I’ve have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head lately. Rather than go dark and ponder on things for a week, bear with me as I analyze a problem coming to a neighborhood near you!
The Superrich Bought Up This Idaho Town and Regular Folks Now May Have to Live in Tents
By Kate Briquelet, 8 June 2021
Affordable housing in Ketchum—the Idaho resort community adjacent to billionaire and celebrity playground Sun Valley—has been a problem for decades.
For my international readers, Sun Valley is the Idaho version of Pebble Beach in California or the Hamptons in Florida. It’s a residential area where land values have passed infinity, to the point where only the most wealthy can afford to buy housing there… and even they rarely live there themselves because there are few services. Either they bring a platoon of cooks, gardeners and other servants with them or they only visit for a few weeks of the year.
Often enough, the owners never visit at all, using the land’s sky-high value as a sort of bank. It’s a shame when you think about it. The best homes that a prosperous nation can offer are rarely enjoyed as homes.
You won’t find a burger joint or Walmart in between megamillion-dollar mansions. Modern transportation being efficient, such enclaves are now frequently supported by neighboring communities. With predictable consequences:
But the situation is becoming so dire in the wake of COVID-19 that city officials are considering an unusual range of quick fixes—including building tent cities and RV parks for the common folk in the ultra-rich mountain town, where the average median home listing price is hovering above $900,000.
Residents and housing activists say their friends and neighbors, some whose families have lived in Ketchum for generations, are being priced out as landlords sell buildings to well-heeled buyers and out-of-town investors. The problem is exacerbated, they say, by property owners renting homes for a bigger profit on sites like Airbnb to short-term remote employees escaping Silicon Valley and big cities.
No, STUPID-19 is not a game-changing black swan. At best, it hurried the process along. Neither are city officials considering unusual fixes. Slavery and dispossession are exactly what results when the wealthy take over a neighborhood. Yes, I meant SLAVERY because tent cities are not acceptable for the Idaho winter. Dump Greta Thunberg’s bony ass in the Sawtooths for a January, watch if she still says propane is a bad idea.
The wealthy want expensive land and cheap labor.
The middle class wants expensive labor and cheap land.
City officials want to provide cheap housing so that cheap labor can afford it? Sellouts!
“There’s a joke going around: you either have three houses in Ketchum or three jobs,” said Kris Gilarowski, a hospitality worker and father of two who recently launched a Facebook group titled Occupy Ketchum Town Square to address the housing crisis.
Socialist agitation is not a solution.
And those losing homes and apartments aren’t just service industry workers, but teachers, nurses, and other professionals who are fast becoming the hidden homeless in the picturesque city of roughly 2,800 people.
There lies the tragedy of unchecked centralization of wealth. Everybody gets sorted into the “have” and “have not” piles. The correct solution?
NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO LIVE THERE UNLESS THEY WORK THERE.
It’s that simple. Big money comes along and offers you $1,000,000 for your $200,000 house? You tell him no and sell to a young family instead. A Gay Area renter offers you $3k for a $750/month rental? Tell him where to shove it, like his boyfriend does.
The solution is that simple but if you don’t worship God then you probably worship money. Why wouldn’t you?
As local TV station KTVB reported, some temporary housing solutions weighed by city officials include “a plan to allow Ketchum’s nurses, teachers, and service workers to sleep in tents in the city park as rent and housing costs continue to soar out of their grasp.”
Thus demonstrating where the city officials’ loyalty lies. Not with their people.
The discussions come at a time when one developer is seeking approval for an affordable housing complex downtown called Bluebird Village but facing backlash from residents who claim the building will be an eyesore and absorb valuable parking spaces.
Had they mentioned “rent control” or “Section 8” then I would also have objected. ‘Affordable housing’ now means different things in different contexts.
They also follow another developer’s $9 million sale of an affordable apartment building called KETCH, leaving residents unable to pay new rates imposed by the new landlord. (At a recent city council meeting, one KETCH resident said the new owner increased rents by 50 to 60 percent. “He wants me to be paying $1,700 for 425 square feet. It’s insane, it shouldn’t have happened,” the woman said.)
It’s nationalism writ small. When your neighbors do not care about your well-being, they follow the yellow brick road, so to speak. This is a class migration rather than an ethnic migration but similar rules apply.
