Explaining Southern California's economy

Charitable contributions slip post-recession; least wealthy among most generous, UCLA study finds

money dollars bills change coins

Photo by Bill Dickinson via Flickr Creative Commons

A newly released study by the UCLA Center for Civil Society shows charitable giving in Los Angeles County is 12 percent lower than it was before the recession.

The economy may be in recovery, but Angelenos still aren’t giving as much to charity as they were before the Great Recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the UCLA Center for Civil Society. Researchers found that many of those still making donations come from the least wealthy areas of Los Angeles County.

Since 2002, the Center has studied the non-profit sector in Los Angeles for an annual report. In 2006, the year before the recession, Los Angeles County residents reported deducting $6.94 billion for charitable contributions.  By 2008, that amount had fallen by more than a $1 billion.  There has been some rebound, but the study says in 2012 - the most recent year the tax records were available - charitable giving was 12 percent lower than it was before the recession.

"There's still lagging giving among the middle class and among the wealthy, which has seen large gains in incomes and assets.," says Center director Bill Parent.  "We haven't seen a similar rise in contributions to charity." 


'Sideways': 10 years later, hit film still makes waves in Santa Ynez Valley economy

HP Partners Photo Op

Brian Watt/KPCC

Hitching Post partners Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley pose in the spot where thousands of tourists have snapped pictures since "Sideways"was released in 2004.

Frank Ostini

Brian Watt/KPCC

Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post inspects fermenting grapes at the Terravant Wine Company facility in Buellton, CA. Hitching Post is one of dozens of wineries in Santa Ynez Valley to use the Terravant facility.

Newton inspects

Brian Watt

Vineyard Manager Jeff Newton inspects syrah vines on Kimsey Estate vineyard. Kimsey Estate is one of several newer vineyards that Newton's company manages in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Stage Coach Tours

Brian Watt

Eric John Reynolds (left) and Tom Darwin of Stagecoach wine tours in the Santa Ynez Valley. The tour company started in 2000 and has expanded since "Sideways."

Sideways Iris Rideau

Brian Watt/KPCC

Iris Rideau, owner of Rideau Vineyard, began selling bulk wine in growlers after the recession left her with more wine than she could bottle.

Flying Goat pour

Brian Watt/KPCC

At the Flying Goat Cellars Tasting Room in Lompoc, wine-maker Norm Yost pours Pinot Noir for Dave Sills, a wine merchant from Fort Mill, SC

Grapes in hand

Brian Watt

Syrah grapes left over from the 2014 harvest in Santa Ynez Valley.

Hitching Post front

Brian Watt

The Hitching Post in Buellton was already a successful local restaurant before "Sideways", but the film made it an important stop for tourists.

Ten years after the premiere of “Sideways,” the region where the film is set continues to feel its impact. 

The independent movie about two middle-aged men drinking and misbehaving their way through Santa Barbara wine country opened in limited release in October 2004 and went on to became a surprise hit, grossing more than $71 million at the box office. It was also a boon to the then fledgling winemaking industry in the Santa Ynez Valley and a boost to tourism in the region.  

“Agriculture and tourism are really two of the big industries that are still important in Santa Barbara and the Central Coast, and wineries live right in the middle of those two,” says Josh Williams, president of Carlsbad-based BW Research, which studies the job market for the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board.  


Will LAX follow San Francisco's lead allowing ridesharing pickup service?

lax airport

Photo by John Murphy via Flickr Creative Commons

You can take UberX and Lyft to Los Angeles International Airport; but it's still not legal to order a pickup service.

As much as Angelenos hate to admit it, many things that start in the Bay Area end up in Los Angeles, like Blue Bottle Coffee, and ridesharing. 

This week, San Francisco International boasted about becoming the first airport to reach agreements with the two biggest ridesharing companies.

“We are committed to be an industry leader, creating a roadmap for innovative business models like Lyft and UberX to operate legally in an airport,” said Airport Director John L. Martin, in a press release. “We’re proud to be the first airport in the U.S. to have both signed permits from both companies."

So what about Los Angeles? Currently, you can take UberX and Lyft to LAX, but you can't use the popular ridesharing services for an airport pickup. The higher cost Uber Black service is an exception. It will pick you up because drivers already have the necessary permits.


New survey: Which NFL team should relocate to Los Angeles?

NFL generic

Pamela Albin Moore/iStockphoto

Could new market research be a sign that the NFL is ready to bring a team back to Los Angeles?

The NFL wants to know which team Los Angeles residents would like to see relocated here. They also hope to gauge how much locals would be willing to pay for premium seats in a new stadium. 

A new survey, obtained by KPCC, is adding to growing speculation that after years of flirting with Los Angeles, the league could finally be getting serious about coming back.

The questionnaire avoids singling out the teams more likely to move here - the Rams, Chargers, and Raiders. Instead, it lets respondents choose among all 32 NFL teams. 

"Please specify which existing NFL team you would most prefer to relocate to the Los Angeles area," the survey instructs, before adding the caveat: "Please note that there are a number of NFL teams that have existing, long-term stadium leases and well-established fan bases, and are not candidates to relocate to the Los Angeles area."


New Dodger leadership: Will Friedman use Wall Street savvy to unload toxic team assets?

Kasten and Friedman

Ben Bergman/KPCC

Dodgers President and part-owner Stan Kasten (right) introduced Andrew Friedman, the team's new President of Baseball Operations

As we all know by now, the Dodgers, despite having the highest payroll in sports and another promising regular season – ended up with another disappointing exit from the playoffs.  On Friday, the team formally introduced Andrew Friedman, its new President of Baseball Operations, someone who the Dodgers hope can help them reach The World Series by using lessons he learned on Wall Street. 

Before becoming General Manager of The Tampa Bay Rays at the age of 28, Friedman spent three years in private equity and another two working for Bear Stearns, a firm that later imploded. 

"I think my experience in investment banking and private equity helped me a lot coming into the game," Friedman said Friday. "It helped me appreciate information is king, and there's no such thing as having too much information."