Explaining Southern California's economy

Increase in rent control fee goes to Santa Monica voters

Home Prices Drop To Lowest Level Since 2006

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Santa Monica residents will vote on a measure in November that would increase the registration fee landlords pay to cover the city's rent control board administrative costs, from $174.96 to a maximum of $288 a year. The measure would also force landlords to cover up to half the fee, rather than pass it along to their tenants, as they were allowed to do until last year.

The board says without the increase it faces a $36,000 deficit next fiscal year, which would balloon to $150,000, then close to half a million dollars after that. 

"The rent control law is not self-executing, and its administration is not free," Santa Monica Rent Control Board's General Counsel, Stephen Lewis, wrote in a memo to the city council recommending that they vote to put the measure on the ballot, which they did last week. 


Shifting production schedules cause jump in number of TV shoots in second quarter

Michael Desmond Photography/Showtime

The Showtime TV series "Masters of Sex," now filming its second season in Southern California, is one of the shows contributing to an uptick in film production this quarter.

We hear a lot about on-location TV production in the Los Angeles being in decline.  But the latest report from FilmLA  finds TV show production jumped 33 percent in the second quarter over the same period last year.  

FilmLA President Paul Audley believes this is due to shifts in television production schedules. In the period January through March, TV shoots dropped closed to 10 percent, compared to the same period last year, but from April through June, they were up by a third.

"More television is being filmed in the spring now for summer original content, which virtually didn’t exist on the TV market," Audley told KPCC. 

The series' debut of Showtime’s "Masters of Sex"was last September, but its second season premiered this past Sunday. Audley says that means its crew was busy in the spring when it might normally have been on hiatus.  He’ll be watching the third quarter closely, because that’s when traditional network dramas usually shoot.


Time Warner executive doubts Dodgers TV deals will be made this season

David Rone Dodgers Time Warner

Ben Bergman/KPCC

"We are definitely not getting any closer," said Time Warner Cable Sports President David Rone, who is frustrated not just with DirecTV, but also with the other providers like Charter and Dish that seem to be waiting for DirecTV to make a deal.

Tuesday night is a rare chance for many Angelenos to see Dodgers like Yaisel Puig and Clayton Kershaw on TV, when they play in the 85th MLB All-Star Game, which is broadcast on Fox. 

As for non-Time Warner Cable customers seeing Dodgers games the rest of the season? That is unlikely to happen, according to David Rone, the President of Time Warner Cable Sports.

"It is a very sad state of affairs," said Rone. "With the lack of engagement that has happened on the part of DirecTV, the indication to us is that we will not make a deal for this content this year."

It's been weeks since Time Warner and DirecTV have negotiated, with the two sides still far apart on price. Caught in the middle are the roughly 70-percent of Los Angeles-area residents who don't subscribe to Time Warner Cable, which by carrying its own channel, Sportsnet LA, has been the one and only major pay-TV distributor airing locally televised games. (ESPN and Fox Sports show nationally broadcast games)


Study: As manufacturing changes, California loses jobs but keeps prowess

AV USE ONLY - Manufactured LA

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Workers at Karen Kane sew small batches of samples in their local warehouse to test out new designs. Karen Kane can now produce its line faster in the states than it did in China.

Despite losing thousands of manufacturing jobs over more than two decades, California remains a top manufacturing center in the U.S, according to a report published Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.    

The report is entitled "California’s Manufacturing Industries: Employment and Competitiveness in the 21st Century." Between 1990 and 2012, it says, California lost 842,180 – or about 40 percent – of its  manufacturing jobs. But it still contributes more to the country’s manufacturing output than any other state. With 11.4 percent of the U.S.' manufacturing GDP, California beats Texas with 10 percent.

"Manufacturing continues to become more technologically advanced and more lean," says economist Christine Cooper, who co-authored the study. "It means that productivity is soaring, but employment is not, so we continue to lose employment in manufacturing jobs while our output and the value of our output keeps increasing." 


LA ports: Labor strife and what it means to you

(FILES) A cargo ship stands on Long Beac

Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

A cargo ship stands in Long Beach harbor, California, in 2012.

The potential for a major work stoppage looms over the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and more than a hundred truck drivers for three companies that move cargo in and out of the ports have gone on strike indefinitely.  

That's a small number: As many as 12,000 truck drivers serve the two ports at a given time.

But there's always the possibility that unionized dockworkers at the two ports could choose to honor the drivers' picket lines. That happened briefly on Tuesday morning, when members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union walked off the job in response to the striking truck drivers' pickets for two hours. 

That shut down two terminals at the Port of L.A. and one in Long Beach, at least until a federal mediator stepped in and said the longshore workers had to return to work under the terms of their contract with the Pacific Maritime Association.