Explaining Southern California's economy

LA rents: County faces shortfall of 490,340 affordable homes, most in state

Home Prices Drop To Lowest Level Since 2006

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Los Angeles County is facing the largest shortfall of affordable housing in California – 490,340 homes – according to a new report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation, which says L.A. County is home to seven of the 10 ZIP codes with the worst housing overcrowding in the nation and 64 ZIP codes that are in the worst half percent for housing overcrowding.

And it gets worse. The report also points out the doubly whammy affordability problem KPCC reported on in April: Median rents in Los Angeles County increased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2012, while the median income declined by 9 percent. Making the situation worse: State and federal funding for affordable funding has fallen by half a billion dollars during the last six years in L.A. County.

RELATED: High rent, few options: KPCC's look at the affordability crisis in LA

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Santa Anita Park will upgrade main track using sand excavated at LAX

Santa Anita Sunshine 2013

Suzanne - neusuz5/flickr Creative Commons

Horses pound the dirt track at Santa Anita Park

Call it Southern California soil synergy.  

Sand dug up in El Segundo for construction projects at Los Angeles International Airport will head to Arcadia for use in a major renovation of the main track at Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita is planning the renovation of the one-mile track beginning July 11, less than two weeks after the current spring horse-racing season ends.  Trucks are already carrying what track officials call "highly coveted El Segundo Sand" and staging it in the race track's infield parking lot.   The sand is being screened for foreign materials and large rocks.

“We’re going to be moving 20,000-plus yards of material and we anticipate this process is going to take about four or five weeks," said Santa Anita track superintendent Dennis Moore in a statement on the park's web site.   "El Segundo Sand is naturally occurring and we won’t have to mix it with any other material, which is best-case. The best surfaces around the country are all made of naturally occurring soils that are indigenous.”

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CHP returns to Harley Davidson bikes; SoCal dealer hopes more police agencies will follow

LAPD motorcycles

Steve Devol/flickr Creative Commons

This file photo shows Harley Davidson motorcycles used by the Los Angeles Police Department. The brand is making a return to the California Highway Patrol after years of being passed over for BMWs.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are returning to the California Highway Patrol after years of being passed over for BMWs. 

Oakland Harley Davidson is building four bikes a week for the CHP at a cost of about $28,000 per bike.  Last week, the dealership delivered its 104th CHP motorcycle since winning the contract a year ago.

"CHP’s Department of General Services outlined very specifically what they wanted on this motorcycle," said Mike Genthner, the dealership's manager of police and fleet sales.  He then ticked off a list of patrol-specific features that he believes make it a "comfortable" and "competent" motorcyle:  a map light, the dash panel where  a clipboard can fit, flashlight holders, heated grips, and a heated seat.

"We’ve put a a higher performance suspension on the  front and rear of the bikes, so that enhances ride quality and the performance aspects of handling," Genthner told KPCC.   

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What gets fans to Dodger Stadium? Not the players on the field. Bobbleheads

Dodgers bobbleheads - 1

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department Cadets Joshua Villalta, left, and Ana Cortez, center, hand out Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 2

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

The Clayton Kershaw bobblehead was handed out to fans at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 3

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department recruit Ana Cortez stands guard next to boxes containing thousands of Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 4

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department cadets hand out Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 5

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Fans received one Clayton Kershaw bobblehead at Dodger Stadium during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

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Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Dodgers fans received one Clayton Kershaw bobblehead at the stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 7

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department recruit Ana Cortez stands guard next to boxes containing thousands of Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 8

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department cadets hand out Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 9

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Fans received one Clayton Kershaw bobblehead at Dodger Stadium during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 10

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department cadets hand out Clayton Kershaw bobbleheads during a giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dodgers bobbleheads - 11

Todd Johnson/ KPCC

A Dodgers fan cheers during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, April 24, 2014.


When it comes to the Dodgers performance on the field this season, it’s a disappointment; the team is playing barely above .500.

But if you take attendance, the Dodgers are clear winners, leading the majors with an average 46,194 attendance, and as it turns out, the biggest draw for fans has nothing to do with who’s playing on the field.

When you look at the most-attended Dodger games of the season – excluding Opening Day –  they all have one thing in common: Something is being given away.

  • April 8: 53,231  (zip-up hooded sweatshirt)
  • April 24: 51,699  (Clayton Kershaw bobblehead)
  • April 27: 52, 359 (Hanley Ramirez replica kids jersey)
  • May 11: 51,369 (Mother's Day clutch)
  • May 13: 50,349 (Yaisel Puig bobblehead)

“The bobbleheads are worth more than a ticket,” Tony Manrique exclaimed a few weeks ago, as he walked through a turnstile on the upper deck of Dodger Stadium, after picking up his Clayton Kershaw bobblehead.

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Bill banning microbeads in California skin care products advances with some manufacturer support

Wikipedia Commons

Microscopic view of microbeads -- plastic beads used in personal care products like facial scrubs, which can be eaten by fish and other marine life.

The California Assembly passed a bill banning the use of microbeads — small pieces of plastic found in soaps and cosmetics — following actions already being taken by skin care product makers as well as other state legislatures to keep microbeads out of waterways.
    
Manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are already phasing out the exfoliating ingredients, which are considered harmful to the environment in part because they are not biodegradable.

RELATED:  Why are tiny, exfoliating microbeads so bad for US waterways?

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), heads to the state Senate after passing on a 45-10 vote. The tiny exfoliating beads make their way past filters in municipal water treatment plants and are swallowed by fish, which mistake them for food, Bloom said.

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