Explaining Southern California's economy

Garcetti raises concerns about Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, breaking with other mayors

Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

File: A Comcast sign is seen at one of their centers on Feb. 13, 2014 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

The Federal Communications Commission has received tens of thousands of comments weighing in Comcast's proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, including one letter from a group of 51 mayors — and another from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Those two letters offer starkly different views on the deal.

The letter from 51 mayors is signed by Comcast's hometown mayor, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, as well as Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, among others. It strikes the tone of love-letter to the proposed deal.

"The combination of these two American companies will bring benefits to every affected city," the mayors gushed. "Time Warner Cable has been a responsible corporate citizen whose efforts will only be enhanced by joining forces with Comcast’s community investment programs."


Squadrons organize in election campaign over the future of Santa Monica Airport

Santa Monica Airport 3

Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Neighbors of Santa Monica Airport have complained about noise from the aircraft taking off and landing, and they post signs asking pilots to fly quietly.

Santa Monica residents will consider two rival ballot measures this fall regarding the future of Santa Monica Airport, and backers of each are preparing for what could be a costly ground war.

The presidents of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and National Business Aviation Association are expected to speak tonight at a Town Hall-style gathering at Justice Aviation,  a flight school and aircraft rental service at the airport.  The two national associations are the main financial backers of a successful effort to get "Measure D" on Santa Monica's November Election Ballot. According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, each has spent more than $100,000 on the initiative. 

As reported a month ago, Measure D would change the City Charter to require a public vote on major decisions involving the airport, including: closing all or part it, changing how airport land is used, or imposing new restrictions on fuel sales or use of aviation facilities.


For California, Bank of America settlement might not be as good as it seems

Bank of America Settlement

Mark Lennihan/AP

California guaranteed at least $500 million in consumer relief credits as part of a settlement with Bank of America.

Bank of America reached the largest government settlement in American history Thursday, worth $16.5 billion. But for California, the deal might not be as good as it seems. 

The money is divided into two pots; The Golden State gets $300 million in damages. That reimburses the state’s pension funds for bad investments on mortgage-backed securities.

California is also guaranteed at least $500 million in consumer relief credit for things like loan modification relief and making more loans available to low-income housing buyers.

Those are all good things, says Kevin Stein, Associate Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, but they’re also things Bank of America is already doing.

“It’s not clear this is requiring them to do more than they were otherwise going to do,” said Stein.


Study: Orange County has shortfall of 118,895 affordable homes

Home Prices Drop To Lowest Level Since 2006

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Median rents in Orange County increased by 19-percent between 2000 and 2012, while the median income declined by ten-percent, according to the report.

There's a shortfall of 118,895 affordable homes in Orange County, which is the third-largest shortage in California, according to a new report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation.

Los Angeles has the biggest shortfall in the state: 490,340 homes. 

Median rents in Orange County increased by 19-percent between 2000 and 2012, while the median income declined by ten-percent, according to the report. During the same time, L.A. saw a 25-percent jump in rents, and a nine-percent drop in incomes.

"Coupled with stagnant wages, increasing housing costs have pushed many low-income households’ budgets to the breaking point," the report said.

One of the biggest culprits is funding for affordable housing, which has been dramatically reduced at both the federal and state level in recent years. The report found there has been a 76-percent decrease in funding for affordable homes in Orange County since 2008.


Calif. mulls new $400M film/TV tax credit, but will it save industry jobs? An FAQ

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.

California's film and television production tax incentive program is likely to get bigger, and state lawmakers have included new provisions to assure taxpayers that the costly program will do what it's intended to do: Namely, create more production jobs in the state.

But other states — including New York and New Mexico — have called into question whether the jobs created are worth the money they invest in tax incentives.

Even so, AB 1839, the closely watched bill to expand the program, passed the California Senate Appropriations committee last week and is headed to a vote of the full legislature. If it passes and is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, it will raise the amount of public money made available to these productions from $100 million to $400 million each year.  

That's the dollar figure most supporters in Hollywood were hoping for. But legislators also want to make sure that Hollywood is held to account for the incentives productions receive. New details have emerged about how legislators want to change the way productions compete for these dollars.