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Economy

As We Celebrate Labor Day

by: SmartCitiesPrevail

Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 17:36:16 PM PDT


As we celebrate Labor Day this week, we wanted to take a moment to thank the hard working construction workers who literally built our state.

Recently, the Los Angeles Times published a list of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America.  Four of the 10 were jobs in construction related fields.

Just last week, The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the fatality of a worker in Berkeley while laying asphalt at a school.  This and stories like it are why our fight to protect prevailing wage is so important.

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Google's Page Clueless When It Comes to Privacy Concerns About Glass

by: Consumer Watchdog

Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 13:29:32 PM PDT

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Calling for Meaningful Wi-Spy Penalties Against Google

by: Consumer Watchdog

Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 13:41:38 PM PDT

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New Report: Wells Fargo's at the Bottom of the Heap

by: accecalifornia

Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 13:34:39 PM PDT

When it comes to foreclosing on Californians, it looks like Wells Fargo may take the prize.  According to a report released today, Wells Fargo is responsible for more homes in the foreclosure pipeline in California than any other single lender.  
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Will Google Buy Its Way Out Of Trouble For A Mere $7 million?

by: Consumer Watchdog

Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 17:40:52 PM PST

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Consumer Watchdog Calls On FTC to Seek Do Not Track Legislation

by: Consumer Watchdog

Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:13:40 AM PST

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California Leads Nation in Job Creation

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 14:56:52 PM PST

State economy peers up

by Brian Leubitz

California has some very powerful assets. People really want to live here, the weather is great, the state is beautiful, and we have a lot of well-educated workers. That should make it no surprise that the state's economy is growing now as the information economy rebounds.

Since February California has created almost 234,000 jobs, more than Texas, Oregon and West Virginia combined. (CBS)

While Rick Perry is busy trying to put a rosy spin on his corporate subsidy plan, California is building the economy of tomorrow.

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Europe's Antitrust Chief Talks Tough On Google

by: Consumer Watchdog

Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 10:05:41 AM PST

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Consumer Watchdog Asks FTC To Release Staff Report In Google Investigation

by: Consumer Watchdog

Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:03:16 AM PST

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FTC's Settlement With Google Fails To End Key Abuse

by: Consumer Watchdog

Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:21:26 PM PST

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FTC should proceed with case against Google

by: Consumer Watchdog

Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 11:45:39 AM PST

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Keep The Internet Free

by: Consumer Watchdog

Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 10:05:36 AM PST

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Senators Add Fire to Scandal Over Phony California Fuel Crisis

by: Consumer Watchdog

Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 15:51:53 PM PST

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Google Ruling Shows Need For Do Not Track And Strong Antirust Action

by: Consumer Watchdog

Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 09:48:45 AM PST

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Google Gets Antitrust Ultimatum From FTC

by: Consumer Watchdog

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:53:18 AM PST

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Refueling California

by: Consumer Watchdog

Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:14:46 AM PDT

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Brian Bilbray and Carl DeMaio: San Diego's Republican Shapeshifters

by: Lucas O'Connor

Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 13:00:00 PM PDT

If there's one thing that's been particularly consistent to campaigns of the far right in San Diego this fall, it's the unusually desperate attempts to hide the real agenda from voters. It's one that should be cause for optimism as long as voters pay attention, and betrays an almost impressive self-awareness from the top of the GOP that the party's agenda has drifted well outside the mainstream.

From the special exemptions of Prop 32 to Brian Bilbray's teetering re-election bid to Carl DeMaio's bizarre mayoral campaign, extreme conservatives are doing everything they can to hide their record and who they are.

For the backers of Proposition 32, the deception was part of the design from the very beginning. They surveyed the political landscape and found that, unsurprisingly, nobody wants millionaires and corporations to be able to buy off our political process. Rather than abandon a wildly unpopular idea, they came up with a different plan: fake it.  

