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Dispatch / April 12, 2009

My McMansion

My name is Yasha and I live in a McMansion. As far as I can tell, I have three bedrooms and a master bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, which I’m now filling up for a bubble bath. But life wasn’t always like this—I had a real struggling journalist’s life, once. No real job and lived in a cramped apartment with my friend and his girlfriend. Then one day my life took a turn for the best. I packed everything I own—a couple of couches, a desk, two guns, some books and a few garbage bags worth of clothes—into an orange U-haul truck and drove the rig at a top speed to a suburban blob called Victorville, in the middle of the desert 100 miles away from Los Angeles. And I stepped right into the American Dream. It wasn’t my dream; I’m here undercover.

Victorville is what they call an “exurb,” one of thousands of new sub-suburban sprawls all around the country built for poor Americans. To flocking homeowners, Victorville must have seemed like a glorious reaffirmation about everything good and right about American values, a place where the poor could finally afford a home of their own. Instead, it turned into just one more slaughtering ground in the the biggest scam of the century, a place where tens of thousands were lured to be ripped off and set adrift.

victorville-11

View from the master bedroom: Tiny backyard, huge high-voltage tower and a whole lotta undeveloped land.

It was somewhere past 2 a.m. when I finally pulled up to my new home sitting in a cul-de-sac at the very edge of town. The neighborhood was dark and deserted. Boxy homes with plastered-on facades and cheesy nine-foot arches spookily towered over me. A couple of Joshua trees could be seen just beyond the street. The houses here looked like they had been vacant for months. There were too many dark windows to feel at ease, and I started getting paranoid that someone was watching me as I was unloading my truck.

Victorville was never meant for the world of the living. Out on the horizon,  you could make outlines of lofty snow-capped mountains. But under your feet, it’s nothing but a patch of dried-out dirt. These houses were built here at the whim of WaMu and Countrywide Financial executive types just so they could have a product to push, a part of a complicated system of speculator fraud meant to do only one thing: transfer money from the lower-class suckers straight into executive bonuses. For that they needed a constant supply of fresh meat, and Victorville performed exceedingly well. In 2007, a year in which five million Americans migrated to shitholes just like this, Victorville was the second-fastest growing one of them.

When I looked at the house two weeks ago, the real estate agent couldn’t tell me much about its history. All she knew was that it had one previous owner, a family that moved here from somewhere south of LA. They didn’t get to enjoy the American splendor of their new digs for long, though.  One year is all they had before the bank seized their home and flipped it to someone insane enough to invest in this city’s toxic real estate market.

The house itself is about as standard as they come in Victorville. Even by McMansion standards, most of them are low-quality, but they do come with luxury-class features. You won’t find a house without a master bedroom and bathroom complete with his-and-hers sinks. On top of the master suite, my house is equipped with a huge laundry room big enough for a servant to live in, central heating/AC, a center-island counter in the kitchen, a living room with a recessed wall for a huge flat-panel TV and entertainment system, and a fake fireplace that fires up with a light switch. And it was mine to rent for just $1,150 a month, the price for a studio in Los Angeles. It was budget-minded opulence, like a Hyundai. The landlord even threw in a hi-tech security system, equipped with motion-tracking sensors in every room, at no extra charge.

“Safety, I think, is a major part of feeling comfortable. It can get pretty deserted out here sometimes,” the real estate agent said. “And you are going to be living alone, are you not?”

She was right about the need for extra security, I thought as I sat in my upstairs office, overlooking the darkness of the mile-long stretch of desert separating me from the next neighborhood. Four days here and I still can’t get used to the emptiness. I don’t even trust the one neighbor I have. Luckily I have those guns with me . . . I loaded the 357 magnum with hollow-points as soon as I moved in, and plan on keeping it that way. In fact, it sits right here on my desk, shiny and clean.

Neighborhood Driving Tour, Victorville, CA

Taking a drive through the neighborhood. Don’t it make you feel cozy?

Victorville is the embodiment of the housing bubble. In 2007, its population grew by 9.5%, and nearly doubled in the past eight years. Now there are just over 100,000 people living here. The growth wasn’t related to anything tangible; no KIA auto-plant opened up. The Air Force base here, which employed thousands of civilians, closed down more than a decade ago. There were barely enough jobs to support the pre-boom population. But the people didn’t move here for the jobs. Victorville was a commuter development and proud of it. According to official city data, most of the adults here commute at least two hours each way—some make the 100-mile trip out to Los Angeles, others trek 200 miles east all the way out to Las Vegas.

