Frances Nazarian has been an L.A. taxicab driver for over a decade. She says it's a challenge to compete with ride-sharing services, but only in upscale neighborhoods.
Imagine 60-hour workweeks, waking up at 3 a.m. to spend your whole day navigating Los Angeles traffic, hoping to make $150, tops.
That’s what Frances Nazarian does. She’s driven a cab in L.A. for over a decade. She needs the money to help put her youngest daughter through Princeton. But she says she has the best job in the world.
“I’ve had days when I think I’m on 'Candid Camera,' because everyone who gets my cab is going on an $80 or $100 dollar ride,” Nazarian says with a laugh.
As she drives me down the 110 freeway downtown in her yellow minivan, I get the sense Nazarian might be the most cheerful cabbie I’ve ever met.
But then I ask her what she thinks about ride-sharing services, which allow you to summon a vehicle with a tap of your smartphone.
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Both the Los Angeles and the Riverside-San Bernardino markets have seen a consistent decline in foreclosures for nearly two years.
Foreclosures in the Riverside-San Bernardino area continued a steady decline last month, but the area's foreclosure rate still topped the national average, according to a report released by Irvine-based RealtyTrac.
In October, 2,808 properties in the Inland-Empire metro area were in some stage of foreclosure, a 10 percent drop from September and a 60 percent drop from October of 2012. RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist says the fall-off in foreclosures in Riverside-San Bernardino has now continued for 23 straight months.
"It's getting much closer to the level of foreclosure activity we were seeing before the housing bubble burst," Blomquist said, adding that back in 2006, Riverside-San Bernardino averaged about 1,900 foreclosure filings a month. "At the peak of the foreclosure crisis, we were actually seeing some months with more than 20,000 foreclosure filings in that market," Blomquist said.
Even though they aren't old enough to rent a car themselves, Kevin Petrovic, 19, (right) and Rujul Zaparde, 18, are trying to shake-up the $11 billion airport rental car market.
What if instead of paying to park your car at the airport, someone paid you to leave it there? That’s the idea behind a new company called FlightCar, that opens its third location at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday.
The catch is that other people might be driving your car while you're away.
The co-founders of FlightCar look like college freshman, and that’s because they would be, if they hadn’t decided to start this company, putting their Ivy League educations on an indefinite hiatus.
19-year-old Kevin Petrovic was accepted at Princeton University and 18-year-old Rujul Zaparde was on his way to Harvard University.
Instead, they decided, along with co-founder Shri Ganeshram - who was accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - to try to change the way we rent cars and take on the $11 billion airport car rental industry.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce held its second State of the Entertainment Industry Conference Tuesday. The main focus was on keeping film and television production in California.
The conference was a gathering of business people, elected officials, trade union representatives and studio executives, like Eileen Ige-Wong. The senior vice president of production finance at 20th Century Television said when her shop draws up a budget for a show, they run the numbers on different locations. Because of generous tax incentives offered by other states, California often loses out.
Related: Is SoCal's film and television industry really losing ground?
"A $3 million drama here would be $2.5 million in North Carolina and $2.4 million in Louisiana, so it’s a big difference," Ige-Wong said during the conference's first panel discussion on "Keeping Jobs in California."
The result: Of the 23 new television dramas ordered last year, only two of them stuck around to shoot in California. The state has offered tax credits of its own since 2009. $100 million a year — barely enough to cover 10 percent of the productions that apply for it.
Despite ongoing consumer concerns about unemployment and the economy, experts are predicting a modest bump in 2013 holiday sales.
Retailers in Southern California will receive a modest boost in holiday sales this year, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez said she estimates holiday sales nationally will increase 3.4 percent. She expects Southern California will follow that trend.
"People are feeling a little bit better about the economy," Ritter-Martinez said. "When Christmas rolls around ... people tend to try to shake off whatever any worries they might have, to the extent that their employment and income situation permits."
She said there has been a "slow but steady growth" in the economy. She said consumers are feeling better about the improving labor and housing markets. Although the government shutdown did affect consumer confidence, Ritter-Martinez said she believes shoppers will still spend money for holiday presents.