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Kentucky Derby Odds

by: Robbins

Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:02:24 AM PDT

The first of the three Triple Crown races is the Kentucky Derby. Held on the first Saturday in May, the "Run for the Roses" is the most popular horse race of the year. The 2014 race will be held on Saturday, May 3rd at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race that is for three-year olds going a mile and a quarter.  The Kentucky Derby has been called "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports." The race has been held every year since 1875. Kentucky Derby wagering gives you a lot of options for the biggest race of the horse racing season.  Many people consider this race the best betting race of the year because a full field of 20 horses will go to the post.  You can bet a horse to win, place, show and you can also bet the exotics with the exacta, quinella, trifecta and superfecta.  You can also include the Kentucky Derby in your pick three, pick four or pick six wagers.  Anything can, and does happen in this race and the favorite doesn't win that often so big payouts are possible. Fans and gamblers can really hit a big score in kentucky derby betting.  The Kentucky Derby is one of the few races during the year where six figure payouts are possible with trifectas and superfectas. Even the exacta can pay big money.

Not only can you bet on a horse to win the race but you can also bet the head-to-head horse betting matchups at Diamond sportsbook.  These are matchups where you just pick one horse to finish ahead of another horse. As you look at handicapping Kentucky Derby betting odds there are a lot of things to consider.  You can look at speed figures, pace, jockeys, trainers, workouts, etc.  All of these factors are important whether you are looking at win, place and show or any of the exotic bets like the exacta, trifecta and superfecta and they are very important when you bet kentucky derby picks.  There are other things to look at as well from pedigree and class to post position and money earned. Kentucky Derby betting for many people begins their horse racing season.  Cairo Prince is the current favorite for the 2014 Kentucky Derby is Cairo Prince. He won three of his first four starts and is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. He won the Holy Bull Stakes by six lengths and is favored to win the Florida Derby. There are many gamblers that don't even look at horse racing until the Kentucky Derby.  The Derby begins the Triple Crown and that is definitely part of the appeal.  The Derby is the first race with the Preakness and Belmont to follow.  Only eleven horses have won the Triple Crown and none have done it since Affirmed back in 1978.

Some people won't make another horse racing bet all year but they will get involved in Kentucky Derby betting.  The public bets this race more than any other race of the entire year. That is great news for you as a bettor since the pools and the payoffs are much larger than normal in horse racing betting. There are a lot of great choices in online Kentucky Derby betting.  Even if you don't make another wager all year you should take a look at the various options in Kentucky Derby betting this year. kentucky derby odds 2014 give you a lot to consider as you look to pick the winner and the second, third and fourth place horse.  While the Kentucky Derby betting favorite doesn't always win the race, the horse does get a lot of attention from the media and the public.

