The La Brea Tar Pits

It was a delightful drive to office this morning with our temps hovering around thirty-seven degrees and no slippery roads to navigate. It sounds like we may be getting a smattering of snow tomorrow, but from the sounds of it, it’ll be all melted off on Friday. Yes, as the days grow longer and we get closer to Spring, we know fully-well any snow accumulations from here on out, are short-lived.

Shortly after arrival at office, I began busying myself with getting emails returned that had come in overnight, and one of them was a request to see a home tomorrow afternoon, so I got in touch with the occupant and got a go-ahead to show it. Let’s hope there’ll be another February sale in the making. I’m still in disbelief how few active listings we have on the market, and what surprises me the most, is the fact that some of our rental barons haven’t cleaned up a number of their better single-family units and place them on the market because this would be a perfect time to start unloading them.

While out picking up title-work this morning from several law firms, I couldn’t help noticing again how shaggy the homes and apartment houses are looking which are located in and around our Downtown. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many boarded-up windows and doors on dwellings in that district, and believe me, anyone who’s visiting our City for the first time, would be driving away with some very bad impressions. Oh darn, I keep forgetting that the new hotel that Mr. Rachie still has on the drawing board, along with his pipe-dream “Hollywoodland” and the re-skinned Music Man Square, is going to turn this bloated village into a tourist trap which’ll be drawing here people from sea to sea. Really? Now if you can get me to believe such nonsense, then I’d say I must’ve been smoking something, or lost all sensibilities. Just remember, willful waste brings woeful want, and it’s going be the struggling taxpayers in this town who’re going to be paying for those money-pits well into perpetuity.

While working on my taxes today, I stopped and decided to do some price comparing with bills that were paid during first month of 2021, with those I paid in January of this year. After getting a good look at the differences, I’m convinced there are going to be a “yell” of a lot of people struggling to make ends meet. Keep in mind, our real estate tax bills this year are going to be even higher because of the increased assessments that were sent out by our City Assessor last year. For sure gas and electric has gone up, along with auto, health and home insurance premiums. And then we have the cost of groceries which are markedly higher, and especially meat and fish.

Professional services have also spiked with hourly rates being charged which of course makes sense because their rising costs always get passed on to the consumers. By the way, make sure you keep your abstract of title in a secure place because I had to have a new one made for a listing of mine which recently sold, and to my shock, the billing on it was nearly double what it would’ve been last year. Never in my long career have I seen the billing for a new abstract in our County to be nearly $800.00. Now that was definitely a noticeable price spike. I did mention to a colleague today that whenever a seller says they can’t find their abstract of title, you can be sure they’ll be digging all the deeper after being told they may be shelling out over $800.00 to have a new one built.

If I cared to check, I can almost guarantee that all our “meritocracy” managers and employees have also got salary increases because those poor babies can’t be suffering like lowly common workers and seniors on fixed incomes. That pittance of an increase in social security benefits did little or no good in keeping our seniors eating healthy while staying comfortably warm. One of my dear friends mentioned how she refuses to have her heat any higher than the minimum because she’s not willing to fork over any more of her money to Alliant Energy than she has to. I don’t blame her a bit.

Late this morning I received a text message from someone out of my past whom I’d not been in contact with for a good twenty years. I was glad to hear all has been well and good with her, and after that short text conversation, I began thinking back to those days long ago, and for whatever reason, I could still remember those names, places and faces. She reminded me of something I used to say which was, “I have many acquaintances but very few friends.”, which was very much true at the time, but I’ve since evolved to the point of cultivating true and long-lasting friendships.

Just yesterday I mentioned to another how I no longer accept “one-way streets” with those who consider themselves my friends because in my book, it’s just that; A one-way street. I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve expunged from my circle who just could not understand that real relationships are give and take, rather than being the person who’s always there whenever there’s a need, but when the tables are turned, they’re long gone. I still remember a popular commentator who’d end his talks by saying, “Just remember, a friend in need, is a friend indeed.” How much more truth in those words could there be?

Oh how many hundreds of hours I spent on the phone with those who’d call just so they had someone to listen, and subsequently comment on their chain of worries and complaints, and for whatever reason, nearly all my soulful suggestions for getting their problems solved, would fall on deaf ears. Whenever stepping into puddles of pity, you find they not only splat back on you, but also turn into something similar to the La Brea Tar Pits where it becomes a desperate struggle to get out of them before being stuck in them for life. Yes, I’m glad that memory lane text appeared today because it re-affirmed my belief that many of us are on the right track when it has to do with our so-called “friends”.

Tonight’s One-liner is: In law, there is nothing certain but the expense.

Joe Chodur

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