Thursday, December 28, 2006

Community Blogs In Tracy

Just learned today that our local community paper, Tracy Press, has on its website initiated a listing of community blogs in the City of Tracy. And this humble blog (including my spin-off blog, Hobbies and Pastimes) were included on the list, clearly because I include Tracy as my location in my Blogger’s profile.

Clearly also, this move is a good first step. To acquaint ourselves with members of the local blogosphere. Apart from the staff bloggers of Tracy Press, two other bloggers listed are quite familiar with me, Tracy Today and Tracy Real Estate, both having been in my blogroll for quite a while.

However, I do feel a tinge of guilt being listed as a member of the Tracy community blogs because I have not really blogged anything about Tracy, whether social or political in nature or otherwise.

A big part of the problem has been because we are new residents of Tracy, having really not completely severed ties with our old neighborhood and city in San Mateo County. With the old residence already on escrow, hopefully the New Year will allow me and the wife to settle permanently at our digs in Tracy, and allow us to get to know our new environs a little better. A married daughter lives with her family also in Tracy.

Let it be said that Tracy Press, which we find in our driveway most days of the week, has been a valuable tool in our introduction to the local scene.

It is an earnest resolve then to start blogging about Tracy when the New Year rolls in.

To everybody on the list, glad to know your acquaintance and may the coming year bring in more opportunities to learn more about each other.

More power!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

About A Film

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Yesterday afternoon, while preparing to reheat overnight foodstuff for a late lunch, the wife decided to channel-surf and ended on a rather dreary beginning credits to a black and white film, quite obviously from some distant past.

After several night-time scene cutaways astutely showing a motley group of people agonizing and trying to cope with their personal problems, I had lamely asked the wife to move to another channel. Like the one showing those grand old Westerns shot in those wondrously beautiful locales in the Old West.

But she had calmly persisted, more to show who's boss rather than having a special liking for this dark film, which I did initially think was a film noir by some obscure film-maker.

Anyway, decided to bear the expected ennui and sit quietly intent on finishing the meal remnants.

Suddenly, after more dreary scenes which put together started to shed more light on the locale, a sudden bolt of recall came to my consciousness. Scenes of overhead trains, remnants of the old El in New York. Train stations scenes with familiar turnstiles and ticket booths. The different characters slowly but surely being drawn to a train station, very late in the night or very early in the morning.

And suddenly, the vague recollection from some distant past gelled into something recognizable and communicable. Thus, I blurted out: I have seen this movie as a younger man and at the end one of the soldier passengers, his right hand on a sling, is going to be knifed by a hoodlum on the train, because he is the only one brave enough to confront evil.

Indeed, the film was The Incident by Larry Peerce, and made in 1967.

For the curious, one doesn't need to rent the VHS which came out in 1989, I learned.

For this blogsite has most of the skinny, with liberal sprinkling of screen captures from the actual film, over a hundred of them. And some audio clips and the actual musical score.

It featured a cast of characters many will recognize even to this day. The soldier with the broken arm was played by Beau Bridges, son of the late Lloyd Bridges and elder brother to Jeff Bridges. A young Martin Sheen, playing the noisy but cowardly punk. A young Donna Mills, pretty and blond. Then old reliables like Gary Merrill and Jan Sterling. Even host Ed McMahon was in it. Yes, he acted before being known as a TV host. And evil personified played well by Tony Musante, a face you love to hate. He played a queer character in Sinatra's The Detective. Director Peerce is known more for his TV works, Wild Wild West and Batman.

Why was this memorable for me, thriving latently in some forgotten corner of my memory all these years?

Because it exposes in graphic clarity the classic confrontation and mortal combat between pure, pristine, and humble "good" against a pure and unmitigated incarnation of "evil".

Furthermore, it also exposes the very thin and easily breached veneer of polite and civilized society. How when we are faced with actual evil, we find ourselves not up to the challenges that we thought we could easily and proudly surmount.

We find ourselves playing uncharacteristically the role of "appeasers" of evil, exerting utmost efforts to play "safe" against evil. Both assiduously and frantically trying to parry and deflect all its attempts to harm us personally and somewhat hoping it moves elsewhere to cast its ugly spell.

