San Diego versus Seattle

Shot from the Cabrillo National Monument, this shows downtown San Diego and the San Diego Navy Base.

A couple of years ago I was blessed to meet and love and earn the love of a woman who calls San Diego, CA her home town. In the nearly two years since we started seeing each other my girlfriend, Maria Elena, has told me repeatedly of her love for California’s most southern major city. She has repeatedly expressed her desire for us to travel there for a visit and to consider it as a future home when the day comes and should we ever marry.

Many happenings in my life have prevented us from making that trip, including the saving for and recent purchase of my new home in Federal Way, WA. While I always wanted to accommodate Maria Elena’s wish to visit San Diego and meet her family that lives there. I just couldn’t make the time or spend the money; until finally buying my house 2 months ago. We almost immediately scheduled our trip to her home town. And last week we spent a wonderful 6 days there.

Given where I am in life and my circumstances the possibility of moving away from my home state and city, Seattle, is a consideration I’ve long given thought to. As such making some comparison is interesting for me.

First, the most obvious, the weather. While Seattle and the Puget Sound has just endured the worst rainy season in its recorded history San Diego weather is much as advertised. It’s SUNNY! And being right on the ocean its comfortably warm nearly all year-long. Temperatures were in the mid 70s the whole time we were there…and for those reading this at some later time…we were there in late June 2017. Compared to Seattle’s typically dreary June San Diego was a much-needed bit of Wx relief. However, go only a few miles inland from the coast and the heat hits hard. Temperatures were in the mid-90s when we made such a trip our last day visiting and we were only 15-20 miles from the airport in downtown San Diego. Inland from San Diego is desert heat. And it can be oppressive.

The beach at Coronado was beautiful and right across the bay from downtown, a mere 15 minute drive.

The other most noticeable characteristic of San Diego was the lack of traffic congestion. Despite being in and around town all through a busy week during all times of day the closest we came to a traffic jam was nothing more than a traffic slow down…and it was short and brief. We never stopped moving, and very seldom stopped driving at the legal speed limit. This in spite of the fact that 2014 census data shows San Diego with an in-city population more than double that of Seattle. In Seattle, I-5, I-90, and especially I-405 can be clogged to a stand still at nearly any time of the day or night or day of the week. You are literally not certain of a full speed trip unless you’re on the road at 3am. And even then…things happen. I’m telling you it was heaven.

Lastly, like Seattle and all major U.S. cities San Diego has a homeless problem. But unlike Seattle the trash and the filth left by those who CHOOSE to live on the streets is nowhere to be seen in the downtown core. The comparatively minimum amount of street living was only on the downtown’s outer limits. Again, its remarkable given the huge difference in total in-city population.

Whether San Diego, or some other sunny locale will be my future home remains a BIG question. But from my one visit I can say confidently that San Diego’s placing high in nearly all the “Most Livable City” rankings is easy to understand. It’s easy to see why. I shall return.

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The Mistake of Reducing Expenses

English: Ways that Where's George Bills can be...

See if this sounds familiar to you. Your personal or business finances get tight, you have more bills at the end of the month than you have money to pay for them. And what do you do? You decide its time to cut expenses. You try to save money by eliminating unnecessary bills, those things you can cut back on, and those things you can accept in lesser quantities or lesser quality. Pretty soon you find out, it doesn’t work. All you’ve done is lower your standard of living, but months or even years later you’re in the same position that caused your austere spending to begin with; too many bills and not enough money to pay them. This is the trap faced by many in today’s economic world. And unless something changes nothing will change for you and your family. And if you’re the bread-winner in your home its time to recognize an ugly reality…you’re failing your family.

The solution is easier than you think. But if you’re like me you took the austerity road first before realizing what that simple solution is.

Maybe you’ve done some of this:

Cancel all Newspaper and Magazine subscriptions.

Check.

Cut back your TV cable or Dish service; maybe change service providers.

Check.

Reduce your auto insurance coverage…possibly down to the legal limit of only Liability Coverage.

Check.

Refinance your home mortgage to take advantage of near record low-interest rates.

Check.

Stop buying clothes for yourself and for your children, unless absolutely necessary.

Check.

Sell your car and buy an older cheaper one.

Check.

Eliminate vacations.

Check.

