Teachers drop salary demand again as LAUSD holds on class size

Understand the economics of unions. The more people they force to pay bribes, ur dues, the wealthy they are and the more elections and candidates they can buy. It really does not matter to them the salaries of the teachers—start high, go low, but increase the number of teachers and you increase the money flowing to the unions for power plays.

In Los Angeles the union started at 17% over two years, is now “down” to 9%. But they want smaller class sizes—to grow their members. And, they want a seat at the management table, to run the districts as EQUALS to the Board and Superintendent. These union folks already own the Board and control the appointment of Superintendent and most high management personnel.

I guess they are tired of going through middle folks, instead want to directly run the failed district. This is why government education is a failure—it is about power, control and indoctrination, very little about education.

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Teachers drop salary demand again as LAUSD holds on class size

by Vanessa Romo, LA School Report, 1/23/15

The LA Unified teachers union, UTLA, dropped its salary demand yesterday to an 8.5 percent increase from a 9 percent, the union’s third consecutive lowering of what many teachers consider the most important issue in negotiations for a new contract.

As part of the change, UTLA negotiators also asked the district for an annual $1,000 stipend for all certificated bargaining unit members for supplies and support materials. And the union is demanding that members be paid at their hourly rate for professional development and or training.

In the same bargaining session, the district addressed another key union issue — reducing class size — by saying with limited money available, the district would keep class sizes at their current levels and spend what it can on salaries.

The two issues are among 12 the two sides are negotiating as the academic year moves into the second semester with no real agreement on salary — or much of anything else — in sight. The district’s most recent salary offer was a 4 percent raise, plus pay for professional development days that the district says represents another 2 percent. District negotiators did not change that offer yesterday.

The union’s latest salary demand was its fourth, after starting at 17.6 percent over two years, then 10 percent for one year, then 9 percent for one year.

Salary and class size are inextricably linked. More of one and smaller of the other have been two of the union’s bedrock demands since the election of Alex Caputo-Pearl as president last year. But the district has not budged from its position that, in effect, the union can’t have both, and for now, the priority is raising teacher pay.

In its class-size proposal yesterday, the district said, “…with its still-limited available funding, there is a more compelling need to prioritize its limited salary resources to pay for long-deferred salary increase, while maintaining current class sizes.”

The district has calculated that it would cost more than $523 million to hire about 5,000 teachers and other employees necessary to bring class sizes down to UTLA’s proposed levels, according to figures provided by district officials. Making those hires would be the equivalent of a “21 percent increase in total salaries for all current UTLA-represented employees.”

The teachers union wants to see the number of pupils per class set at the following levels:

  • Transitional Kindergarten through 3: 26 students
  • Grades 4 through 8: 30
  • Grades 9 through 12: 34
  • Physical Education: 50

Data gathered by the district in October showed more than 1,500 middle school and high school classes enrolled 40 or more students throughout the district. More than 300 enrolled 50 or more students. Those figures exclude homeroom, physical education, choir, band and any unfilled sections, all of which tend to be larger in class size.

Over the years UTLA agreed to several furlough days to maintain current class sizes but the district has phased those out using Proposition 30 revenues. In addition, the district used Local Control Funding Formula Funds to further reduce class sizes in secondary Math and English classes, below the levels protected by the furlough agreements.

The two sides will meet for another negotiation session next week, on Jan 29.

 

Rider: “Latest deceptive California unemployment rate — why it is deceptive”

Get real, California is in a Depression. When the total jobs created in a month, with a population of 38 million, is 700 (not a typo), you know the State is in trouble. Silicon Valley is still creating great technology—but then moving the production and other follow up work out of State and out of this nation. Our roads are among the worst in the nation, the government schools have become fodder for Jay Leno jokes—instead of education it is indoctrination, promotion of junk science and selling food so bad (Michelle Obama efforts) that the kids won’t eat it.

This is a State with over one trillion in unfunded pension liabilities—meaning cuts in services, higher taxes (most of the 2014 sales tax increase went to CalPERS and not local needs). The worst part is our confused Guv Brown is trying to misrepresent facts more than Barack Obama. He says we have a balanced budget, when we have $340 billion in debt. He claims our jobs have recovered—when most of the “jobs” are low paying, part time, temporary, minimum wage jobs (which is why Democrats want higher minimum wage—to make up for the lack of hours worked.)

