04/23/2018

News

It’s pricey to live in Southern California — here’s the proof

The Economic Policy Institute’s latest Family Budget Calculator shows that a family of two adults and two children in L.A. County need to earn $7,691 a month, or $92,295 a year, to meet all of its living expenses. That outstrips L.A. County’s median family income, which is just $66,203 per year, according to the U.S. […]

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Anthem’s exit leaves thousands without health insurance choice in California

For about 60,000 Covered California customers, choosing a health plan next year will be easier, and possibly more painful, than ever: There will be only one insurer left in their communities after Anthem Blue Cross of California pulls out of much of the state’s individual market.

That means they could lose doctors they trust, or pay higher premiums.

Anthem’s departure is also a blow for the Covered California exchange, which often has boasted that healthy competition among its plans helped lower costs and improve its members’ access to care.

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Rent headaches: 8 reasons why Southern California feels the financial pinch

The regional cost of renting has surged at double the pace of overall inflation so far this century. Renters in Los Angeles and Orange counties give more of their paychecks to the landlord than any other metro in the nation. And perhaps three-quarters of Southern California’s renters claim they are ready to bolt. An exaggerated upswing in Southern California rent is frequently blamed on an economic mismatch: solid employment growth outstripping the developers’ ability to build enough apartments to meet demand, especially for those not seeking luxury digs. Rising home prices also nix ownership for many. So, a growing flock of renters is chasing too few vacant units, and that supply shortfall pushes up rent prices.

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Los Angeles Daily New

Workers who retire from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power enjoy a higher monthly pension, on average, than retired public employees from the city and county, according to an audit released this week by City Controller Ron Galperin. LADWP retirees received an average monthly pension payment of $5,212 in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2015, the audit said. That figure is higher than the $4,023 average monthly payment for other city retirees and the $3,881 pension amount per month for retired county workers, amounts that are used as comparisons in the audit performed by contractor, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting.

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Ports of LA, Long Beach at clean-air crossroads as they update pollution battle plan

Decision-makers from this mammoth economic hub, where countless trucks, ships and trains produce a toxic stew of pollutants, will map out specifics on reducing the diesel-dependent port’s reliance on carbon fuels. Nobody thinks it will be easy. Industry officials and truckers raise concerns about the price tag, while environmentalists push for more speed on the path to zero emissions.

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Why are California women giving birth at record-low rates?

The pace of motherhood in California is slowing and its members are aging, a shift demographers expect to continue and contribute to far-reaching and uncertain changes in the decades to come.

Last year, the state reached a historic milestone: the lowest birth rate on record — 12.4 births per thousand people. That rate was 12.3 for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and a Southern California News Group analysis of state projections shows the region’s rate could fall another 24 percent by 2040.

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Is California’s heralded recycling program broken?

At that volume, California’s three-decade-old consumer-recycling program should be considered a smashing success. But the CalRecycle system is in trouble and most agree it needs to be, well, recycled. . . • Hundreds of recycling centers across the state have shuttered since last year, stung by plummeting scrap rates on the global market over the past four years. • Declining oil and natural gas prices — used to remanufacture plastic bottles from recycled mulch — have made regeneration more expensive.

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Southern California can’t match nation’s new housing pace

I tossed new Census data into my trusty spreadsheet to see if a recent upswing in construction activity was making a significant change in how much housing — for ownership or for rent — was available. What I found was that Southern California added 34,000 housing units in the year ended July 1, 2016, to 6.4 million. Yes, Southern California’s new housing in 2016 approximates the combined additions in Alabama, New Jersey and Wisconsin. But the 0.53 percent increase last year — yes, better than 0.41 percent average annual rate in the previous five years — again trails the U.S. pace.

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Edison’s rate hikes raise questions as well as costs: Susan Shelley

How much does it really cost Californians to use renewable energy, and who’s going to pay for it? That’s the question raised by Southern California Edison’s proposed rate hike of nearly 13 percent.

The list of people who are upset about the increase includes the members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 12. “SCE’s habit of raising rates on its ratepayers indiscriminately has to stop,” wrote union official Ronald J. Sikorski in a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission. “Working families can’t afford it and neither can seniors on fixed incomes.”

But Edison says the money is needed to upgrade its infrastructure to handle the many demands of California policies, like mandates for 50 percent renewable power by 2030, and a goal of 1.5 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2025 (up from about 285,000 now).

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‘Housing crisis’ tops California’s legislative agenda this year

More than 130 housing bills surfaced this year as of the last count, many of them aimed at addressing the state’s housing shortage, lack of affordable housing and protecting those at risk of losing their homes.

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SoCalGas warns of natural gas shortage to meet surging demand, as Aliso Canyon wells remain closed

Operators of the natural gas wells in Aliso Canyon are warning California regulators they have concerns about meeting energy and electricity demands this summer and for the upcoming winter.

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California’s property tax burden 10th worst in nation

While Prop. 13 may keep California property taxes low for many folks, the overall financial burden remains relatively high. My trusty spreadsheet tells me we’re 10th worst among the states.

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How new Southern California air cleanup plan could affect warehouses, ports

But the 11-2 vote by the South Coast Air Quality Management District board left intact controversial plans for pollution reduction from the region’s ports and warehouse centers to be achieved through voluntary compliance with industry.

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LA County, Inland Empire post heavy job losses in January

L.A. County employers shed 78,700 jobs in January, fueled primarily by a steep decline in seasonal retail positions that were eliminated at the end of the holiday shopping season.. . . The Inland Empire weathered a decline of 19,900 jobs in January, a sharp contrast to the 9,600 that were added the previous month. The region’s jobless rate also shot up to 5.6 percent from 5.1 percent in December but it still landed below the year-ago rate of 5.9 percent.

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Home Depot hiring 2,000 workers in Southern California

The hiring is expected to continue through mid-April and comes as the company prepares for spring, its busiest time of the year.

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