In the end, in spite of being hobbled and disadvantaged by man himself, good triumphs using the same means evil uses - violence.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gift Giving: Economics Vs Intangible Values

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This is the day after Christmas. The much-anticipated day when retail stores collide with hordes of shoppers, the latter armed with tons of unwrapped gifts received but to be returned either as unexpected, unwanted, ill-fitting, or simply dispensable. And the former for their parts, ably fortified with inventory prices slashed to the bare bones, backed with everything down to the kitchen sink to lure those harried shoppers into the premises and shrewdly attempt to divest them of funds coming either from returns credits, from leftover or hoarded disposable funds, or from the now greatly favored and ubiquitous gift cards that retail stores have flooded the markets with.

In the US alone, perky TV newscasters wading into crowded stores and blending in with the packs of early-bird shoppers have been blaring all day about what this auspicious day promises to be. They authoritatively lecture listeners that retail sales for the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas will account for 25% of yearly sales, and that profits from this same abbreviated period will account for about 60% of yearly profits, making it the retailers’ most profitable period for the year. Fearless forecasts peg that total sales for this day will most likely exceed those on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the Saturday before Christmas, traditionally the best sales day for the entire year. This year sadly both dates could not break the 10 billion dollars mark for all those stores included in the reported surveys.

Thus, from a strictly Economics point of view, most early prognostications are generally upbeat. Score a big point for the dismal science. But on the downside, the same science in another vein exposes to us inefficiency in the current practices of gift giving, exclusive and apart from the ritual of massive returns of gifts which characterizes this day’s activities. And it is that by and large, when surveyed and polled gift recipients project a rather dreary unintended consequence about gifts received. For when asked about their estimates of the value of gifts received or how much they themselves would pay for the gifts received assuming they were needed by them, recipients typically undervalue the gifts or would spend considerably less for them if paying out of their own pockets. Undervalued by as much as 10% of how much the gifts actually cost, giving rise to what would be called a waste, or at the very least an inefficiency, in expenditure. Economists call it deadweight loss. Thus, had the recipient instead been given cash, he would have purchased the same for less price and get the same satisfaction. Now, to get perspective, if gift-giving in the US during the Christmas season amounts to over 50 billion dollars, and that would be a conservative estimate for actuals, we would have a loss of 5 billion dollars that could otherwise have gone to more productive undertakings, or put differently, allocated to more efficient application of resources. And we have not included here the other gift giving occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.

Remember the ubiquitous gift cards mentioned above? They appear to be an easy answer to this dilemma.

But wait.

The revered practice of gift-giving, very visible and highlighted during the Xmas holidays, is more involved than that, for one it is generally accepted as lying at a plane above the very mundane concepts and earthbound theories of Economics. Because beyond just cash or financial values, gift giving in the spirit of Christmas partakes precisely also of things spiritual, intangible and unquantifiable. We enter into the realm of sentimental values. Because in gift giving it is “the thought that counts, not the price of the gift.” The self-same mantra recalcitrant miserly givers are accused of pre-empting and hiding under.

Add to that what the economic theory of signalling may connote and assign to gift giving, which essentially claims that gifts act as signals from the giver to the recipient, allowing the recipient to gain a hoped-for balanced access to information that a giver may have for the recipient. To illustrate, in gift giving to loved ones, in a real way the actual gift of the giver makes known to the recipient how the giver feels about him or her. Thus, we popularly speak about sentimental values, which typically trump financial values of the gifts. An apt application of the trite axiom, the thought and not the price of the gift.

So what are we to make of this?

In such an obvious dilemma, I suppose a happy blending of Economics with sentimental values could work justifiably well for society collectively. But given the vagaries of unpredictable human behavior expect no abatement to the frenzied rush we call the day after Christmas shopping spree.

Just assure you give best diligent efforts to “signal” to loved ones the appropriate messages your gifts are supposed to convey – not only your showering love and attention, but also your workable understanding of their real needs and desires.

Or maybe, be the modern “old” Ebenezer Scrooge, not for his lack of moral clarity, but for the “perceived” economic benefits for being maybe not miserly, but frugal, thrifty, sparing, economical, austere, or what have you. But that’s another issue for another time.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Elvis On The Holidays

Courtesy of YouTube, here are some little offerings for the holidays:







PEACE TO ALL MEN OF GOODWILL!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

People Dying To Get to Colma, CA

A possible bumper sticker one may spot driving slowly, yes, slowly because one might miss the entire town if one blinks, along the abbreviated streets of Colma, CA.

