Small Hot Potatoes!

As the projected numbers come out to how much these devastating
Southland fires will cost our economy….$1 to $2 billion dollars
seems to be the estimate. Seems like alot doesn’t it? What is
more telling are the losses in human terms! No insurance company
can replace baby or wedding and family pictures. No Government
programs can replace the years of memories and efforts in loving
homes and that had begun with their morning cup of coffee. The
financial loses for the non insured renters will be terrible.
If you didn’t own your home or land.. in this mess….there will
be little chance of landing on your feet financially for years.

There have been lots of examples drawn from Katrina…and how
much better the First Responders handled Communications, Temporary
Victim Relocation and Federal, County and State Coordination. We
agree with those characterizations. Senator Mary Landrieu from
Louisiana was quick to express how much worse Katrina was, as an
event – than the So. Cal fire devastation! “We lost an entire
city!” Landrieu stated. Not exactly what you might call an
empathetic response!

In the So. Cal case the spectrum of financial levels affected was
across the board. From the unemployed to the ultra rich. Every
segment of society was directly affected…from the terrible air
to breathe to the total loss and property, pets and family members.
It was wonderful that the new Reverse 911 Calling System worked
well enough in San Diego County. They may be corrupt down there
…but in this case….they did the right thing! Congratulations
San Diego!

In the middle of this tragic mess…..the front page of the
Financial Times reports that Merrill-Lynch is taking a so-called
moderate $8 Billion dollar write-off from their sub-prime
investment vehicles. We suppose Merrill isn’t going to mention
the prior pump up of those same funds last month of $3 to $5
Billion dollars. That makes the initial true loss ….of say $11
to $13 billion dollars. Who loses that money? People that invest,
people in the Insurance business, Real Estate owners, Real Estate
Investors, Hedge Fund buyers, Mutual Fund Owners and Public
Institutions…which includes Pensions and Health plans! If you
figure out that Merrill is just one of a whole bunch of Hedge
Fund and Derivative may start to get the idea.

So, as we sit in this “Credit Crunch” we sit in a fire riddled
regional area that needs to be rebuilt over the next five years.
So, Institutional Credit providers will now be backed up by those
Guaranteed Government Loans. That sounds good…until you realize
it will be a huge demand increase on builders and developers who
“were drying up” on work until the Fires! If you are planning on
doing some remodeling on your home or other property, you are going
to find it again – harder and harder to find responsible people
that can do the job.

We encourage everyone to make sure anyone doing work on your
property is State Licensed and most importantly has a good
reputation in the business. Those people are going to be more
money for the same job…..but you will have a much better chance
of actually getting the job done. This advice goes double for
those that have been affected directly by the fires. The
Guaranteed Government Loans have some safeguards….but really
not enough. It will still be a case of buyer beware! We aren’t
looking forward to hearing those typical nightmare scenarios
that seem to always come out of illicit developers and builders
after these disasters and tragedies!

Hopefully, they will find the “Arsonists” that started these fires
and hopefully the economy can support a speedy rebuild of the
areas affected. Our worst fear is…years of non funded scheduled
rebuilding! During the Laguna Beach fire…it took some people
over 7 years to rebuild their property. Additionally, those people
that were Renters and lost all in the fires – need our lawmakers
State, County or Federal to provide for a six month Grant for Rent
and Relocation! The loss of $1 to $2 Billion dollars may be Small
Potatoes for Government….but it is no joke for those affected!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.