zero tolerance and all that these days....


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