So during the night a bum came up the alley and dumped over the big, bulky four-residence garbage bins and scattered garbage all over the ground, presumably looking for documents that can be sold to identity thieves for enough to help support his (or her) meth habit. On my way to a friend’s house for brunch this morning, I saw a bum steaming along as fast as he could go on a kid-size bike, no doubt stolen — the bike, that is, not the bum. The bum was behaving so erratically, swerving back and forth and then stopping to holler and gesticulate at me when I tried to get around him — that he was no doubt high as a kite.
These things make me consider and reconsider: do I really want to stay in this neighborhood?
I could buy a very nice house in Sun City, freshly renovated, for so much less than I can net on sale of this house that I would walk away with at least 50 grand in my pocket. Given a little luck, with a lot more than net 50 grand.
Pumping up my savings by 50 grand would help my cause tremendously. So would the much lower taxes, house, and car insurance. SDXB said when he moved out there, his property taxes dropped to a third of what he was paying here, and his insurance dropped by half. Plus Phoenix now gouges residents for a tax on food; there are no food taxes on that side of the Valley, which is outside the Phoenix city limits.
And there are no bums in Sun City. Crime levels are very low. It is safe to walk to any grocery store, if you’re close enough (chances are you’re not, but those lucky few who are within walking distance of shopping need not carry heat to do so). You can get around in a golf cart, so gas costs and wear & tear on your car are low, if you rarely go anywhere but Sun City.
So…why don’t I hurry right up and list my house?
Well. There are some drawbacks:
- Sun City is an old folks’ ghetto. By and large a white old folks’ ghetto. Weirdly enough, I happen to like the sound of children playing, and I even like a little diversity amongst my neighbors.
- The place is overrun with coyotes — and overrun is no exaggeration. My little dogs would never be safe: they could not be allowed to linger in their own yard, even if the yard were walled in., Most yards in SC are not fenced or walled, and you build a wall at risk of incurring the neighbors’ wrath. And a coyote will ghost right over a six- or eight-foot wall, grab your dwarf pooch, and sail back out of your yard before you can move.
- It is a long, long way from upscale shopping and dining.
- It’s a long, long way from cultural venues.
Nevertheless, though… I’m really tired of the bum situation, and it clearly isn’t going to get any better. The city is moving another meth clinic into our neighborhood (the 24-hour one that serves thousands(!!) of drug addicts a month ain’t enough). The blightrail carries them into our neighborhood and drops them off for free. The corner of Conduit of Blight Blvd and Gangbanger’s Way presently has the highest rate of police calls in the city! Anything that you leave outside that’s not red-hot or nailed down will be stolen. And every few days you hear another report of some thug trying to gain entry into a home while the resident is inside.
Maybe, I sometimes think, the advantages of freedom from crime, drug abuse, and homelessness would make it worth moving,. Especially given that property values and taxes out there are low enough to create a net profit on sale of one’s existing home.
But…is that so?
To parse out an answer to that question, I decided to list the advantages and disadvantages of each venue and rate them, on a scale of 1 to 10, according to how much I personally care about each factor. Thus, for example, a walled backyard would be worth 10 points (because I value my privacy a lot), while the fact that my present home doesn’t have enough cabinetry in the kitchen is only a 5-point disadvantage because I don’t have a family to feed and I don’t entertain much, so don’t need that much space for dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. The more important an issue is, whether it’s defined as an advantage or as a disadvantage, the higher its point rating.
So we get this:
Here we find that my house presents 80 points of advantage, as compared to 83 points in favor of a comparable house in Sun City. However, when it comes to disadvantages, the spread is much, much wider: only 66 points’ worth of disadvantages for my present home, vs. 73 points in a Sun City house.
The disadvantages rack up because of the area’s distance from the central part of the city, the lack of natural gas service to the area, and lack of private outdoor space.
Even though Sun City has many advantages, it’s only 3 points ahead of mine in the areas that really matter. And even though my house has a lot of annoyances and drawbacks, Sun City outranks my neighborhood in the “disadvantages” category by 13 points.
Even though it costs more to live here, I can afford it. Even though there are a lot of bums here, I think I’d rather have a gas stove, gas heat, and proximity to social and cultural activities than a bum-free environment lacking those things.
Interesting little exercise, isn’t it?
Casts some light on why I feel so conflicted about this question. And it also reinforces the old saw: when in doubt, don’t.