“One of the biggest oppositions to Bluebird and any affordable housing, really, was aesthetics,” Reid Stillman, a mayoral candidate who works in advertising and is scrambling to find rental housing himself, told The Daily Beast. “That is so embarrassing when we’re dealing with human lives.”
“We have this older generation worried about the look and color of the brick of the building,” Stillman added. “What they don’t understand is these are the people that serve them food, sell them clothes, bag their groceries… and you’re not allowing them to have affordable places to live because you’re worried about the color of brick in town.”
Ah, Baby Boomers. They aren’t the sum total of all evil, just the ones for which evil worked best. The first generation of Marxists does very well because the first parasites get to feed on a healthy host. Successive generations of parasites suffer diminishing returns, which is the pattern producing Antifa and BLM. It’s hard to eat your society’s seed corn when it’s already gone.
You see similar behaviors in atheists. The first generation to reject God still had a moral upbringing so few of them go full necro-nihilist. A couple “winner takes all, survival of the fittest” generations later, however, and 1Gen wonders why the kids fantasize about slitting throats. “Don’t they know that such behavior is wrong?”
Meanwhile, Gilarowski said he’s heard from long-term residents who received notices of rent hikes anywhere from $600 to $1,500—and one well-paid hospital worker lived in his car for three weeks because he couldn’t find a place to live.
*singing* Welcome to the Hotel California….
It’s not our people you should fear. It’s our money. You can keep Californians away just by imposing a “work here to live here” requirement. No Federally-defined form of discrimination needed.
Gilarowski shared another horror story at a special city council meeting last month to address the crisis: A couple was living in a tent in Sawtooth National Forest for 94 days through January before they found affordable housing.
Seriously, tent cities in the Sawtooth Mountains winter is a bad idea.
“I do support the city of Ketchum opening up some public spaces, so people could temporarily park an RV, pitch a tent, because then we can’t hide from these people,” Gilarowski said at the meeting. “These are the people that work at your school. These are the people that work at your local business. These are the people that serve you. I know some of you put up your $8 million houses … but you don’t have compassion for working class people. You say you’re for community housing but ‘not this project, not that project…’”
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Gilarowski alluded to the wealth infused in Ketchum and neighboring Sun Valley, including Allen & Co.’s annual media conference, sometimes referred to as a “summer camp for billionaires.”…
“There’s so much wealth here and it’s kind of embarrassing to hear that people, families, decide to live for 94 days in a national forest, hidden,” Gilarowski said.
The wealthy didn’t get wealthy by treating you proles as equals and paying you triple wages. On the rare occasion it happens, such as Henry Ford thinking that his workers should be able to afford the automobiles they build, the wealthy guy becomes a hero… but there’s no profit in that, now is there?
Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw raised a variety of possible solutions to the housing crisis at the council meeting: using city funds to rent hotel rooms this summer and encouraging local residents to rent out spare rooms. He also floated using public lands, including parks or parking lots, for temporary tent sites or RV parking.
Bradshaw said Ketchum’s Rotary Park could house a number of tents, has public restrooms and was across from a YMCA, which has showers. “It would require a certain level of qualification to stay there, so the people would have to show they are working for a local business and contributing to our economy in a certain way. It wouldn’t just be for roadtrippers passing through Ketchum,” Bradshaw told the crowd.
Per http://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/news/2020-03-23/ketchum-mayor-on-covid-19-isolation-order-the-streets-are-deathly-quiet , Bradshaw considers himself a “man of the world”, has lived in London and San Francisco, and last year cooperated with a total isolation order upon his community… confining people in the small town to their homes instead of just closing to outsiders, then bragging about how kind they were being to each other.
But Stillman blamed Bradshaw and city officials for not acting sooner and called the tent city for nurses and teachers “a joke.”
Not a funny joke, either. I say again:
“We have homeless people,” Stillman countered at the meeting. “They may not be on the street and you may not see them, which is good for you and good for business. But they’re living on couches, they’re in our friends’ houses, they’re in tents up north, they’re camping down south, they’re doing anything they can to get to work here in town.
“We’re not just talking waitresses and waiters,” Stillman added. “We’re talking nurses, and medical supply people, teachers. My best friend works at Montessori school—he’s a teacher, he has nowhere to live.”
