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Conspiracy Dirt

Posted by John Hathorn on May 21, 2021
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Can you imagine that our iconic Santa Monica Pier could be part of a conspiracy of gang activity, turf wars, and umbrellas used as weapons? Hold onto your tinfoil hats for this one because this is one wild ride.

Rumor has it that our SM Pier is home to an alleged crime syndicate called the Murcia Family Gang. According to SM Observed, a conservative leaning publication, any vendor who wants to participate in selling goods on or around the Santa Monica Pier must pay operation and protection fees to the Murcia Family Gang under threat of violence. Additionally, the gang wards off any vendors who come in from outside their sphere of influence, a classic racketeering conspiracy. Their empire oversees 30 to 50 pushcarts that arrive daily to our historic Santa Monica Pier. A spokesperson for the City of Santa Monica stated “The Santa Monica Police Department has no information indicating there is organized gang activity related to vending on the Santa Monica Pier”.

But is that just what they want us, and our tourism industry, to think…?

There may be some evidence that the crime syndicate might be real. Sources who are looking into this conspiracy point to two incidents that might be linked to the Murcia Family Gang. A September fight between toy vendors in which an umbrella was used as a weapon to slash someone’s neck and a six-person altercation on the afternoon of April 11th involving vendors. Several men and women were cited and released, despite some degree of difficulty. MSN confirms the arrest of one Marco Murcia on suspicion of delaying/resisting arrest, and Teresa Murcia, on suspicion of assault and battery, among two others, in the incident.

The story then continues with local Code Enforcement officers who are said to be too afraid of the Murcia Family Gang to set foot on the pier. The officers cite intimidation, threats, and assaults. An open letter from the Code Enforcement officers to the Santa Monica City Council is quoted as saying:

“Today the Pier, and its surrounding areas, are under the control of the Murcia crime family. We have been assaulted many times. Our lives, and our families’ lives, have been threatened by members of the Murcia family.”

The letter goes on to describe the threats as brandishing guns from their waistbands, throwing pepper in officers’ faces, and threatening their family members with specific knowledge of their whereabouts. Police are stated to be uncooperative in investigating these claims, saying the issue of monitoring illegal vendor activity on the Pier is not their responsibility and same goes for the fire department.

This all sounds bad, or maybe a little intriguing, depending on your point of view. I must inform my readers that this is only based off rumors and loose articles on the internet being strung together by conservative leaning publications. These same publications have plenty of “opinion” articles on BLM, Ethnic Studies, and a distaste for SB 946, which allows for the decriminalization of street vending. Despite citing the statement from Code Enforcement officers, no other traces of the Murcia Family Gang exist online. A quick Google search into the Code Enforcement officers’ letter just loops back to these rumor-mill articles instead of any official government website.

So my dear reader, do you think there is a gang family controlling the vendors on the pier? Have you seen anything at the pier that might give this rumor some legitimacy? Or are you like me, interested, intrigued and a little worried?

Are these gangsters the folks with loud exhaust pipes? I have officially declared WAR on noise pollution from modified vehicles – cars, trucks, and bikes – that spew excessive noise for the ‘joy’ of their driver at the expense of everyone else…usually thousands who are not held to the same standard. This is an issue both in cities and suburbs and now New York City is initiating new legislation – the “Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution”, or “SLEEP” – that would raise fines from $150 to $1,000 per violation. (Most states are under 85 decibels). It sets the maximum noise limit at 95 decibels. Police vehicles could become equipped with decibel-reading devices. Most cities and some smaller towns and neighborhoods have noise ordinances….of course, they are worthless unless those laws are enforced. Most states require all vehicles to have a working muffler.

DID YOU KNOW? 2020 was a banner year for the mortgage business: Lenders originated a record $3.83 trillion in home loans. This year, total originations are expected to fall to $3.3 trillion, a 14.2% decline. Still, at that level, 2021 would rank among the best years on record. The good news for borrowers is that as mortgage volume decreases, lenders are now vying for customers by lowering the rates they charge. (Fidelity)

DID YOU KNOW? The year of the pandemic saw the largest increase in Global house prices since the U.S. housing boom of the mid-2000s. And there is no sign the rally is coming to an end. House prices rose by 4.91% across 16 economies monitored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas last year, the sharpest increase since 2006. Across 18 advanced economies, mortgage lending has grown from around a third of total bank lending in 1960 to very nearly 60%. (Insider)

In 90402 Real Estate News….

Nine new listings since my last post.

710 18th Street– I listed this one for $4,995,000. This house is really unique in that it is a custom, newly built, single-story home! It is rare to see this size home built new. It is beautifully done and we are negotiating offers as I write this.

533 18th Street– Listed by my partner Charles Pence for $5,995,000. This updated house is nearly 5,200 sqft and has a lot of character and charm. Built in 1989 the 2-level floor plan is generous and includes a nicely updated kitchen and baths. Come check it out on Sunday from 2-5pm, I’ll be there!

440 25th Street– Listed for $9,495,000. Over 7500 sqft on a 60ft wide lot. Classic 2018 Traditional with all the bells and whistles. The lot was purchased in 2015 for $3,225,000. Owned by Bird scooter founder.

333 22nd Street– Listed for $5,699,000. Updated 1988 Mediterranean that lives large with 5,500 sqft all above ground. I sold this home back in 1995.

49 Mabery Road– Listed for $12,950,000. Major views from this custom contemporary. Large entertaining deck plus flat lawn and room for a pool on a nearly 8,000 sqft lot. Last sold in 2010 for $3,700,000. If you love Mabery or know someone that does, call me as I have a good one coming soon.

527 15th Street– Listed for $3,250,000. This lot value property is a trust sale and is on the market for the first time since 1964.

237 Alta Avenue– Listed for $5,700,000. This a development/remodel opportunity in the highly desirable “West of 7th” pocket. Big 10,668 sqft lot just two blocks from Ocean Ave.

1002 Alta Avenue– Listed for $5,795,000. Located on the corner of 10th and Alta this house is a super modern and sleek 3,600+ sqft. I LOVE this house. Very high style. Nicest I have seen in some time. Last sold in 2014 for $3,300,000.

538 16th Street– Listed for $3,899,000. Remodeled in 2017 this little 2 bedroom Spanish home is 1,856 sqft and has a bonus room off the garage. This one makes my 710 18th St listings a steal!

Eight properties went under contract-

1709 Georgina Avenue & 270 18th Street– Listed for $9,995,000 by my partner Charles Pence. This property includes two houses and runs the length of Georgina from 17th to 18th Street. It was back on the market for less than a week before receiving an accepted offer.

702 14th Street– Listed for $3,495,000.

2020 Georgina Avenue– Listed for $12,595,000.

444 Sycamore Road– Listed for $4,385,000.

446 23rd Street– Listed for $5,895,000.

2012 La Mesa Drive– Listed for $12,995,000.

705 Palisades Beach Road– Listed for $12,950,000.

510 16th Street– Listed for $6,850,000.

Four Sold-

212 24th Street– Sold for $6,125,000. Originally listed for $5,995,000.

607 & 601 Georgina Avenue– Both properties sold together for $16,423,422. Originally listed for $16,490,000.

307 19th Street– Sold for $3,935,000. Originally listed for $3,800,000.

1607 Carlyle Avenue– Sold for $4,170,000. Originally listed for $4,195,000.

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