Explaining Southern California's economy

California tackles the looming retirement crisis — but will it be enough?

CA Governor Jerry Brown Holds News Conference On Pension Reform

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California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses pension reform during a news conference in Los Angeles. The governor just signed a bill that would create a retirement plan for millions of workers in the state who don't currently have access to one.

There's no debate that Americans aren't saving enough for retirement. The average nest egg for 65-year-olds is just over $65,000. Saving enough for retirement has become more difficult as old-school pension plans have given way to 401(k)-type plans that shift the burden of risk to employees. But California has come up with a way to address this problem.

For 6.3 million Californians.

Gov. Brown just signed into law SB 1234, the "California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust." The bill was co-sponsored by state Sen. Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. It creates a private-sector retirement plan for the aforementioned 6.3 million private-sector workers who currently don't have access to a retirement plan through their jobs.

"I'm ecstatic," de Léon said. "Much of the middle class is shut out of retirement security, and the signing of this bill shows that retirement security isn't just for the elite."


Case-Shiller: Los Angeles sees July gains but stays in the middle of the pack

Existing Homes Sales Jump More Than Forecast

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Tract homes in Santa Clarita, California. The Case-Shiller index for July saw Los Angeles and the U.S. continue a positive trend for prices.

The July Case-Shiller index has just been released and once again, while the news for Los Angeles is positive, it isn't spectacular — and a bit of a letdown after the city's housing market picked up some momentum earlier this year. Prices improved 1.3 pecent in July, but that has to be contrasted with a 1.7-percent uptick for June, a 2.2-percent gain for May, and an 1.5 percent boost in April.

Year-over-year, L.A. was basically flat with a 0.4-percent gain. 

In terms of the Case-Shiller index, L.A. continues to hang out in the center of the 20 cities the index tracks. It's July performance nearly matches the index's 20-city composite of +1.6-percent for the period.

Nationally, every city in the Case-Shiller index saw prices move up in July — as well as in June. Some cities also saw big hikes from last August, with Phoenix taking the lead, at more then 16 percent. It seems pretty clear at this point that housing in the U.S. has established a bottom. Case-Shiller notes that prices have now recovered to 2003 levels, for the cities the index tracks.


Does the NFL think Phil Anschutz is a cheapskate?

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The fate of a new NFL stadium in downtown L.A. — and the return of pro football to Los Angeles — has been called in doubt by AEG's decision to put itself up for sale.

That's the implication from today's L.A. Times' man-on-a-wire profile of AEG CEO Tim Leiweke, which depicts the executive as furiously trying to sustain support for an NFL stadium in downtown L.A. as the company he effectively built goes on the block. 

It's starting look as though Phil Anschutz — the Colorado billionaire who owns AEG — has been tangling with the NFL over just how much it would cost him to get the critical element of the stadium project in place: the team. This is from the LAT:

Anschutz, 72, risked billions of dollars backing AEG's Los Angeles developments starting with Staples Center in the late 1990s, and he insisted on being rewarded with a piece of a football team at below-market value, some observers said. Team owners have been clear, however, that they believe a discount sale would devalue all their franchises at a time when team prices have been dramatically rising.


Can we expect to see more of the Winklevoss twins in LA?

America's Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron W

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Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss at the start of the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing. The twins have started a venture capital fund and are looking to establish an office in L.A.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the Harvard-grad Olympic-rowing twins who infamously jousted in court with Mark Zuckerberg over who really had the core idea for Facebook — have begun the post-Facebook lives. Sort of. Their post-Facebook lives are being funded by an estimated $65-million cash-and-stock settlement the received from suing Zuckerberg and Facebook. 

With that dough, they're started a venture-capital fund, Winklevoss Capital, and as the Wall Street Journal reports, joined forces with their old Harvard classmate Divya Narendra on an initial $1-million investment in an semi-exclusive stock research site called SumZero

But they might also be spending some time apart. The Winklevii just bought a house in Hollywood last month for $18 million, reported Canyon News:

Tyler Winklevoss will remain in the 8,000 square foot home as they launch the West Wing of their venture capital company.... Cameron will remain mainly in New York City, where they have signed a five-year lease for their company's office.  

The two-story modern home with a jetliner view of Los Angeles was recently constructed as the house that had been on the lot before was bulldozed and modified. It is reported that the Winklevoss twins are in Los Angeles because they believe it is currently a great place for techies instead of Silicon Valley, where many firms are located. 


NHL lockout? It wouldn't help the LA Kings' already iffy finances

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final ? Game Six

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The Kings celebrate on ice on their way to a Stanley Cup. But they should get too excited. The team is losing money and the fourth NHL lockout since 1992 looms.

There's a very good chance that, unless NHL players and owners can come to some kind of miraculous eleventh hour resolution, the league will be dealing with its fourth lockout since 1992. As CBSSPorts.com points out, with each stoppage has come a bigger hit to the pro hockey schedule, culminating in the loss of the entire 2004-05 season. 

In Los Angeles, this means that the Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings may not enjoy the full fruits of their first season after a stirring victory. Some obvious question arise. If a lockout comes, how much will it cost the players? What will be the local ecoomic impact?

Those are relatively simple to answer. Some players, depending on where they are in their contracts (which pay out more in some years than in others), will feel some pain, although as Bleacher Report notes, a few players could head to the Kontinental Hockey League and garner reduced wages there.