Explaining Southern California's economy

Allegiant Air now charging $5 for check-in at airport

Orbitz Names LAX As Busiest Airport For 2011 Thanksgiving Travel

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Passengers waiting to go through security checkpoints at LAX

As the summer travel season ends, Allegiant Air has begun charging passengers to check in and print their boarding passes at the airport. 

Calling it a new initiative to encourage paperless boarding and save passengers time and money, the low-cost airline explained in a statement:

Customers who require the assistance of a ticket agent to print their boarding pass at the airport will pay a $5 charge per boarding pass printed. Customers who use a mobile boarding pass on their mobile device or tablet, or check-in online and print their boarding pass at home will save themselves the small fee, while helping the carrier keep fares low and ticket lines short.

"Allegiant continues to find innovative ways to create a faster, easier travel experience for our customers while at the same time reducing costs," said Andrew Levy, president of  Allegiant Travel Co. in the statement. "We now have mobile scanning technology in even the smallest airports in our network so that every Allegiant customer can `go paperless' and use their smartphone or tablet to check-in, pass through security and board their flight." 

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Drought: Is the bottled industry shrinking California's water supply?

arrowhead water bottle plastic

Photo by Joe Philipson via Flickr Creative Commons

California's drought has many communities looking hard at where their water comes from and where it goes. One concern is that some water goes into bottles, and those bottles go somewhere else for sale.

California has a lot of companies that bottle water, whether it’s purified water — sourced from a municipal system and filtered some more — or spring water, which comes out of the ground.   

Exactly how much water these companies are taking is hard to know, but the industry, environmental researchers, and water officials agree it's a very small part of the total water used across the state. 

How much...or how little?

"The entire U.S. bottled water market is about 10 billion gallons [per year], and Los Angeles goes through that amount of tap water in less than three weeks," says Chris Hogan, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association.    

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1 in 6 California construction jobs part of underground economy, study finds

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FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The study found informal construction workers earn half of what their formal counterparts bring home.

California's construction industry is sinking underground. That's the conclusion of a new study from the Los Angeles-based Economic Roundtable that found more than 143,900 jobs – or one out of six jobs –in California's $152 billion construction industry were part of the so-called underground economy in 2011. Of those, 104,100 jobs were unreported by employers and more than 39,000 employees were misclassified as independent contractors. 

The study, underwritten by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, found the number of construction workers in the underground economy has skyrocketed 400-percent since 1972.

Researchers defined the underground or informal economy as workers who were not protected legally or socially in their jobs. Particularly vulnerable are immigrants, who made up 43-percent of the California construction labor force in 2012. 

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Gov. Brown, legislators reach deal to boost CA film tax credit

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Jeff Walters/Mike Gatto's Office

Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Gov. Jerry Brown as they negotiated AB 1839.


Gov. Jerry Brown and leaders of the California legislature have reached a deal to increase the funding of California's film and television production tax credit program to $330 million per year.

The amount is more than triple the $100 million the program currently offers each year, but it is lower than the $400 million many advocates were hoping for. The higher dollar amount also appeared likely almost two weeks ago, when the Senate Appropriations committee passed the most recent version of AB 1839.

“This law will make key improvements in our Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work,” Brown said in a statement announcing the deal. 

Despite a trim down to $330 million from the $400 million hoped for, Senate President Pro-Tem-elect Kevin De Leòn (D-Los Angeles) insisted the deal is a major victory. 

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Dockworkers and shipping companies reach tentative deal on health care

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Cranes pick up containers from cargo ships in the Port of Los Angeles .

Negotiators of a labor contract covering 20,000 dockworkers at West Coast ports have made progress on a key issue: health care.

Late Tuesday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced they'd reached a tentative agreement on terms for health benefits. A joint statement announcing the agreement said it's contingent on agreement on the other issues still being negotiated. Both sides also said they'd agreed not to discuss the terms of the tentative agreement publicly. 

West Coast dockworkers, including 10,000 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been working without a contract since the last one expired on July 1st.  Both sides vowed to keep negotiating, and neither has raised the possibility of a strike or lock-out.

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