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REDWOOD COMPLEX FIRE UPDATE (8:42 am): 21,000 acres; 0% containment; "High winds are hindering firefighting efforts": fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/1874
THE TERRIBLE FIRES raging to the east and south of Anderson Valley began around midnight Sunday into Monday, and by the time the early rising ava began to tune in the outside world we learned that hundreds of people had been ordered to flee their homes in Redwood and Potter Valleys. Fires in Sonoma County were moving so quickly that hospitals in their paths were being evacuated. A thick, layer of fog-like smoke and ash was moving through the Navarro end of The Valley towards the Mendocino Coast. In two hours the Redwood Valley Fire had quadrupled in size, perhaps meaning that the inferno was generating its own wind. George Hollister said smoke and ash were thick in Comptche early Monday morning. At Rancho Navarro, a resident reported, “It is eerie dead still here this morning. Little sound, no movement, small ash floating down from a smoke filled sky, a deep orange sun behind the trees. And it’s cold. Hard to tell if there is any fog in the mix.” The “Diablo Winds,” as some people are calling them, blew late Sunday night and early Monday morning with gale force in many inland areas. By 4pm, smoke blanketed most of Mendocino County, including the Anderson Valley.
WE ADDED to the above all day Monday. At 9am we learned that CalFire Dispatch at the top of the Willits Grade was threatened. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila said three trucks from Anderson Valley had been sent over the hill to fight the inland blazes. Former Chief Colin Wilson was piloting the water tender, Clay Eubank, an engine, and later another water tender was assigned. Boonville’s CalFire station was deserted. The chief said he hoped everyone in The Valley would be “extra careful” because “everyone is stretched thin.” All hands and equipment had been sent east where, as of 10am, both the Potter and Redwood Valley fires were raging uncontained. Aerial firefighters couldn’t make drops because smoke obscured visibility. The Governor declared an emergency for Napa and Sonoma counties where “mass evacuations” were underway. Trader Joe’s and K-Mart at the north end of Santa Rosa were destroyed by fire, which had leaped the freeway into the industrial area west of 101. When we heard that Cardinal Newman High School, the Hilton Hotel and the Luther Burbank Center had been destroyed, and it was only 10:30am, we gave up trying to count disasters. And they just kept on coming. At 11:40am the Redwood-Potter fire had burned 4500 acres with still zero containment. A man was arrested when he was observed looting an evacuated home. 410 people were on the fire lines, 26 engines. The statistics of displaced persons and destroyed homes makes the Redwood Fire the most destructive natural event in Mendocino County since the ’06 earthquake and fires.
AS WE WENT TO PRESS MONDAY EVENING, fires were burning in Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba counties. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported a fire-related death south of Willits. Capt. Gregory Van Patten said a fire surged early Monday from Potter Valley west toward Redwood Valley as wind gusts downed power lines and trees. Evacuations were ordered, but the fire burned structures, killed one person and caused numerous injuries, he said. The California Highway Patrol said that it had rescued 42 people, ranging from age 5 to age 91, by helicopter. Five dogs and a cat were also airlifted to safety. The causes of all the fires remain under investigation. Ed note: Power lines should be buried. If PG&E were the “public utility” it claims to be, lines everywhere would be undergrounded.
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AS OF MONDAY EVENING, the Redwood/Potter Fires had grown to over 19,000 acres, involving one fatality and two serious injuries. 410 fire personnel with 26 engines, 8 crews, one helicoper, four dozers and five water tenders were working hard to get a fire line and protect hot spots, but still no containment as resources around the state are stretched thin with lots of large fires to deal with.
THE FOLLOWING is miscellaneous fire coverage from a variety of sources.
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REDWOOD VALLEY FIRE UPDATE
Ukiah, California: October 9, 2017
On Monday, October 9, 2017, a major fire broke out in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. There have been mandatory evacuations in Redwood Valley (all of the Redwood Valley Floor) south to Highway 20. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated and is being operated by the Office of Emergency Services (OES) with the assistance of the Executive Office.