“”Largest growth sector was 8,300 jobs in Leisure and Hospitality (average annual wage $23,950); largest decline sector was 12,300 jobs in construction (average annual wage $57,100).”

Now you know why real people do not think we have recovered.

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“Latest deceptive California unemployment rate — why it is deceptive”
by Richard Rider, Richard Rider Rants, 1/23/15

Here’s how deceiving our unemployment figures can be:

1. The California unemployment rate in December dropped a dramatic 0.2% in one month — from 7.2% to 7.0%. That is an IMPRESSIVE improvement. Except . . .

2. Number of net jobs added in California that month — a state with over 38,800,000 people:

700 net new jobs.

No, I didn’t leave out a zero or two — SEVEN HUNDRED.

Yes, a statistically insignificant 700 net jobs added yet our state unemployment rate dropped a full two-tenths of a percent. How can this be?

You know the answer by now: Our lower unemployment rate for December is almost 100% due to people no longer looking for work, leaving the state, or retiring (a.k.a. the lower “labor force participation rate”) — even after counting the young adults entering the CA work force marketplace.

Here’s another unnerving aspect to consider:  Our CA jobs grew by 700.  But the jobs gained too often were low-paying service jobs, while the jobs lost paid far more.

From the same report:

“Largest growth sector was 8,300 jobs in Leisure and Hospitality (average annual wage $23,950); largest decline sector was 12,300 jobs in construction (average annual wage $57,100).”

Meanwhile our CA state and local taxpayer obligations for unfunded government liabilities is growing at a LOT faster rate.  All factors considered, this is not a sustainable economic system.

NOTE: My source is the California Center for Jobs and the Economy (an email I received today). The site is run by the eternally optimistic California Business Roundtable. But this latest report is so new that it’s not yet up on their website:

http://www.centerforjobs.org/

 

Whiskey for Drinking/Water for Fighting: Coastal District Fights California Over Water

In the old West the saying was, “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting”. We still live in the Old West by that standard. Guv Brown tried to steal water from the North during his first terms in office by creating a “peripheral canal”. Many counties in Northern California gave voted 90% NO vote to that measure. Now he is doing the same, but changed the name to the “Delta Tunnel”—still moving water from north to south, without creating an new water.

For decades California has been fighting over water from the Colorado River—it has been settled, part of the reason California has no water. The settlement gave other States the water we stole. Now the Central Coast has a war over water going on.

Environmentalists are in the courts stopping the permitting of desalinization plants on the Central Coast.

“The desalination plant is being built by Cal-Am, which has been on a deadline to find a new water source for the Monterey Peninsula since 1995, when the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Cal-Am to reduce illegal pumping of the Carmel River.
In 2009, a cease-and-desist order imposed a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017, when pumping from the river is to be cut by more than 50 percent, a terrifying prospect for a regional economy that relies on tourism and boasts some of the best golf courses in the world.”

By stopping the creation of new water, these folks are assuring that the Central Coast becomes a Third World State—poverty due to lack of water. Why do radical, Al Gore wannabees, hate people?

RB Drought

Coastal District Fights California Over Water

By JON CHOWN, courthouse News, 1/23/15

         

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (CN) – Marina Coast Water District sued the California State Lands Commission to try to stop drilling on a test well for a desalination plant for the Monterey Bay Peninsula.
The California American Water Co. is named as a real party in interest in the Jan. 15 lawsuit in Santa Cruz County Court. The water district’s lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission over the same issue is before the same court.

The Ag Land Trust is also a party in that lawsuit against California American Water (Cal-Am) and the Coastal Commission. Cal-Am spokeswoman Catherine Stedman said Cal-Am would likely move to combine this latest suit with the first.

The desalination plant is being built by Cal-Am, which has been on a deadline to find a new water source for the Monterey Peninsula since 1995, when the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Cal-Am to reduce illegal pumping of the Carmel River.

 

In 2009, a cease-and-desist order imposed a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017, when pumping from the river is to be cut by more than 50 percent, a terrifying prospect for a regional economy that relies on tourism and boasts some of the best golf courses in the world.

