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May 12, 2022 06:11 AM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

Well, that’s over anyway.


33 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. The legislature left themselves a fair amount of leeway, "The Senate adjourned sine die at 10:54 p.m. The House adjourned at 11:37 p.m."

    Now we get to wait a day or 10 to find out which bills supported by the majority Democratic party are not going to work for the Democratic Governor.  Any speculation on the overall number of vetoes or on specific bills you expect to not make the grade?

    1. Polis threatened to veto the Mobile Home Park Resident Protection Act. In consequence, the most meaningful parts of the bill were pulled. One of the prime sponsors called this "heartbreaking".

      Polis feels responsible for the profit margin of the out of state corporations who own 70% of Colorado's trailer parks – but not for the welfare of residents who are being forced out by 60-100% lot rent increases.

        1. Mobile home lot rent control is different from apartment rent control though. Owners are basically stuck in their parks, captive to big corporations who can raise rent at will. Competition between parks really isn't at play very much, homeowners really can't just pick up and move, and there aren't a lot of new parks being developed. They're doing it in California, not that that's necessarily an indication it's the right thing to do. I probably wouldn't do mobile home lot rent control without designated mobile home zoning though.

          1. If you make my mobile home park unprofitable, I'll just rezone it into single family housing.  Then trailer dwellers– and I once was one — are screwed.


            1. It's not making mobile homes unprofitable, V. The bill, which I've linked to several times, provides for reasonable rent increases when infrastructure is replaced or upgraded.  It's taking that profit margin down from 50% to 20% or 10%  that is at issue. Most of the genuine mom-and-pop locally controlled places have worked on that kind of margin for years. 

              But you're right that the parks are being rezoned into single family housing. The fixed-income, disabled, TANF receiving folks are being forced out of trailer parks to make room for laborers  who, at $15/ hr, can barely afford the $900 mo lot rent, plus $500 or so mobile home payment. 

              It's still unconscionable behavior towards the most vulnerable. I hope you at least give the old lady in the walker $2  as you drive by – there will be many more on the street corners. 

              1. Your definition of "reasonable" is a three percent ceiling while housing prices are soaring 10 pct or more.  Sooner or later, that drives mobile home parks to extinction. St. Augustine struggled for a just price theory and failed.    Supply and demand is a law of nature and no amount of fulminating about the evil of profit can repeal it.  Rent control is a bad idea In New York and it didn't get any better crossing the Mississippi.


                1. Talk to Representatives Boesenecker, Winter, and Hooten, sponsors of 22-1287. (along with 31 other Democratic co-sponsors)  They met with mobile home park owners all over the state to hammer out reasonable rent increases. That's where they came up with the 3% (indexed to inflation and CPI) cap. 

                  Essentially, park-owning corporations can't raise the mobile home park rent for no reason. They have to show an actual improvement to the site. The corporations that own these parks are not happy with that provision.

                  Because they don't live in Colorado, they will not have to deal with the displaced camping out on their front lawn; they won't have to pay taxes for additional police or social services, and they won't have that twinge of conscience seeing the elderly woman with the cardboard sign at the corner, trying to pay her rent at the El Sleezo Motel.  All these corporations have to do is put the profit in the bank. 

                2. Ooh, you don’t believe in the law of supply and demand?

                  Have I got a deal for you, trolly boy.

                  I’ll trade you a ton of sand for a pound of diamonds!

                  Boy are you dumb!

                  Pay up, Schmuck.


        2. Socialist as I might be, I don't think Rent Control can solve the problem. Livable wages is the more important factor for affordable houses. The trouble with rent control is that it is a losing bet against powerful economic forces.

          Housing costs are high due to high demand (large GenX and Millenial demographics), and supply is constrained by geography (mountains or ocean), low-density zoning, NIMBYs against ADUs.

          Aside from that, if you watch housing prices over history they always spike during periods of high-employment, which makes sense as people with jobs have the confidence and ability to buy real estate. That also explains why houses are expensive in cities with lots of good jobs and large inflows of young people in the home-buying age group.

          The fundamental imbalance in our economy is the pattern of skewed income and wealth, that favor the rich and powerful. Remember the 1950s when the middle class was growing so quickly, unions supplies wage negotiating power, and the wealthy paid a LOT more in taxes? Remember the 1970s when college costs were low? Remember when the ratio of executive compensation to workers' wages was a factor of 10 instead of 1,000? 

          Suck all that wealth out of the middle and lower classes, and it's no wonder that houses are unaffordable. 

          1. Park, all those factors contribute to high housing costs; but costs are high because it is allowed under capitalism to charge the maximum possible, and "Let the market rule".

            Those displaced under the market rule  don't even figure into the equation. There are higher social service and police costs, decreases to property value from homeless camping out, etc. There are social costs to be borne, but those making the profit never pay them. 

      1. If people want a place to live, they can get a job and pay for it. And if they can't afford to live in Denver, maybe that means that they need to live somewhere cheaper.

        This is not rocket science, kwtree.

        1. “So where do you propose a new homeowner should go?”

          In Colorado, Commerce City or Pueblo. Or move out of state to one of those economic basket case states like Mississippi or South Carolina.

          It’s cheap to live there but the trade-off is you have to live there.


