Saturday, October 4, 2008

Foreclosures and Landfills

This is really quite sad on so many levels, not the least of which is how much of this stuff could go to good use somewhere. Make sure to watch at least as far as when they spray paint the grass! Insanity.


John Costigane said...

Hi Dave,

Things in the UK are getting tight and there have been casualties but seeing the huge home losses over in California is very sad.

What is your take on the situation?

RonStrelecki said...

I did a few commercial shoots out in LA when I lived out there. I helped with a lot of teardown. I remember filling those dumpsters with perfectly usable construction materials, as other guys were simultaneously constructing new sets (to be torn down the next day themselves). For whatever reason, most of the guys I was working with were Guatemalan and they said that what we were throwing away they would've used to build neighborhoods with back home. I felt literally ashamed and disgusted to even be a part of it. I was such a naive dipstick!

To understand this video, and the whole situation, I think it would be wise to play a videogame like The Sims. At some level... distanced by space, and several layers of abstraction, this is all just a game to some people. They knew these prices would plummet when they were building the cardboard castles. I almost feel more sorry for the people have yet to lose their homes.

The real shame is that the banks probably made a 100% profit on the down payment alone. Those houses are all stickframe and stucco firetraps built by the lowest bidder out of the cheapest materials (in the middle of nowhere, to boot). I doubt any of them have more than $10,000 worth of material in them.

Dave said...

Hey Jon and Ron,
Yeah it seems bad all over. I'm in no position to really comment as it seems like a much larger scenario than i'd ever understand, but having said that, I don't think you can discount the whole concept of the American Dream. We've all been brainwashed to believe that success is determined by the size of our wallet, the size of our house, the size of our car, that it seems wrong not to try to get these things. And if companies are going to loan you money regardless of whether you can afford it, than who's to stop you.

Extremely sad and while i think there are a number of people to fault on both sides (lenders and lendees) it kills me that kids are caught up in all of this.

As for the sets, I know what you mean Ron. I need to find it, but I used to have info on a company that would come and break down sets and ship the wood down to Mexico where it was used for houses. I always thought that was a cool thing to do.


RonStrelecki said...

Where I was, they had people to verify that the materials were being destroyed and not resold. It had something to do with taxes. We locked the garbage up at night. It was terrible to see (and take part in) the destruction of a set, where you rip out windows and sinks, and fixtures... only to see the exact same materials being built the next day. The waste was incredible. Everyone was concerned about it. No one wanted to do it. The responsibility was diffused. I think that is the key to a lot of problems. Often times it takes just one person to say, "The buck stops here," and things change. I am pleased to here that materials are getting a second use.

Dave said...

All I can say is wow...and that i'm not totally surprised.


Anonymous said...

I know that the spray painting thing looks really weird, but from something that guy said, I think this may be the same type of paint that my city uses on road-side dead spots. The paint is bio-degradable, and it has grass seed in it. So long as it's watered regularly, it will grow into good looking lawn and, while the grass is germinating, it doesn't look like death (though it does look a little unnatural). It doesn't beat a naturalized yard, but I can't imagine that dead grass is so much better for the environment than live grass.