Some tidbits:

  • The new edition of voiceofsandiego.org on the AM radio is up. Check the right side of this page to see the audio player or go to the XML podcast page here. Next week, we’ll have a special edition with writers Will Carless and Kelly Bennett, who just, of course, put out this report — the result of a months-long investigation into a bizarre real estate swindle.
  • And a note on that investigation: I think it’s clear that none of the main characters in the story are victims. Even the people whose credit is now ruined deserve little sympathy. If someone offers you money for the use of your identity, I would hope that you would take a minute to wonder what’s so wrong with this person’s own identity. I know people do desperate things in desperate times, but they can’t be shocked this blew up in their faces.

    And the lenders? Their businesses and investors are badly damaged by this. But it seems they were still in the housing-boom mindset that you could treat an investment in homes by evaluating data and factors from far away and trust the analysts. As this chart makes clear, the prices they were paying for these homes were absurd. But they paid them.

    CLICK: How the home prices compared (Illustration by Sarah Johnson)

    Update: To be sure, there are many millions of true victims: taxpayers. We, as a country, now have full control of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And it’s pretty clear that one of those companies now owns these shoddy loans.

  • I heard from Councilman Carl DeMaio the other day. Remember, I said I found it strange that a staffer of his wrote an op-ed about the question of whether to build a new City Hall. It was strange, as I’ve rarely seen any elected official’s employee get credit for writing something like that — especially when it’s an issue that the official is particularly interested in. Was DeMaio trying to put out an opinion without tying his name to it? That would be fine. I’d just want to make sure for archiving purposes.

    He said the reason he didn’t put his own name on this was simple: He just wanted his guy to get credit for all the analysis he had done.

    DeMaio said he “absolutely” agreed with everything in the column.

  • DeMaio also is promising a new analysis of the undying effort to build the schoobrary downtown. As this recent story in the U-T further illustrates, library boosters are willing to put just about any kind of school imaginable into the plans for the top floors of the new library, regardless of what our education system needs.
  • Oh yeah, this is budget week at the City Council. This will be interesting.

    Update: Here’s DeMaio’s report in pdf.

  • Finally, one last point: This is the first month in nearly three years that Kelly Bennett simply couldn’t produce the feature “People at Work.” Every month since she started writing here, Kelly’s written up a profile of a San Diego resident and what he or she does to earn money. She’s profiled the head of the company WD-40 and the drive-thru attendant at a Del Taco. They are good stories of people simply working hard.

    And she didn’t have time to do it this month because of this investigation — a story about a bunch of people who didn’t want to work very hard for a lot of money. So give it a look and let’s get a discussion going about it.

SCOTT LEWIS

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