“The desal plant is the solution to the peninsula’s water shortage, which is extremely serious,” Stedman said. “If the order were imposed it would be absolutely devastating to our community.”
According to the lawsuit, Marina Coast Water District, which serves about 30,000 customers just a few miles north of the Monterey Peninsula, is concerned that Cal-Am’s desalination project could harm the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, where Marina’s water comes from.
Cal-Am’s desal project is in north Marina and is projected to produce about 5.4 million gallons of water per day. It calls for slant wells to be drilled near the coastline that would take ocean water from the tip of the Salinas Valley basin. A small amount of fresh water would be drawn in as well, but would be replaced.
Cal-Am will use the test slant well to calculate how much water being drawn is groundwater and how much is seawater.
It hopes to show that the desalination plant would not draw more from the Salinas Valley aquifer, from which it has no water rights, than it would pump back in. The test slant well is to be drilled 1,000 feet into the bay and 290 feet below the ocean floor.
“The test will allow us to answer a series of questions: How much water can we really draw from one well? And that gets to the feasibility of the project. … It also tests water quality and will help with finalizing treatment protocols,” Stedman said. “But perhaps most importantly it will answer the question of how much water will be ocean water versus groundwater, which has been the issue for many groups. There is a concern that it will impact the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin.”

That concern led the City of Marina to deny Cal-Am a permit to launch the project, but Cal-Am appealed to the Coastal Commission, won approval and began building in November 2014.

Cal-Am hopes to be done by March, when the Western snowy plover nesting season will stop construction.

On Jan. 21, Marina Coast’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the drilling was denied in Santa Cruz County Court. Judge Paul Marigonda scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for April 21.

Marina Coast’s complaint against the State Lands Commission claims that the state’s approval for the test well did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act because the commission relied on a “substitute” environmental document prepared by the Coastal Commission that was “piecemealed” together and failed to properly analyze the project. In particular, the document failed to recognize that the test well would remain as part of the larger permanent project.

Stedman acknowledged that the test well might remain, but only if the project were approved, and that Cal-Am is monitoring the test well to make sure there is no significant impact to the basin. The tests could take two years.

“We are drilling vertical monitoring wells to measure the level in the basin and if we see it drop by a foot, then we would stop production of the test well,” she said.

Stedman said that if everything continues as planned, the desalination plant would be operational in 2019, two years beyond the state deadline. Salinas Valley’s agricultural industry, which produces more than $1 billion of produce each year, also threatened to sue, but Stedman said companies want to see the results of the test well first.
Cal-Am serves about 630,000 people in 50 communities throughout California. Its parent company American Water, headquartered in Voorhees, N.J., is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, according to its website. It serves an estimated 14 million people in more than 40 states and parts of Canada, operating as regulated utilities in 16 of those states.

 

California DMV Retracts Notice That UberX, Lyft Drivers Need Commercial Plates

The unions and special interests got caught trying to use the Department of Motor Vehicles to shut down Uber and Lyft. Last week the DMV notified the firms that their drivers needed special “commercial” auto licenses. If not, they would be fined and the cars subject to impoundment. Here is the deal: Folks needing extra money use their vehicles part time to deliver in order to make a little extra money. Notice I did not say what they deliver.

In fact, Uber and Lyft operate no different than the pizza delivery person—or any other food delivery service. If the DMV was going to close down the car services for lack of a “proper” license, then the pizza industry would be closed in California. This is why government is too powerful. Government by definition abuses many citizens and helps a few. This is another example of why you need to vote NO on every tax increase or bond measure—squeeze the money from government, before it squeezes you.

“California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto this evening retracted Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-01, which affected ride share operators for companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar and issued the following statement:

“Our responsibility is to notify the public of existing state law. In response to inquiries, the department issued an alert earlier this month that reflected the definition of a commercial vehicle under a 1935 law. However, there remains uncertainty about the interaction and effect of this law governing vehicle registration requirements with the more recent regulatory and statutory changes affecting ride share operators. We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have. The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”

UberStockholm-039

California DMV Retracts Notice That UberX, Lyft Drivers Need Commercial Plates

By Jon Brooks, KQED, 1/24/15

The California Department of Motor Vehicles sent out a retraction Friday night of a  memo it had issued earlier this month that vehicles even occasionally used for commercial purposes — like those driven for ride services such as Lyft and UberX — would need to be registered as commercial vehicles.

