Top Neighbor Complaints, Gas-Backed Bill Rejected, Canadian Clout

Weekly news and views about housing-related climate and sustainability issues.

News Flash: Neighbors Hate Barking Dogs, Stinky Streets and Other People

Anyone familiar with the Nextdoor neighbor app knows it’s a nexus of whining and complaints. A new data crunch geolocates their petty gripes.

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I burst loud laughing two or three times reading this data dive from foundationrepair.com. Their marketing person deserves a raise. They picked apart some of the thousands of complaints posted on the Nextdoor neighborhood app, and came up with some great trend data about who hates what and where.

I’m often horrified by the posts my neighbors put on Nextdoor. They’re not only insensitive, but often cowardly, ignorant, or lacking the most basic empathy. For example, one Portland resident this week posted that he had to “tell” a homeless person to move along, and described him as part of the “riff-raff” he sees around Portland.

May I just point out that:

A: This guy is not a cop and has no authority to tell anyone to do anything.

B: He knows basically nothing about the people he describes as riff-raff, except that they are homeless and cluttering up his view. A good number of these nomadic people are bipolar, schizophrenic and so on, and don’t deserve to be summarily categorized.

Nextdoor posts often display a NIMBY entitlement beyond belief, with clucking overreactions to minor property incursions. For example, I’ve seen my neighbors post videos of someone walking through their yard, or stealing a potted plant. What if the interloper was just lost? Does stealing a $14 plant rise to the level deserving a public shaming to thousands of neighbors around the city?

“During our analysis, we found popular words that fill neighborhood threads, like street, police, and found. We also found the 13 most popular topics that are mentioned: dogs, cats, parking, cameras, traffic, noise, construction, kittens, smells, poop, barking, feral cats and creepers.”  

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Builder-backed Gas Regulation Rollback Fails In Anti-Regulatory Effort

After doubling down on fossil fuels and Climate Change skepticism, the building industry got a stone cold “no” from a judge.

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According to Earthjustice.org, “In his ruling on the preliminary injunction from the bench last month, Chief Judge Stanley Bastian said that the industry’s claimed harms were “purely speculative” and did not outweigh public harms from climate change.” 


Canadians Buying Up Arizona Homes, Defying Climate Warning Signs

Despite a reciprocal ban on US investors, huge Canadian firms are gobbling up apartments and vacation properties in areas with little climate resilience.

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According to WesternInvestor.com, there’s never been Canadians to take advantage or the “no rules” policies of States such as Arizona. It’s not just individuals doing the buying, however. It’s also giant corporate entities, investing in large multifamily buildings.

“North Vancouver-based Western Wealth Capital (WWC), for instance, has completed over $5 billion in multifamily transactions, representing a portfolio of more than 29,000 rental apartments across five cities in the United States since 2011”

What’s arguably most interesting about the purchase patterns, however, is the shift in interest to Midwest and Southwest, where historically, more than 50 percent of residential buying has taken place in Florida.

The article notes that Canadians like Arizona because of its lax or non-existent restrictions on AirBnb and short term rentals. They want to buy a vacation property and rent it out most of the year. “Vacation homes are the top target for buyers looking for U.S. properties (49 per cent), with the second being primary residence (29 per cent), according to the report. Eleven per cent of buyers are looking for a combination of vacation and rental; seven per cent buy to rent their property.”  


Right-Wing US Billionaires Building “Bug Out” Homes in Places with Progressive Politics

It’s no small hypocrisy that some of the biggest supporters of anti-worker policies and fairness have hedged their climate change bets on governments by and for the people.

New Zealand is a favorite place for American billionaires to build their secret Climate disaster hideouts. They started putting down stakes there during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and now are doing so to hedge their bets against the climate crisis they so often deny or downplay.

According to Alarabiya News, “Over the years, the moneyed North Americans who have managed to wrangle properties there include hedge-fund pioneer Julian Robertson, Hollywood film director James Cameron and PayPal Holdings Inc. co-founder Peter Thiel, who has two estates in New Zealand, one of which features views of snow-capped mountains and has a safe room.”

Thiel, for instance, has been a high-profile backer of Donald Trump, and is affiliated with the most destructive elements of the right-wing movement in the U.S., including The Heritage Foundation, which, according to The Guardian, has an advocacy arm that “spent more than $5m on lobbying in 2021 as it worked to block federal voting rights legislation and advance an ambitious plan to spread its far-right agenda calling for aggressive voter suppression measures in battleground states.”

According to Inquisitor.com, “One of Thiel’s Silicon Valley colleagues, the venture capitalist Sam Altman, is believed to have inadvertently revealed the reason why American billionaires have been rushing to acquire property in Zealand when he said that he and Thiel would flee to New Zealand at the first sign of trouble in the U.S. or a global disaster.”

Not every buyer is an anti-governing extremist, but all have bet on the types of governments and ideas that they attack politically, to protect and support them when the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket.

The common thread in these “apocalypse” buyers is “Survival of the Richest,” a belief that they can escape the ill fortunes of plague, famine and mass migration if and when it occurs. And it’s been picking up speed since the financial crisis of 2008. In 2017, bunker buying was already in style, according to Stuff:

"Saying you're 'buying a house in New Zealand' is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you've done the Masonic handshake, they'll be, like, 'Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they're nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in."

Here are some of the “hot spots” chosen by billionaire preppers:

Billionaire Prepper destinations

 

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