From the Publisher: Guns, Guns and More Guns

Arnold G. York

To no one’s great surprise, most everybody we asked locally didn’t think that teachers carrying sidearms was a very good idea nor was it, in fact, going to make anyone safer. Still, many have said they want armed security at the schools and preschools. Security—which was seldom on anyone’s radar before—is now one of the first things that parents ask about today. One of the problems in trying to establish a national rule is that different states have totally different gun cultures. In many of the southern and western states, owning one or several guns is apparently the norm. In the more urban areas, the norm goes the other way. As for me, I never wanted a gun in the house. Principally because wherever you kept it, I figured the kids would always find it, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there is a point in every marriage when you do not want your wife to have a loaded weapon readily available.


There was an article in this week’s LA Business Journal about residential home building on the rise in LA County; then, I looked at the list of the 25 largest homebuilders locally and got a distinctively less optimistic picture of the housing future. The top residential homebuilder was KB Homes, which sold 474 mostly detached homes in 2017. Assuming there’s four people per home, that’s housing for a couple of thousand people. In all, the 25 largest residential homebuilders together closed 2,767 escrows, barely housing for more than 10,000 people. The number of home-building permits in the LA area fell again to a low 31,347 units, which was a little lower than 2016, which was a little lower than 2015. Most of the units that people want to build are apartments and condominiums. Housing experts estimate that we have to build 1,000,000 units in the LA area just to stay even with housing prices nationwide; currently, our housing prices are about double the rest of the country, and that’s not just buying homes. It also includes renting. So, what does this all mean? There is only one real solution and that is higher density. Higher density means going up to buildings of 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 stories, especially where public transportation is available. What it means is that when the legislature decides to fix the situation, the only way they can do it is by taking away local zoning control and removing density control from local government, or nothing will ever happen. There are several bills floating around the legislature now to do just that. I suspect we are going to see more bills going into the hopper to accomplish that goal each year. I don’t know if they’ll pass now but I suspect they will pass in time. Recently, Karen and I were in Toronto and all along the waterfront, on what had previously been industrial property, were 50-story condo buildings. They were spaced apart so there wasn’t a sense of a high-rise ghetto but the density was there. The impact was that you could buy a condo there for $250,000-$350,000. I suspect that is our future—like it or not.


Last week, we reported on a story about a woman named Maggie Stewart, who works here in Malibu. She was vacationing in Cancun with her husband and child. Stewart was six months pregnant and had checked with her doctor before going, and was cleared to go. While down there, a medical complication arose suddenly and she had to have an emergency C-section reportedly to save her life and that of the baby. The baby daughter, named Poppy Elizabeth, was one pound, six ounces at birth and has serious medical problems. Apparently, the mother, who is a member of Kaiser Permanente, is not covered by her health care plan when she’s out of the country. The father flew the little baby to Children’s Hospital Miami where she could get the necessary treatment. The mother and other child stayed behind in Cancun so the mother could recover. Of course, the emergency medical help, hospital cost and travel expenses are rapidly growing. They’ve had to max out their credit cards and borrow from friends and family to stay afloat while Kaiser, according to reports, “studies the problem.” I find it very disturbing, but not surprising, that your friendly medical provider—in this case, Kaiser—suddenly turns into a cold-hearted insurance company, when the need for their support arrives. The family is financially tapped out and friends have set up a GoFundMe page for them. Anyone who wants to help should visit and contribute some dollars to help them through the crises. I don’t know what Kaiser is ultimately going to do other than sit on their hands, but if you’re a member of Kaiser like my wife Karen, call and ask them why there is no emergency coverage out of the country. These days, we all travel so ask them to explain their policy and what choices are available to members when they travel. If the answers are unsatisfactory, then it’s time to find a new health plan or a less cold-blooded insurance company. Also, make sure to talk about the entire incident on your social media so it can be shared with the rest of the world.