Stillman said his own landlord sold his apartment building and he must be out by September. “I make good money and I still can’t find a place,” Stillman said. “So it’s not just affecting one income level … To live in a tent in Rotary Park is a joke especially for people who need WiFi, have to work and have to make a living. That’s a joke.”
“Not only am I going to be homeless with a good job Sept. 1, but my friends who are in the service industry who don’t make a lot of money, they can’t pay $2,900 a month for a two bedroom in Ketchum. This isn’t San Francisco, Neil,” Stillman fumed.
Merely San Jose… sorry, that wasn’t funny either.
In an interview on Monday, Stillman told us Ketchum suffers from a disconnect among the city’s classes, a situation that stymies action on workforce housing. He said there’s everyday permanent residents who have three to four jobs just to live in the city, second-homers who travel in for vacations, and extremely wealthy people who own a house in Ketchum which they visit only a week or so out of the year.
“Not everyone has a seat at the table,” Stillman said. “I feel our current leader caters to a certain population and there’s not an open line of communication with longterm residents.”
It sucks when your own people sell you out, whether locally, nationally or ethnically. That’s exactly what I’m dealing with in my headspace these days.
Bradshaw told The Daily Beast that the tent housing was only one idea suggested during a community workshop and bristled at The Daily Beast, and local media, playing up the specter of tent cities. He said Ketchum city planners are also looking into whether elderly homeowners could rent out rooms in their homes in exchange for tenants helping with yard work or other chores…
What a tone-deaf piece of shit he is. “If you can’t afford $3k per month in rent then maybe you can do some chores in return for a Baby Boomer letting you use their spare bedroom.”
… and into altering city code to allow RVs on private property or using federal funds for rental assistance.
Somebody thought being mayor would be a free ride with no hard decisions.
The city’s hands are tied, Bradshaw said, because its taxing authority is limited—other hotspots for the uber-rich like Aspen, Colorado, for example, enjoy a real-estate transfer tax that Idaho lacks—and it’s unable to limit Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term rentals because of a 2017 state law.
“We have a very wealthy population and most of them are very supportive of affordable housing although, you know, always wanting something else that’s maybe not quite in their backyard,” Bradshaw said.
That’s. The. Problem. And it’s why a man needs the moral strength to say No to easy money.
In recent months, a retired doctor named Gary Hoffman parked a trailer throughout Ketchum and covered it with a massive sign that declared, “What The One Percenters Ignore: Affordable housing has always been the lifeblood of a vibrant community. A town dies when its most productive people cannot afford to live in it.” Hoffman’s banner also demanded in all caps: “Worker housing now!”
The 79-year-old physician owns a pair of mobile home parks just outside Ketchum and a rental cabin on a 28-acre ranch about 24 miles south of the city.
After the tenant of the cabin announced she was moving out, Hoffman placed a rental ad in the local newspaper, for $650 a month, and received 85 phone calls in 48 hours. “It went to the second person who called. So I had 83 more calls to field,” he said.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! He could have charged triple that but instead, did a good deed. He’s not going broke. His world isn’t ending because he didn’t negotiate the best possible deal.
How did America become so mercenary?
The doc saw it as an opportunity to galvanize more residents into fighting for affordable housing. “Everybody I talked to after that, I said, ‘What the hell are you doing to get things changed around here? What are you doing besides bemoaning the fact that we don’t have housing? Are you going to meetings? Are you writing letters to the editor, are you protesting, are you picketing, are you going down to Boise and haranguing the legislators who said Airbnbs and VRBOs are wonderful in resort communities?’”
On Monday, Hoffman was busy doing his own roofing repairs at the mobile home park since he couldn’t find construction workers who were immediately available. “There’s a lot of construction already, everybody who’s got a contracting construction company is working to the max,” Hoffman said.
The mobile home parks are some of the area’s only workforce housing, where tenants pay an average of $550 a month. Many of Hoffman’s tenants work in construction, landscaping or basic clerical work, speak Spanish as a first language, and “do the work nobody else wants to do,” he said.
Aww, he was that close to having my respect. He’s still doing a good deed, though, what with not being greedy.
“People look at the parks I have and they say, ‘My God, you could double your rents.’ People are working, they live there,” Hoffman told us. “Why would I do that if I don’t need the money? And I don’t, so there you go.”