RUSH: Lanita in Orange County, California. Hi. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: High, Rush. Mega black nuclear family dittos.
RUSH: Well, thanks very much. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Oh, thank you. I’m calling about the landslide that happened on the beach in Laguna in California.
CALLER: The mayor declared it a disaster area —
CALLER: — in order for the governor to come in and rebuild all these million-dollar homes —
CALLER: — and then they had a relief fund on the radio and I laughed out loud.
CALLER: Because the homes are worth between a million and $3 million and we —
RUSH: Yeah, but we… Wait a minute now. Wait just a second. We got to put that in perspective: a home in Laguna Beach worth a million to three million, I’ve seen these mansions. They’re shacks. They’re little starter houses anywhere else.
CALLER: Oh, not the ones that fell. See, that’s what they’re trying to get over on us. The ones that fell are huge. Yes, there are some houses in Laguna that are small but not the ones that are damaged.
RUSH: Okay. So you’re offended that these superrich homeowners are asking for a relief fund to rebuild their property. Their insurance probably doesn’t cover it. I don’t know if they have landslide insurance out there, mudslide insurance.
CALLER: No. The insurance — because I guess like 20 years ago, it fell once before, and so the insurance will no longer cover it, and they didn’t say — they probably do have lots of savings, but if the government is going to step in and rebuild, you know, let them do it.
RUSH: So you think this is unfair?
RUSH: Why? Well, who’s going to pay for it if the government doesn’t?
CALLER: Those people are millionaires. They could pay for it themselves.
RUSH: Oh, come on, you can’t say that.
CALLER: I don’t feel sorry for them.
RUSH: Most of these people are probably house poor. What kind of cars are in the driveways? They may have these million to $3 million houses but they’re probably driving Volkswagen Beetles.
CALLER: No, sir. No, sir. I don’t believe that. I believe that they are living very well and they just feel entitled. They feel like it’s okay. (Giggles)
RUSH: (Laughter) Lanita, I love you. You know, you’re trying to pull a good scam here on the #1 scam artist of this type.
CALLER: No, sir.
RUSH: See, I hear you laughing.
RUSH: You’re trying to get my goat with this.
CALLER: No, sir. I promise. On the radio, we have these women cryin’ about their homes.
RUSH: Oh, no. I believe this. I’m saying your opposition to it is what the joke is.
CALLER: I just can’t… I found it funny (giggle) more than anything else.
RUSH: You find it funny that the rich would be bailed out?
CALLER: Yes. I mean, what difference is it between farm subsidies or welfare?
RUSH: Well, how many… Let me ask you a question, Lanita. Seriously now. How many people — I don’t care how rich they are, how many people — have enough money to just replace a home that gets totally destroyed?
CALLER: No, no. What happens is, when you go to build the house, they tell you the risk involved and then you choose at that time —
RUSH: Oh, I see.
CALLER: — whether or not to build.
RUSH: I see what you’re saying. So you’re saying that people who purposely live near a floodplain, who then get flooded out and demand the government reimburse them, “No, no, no, no, no. You took the risk. You knew that river can flood.”
RUSH: Oh, now this I understand. I have driven through Cold Water Canyon I can’t tell you how many times, and there are people with houses on stilts on the side of a hill.
RUSH: And I would say I would not live there. There are people out on the deck enjoying their adult beverages as the sunsets. You wouldn’t get me in one of those stilt-borne houses on the side of a hill like that knowing what happens with mudslides out there. So I see your point. So they knowingly took the risk but they wanted the view of the ocean.
RUSH: Everything has a price. Everything has a price. Well but the government bails everybody else out, why not the rich?
CALLER: Oh, wow! (gasps) I guess. That just really hurt my feelings. I just couldn’t even believe it.
RUSH: Why are some people allowed to feel entitled and others are not? The whole country is. We’ve created a whole entitlement culture for as many people as possible. Why not the rich?
CALLER: Because this is a huge entitlement exclamation point. “Oh, I live in Laguna. Oh, I have a million-dollar house! It fell. I need some help.” I think that’s horrible.
RUSH: Well, let me tell you a little story. The area of the country — and I’m not going to bother to tell you why; you just have to trust me on this. I mean, I will tell you. It will just take me a little time. The area of the country with the highest property values is Jupiter Island Florida and it’s about 35 or 40 miles north of here. It’s up in Martin County and the reason primarily is it’s a small place and only certain people are allowed to build there. Houses have to be a certain size. There’s no middle class there. It’s all upper crust and it’s the wealthiest in terms of property value in the whole country. Now, the hurricanes hit very near there, two of them last year, and their beach was destroyed —
RUSH: — and they have asked the state —
RUSH: — to rebuild the beach in front of their homes, rather than — and if anybody has the money, you know, to go import sand from Saudi Arabia —
RUSH: — on a couple barges, these guys do, and, you know, the same reaction here. You should have seen the letters to the editor.