To which a local resident may emit either a faint trace of a smile or a naughty smirk depending on his or her weather-borne disposition. And the why will be explained down the line.
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But the town’s official motto is a bit puzzling to any outsider, too. It reads: It’s great to be alive in Colma.

Anyway, it is a postage-stamp-size town or city of 2.2 square miles, hemmed in from the north by Daly City and by South San Francisco from the south. Thus, when I was living in Daly City, I could actually boast that when I was jogging I was doing so across three cities, Daly City, Colma, and So. San Francisco.

In 1924, cemetery operators got together and decided to locate their “operations” in one place. Thus, that intent gave birth to Colma as a necropolis. Presently, it has 17 equal opportunity cemetery sites, now euphemistically called memorial parks, along its borders; while the entire town or city itself is 73% zoned as such. Thus, it has proper burial sites for Greeks, Italians, Serbs, for Asians like Japanese, etc. And yes, also for different furry pets in a couple of pet cemeteries sharing side by side locales with the rest.

It is no surprise that the biggest landowners are a landholding company and of course, the Roman Catholic Church. Still this burgeoning town has about 1500 residents alive and doing well, but clearly outnumbered by their subterranean neighbors now numbering about 1.5 million.

And adding to the puzzlement of the place, Colma has a bit of a personality problem too, only to the outsider though. It is both a town and a city. And that is attributable to California Law, which makes town and city synonymous. The law states that a city is either one created by a charter or one created by general law. Colma is of the latter blend. Thus for its new spiffy image the signs in front of its municipal offices read: City of Colma, while the earlier engraved signs around town read: Town of Colma. Well, 1.5 million permanent residents pay no mind and will not be confused.

Like any town or city, Colma has its own government hierarchy to represent and rule over the 1500 residents, headed by a council. And this has been so even during lean times when the residents willing to relocate there were much less. One can imagine that the early “mandatory” residents were those connected to the “operations” – gravediggers, landscapers, flower growers, headstone makers. And maybe later, cremation technicians?

Not anymore, now somberly-hued residential buildings line the boundaries of some memorial parks, many facing the neatly-manicured and well-maintained lawns of the parks. Two elementary/middle schools are located within its borders. And many businesses are thriving there, too. Ubiquitous Home Depot has two sites. There are also a couple of shopping centers, and yes, many car dealerships still abound, tracing their origins to the early days of the place.

And yes, the most popular card room in the area named Lucky Chances is located in Colma, owned and operated by a FilAm; and given its bountiful revenues, one can rightly surmise that these bounties are scattered somewhat within the local community in terms of taxes and local consumption expenditures.

Also, for the first time in memory a FilAm was elected to its suddenly-important council, in the person of Joanne Del Rosario, a sister of former Philippine ambassador to the US Alberto Del Rosario. And this she won by the slimmest of margin, in a town where 25% are of Asian origins.

Because Colma is in California, it also shares in the surging real estate prices. A burial plot can cost from somewhere between $20,000 to $over 200K for a family plot.

While talking and viewing cemeteries and the dead may appear dismal and gross to many, it does offer the curiosity angles, for the curious and the typical tourist to the place because Colma is no different from any other place. And this is apart from the beauty offered by the very attractive landscape designs, the exquisitely built structures, the nice chapels and ultra-modern above-ground mausoleums.

It also offers the celebrity angle. Tucked in one of its many cemeteries is where the legendary Wyatt Earp of the long-gone wild west is buried. And local legend and baseball icon Joe DiMaggio is buried there too in a Catholic cemetery, marked by a beaten path made by the many baseball fans hereabouts. And the burial place of songstress Tina Turner’s dog, reportedly buried wrapped in fur? Yes, one can find that there, too.

And personally, where my wife's late maternal grandmother and her father are also interred.

Credits
Credits

Monday, December 11, 2006

Coins Of The Biblical Realm

In the famous challenge to his kingship, Jesus Christ has given to us this now memorable Biblical statement:

Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. . .

We know that he was referring to the coin of the then Roman realm under which the Jews were obligated to pay tribute.

