Index
Tuesday
Aug232016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Development, downtown Los Angeles, "As Downtown's Retail Scene Booms, Some Worry About the Future"; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, "Ex-L.A. Coliseum manaer, a onetime rising star, to be sentenced in corruption case"; November ballot/Santa Monica, "Santa Monica could reach highest tax rate in the country if measures approved" ....  

***Various items relating to local issues/local government, in and around Southern California....

* KPCC:  "Santa Monica could reach highest sales tax rate in the country if measures approved"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Ex-L.A. Coliseum manager, a onetime rsing star, to be sentenced in corruption case"

* Downtown News:  "As Downtown's Retail Scene Booms, Some Worry About the Future" - "Rents Are Rising As Residents Arrive. But Have You Noticed All Those 'For Lease' Signs?"

Tuesday
Aug232016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: O.C., "Voting Wars: Minority Communities Gain as District Voting Proliferates"; Huntington Beach, "A decade since Bolsa Chica inlet opened, funds to maintain it are drying up"; Anaheim, "Bad energy? Some locals upset over proposed renewal energy plant in Anaheim"; also, South Bay, "Activists file appeal challenging $300 million Redondo Beach waterfront overhaul"....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government, in and around Southern California....

* Orange County Register:  "Bad energy? Some locals upset over proposed renewable energy plant in Anaheim"

* Daily Breeze:  "Activists file appeal challenging $300 million Redondo Beach waterfront overhaul"

* Long Beach Press-Telegram:  "A decade since Bolsa Chica inlet opened, funds to maintain it are drying up"

* Voice of OC:  "Voting Wars: Minority Communities Gain as District Voting Proliferates"

Tuesday
Aug232016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, USC Dornsife/L.A. Times poll: "Trump gains ground against Clinton, tracking poll finds"; also, "Donald Trump's new favorite poll is way out of step with the polling average. But why?" .... 

***2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, USC Dornsife/L.A. Times tracking poll....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Trump gains ground against Clinton, tracking poll finds"

* Washington Post (Philip Bump):  "Donald Trump's new favorite poll is way out of step with the polling average. But why?"

Tuesday
Aug232016

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (National): Renters? Homeowners? / Leases? Mortgages?: "Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants" ....

* New York Times:  "Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants" - From the NYT:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alex Szkaradek is a landlord who seems to have the best of both worlds. Mr. Szkaradek, 36, collects rent, but he never has to pay for repairs on any of the more than 5,500 homes — many of them rundown — that his firm manages across the country. The firm, Vision Property Management, blurs the line between what it means to be a renter and a homeowner. These companies do not offer regular leases or mortgages — they offer “rent to own” contracts on homes that require tenants to make all repairs, no matter how big or small.

Mr. Szkaradek says Vision, a leader in the fast-growing market, is bringing the dream of homeownership to Americans who lack good credit or are too poor to qualify for mortgages.

In many communities, housing prices have recovered from the financial crisis. At the bottom end, however, banks have all but stopped making loans for homes worth less than $100,000, leaving millions of people with few options. But these rent-to-own agreements reside in a gray area of the law.

An examination by The New York Times of contracts and court filings, as well as interviews with housing lawyers and more than a dozen of Vision’s customers across the country, found that these deals are risky, lack consumer protections and may not be enforceable in some states.

Most tenants walk away with nothing, having sunk money for rent and repairs into homes they had once hoped to own. Others faced surprise evictions, having signed a contract that did not disclose what repairs were needed, yet set a deadline for making sure the home was up to local housing code. As different tenants move in and out of the same property over the course of years, many homes fall further into disrepair.

A recent report from the National Consumer Law Center found similar issues with certain rent-to-own programs, calling them deceptive in nature ..................

Tuesday
Aug232016

POLITICS/BUSINESS (National, International/Mexico): Mexico-U.S., manufacturing jobs?: "Despite fears, Mexico's manufacturing boom is lifting U.S. workers" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Despite fears, Mexico's manufacturing boom is lifting U.S. workers" - "Factories south of the border are fueled by American goods and services" - From the LAT:

Enrique Zarate, 19, had spent just a year in college when he landed an apprenticeship at a new BMW facility in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. If he performs well, in a year he’ll win a well-paid position, with benefits, working with robots at the company’s newest plant. 

   ****

“When you start with such little experience, and get such a big salary, it’s unbelievable,” says Zarate, whose father is a taxi driver and whose mother is a housewife.

Mexico is in the throes of a manufacturing boom. Exports from Mexican factories have jumped 13% since 2012. The country already ranks as the seventh-largest producer of cars in the world, and Chrysler, Honda and Volkswagen have major operations there. Over the next five years, another wave of big automakers, including Ford, Audi and Toyota, plan to bring new plants online. And it's not just cars. . . . . In the process, workers like Zarate are being lifted into the middle class by the thousands.

That sounds like an exported version of the American dream, circa 1965, in places such as Dearborn, Mich., or Marysville, Ohio. Indeed, the influx of those types of jobs to Mexico has enraged Ford employees in Wayne, Mich., and the makers of furnaces in Indianapolis.

Donald Trump called the North American Free Trade Agreement “the worst trade deal in history.” Bernie Sanders said that an American company moving to Mexico is “the kind of corporate behavior that is destroying the middle class.” Even Hillary Clinton, who once praised the pact with Mexico, has expressed increasing skepticism about trade deals. But despite what you might have heard on the presidential campaign trail, Mexico’s manufacturing surge has not been an unalloyed disaster for American workers. U.S. manufacturing production, it turns out, is rising as well. Factory output has nearly reached its all-time high this year, and is up more than 30% since 2009 .................