CALLER: I can’t believe it.
RUSH: You should have seen the editorials. There was outrage. “How dare these, the wealthiest among us want to prey on the poor by having the poor rebuild their beach!”
CALLER: (giggles) No. Rush, the point is that Governor Schwarzenegger is begging and pleading for us to do all these things, you know, with our budget and they would sit there on the beach and on top of everything say they’re going to rebuild.
CALLER: Let’s say the government gave them some money to buy a house, you know, a safer place. But never, ever to rebuild, you know, on the mountain that’s obviously sliding.
CALLER: It just bothers me.
RUSH: Well, I… Look, no, I’ve been Joshing. I understand why you’re upset.
RUSH: I even roped Snerdley in and Snerdley is looking at me wide-eyed in disbelief because he can’t believe what I’m saying. I’m just good at this.
CALLER: Oh, good.
RUSH: I would refer you to the Al Sharpton episode, folks, if you want to try to understand that in light of this.
CALLER: Do you know what, Rush? I love Walter [Williams] and you have really made a difference for me — and five years ago, I would not have recognized how horrible it was that they were asking for relief, so I appreciate you.
RUSH: Who is Walter [Williams]?
CALLER: Isn’t that the doctor guy that’s on there all the time? What’s his name?
RUSH: Walter Williams.
CALLER: Walter Williams! That guy.
RUSH: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. The guy who makes fun of his wife all the time who guest hosts this show.
CALLER: But, you know what, he speaks a lot of truth when you’re not there. I really like them.
RUSH: Well, I know. Absolutely. Why is he here?
CALLER: You know what? And you know that’s what I tell all my friends about you, because I get in arguments all the time, but you are on the radio speaking truth every day. Nobody can say, “Oh, that’s not true. That’s not true.”
RUSH: That’s right.
CALLER: So somebody needs to take a look at all that stuff.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate it. It is really an interesting societal thing, these people — and look, Lanita, I’m just going to tell you something now, and I’ve been cringing when I’ve watched the pictures of this, and the TV networks superimpose their graphics, “Multi! Million! Dollar Homes!” homes and then you see them and they’re multi-million dollar because of where they are and not because of the kind of home they are.
RUSH: They’re not that big. They’re not mansions.
RUSH: I haven’t seen all 18 that plummeted down the side of the hill but I have seen some that are halfway down and that are there, and you know what property values are in California throughout the state, and the closer you get to the ocean, no matter where you are, the higher the value goes, and it’s the dirt that is the cost — and how much oceanfront you have in some places.
RUSH: But the houses themselves, I mean, you could build a huge mansion for the $3 million — that it takes to build a little house out there — in Iowa or Arkansas, Missouri, or a lot of places in this country. Mississippi. Utah. It’s amazing.
CALLER: You know, I live in Orange County and a lot of people that I know are selling their homes as they retire and moving to Arizona or any other place and buying huge spreads.
RUSH: Idaho. A lot of Californians are going to Idaho.
RUSH: That’s because Mark Furman is up there to protect them.
CALLER: Oh, Lord.
RUSH: No, no. Why are they doing that? You know, why? They can’t afford those homes in retirement.
CALLER: Oh, that’s true.
RUSH: They can’t afford them in retirement. It’s just that simple. The cash flow is just too much. Their retirement pools, especially, just don’t throw off enough cash flow to be able to afford those homes — and then, okay, somebody’s going to come along and buy them and they do, but you’re getting the property values out there in relation to income and this has been going on in California — and New York, a lot of big cities, San Francisco — for a long, long time. It’s gotten to the point that the people who work in these cities can’t. Most of them can’t afford to live there.
CALLER: Well, yeah.
RUSH: That’s why you have two-hour commutes.
CALLER: I suppose. But then I will counter — and I learned this from you — that then you get more skills. You know, you just get an MBA and you get a better job and all.
RUSH: Well, now, that’s interesting too. I’m glad you mentioned that, because in my stack of stuff today, I have an op-ed written by a college president who’s beginning to question the value of a college indication. His point is: If a family would take four years times the tuition cost it takes to send your kid to a good school, and put it in an investment account, the kid would end up with more money in that investment account in 20 years than he will with a job he gets from his college degree, on odds, because of the high cost of tuition at a lot of universities. I’m not denigrating education. I appreciate it. What you’re basically saying: “All right, fine. You want this, here’s the work you have to do to get it,” and I totally support that, you know?