That announcement had drawn a flurry of press coverage since it was first reported by BuzzFeed. Switching registration of a personal vehicle to that of a commercial vehicle would add another layer of bureaucracy to signing up for ride-service work and potentially dissuade drivers from joining up. (You can see the necessary DMV form here.) BuzzFeed even called the requirement an “existential threat” to the ride-service industry, noting that “For drivers to switch their registrations to comply with California law, they would have to pay to make the conversion to commercial status, and shell out for higher annual registration fees. In addition, commercial vehicles generally require commercial insurance, which costs as much as 10 times more than standard personal coverage.”

Here’s the announcement from the DMV tonight, switching course from its earlier position:

California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto this evening retracted Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-01, which affected ride share operators for companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar and issued the following statement:

“Our responsibility is to notify the public of existing state law. In response to inquiries, the department issued an alert earlier this month that reflected the definition of a commercial vehicle under a 1935 law. However, there remains uncertainty about the interaction and effect of this law governing vehicle registration requirements with the more recent regulatory and statutory changes affecting ride share operators. We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have. The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”

In the coming days, the DMV will be meeting with regulators and industry to continue working through this issue. Pending this further review, Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-1, which affected ride share operators, is hereby revoked including any reference to the requirement of a commercial plate.

The California Public Utilities Commission officially sanctioned ride-services in 2013, creating a new category of vehicle-for-hire services called Transportation Network Companies, which are now licensed by the CPUC under a set of regulations addressing safety, training, insurance coverage and other requirements. In addition, legislation was passed last year by the California Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brown that stiffened TNC insurance requirements and called on the insurance industry to create a new form of coverage specifically for TNC work. Neither the CPUC regulations nor the new law stipulated TNC vehicles must be registered as commercial vehicles.

When I spoke to the DMV earlier today, before the retraction, a spokesman said that stipulation was already on the books,  since — as stated above — 1935. The DMV said it was merely issuing a clarification for the benefit of an increasing number of drivers and auto dealers who had been confused about the issue. A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol confirmed the commercial registration requirement but said it was impossible to determine if it had ever been enforced because CHP does not track citations for different types of registration violations, but rather lumps them all together.

Adding fuel to the fire yesterday, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, (R-Modesto) and Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) threatened in a letter to the DMV and the CPUC to introduce legislation to amend the law unless the department exempted ride-service drivers from the commercial registration requirement.

 

xpensive issue for 2016 Ballot? New online poker legalization bill enters fray

The 2016 November ballot may have a measure on it to legalize online poker. This has been proposed a few times in the legislature, AB 9 by Gatto is in the hopper, but will not see the light of day. Special interests are opposing it—the casino’s—because they believe it will cut into their business. This is the same argument used by the Las Vegas casinos to oppose the Indian tribes having facilities in California. But, this bill disallows ONE tribe from participating.

“Both bills seek to unleash a game with well-known demand that could flush California with millions in tax dollars. The key difference between the two is that one prohibits certain tribes from entering the new online industry. It singles them out because they are thought to have profited from online poker in the years after Congress outlawed the game in 2006.

That “bad-actors” prohibition is part of Assembly Bill 9 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Los Angeles Democrat. Among tribes that would be barred is the powerful Morongo Band of Mission Indians in Southern California.”

Now you know why government has no role in anything but public safety. Why should the legislature be allowed to pick winners and losers in the free market? Because it can—use this to get government out of the private sector.

gambling poker chips

New online poker legalization bill enters fray

Competing bills seek to legalize online gambling poker because it could flush California with millions in tax dollars. The key difference between the two is that one prohibits certain tribes from entering the new online industry.

Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/24/15 

A bill to legalize online poker has surfaced in the state Capitol this year, and serves as a counter-effort to a second legalization bill introduced last month.

The Morongo band is now rallying behind the newer bill, Assembly Bill 167 by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a San Bernardino Democrat.

A joint statement by the Morongo band and other tribes said that Assembly Bill 167 “brings parties with diverse interests together” as opposed to “previous attempts” that “provide competitive advantages to a few operators.”

Assembly Bill 167 would authorize tribal gaming facilities, card rooms and horse racing associations to undergo a “determination of suitability” process by the California Department of Justice and pay a one-time licensing fee of $10 million. That fee has raised concern among smaller gaming firms that fear they couldn’t afford to enter the online poker industry.

Gatto, author of the first bill, said he is not ready to back away from the bad-actors provision. But he wants to try to bring all parties together this year to strike a bargain.

“I am somebody who prides myself on listening, and I’m learning a lot about the industry and the different solutions people propose,” he said.

 

UC Doctors Plan One-Day Labor Strike –More Union Interference With Health Care

Over the past several weeks the unionized nurses at Kaiser-Permanente have been playing dangerous games with the health and welfare of the patients. They have gone on strike for a day or two, sometimes a week. Then 18,000 threatened to walk off the job and Kaiser caved—watch the cost of health care go up—Kaiser has millions of patients.

Now the doctors at the UC health center have announced they are going on strike. “Organizers said the walkout will mark the first time in 25 years that fully licensed doctors have gone on strike against a U.S. employer. It will also be the first strike in the 43-year history of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, according to the labor organization.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that the union has chosen to go on strike,” said Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman for the UC president’s office.

Disappointed? This is what happens when you have known blackmailers and extortionists on your payroll—this is what happens when you negotiate with unions—at the end of the day, it is about control. Eventually unions will own our health care as they own our government schools. Feel better now?

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UC Doctors Plan One-Day Labor Strike

KPBS, 1/23/15

Doctors at all 10 University of California student health centers announced Friday that they will hold a one-day unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday.

Organizers said the walkout will mark the first time in 25 years that fully licensed doctors have gone on strike against a U.S. employer. It will also be the first strike in the 43-year history of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, according to the labor organization.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that the union has chosen to go on strike,” said Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman for the UC president’s office.

The UAPD said doctors at the student health clinics unionized in 2013 and have been in negotiations on their first contract for over a year, during which they’ve filed multiple unfair labor practice charges against the UC system for what they consider to be illegal behavior at the bargaining table.

A “strike is the only way to compel UC to follow the laws that govern bargaining,” said UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey. “Unfortunately, UC has a history of disrespecting workers during negotiations, and we’re no exception to that.”

At UCSD, picketing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. on the Library Walk near the Geisel Library.

Meron said UC officials are making preparations to have medical personnel at the student health clinics, though some routine, non-emergency appointments might have to be rescheduled.

“We think the best way to reach a resolution is at the bargaining table, not the picket line,” Meron said. She said the two sides met earlier this week.

 

Sacramento Poor and Middle Class Forced to Pay $5.1 Million to Macy’s Center by Sacramento County—Plus 100 Low Paying Jobs.

The customers of the local thrift shops and 99 cent stores are being forced by government to spend $5.1 million by giving it to a multi-billion corporation that owns Macy’s. In exchange, the community might get 100 low payers distribution/warehouse jobs. This is corporate welfare—some say it is corporate blackmail—give me your money or we won’t create jobs—bad paying ones—in your neighborhood.

At the beginning, it was a good thing when blighted communities needed stores and jobs. The Macy’s situation is not the same—the government could have sold the property to a private interest and then they would work out the details. In affect, Macy’s is the winner and the people of Sacramento the suckers.

“The deal would reimburse Macy’s half of the local sales tax revenue it generates -up to $5 million – within the next 10 years.

The County would also waive about $113,000 in fees — more than half of what would normally be owed.

Lori Moss is the County’s Community Development Director. She says 100 full time jobs and 75 full-time equivalent positions will be worth it.”

Unions have proved blackmail works—why not corporations?

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Sacramento County Giving Up $5.1 Million To Lure Macy’s

Bob Moffitt, Capitol Radio, 1/23/15

Next week, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to approve a deal with Macy’s that would move the company’s online-order processing center to the old Campbell’s Soup plant in south Sacramento.

The deal would reimburse Macy’s half of the local sales tax revenue it generates -up to $5 million – within the next 10 years.

The County would also waive about $113,000 in fees — more than half of what would normally be owed.

