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San Diego is no Charleston

Cost of housing makes us look a lot less like other cities

Some United States metropolitan areas take pride in being an economic and demographic model of the nation — that is, having qualities that make it most like the nation as a whole.

San Diego County is not such a place in a new study. Out of 52 major metropolitan areas, San Diego comes in 39th — an outlier, or an odd duck. This is no insult. The two metro areas least like the entire U.S. are the two richest — San Francisco and Silicon Valley (San Jose environs).

The study was put together by WalletHub, an organization that computes statistics on cities, metro areas, and states. The study measures such variables as percent male and female; distribution of race, foreign-born, and age groups; home rent-to-owner ratio; median housing price; vacancy rate; household income; percent of households below poverty level; distribution of jobs (percent construction, professional, etc.), and educational attainment.

The factor pulling San Diego down to outlier status is housing. Since local housing prices are among the highest in the nation, San Diego is well outside the normal bell-curve distribution.

Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville, Jacksonville, and Charlotte, North Carolina are the five large metro areas that most match the U.S. overall.

There is a long list of 381 metro areas, including many small ones. El Centro is far down that list — 367th. It's low in sociodemographic, economic, and education variables.

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Robert Dean: Exceedingly high home prices -- and high rents -- make San Diego an outlier. Best, Don Bauder

FYI: CHARLESTON THIRD ON LARGE LIST. In the list of 381 metro areas, Charleston, South Carolina, is third, behind Indianapolis and Cincinnati. In the list of 52 large metro areas only, Nashville is third, Jacksonville fourth and Charlotte fifth. Best, Don Bauder

Twister: I guess I can't argue with the mediocrity point. Who wants to conform to the mean? Except cities and towns resembling the U.S. would be used for more product market testing. Best, Don Bauder

Don - confederate flag state still? Apparently. No excuses.

shirleyberan: Things are changing fast in confederate flag states. Best, Don Bauder

SAN DIEGO SEVENTH BEST CITY FOR FOURTH OF JULY. WalletHub has a new study indicating that San Diego is the nation's seventh best city, out of 100, for a July 4 celebration.

The study counts such variables as walkability, average beer and wine prices, fireworks legality, number of July 4 festivals and performances, July 4 popularity and duration of fireworks show.

San Diego ranks high in weather forecast and fireworks legality. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Apparently, they must have overlooked the Garden State Fireworks produced fiasco from 2 or 3 yrs ago.

danfogel: Since there are a large number of variables, the fireworks might have been considered. Best, Don Bauder

There remains the possibility that the Normal Heights Fire, 25 years ago, was caused by an errant rocket from the stadium. The councilwoman's office refused to consider it. Ask the now-retired Fire Marshal. Cover-up?

Twister: Cover-up? I wouldn't be surprised. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: Skeptical, as journalists should be. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder A fire starts midday, on a grassy slope next to an I8 access road, on a day when the temperature was 20+ degrees above normal(96 is still the all time high for that date) and is ruled probable arson. Now from my point of view, for someone to say that they wouldn't be surprised if there was a cover up of the real reason doesn't indicate skepticism. To me it indicates someone takes a cynical view that the fire department would tell the truth. Or they just flat out won't believe anything that the fire department would say. I know 30 yrs is a long time, but let me ask you this. I know that I can still remember the fire in vivid detail. What do you remember and what previous incident(s) are there for you to be skeptical of the findings?

danfogel: A friend lost his house in that fire, so I do remember it. To address your main question: one should always cock an eyebrow at statements by politicians, bureaucrats, business flacks, CEOs, newspaper and magazine editors -- you name it. Don't assume they are telling the truth. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder So in other words, you always assume what is said isn't the truth unless proven otherwise.

danfogel: No. My skepticism is aimed at official pronouncements. We have many friends that I trust. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder My comment was aimed at your response that " one should always cock an eyebrow at statements by politicians, bureaucrats, business flacks, CEOs, newspaper and magazine editors". So based on your above comment, I was correct. You're default position is that what is said, in those "official pronouncements", isn't the truth until proven otherwise. Wow. That explains a lot.
But, as they say, suum cuique.

danfogel: No, because your use of "prove otherwise" is too demanding and all-inclusive. Nobody has time to prove all public pronouncements wrong. One can just remain skeptical. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Perhaps you didn't read my comments correctly. What I am saying is that your position is not to believe until those making the statements prove they being are truthful, NOT that you don't believe until you can prove other wise.

