Short Term Rentals in San Diego – The Newest Rebuke

Tomorrow, December 3, 2020, the San Diego Planning Commission will consider a proposal to greatly reduce and regulate the short-term rental industry in the city. This item will likely move to the City Council for consideration in 2021.

The relevant Agenda for the meeting (STR issue is Item 1) can be found here: https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/dsd_pcagenda_20201203.pdf

This Agenda item is based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) created between UNITE HERE Local 30 (a labor group) and Expedia Group. (MOU below)

You can add a comment or sign up to give live testimony via the Planning Commission website. Below is my short comment, opposing the MOU and supporting the many thousands of hosts in the City of San Diego.

The view from a recent Airbnb stay in Northern Wisconsin.

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This amendment / action would reduce the number of short term rentals in San Diego by approx. 65% and harm thousands of property owners during a period of economic turmoil. I urge the Planning Commission to oppose this amendment / action.

I agree with requiring a license number for each unit rented on a short-term basis, and requiring the posting of this license number on any online platform. I also agree with enhanced enforcement of noise and other nuisance laws, including an escalating fine scale for repeat offenders.

Short-term rentals are immensely popular (and have proven to be more resilient than hotels and other accommodations in the current Covid climate). I hope the Planning Commission will embrace short-term rentals and support this long established opportunity for San Diegans for the years to come by opposing this item. Thank you.

Mount Laguna Morning Hike

The Laguna Mountains lie about 45 miles straight east of Downtown San Diego. Reaching a maximum height of 6,378 feet they have a very different climate from the nearby beaches that San Diego is better known for. The many campgrounds in the Lagunas are our favorite places to camp near our home.

This week I took our older kids and some friends for a morning hike at the Wooded Hill trail in the Lagunas. It had rained a bit in San Diego over the weekend but we didn’t expect a snow covered scene when we reached the higher altitudes. It was a gorgeous morning, about 50 degrees, and with both evergreen trees and some oaks starting to change to fall colors.

We walked about 2 miles in 2 hours, taking time to throw snowballs, climb boulders, and enjoy the sunshine at the summit of the trail. (Strava recording in images below with more details along with some scenery photos.)

On the return journey to San Diego, about 50 minutes total drive time each way, we stopped at the absolutely fabulous Grand Ole BBQ y Asada in Flinn Springs (the Eastern edge of El Cajon). With current Covid restrictions the lawn games weren’t available but it was wonderful to sit in the 70 degree sun with a light breeze and enjoy the best barbeque in San Diego County. If visiting San Diego or live here, highly recommend a trip and the brisket or beef ribs.

San Diego has great beaches and wonderfully temperate weather for which it is mostly, and rightfully, known. The broader area has a wide variety of plants and land forms to explore and many like Mount Laguna deserve more love.

Daily Affirmations + Start Page

A couple of years ago I created a custom webpage on my site to be the default start page for my browsers / computers. Recently, I updated the start page, which you can find here.


Growing up in a Catholic family it was typical in our house to have a laminated Saint card scotch taped to each bathroom mirror in the house. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Patrick, and many others featured over the years. These cards would have an image of the Saint on one side of the card and a prayer on the reverse side. Having something on your bathroom mirror is likely to be seen, and consequently read, frequently.

Inspired by, and in homage to, those Saint cards growing up I also used my new start page as a daily affirmation for our household. I’m sure it will change over time but especially in the odd times we are in it seemed important to have a repeated positive message in our days.

My first attempt at a daily affirmation is:

I am strong.

I am smart.

I act with integrity and honesty every day.

I am grateful and respectful.

I smile and am happy.

Although the above items aren’t always true, I’ve become a fan of the idea that simply stating something makes it more likely to become true. In many cases the statement has to come first, to make the actions required to realize a goal happen. Human psychology can be a curious beast, but one that is inextricably linked to what our days and lives look like. A daily affirmation is something I almost definitely would have scoffed at in the past, but seems like a good idea today. Perhaps it’s an idea that will be useful to you as well.

An example Saint Card

Toddler Shoes

One rule I have for our babies is that they can not be dressed in restrictive clothing – footie pajamas, onesies that are too small, and the like. It restricts their ability to grow and they need to be tall for the higher earnings potential and physical intimidation factor. Learning is great, but you can’t teach height.

My wife thinks this is dumb.

To prove my point I bought our 2 year old new shoes, 3 sizes too big. Lo and behold 6 months later the shoes fit.

Proven correct once again.

COVID Financial Planning

Dividend Yield Funds – A Couple I Like

Sharing a couple of funds I’ve been investing in, as recent conversations have included this discussion.

Relentless fixation on gas prices is probably not going to yield strong returns but you do you.

I’m currently investing in a couple of funds focused on dividend yield. The funds are shown below, but I agree with the many articles that point out chasing dividend yield is dumb. In general I prefer a “total market” fund – like Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTWAX) – as long-term growth / appreciation is likely to be better than dividend funds that lean toward mature or potentially declining companies. I like the below dividend funds because of a personal preference for accessible dividend payouts, though this likely reduces the overall long-term return. I also enjoyed the perspective by Jeremy Jacobson of Go Curry Cracker on Episode 169 of the Meb Faber podcast – highlighting that absolute dividend payouts per share typically don’t fluctuate in the same way that stock values do. Essentially, values influence the stated yield on a percentage basis but the dollar amount dividends don’t usually change, at least for healthy companies.

1. Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTWAX). Current yield is 5.19%, included in chart below. I have a bent toward international investments in general, given that most of our income and assets are tied to the U.S.

2. Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM). Current yield is 2.96%, included in chart below.

With investing in general, a huge part of the equation is simply taking funds and putting them to work. Whether you invest in the above options, or other funds, or start a business, or other productive use matters far less that simply taking dollars away from spending and directing to investing. I like Vanguard in general for investing but also put money into real estate, businesses, private loans, and a variety of other productive uses. Take whatever path(s) suit you best, just make sure you are regularly making investments.

Cheers,

John

Easy Oven Cooked Bacon Recipe

I typically fry bacon in a skillet on the stove top but a friend shared the following recipe to easily make bacon in the oven. It’s simple, and great if you need to feed a big breakfast crowd. Also requires less attention while cooking which is nice.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees like Juvenile
  • Arrange bacon on a metal baking sheet with edges (use aluminum foil under the bacon if you like less mess and more waste)
  • Cook for 7 minutes on first side, then turn all bacon over
  • 7 more minutes on second side – but keep a watch to avoid overcooking, may be done sooner
  • Put on the table and snarf with your family and friends

Uncooked bacon like whoa

SBA Loans / Grants – COVID

Wanted to pass along the below information in case helpful for your business.  ** Please note this information was pulled together quickly, primarily from the SBA website, and has not been vetted or reviewed for absolute accuracy.  I wanted to help raise awareness of helpful funding options for businesses in the current climate and encourage anyone considering these programs to do further research before relying on this article. **

I think the Forbes article at bottom does a good job of running down the options – primarily two at the Federal level.

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans – includes potential $10k cash grant (can be forgiven)
      • From SBA site: advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support
        https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications
  • Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guarantee – bit more complicated to apply for (done through SBA approved bank).
      • From SBA site: SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
        https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program

Very good Forbes article with more details on these programs:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianthompson1/2020/03/29/getting-cash-for-your-small-business-through-the-cares-act/#31abb07e43a0

Happy to chat about the above and assist if needed. I’ve completed a couple of the EIDL (first link) applications and was quite quick / simple to complete. With so much uncertainty ahead, good to have potential sources of funds accessible just in case.

Cheers,

– John

These times may be trying, but there are lots of good things to look forward to. These are some of mine. 🙂

Germs

– A Guest Post By Ambrose Anderson –

Germs are sort of like bacteria. Germs can be good and bad. Good germs fight bad germs and bad germs like virus, cold, and flu germs fight good germs. There is a five second rule – if you drop a piece of food on the ground for more than five seconds you should not eat it. If less than 5 seconds if you want you can eat it. The sponge we used to clean our dishes had millions of germs on it every time you use it to clean plates the germs from the plate get on the sponge. To avoid that throw away the sponge every week/few days and use a different one for the next week/few days.

Dirty pan

Germs spread by touching other people for a long time (more than five seconds). Fist bumps and high fives are okay, but you should do a fist bump instead of high five. They don’t spread as many germs as touching some one. You can have family rules to keep your family safe from most bad germs.

My dad and sister doing a high five
The author in action

How the coronavirus is affecting lives throughout San Diego (and the world)

– A Guest Post by Eva Anderson –

Dozens of people throughout San Diego had their lifestyle influenced by the coronavirus, a sickness that is leaving destruction in its wake at it moves rapidly around the world. People are going into chaos when the coronavirus hits their country, state, city, or community. New rules are popping up all over countries to keep people safe. The coronavirus epidemic is becoming a world wide struggle. New things that are happening, such as the closing of shops, are going on because people don’t need the things inside the shop, plus when people gather, like to shop or play, germs get on to other people, causing them to become sick. The coronavirus is a contagious disease, which means that if someone else gets the germ that person will get the same sickness. Therefore, shops are closing. Rules such as only ten people in the supermarket at a time are being made world wide to prevent the spreading of germs. Supermarkets are pretty much the only kind of stores open nowadays. Schools have been closed so me and my brother Ambrose have been doing home school to keep up on our learning progress. I can tell you that these changes have been affecting people I know, such as my classmates, teacher (Mrs. Bobier), and my around the block friend Sophie have all had to make many changes in order to adjust to this new lifestyle. Public parks (or at least their parking lots) have been closing due to these changes.

Ambrose Anderson riding his bike

My morning routine has changed as well. Instead of going to school in the morning me and my dad have been teaching Ambrose to ride his bike and we’ve been going on rides throughout San Diego (although he complains about hills a lot). Today we rode to South Park and back. My dad spray painted Ambrose’s bike red and black. I have heard that in Italy people are not allowed to leave their house except to get food. My family bikes every morning to get fresh air and exercise because those two things are very important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which is important to have due to circumstances beyond our control – the coronavirus.

Eva Anderson pulls Ambrose and Oliver Anderson
The author riding on her bike

Posted March 25 2020 by Eva Caroline Anderson