RUSH: Right. Okay. Well, look, I got to run here but it’s been great talking to you Lanita.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. You have a great day!
RUSH: You too — and we’ll be back here in just a second. I still don’t understand why everybody else’s homes can get destroyed and it will be paid for by the government, why not the rich? Well, this is including the big super mansion, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Nobody knew the hill was going to come down. Nobody could have predicted it. Not when it was going to happen. If somebody would have told him, “The hill was going to come down in 2005 or ‘6,” he could have sold it before it came down but he didn’t know that. We’re bailing out all these people on floodplains. We bail out people all over the place. Yet we don’t bail out the rich. We say, “No, you can’t take the money from the poor. It would be taking the money from the poor if we bailed you out,” and so forth. It’s all about punishing the rich, class envy and so forth. But if we’re going to have an entitlement culture, why not let everybody participate.
RUSH: All right. Since the subject of the Laguna Beach landslide has come up, I’ve got a story here from the LA Times about it today, and I’ve got also that column that I wanted to share with you from the college president asking, “Is college worth the money?” But I’m going to tell you what my first thought was, and it’s all a product of conditioning. You know, I live on the beach. I don’t live on a hillside but I live on the beach, and of course you live on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean you’re in the middle of potential hurricane path for six months of the year. You can deal with that any number of ways. I’ll just give you an example. If you live on the beach where I live and you want hurricane insurance, you’ve got two choices: a deductible of $2 million a year or a deductible of $500,000. They don’t want to sell it to you, is the point. Second thing: every year the state moves the coastal construction line further away from the waterline, from the beach, from the waterline, on the basis that if we keep moving you further away, you’ll be safer if such a storm comes. An example: Where I live right now, if I wanted to rebuild my house and tear it down, I would be subject to the new coastal construction line. I would have to move probably another 40 feet west, which would reduce the amount of property I own that I can build on. So the state’s telling me, “You can’t build close.”
“Wait a minute! I’m insuring it myself. I’m not going to be coming to you and saying, ‘If my house gets blown away, I want you to rebuild it.'”
“We’re worried about your safety.”
“I’m going to get out of here if a hurricane comes. I’ve got this lot. I want to use it X way for building.”
“You can’t: the coast.”
Now, you can get a variance. You can go to the state; you can apply for a variance to build beyond the coastal construction line, and it takes two years to get it, but you can do it and it can be granted. They’ll tell you, “You got to build your house up a little higher,” which is a neat trick because the town won’t let you do that because they’ve got height requirements. You can’t have a house any higher than X, according to a town ordinance. But if the state says, “Well, you want to build beyond the coastal construction line. Here’s your variance, but you got to raise it three feet.” You do it and you screw the town, and you get what you want, but it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money to go file these papers and conduct the hearings and so forth. So when I saw those houses go down in Laguna Beach, I knew what the ultimate decision on this is going to be. Some state, city or local government is going to say, “You know what? You can’t build there anymore. That hillside has to be barren in case there’s another slide. We don’t want any more property loss. We don’t want any more damage. You’re not going to be able to build there.” Lo and behold, LA Times headline: “To many in Laguna Beach, that mansion was too much. Some blame the home for the slide, but experts doubt that. Still, it’s seen as building excess. — It sat on an unstable hillside 6300 square feet of concrete, stucco and glass overlooking the ocean, the embodiment of the California dream, and to some an oversized symbol of coastal development run amuck.” The environmentalists are going to move in there.
You don’t have to worry about rebuilding these rich people’s homes because these sandal-clad, long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking FM-types in their SUVs and redwood decks are going to come along and try to get no home allowed to be built on those hillsides in Laguna Beach. That’s going to be the end result of this. So you’re not going to have to repay for some more schlub’s house to be rebuild because he’s not going to be allowed to. “By Bluebird Canyon standards, the low-slung modernist house in Laguna Beach was a palace that dominated the hillside like a miniature palace…” Come on, 6,300 square feet? I don’t care where it is anywhere is not a palace. Where I live, it’s a library, maybe, but it’s not a palace. This is my exact point: 6,300 feet is a big house? It’s not a palace. A palace. Think Versailles. A palace is a palace. It’s a castle. It’s where kings live. This is a 6,300 square feet house, very big, very nice, but it’s not even a mansion. Well, seriously, folks. We’re talking about words here. The Democrats are trying to come up with new ways to win elections based on words. This is not a palace. Words mean things. “But the mansion…” Oh, now it’s down to a mansion, next paragraph. “But the mansion,” So we’ve gone from palace to mansion, “built by investors in 2001 never sold. It had never been occupied. Defects riddled the property, and the super-sized house insulated the…” I’ve got to take a break here, but you see where I’m headed with this? It’s too big. It was too wealthy. Nobody ever wanted it. We’re not going to build anything here again.
