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February 2007
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April 2007

Hi, Dustin!


!!!!! Dustin !!!!!

Today, Friday, March 30, from 9:30am - 1:30pm, marketing expert and blogging guru Dustin Luther of Rain City Guide will be presenting a seminar at Hilton Pasadena, 168 South Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA.

On the off-hand chance that Dustin will visit during his presentation, I figured I would say, "Hi, Dustin, how's it going?"

Saving The Marmion Teepee

Teepee1 If you drive along Monte Vista Street, as it curves into Marmion Way at the base of Mount Washington, take a moment to glance up towards the West.  Yes, that is a teepee.

The teepee's owner is Shauna Turner, a registered native American Indian.  Shauna's goal is to create an inner City American Indian Sanctuary here.  The teepee has been used for ceremonial purposes to aid American Indians on the path to recovery from drugs and alcohol.  The property is also being used to cultivate and propagate native California flora and fauna.

Recently Shauna was cited by the Department of Building and Safety and ordered to take down the teepee.  The community rose up in support of the teepee with a concentrated email and letter writing campaign.

Thanks to that support, the city has agreed that there is no issue with the teepee, and that it may be used for religous and ceremonial practices.  They further stated that the farming and gardening can continue on the lot, as long as all "trash and debris" is removed.  Many community members came out last weekend to help remove recycling items.  Some folks discovered antique treasures.

I am a member of "Active Rain", which is both a social networking community for real estate professionals, and a platform for those professionals to provide real estate information to the general public.

I noticed a few agents posting questions and comments about difficulties in photographing properties.  And I thought ..."there is something I know a little bit about"....  Admittedly, very little. 

But I dove in anyway and began creating a series of basic beginner level photography tutorials.  Soon a couple pro photographers and other serious amateurs were contributing.

After a few months, I realized I wanted a way to save and categorize the posts for future reference, so I started building  And I think is almost ready for its debut.

There will probably be more tweaks and revisions to come .... but for now, please allow me to introduce   

Please visit, read through the tutorials, and enjoy!

In season at the Old LA (Highland Park) Farmers Market

By Seth Budick - -Cross-posted from NelaList:   

Another delicious harbinger of Spring returned to the market this past week in the form of fresh asparagus from Tamai farms. While it's true that asparagus is generally available year round in the supermarket, much of that is flown in from Peru. Since the vibrant flavor of asparagus, like so many other fresh vegetables, declines rapidly after picking, comparing fresh picked spears from Tamai to week-old limp specimens from another hemisphere isn't even fair. In addition to the better taste and enormous fuel savings from getting your asparagus from Oxnard instead of Lima, you'll also benefit from eating one of the most nutritious vegetables around. Asparagus is higher in folic acid than any other vegetable and is also a good source of vitamins C, A, B6 and thiamin. And with no fat or cholesterol and only 4 calories per spear, there's no reason to hold back.

Asparagus is great sprinkled with lemon juice or parmesan after boiling (about 2 minutes, just covered with water, until tender/crisp) or roasting (splashed with olive oil and salt, then 10 minutes in a  broiler). Another tasty possibility is as a constituent of a wonderful pizza along with caramelized onions and goat cheese. For an easy week night dinner, pick up a package of pizza dough at Trader Joe's and while you're rolling out the dough and preheating your oven, caramelize an onion by slicing it thinly and cooking over medium heat for about 25 minutes in 1-2tbsp olive oil, stirring, until the onions take on the amazing dark chewy sweetness that is the miracle of caramelization. Top the pizza with dollops of goat cheese, the onions, and half a bunch of asparagus with the bottom 1-2 inches removed and the spears cut into 1 inch pieces. Bake for about 10 minutes at 450 and you'll be richly rewarded with the appreciation of your dining companions.

Last week I talked about Energy Bee honey, a new vendor at the market. Well Energy Bee will only be at the market every other week, so look for them this Tuesday. For updates on everything else you can expect to find in season at the farmers market, consult And as always, pick up fresh cheese, nuts and fruit preserves, as well as kettle corn, tamales, roasted corn and potatoes and honey pineapple chicken. And next week, on April 3rd, come to the market to mark Easter and the beginning of Spring with an Easter Bunny, music and a raffle.

Please stop by the market for fresh, field-ripened, high quality produce from local farmers and spend time with your friends, neighbors and other community members.