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56 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. aleke  |  April 13th, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I was wondering what the hell those bizarre exurbs were about. Thanks Yasha, have fun out there.

  • 2. Sriram  |  April 13th, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Loved reading the article. Quality journalism, much appreciated.

  • 3. zealot  |  April 13th, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Americans truly deserve to be fucked by their masters.

  • 4. asd  |  April 13th, 2009 at 6:07 am

    When you are sitting in a empty house alone in the middle of an empty neighbourhood, caressing a loaded gun, then you should know it is time to get out of there immediately, and never look back.

  • 5. Jim  |  April 13th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Some of us love it in the desert. Clean air and a great future. Nobody forced you to move. You were looking for a better life and if you were a bit less of an elitist, you might have found one. Intellectual snob that you are. Do you really have a brain? Or, do you bitch and moan for a meager living?

  • 6. Jasen Comstock  |  April 13th, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Victorville is just one of four towns in the area that you didn’t mention. Hesperia, Apple Valley and Phelan along with Victorville make up the “High Desert.” The wealthier Mormon families live in Apple Valley and act all snobby toward the rest of the towns. Phelan is the smallest and worst, literally just trailers in the desert.

    In the 90′s, when I was in high school, parts of the desert were extremely unsafe at night. In the daytime, you would find massive piles of empty amphetamine bottles stacked on the roadsides. If I recall Hesperia earned the coveted “biggest crystal meth producer in the world” title. I cant find evidence of my claim online though.

  • 7. Gerhard  |  April 13th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    It`s really quite shocking how people could be lured into this kind of property/debt scam, whats doubly shocking is how called it was in the media running up to the deflation of belief in a continual increase in prosperity.

    If anybody wants a fictional take on the strangling of american middle and worker classes through alluring, yet indebting and demanding housing developments then i`d suggest Fredrik Pohl & C M Kornbluths – Gladiator At Law. It chronicles the ways in which people fall, the ways in which they struggle, and the ways in which they maintain during times of intense economical competition. Besides, its got Goering Grenadiers, everybody loves Goering Grenadiers, not only that, Wabbits with broken bottles, and the ominous 333, and a giant gladitorial calamity.

    Well worth it. As was this article. I`m going to enjoy future dispatches immensely. Thank you very much.

  • 8. zach  |  April 13th, 2009 at 9:34 am

    $1,150 a month? Damn, I paid more for a studio in Boston. Is that month to month or did you sign a long lease or what?

  • 9. isamu  |  April 13th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    The fools who bought out there are not the victims. They are the useful idiots. They lost nothing except their worthless credit scores. The real victims are the people who saved money and did not participate in the housing bubble, and the people who still have jobs who will be paying for this mess.

    yours in Christ,
    isamu

  • 10. Chris Connolly  |  April 13th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    $1,150 is $40 a day, that’s more than plenty to pay just for a place to live.

    Did you coin the phrase “Speculator Fraud”? I like it.

  • 11. aleke  |  April 13th, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Do they teach “useful idiot” at objectivist seminars? I’ll now keep a look out for that word, because it means a crazy, stupid fascist is about!

  • 12. Commie  |  April 13th, 2009 at 10:38 am

    “I don’t know who you voted for…” Ha-ha! Don’t we all have a pretty good idea who the old hick voted for? Victorville is in San Bernardino county.
    After Bush got more votes in San Bernardino county in 2000 than Gore did, he did it again in 2004 (Bush: 226,133 votes, Kerry: 175,533 votes). It looks like by 2008 some county residents finally pulled their heads out of their asses, but it was already too late for them… Much of Middle America is fucked up beyond repair. Just look at a comment above (should be easy to tell which one I mean).

  • 13. isamu  |  April 13th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Do they teach “useful idiot” at objectivist seminars?

    As you can tell from my tagline, I am obviously a close follower of the ideas of Ayn Rand.

    yours in Christ,
    Isamu.

  • 14. Boris Nemtsov  |  April 13th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Good article Yasha, almost as good as your piece on the subbotniki.

  • 15. John  |  April 13th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    The fact that it’s a ripoff still doesn’t explain why it’s so fucking ugly.

  • 16. twentyeight  |  April 13th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    @#5:”a great future” …if you’re cooking meth.

