Chriss W. Street

Chriss W. Street

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AP PhotoJuliet Williams

Cal Public Sector Unions Spending $1Billion Per Year

U.S. public sector unions are politically powerful because they collect and spend at least $4.0 billion in dues each year. But California unions are overwhelmingly powerful because although the state has just 11 percent of the nation’s population, California’s public

California fruit farm workers (Donna Sutton / Flickr / CC / Cropped)

Cal Fruit Growers Win Big Precedent Against UFW Union

In a huge victory for farmers and their workers, California’s 5th District Court of Appeal ruled last week that the state’s “Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation” process, which allows a mediator to impose a binding contract on farm companies and agricultural unions when the negotiation process breaks down, is unconstitutional.

AP Photo

 Twitter Donates $3 Million Tech Skills Center for S.F. Poor

Twitter Inc. (TWTR – NYSE) mission statement is: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” To meet that mission, the company is spending $6 million to open the new Twitter NeighborNest to teach tech skills near their headquarters on South Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

AP Photo

El Niño: Insurers Prepare for Flood Damage Losses

With temperatures dropping into the high teens, and about 7 inches of snow falling for the next three days, Mammoth Mountain is on track to get its most snow since December 2014. The unseasonal snowfall in the Sierras will not break the drought, but the National Climate Prediction Center’s decision to raise the probability of El Niño to 90 percent has insurance companies scrambling to model losses they expect to suffer from El Niño flood damage.

GMO label march (Daniel Lobo / Flickr / CC)

Organic Food Growth Stalls on 47% Higher Cost

Grocery stores are responding to the massive loss of consumer dollars by going all-in for organic foods, which Consumer Reports estimates cost 47% more. Despite clever marketing, most health experts doubt organics are worth the premium price.

Janet Yellen

Fed Chair Yellen Warns Tech Bubble 2.0 Could Pop

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen recently joined the rising chorus of economists and former Fed officials warning about the risks of irrational exuberance by bond and stock investors paying bubble-inflated prices. Conspicuously silent about the risks of stock investing over the last 6 years, Yellen’s comments quickly tanked the bond market. But with the NASDAQ tech-heavy index up 500% since the bottom of the last crash, Yellen seems to be warning this bubble could pop.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge (Associated Press)

Bay Area’s Lower Regulation Helps It Beat L.A.

The Center for Jobs & the Economy has published a study entitled, “Economic Tale of Two Regions: Los Angeles County vs. Bay Area.” Their research, which compiles data to track jobs created in the past 24 years, reveals that the two regions have been at opposite ends of the wage spectrum. The Bay Area experienced high-wage growth that lifted the middle-class, while Los Angeles slumped toward a two-tier economy as higher-wage jobs shriveled and were somewhat replaced by lower-wage jobs.

Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli : Associated Press)

Jerry Brown Sending Checks to Poor During 2016 Presidential Primaries

Long-shot presidential candidate Governor Jerry Brown offered to have California tax-payers double the federal Earned Income Tax Credit for many Californians this week. Though the credit is considered by the IRS Inspector General to have an “improper payment rate” of 22 to 26 percent, Brown wants to give away an additional $380 million in state funds to deflect what Breitbart News has reported as the fact that “California might be 7th Largest Economy, but is 1st in Poverty.”

Reuters

2015 Hurricane Season Limited by El Niño

The highly respected Colorado State University forecast for the coming season looks for only 7 named tropical storms and only 3 hurricanes, about 40% less than average. Coupled with the expectations of global cooler weather and more precipitation from El Niño, climate change “scientific experts” may need to develop more new models.

Uber (Reuters)

Uber Taking Another Slurp of VC Cash at $50 Billion Valuation

If Robin Leach visited the headquarters of Uber today, it would be all “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” as the ride-hailing service that just closed a $2.8 billion venture capital deal three months ago at a $40 billion valuation is on track to slurp up another $2 billion of venture capital pixie dust at a valuation of $50 billion or higher.

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Federal Judge Rules Bank’s Fraud Caused the Financial Crisis

In a devastating precedent that could redefine history, a Manhattan federal judge ruled that Nomura Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland willfully misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into purchasing mortgage bonds that contained numerous fraudulent misrepresentations and underwriting errors.

REUTERS/RICK WILKING

Lowest Interest Rate in 500 Years: The New Morality of Debt

David Rosenberg, former Chief Economist for Merrill Lynch, recently made the comment that the current global interest rates, at below 2 percent, have only been this low once or twice in the last 500 years. The globalization cycle over the last two decades pushed up total world debt to $223.3 trillion, over three times the world GDP of about $75 trillion. But the current low rates indicate that individuals and corporations no longer have the moral willingness to take on more debt.

AP Photo

Cap-and-trade Billions a Honey Pot for California Politicians

California’s cap-and-trade tax is creating a luscious honey-pot of cash to sooth state politicians’ spending fantasies. In expectation of the cash available from the “May Revised Budget” to be released this week, lawmakers and their interest-group fellow travelers are outlining ambitious proposals that include funding port improvements, paying for heavy-duty trucks and ferries, nurturing urban rivers, sponging up carbon in soil and increasing subsidies for bus riders.

AP Photo

Tesla’s New Battery Not yet Viable to Back up Solar

When Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk unveiled a line of home and commercial battery packs a week ago, he said Tesla was “trying to change the fundamental energy infrastructure of the world.” Although the system Musk announced was better than the competition, the cost was assumed to be too expensive except for home solar systems. But now it turns out that Tesla’s new batteries do not even make economic sense to back-up rooftop solar systems–at least not yet.

CalSTRS (Paul Sableman / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Cal School Budgets: Pension Costs Rise from 3.8% to 9%

California schools are about to suffer a 235% increase in the percentage of their annual budgets that are devoted to teacher pensions managed by the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS). The stunningly higher costs will slash the number of classroom teachers in all predominantly middle-class schools, but exempt inner-city school districts with high “English learners and recipients of subsidized meals.”

AP Photo/Michel Euler

Yahoo Ex-Employee Sued for Leaking Passwords for Marissa Mayer Book

Leaking information to reporters in Silicon Valley is an everyday occurrence. But a former employee at Yahoo is being sued for actually leaking passwords to confidential computer files inside the company to help a financial industry journalist write an unauthorized biography titled: “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!”

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