Lori Moss is the County’s Community Development Director. She says 100 full time jobs and 75 full-time equivalent positions will be worth it.

“They’re able to get some rebates from SMUD just like any other company would. They’re also probably going to qualify for some employment training panel reimbursements that come from the state and that would be a job  separate agreement. That would be the same as SETA [Sacramento Employment and Training Agency] -the job-training group in Sacramento.”

Macy’s would forfeit some benefits if the number of full-time employees falls below a certain level.

The company says 72 of the positions will be filled by employees from its distribution center in West Sacramento, which will close.

Macy’s has promised to spend $10.5 million in improvements to the property.

Hackman Capital Partners owns the site and says it will match up to half of that amount.

Sacramento County beat out bids by Texas and Arizona for the distribution center.

 

LA Daily News/San Jose Mercury News to be Sold

Little by little the legacy media is changing. It looks like a private equity fund is about to buy the LA Daily News, the San Jose Mercury New, the Denver Post and dozens of other daily and weekly newspapers around the nation. Instead of policy and management based on the local community, Wall Street investors will own local newspapers. Could this be why your newspaper is no longer a representative of your values—but those of the investor class?

The largest donors to the Hillary Clinton campaign are Wall Street lions. These folks are more interested in “multiples” and ROI then they are on being managers of community newspapers. It is a business to them, not a calling. Any wonder they do not want to investigate government corruption? They do not want government to mess up their next deals. The good news is that the Internet is replacing the legacy media with real stories, real investigations. A dead tree newspaper is our generations’ version of the buggy whip.

Wall_Street_Sign_(1-9)

Private equity firms said to be in talks to buy Denver Post’s parent company

Mark Harden, Denver Business Journal, 1/23/15

A pair of private equity firms are in talks to acquire Digital First Media, parent company of The Denver Post, Boulder Daily Camera and other Colorado newspapers, according to reports Friday.

One is Cerberus Capital Management LP, according to Bloomberg News, which cites unnamed “people with knowledge of the matter.”

Another is Apollo Global Management, says widely quoted media analyst Ken Doctor, who does not cite a source.

New York-based Digital First Media — controlled by Alden Global Capital — owns about 76 daily newspapers and their related websites along with some 160 weekly papers in 15 states.

The company has been on the block since last fall amid shrinking paid circulation and advertising revenue at many of its papers. Digital First hired UBS to assist in the process.

Some analysts have said it’s more likely that buyers would snap up one or more of a half-dozen regional clusters of Digital First papers in attractive markets — such as the Colorado properties — rather than the entire company. But the Cerberus and Apollo talks are said to be for the entire company.

Digital First, Cerberus and Apollo have not commented on the reports.

Digital First “may be valued at about $600 million,” Bloomberg says, citing an unnamed source. Doctor says Digital First CEO John Paton is seeking $480 million to $625 million for the entire company but that buyers are unlikely to be willing to pay that much.

Bloomberg notes that Cerberus also owns yellow-pages and online advertiser YP Holdings LLC, suggesting that there may be advantages to combining it with a major newspaper-local website operator.

Doctor describes both Cerebrus and Apollo as “value oriented” companies that seek “low-value, low-multiple deals that others stay away from.”

“By standard practice, Apollo and Cerberus quickly apply reorganizations to find cost-cutting efficiencies,” he wrote in a post for Capital New York. “Layers of management and staffing are taken out, centralization of processes are put in place and technology is used to cut the costs of pesky humans.”

And there may be other bidders as well — at least for pieces of the company.

The Denver Business Journal first reported that Philip Anschutz‘s Clarity Media Group is exploring the possibility of re-launching Denver’s defunct Rocky Mountain News. But some analysts — including Doctor — believe that Anschutz’s real objective is to buy the Post, and that talk of reviving the News is a pressure tactic.

Digital First was created through a 2013 merger of Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. and Journal Register Co.

In addition to the Post and Camera, its other Colorado papers include the daily Broomfield Enterprise, Canon City Daily Record, Colorado Daily, Estes Park Trail Gazette, Fort Morgan Times, Longmont Times-Call, Loveland Reporter Herald and Sterling Journal Advocate, plus several weeklies.

