The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

Blame 'suburb syndrome': LA home price increases outpace other metropolitan areas

UCLA researchers say if we want cheaper housing, we’ll have to accept living a little closer to our neighbors.
John Williams PHD/Flickr

Since the turn of the century, Los Angeles home prices have skyrocketed 121 percent - more than any metropolitan area in the country, according to numbers out today from the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Not adjusting for inflation, Washington saw a 105 percent jump, San Diego 101 percent, San Francisco 89 percent, New York 73 percent, Seattle 67 percent, Dallas 39 percent and Chicago 25 percent.

All of those cities built more houses in the 21st century than Los Angeles did.

"We argue that one possible reason is that some Angelenos, especially rich ones, have a suburban mentality," UCLA economist William Yu said in his report. "This mentality propels them to make efforts to maintain the current status quo and go against developing their neighborhoods with higher-density housing, even near the Metro rail system." 


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Tech industry diversity: How candidates are taking the challenge personally

28-year-old Arvia Glass thought computer science was too complicated but is now studying web development.
Matt Kam

When the Rev. Jesse Jackson takes the dais at the "Next Steps for Technology" conference at tech giant Intel's Santa Clara offices on Wednesday, he will again sound the call for the tech industry to diversify its workforce, which remains overwhelmingly white and male.

In a statement previewing Wednesday's event, Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH coalition said, "There is much more work to be done to meet the challenge of transforming the tech industry to resemble the America it depends upon for talent and customers."

But there are people who want to take up that challenge: People of color, women. People like 28-year old Arvia Glass, an African-American woman and Los Angeles native, who wants to build a career in the virtual reality field, or as a web developer or someone who makes apps.


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Downtown fire: Is developer Geoffrey Palmer destroying downtown or a hero?

Firefighters continue to spray down a seven-story apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles after an early-morning fire consumed the building on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
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Geoffrey Palmer, the wealthy developer of the seven-story apartment complex that burned to the ground in a massive fire early Monday morning, has been a controversial and even reviled figure in Los Angeles. The popular real estate blog Curbed LA recently called him "the man destroying downtown L.A." 

"Developer Geoff Palmer has built more apartments in Downtown Los Angeles than anyone else (more than 3,000) and they're all f--king terrible," Curbed posted two weeks ago and added even more biting criticism:

His squat, nearly-identical fortresses, with embarrassing names like the Visconti and the Medici, aren't just ugly (although they are very ugly), they're vacuums designed to suck the life out of a neighborhood that has worked so hard to become lively in the past decade.

Palmer is the subject of a now very timely feature story by Marc Haefele in this month's Los Angeles Magazine, which says Palmer's downtown real estate portfolio is worth $3 billion, and he has built at least one new building downtown – and often more – in six of the past 12 years. 


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Sony employees 'on edge' after receiving threatening email

Pedestrians cross a street in front of the Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. The FBI has confirmed it is investigating a recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which caused major internal computer problems at the film studio. It was followed by a threatening mass email to Sony employees, purportedly from the hackers. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Nick Ut/AP

Nearly two weeks after Culver City-based Sony Pictures Entertainment was slammed by a massive cyberattack,  staff received a rambling mass email Friday, purportedly sent by the hackers, threatening them and their families. 

"It's really crazy and scary," said a Sony employee, who declined to be identified. "People are taking it seriously."

The same employee said after receiving the emailed rant, staffers feared their own work email and phones had been hacked again. 

"We are mostly still working, but it's super creepy and people are on edge," said the employee.

The full e-mail, which is in broken English and often difficult to understand, claims to be from the mysterious group, Guardians of Peace (GOP) and was first obtained by Variety. Sony confirmed its contents to KPCC. 

I am the head of GOP who made you worry.

Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan.It’s your false if you if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse. This situation is only due to Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures is responsible for whatever the result is. Sony Pictues clings to what is good to nobody from the beginning. It’s silly to expect in Sony Pictures to take off us. Sony Pictures makes only useless efforts. One beside you can be our member.

Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.

Nobody can prevent us, but the only way is to follow our demand. If you want to prevent us, make your company behave wisely.


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Why was Larry Elder fired? KABC won't tell him

Larry Elder was back hosting his show Wednesday, but on a podcast, not on the radio, where he talked about a grand jury's decision not to indict the NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Libertarian talk show host Larry Elder - who called himself 'The Sage from South Central' – was a fixture at KABC for most of the last two decades, until Tuesday, when he was abruptly fired.

KABC management called Elder and his agent, George Green, Tuesday night to tell them Elder was out, but Green says they didn’t offer any explanation.

“They chose not to tell him why, or to tell me why, so at this point I’m totally in the blind,” Green said Thursday.

KABC didn’t respond to KPCC's requests for comment.

Green says a format change could be coming, or the station could be trying to cut salaries.

“They may have said, 'We’re paying him a tremendous amount of money,'" Green said. "They’ve been cutting expenses all over, the same as most broadcasting companies have done. Everyone is cutting talent.”


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