• Tag Archives Los Angeles
  • “It Was Like A War Zone” – Heavy Winds Push Wildfires Toward San Diego As Bel Air Burns

    Images of charred palm trees and the burnt-out husks of multi-million-dollar homes flooded social media for a fifth day Friday as the SoCal wildfires that exploded into life at the beginning of the week showed no signs of slowing.
    Instead, some of the largest fires have entered the heart of Los Angeles – America’s second largest city – and are menacing some of the most expensive homes in the country.
    To date, six large wildfires have scorched 141,000 acres in the state, with the flames spreading as far south as San Diego, Cal Fire officials said. At least 5,700 firefighters from several agencies and at least nine states are working to contain the massive walls of flames. The fires have forced 190,000 people out of their homes in a hurry. Many took only their pets and a few choice mementos.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.


  • 150,000 Flee Los Angeles As Wildfires Rage – “We’ll Be Fighting This All Week”

    The gate to nowhere. Home destroyed. Now gas line is burning. #VenturaFires pic.twitter.com/3HUR68Urhc
    — Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) December 6, 2017

    In what sounds like a replay of the devastating fires that killed dozens of people and torched a broad swath of California wine country this past summer, at least five discrete fires barreled across Southern California with extreme speed, torching more than 65,000 acres as firefighters struggled to contain the simultaneous infernos.
    The first blaze started at about 6:25 p.m. Monday in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, a popular hiking destination. It grew quickly to more than 15 square miles in the hours that followed, consuming vegetation that hasn’t burned in decades, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow said, according to CNN.
    Powerful Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions have fueled the wildfires, according to the Washington Post, adding hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars in damage to what has already been a devastating year for fires. The winds that caused the fires were part of the season’s longest and strongest wind event – driving down from the desert and mountains into the city of Los Angeles.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.


  • Hollywood Movie Director’s “Outlandish” London Home For Rent – Take The Tour

    If you haven’t heard of Roland Emmerich, you will almost certainly have heard of some of his movies. Emmerich is the 62-year old German who directed Universal Soldier (1992), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), White House Down (2013) and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). He is the 11-th highest grossing director in history. Besides directing, Emmerich also produced and wrote most of his movies. Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, New York, London and Stuttgart. As Wikipedia notes.
    He likes to decorate his homes in a self-described “outlandish” manner, adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures, and World War II militaria.
    Emmerich’s London home is currently available for rent – anything from a few days to six months. As The Guardian newspaper notes,
    the house is filled with communist iconography, taxidermy and potentially outrageous art. The property’s interior designer John Teall says:
    ‘Nothing is spared, from government and gender to race and religion – but there’s no manifesto. The idea was to provoke thought, amuse and maybe shock a little.’
    If you’d like to take the tour, let’s go. Here is the outside on Brompton Square In London’s Chelsea.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.


  • California Residents Increasingly Ditching Their Massive Tax Bills And Unaffordable Housing For Las Vegas

    Los Angeles residents have apparently had just about enough of their city’s excessive home prices, unaffordable rents, crushing personal and corporate tax rates, overly burdensome regulations, polluted air, etc. and are increasingly leaving for a better life in Sin City. As Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez puts it, “the rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you.”
    As Jonas Peterson points out, his family made the move from LA to Las Vegas in 2013 and were able to double the size of their house while lowering their mortgage payment all while enjoying the added benefits of moving from one of the most over-taxed states in America to one of the lowest taxed.
    Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It’s close, it’s a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper, with plenty of brand-new houses going for between $200,000 and $300,000.
    Jonas Peterson enjoyed the California lifestyle and trips to the beach while living in Valencia with his wife, a nurse, and their two young kids. But in 2013, he answered a call to head the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the family moved to Henderson, Nev.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.


  • Is Fed Chair Nominee Jay Powell, Count Dracula?

