Explaining Southern California's economy

Ontario Airport officials are cautiously hopeful about rise in passenger numbers

L.A./Ontario International Airport

David McNew/Getty Images

L.A./ Ontario International Airport.

For the first time since the Great Recession, L.A./Ontario International Airport is seeing a rise in passenger traffic. But airport officials are only cautiously optimistic about what the rise means. 

From January through June of this year, 2,002,789 travelers flew through the airport known as ONT, a 1.8 percent increase over the 1,967,223 passengers during the same period last year.  It's only a slight rise, but for an airport that has seen traffic fall by more than 40 percent since 2007, it's a move in the right direction.

"We’re pleasantly surprised and we will take those numbers," airport manager Jess Romo told KPCC. "What that’s telling us is that folks are starting to travel more than they had been in the past in spite of fewer seats available."    

Romo explained that there are fewer seats available because the airlines have continued to cut them. In the first years after the recession hit, the airlines reduced seat numbers at ONT by eliminating flights, but in recent years, Romo said, the airlines have cut seats by switching to smaller airplanes. 


California's US reps urge state to extend film tax incentives, but others ask 'Why?'


Some real members of Congress from California are urging the state to put more money into competing for productions like the Netflix show "House Of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey.

As 29 members of California's Congressional delegation signed a letter urging state legislative leaders to reauthorize and enhance the state's film and TV production tax incentive program, others are questioning whether such industry-specific measures are a good idea.  

At issue is a bill to extend the credits, AB 1839, which has made its way through the California Assembly and is awaiting consideration by the state Senate Appropriations committee as early as next week. California's current tax credit program is set to expire next year.

Several members of Congress, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), signed a a letter to State Senate President Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins:

"As you consider reauthorizing the existing credit, we urge you to enhance it to be more nationally competitive. Among the enhancements to the current credit that would help are substantially increasing the overall pot allotted, raising the cap that prevents blockbuster films from competing, and allowing hour long television dramas to qualify for the credit." 


Time Warner invites binding arbitration with DirecTV to solve Dodgers dispute

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 20: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gets ready for batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park June 20, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Frustrated you can’t watch the Dodgers on TV? So is Sherman Oaks Congressman Brad Sherman, who called Monday for Time Warner and DirecTV to go to binding arbitration to settle their dispute.

In a letter addressed to the two bitter antagonists who’ve prevented 70 percent of Los Angeles viewers from seeing Dodgers games, Sherman wrote that Time Warner Cable and DirecTV should let a neutral third party decide the right price and terms for the Dodgers channel.

"Despite negotiations, the dispute continues and there is no indication that your companies are making progress on reaching a resolution," Sherman wrote. "The season is more than midway through and millions of Dodgers fans are still unable to watch the games."

While the two sides are hashing it out, Sherman says the Dodgers channel should be made available immediately, beginning with Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves.


As big data gets bigger, GIS marketers' place on the map expands


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department Battalion Chief Ivan Rojer, left, and Deputy Chief Mike Costello demonstrate the geographic information system they use to track fire trucks and identify areas in the city with a high volume of calls for service.


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Light poles along the Pacific Electric Trail are numbered and logged in the City of Rancho Cucamonga's geographic information system. If a person calls 911 along the trail, the dispatcher will request the number from the nearest light pole, which will allow emergency responders to exactly locate the individual.


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department Battalion Chief Ivan Rojer demonstrates the capabilities of their geographic information system to track first responders and organize resources. The days of drawing out a response plan on a map are over, Rojer said.


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department Battalion Chief Ivan Rojer checks the status of an emergency call on the city's geographic information system.

Esri: San Diego map

Courtesy Esri

An Esri visualization of median income by population density for San Diego County.

When Starbucks is deciding where to put a new location…when the World Health Organization needs to find out where polio is still a threat…when a city wants to know if its planned new convention center is in a flood zone…they all use maps.

Of course, the maps have gotten a lot more advanced and accessible.  Google and GPS providers have put interactive maps at our fingertips and in our cars' dashboards. The term for computerized mapping and all that comes with it is "GIS" for Geographical Information Systems.   Over the years, the market for "GIS" software alone has grown to between $3 and $4 billion per year.

Thousands of data locations... in Rancho Cucamonga

The city of Rancho Cucamonga has a GIS budget of a $1.1 million per year.  A GIS staff of 10 to 12 provides layered maps of everything from fire zones to sidewalk cracks to banners saluting military service personnel. It's mapped the campuses of local schools, with 360-degree photo pans of classrooms. The maps come up on tablet and computer screens in offices, fire trucks, and the Chevy suburban driven by Fire Department Battalion Chief Ivan Rojer.  


Landing on the ballot: 2 Santa Monica Airport measures

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.

Voters in Santa Monica will play air traffic controllers in November, as two competing measures regarding the Santa Monica Airport will appear on the ballot. 

The Santa Monica City Council this week finalized language for a measure that would give the city more control over the airport - including the ability to close it - though a public vote would be required for any major redevelopment. It will appear on the ballot this way:

Shall the City Charter be amended to:  1) prohibit new development on Airport land, except for parks, public open spaces and public recreational facilities, until the voters approve limits on the uses and development that may occur on the land; and 2) affirm the City  Council’s authority to manage the Airport and to close all or part of it.

As the Santa Monica Daily Press reports, that measure will go "head to head" with one supported by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and other proponents of keeping the airport open. Its ballot title: