Explaining Southern California's economy

Clippers hire new lead advertising agency: Santa Monica-based RPA

Los Angeles Clippers Introduce Doc Rivers

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Doc Rivers will keep coaching the Clippers, but the team has picked a new advertising agency

The Los Angeles Clippers have hired Santa Monica-headquartered Rubin Postaer and Associates as its new lead advertising agency after a search that began this summer.   

A statement from RPA says the Clippers retained the firm to handle strategy, creative, media planning and buying, digital/social marketing and branded entertainment.

“The Los Angeles Clippers are poised for greatness,” said Kirt Danner, Senior Vice President at RPA in the statement.  “The soon-to-launch campaign will help the franchise stand out and seize this unique opportunity to gain a competitive edge and increase its fan base.”

The Clippers are looking for a fresh publicity start after a scandal brought down past owner Donald Sterling and led to the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  Almost a month ago, Ad-Age reported the Clippers were conducting a search for a new agency, led by Boston-based Pile and Co.  

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Why are electric vehicle sales slowing down?

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Toyota Prius hybrid model cars wait for customers at a Toyota dealer in Hollywood.

This afternoon Tesla Motors officially announced it will build its new $5-billion battery factory in Nevada. But when it comes to Tesla sales, they are down slightly this year while the market for electric cars as a whole is down much more.

That bucks the overall trend for car sales, which are up 5 percent this year, But it’s the inverse for electric car sales, which are off 4.8 percent, according to a new analysis from the car-buying website Edmunds.com.

“I was surprised, because like a lot of people I look on the road and see a lot more electric vehicles and a lot more hybrids," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com.

Caldwell admits that’s probably because she lives in the hybrid capital, Los Angeles.

All-electric and plug-in cars have been selling well, up 34.9 percent and 44.3 percent this year, respectively. But those kinds of vehicles only make up a fraction of the overall electric market, which is dominated by traditional hybrids, which Caldwell says has become oversaturated.

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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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