There are shelters open at Ukiah High School, Ukiah Fairgrounds for animals and livestock, as well as Ukiah Animal Shelter. Willits has a shelter in place at the Civic Center. The County is currently accessing needs for additional shelters, the County will provide more information as if becomes available.
For update to date fire information, evacuations notices or to locate family at a shelter, please contact the EOC at (707) 467-6428.
Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
Gregory Van Patten, Incident PIO, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office
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ESCAPING SANTA ROSA
A first hand account
by David Severn
Sunday afternoon I went down to Santa Rosa, Kenwood actually, to spend the night with my daughter Jill before rising at 3:00 am to continue the journey to Alcatraz to participate in the Indigenous Peoples Day Sunrise Ceremony.
At 12:30 I awoke to a howling and thrashing wind that pulled me outside for the experience of being submersed in such energy and wonder. The power was out and It was unusually warm and exhilarating. A smell of smoke and a soft orangish glow off to the East hinted at what was to come. I thought of fire but the glow didn't flicker and I heard no sirens so I thought it might be the glow of lights against a fog. I lay for an hour listening and wondering until my daughter came in and said "Dad, there's a fire." Someone had texted her to see if she was alright. We went outside to to discover that now the glow lay in all four directions. We were surrounded. Yet, still no sirens.
Clothes went on and shoes and we went door to door in the cul de sac arousing neighbors. The radio told us of the big event unfolding. We pondered then decided on evacuation. Upon reaching Hwy 12, to the right could be seen flames, not just glow and it appeared that all of commercial Kenwood not a mile down the road was ablaze.
Jill and her husband, Peter, made their way to Sebastapol while I drove home to Philo. At 3 or 4 am there were people everywhere downtown Santa Rosa. Some just standing around in the parking lots, some in packed lines trying to get gas in their cars and many, many on the roads trying to get to safe shelter. Whenever I chanced to talk with someone there was a sense of sullen camaraderie, always a brief story and a lot of questions. One couple lost their house.
One had to wonder, too, how many people were still asleep and unaware. My grandson, Otto, ordered to evacuate his Santa Rosa house, said it took three hours to Petaluma.
I did luckly find gas with only about 15 minutes wait and fumbled my way on back roads to Westside Rd. that took me around the closed 101 freeway to Healdsburg. Again long lines at every gas station and a restaurant on the north side full of evacuees. There I met another couple who had lost their house near Fountain Grove. The man smiled and said "Hey, We're here. And I got my 72 Malibu."
I knew that the biggest blaze was 20,000 acres around Calistoga but I was surprised to see what appeared to be thousands of acre burning on the mountains above Geyserville. In Cloverdale more long lines at the gas stations and a woman buying cases of bottled water told me that Redwood Valley was burning and evacuated. Then I heard about Potter Valley.
As I write this my daughter Jill informed me by phone that the Kenwood community of Oakmont that we had fled from early this morning was officially evacuated so now we are worried some more for the house.
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Juanita came home from work at about 8:30am, woke me up, apprised me of the fire situation (Cotati, near Rohnert Park, south of Santa Rosa). The smoke is much worse than when I went to bed at 4:30am. I went to get gas and there was a line, but not a long line yet, and it was cash-only, but there was still gas. I put our good computers and hard drives and my 50-year-old guitar, a bag of clothes and vitamins, and the leftover pickles from my radio show, in the car, and got the bird ready for the bird carrier, in case we have to evacuate; some neighborhoods north of us were instructed to; because of that they're short-handed at Juanita's work so she had to go back.
I looked at the fire map then (about 9am), and the fire east of here was miles closer than it said last night. The downstairs neighbor girl said she's been watching teevee, and fire has burned the Luther Burbank center and crossed Highway 101 about there. Her mother, two doors over, loaded her little electric car and took it to the fire station to charge it up.
