Monday, June 06, 2005

Judy Rodríguez on San Diego

If you or anyone you know is thinking of moving to San Diego, California here's my advice: don't do it. Why? My sister, Judy, has lived there for 15 years and here's what she has to say:

Lots of San Diegans are looking for less costly places to live. It's gotten more and more ridiculous here each year, prices for everything are so much higher than the rest of the country. When my doctor friend told me that HER doctor friend is moving to Utah so she can pay less of her earnings to her California mortgage, you know it's gotten bad.

Unfortunately, salaries have not kept up with the housing prices by a long shot and the only jobs available in San Diego are for biochemical folks, computer folks, doctors and attorneys. This year, for those who do not yet own homes, they need to show a six-digit income in order to even QUALIFY for a loan at current home prices. The median home is currently over $500,000 and you should see the ridiculous state of those half-million-dollar homes. Nothing at all like the beautiful, new homes I toured in Katy, Texas last summer for a fraction of that cost. Californians do not have the reputation of being "nuts" for nothing. The properties out here are certainly not worth the inflated prices. The weather is NOT worth that much of a person's earnings.

And have you heard that our city was told to file for bankruptcy? That is the biggest irony of all: that we pay so much for housing yet San Diego is in the red by billions. Our mayor resigned, finally, over the fraudulent happenings at city hall. There are lots of investigations and litigations going on. He was in an issue of TIME magazine as one of the nation's worst mayors.

And our newscasts keep anesthetizing us with the latest baby animals born at the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park in "America's finest city." My good friend Robert (who recently relocated to Arizona) and I joke about San Diego's "stepford-like" newscasts -- mostly fluff news trying to pump us up with the beaches, weather, zoo, how cold it is in OTHER states, while sidestepping the elephant in the middle of the room regarding the fiscal state and housing emergency in our "finest city." It's so transparent, but people here are so busy working 50-hour weeks, they don't have time to dissect the state of affairs here. Robert and I, both being underemployed for a so long, have had lots of time for such intellectual, reality-based discussions. Anyway, I am trying to be patient with the sale of my home.

So there it is: a clear critique of one city I hear traveling Chicagoans praise quite regularly. My sister is in the process of getting out of San Diego and should be moving to Texas within the year. Yes, San Diego might be nice to visit, but it doesn't need any more residents.

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