Elsewhere, Digital First publishes the Los Angeles Daily News, San Jose Mercury News, St. Paul Pioneer Press and Salt Lake Tribune.

 

Great News!!! California In Great Shape Economically—if You Forget the Facts

The great part of Christmas is December 25 and all the gifts. The bad part of Christmas is January, when all the bills come due. The Left in California is looking at December 25, while the poor and middle class are looking at January.

If you listen to the LA Times or our very confused Guv Brown, California has had an economic miracle. We are down to 7% unemployment (if you leave out the hundreds of thousands that have left the labor participation market). We have a balanced budget, even money to set aside for a rainy day fund (if you forget the $340 billion debt according to the LAO). Our future is rosy—if you forget the over one trillion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Then you have this, “That trend has clearly reversed as the oil industry struggles as gas prices plummet and housing in California has steadily grown in a much more sustainable way. It also helps the Golden State that its economy is the most diverse in the U.S., according to a study this month by the Milken Institute and is less likely to be hurt by a demise in any one industry.

According to the Milken report, “2014 Best-Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs Are Created and Sustained,” San Francisco (including San Mateo and Redwood City) was No. 1:

This is absolutely true, as long as you forget this is a comparison of the economy based on the Obama economy. Being best in an economy based on minimum wage jobs—and70%of the Obama jobs are part time. We still have the highest taxes in the nation—a lack of water due to government policies and jobs are created only when government is willing to exempt environmental regulations, fees and agree to expedite requests. Great News? Decide when you look at the facts, not the press releases.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17172977

Bullish on the Golden State: Diversity has Calif Economy Roaring Back

Written by Gary Chazen, City Watch LA, 1/23/15

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS-Reports of the death of Californiabusiness appear to be not only premature but entirely wrong. And it’s certainly not happening at the hands of Texas, as has been commonly stated by business interests that hold up the Lone Star State as a shiny beacon of low taxes and few industry regulations.

To be sure, Texas has done well in the past decade compared with much of the rest of the U.S. as the country struggled with the Great Recession and its aftermath. While California certainly suffered in that period with the near collapse of the U.S. banking industry and its resulting loss of homeownership, Texas and its substantial oil industry reaped the rewards of rising fuel prices.

That trend has clearly reversed as the oil industry struggles as gas prices plummet and housing in California has steadily grown in a much more sustainable way. It also helps the Golden State that its economy is the most diverse in the U.S., according to a study this month by the Milken Institute and is less likely to be hurt by a demise in any one industry.

According to the Milken report, “2014 Best-Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs Are Created and Sustained,” San Francisco (including San Mateo and Redwood City) was No. 1:

● San Francisco achieved the top rank for the first time in the 15-year history of the index. Propelling the gains: the city’s No. 1 finish in wage growth over both the past five-year and one-year periods. 

“Young, technology-skilled workers are flocking to San Francisco, driving up wages and driving down unemployment in these sectors below 2 percent,” says Ross DeVol, Milken Institute chief research officer and one of the report’s authors.

The San Jose metro area (including Sunnyvale and Santa Clara) remained in 4th place, the same spot as the year before. The San Diego metro area finished in 22nd place, with San Luis Obispo (buoyed by a growing wine industry) finishing 24th.

But here’s the part we like the best. California, one of the hardest-hit states due to the housing bust, is roaring back now that the homebuilding market has stabilized. Cities such as Merced, which ranked 159th in the 2013 Milken report, is now 71st, passing 88 cities in the U.S. Sacramento jumped 76 spots from 165th to 88th. The Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario) jumped 65 spots to 106. Oakland jumped 57 spots to 35th.

And Los Angeles (including Glendale and Long Beach) jumped 55 spots to finish 42nd in the 2014 ranking. Other California cities that experienced big jumps include Santa Cruz, which passed 49 cities to finish 54th and Fresno, which passed 45 cities to finish 113th.

To be sure, Texas remains strong, at least for now, with five of the top 10 rankings for large metropolitan areas. But 2015 promises a certain degree of hurt.

Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar warned employees last month that 2015 is expected to be a “tough” year, which could include additional job cuts, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Those jobs, Lesar said, are related to market conditions and not other factors such as company acquisitions, which it is also undergoing.