Buy store brand grocery items at a discount store.

Check.

Reduce your thermostat to cut back on heating bills.

Check.

Turn off lights…unplug unused appliances…

Check.

Did you find it’s not enough?

You know why?

It’s not enough because things you don’t have control over but need to spend money on are going up at a faster rate than your income or your austerity measures.

  • Health insurance premiums have climbed already, and will climb even higher when Obamacare takes full effect in 2014. Forbes reported this month that rates in California alone could climb as much as 146%.ObamaCare Bear
  • Increased employee expenses in industry, as a result of increased health-care costs will drive up the cost of manufactured goods.
  • Gas prices are and have been consistently over $3.00 per gallon for the past couple years, and the periodic dips into the $2.00 range and especially the $1.00 range (as happened during the Bush years) are a distant memory. The price of crude oil is over $94-per-barrel. Gas prices are more likely to exceed $4.00-per-gallon and stay there than they are to fall.
  • Trucking is still the primary method of moving food in this country, and the increased gas prices will add to food costs.
  • Mortgage interest rates have been held down by the Federal Reserve’s low or no interest short-term financing for 4-5 years. But this week
    Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    Fed Chair Ben Bernanke suggests that time is coming to an end by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

  • Taxes on the local, state, and Federal levels have all increased in the past year and will only go higher in the next four years. President Obama was re-elected promising to raise taxes.

There is more of course. But the point is you and your family have no choice. These things you will pay for and you will have less to spend on other matters. It’s simple math. Even if you can count on a pay raise, which have been few and far between for most workers in recent years, there is no way any employer is going to keep your compensation increasing fast enough to keep up with these known mandatory expenses and their increases.

If you’re like me. Your austerity efforts have proven worthless. And my wife and I make a good living. For the past 20 years our income has placed us in the upper 5-25% of income earners in this country. And, no; we didn’t make the mistake so many other Americans made and buy too much house. Even with 4 years of declining home values we’ve never been upside-down in our mortgage and have always maintained a healthy level of equity.

But for years I always thought we could simply cut back and get ourselves out of the tight conditions in which we found ourselves. Like so many others. It didn’t work. The solution I finally realized was we need to make more money. We need a Plan B income. And so do you.

Take a look at your situation. Where are you going to be in 2 years? In five years? 10? What is going to happen to make things better?

For too long I fooled myself, and patted myself on my back for making an above-average income and being so much better off than most other people. But most other people live lives of quiet desperation. Most people are a lay-off or a single medical emergency from financial ruin. Does this describe you?

Our solution is already working. After loving the health and nutrition and weight-loss products from Advocare, we decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to represent this fine company and its products and help other people realize the benefits we each realized. Our friends who introduced Advocare to us have been representing the company for less than 4 years and no longer work outside their home. They have a growing income of $25-$30-thousand per month. We are paying off debt and will record our highest family income in close to ten years, thanks in part to AdvoCare.

Cover of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Ri...

Author Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad, calls the business plan used by Advocare “the perfect business plan”.

I let go of all my prejudices and suspicions about direct-selling businesses and realized AdvoCare was different and better. And my family is repeating the benefits.

Be it AdvoCare or some other vehicle, read the writing on the wall. The only way things change for your family finances, is if something changes. A secondary or Plan B income is the only way to thrive in the world of today. If you want to learn more. Contact me. I can help. And would love to help.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Click to go to our AdvoCare website.

Click to go to our AdvoCare website.

No to Gay Marriage. Where’s the Discrimination?

The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.

The seal of the State of Washington

So Washington State Governor

English: Photo of , Governor of Washington sin...

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire

Christine Gregoire wants to make our state the seventh in the national to make same-sex marriage legal. Well zippity-do-dah. As if Washington state had slipped far enough off the proverbial liberal cliff already. Now we want to put ourselves in the same category as New York, Massachusetts and the politicians and judges in California. I say the politicians and judges of California because the good people of the Golden State have had the good sense to vote FOUR TIMES to disallow Gay Marriage.

Same-Sex Marriage Rally

Lesbian wedding cake

I’m going to throw a bone to proponents of Gay Marriage. I don’t think there is any doubt that some who oppose Gay Marriage do so for purely hateful and discriminatory reasons. Some people hate gay people for reasons that fall pretty close to why they hate other types of people; because they’re “different”. However, I strongly believe that the most liberal wings of the Democratic party HATE all Conservatives and put just as much logic and reason into such feelings as the discriminatory gay bashers put into their thoughts.

