Thanks to traveling salesman Ray Kroc, life is much different for a lot of folks because of his little trip through San Bernardino, California
: the epicenter, ground zero if you will, the start of it all, for the ubiquitous fast food empire. Let us pay homage to McDonald’s
, where it all began, and all of its competitors that have so thoroughly inundated the American marketplace so as to create generations of horrifically obese people to the point that the United States federal government enacted comprehensive health care reform known as Obama care.
Here is the McDonald’s Museum:
note the metal fence and gate:
and the surrounding neighborhood:
and the huge vacant lot just south:
and the nice homeless encampment under the shade tree, sweet!:
And here is the view to the south, looking directly towards the heart of downtown San Bernardino off in the distance about a mile:
I especially liked the irony of the McDonald's billboard above, showing a Bic Mac. Note also off in the distance is a large building, which is the new courthouse under construction:
Nice to see taxpayer money going to a durable project, as opposed to subsidized office buildings or tenements, like here, noting these are only a few blocks north of the brand spanking new courthouse:
and here, directly across from the County Government Building is an empty, brick building:
or this one:
or this one:
or this one:
or this one, perhaps my favorite old building, no doubt full of problems like asbestos and other unmentionables:
And what photo essay would be complete without showing an abandoned middle-class restaurant:
or the classic, old-school movie theater which has gone the way of the dodo bird, typewriter and VCR:
The theater is not even being used by the local ethnic minorities to hawk their wares! Even downtown Los Angeles utilizes their old movie theaters along Broadway in this fashion. So sad . . .
Remember, the former Norton Air Force Base
once figured prominently in the City of San Bernardino’s financial picture. A steady stream of C-141s continually landed and departed, and the Air Force based house a large population of airmen. Those airmen, and their families, lived in the surrounding city, bringing a tremendous economic benefit to the area in the region.
Notably all of this economic activity in the region in general, and in the actual City of San Bernardino in particular, was brought about from US federal government defense spending in the form of airmen payroll checks and the “money-multiplier” effect of that federal spending. (Is that called "trickle-down?").
So, back in the day, what did the airmen spend their payroll checks on? Well, if they were stuck on the base, they spent their paychecks on the base, at the PX. If someone had a car, they ventured off base into the city and surrounding areas. Naturally, entertainment was a high priority, and movie theaters were all over the place. In the 70's and 80's I saw many first-run movies here, now the theater stands empty, economically valueless to the point that the land it sits upon is even for sale.
Note the theater photo again:
This above photo shows Mill Street, with a direct off ramp to the 215 Freeway off in the background about 1/4 mile away (the photo is taken in the afternoon, looking west, note the shadows). The I-10 Freeway is due south, less than one mile away.
In the background there is the “Turner’s Outdoorsman” store. That store has been there ever since I can remember (at least since 1970 or so, even though the gas station and restaurant across the street have long since closed, and the large department store next to it has long since been shuttered. Guns and ammo are always in high demand, even in San Bernardino.
I did not photograph the "Pussycat Theatre," located on E Street, because that XXX film venue boarded up long ago.
What else did the airmen spend their money on? Toys for their kids? Sure, this was formerly a brand new Toys R Us, the first one in the area, which turned into an ethnic "discount mall," and is now shuttered:
There was always the fun of having loud music, and what better thing to spend money on than a brand new car stereo! Oh, wait, here is what happened:
Heck, even the graffiti is faded . . .
And then there were the downtown office buildings, in which were located traditional white-collar businesses and jobs, and which provided much needed services for the local population, but no such services are needed now, as all of the services are of the govt variety, like the parole office, the welfare office, parking enforcement, and the court, which I already showed above. Here are some of the available places, all within one mile of the City Center, including vacant lots, and even a whole building taking up the entire block:
Are you understanding now?
I tried not to photograph any of the locals, because I was afraid they would carjack me!!
Anyhow, thank you Federal Reserve, and the insane federal government for making this possible.
The City is bankrupt, pensioners will be harmed, as will the local populace from the increase in crime and reduction in services. Oh well, the Hamptons are roaring this summer . . .
My next post will provide an interesting potential solution, based on a radical private enterprise concept which properly incentivizes both the private entrepreneur and the govt officials. It is called a Private Enterprise Zone.
Stay tuned, I post on Wednesday nights!