    Last i checked, “water” was still necessary for life and therefore “a future” from the perspective of “living creatures” but I guess when you’re part of the 101st Fighting Keyboards in the Dep’t of Infowarfare those concerns are secondary

  • 17. rick  |  April 13th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    The whole “alone in the Mccmansion desert” is interesting. Efforts to actually socially interact with these people at Taco Bell? Even if it’s less political, more “how do these people live?” I remember being fascinated, driving through Texas, just seeing the lesbian cashier at Pizza Hut. How the hell does she live? But I guess it’s a testament to this article it actually feels like an alien planet with all kinds of interesting possibilities. I’ve always lived in cities, though.

    Are there any volunteer organizations in the area? Classes you could take?

  • 18. S  |  April 13th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Jesus Christ, Victorville is a fucking commuter community? Ten years ago, I knew it as a worthless shithole in the middle of fucking nowhere and one of the few stops for gas between the Cali/Nevada border and the Inland Empire. I can’t wait for your inevitably hilarious installment with a Victorville whore.

  • 19. aleke  |  April 13th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Being surrounded with people that are “yours in Christ,” I can spot an ally of Objectivism from two-church yards away.

  • 20. Moo  |  April 13th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    “$1,150 a month? Damn, I paid more for a studio in Boston.”

    But see, you’re paying for space in a location that’s actually worth living in.

  • 21. geo8rge  |  April 13th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    You should be more specific as to where you are, I assume you are near the LA Bureau of Power road, but where?

    How about some pics of the house.

    Make sure you go to the Tea party on April 15.

  • 22. Armen  |  April 13th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I lived in Victorville for a few weeks in 1989. I lived with my friend and his girlfriend.

    He was there because of the air force but had just gotten kicked out after freaking out on a chocolate bar floating in the toilet while on acid. He saw it, thought he was going to die, and called the hospital. We laughed about that for a long time. He was discharged, of course. No more a cappella with the black guys in the office.

    In our “social circle,” there was a tweaker rich gay guy that spent his time moving earth back and forth in the ghost town he’d built on his mom and dad’s property, a girl who had hearts on her cut-off jeans that she liked to show everybody, as in practically stuck her ass in your face, a middle-aged pot grower turned meth-producer after being busted with a scar on face where an iron beam had pierced through his cheeks in a tractor accident, and there was his bitch from Alabama that sucked his dick for a place to stay.

    I told the bitch in question that if she wanted to move up to Humboldt County with me that that would be fine. She didn’t respond.

  • 23. Anomynous  |  April 13th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    “Victorville was a commuter development and proud of it. According to official city data, most of the adults here commute at least two hours each way—some make the 100-mile trip out to Los Angeles, others trek 200 miles east all the way out to Las Vegas.”

    LMAO haha. Man those people are super screwed when the gasoline shortages come in (between this year and 2011). Who would be able to afford $5 gasoline? let alone they wont even have a job to commute to in the first place.

    What a waste of time the suburban expansion of post World War II was. We have to fight these useless oil wars just to get the gasoline to millions of commuter drivers nation wide so they can commute 2 hours to and from work (while they b*tch when they are stuck in traffic). Transportation takes up a big chunk of oil consumption in this country (especially when you have millions of commuter drivers burning it all up) Pretyy useless….Los Angeles is civilizations biggest failier in urban design and form. America has too many of these suburban communities (approx 38,000) to be able hold together in the next oil shocks.

    It is believed that the coasts of California contain 10 billion barrels of oil. Cali should allow their oil companies to drill for that ASAP!!! that would boost the state’s economy. IF the great Pacific republic of California collapses all America will be left with is the facist state of Texas and penta coastal SS men.

    People got to their destinations JUST FINE when there were trolly’s. The auto companies bought out those train companies and made Buses and eventually personal automobile. Let the Big 3 automotive companies FAIL!!!!!! Screw the automobile age.

  • 24. Sam  |  April 13th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Dismiss the “hick” all you want, but given the strong collaboration between big business interests and government, wouldn’t it seem a bit myopic to expect government to stick it to the rich? It’s common for state officials to have family in big business, if not roots in it themselves.

    Ok, tax the hell out of everybody (and the very rich would still be able to hide income), so now regular people have almost no money and live in tiny apartments with their parents. . . we’re basically Europe.

    I love the blog, but I really don’t get some of the conclusions you guys draw.

  • 25. Anonymous  |  April 13th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    One thing about the CA McMansions is that the state forced them to meet energy use standards. This means that they are actually well insulated– cheaper to heat and cool.

  • 26. zip  |  April 14th, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Sam: yes in Europe young people live in tiny apartments and with with their parents, you know why? because it’s sustainable but macmansions in the middle of nowhere are not.

