Arnold wants to sell San Quentin

Faced with massive budget problems, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking to sell a number of state-owned properties including, most famously, San Quentin State Prison.

In a plan released today, Schwarzenegger's administration explained the necessity of exploring these draconian options.

"There are thousands of buildings and land parcels throughout California that represent billions of dollars of equity," the plan says, as quoted in a story in the London Times. "California's current fiscal crisis has prompted new ways of thinking about how the state can unlock some of this value."

The London Times reports that "State legislators have been considering selling San Quentin for years, with some proposals suggesting that it could fetch more than $1 billion."

The plan to sell the prison -- which opened in July 1852 -- is just another example of California's botched fiscal management. The state's budget problems are hardly new; they're just exacerbated by the economic crisis.

By selling with the real estate market the way it is now -- as opposed to the way it was a few years ago -- California will realize a fraction of the property's value in a normal market. Sure, it's a prime piece of real estate and would make a fantastic place for luxury condos, but how many developers are looking to take on that project right now?

The problems facing California's economy and state budget are exactly what makes this a horrible time to try to sell real estate. Could someone please tell the governor that the real estate market is weak right now?

Worst of all, selling San Quentin will also mean finding a new home for Scott Peterson.

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