RUSH: Now, let me continue with this LA Times story here on the Laguna Beach landslide. “[T]he mansion, built by investors in 2001, never sold and had never been occupied. Defects riddled the property, and the super-sized house insulted the sensibilities of some local residents who dubbed it ‘the mausoleum’ and thought it too big for the geologically sensitive area. The ‘Sinatra house’ so named by locals based on false rumors that relatives of singer Frank Sinatra owned the property is now a wreck, its once-sleek lines a jumble of obtuse angles. It was among the roughly 18 homes destroyed or badly damaged in Wednesday’s landslide in Bluebird Canyon. The home’s size immediately fueled speculation that the structure somehow led to the slope’s failure.” So they’re blaming one house for this, and the way that they blame one house for this is so that they can limit the size of other houses or limit houses, period. I’ll guarantee you that’s what this is. “Geologists…” and of course nobody’s blaming the rain. Nobody’s blaming nature. It’s what man did. Man caused that, and not only that. Can you imagine the effects on global warming this landslide will cause now? “Geologists doubt the theory,” by the way, “that theory, but the home’s demise struck a deeper nerve as well. Some people in town consider it a sign of what has gone wrong with Laguna Beach in recent years large-scale construction projects that are slowly eroding the quaint charm of the seaside community. ‘The city is in too much of a hurry to let the real estate industry make money,’ said Roger Von Butow, a Laguna Beach resident and environmental activist. ‘People say that these are their dream homes. But obviously some of these dreams are becoming nightmares.’ Laguna Beach, with a population…”
See? There was a bias against this house before the landslide. There was a prejudice against this house before the landslide even happened. Typical class envy is what you got going on here, and so when the landslide happens, the class envy kicks in: “Yep, it was the house’s fault,” and then it was the people who built the house’s fault. “Laguna Beach, with a population of 24,500, has been wrestling with a significant identity crisis. Increasing affluence is forcing out the storybook village atmosphere. Craftsman cottages and simple stucco houses are giving way to palatial homes of blocky contemporary design and lavish developments such as the Montage Resort & Spa.” Now, we can’t have that. We can’t have development. We can’t have improvements. We can’t have bigger houses. We can’t. We can’t! We can’t have that! So man, this landslide is a godsend to the environmentalists. That’s a dirty little secret here. “Local environmentalist [wackos] and other community activists lament that Laguna is not the same place where civic leaders and residents once stood arm-in-arm to protect open space from large-scale development.” I rest my case! Oh, yes, let’s go back to the salad days where Woodward and Bernstein were the only journalists in town, of Republican presidents being forced out of office, and community activists and civic leaders and residents were arm in arm, looking at the sunset from the hills of Laguna Beach while living in veritable shacks just like they do in the underdeveloped parts of the world. Why don’t we, while we’re at it, get rid of toilet paper? Let’s just go out and grab some leaves from the trees and really be environmentally pure.
“In recent years, some of that frustration has been directed at 925 Oriole Drive (satellite Image) an unsold ‘spec’ house that has been beset by construction problems, unpaid taxes and creditors seeking millions of dollars.” Sounds like your average community problem to me. Construction problems? Tell me where in the world those don’t happen. Unpaid taxes? (Laughter) Go look at the unpaid tax rolls at your local county courthouse, and creditors seeking millions of dollars? At any rate… “County property records show the house is owned by the 925 Oriole limited liability partnership. They list the president as Barbara A. Sinatra of Laguna Niguel, who happens to share a name with Frank Sinatra’s widow.” It’s not the same woman. The name led to this rumor that was going around. Now: “Bluebird Canyon contains many bungalows and smaller ranch-style houses, most from the 1950s and ’60s. Most are 2,000 to 2,500 square feet…” Who needs more? Really, folks, who needs more than 2,500 square feet in Laguna Beach where civic leaders and residents can no longer stand arm in arm, gazing out at the sunset because 925 Oriole Drive was built atop the mountain. Anyway, I’m just telling you: Your argument out in California is not going to be will the state or somebody else rebuild these homes for the rich. The question is going to be: Will these homes be rebuilt by anybody there on that hillside in that location? If I were a wagering man, I would bet no. There would be a big fight on it.