Amazing Public Art–John Pugh

3D murals painted on the sides of buildings by artist John Pugh

Main Street , Los Gatos , California . Even the woman peering into the ruin is part of the mural.

Taylor Hall, California State University , Chico , California . The Doric-style columns are actually nothing but paint.

Honolulu , Hawaii . This mural took two months of studio work to plan and another six months to execute with the help of 11 other artists. Featured are Queen Liliuokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Islands , and Duke Kahanamoku, the ultimate father of surfing.

This mural at the Cafe Trompe L’oeil, San Jose , California , is entitled “Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating Life”.  This customer doesn’t leave at closing time.

Twenty-nine Palms, California . Valentine the bull and a patient buzzard are waiting for the artist to awake.

Bay in a Bottle, Santa Cruz , California . The passer-by is part of the mural.

Looks like a nice spot to rest your weary feet on a sidewalk in front of the Sarasota County Health Center, Florida.

“Slowin’ Down to Take a Look” in Winslow , Arizona . Included, of course, is “a girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.”


Artist John Pugh

Southern California Home Values: More Bad News

As noted here, L. A. County home values have now dropped 36% in one year.

But, that time period does not show the depth of the plunge. Southern California median home values have dropped 50.4% from the peak of the housing bubble. This is partly a statistical anomaly: few top-of-the-line or new homes were selling. This 50% figure is an aggregate of all SoCal counties. Some counties have it far worse and we know which they are. Riverside prices have plunged 55% from $432,000 median to $195,000. San Bernardino had it worse: median values are down from their height of $380,00 57.4% to $162,000.

Adding to the general misery is the news that about 20% of all mortgage holders in the U.S. are underwater or owe more than their homes are worth. California’s rate of negative equity is 30% of mortgage holders placing it on a par with Florida–in 5th place. It’s not quite so bad in L.A. County even with the statistical drag of  the Antelope Valley and the High Desert areas. In L.A. County about 23% of homeowners are in negative territory.

Of course, owing more than the home is worth is a difficult situation for homeowners. It hardly seems worth the struggle to make the payment. In fact, many don’t. They may have made a” business decision” [does it make sense to pay on a $400,000 mortgage when the house is worth $300,000?]  More likely,  they can no longer afford the payment due to job loss, job cutbacks or readjusting mortgages. Across the country,  4% of mortgage holders were at least 60 days late in the last quarter of 2008. A year earlier, the figure was 3%.

How’s California doing? Not so good, as we might expect, given the rising unemployment statistics. Of California home owners 6.9%  were categorized as delinquent in Q4 08. This compares to Florida, highest in the nation with 9.5% rate. We are still behind also Nevada and Arizona.

4-horsemen

But, these four populous states really are like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their condition does presage disaster for the rest of the country. We four are huge markets for the rest of the country and the world. California alone has something like the 10th largest economy in the world. If our economic engine is stilled, what will happen to our trading partners and our fellow citizens in other states?

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