  • 27. Locastus  |  April 14th, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Zip: I’m in the UK and I had to live with my parents until the age of 26, when I moved in to a tiny one bedroom place with my girlfriend.

    You’re having a laugh if you think I did that for sustainability.

  • 28. Carlito  |  April 14th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    So what exactly is the tax hike on the rich going to help the poor? Where is the “class war” aspect of that?

    Yea lets transfer money from the rich people to the politicians, so they can give it right back to the rich people.

    The state and the rich are joined at the hip, what are you talking about?

  • 29. Ratko Mladic  |  April 14th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    When do we hear more about the West end of town where the drugs and hoes are?

    Keep up the good work!

  • 30. Joe Blow  |  April 14th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    “including 10.13 billion barrels off California. For comparison, the United States consumes about 7.56 billion barrels of oil per year”

    or maybe zero billion barrels. who knows?

    I am about to pay $2,300 per month for a studio in NYC.

  • 31. Jacob  |  April 14th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Yasha’s claim that poor saps who bought these mansions were the ones who got duped and supposedly lost their “investment” does not hold water. People who had lost their homes to foreclosure for the most part had 0 equity in these homes. They did not lose anything beyond their monthly payments and their credit rating, neither one of which can count as a “loss”. The monthly payments were not much higher than what these people would have to pay in rent at some other place, and their credit score was a sick joke even before the foreclosure. If they had a good credit score to begin with they wouldn’t wait until 2005 to sign up for adjustable rate mortgages to live in a shithole that is Victorville.

    The people who lost big time were banks and investors whose equity in this overinflated economy has been severely reduced. Those investors were not a homogeneous group, they could be anything from a mom-and-pop pension funds, to university endowment funds, or the Warren Buffets of the world. But clearly, these investors were not the poor people, for those who earn enough to invest their savings are at very least solidly middle/upper-middle class people. They are the ones who had their savings siphoned off into the pockets of the wall street executives. The poor sobs simply walked away from their McMansion investments and went back to renting like they used to do before.

  • 32. Anomynous  |  April 14th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    30. Joe Blow

    “including 10.13 billion barrels off California. For comparison, the United States consumes about 7.56 billion barrels of oil per year” which is about as much as ANWAR. That would go the the West Coast refineries first and then the rest of the states. It would boost the state economy. It would be better than having China or Russia drill right off U.S. waters and the American people not benefiting from it. Kinda like exploitation.

  • 33. Nestor  |  April 15th, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Sounds like you’re paying too much to me. Over 1k for a practically prefab in a ghost town? They should be paying you.

  • 34. CapnMarvel  |  April 15th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Awesome article. Thanks, Yasha and I’m looking out for more.

  • 35. Joe Blow  |  April 15th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    “It would be better than having China or Russia drill right off U.S. waters ”

    it would be better if you didn’t repeat wacky lies spewed by reich wing loonies.

    but we can’t have everything….

  • 36. Scoobie Doo  |  April 15th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Stupid is as stupid does. What are the three most important words in real estate? 1. Location 2. Location 3. Location. I bet most of the home purchases were financed with liar loans. Sure blame the sleazy brokers but as far as the buyers go well, stupid is as stupid does. All of these people should have remained renters and they share 50% of the blame for the mortgage mess. The author mentioned something about hookers so maybe these homes can be converted into bordellos?

  • 37. Anomynous  |  April 15th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    35. Joe Blow

    It would really suck ass to have Russian or Chinese oil co.’s drill right off U.S. coastal waters while the U.S. when in a economic depression would’n't benefit/get nothing form it from that because of dumb ass liberals like you don’t no sense whatsoever. The reserves ARE RIGHT THERE RIGHT OFF U.S. coastal waters but democrats put restrictions on U.S. oil companies and libtards think “it won’t make a difference” ANWAR sized reserves right off the coasts of California (10 billion). 5 billion RIGHT OFF the Florida coasts oh wait Chinese co. are thinking of signing deals with Cuba to get that while the U.S. is getting left in the dark. Anti bussiness libtards…

    36. Scoobie Doo

    “All of these people should have remained renters and they share 50% of the blame for the mortgage mess”

    I agree that they should’ve remained renters but the problem was idiot developers were focused on making oversized suburban homes out of patches of farmland located far away from where people actually work. NOBODY was building apartment homes or small houses that was close to where people work. Gasoline costs for these people was hundreds to thousands of dollars which would of otherwised been spent on other things. The rent was going up, and up and up, every year but there was no new supply of apartment homes/small houses but an pply of oversized suburban homes. These people thought it would make sense to by a house instead of renting on (while rent would go up every year) but had no clue about the the bubble pop that would occur.

