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Pundit Virginia Postrel, who saved Dr. Sally Satel’s life in 2006 by donating one of her kidneys, now has breast cancer and just started chemotherapy. Fortunately, there is a new monoclonal antibody called Herceptin that she will be receiving in addition to chemo.

Virginia also has a new article in November issue of The Atlantic

A Tale of Two Town Houses

by Virginia Postrel

Real estate may be as important as religion in explaining the infamous gap between red and blue states.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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  1. I couldn’t read the whole thing since I don’t get The Atlantic anymore, but I suspect her solution is to make it easier to build in LA. But the question would be “build where?” And, eventually, how would you water your lawn, since the Colorado River basin is a limited resource? And what sort of commute would you have, anyway?

    Postrel’s a smart women, but she’s living in her clean, well-lit prison of one idea, “dynamism.” To her, every problem looks like a nail.

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  2. Right, having spent four hours on the freeway today driving (often very slowly) around Southern California, I can assure you that the problem with LA isn’t that there’s too many restrictions on development. The problem is now that there weren’t enough restrictions in the past. This place used to be a free market paradise, which is why it’s solid urbanization for 75 miles across without adequate infrastructure for the people currently here, much less the next five million who will arrive.

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  3. I assume because of fault lines in the area, you can’t quite build up like NYC has done… (as Manhattan is on some really solid ground, and does not fear much from earthquakes.) I also assume L.A. uses grey water? Doesn’t look like much room to grow on.

    In any case, there’s plenty of space in the middle of the country, and I understand places like Nebraska and Wyoming aren’t crowded. Yes, it doesn’t have that lovely southern California coastal weather, but that’s why it got crowded in the first place.

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  4. Mary Pat,

    Nebraska doesn’t have a lot of people because much of its land is used for agriculture. Put people on that land and where do you grow our food?

    Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of people because it’s a high, dry, and windy place. Even the few places there that are ritzy and popular, like Jackson Hole, have their problems. The Hole, as I like to call it, is snowed over much of the year. In a good year, year where the West get lots of snow, the snow starts falling in September and doesn’t melt until April or May. You’ll spend all winter with 3 feet of snow in your yard.

    An America where only the rich or people willing to live cramped into poor, dangerous neighborhoods, can live in the desireable places and the middle class all have to live in places like Wyoming isn’t a vision I enjoy.

    The once formerly “wide open spaces” are filling up fast. Second league cities in states like Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and elsewhere now have the sort of traffic congestion you once only saw in the big metropolises.

    I assume because of fault lines in the area, you can’t quite build up like NYC has done

    Sorry, but wrong. Salt Lake City has plenty of tall buildings (though nothing by New York standards), as does San Francisco, yet both cities sit along major fault lines.

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  5. Right, having spent four hours on the freeway today driving (often very slowly) around Southern California

    Steve, what people outside of places like LA haven’t understood in the past is that “rush hour” traffic is often a six or seven day-a-week affair, and intrudes on far more of the day than the traditional 7-8 and 5-6. But people are learning real quick. Even in Salt Lake City tight traffic is now an almost daylong affair.

    The problem with so many people is how they fail to connect cause to effect. The words that come off the lips of every – and I do mean every – ex-Californian I run into (and I’ve run into hundreds) is “It’s so expensive out there.” It’s usually followed not long after by “and crowded, too.”

    The sad fact in this case is that it’s too easy if people were only to pay attention. Immigrant skin color is like the radioactive isotopes that scientists use to track chemical reactions in the body. Look around at all the Asians and Hispanics and you’re looking at people who pretty much weren’t here pre-1965. Why is it crowded? Why is it expensive? There’s your answer.

    But Utah’s headed that way as is everyplace else. People here don’t connect the overcrowded roads and schools to immigration. The number of students in our schools is supposed to increase by 40% in just 15 years. In Salt Lake County 90% of that increase is from “minorities,” which here means Hispanics and Asians, not blacks. The state is growing so fast that we had a huge revenue surplus last year, but nearly all of it went to new roads and to the schools. Utah traditionally has the lowest per-student spending in the nation. Last year they increased school funding by $500 million – and that still left us with the lowest per student spending, even though we only have about 550,000 students in the system.

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  6. If you google– a tale of two town houses print– both pages of the article are fully readable in the cache.

    Nothing new to anyone familiar with Ed Glaeser’s work. The thing is, I can’t think of any political solution to overpriced real estate that doesn’t result in blowing up the life savings of millions of blue state homeowners (who have been unknowingly capturing the rent of the “zoning tax” all these years).

    Hmm, maybe a good issue for a red state congressional candidate to run on. :o)

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