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The Reality of RDAs

by: Libi Uremovic

Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 22:08:20 PM PDT

What do the Cities of San Bernadino, Mammoth Lakes, & Stockton have in common?  All three cities  follow RDA and the League of California Cities, all circumvented AB26,  and all three went bankrupt within a year.
Tax revenue is collected for the basic needs and services of the community, not to fund the private sector.   The League of California Cities and the RDA Association are not on the side of the people.  They are lobbyist groups who's purpose is to divert money to themselves and their affiliates.  
In 1945 California authorized Redevelopment Agencies (RDA's) to alleviate urban blight.   Blight is defined by state law as a combination of physical and economic conditions - vacant buildings, declining property values, poverty, high crime rate - that prevent private enterprise from developing in the area.    
In the beginning very few cities used RDA, now most not only use but abuse RDA.    Half of California cities are declared between 11-30% blight and 20% of cities claim over 30% blight to acquire land for RDA.   The entire city of Imperial Beach has been declared blight.  Imperial Beach is 1 ½ miles of beach-front property in Southern California;   Does that sound 'blight' to you?
Powers of RDA:
Eminent Domain - Once an area is declared blight the city has the right to exercise the powers of eminent domain.   The League of California Cities considers the powers of eminent domain an 'important tool' and encourages city officials to declare areas of their city blight to obtain eminent domain powers.  
Take Out Loans & Issue Bonds without Voter Approval - RDA's use a federal Community Development Block Grant to start a project, but the remainder of the funding comes from issuing debt.  By declaring a city blight the city is able to side-step Prop 13 to take out loans and issue bonds without voter approval.
Funding of RDA:    
RDA gives the impression that the money is from state or federal grants, but 97% of all RDA finances are funded by the city.   RDAs receive the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to begin work, but all redevelopment activity is financed by taking out loans that the city backs with future property taxes.  
Tax Increment Financing:  When Prop 13 passed RDAs feared a limited money stream, so they lobbied for special property tax revenues.  After an RDA area has been established all property tax increases - less 2% for inflation - goes entirely  to RDA instead of being used for the basic needs of the city.   In the case of Imperial Beach all of IB is declared blight so ALL property tax increases go to the RDA program.    The payments to RDA last as long as there is debt outstanding, and RDAs no longer have plans to conclude their projects, so eminent domain remains on the properties.
Cost of RDAs:
We can see the results of RDAs in the bankruptcies of Stockton, San Bernadino, and Mammoth Lakes.   RDA eats up $1.5 billion/year of our cities budgets in the State of California.  By reviewing the  financial records of Imperial Beach shows the actual costs of RDA.  
City Services vs RDA:  97% of all RDA funding is from the city itself.   Taxes are collected for the general needs of the community, not to fund the private sector.    Originally an RDA project took about 2% of a city's budget, now RDAs are swallowing up to 30% of city budgets.  
The bigger problem is that the cities are spending even more on RDA than they are acknowledging.   Imperial Beach's RDA is 32% of the budget, but I also found $4 million spent on RDA that is being funneled through 'dump accounts'.    The budgets of numerous city departments have 'ABC' accounts listed with their expenditures.   The ABC accounts pad the departments' budget by as much as 25%.   The ABC accounts on the IB Fire Department's $2.3 million budget is $450,000 - 19% of their budget is being padded with RDA costs and legal fees.  
Legal Fees:  
Google 'RDA' and you'll find dozens of lawsuits pending.  The Imperial Beach Financial Report for  the year ending 06/30/11 stated City Attorney Fees at $244,000 - but paid out over $500,000 defending RDA lawsuits.   This year the City Attorney Fees are budgeted at $200,000, but have already spent $600,000.   In 2011 the City of IB also cut two checks to the RDA Association to help pay for their legal fees.
Massive Payrolls:
Another similarity of every city that belongs to RDA and the League of California Cities is massive payrolls for the top elected and appointed officials.  Mammoth Lakes has a population of 8,000 people yet the Comptrollers' 2010 report shows their City Manager's salary is $198,533; Assistant City Manager at $186,358; and Exec Assistant to the City Manager at $71,708; and Airport Director at $151,431.  
What are the salaries of elected and appointed officials in the city of Imperial Beach?    That is information the City refuses to disclose.  The new budget shows the City Council and Appointed City Officials shifted half of their payrolls to RDA accounts to avoid the State Wage Limits.    City elected and appointed officials are giving themselves multiple titles to double dip wages.
How To Tell If Your City Is RDA?       Simply look at the City Council Agenda.    

"..JOINT REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO, MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY, MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE SUCCESSOR HOUSING AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY, AND MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE HOUSING AUTHORITY .."

The Mayor and Council are hired to oversee the affairs of the City Employees and finances.  It is a conflict of interest for council to belong to lobbyist organizations and to use tax payer dollars to fund  lobbyists.   'Successor' RDA agencies are RDA on steroids.   Their purpose is to shift as much money as possible from the city general fund to RDA regardless of the harm done to the city.  
Our  government functions on a system of checks and balances, but when city elected and appointed officials conspire together we have lost balance.
The League of California Cities lobbies every branch of city government.   Their website lists departments for  council, city managers, city attorneys, finance, city clerks, fire, police, & public works.   The League nurtures a mentality in city officials that circumventing laws and putting their cities in debt with unnecessary construction projects and massive salaries is acceptable.
Circumventing wage laws burdening cities with massive debt from unnecessary construction projects  can no longer be acceptable in our State.      We must close down RDAs and remove any elected or appointed officials associated with and lobbyist organizations.     Government officials are paid to work for the people, not to conspire against us.    

Read more about the Imperial Beach Audit at: http://libionline.net/index.html

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Google Antitrust Deal In Europe Would Impact U.S.

by: Consumer Watchdog

Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 10:38:25 AM PDT

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