The Highland Park Certified Farmers Market is located adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line station at Marmion Way between Ave. 57 & 58 and operates Tuesdays from 3-7PM.

- Seth Budick

Is Your Neighbor Moving Inland?

Orange County, CA may be in trouble. The OC is home to the subprime lenders of America. The subprime mortgage market is collapsing like a bluff on a beach in a tsunami. Bubble bloggers dance on the graves of the fallen. What I find amusing is that nobody feels bad for a collapsed lender.  I mean, come on, everyone knows that it's just a bunch of rich people playing with the Wall Street's money, right?

Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your
Your hometown
Your hometown
Your hometown

Lyrics from My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen

Well, let me tell you a story of the real estate industrial complex of Orange County.  It may not have a happy ending.  Most lending employees are not highly-paid.  Sure, I've mentioned that the subprime wholesale account executives were paid like starting pitchers for the Angels but the bulk of the folks who crank out the loans are the rank and file, clock-punching, lunch-box carrying, worker bees. These are folks who were tossed into an industry some five years ago, learned their jobs by their wits and excelled during booms.  They stayed late, worked on weekends, and sacrificed vacations, to get the job done.

Now they won't have jobs. "The Boss" opined in the mid '80s about industries leaving small towns and the effect on the local economy.  You have to wonder about the effect on the subprime mortgage capital of the country, Irvine in tony Orange County.  Most of the employees came from the Southern California counties of San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles.  The subprime mortgages were not only originated there, they provided affordability for the starter homes in those counties.

Let's look at the ripple effect:

(1)- lending guidelines tighten so residential mortgage capital is becoming more scarce.

(2)- loans default in record proportions in a lighting-quick time frame

(3)- lenders announce massive layoffs or simply close the doors

(4)- home building starts drop

(5)- construction jobs become less plentiful

I think it's quite possible that we could see an exodus of young, non-college educated people from the coastal Southern California counties to areas like San Bernandino, Riverside, And Kern counties. The average family needs an income of close to $100,000 to afford a starter home in the coastal counties.  The inland counties provide housing options for a family with a $65,000 income.

I know most people won't shed a tear for the "worker bees" that worked for lenders.  I, however, thank you all for your hard work, dedication, and professionalism during a trying decade of lending.  I wish you the best of luck no matter what you pursue.

Highland Perk Update

In a unanimous decision, the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission approved the appeal by Scott Robbins and the Highland Perk Coffeehouse subject to certain conditions. Among the conditions are that Robbins secure more parking agreements with nearby merchants, that wine and beer will only be served with the purchase of food, and that the outdoor patio be unavailable to alcohol after 10 each evening. With the approval of the appeal, the restaurant will now be able to serve beer and wine.

Nearly 100 community members showed up to testify at the hearing, many stayed from 4:30 to after 8pm to give testimony and listen to the commissioners as they asked questions and worked towards
placing reasonable conditions (some of which had been volunteered by scott robbins) to grant the license.

In season at the Old LA (Highland Park) Farmers Market

By Seth Budick - -Cross-posted from NelaList:   

The farmers market welcomed another new, and very local vendor this week: Energy Bee Farm from Inglewood. Energy Bee produces honey from a wide variety of floral sources, including familiar ones like wildflowers and orange blossoms, as well as less common ones like blackberry, eucalyptus and avocado. Energy Bee's insect employees help to pollinate many different farmers' crops, and differences in the flowers' nectar - honey's raw material - give the resulting honeys a diverse range of flavors, so try a few before picking your favorite. The honey has not been processed or filtered in any way, so everything that the bees thought to include is still intact, including the vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants that are present in honey and lacking in other sweeteners.

Also at the market, winter fruits and vegetables continue to go strong, including citrus, strawberries, avocados, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, fresh herbs and too much else to describe here. An updated list of what's in season is always available at, along with recipes and nutritional information. We also welcomed a kettle corn vendor back to the market this week, so snack while you shop and pick up nuts, fresh cheeses and fruit preserves, or roasted corn and potatoes, fresh tamales and honey pineapple chicken for dinner. And in two weeks, on April 3rd, come to the market to mark Easter and the beginning of Spring with an Easter Bunny, music and a raffle.

Please stop by the market for fresh, field-ripened, high quality produce from local farmers and spend time with your friends, neighbors and other community members.

The Highland Park Certified Farmers Market is located adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line station at Marmion Way between Ave. 57 & 58 and operates Tuesdays from 3-7PM.

- seth budick