Click to read more.

Monopoly Has No Monopoly

Indeed, the game of Monopoly has no monopoly in the issuance of high denomination currency.

Think 100,000 dollars, US dollars that is, as one denomination.100000dollars

The US as late as January 9, 1935 printed and issued such a denomination as a gold certificate. Okay, so it was not really intended for general circulation.

Click to read more.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Fortress Of Solitude Revisited

The Fortress Of Solitude Revisited
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I know that many of us do have that “fortress of solitude” that we escape to to try to steady ourselves when the tempestuous times of our lives buffet us. I am even tempted to say that maybe everybody has one, whether deliberately defined or unconsciously peered into as the self’s defense mechanism against the at times overwhelming rigors of daily living.

But it might be a worthwhile exercise for many of us to find out how indeed we develop and maintain that “fortress of solitude” that enables us to maintain an even keel and not be pushed off the precipice edging sanity into insanity.

The idyllic years of youth for most of us can be counted to yield the most nostalgic and soul-stirring experiences that continue to encumber and colonize the memories of adult life. We reminisce about the boundless energies exhibited by youthful bodies and minds, when we felt we could do everything that we put our minds to. The unfiltered and seemingly unparalleled joys of discovery of the many allures and wonders of the ever-growing world that was hurtling away from us. The unconditional love and attention liberally showered by the people who loved and cared for us as children and as adolescents. The boundless trust and confidence shared by youthful friends in many moments of unexplainable angst and exhilaration.

In this past universe, we sought to define the existential parameters where our youthful lives were spun. The unforgettable family house, most likely of humdrum quality and really quite congested, where the entire family gravitated and adeptly swiveled around trying to get out of each other’s ways. The family table where many a memorable meal and family tête-à-tête transpired without form or design. The shared and barely-appointed rooms whose walls literally had ears to broadcast any and all secrets. The many local places that became the special hangouts for idle times with friends and relatives. And the local school where many friends, relatives, and siblings all went to and vied to see who the smartest or dumbest were. And yes, the little tucked-away vacation spots, where good fun time could be had for almost next to a song, or at times even free because friends and relatives were that generous and giving.

In fine, we sought to define the house and its usually drab surroundings that was exquisite “home” to our careless youth’s simple treasures, but especially where the multifarious cares of the world were so distant as to be unreal. Where, in hindsight, we found ourselves at peace and in serene congruence with the world we knew.

Thus, when we feel the overpowering onus of life’s burdens crushing on frail shoulders, many of us do actually retrace those fading steps back to those halcyon days hoping to buy back relief and peace. Many of us do try to re-acquaint ourselves with the things that meant the world to us and which the harsh world of adulthood may have dulled or burnished over time. A close childhood friend, who was away from the old hometown for over 30 years practicing medicine abroad, inconspicuously resettled over 4 years ago and practically kept himself in seclusion apart from visits to the familiar haunts of his youth. A few months ago, we learned that he had died, from a lingering illness that he also hid practically to himself except to immediate members of his family. The trip back obviously did not cure his physical ailment, or even the heartaches that may have laden him, but what he got was the precious care that he needed to tide him over.

But then, many of us cannot take that trip back to our childhood places to get some relief. Or those childhood places may actually be no more. So, what does one access to get some instant relief?

The present community we live in? The new loving friends we have collected? Or the good people at work?

But seeking the comforting shelter of “home” during a restless or stormy night may not be all that easy. However, a trusted friend may be available even during odd hours, or a “new” family who may have replaced the family of youth and thus, may provide the ever-available access or that special place to lay one’s head for a time. Of course a spiritual person may find that solace in prayer or meditation. But times will come, when no relief will make an appearance, and we may just have to rely on our own “sterner stuff” to steady our fraying nerves till the whole thing blows over and calm is restored.

Or it could simply be an inspiring book to read. Books that provide one with the vital roadmaps in negotiating through the “vale of tears” and guide one in traversing through by exploiting the authors’ own life experiences in handling chaos in their own lives.

Yes, seek ye your own “fortress of solitude”.

For life is not just . . . a job for Superman!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Lame-duck President and the Swan-like Senator

From the Wikipedia page of Senator-elect James H. Webb:

On November 28, 2006, it was reported that at a White House reception for those newly elected to Congress, Webb attempted to “avoid” President Bush, whom he criticized frequently on the campaign trail, and declined to stand in the presidential receiving line or have his picture taken with the president.

