2013 Bixby Residential NHHS Media Scholarship–WINNER for Print Journalism


This student demonstrates a superb command of language and fashions well-reasoned arguments.  I’m told she has amazingly persuasive powers over University admissions offices.  The winner for Print Journalism with her entry “No ID?  No Problem!”, DANA SIEGEL.  Congratulations, Dana! — Grant Bixby

Dana Siegel

*Featured in the October 2012 issue of The Beacon

No ID? No Problem! 

Maybe it’s just me but…

Why is the issue of photo voter identification so controversial? You can’t go to an R-rated movie without showing your driver’s license at the box office. You can’t take the SAT or ACT exams without presenting two forms of matching identification. You can’t board an international flight without taking out your passport. You can’t attend school concerts, sporting events, or any of our dances without your photo identification card.  Our society has accepted and understands the necessity for proof of identity for all these activities, some of them relatively trivial. Why does so much controversy and argument swirl around the simple requirement that every voter show verification of identity before exercising his or her constitutional right to cast a ballot?

It has become one of this election season’s political footballs.  It seems like common sense to have to show proof of citizenship to be able to vote. However, only twenty-seven out of fifty states require ID, and out of those twenty-seven only four insist that the ID contain a picture.  California demands neither photo nor non-photo identification.  Our state, which has the most Electoral College votes, 20 more than the next highest state, does not carefully monitor who is voting in elections. Mighty California, the most populous and arguably the most influential state in the union has almost no oversight and little control at the ballot box. What could possibly be wrong with that? Ah, yes, the potential for numerous variations of voter fraud.

Fraudulent voting is a long-standing, time honored, American tradition.  It’s well known that it occurred with regularity during the Tammany Hall controlled 19th century. In the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 Presidential Election there was a suspicion that the ballot boxes were stuffed in Illinois at the direction of mob controlled union interest groups. Some scholars believe that Kennedy may have won the Presidential votes he needed in that remarkably close election as a result of fraudulent votes.

Everything from casting votes in the name of deceased citizens, voting under the age of eighteen, non-citizens participating in elections, and multiple voting by individuals takes place as a result of inefficient monitoring and poor regulation.  It’s difficult to judge the extent of voter fraud problems because of the difficulty in tracking it.  If done ‘right’, it’s undetectable. As a result the statistics for fraudulent voting are almost certainly inaccurately low.  All of this occurs as a result of unacceptably lax voting ID requirements.

Americans should proudly carry photo identification as a symbol of their right to vote and their endorsement of an honest and fair election process. The argument that requiring photo ID would somehow disadvantage the poor and uneducated minorities is a straw man. It is not comparable, in any way, to the illegal “literacy tests” of the 1950s. 21st century technology would make proper identification easily accessible and available to anyone legally entering a voting booth for local, state, and federal elections. A federal law mandating that requirement should be passed and enacted now. It’s one thing to sneak into an R-rated movie, it’s an entirely different and much more serious offense to illegally participate in an American election.

Orange County Market Update (Or, Why you should list your home NOW)


Just pick up a newspaper and you’ll find an article talking about the shockingly quick rebound in Orange County home prices over the past year.  Many people are wondering if we are in a bubble and if the rates of appreciation are sustainable.  I’m one of those people.  So let’s review…

Where was OC real estate at this time in 2012?

  • Our tepid economic recovery helped keep interest rates at all time lows and home builders on the sidelines.
  • Approximately 54% of Orange County active listings were considered distressed.
  • Nearly 30% of OC home owners had negative equity (i.e. their homes were worth less than what they paid).
  • Listed property inventory in OC plummeted to approximately 3,100 homes at year-end.

What’s happening today?

  • Homes sell with multiple offers, close to or above list price, and often within the first few days on the market.
  • Less than 4% of active listings are considered distressed.
  • Listed inventory is up 25%, but overall supply is considered low.
  • Home builders are back in the market seeking good land.
  • The Federal Government is discussing slowing their policy of buying bonds to increase the money supply—quantitative easing–which helps keep interest rates low.
  • Average sales prices have risen to 2006-2007 levels and even set records in select neighborhoods.

What could happen soon?

  • A strong jobs report and growing consumer confidence could cause the Fed to take action and slow or stop their infusion of capital into the markets.
  • Interest rates rise which hampers home affordability for buyers.
  • Recent high sales prices cause sellers to list their properties hoping to achieve similar gains.
  • More homes for sale give buyers more choices and leverage over sellers.
  • The rise in prices tapers off or even reverses as our frenzied market establishes some equilibrium between buyers and sellers.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, nor do I believe we will have a double dip recession, I do believe a settling OC real estate market is inevitable.  NOW is the time for a seller to list to stand the best chance of maximizing value.

What You Might Not Know About Coldwell Banker Previews


  • #1 market share in the nation, state, and OC region

  • Over $86.1 million every day in Previews sales

  • 90.4% higher sales volume and 60% more closed sides than nearest competitor

  • Represents 3 out of every 5 high-end homes in the nation

  • Over 100 years of innovation (Est. 1906)

  • Produce 15.8 million copies of View magazine annually, along with View China

  • Most viewed property websites of big brands according to Nielson

  • Syndicate our listings to over 500 websites

  • Top ten brand sites visited on YouTube; only real estate company allowed to use YouTube Sign rider

  • In 50 countries with over 82,200 sales associates worldwide.


One of the most interesting places to visit in California has to be malibu. You can go to the Malibu pier… Visit Ruby’s diner… And then go to the Malibu Surf Shack to rent all of your beach loving needs. If the beach isn’t your cup of tea, then visit the Adamson House, near Surf Rider Beach. Check out Cross Creek… A high end shopping destination. Although it’s far away… The view the people and the places are all worth it.