The CalFire fire-map website is unavailable --probably slammed with curious people like me; I feel guilty for peeking. The air looks like I remember from Los Angeles in the early 1960s before the advent of clean-air gasoline and the incinerator ban, except here it's slightly browner than milky/sandy. A light ash is falling on the parking lot. Last I looked, a woman I don't recognize was standing out there near the dumpster, looking around, bored, smoking a cigaret. Attagirl, that's the spirit!
With the windows shut now and the power so far as smooth as ever, and the air filter turned all the way up, it's entirely tolerable indoors. I'm gonna go back to bed in case I have to be all spry and useful later; I hurt my back a little yesterday on my way to film the play, twisting and lifting at the same time; don't do that. My mother just phoned from Little River and said somebody on her teevee --"Thanks for the teevee, by the way; I love it"-- told her they're looting in Rohnert Park. Hmm. Well, that's a young man's game; I'm not up for that.
More later, if the space aliens don't land and declare martial law. I imagine they'll wake me up if they need me.
Oh, the woman is still out there, smoking away. Imagine being so prepared and having all those cigarets ready for any emergency.
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Willie's Wine Bar No More
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THE LA TIMES is running the most extensive print coverage of the Big NorCal fires:
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PD: VINTNERS SCRAMBLE AS WILDFIRES ERUPT ALONG THE NORTH COAST
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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS OFFERING MEALS TO REDWOOD VALLEY EVACUEES
The following locations will be serving dinner to evacuees tonight at 6:00 p.m.:
Coyote Valley Casino Event Center
7751 N State St, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
Ukiah Elks Lodge
1200 Hastings Rd, Ukiah, CA 95482
Further press releases are forth coming as the Redwood Fire progresses.
The County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has been activated. The EOC number is (707) 467-6428.
Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
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AIR QUALITY ADVISORY
For Mendocino County
Monday, October 9, 2017
The Redwood Complex Fire in Mendocino County is affecting the air quality in areas of Redwood Valley, Willits, Potter Valley, and Ukiah and may impact other areas of the County. Until the fire is contained, changes in wind direction and temperatures could increase the impact to inland areas of Mendocino County.
Currently smoke concentrations are averaging in the 'Good' to 'Moderate' AQI range for most of Mendocino County although, particulate matter concentrations may be in the 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' to 'Unhealthy' ranges in the smoke impacted areas.
Air quality in the “Unhealthy” range affects everyone. Smoke in heavy concentrations can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. All others should limit prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke. When air conditions are 'Unhealthy' everyone should limit prolonged or heavy exertion activities outdoors.
New fire activity and wind directions can change at any time. It is advised to be prepared and stay informed. Impacts to the air quality will be most noticeable in the evening to early morning hours.
Persons experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact a health care provider: Headache; Repeated Coughing; Chest Tightness or Pain; Difficulty In Breathing; or Nausea. Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has monitors running 24-hours a day measuring our air quality. These monitors report particulate matter concentrations hourly to the air District’s website. To get the latest air quality information for Mendocino County visit: www.mendoair.org.
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SONOMA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE: 6 DEAD IN SANTA ROSA FIRES
The deaths were reported by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in the Coffey Park and Fountaingrove neighborhoods.
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2017- 29612 REDWOOD COMPLEX FIRE PRESS CONFERENCE
As of 10-09-2017 at 4:00 PM public safety efforts continue in response to the Redwood Complex Fire impacting the areas of Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Willits in Mendocino County.
In an effort to provide the most comprehensive and accurate information as to the incident, Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas D. Allman will be facilitating a press conference on 10-10-2017 at 8:00 AM in front of the Mendocino County Administrative Building (501 Low Gap Road in Ukiah, California).
The County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) remains open at this time.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My buddy Spot has a ton of fire experience as a mascot with the Frisco department. He and I are on red alert for Boonville in case the fire comes over the hill from Redwood Valley. I don't think Skrag there has any idea what’s going on.”