Reportedly, the president found Webb and asked him, “How’s your boy?”, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq. According to reports, Webb replied that he “really wanted to see his son brought back home”.

Bush responded,”I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing.” Webb responded that that was “between me and my boy”.

Accounts claim that Webb was so angered by the exchange that he was tempted to “slug” the president, and later when recounting the incident divulged “I’m not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall,”

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By now, this little incident between President Bush and Senator-elect James Webb of Virginia has raced through the media tracks so many times, it has become dizzyingly blurry and confusing. Many pundits and editorial writers with spare pens and spare time to write have weighed in to add their precious bits and pieces of unalloyed and unsolicited wisdom to this fray. Silly me, that’s what media pundits are expected to do and which they do with gusto.

Anyway, most possible discernible angles have been amply covered and vivisected by pundits of widely differing political stripes. Revered conservative columnist, Mr. George Will started the proverbial ball rolling, laying the blame on Mr. Webb for exhibiting such a disrespectful attitude toward the exalted office held by widely-ridiculed President George Bush. For her part equally renowned Ms. Peggy Noonan “creamed” the buttered-toast side of Bush inferring that the president did not show presidential “grace” with his curt retort to Mr. Webb’s initial response. A credible sign of the escalating loss of grace in public discourse and demeanor, she appears to opine. And the ball has been bouncing back and forth, all across traditional media and the blogosphere. So fast and furious, a detached observer may find the overall scenery muddled and confusing.

One may wonder how in this enlightened and overly-informed world we live in, these “simple” matters appear difficult to resolve and have to be subjected to bountiful discourse and incessant hand-wringing. It would appear that most public issues cannot be plotted out as either black or white, but typically as shades of gray.

But are there still widely-held traditional values and standards that do not change and have withstood the harsh onslaught of time and strife? And don’t these “absolutes”, if we could call them such, still count to help resolve issues similar to this with judicial firmness and finality?

Anyway, why not ask the opinion of the detachedly uninitiated, out of the loop, not so sophisticated, and whatever, you know, the man on the street side of things, and see what he thinks. Take me, for example.

Thus, like it or not, here’s my rather puny take, randomly scribbled, as understood from different sources read.

It is common knowledge that Mr. Webb “dislikes” the president though for what exact reason opinions are quite divided. And judging from the way President Bush has regarded and responded to those who do not share his views or the way he runs his presidency, which is with almost nonchalant inattention to their criticism and name-calling, he has not responded in like manner. Meaning, he does not in turn “dislike” Mr. Webb tit for tat, not publicly at least.

Now, the White House, occupied and represented by the President, hosts a reception for ALL newly-elected members of Congress. If Mr. Webb so dislikes the President that he cannot stand his presence, why did he attend the affair in the first place, knowing Bush as the host will try his best to greet and exchange shoptalk with everybody present? Unless he was angling for a confrontation, a public one at that. And that he got, regardless. So, he should have stayed home instead.

For his part, the President’s retort, “I didn’t ask you that”, may not be the most tactful nor polite way of handling and deflecting any possible outburst, but cannot people see it in their hearts that anybody suddenly and unexpectedly rebuffed in that manner may not have the perfectly-scripted answer at that precise moment and thus as a result, what came out was a rather challenging and maybe, inappropriate reply. Of course, the body language and/or the tone of voice could have revealed more of the President’s real attitude toward Webb’s initial reply. But publicly, Bush has been quite circumspect in his pronouncements, even granting his apparent inability at times to articulate his ideas in as deft and artful manner as those of his contemporaries or those who had occupied his exalted office in the past.

Thus, regardless of what Mr. Webb thinks of this person occupying this most exalted nationally-elected position, and as he is now himself a newly elected public official in this same republic, he ought to convince himself to show proper respect, deference, and decorum before that presence, and most especially in any public setting. And to publicly report that he had entertained the “temptation” to physically assault the president adds more to that disrespect for the office. It would have been to the unquestioned benefit of everybody concerned had Mr. Webb kept that thought privately.

