Turn Out the Lights

Get the Indside Buzzzz Weekly By Columnist Tony Evans

Dandy Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboy’s QB used to sing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” when there was no hope for the opposing team to win the game.

With that thought in mind, will the last person leaving Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas, and Phoenix please turn out the lights in Dandy Don’s memory?

Does it sound like THE BUZZZ is picking on these cities? Yep, you bet! When you can buy a home in Detroit, Michigan for 15,000 bucks, and in some distressed areas of the city get one for a case of Miller Draft, two broken bats from the Detroit Tigers and a deflated basketball signed by the Detroit Pistons, you’ve got trouble in River City.

But be careful about that $15,000 cash only purchase. You may be eating dinner with rats, mice and several homeless folks. And Grand Rapids, Lansing and Marquette! This migraine may be on your doorstep sooner than you think.

Miami, on the other hand, is better known in 2008 as one of the greatest real estate house of cards to fall in the history of this country, and blames much of its distress on the “Condo Bust” where buyers left their deposit money on the developer’s table and said: “adios.” Other cities to feel the heavy blow of the subprime hurricane were Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Palm Beach and Orlando. But the BUZZZ can’t leave out the Cape Coral area either.

They have tenants in their heretofore empty new homes: BEES (as in BUZZZ- (get it?) Thousands of non-paying honey bees have taken up residence in garages, rafters – even furniture inside. So, right now, the Florida housing market is in a coma, but as Yogi Berra said: “It ain’t over, till it’s over.”

Moving on – cities in Arizona were attacked by greedy housing developers who borrowed and built, borrowed more, and built some more, never in a million years thinking they would see THIS day arrive and got blind sided. Since I’m from Phoenix, I would like to name – names, but I won’t since most of those developers have headed out I-10 toward New Mexico or down to the border with a “Spanish 101” book tucked in their back pocket. Most were overdrawn at their banks anyway, living in cheap motels, and eating at the counter. Oh, they also changed the entering Phoenix signs. Now they say: Welcome to the 2nd most over-built new housing market in America. (Vegas is #1). Pick a home – make an offer, any offer…..PLEASE! Ratty junk car deposits welcome.

Speaking of Nevada… Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City and even Lake Tahoe got bit by the deadly housing mosquito and Vegas was aptly named, “the subprime capital of America.” With the glut of unsold homes and condo’s for sale, investors could probably buy three for the price of one. The reasons are simple. Developers, ignoring warnings about too much construction and a water shortage, for years were building and building like the Iranians were in St. George, Utah. Home prices have fallen flatter than a penny on a railroad track in Vegas, and the housing market is in such a mess, it may never recover. New homes that were $300,000 are now vacant with only scorpions, snakes, tumbleweeds and an occasional hobo with a tin cup as tenants. Yikes!

But the dagger through the heart is water, and the clock is ticking. Lake Mead and Lake Powell water levels are down so low Scripps Institute of Oceanography researchers have concluded that due to overuse of Colorado River water and climate changes, there is a 50 percent chance the level of Lake Mead will fall low enough to shut down power generators at Hoover Dam by 2017, plus a 10 percent chance portions of Lake Mead will shrivel and dry up before 2014.

Actually, some areas of the lake are already sandbar islands. Ouch! I plan to walk on the dry bottom of formerly beautiful Lake Mead where I used to water ski, and see if there are any Mafia bones and pieces of black pin-stripe suits lying around from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

BUZZZ BITS AND BYTES: HELP WANTED! Former HUD Secretary Jackson and former Attorney General Gonzales are out of work and apparently, persona non grata. For those of you living in Kingman, Arizona, that means NOT WANTED. So you folk’s who have lost your jobs, look for these two guys in the unemployment lines. What was “dubbyah thinking” when he sponsored these two clowns. Then I had a sudden epiphany. Clowns – Circus – Funny Hats…..Private Parties….somebody hurry and get me their cell phone numbers. There may be hope yet for these two guys.

BULLETIN….BULLETIN…. G Dubbyah has designated Steve Preston of the SBA to head up the Attorney Generals office replacing clown #2 (see above). NOTICE: Include Preston in your next “bye-bye” TRIFECTA. BUZZZ says the odds are: 90 to 1.

Published April 23, 2008

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