THE COUNTY OF MENDO has had a problem with high personnel turnover for years. People get hired here and, at the first opportunity of higher pay and better chances for advancement, leave for another county. The DA has just seen five prosecutors leave for greener pastures, and we've just learned that one of our favorite administrators in the County CEO'S office, Alan Flora, has departed. Where Flora has departed for is not known. The rumor is that he had personal difficulties with CEO Carmel Angelo.
MEANWHILE, over at the Superior Court, their honors refuse to even acknowledge the present status of, it is presumed, former Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham. The judges apparently spent months "investigating" Ms. Markham for on-duty sexual hijinks before they finally relieved her of her duties, placing her on paid leave, all the while thoroughly non-personing her.
ALAN FLORA didn't just resign his position as the number two man in County admin, he just up and walked out a week ago without the usual weasel-lipped presser about how he was sorry to be leaving such a hard-hitting administrative apparatus with a long list of "accomplishments" appended. There was no going away party, no nothing. Trouble with the boss? Could be. Flora was recruited by CEO Angelo to be her successor. He was brought over from Lake County to work Lake's magic in Mendo. But the abrupt departure hints at something more. Even disgruntled employees give 30 or more days notice then use up vacation time before they shuffle off.
BETSY CAWN on Flora’s sudden disappearance: "Lake’s magic or Mendo’s mumbo-jumbo? No diff on this side of the Cow — the 'boy wonder' leaves everyone wondering, again! Look for some mess that his departure protects from scrutiny, like the recent (unexplained/unjustified) department head raises, and the extended paid leave for the head of the probation department, the mental health services mysteries, and marijuana merry-go-round that theoretically empowered the expansion of employee services without any reservation of commitment to establish actual revenue achievements. Wheee!"
INTRIGUING update in the current Mendocino County Observer by Jayma Shields Spence. She writes: "Asha Kreimer, 26 years old, went missing from a Point Arena cafe in 2015. The Sheriff's Office was told by her family recently that she may have taken an assumed name since then. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has updated a two-year-old missing person case, receiving new information…"
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE hasn't said what the new information is, but apparently it involves a suspicion at least that Ms. Kreimer is among the living. The following describes the young woman's improbable disappearance:
IN OCTOBER OF 2015, we wrote:
Asha Kreimer is a 26-year-old Australian female with dark, long curly hair. She is 5'9", about 120-130 pounds, pretty thin and has olive colored skin. Her mom has flown in from Australia and is searching Point Arena for clues on where Asha was last seen. Asha was experiencing what her mother believes to be bi-polar episodes and spent the day at Fort Bragg hospital being evaluated. She was later released to her boyfriend Jamai Gayle. Jamai (an abbreviation of “Jamaica”?), who lived with Asha in Albion, has told Jeannie that he took Asha for a drive down the coast with Asha's friend Sally. (We suspect that “Gayle” is not Jamai Gayle’s real name — his facebook page indicates that he’s spent a lot of time in Jamaica, specifically a “settlement” in Saint Mary Parish, Jamaica, named “Gayle” where he seems to have adopted the white-rasta affect. His facebook page says his “education” is “graduate of McAteer High School,” a now defunct alternative performing arts school in San Francisco that folded back in 2002 under accusations of poor educational performance and bad management.) An employee at a Coastal Cafe where Asha and Jamai stopped said that Asha seemed agitated and got up to go to the restroom and never came back. Somehow Jamai ended up with Asha's cellphone. No one has seen her since. According to Jeannie, Jamai's story has changed a few times and there are not many clues as to where Asha may be. Please share this info. If you or anyone you know have clues or saw Asha on or after the day she went missing.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Yup, the marijuana impact certainly is different. Some sections of local rivers don’t even ‘run’- thanks (in part) to pot grows. Sections of the Eel “disappearing”, anyone? Those that do run are largely low, warm and filled with blue-green algae- again, thanks to local grows.