And should  any of our leaders do anything at all to placate either of these extremes? Absolutely not. Sadly, they do all the time. The expression, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, comes to mind.

Most people oppose legalization of gay marriage. Constant opinion polls and ballot measures have said so repeatedly in the past 10-15 years…which is the only period of time in human history in which the matter was given any consideration whatsoever.

And while I am certain to receive comments and criticisms calling me a hater and homophobe and other colorful descriptions I’m not too worried about it. Speaking of expressions, there is one I heard when I was a child referencing sticks and stones that comes to mind. Because the proponents of gay marriage are so loud and visceral I realize I’m sticking my head in the lions mouth; but hoping, perhaps foolishly, that calm reason and debate can dominate this discussion.

My opposition to gay marriage has more to do with my political philosophy in general. The more government, the more laws the less liberty and freedom. And gay marriage creates more laws and restrictions than it eliminates in addressing a discrimination that does not exist.

I credit radio talk show host

Michael Medved

Michael Medved

Michael Medved for sharpening my point of view on this gay marriage issue. Medved has correctly and repeatedly pointed out that when it comes to gays and lesbians wanting to marry someone of the same-sex as things stand right now THERE IS NO DISCRIMINATION. ZERO!

Right now in most of this country a man cannot marry another man and a woman cannot marry another woman. No where does it say that “a GAY man cannot marry another man” or “a LESBIAN cannot marry another woman”. Meaning, a gay man can legally marry anyone that I can legally marry. I am heterosexual. I am married to a woman. Were I single I would be legally barred from marrying:

1. A minor

2. Anyone legally married to another

3. My mother, sister, or first cousin

4. Someone of the same-sex (in my case a man)

I CAN (if I weren’t already married) legally marry anyone else who doesn’t fall into those four categories. Any gay man can do the same. So I ask, where is the discrimination?

A society has a right to establish laws protecting our cumulative values. You can’t just dismiss the laws that prevent you from marrying some other people. It used to be legal for you to marry your first cousin. After divorcing my Mom’s father in 1942 my Grandmother married her first cousin. On at least one other occasion in my own family’s genealogy I found an instance of 1st cousins marrying (let the jokes begin. “That explains a lot”, etc, etc). And while I don’t recall finding instances of legalized minors marrying in my family history I do know of instances where someone as young as 16 was married. Most famously singer Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen year old cousin; something that wasn’t terribly uncommon in the deep South as recently as the 1950s (age or 1st cousin). And of course bigamist marriages legally occurred with Mormons in this country in the 19th century, and still exist today, illegally. The point is gay people aren’t being discriminated against on this issue and there are plenty of examples of laws that DO prevent us from marrying  some other people. And those laws apply to all of us, regardless of sexual orientation.

Also, as Presidential candidate

English: Former Congressman Newt Gingrich of G...

Newt Gingrich so adequately pointed out in last Saturday’s New Hampshire debate legalizing gay marriage creates, or expands, discrimination by our governments against many Christian churches. He correctly points out that the Catholic church in Massachusetts had to close down their adoption services because they wouldn’t allow adoption by same-sex couples. The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to cut off Christian colleges and universities from any federal funding and research grants for opposing the gay agenda. The repercussions of legalizing gay marriage are enormous and go far beyond creating special rights for a small minority class of people.

Homosexuality and gay marriage are opposed by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In only four other countries in the entire world is gay marriage legal. Canada is the only country in the Americas where it is legal.

And as Presidential candidate Mitt Romney

English: Governor Mitt Romney of MA

said in that same debate marriage between a man and a woman has been the ONLY standard by which humans have existed and grown for 3000 years. And we shouldn’t throw 3-thousand years of history out the window so cavalierly; especially when no discrimination exists.