    A Date with Dracula
    The gray hue of dawn quickly slipped to a bright clear sky as we set out last Saturday morning. The season’s autumn tinge abounded around us as the distant mountain peaks, and their mighty rifts, grew closer. The nighttime chill stubbornly lingered in the crisp air.
    Like Jonathan Harker’s journey to Transylvania roughly 120 years ago, we also traveled eastward. Our route, however, did not take as through Vienna and Budapest. Nor did it take us upward into the Carpathian Mountains.
    Instead, we traversed along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, passing from the Angeles National Forest to the San Bernardino National Forest. Then we climbed upward to the mile-high Oak Glen village, up above the outermost rim of the Los Angeles Basin. We had finally outrun Southern California’s seemingly endless sea of concrete.
    At this mountain hamlet, we didn’t witness a single stoplight or franchise drive-thru. Billboards, transmission lines, rail corridors, and graffiti art did not blight the countryside. The built milieu hardly scarred the natural landscape.
    There was only a windy narrow mountain road and a smattering of apple orchards, which filled the gentle slopes that nestle between the larger and steeper topographic terrain. Upward we climbed, to where the pine woods canopied across the roadway and the sparse clouds danced to the glint of the sunlight.
    Like Harker, our destination had a very specific intent. We had a date with Dracula

    This post was published at Acting-Man on November 11, 2017.


  • The Size Of The Financial Avalanche Coming Grows Larger

    Inflation vs deflation. The true economic definition of ‘inflation’ is the rate of increase in the money supply in excess of the rate of increase in wealth output. Inflation is monetary in nature. Rising prices are the manifestation of inflation. Someone I follow on Twitter posted an ingenious example from which to conceptualize the true concept of inflation using the game of Monopoly:
    The players all start out with reasonable amounts of money to speculate on real estate. As the game proceeds, players collect $200 by simply passing Go and use this money to speculate on real estate. By the end of the game, only $500 dollar bills are worth anything, the whole thing blows up, and most players end up destitute. In a twist of irony, an original game board sells for about $50,000.
    A fixed amount of real estate and continuously increasing money supply, with ‘passing Go’ functioning as the game’s monetary printing press. The monopoly analogy is readily applied to the current real estate market. The Fed tossed roughly $2 trillion into the mortgage market, which in turn has fueled the greatest U. S. housing bubble in history. The most absurd example I saw last week is a 264 sq ft studio in Los Angeles listed on 10/26 for $550,000. The seller bought it a year ago for $335,000. This is the degree to which Fed money printing and easy access Government guaranteed mortgages have distorted the system.
    Here is monetary inflation as it is showing up in the stock market and housing markets:

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on November 10, 2017.


  • Smallest home in Los Angeles: 264 square foot studio selling for $550,000 highlights collective insanity.

    People have once again lost their collective marbles when it comes to real estate. There is now a massive trend with momentum for non-stop housing appreciation. In other words, our housing bubble sins are now fully washed away making way for more aggressive risk taking. I’ve been traveling and seeing real estate from many different locations and thanks to ubiquitous sites like Zillow, virtually every large metro area is seeing massive housing appreciation detached from income growth and people are tracking real estate down like starving hyenas after an injured wildebeest. We are now in a market where potential buyers are in a panic to buy for no other reason beyond they feel they will miss the boat yet again. Today we highlight what is probably the smallest home we have ever featured on the site.

    This post was published at Doctor Housing Bubble on October 31st, 2017.


  • California Clears First Hurdle In Effort To Split Into Three States

    After several failed Calexit attempts over the past several months (see: CalExit 3.0: New Petition Calls For Cali Secession…3rd Time’s A Charm?), tech billionaire Tim Draper is pursuing yet another major shakeup in the Golden State. According to the New York Times, Draper is convinced that a state of 40 million people is simply “ungovernable” and has filed paperwork seeking a ballot initiative that would split it into 3 distinct states.
    In contrast to the so-called Calexit movement, which aspires to secession, these proponents see California’s salvation in greater local autonomy within the union.
    The three Californias would have roughly equivalent populations and wealth. A state of Northern California would include almost the entire upper half of the state, including San Francisco; a Southern California would contain most of the rest.
    A third state, called simply California, would fold in Los Angeles and extend up the coast to Monterey.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.