          1. "Denver going to bus in their baristas from Commerce City?"

            Why not? You answered your own question. I have to get back to work.

            1. My guess is that commercial elites would have no problem busing baristas in from Canyon City as well. Prison labor is so much cheaper. Hopefully, the proletariate will rise up before they become the paroletariate.

            2. There's a whole host of rules for buyers — more than I have thumbs, at least:

              Just saw Denver metro housing market described: "The median close price for homes in April 2021 was $684,550 for detached homes and $440,000 for attached homes,"  Denver County alone is even more "The latest projection from the Colorado Association of Realtors is that by Memorial Day, the average single-family home price might reach $1 million. For a freestanding home, the average price rose from $810,0914 in February to a staggering $918,850, so seven figures isn’t that hard to imagine."

              All the young teachers I've met are talking "creative" approaches to housing — and hoping this year's boost from the legislature translates into raises for the coming academic year.


          2. Commerce City and Thornton are full of trailer parks, in which the lot rent just increased by an average of 50%. Median cheap 1 bedroom apartment rent is $1638. ( increase of 70% since last year) 

            A person making $15 / hr makes ~ $2400 / mo before taxes. So rent takes up 2/3 of income, leaving little for gas, food, utilities, let alone any luxuries. 

            So no, it isn't "cheap" to live there. It's barely survivable.

            Capitalism can't solve the housing crisis. We need rent supports, land trusts, rent control, laws preventing exploitation of tenants, all of the above. Call me a socialist. I really don't give a flying f*ck. 

            I had to move from my subsidized market -rate apartment complex in Jeffco ( which raised the rent 12%)  to a house share in Denver, so I do know a bit about living within my means as a retired person. Definitely don't need your smug, self-righteous lectures on that. 

            1. I'm a Jungian, not a Marxist, but even a Swiss psychoanalyst can see that modern unaffordable U.S. housing is at least to a large extent influenced by excesses of capitalism. Corporate mobile home park ownership is finally getting some press, but one single U.S. company owns 100,490 apartments while #2 is at 90,600. Good for them I suppose, but I suspect JFC himself isn't so happy about what an ordinary person has to do just to afford an efficiency or 1-bedroom these days.

              And hats off to Meiner for "paroletariate."

            2. "So no, it isn't "cheap" to live there. It's barely survivable"

              Maybe that means they need to look at migrating to a less expensive state (Kansas, Nebraska anyone). Look at all the people who couldn't or wouldn't pay the exorbitant housing prices in California.

              Unfortunately, they moved here and drove up the housing prices in Colorado.

              1. Yup, that’s exactly the advice the mortgage broker ( one of the few who deals in manufactured homes) is telling the trailer park renters on fixed incomes: “Move to Kansas or Nebraska”. 
                You don’t see any teeny little disadvantagefor  Democrats in driving off probable Democratic voters,, do you? 

                1. Read "Mobilizing Homes" in the May/June issue of Mother Jones. It's Colorado focused and identifies what is for me the crux of the issue: mobile home owners should have the right to buy the property on which their homes sit before anyone else does.

                2. “You don’t see any teeny little disadvantage for Democrats in driving off probable Democratic voters,, do you?”

                  It would make Kansas less red, kw.

                  I’ve long advocated moderates and liberals moving out of the coastal states and into the less populated red states to make them competitive. It’s the only way the Democrats will ever get a working majority in the Senate.

                  Even on the local level, I decided to lead by example when I moved out of the gay Mecca of downtown Denver and into what was then a fairly conservative Republican section of Jefferson County. I’m not the only one who has done that and it’s a little less right wing today.


  2. Paging #BenKuck

    – Trump & meat packers pretended there was a food shortage
    – Trump ordered meat plants to stay open to stop a food shortage
    – There was no food shortage
    – 334,000 covid cases traced to meat workers
    – 269 PEOPLE DIED


    Meat industry hyped ‘baseless’ shortage to keep plants open amid covid

    In a report released Thursday, the committee alleges that Tyson Foods’s legal team prepared a draft with input from other companies that became the basis for an executive order to keep the plants open that the Trump administration issued in April 2020, making it difficult for workers to stay home.

    “Meatpacking companies knew the risk posed by the coronavirus to their workers and knew it wasn’t a risk that the country needed them to take,” according to the report by the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. “They nonetheless lobbied aggressively — successfully enlisting [the U.S. Agriculture Department] as a close collaborator in their efforts — to keep workers on the job in unsafe conditions, to ensure state and local health authorities were powerless to mandate otherwise, and to be protected against legal liability for the harms that would result.”


    1. So shameful, this lying to and exploitation of immigrants and refugee meatworkers whose “crime” was believing too strongly in the American Dream. 

  3. Sad reacts only. 

    Trump D.C. hotel closes after $375 million sale to Miami investor group


    The Trump International Hotel is officially closed after the Trump Organization reached a $375 million agreement to sell the D.C. property to a Miami investor group.

    The latest: Hours after the former President Trump's family business had completed the sale, half a dozen workers moved to dismantle signs from the facade of the building on Wednesday night.

    Why it matters: The hotel lost more than $70 million during former President Trump's term but was a mainstay for lobbyists and later became the center of ethics scandals.


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