    There has been an significant increase in residential building in February and most of it consisted of Apartment homes/small houses. Too bad the construction of what was really needed came too lategame and we’re left with an abudance of oversized homes out in the middle of nowhere that nobody wants to buy because its too friggin far away from work and fuel costs will be a b*tch (gas is gonna go up this summer again) and these places have no sense of community whatsoever.\

  • 38. Hillbilly  |  April 15th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Wow, I payed off my 100 year old house in a town of 8,000 west of Columbus about two years ago and have a 3 acre irrigated garden. I’m glad I married an old school woman over 24 years ago.

  • 39. AP  |  April 16th, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for the article, Yasha, but you missed a trick in the financial game. The reason that there “was no sign of anger or outrage, or even a hint of bitching” is that as #31 Jacob pointed out, no significant funds were transferred from the owners-turned-renters to the developers. The money actually came from the investors.

    In normal times, the investors would take that loss, but with the perpetual bailout machine that is now ensconced in Washington DC and headed by your unrequited love-object, it turns out the investors are going to be bailed out by the dwindling number of people who still pay taxes. In other words, by the working stiffs like me and (presumably) you.

    So that “crusty old hick” you chatted up may not have been so dumb after all. He just had his move from a trailer park to a McMansion subsidized first by investors, then by taxpayers. Not bad for a guy who probably didn’t finish 8th grade.

    I think what you and Ames miss in your calls for tax hikes on “rich swine” is that the federal government taxes income, not assets. The really rich–the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Soroses–have a lot of assets, they don’t necessarily show any income. Raise the tax rates all you want. Those rich won’t be affected. The only ones you’ll crush are the ones misfortunate enough to have to report income to the feds. In other words, it’ll crush the plain old workers and the small business owners.

    If you guys are serious about class warfare, you should figure out how the classes work first. Unless your objective really is to crush the workers and the kulaks? I mean, hey, it worked for Stalin, right?

  • 40. Gerbal  |  April 16th, 2009 at 7:59 am

    @37 the term libtard is more appropriately a pejorative for libertarians. See how it just flows better from libertarian than it does from liberal?

    Also, @37, we should be trying to kill our dependence on oil not grasping for more at expense of our coastlines and national treasures. Simply because there is oil there doesn’t mean we have to use it.

  • 41. Archie Tuttle  |  April 16th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    “Silicon Desert” Should build a solar panel factory out there as long as water supply supports manufacturing. Put panels up on roofs, or in a centralized power plants. Lots of sun = quick payoff. Jobs mixing up silicon and chemicals in a factory instead of Sudafed in a trailer bathtub.

  • 42. Anomynous  |  April 16th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    39. Gerbal

    I don’t disagree that we should limit our dependence on oil. I’m all for wind, solar, geothermal (planet’s largest geothermal site located just 75 miles north of San Fransisco)

    America will still need oil no matter what. Everything from production of solar panels, fertilizers to delivery of food depends on oil. I just think we should drill what we have here to boost the state economy and in case the oil IMPORTS stop coming in from the other countries.

  • 43. Renoir  |  April 16th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Good stuff – more please.

  • 44. CTD  |  April 19th, 2009 at 12:43 am

    “As you can tell from my tagline, I am obviously a close follower of the ideas of Ayn Rand.

    yours in Christ,
    Isamu.”

    Bloody hell, I wonder if you understand the term fallacy. Ayn Rand HATED religion. Any paragraph containing Christ, and tagging it to Rand, could cause the horrible hag to rise from the grave and put a cigarette out in your eye.

    Before you weed out and say you take in only a few parts of Objectivism…. well, you bloody can’t. Period. The whole package is ideological, and can’t be dissected. This isn’t a bloody distortion of her philosophy. Here’s an exact quote from the pie hole of Ms. Rand:

    “If you agree with some tenets of Objectivism, but disagree with others, do not call yourself an Objectivist; give proper authorship for the parts you agree with — and then indulge any flights of fancy you wish, on your own.”

  • 45. RT Carpenter  |  April 20th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I am obviously much older than you or the other commenters. Victorville was once FAMOUS as home of the Roy Rogers Museum–which I visted and enjoyed back in the 90s. It deserves mention if you write again on Victorville. Roy, Dale Evans, Pat Butram and Trigger brightened my childhood. Roy was a great cowboy actor, a trick rider and professional singer with The Sons of the Pioneers group. When I read that the museum had moved, I knew Victorville was finished!