  • The Most Unaffordable Housing Markets in North America

    There are a lot of them. It’s called ‘crisis’ for a reason.
    What is the most severely unaffordable housing market in North America as measured by local household incomes in relationship to local home prices?
    By this measure, I’m happy to report that San Francisco, which sports the highest median home price in the US at about four times the national median, is off the hook. It’s off the hook because median household income is $92,100. It’s only in third place of the most severely unaffordable housing markets. California has four cities in the top 10 – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego – but none is number one on that honor roll.
    Number one is Vancouver, Canada, with a median home price of $1.11 million and a median household income of $64,000 (all amounts in US dollars at the exchange rate effective at the time of the study).
    Toronto, whose formidable housing bubble is now under pressure, is the second most unaffordable market in Canada with a median home price of $471,600 and a median household income of $62,600. But it’s only in 13th place overall.
    In second place overall? New York City’s borough of Manhattan, with a median home price of $1.27 million and a median household income of $77,600. Brooklyn is in fourth place, Queens in 11th place, and the Bronx in 16th place.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Oct 26, 2017.


  • Vegas Gunman’s Brother Arrested For Child Porn; Laptop Hard Drive Missing

    The story of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s family just keeps getting weirder.
    The Los Angeles Times is reporting one of Paddock’s younger brothers, Bruce Paddock, has been detained in North Hollywood on suspicion of crimes related to child pornography. Paddock, 58, was taken into custody Wednesday morning.
    The LAPD said a man was detained in the 5300 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard on suspicion of crimes related to child pornography. However the LAPD would not reveal the name of the man. Sandra Breault, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Las Vegas, declined to say whether Bruce Paddock’s detention was connected to the agency’s investigation into the concert shooting.
    The Paddocks’ father, Benjamin Paddock, was famously revealed to be a former bank robber and con man who once made the FBI’s “most wanted” list. Paddock’s family has mostly avoided the media, though his youngest brother, Eric, spoke out when reporters descended on his Florida home in the days following the shooting. Eric Paddock said he wasn’t close with most of his brothers, but had once been involved in a lucrative real estate venture with Stephen. He said he was shocked to learn that his brother had been the shooter, and said his brother gave no indication that he might carry out such an atrocious act.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2017.


  • Robert Shiller: 1987 Could Happen Again

    Oct. 19, 1987, was one of the worst days in stock market history. Thirty years later, it would be comforting to believe it couldn’t happen again.
    Yet that’s true only in the narrowest sense: Regulatory and technological change has made an exact repeat of that terrible day impossible. We are still at risk, however, because fundamentally, that market crash was a mass stampede set off through viral contagion.
    That kind of panic can certainly happen again.
    I base this sobering conclusion on my own research. (I won a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2013, partly for my work on the market impact of social psychology.) I sent out thousands of questionnaires to investors within four days of the 1987 crash, motivated by the belief that we will never understand such events unless we ask people for the reasons for their actions, and for the thoughts and emotions associated with them.
    From this perspective, I believe a rough analogy for that 1987 market collapse can be found in another event – the panic of Aug. 28, 2016, at Los Angeles International Airport, when people believed erroneously that they were in grave danger. False reports of gunfire at the airport – in an era in which shootings in large crowds had already occurred – set some people running for the exits. Once the panic began, others ran, too.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.


  • What the Headlines Got Wrong about Retail Sales

    No, our American consumers didn’t suddenly perform a miracle.
    As part of the data dump on Friday, the Commerce Department released its estimates for retail sales for September. If you just looked at the headlines, you’d get the impression that our American consumers suddenly had gone out to splurge, fired up by two powerful, destructive, and deadly hurricanes:
    ‘U. S. retail sales surge, driven by autos and gasoline purchases’: Reuters
    ‘Retail sales in September surge most in 2 years’: Los Angeles Times
    ‘Storms Surge and US Retail Sales Surge; Most in 2 Years’: New York Times:
    ‘U. S. Retail Sales Rose 1.6% in September: Strong car sales and higher gasoline prices power largest one-month increase since March 2015’: Wall Street Journal
    ‘U. S. Retail Sales Rise Most Since 2015 on Storm-Related Lift’: Bloomberg News
    So US consumers performed one their infamous last-minute miracles and suddenly got on the internet and drove to the mall and to auto dealers and splurged? The headlines pointed at the hurricanes and replacement demand, but this is what you get into when the headlines draw big conclusions from seasonally adjusted month-to-month data that is trying to estimate a very seasonal and volatile reality.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Oct 14, 2017.