The impact has been well documented, but as a primer: an unsustainable number of people operate marijuana grows, many of whom siphon water from *our* rivers (or feeder streams). These same people are often most concerned with the size of their bud
as an aside
(it’s possible that they feel the need to overcompensate for some other aspect of… well, we can leave that for their psychotherapist… if they ever stop masking sympoms with chemically induced euphoria, sell the oversized truck and dump this year’s grow hoe…).
Anyway… the ‘size matters’ philosophy often encourages growers to over water and over fertilize (not to mention those who use rat poison or pestisides). The excess water flushes a significant amount of this extra fertilizer back into our local water supply. The introduction of such high levels of plant nutrient, coupled with higher water temps from the already low water volume, creates the perfect environment for blue-green algae. voila! local swimming spots that can be deadly to dogs and can make people sick.
I could also talk about local communities who can’t even count on having enough water to flush their toilets during growing season?
We need to tell these people that Nor Cal is a terrible place to grow herb. Our area has a lot of “knowledge” when it comes to cannabis production/genetic modification/extraction, because this was considered a good place to hide grows. Since that’s no longer necessary, I think it’s high time we encourage these people to take their show on the road. They can take their problems down to the central valley- or anywhere else that has the infrastructure, land and labor to deal with them.
We need to tax the crap out of this drug so that we can repair the damage that these criminals (yes, people growing before legalization, or any medical growers who don’t adhere to the regs. are criminals) have caused. We also need that money to provide drug treatment and mental health services, both of which are already inadequate. We need to invest NOW to make sure that we have enough treatment capacity for people who want help quitting or who experience mental health issues (most seriously schizophrenia) as a direct result of using cannabis. We also need to up our law enforcement game. We need LEO’s who are highly qualified and highly trained. Specifically, we need to ensure public safety and eliminate drug related robberies/theft/home-invasions while also engaging in more verbal/non- (or less) lethal deescalation of situations where LEO’s interact with mentally unstable/psychotic individuals.
Somehow I don’t think that the laughably small sq.ft. tax on grow operations will provide money to benefit anyone, let alone the priorities that I’ve mentioned. It’s sad to see how far this beautiful area has fallen in the last decade and even more so to think of the bleak future that this drug haven has in store.
ANDERSON VALLEY NURSURY FALL PLANT SALE
October 6 - 30; Fridays, Saturdays & Mondays; 10 AM to 2 PM
Locally Grown California Native and Mediterranean Plants
Restoration, Rural landscaping, Resilient gardens
Trees * Shrubs * Perennials * Grasses * Ferns * Vines
Prices 20% to 30% below retail - Sale limited to stock on hand
Anderson Valley Nursery – Since 1978
Mountain View Road (across from the high school)
Boonville, Phone 895-3853
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 9, 2017
BRET BENGSTON, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
SKYLER DOTY, Redwood Valley. DUI.
LISA HODGES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
STEVEN KING, Willits. Failure to appear.
GEORGE LAFORCE, Ukiah. Under influence, paraphernalia, felon in possession of stun gun, disobeying court order.
SHAWN LANE, Ukiah Probation revocation.
RICHARD LOVATO, Ukiah. Parole violation.
RICHARD MACK, Fort Bragg. DUI causing bodily injury.
MILES MCNEELY, Santa Rosa/Willits. Pot possession while driving, suspended license, failure to appear.
RICHARD ORTIZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SESARIO RIOS, Hopland. Community supervision violation.
JONAH OTWELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LARRY ST.LAURENT, Willits. Felon/addict with firearm.
CURTIS TORNAI, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.
FROM A PUBLISHED POET in the 70s to a newspaper columnist in the 80s and 90s, Jim Gibbons emerged in the 21st Century with enough flashbacks of the good old days for a book or two. His most recent essays can be read in the Anderson Valley Advertiser out of Boonville, California (theava.com). Thanks to the HWG, he hopes to have his first book in 47 years out real soon.