I don't recall any large fire in Normal Heights in 1990. Could you possibly be referring to the 1985 fire? I remember it quite well. My wife and I were coming back from Arizona and we could see the smoke as we came thru the mountains, probably about 3pm. We had friends at the Padres game that day. Obviously, it could be seen from the Murph and they said people were cheering when the tankers started dropping fire retardant on the fire. It was a Sunday and as I recall, the fire started around 11 or 12 in the morning. I find it unlikely that fireworks were being shot off from the stadium at that time of day.

danfogel: Twister must answer this one -- perhaps 1985 and not 1990? Best, Don Bauder

Well, since the reply was to Twister's comment, I think it can be safely assumed that it was meant for him and not you.

danfogel: A good assumption. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder It's also safe to assume the writer of the comment knew who the comment was directed to, so any assumptions would be made be a respondent, in this case you...

danfogel: So I am an insufferable Buttinsky? Best, Don Bauder

The fireworks were the night before.

Twister: But does that eliminate them as a factor? Best, Don Bauder

No. They and/or the fuels they happen to land upon, can smolder for a long time before igniting adjacent fuels.

Twister: I believe that could be true. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah, I think you're right. I believe it was 30 years and not 25. Egad, where the hell did five years go?

I don’t necessarily believe that the fire marshal or any fireperson (yuk, yuk) would have falsified the evidence, but it remains odd that the councilperson’s office refused to look into the possibility and was very defensive. It’s speculation, of course, but even speculation can lead to changes in behavior. True, we continue to make a lot of the same mistakes today, such as opting for emotion rather than reason and challenge rather than joining into an examination of possibilities and probabilities, blaming our own mistakes on God or Nature and other forms of denial and evasion—ad nauseam.

Yes, the past is prologue, but we’d rather not suffer discomfit. We’d rather just have a fit or a snit.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say that you contracted with the Padres to do a fireworks “show.” Let’s say one of your rockets went awry. Let’s say you saw it go awry. Let’s say that later the next day a fire started in the vicinity of where you thought the rocket landed. Let’s say something hot smoldered for hours. Let’s say you rushed out of your motel room and went over to where the fire started before the investigators got to work because everybody was on top of the ridge fighting house fires. Let’s say that you found the remains of one of your rockets. Let’s say you picked it up. Let’s say you left an alternative ignition device in its place. Let’s say that the investigators found the device, and reported accordingly. What would you do? What would you do? The honorable thing and own up? Certainly. What’s a lucrative business and a reputation, an insurance rating and perhaps a personal fortune in the face of the losses of innocents? Is it a no-brainer? It’s just speculation. It’s improbable. But is it impossible? Let’s say that you knew some of the facts, but not enough to prevail in court or convince the DA. Let’s say that if you shot your mouth off, you would get sued.

But have we learned to avoid fireworks at the stadium?

What has changed since then? A fuel buildup. A water-main manifold. The whole southern side of "Mission Valley" faces northeast, right into the teeth of the coming Santa Ana winds. (The winds on the day of the fire were out of the north at 15 mph--not Santa Ana winds. The steep slopes are still there. Many big side canyons' mouths point NE. Some people have replaced brush with weeds, tinder which increases ignition potential. Yards are full of flammable materials. Some people have added wood chips (excellent firebrand fodder to ignite and be whipped up by fire-devil winds to create a rain of fire downwind) to keep weeds down in some places. Houses far from the flame front stand vulnerable because of combustible stuff and structures.

Are were better off for the experience or worse off?

Lots of what ifs. I don't know enough about incendiary projectiles to say for certain that one could smolder in a dry, grassy location without starting at least a small fire much earlier. Especially when considering the high the day before was only in the seventies, the dew point was in the sixties and the humidity in the seventies. Possible? Maybe
Improbable? I would say yes. Likely? I would say no. I'm curious as to what incident(s) may have occurred previously to cause your conjecture about the possibility of a cover up.

Dan Fogel:

Speculation is ALL what-ifs. See my answer to Don.

Yes, possible. Improbable? Likely? I'm neutral.

The facts already listed in evidence. Long experience with Homo sap. Homo sapiens (haw, haw, HAW!) dissemblis?

Twister: Why is it that people love to speculate? They gamble on horse races, sporting events (usually illegally), the stock market. I have never understood the thrill of gambling. Best, Don Bauder

Pay higher rents or pay more for heating and cooling? I'll pay the rent and enjoy the weather.

MichaelValentine: Your predilections, shared by many, may be one reason for high San Diego housing rents. Best, Don Bauder

Re: Don Bauder June 25, 2015 @ 8:36 p.m.

Twister: Why is it that people love to speculate? They gamble on horse races, sporting events (usually illegally), the stock market. I have never understood the thrill of gambling. Best, Don Bauder

Speculation is the first stage, not the only stage, in investigation. It is only when speculation is considered the END stage that it lacks intellectual merit.

There was a long period of speculation before the moon landing, aka brainstorming.

Speculating on the existence of, say, "Bigfoot" is one thing, but after years and years of doubtful "evidence" all of it Trumped up (can I say that in the reader) or harumped up, narrows rather than widens the possibility that one will ever be found.

The distinctions are crucial.

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