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  Edition # 109  
San Francisco, 12-21-2014

Figure [1]: A newly rich paid 1 million Dollars for this run-down building.

Michael American construction sites all have one annoying thing in common. Regardless if it's a big project like earth-quake proofing the Bay Bridge or renovating a run-down house around the corner: They keep dragging on for years and years. It appears that there's no affordable way for the owner to draft a contract to ensure that a building is ready by a specified date. According to my personal research, simple home renovations in our neighborhood take more than a year on average. And remodeling the Bay Bridge, as you might have heard, took more than 30 years.

Figure [2]: The collapsing dog house in the center sold for 1 Million Dollars, and I'm not kidding.

To give you an example, recently, a nouveau-riche dimwit bought a fixer upper in our neighborhood for the astounding amount of 1,000,000 (one Million Dollars), evicted the family who had been living there for decades, and has spent the last two years employing Mexican day laborers to renovate it. At the end of 2013, a few individuals appeared, starting to make a lot of noise, but little progress, seemingly unmotivated, almost like hobbyists. Every day at 7:30 in the morning, they started hammering and sawing like crazy, only to suddenly cease work at 9:00, with no following activity for many hours. Later in the day, occasionally, you could hear timid hammering noises here and there, but rather lackadasical, apparantly without accomplishing anything of value until the end of the day. The construction company "Rodriguez Builders" has now been on the project for about a year and keeps throwing the construction waste into the front yard. Sometimes, there's one worker dabbling here and there, sometimes there's three of them making infernal noises on Saturday mornings with a table saw that they're switching on once per hour to cut some wood, instead of cutting all the wood at once and be done with it.

Figure [3]: The day laborer eyes the table saw with suspicion: Should I saw today or postpone it till tomorrow?

This raises the question: How can someone who poured 1 million Dollars into a fixer upper be so stupid as to be taken for a ride by a construction company who's apparently progressing at their own discretion, pushing out the completion date time and time again? You would think that the owner be interested in having the house ready as soon as possible, either to move in himself or rent it out to the tune of 5,000 Dollars per month.

I'm not sure what's going on, maybe the owner ran out of money and he's delaying the project to avoid paying property taxes (a whopping 14,000 Dollars per year), because he'd fall off a financial cliff otherwise? We'll never know for sure, but the fact he paid 1 million for a doghouse seems to substantiate my suspicion that he might not be the brightest person around and probably blindly fell prey to the real estate parasites who are now sucking him out for good. I can't say that I feel sorry.

Figure [4]: Construction worker on the phone.

Figure [5]: Every construction site is required to display the permit issued by the city.

The other day, our local news station reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg purchased a building in our neighborhood for an exorbitant amount of money and the neighbors are complaining about the disturbance, because the builder has been making noise every single day for an entire year now! If you're interested, "Fort Zuckerberg" went for 10 Million Dollars. At night, there's a security guard watching over the premise. It seems that money is no issue for Zuckerbertie.

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