  • 46. aleke  |  May 1st, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Sam:

    “Ok, tax the hell out of everybody (and the very rich would still be able to hide income), so now regular people have almost no money and live in tiny apartments with their parents. . . we’re basically Europe.”

    Oh, this must be why Americans have less disposable income than Socializt Muslim Scandinavian Cuntries

    CTD:

    I think that guy was saying he’s not an Objectivist. But my counter was that evangelic/Protestant Christianity is Objectivism, just in a different political discourse.

  • 47. Laius  |  June 15th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    My sister was moaning over the scenes of peoples personal possessions being trashed. I said forget it. They were all crap anyway, manufactured with Chineese slave labor. Put the kids in the van and get the hell out of Dodge with just the clothes and when you stop, buy new shit at Ikea or some such. It’ll be just like pioneer days. Rugged individualism and all that. Self reliant. Live off the land. Check the dumpsters behind KFC or Taco Bell. On your mettle.
    Jesus saves and teaches.

  • 48. Larry Greenlow  |  September 27th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Wow im not sure how i found your site but im very interested in working with you,i’ll start for free. I love the your realism and want a better or closer look at whats going on around me.

  • 49. dude  |  October 28th, 2009 at 5:19 am

    That’s not a Mcmansion. that’s not even close. I bet that thing isn’t even 3000 square feet of heated space. In commifornia with housing prices so high I think you equate paying half a million dollars for crap as buying a Mcmansion. Here in God’s country where “real” American’s live a house like that is $160,000. YOu ought to see a real Mcmansion. The kind in God’s country that go for $300,000. It’s no wonder that “real” Americans are moving back to God’s country and you and your double secret agents can have scumville.

  • 50. dudeman  |  October 28th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Gonzo Judaism, a new literary style. If anybody can figure out a way to make money from it a Jew can (that’s a complement by the way for those of you who recoil in horror at any racial or ethnic generalizations)

  • 51. Simeon  |  February 27th, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Wow! I reside in Victorville. I guess I really should leave for Vegas, huh?

  • 52. Obbop  |  August 27th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

  • 53. SCTW  |  November 17th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I was born in Nor Cal, and moved here when I was about 5. I’ve been here in V-Ville for 23 years and I enjoy it here. As of 2010, the population is 115,000. And if you take into account the population of the entire High Desert it’s much more than that. So a “ghost town”, most definitely not! Just because we have Joshua Trees, dirt, and amazing sunsets doesn’t automatically qualify for a ghost town. Are there foreclosed homes, sure are, just like everywhere else. It was all these morons coming up here from “down the hill” and LA. When you get down to the roots of the natives that live here, they are good and responsible people that care about the town they live in. And FYI, the photos you took of the road are on Mojave Dr. just short of HWY 395, so of course it’s empty right there you idiot! The entire High Desert has boomed with new businesses and more jobs :)

  • 54. Calirodan  |  May 12th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I grew up in the mountains near Victorville. It was an OK town until self-absorbed assholes like Levine started moving there. Instead of seeing the beauty of the desert, they just viewed it as a “shithole” full of “hicks” that they could commute to L.A. from. When they moved in, the town got rough.

    A lot of people on the desert would probably prefer it if the flatlanders stayed in L.A. People who don’t get the desert or the people who choose to live there shouldn’t move there, and they shouldn’t bitch about it if they do.

    Personally, I’ve always found it ironic when people from L.A. go on about how dangerous, poorly-developed, or unlivable other cities are.

  • 55. BandungBaby  |  May 13th, 2011 at 3:28 am

    The whole “corporations are bad” angle is a bit tiresome. I really would like to know the stat that figures out how many Americans walked on homes they could afford. My condo is worth 20% of its original value, but I still pay the mortgage. They bought them because they were cheap and then walked because they were worth less then they paid.
    I’m also a bit confused with the article. You act like a hero of the poor; yet, you criticize the jobs they work. I’m sure if they weren’t working and collecting free state money they too would be heroes and victims. So why are the builders horrible people? Why do “poor people”, as you call them always get “duped”? Frankly, that’s offensive; I think poor people are smart enough to make bad decisions.

  • 56. Bill  |  May 13th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Good article. Except those rich swine didn’t rip off the poor, as the poor had nothing before and still have nothing. They’ve ripped off the great American tax-paying middle class.


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