Also last month, the Greater Houston Partnership forecast 2015 will bring a significant drop in oilfield services jobs, a decrease of 7,900, and a minor drop in oil and gas exploration jobs, down 1,300.

And that’s just in Houston. As the Dallas Morning News reported this week, all of Texas is hurting due to the fall of crude oil prices:

● “Signs of decline are already emerging. The numbers of drilling permit applications filed with the Texas Railroad Commission is down 45 percent since last March. U.S. rig counts are falling at the fastest rate in more than two decades.”

The Dallas paper also reported this week that Texas Fed economists “expect job growth in the state to slow to between 2 percent and 2.5 percent this year from 3.6 percent in 2014. That translates to about 140,000 fewer new jobs than created last year.”

But enough about Texas. California is clearly standing tall on its own, not because others are doing less well.

Bloomberg News this week reported that California will soon pass Brazil as the seventh-largest economy in the world, “bolstered by rising employment, home values and personal and corporate income, a year after the most-populous state surpassed Russia and Italy.”

California’s diverse economy stands in stark contrast to oil-dependent Texas (yeah, we’re having trouble letting this one go after Texas Gov. Rick Perry made such a show in his attempt to poach California businesses a couple of years ago).

As Brown told Bloomberg in an interview in his Oakland office this week:

● “It’s the diversity of the California business environment, from movies to the Internet to agriculture — the incredible array of businesses that make up the state. Certainly getting our finances in line as a state is also helpful: the new investments in our schools; solid universities; investments in water and energy. All this gives security and keeps California very much in the forefront of investment, change, cultural adaptation and leadership.” 

It’s that economic diversity that seems to be the key, as clearly stated in a New Yorker magazine article this month, “How California bested Texas.” The article cites a 2013 Brookings Institution study that looked at the diversity of the economy in all 50 states.

● “Texas has a significant presence in five of the fifty advanced industries. That makes it the twelfth most diverse state—less diverse than California, which is involved in fourteen advanced industries, but more so than New York, the third-most-populous state. But three of the five advanced industries present in Texas are related to the energy sector—for instance, manufacturing of petroleum and coal products—which means they could be vulnerable to the oil crash, too.”

We certainly don’t wish harm to the Texas economy, but it does appear to be time to stop this nonsense about Texas being better than California for business. The numbers – and the pundits — say otherwise.

 

Economic Forecast Promising, But With Some Worries–Reality

The press releases are flowing with great news—since 2011 there have been 85,000 jobs created in the Sacramento area. What is not told is how many are part time or minimum wage jobs? Not noted is how many of these are real jobs and how many are government jobs? But 85,000 jobs does sound encouraging.

“”We are back to levels that are pre-recession including the median home pricing in many cases and the affordability in the Sacramento region for an average household of four is under question. Can they really afford a 3,000-square-foot home for example selling for $550,000? Because the job creation we have seen does not really warrant that kind of pricing.”

But wages are down. Cost of living is up—eggs have doubled in just a few months, beef and chicken are at their highest prices in years—water and energy at the highest, along with being in the State with the highest taxes in the nation. Stop the happy talk and get serious about our problems.

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

Economic Forecast Promising, But With Some Worries

Bob Moffitt, Capitol Radio, 1/21/15

The Sacramento Business Review says there are 85,000 more jobs in the region than in 2011. The average price of homes has also increased.

But, Sacramento State Professor Sanjay Varshnay says he is concerned the new jobs won’t pay enough to keep up with increasing home prices.

“We are back to levels that are pre-recession including the median home pricing in many cases and the affordability in the Sacramento region for an average household of four is under question. Can they really afford a 3,000-square-foot home for example selling for $550,000? Because the job creation we have seen does not really warrant that kind of pricing.”

Varshnay says the number of leased office spaces and small business loans increased last year and should again this year.

The forecast also says credit will likely be more accessible and that small local banks will likely continue a trend of merging with other banks.

Varshnay notes struggling European economies may also weigh on California’s and the Sacramento region’s economy. But, he says the “psychological tide” from a new downtown arena and future soccer stadium have given the Sacramento region positive momentum.

Sacramento State and the Sacramento Metro Chamber produce The Sacramento Business Review twice a year.