Explaining Southern California's economy

Los Angeles is one of the poorest big cities in the nation, new Census numbers show

Los Angeles To Allow Homeless To Sleep On Sidewalks

David McNew/Getty Images

Last year was the second straight year the poverty rate stayed flat after four years of going up in the United States.

Income in greater Los Angeles is rising – slightly - according to new American Community Survey numbers released Thursday from the Census Bureau, but greater L.A. still ranks as one of the poorest major metropolitan areas in the nation.

The L.A. area (defined as L.A., Long Beach and Anaheim) had a median household income of $58,869 last year, which is $804 more than the year before, but still $1540 under the 2010 level, during the first full year after the recession.

"These numbers paint a bleak picture for California,” said Marybeth Mattingly, a researcher at Stanford University’s Center on Poverty and Inequality.

Mattingly is particularly troubled by the child poverty rate, which was 25.3 percent in 2013, up from 22.6 percent in 2010.

“In the West, Hispanics have the highest poverty with nearly one in three Hispanic kids poor, and it's even a little higher for blacks” she said.


Gov. Brown to sign Film/TV production tax credit bill in Hollywood

Governor Brown Declares Statewide Drought Emergency

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Jerry Brown will sign a bill to expand California's film and television tax credit program into law in Hollywood

A moment Hollywood's been waiting a while for will take place... in Hollywood. 

A ceremony is planned for Thursday morning at the Chinese Theater where Governor Jerry Brown will sign the "California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act" into law.

The bill - also known  as AB 1839 — will more than triple the funding for California's film and television production tax credit program. 

The push to expand and enhance the tax credit program has been going on for more than a year. In August of 2013, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti used the term "state of emergency" to characterize the flight of film and television production to other states and countries. Garcetti is expected to speak at the ceremony. 

Los Angeles-area Assemblymen Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra are also expected to be on hand. They introduced AB 1839 in February and moved it strategically through the legislature in Sacramento. While there were few vocal opponents of expanding the tax credit program, the big question was by how much. Many supporters hoped to see the annual pot raised from the current $100 million to at least $400 million, but an exact dollar amount wasn't specified until very late in the legislative process.


With signing of insurance bill, Lyft, Uber ridesharing loophole comes to an end

lyft rideshare carpool

Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr Creative Commons

AB 2293 bans drivers from using their personal policies and mandates that drivers have to be covered from the moment they turn on their app and look for customers.

Amid all the talk about cutting-edge technology, much of Uber and Lyft’s success actually owes to that fact the ride-sharing companies have been able to exploit a basic loophole: The companies foist the cost of insurance on their drivers, but the drivers' insurance companies don’t know they are underwriting cars for hire, and even if drivers wanted to be honest and get a policy that would cover ride-sharing, they couldn’t, because no such policy exists.

AB-2293, introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and signed into law Wednesday by Governor Jerry Brown, tries to close the loophole by paving the way for insurance companies to offer hybrid personal/commercial policies by next summer.

Uber once derided the bill as a backroom deal between insurance companies and trial lawyers.


FAA awards another grant to Inglewood to help soften LAX jet noise

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-AIRPORT lax plane landing takeoff runway orange


An airplane lands at LAX.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters says the Federal Aviation Administration has approved a $10- million grant to help the City of Inglewood reduce the impact of noise from LAX. 

For years, the FAA and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the agency that oversees LAX, have supported the efforts of neighboring communities like El Segundo and Inglewood to mitigate airplane noise. Each year since 2011, the FAA has given LAWA at least $10 million to fund the soundproofing of Inglewood homes. 

A statement from Congresswoman Water's office says this grant will cover the soundproofing of about 480 Inglewood homes.  

"You put in soundproof doors, you put in double pane windows and you maybe put in more insulation," says aviation consultant Jack Keady. "I think in almost every case, there’s a clearly measured decrease in all kinds of noise." 


LA's bad roads: Why you're spending an extra $2,485 a year, study says

Traffic Congestion Costs Motorists Extra 38 Hrs A Week And Hundreds Of Dollars

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Traffic on the northbound and southbound lanes of the 110 Harbor Freeway starts to stack up during rush hour traffic on February 5, 2013 in Los Angeles. According to a report, the average L.A. driver loses 61 hours delayed in traffic. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

David McNew/Getty Images

The existing Gerald Desmond Bridge which carries traffic over the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is being replaced to allow the world's largest cargo ships to access births at the Port of Long Beach. Construction is expected to be finished in 2016.

If you drive in Los Angeles, you are spending $2,485 extra each year because of bad roads.

That's one key finding in a report released Thursday morning by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington and sponsored in part by construction companies and labor unions.

The report takes a hard look at the conditions of the Golden State's roadways and bridges and what that means for the motorists who use them. It estimates that drivers in Los Angeles are spending an extra $2,485 each year because of a deficient transportation system. 

"That’s the cost of driving on rough roads beating up your vehicle," says Rocky Moretti, TRIP's Director of Research and Policy. "That’s the cost of delays due to traffic congestion, and also the cost of serious traffic crashes as a result of driving on roads that oftentimes don’t have all the safety features that they should."