  • California’s Housing is Bleeding Out and We Apply Band-Aids

    Insider view on how to deal with the Housing Crisis in California.
    Governor Jerry Brown just signed fifteen affordable-housing bills into law. A few might do a little good. Two senate bills will raise a bit of money. Senate Bill 2 will charge you a recording fee of up to $225 on any transaction not already subject to a transfer tax (e.g. a mortgage refinance). Senate Bill 3 is a $4 billion housing bond. Most of the money raised from these two efforts will go toward funding low-income housing.
    Assembly Bill 1505 will allow cities to once again require an affordable housing component in new residential projects, a requirement that had been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in 2009. Jerry’s other new laws are, in a word, fluffy, well-intentioned but toothless efforts to spur cities on to do the right thing.
    About the money. According to the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco’s 700 unit Hunters View low-income housing project cost $450 million or $643,000 a unit. While appallingly high, that number sounds about right. Thus, if SB2 actually raises $250 million a year, California could add another 388 low-income units annually. And the whole $4 billion from SB 3 would be gone after 6220 new units. In a state which needs to add 100,000 new dwellings a year just to keep up with its population growth – and not allow the housing crisis to worsen – this is truly spitting in the ocean.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Oct 8, 2017.


  • Mandalay Bay Shooter’s Girlfriend Speaks: “I Loved Him”

    After spending most of the day at the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, Marylou Danley, the 62-year-old longtime girlfriend of Mandalay Bay shooter Stephen Paddock, has released her first official statement since Paddock, a 64-year-old retired account and inveterate gambler, carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history Sunday night.
    It’s unclear whether Danley has provided any useful information to authorities, who have reportedly been baffled by the utter lack of any clues about Paddock’s motives. No official statement about the interview has been released, and so far, nothing has leaked (although we imagine that will soon change). Searches of Paddock’s homes and electronic devices have provided no indication about what might’ve inspired the shooting – which authorities say was meticulously premeditated. And Paddock’s brother
    Eric Paddock said he isn’t aware of any religious or political affiliations that might’ve inspired the shooting.
    WATCH: Attorney reads statement from Marilou Danley, the Vegas attacker's girlfriend pic.twitter.com/YAmyM8KpfH
    — Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 4, 2017

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.


  • Kashkari Fed Chair Odds Soar After Gundlach Forecast, Crash After Liesman Denial

    Yesterday, DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach, who correctly predicted the election of Donald Trump, unveiled a new surprise forecast: Neel Kashkari would be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Speaking Tuesday at a Vanity Fair summit in Los Angeles, Gundlach said Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, was a strong advocate of easy money. He was envisioning Kashkari’s latest essay from Monday, in which the former Goldmanite uber dove, who was instrumental in putting together the TARP bank rescue package, said the Fed shouldn’t raise interest rates again until inflation hits 2% or there’s a large drop in unemployment.
    “I actually have a very non-consensus point of view. I think it’s going to be Neel Kashkari,” Gundlach said, adding that “he happens to be the most easy money guy that’s in the Federal Reserve system today and that’s why he may win.”
    ‘There’s no chance the president wants Janet Yellen to continue” as Fed chair Gundlach also said and predicted that Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic advisor, would not get the nod, due to his background as president of Goldman Sachs.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.


  • Real Estate Company Is Replacing Agents With Robots

    With robots slowly but surely taking over every semi-skilled occupation including in a bizarre development, the production of cocaine which may well unleash the era of cocaine deflation upon Wall Street (a welcome development in light of ever-shrinking bonuses), a new – and familiar – industry has emerged as the robots’ next target. According to Newsday, a California real estate technology company that aims to lower the cost of home-selling by using robots and ‘big data’ instead of commission-based real estate agents has recently opened a Long Island office.
    The latest potential source of tech-inspired deflation, REX Real Estate Exchange, which charges a selling commission of only 2% instead of the usual 5 to 6%, launched its Long Island operation this summer. The Los Angeles-based company expects to start listing New York-area homes on its website, rexchange.com in the near-term.