NO JOY IN TRUMPVILLE
by James Kunstler
I took advantage of the calm before the storm, to pay a visit on Saturday to my hometown, Trumpville, a.k.a. Manhattan. My college buddy had a son who was acting in an off-Broadway play (closing night, so don’t bother asking). The city I knew as a kid — which, frankly, I never liked very much — seemed as lost and far away as Peter Stuyvesant’s quaint Dutch colonial outpost did to me in 1962.
That lost city of my childhood was one in which a boy could breeze right into the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a weekday afternoon — my school was one block away from it — without the least hindrance. The place was free. There was no “donation” shakedown at the entrance. And hardly anyone was there. Do you know why? Answer: because most of the adults on the island were at work. It was a mostly middle-class city back then.
I know. It’s hard to believe, given the more recent developments in American life — the salient one being the extreme and perverse financialization of the economy. That is actually what you see manifested on-the-ground (and up-in-the-air) when you visit New York these days. To be specific, what I saw sitting on a bench along the High Line — a walking trail built on an old railroad trestle through the former Meatpacking District into Chelsea — was all the wealth of the flyover states funneled into a few square miles of land on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
As I watched the endless stream of tourists and hipsters stride by in their selfie raptures, I pictured the various downtowns of the Midwest I’ve visited over the years — St Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Louisville, Tulsa, and many more — and remembered the incredible desolation of their centers. There was no one there, certainly no tourists or hipsters, really no activity to speak of. They were ghost cities. The net effect of financialization has been the asset-stripping of every other place in America for the benefit of a very few cities on the coasts, and especially the financial engineers within them.
Thus, the ironic rise of New Yorker Trump as the avatar and supposed savior of all those people “out there” in their dying hometowns and beyond. And their tremendously bitter enmity against the “blue” coastal elites, of which Trump is a nonpareil exemplar. History is a trickster.
What I also saw sitting on that bench facing west along the High Line, but also everywhere else I traipsed around the island that day, was the stupendous array of construction cranes against the sky, hoisting slender condominium towers into the clouds, many of them fifty stories and more. To me, it was a very ominous sight. Business cycles can be traced far back in history, but the cycles of these late techno-industrial times have been marked by the most extremes of extremity, and the current one is the dooziest of all.
And, of course, real estate development probably tends to greater extremes as a cycle within the greater economic cycle. Real estate booms and busts have come to characterize modern times, along with never-ending war and ecological carnage. The reason real estate rises and falls so dramatically is, it takes so much time to get these mega-projects permitted and to arrange the complex financing, and then built, then to market the units within. A project gets underway under one set of economic circumstances, and by the time it’s completed, things have changed. Say, a foreign country such as China or Russia puts capital controls on money fleeing its shores, and suddenly there are no foreign billionaires and oligarchs bidding on apartments in New York as a supposedly safe stash for their wealth. That dynamic is underway right now… as the cranes continue to hoist I-beams and glass claddings into the sky.
It’s easy to see that the skyscraper boom in Manhattan is going to end in a fantastic real estate bloodbath. It will accompany the general crash of the debt-fueled financialized economy, like the clanking, groaning, musical score of a horror movie. Unlike previous real estate debacles, these scores of skinny condo towers will not recover, even if they are sold in bankruptcy for dimes on the dollar. They may never even become slums. They will simply be uninhabitable cells in decrepitating buildings that can’t be maintained, because the capital won’t be there to enable it and the financing model based on the deconstruction of real estate rights — i.e. condo-ization — will be dead.
The skyscraper bust will also mark the end of the hypertrophy of New York and, eventually, of all mega-cities like it. They’ve exceeded a scale that will permit them to be maintained and repaired, and when financialization founders on its false foundations, there will be nothing left to support that way of life.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)