Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I love California. I've lived here my whole life and it's my home. I love the weather (although today it's cold and I'm wearing a sweater. WTF it's July!) I love the wineries, I love the food, my whole family lives here, a good portion of Dave's family lives here, and all our friends live here. All that being said it's time to consider leaving.

There are plenty of jobs in the bay area but unless you want to sell your first born child or a kidney , both of which are illegal, you can't live in the same area as you work. So we all have to commute which is frustrating and time consuming even before you figure in the price of gas. Dave and I are lucky in the fact that we work in the same office so we only have to use one car but we pay around $300-$350 a month in gas.

As of last month the median home price in the bay area was $485,000 according to this site. $485,000? And that's with the market bottoming out. This morning as we left for work we could see a for sale sign on our neighbors lawn indicating that the house had been foreclosed on and that's not the first one we've seen in the neighborhood. Housing sales for our county are down 32.4% from last year. The sales for the whole bay area are down 41.1%.

I don't want to send my daughter to school here. According to Morgan Quinto.com as of 2007 CA ranked 47th out of 50 for public schools. I'd prefer if her grammar didn't actually get worse once she enters school (this actually happened to a neighbors child).

The crime rates in CA are not good but they are actually climbing in the Bay Area faster than in other areas including LA which has actually been seeing a decrease (good for them). There are lots of sites with statistics but here's one article I particularly found interesting. LA times
I was not surprised to find that Oakland and Richmond were not faring well but Novato as well is seeing an increase in violent crime. I grew up in Novato and my parents still live there. As a matter of fact my daughters at Grandmas house today.

Our neighborhood is mostly middle class families with a few retired people sprinkled in. There's an elementary school about 2 blocks from our house and a park where I take my daughter. In the last year someone has thrown a boulder through our front window, smashed a neighbors windshield, sprayed graffiti on our fence and a neighbors truck (two separate incidents), a parolee who was stabbed wandered around the neighborhood until the someone called the police, and there was a party that apparently went bad resulting in what looked and sounded like a riot but the police report called it a "fight" later that night there was a shooting on a neighboring street. The police stated that the "fight" and shooting were unrelated which doesn't make me feel better at all. In other words our neighborhood is going down hill.

Take notice California. I have lived here for 33 years and I have loved you well but I can't stay if things continue to go this way. I need to raise my children where they will be safe and get a good education. If we can live comfortably else ware when were living had to mouth here there is no incentive for us to stay. This is an unhealthy relationship. You are no longer good for me so I need to leave you. Perhaps in the fullness of time when we've both grown and matured we can be friends again but for now I'm moving on. Well as soon as we can actually sell our house in this crappy market.

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