Notable and Quotable

This is the new America, Southern California’s affordable edge city, drowning in a sea of debt. In the Inland Empire, the eastern-most suburbs of Los Angeles, one out of every 43 households is facing foreclosure proceedings.

Peek behind the palm trees and there you see the most shocking sight: abandoned swimming pools, fetid and green, left to the elements and choked with algae. Thousands of people have walked away without even draining the water. Mosquito control agents now patrol these murky pools, treating them with pesticides to keep disease-carrying larvae from forming.

“With the skyrocketing foreclosure rate, the problem is compounding daily,” said Jared Dever, a spokesman for the government district that monitors insect breeding grounds. He said about 2,000 abandoned swimming pools would have to be treated in just one part of Riverside County.

The new year dawned with banks set to repossess more homes than any time since the Great Depression ”“ about 2 million residences, according to various forecasts.

Is this the image of our consumptive age: the empty swimming pools of Riverside County? The epitome of middle-class life as just another cash play? People who took out loans on houses they never could afford, hoping for a quick flip, have left this squalor under the sun to the mosquito-control agents.

Timothy Egan

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market