For his part, I would think that the President would be taking the high ground and elevating his and his office’s stature even more, if he would just publicly accept and apologize for that blurted retort to Mr. Webb’s initial reply to his question, not necessarily because he meant it as a brusque retort but simply because Mr. Webb may have taken offense.

Then, we can all say, Amen.

Graphics credit

Friday, December 01, 2006

An Issue Close To "Home"

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As many may be aware the almost perpetually surging housing market in the US is in its painful throes of a steeply downward spiral of home prices or values for the past several months. Some areas more affected than others, while still other areas less perceptibly so.

But the more pressing issue now has become not whether overall real estate prices are going down, but whether the downward trends can show us that we indeed had a market bubble rather than surging markets firmly founded on good solid Economics fundamentals. And additionally, whether the bottom has been reached.

And the mostly subdued discussions, whether in the channels of traditional media or in the blogosphere and the Internet in general, continue to thrive amidst market fears that the slowly emerging data suggest that the bottom, whichever place it now resides, has not yet collided with the free-falling prices.

Invariably, one curious about the real estate markets learns to ingest and try to understand such germane concepts as housing starts, home sales, median prices of homes, sales of new or existing homes, interest and mortgage rates, conventional and unconventional modes of contracting mortgages, and not quite a few delving on more Economics concepts such as whether market indicators are leading or laggard, statistics, and then some.
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For many homeowners, and there are ever growing millions (at times reported at about 68% of the household population), are necessarily quite interested and attuned to the hard-to-define vagaries of these markets. After all, for most homeowners, their homes are their single biggest and most valuable investments in their life times. And nothing could be more suspenseful and traumatic than to be silent and helpless witnesses to the observable diminution in value of ones' biggest estate holding. Silent and helpless witnesses, since individually there is really nothing much that one can do but sit and wait about for either a loud or soft thud announcing the markets hitting bottom, which most times like a lightning strike, the sound heard typically comes after the flash. And then wait out some more, with the ever renewed hope that the climb back of home values will somehow ensue in a most expedient manner.

The sub-group of homeowners most affected by all these is the group that has houses already listed for sale in this chaotically unpredictable market, never mind the many housing developers who hold unsold inventories trying their level best to dispose of their hot potatoes. Significantly slashed prices and very liberal credit terms, including seller giveaways, are said to be the choice approaches in luring otherwise hesitant or gun-shy prospective homeowners to taking the great plunge. But I suppose most homeowners trying to selling existing will not have pockets deep enough to offer those goodies, without burning themselves with actual losses.

I unfortunately find myself in this thorny predicament having initially listed our old house at the later half of September of this year. It could have sold easily were it not for the prospective buyers reneging on the terms meted out to them by their bankers. We wasted some precious time there, and not helped much by the fast coming winter time, when home sales are traditionally expected in cadence with the temperature to dip low because of the holidays. Aside from precious attention of prospective buyers being distracted by the upcoming excitement and merriment of crassly commercialized Christmas tide, available funds are instead invariably channeled toward expenditures for gifts and celebratory gatherings and outings.
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Thus, the onset of the long wait, a bit disconcerting and costly.

I do feel I hold an ace in my sleeve. The optimist in me rearing its ever helpful head.

More gravely hit by this current housing debacle has been the newly-developed areas where new housing developments have been introduced, areas once sparsely populated. But other areas, especially older ones close to and around urban centers have more stable and price-insulated markets given that because of land use saturation not many new housing developments have been introduced. Which would have invited more homebuyers from other areas or encouraged existing homeowners to trade up and which in both instances create the overall effect of increasing the inventory of houses for sale over an above the normal inventory acquired through the normal flow of people leaving and entering the area.

And my unsupported prognosis is that such is the case with Daly City, especially the old part of the city that borders contiguously with San Francisco to the north. Land tracts available for new housing are practically nil even with the continued influx of new residents. This may indeed insulate the specific area from too harsh housing price fluctuations.

The city has traditionally been defined as a bedroom community, where workers from nearby San Francisco find comparatively affordable and conveniently located domicile.

While the state of California may be considered an epicenter for this upheaval because of the astronomically higher past gains in home prices, the above-described factor may help blunt some of the rippling effects of this price temblor.

On the downside, one has to realistically consider that many prospective homebuyers may already by priced out of the market considering the very high current prices.