Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ah, Travels...

On December 19 my fiance and I strolled over to City Hall and got married. So apologies for the blogging hiatus. Christmas shopping, getting hitched and a holiday trip to his home state of Kentucky pre-empted any San Francisco TIC contemplations.

I did learn that in charming artsy Louisville, KY you can buy a glorious three story historic home in a lovely parkside neighborhood for about what it costs to lay your hands on a studio flat in this town.

Ah, travels. You wonder - could I, should I, would I trade in the Bay area with all its surrounding beauty for a more gracious, less crime ridden, less homeless-tolerant Southern city? Louisville is undergoing a revitilization that features the 21C Museum Hotel, the best boutique hotel in the country, bar none - including those I have seen in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Manhattan. The interior design is luscious and the contemporary art featured at the 21C draws from a top caliber collection assembled by Laura Lee Brown and her husband Steve Wilson. (Brown's family controls the Brown-Forman liquor corporation, purveyors of Jack Daniels whiskey and Makers Mark bourbon.)

There is an energy and enthusiasm for arts and culture in downtown Louisville that I found inspiring - more uplifting than the ramshackle arts scene and haphazard patronage we have here in San Francisco. It appears that this is the result of Louisville politicians, residents, developers, unions, colleges, restauranteurs, retailers, arts patrons and business titans all working together to effect a wonderful change in their city. Reading the SF Chronicle's Surreal Estate column about a woman who has been in permit hell for nearly two years trying to help turn a tenant into a homeowner and put up a green building on property she owns in Bernal Heights, I had to ask myself - why are attempts at that kind of cooperation so belabored and beleaguered in SF?

Three friends a decade older than I have left San Francisco in the past year, trading in their big city equity for a mortgage free home in a Southern state. One now lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Another has moved to the Chapel Hill area of that same state. And a pal from graduate school sent me a Christmas card announcing that she is on her way to Nellysford, Virginia. So far, none reports regretting the move. After ten days travelling through the bluegrass state I can see how these other more well-mannered, second city regions might hold far more allure than our foggy, contentious metropolis.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Property Taxes Due

Hey everyone - especially new TIC owners who may have been renters and are not accustomed to dealing with the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector - the first installment of secured property tax is due on December 10, 2006.

The Tax Collector website is very clear and informative. You can walk through a demo of how to research your account and if you lost the paper copy of your bill you can look up what you owe.

You can deliver a check to the City office, mail a check, or pay online. (Online payments add a "convenience fee" to your bill.) There is a 10% penalty if you miss this deadline and pay late, so make sure you get your money to the tax people on time.

The Supe Says

One of my building partners ran into Supervisor Russ Mirkarimi at the Hayes Valley Street Fair. Mirkarimi's take was the supes are not going to re-enact the one year '06 ordinance that gave precedence to buildings that have been in the lottery the longest. Mirkarimi, by the way, lives in a TIC that will be in the lottery for the fifth time in '07. My building is heading into year four. Wonder who holds the honor of being the building that has unsuccessfully participated for the greatest number of years?