Lastly in the interest of political fairness this isn’t just a GOP or Conservative issue. Democratic President Barrack Obama is on record as being opposed to gay marriage. Washington legislators or voters should say no to Gregoire’s proposal because ultimately this is not a state issue. It’s must be a Federal issue for the simple reason that we cannot have a couple, any couple, being legally married in one state and not so in another. Ultimately, baring a Constitutional Amendment, the Supreme Court will decide the matter.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

My favorite Christmas’

Christmas lights 2010

Christmas lights

An epiphany hit me a few years back that will forever enable me to value Christmas even more than I already do. It dawned on me that if you’re lucky you’ll enjoy about 80 Christmas’ in a lifetime. Eighty! That’s all. Obviously some will enjoy 100, and sadly some will only be present to enjoy an extraordinary few. So I’m averaging.

It seemed to me that 80 wasn’t much. I mean, if you packed them all back to back you don’t even get three months worth. Then when you subtract the first 3-5 years that you will never remember, and subtract the holidays when you have to work, and subtract the times when circumstances keep you from your loved ones the number diminishes more and more.

So for a celebration I have already always enjoyed, I vowed to really cherish each Christmas, and to remember them.

My childhood Christmas celebrations were usually fabulous. For this I can thank my father. Dad was really big on Christmas. He always decorated the house with the most lights of any other on our middle class block. And he spoiled my brother and I with everything we wanted every year and a few things we didn’t know we wanted. I distinctly remember one shopping season when I went out of my way to ask my Dad NOT to buy me the increasingly popular plaid shirts that every department store seemed to have. I didn’t like them. I got two that Christmas. I didn’t wear them for months…but then gave in to the fad and wore them all the time.

Fonzie (interpreted by Henry Winkler), star of...

The Fonz

When The Fonz was real popular on the TV showHappy Days” in the late 70s I asked for a leather jacket as a gift. I wanted to look like Arthur Fonzerelli. I guess I wasn’t specific enough. Because my Dad did buy me a leather coat. But it was a bomber’s style coat. The kind with the furry collar lapel. Again, I didn’t like it at first. But like my Dad somehow always knew…I came to love it. I wore it religiously from age 13 well into my 30s when my added 20 pounds didn’t make it a good look any more. I gave it to my son about 5 years ago. Like me he didn’t like it or ever wear it…until recently. In the past 2 months he doesn’t go anywhere without it. You better believe I love that.

I was working on Christmas Day 1985 as a DJ at a small country music station. But before working the night shift and after visiting my Mom’s home and then my Dad’s, I managed to squeeze in a short 10 minute visit at my girlfriend’s house. There, at the age of 21, I asked my girlfriend to be my wife. I gave her a humble diamond ring; black hills gold leafs with a small diamond laying between them. My wife deserved so much more. So on Christmas morning 2007 after our kids excitedly woke us up to tell us that Santa had come, before getting out of bed, I rolled over, reached into my nightstand and pulled out the ring’s replacement. The much larger stone and white gold looked beautiful on her finger. And still does.

But easily my all time favorite Christmas was 1998. Our house was full with visiting family from California, and as usual we hosted the Christmas dinner. All our loved ones were there. My pregnant wife went into labor right after we’d all enjoyed our desserts, and around 8:30pm Christmas night we waved goodbye to all those people in our house and drove to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA where we were presented at 6:03 am December 26th, 1998 with our all-time best Christmas gift. We gave our daughter the name Micah Noel. Micah being the Biblical prophet who foretold the birth of a savior in the City of David, Bethlehem. And, of course, Noel the 14th Century English word for Christmas.

I’ve been blessed with many great Christmas’; but these are the highlights. May your day be special and most important may it be a memory representative of how few of these holy days we get to enjoy in our very short lives.

English: Nativity scene

The birth of Jesus

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Bottom Line – Happy New Year. SF minimum wage heads to $10

Liberal San Francisco continues to amaze with its out of touch politics. A full time minimum wage worker now pockets over $20k per year. The unemployment rate for the city by the bay is 1/2 a percentage point above the national average. This also contributes to S.F. being one of the most expensive cities in the world to live. According to the U.S. Census the home ownership rate in San francisco is a low 59.1%; while most major cities across the U.S. boasted rates in the upper 60% to upper 70% range. MSNBC does it’s best to report the progressive point of view in this story, but at least they quote one business owner. You can imagine how they feel.

Bottom Line – Happy New Year. SF minimum wage heads to $10.

Restaurant Owner frustrated with S.F. politics.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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