We've passed the halfway mark for 2010, and a rocky economic half it's been. What will the remainder of the year bring?

East County residents, randomly queried, talked about what they expect, and almost all were optimistic. But it wasn't unanimous.

Vito Lograsso of Oakley is a real estate broker. "I'm definitely optimistic. I'm beginning to see more and more home offers being accepted. Real people are making these offers in place of the investors who had been in command of the market," he said.

"When I look around at retail establishments, I'm seeing more activity, which is good. I'm also seeing encouraging signs in the job market."

Said Brentwood's Hal Washauer: "We're starting to add jobs, which is the key. I also see improvement in the housing market. Yes, I'm optimistic, but it's a mild and cautious optimism. "We've been bumping along at the bottom for a long time, and things are showing the first signs of looking better. The one thing I don't trust is the stock market. That's no place to look for what's really happening in the country."

Antioch's Craig Marquardt agrees about hitting bottom and things picking up. He also agrees about Wall Street being a bad indicator. "After you've hit bottom and are starting to turn the corner, there's no place to go but up," he said.

"I like what President Obama has been doing to get us back on the right track," said Renee Grevenberg of Brentwood. "He's taken positive action on both energy and health care. In both cases, it will increase jobs. I'm also getting more optimistic about him having success reaching across the aisle to the Republicans. I see that taking hold in the second half of this year. I'm not happy about the Middle Eastern wars, but that's something which is very hard to control. It's simply the world we live in."

Not everyone sees brighter days ahead.

"I'm a pessimist. I don't see anything improving," said Joan Fosenburg of Brentwood. "My husband is in business for himself, and our business has reached a stalemate. The pressure on finances hasn't gotten one bit better, and I have friends still being forced to walk away from their homes because they have no other choice. It's worse in California. We're going to be the last to pull out of this mess."

Antioch's Nancy Barano is unemployed but still is optimistic. "We are headed in the right direction. We're addressing the right issues and beginning to see results," she said. "But we need patience. It's going to take time to do all the things that need to be done. I have to be optimistic. The reform of health care was vital to me."

Oakley's Marnae Martin-Immoos agrees about health care and patience. "We got into this mess slowly, over a long period of time. And we're just now starting to pick ourselves up from the bottom," she said. "Getting out is going to take time, and we really should give Obama the chance to bring us out successfully. I certainly trust him to be able to do it."

Jack Wilhelm of Brentwood is pessimistic. "It's going to take at least another year to see improvement," he said. "Unemployment is getting worse, not better. Job ranks are being swelled with kids graduating from schools. Add to that the servicemen and women coming back from the Middle East. It's a mess. And when we finally do get out of our economic troubles, it won't ever be like it was."

America has lost its confidence. We need to regain it."

Brentwood's Jack Shaw is on the fence. "I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic," he said. "The problem with what's going on is that everything is being pegged to the short term. All of it ignores the long term.

"To pay for it, we're passing the buck to future generations. We've lost all sense of reality. We've lost our ability to think logically of the consequences."

Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.