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Yasha Levine

couch in victorville

Living in an abandoned neighborhood in an exurb way out on the edge of the California desert has its perks. There isn’t much in the way of nightlife in Victorville, California, and food options are limited, but it has one hell of a crime scene, maybe the most happening in THE whole state.

Hunter S. Thompson barreled through here with a head full of acid and a rag drenched in ether pressed against his face on his search for the American Dream. And that’s exactly what Victorville, a desert commuter suburb 100 miles east of LA, has become. (more…)

Posted: June 23rd, 2009

subprime-fha-loan

Everything the real estate industry tells you is a hustle. No industry is more geared toward pumping up the positive and burying anything remotely negative, leaving you — and truth — out in the cold.

The crash has not made real estate agents any more honest, but at least the gap between the industry’s crazed optimism and stark reality has grown so obvious that even the real estate industry can’t hide it anymore.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in Victorville, Calif., an exurb of Los Angeles situated in the high desert where housing bubbled up higher than just about anywhere at the peak of the subprime-lending craze and is still in free fall today. (more…)

Posted: June 16th, 2009

Perception Vs. Reality

US Stocks Gain On Report Of Pending Home Sales . . . Pending Home Sales Rise the Most in Over Seven Years . . . Consumer Confidence Spurs Broad Gain . . .

You see the same bullshit headlines churned out everywhere you turn. Yes sir, we’re supposed to believe the recession is over, recovery is underway and prosperity is just around the corner. We need to go out and fulfill our patriotic duty, which means buying things, preferably houses. That’s what smart investors would do, we’re told. And judging by the polls, Americans are starting to believe it. (more…)

Posted: June 5th, 2009

big_fuck_you

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Ever since it became clear that Barack Obama would be our next president, there’s been an unprecedented run on guns ‘n ammo in America. Partly this is fueled by fears, some justified, some not, that Obama will outlaw a broad range of assault weapons; partly it’s fueled by socioeconomic factors, racism and right-wing hate.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in Victorville, a desert exurb of Los Angeles that boomed faster with the subprime craze than just about any city in the country and fell harder when it all collapsed. Today, guns and ammo are in short supply here in Victorville. But there is an abundance of despair and paranoia. (more…)

Posted: May 7th, 2009

Predator C - Over Glorious Victor Valley

A Predator C Drone Soaring Over Victor Valley, CA

Last week, I found out that they got Predator drones flying just around the corner from my McMansion. A reader tipped me off to the fact that General Atomics, the company that makes these sissy planes, operates a test flight facility near a dry lake bed situated on the edge of a hellhole called Adelanto. I know, can living out in Victorville get any fucking cooler? (more…)

Posted: May 4th, 2009

Chicks & Hicks -- Dry & Healthy Desert Livin' in Victorville

“It isn’t the heat, it’s the stupidity. Keep busy and don’t drink too many cold drinks and heat will never bother you.”

—George “Mack” McCarthy, Victorville real estate promoter

People have been asking me, “Hey, Yasha, what the hell is going on Victorville?” Well, I want to say not a whole lot, but I’d be lying.

Gale force winds howl across trash studded desert day and night. Dogs bark in unison every time a firetruck drives by, which happens often. There are traffic jams on church days and packs of greasy Harley-Davidson outlaws patrolling the streets on Saturdays and Sundays, too. There are a lot of fat people; many of them 18-year-old girls with kids.

There’s also quite a bit of colorful crime. Yesterday, a No Country For Old Men-style firefight broke out right next to an elementary school, with one guy pulling out a shotgun and blasting away at another guy who was taking cover behind a pickup truck. (more…)

Posted: April 30th, 2009

screen-shot-928

VICTORVILLE, CA—It was a clear bright day, but the desert wind was roaring, chilling the air to what felt like the freezing point, when I got to the Victorville, California, Tea Party protest. I arrived late for the noontime protest, with the goal of finding out if this thing had really grown legs after the comedy I witnessed at the Santa Monica Tea Party in February.

A crowd of roughly 150 people formed a compact semi-circle in the small yard between Victorville’s brand new court house and the city’s administration building. Battling the gusts of wind that blew dirt and dust from an unpaved lot across the street, I made my way towards the crowd. I was wearing a flimsy jacket, totally unprepared for this kind of weather on a bright sunny day in the middle of April out here in the California desert.
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Posted: April 17th, 2009