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.


  • Landlord’s View of the Brick and Mortar Meltdown

    ‘We are faced with weekly tenant bankruptcies, defaults, and requests for rent or space reductions.’
    By John E. McNellis, Principal at McNellis Partners, for The Registry: I received an invitation to attend a cocktail party in Los Angeles at next week’s International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) meeting. In declining, I explained that we would not be attending the ICSC, our first absence in decades. Somewhat forlornly, our host replied he was hearing that a lot.
    Why the shopping center industry’s premier West Coast event may go lightly attended is worth considering. One answer is simple: Pizzazz is in short supply at an event where the chalk talks will be about playing defense and even the biggest liars you ever met will admit to challenges facing their portfolios.
    The writing may not be on the wall, but it’s sitting every afternoon on our front porch. A cardboard box waits outside almost daily. These boxes contain everything from hair products to prescriptions to pillows. While hard-put to tell a tweet from a text, the household’s reigning monarch can nevertheless shoot the e-commerce rapids blindfolded, ordering any item in a trice.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Sep 28, 2017.


  • Doesn’t Mexico Have Building Codes?

    During the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake in Los Angeles, my mother was working in downtown Los Angeles in one of the buildings then known as the Arco Towers.
    The building was of early 1970s vintage, but thanks to expensive technology introduced to help high-rises withstand earthquakes, the Arco Towers merely swayed from side to side, rather than collapse in response to the quake. That earthquake was a medium-sized earthquake (to use casual terminology), but the building is designed to withstand far larger tremors. Eight people died in the wake of the quake.
    Two years earlier, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake struck with devastating results. While the earthquake was considerably stronger, the casualty totals were far beyond what we would expect were a similar quake to hit Los Angeles. While the number is still in dispute today, more than 30,000 people may have died in the quake, thanks largely to collapsed buildings.
    Fortunately, the death toll in Tuesday’s Mexico-City quake looks to be much, much smaller than was the case in 1985. So far, casualty counts number in the low hundreds.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 25, 2017.


  • Red October In Washington In 2017?

    Red October in Washington in 2017?
    I recently I came across a video on Youtube showing a presentation by former Soviet KGB propagandist Yuri Bezmenov, aka Tomas Schuman, who worked for Novosti Press Agency during the Soviet era until he defected in 1970. Yuri Bezmenov issued a strong warning to America that they were not living in an age of peace and love as many believed. Quite the contrary, he claimed. America was slowly being subverted into Marxism. He predicted that it would eventually lead to a revolution in the USA that would put an end to the free world. The question is if the revolution in the US he warned against is just about to happen.
    The 1983 video shows a lecture he delivered in Los Angeles on methods of ‘ideological subversion’, a form of warfare the KGB used against America.
    Bezmenov explains that the main effort of the KGB was not conventional intelligence at all. Only some 15 per cent of resources was spent on James-Bond-style espionage, while 85 per cent was devoted to a slow process called ‘ideological subversion’ or ‘active measures’.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 4, 2017.


  • Christopher Columbus And The Falsification Of History

    The Los Angeles City Council’s recent, crazed decision to replace Christopher Columbus Day with one celebrating ‘indigenous peoples’ can be traced to the falsification of history and denigration of European man which began in earnest in the 1960s throughout the educational establishment (from grade school through the universities), book publishing, and the print and electronic media. It is amazing that, as of yet, the federal holiday commemorating the Genoese explorer’s world- changing voyage has not come under attack. It is doubtful that in the current radicalized leftist ideological atmosphere, the national government’s recognition of Columbus will survive much longer.
    Most of what has been taught about Christopher Columbus and his holy and heroic patroness has beendistorted, lied about, and politicized for the advancement of leftist causes, the most important of which is the smearing of the great European men of the past and to ridicule their descendants’ pride in their glorious heritage. The historical untruths have not stopped with Columbus and Queen Isabella, but are being spread about conditions of the pre-Columbian societies.
    Instead of an idyllic land where the inhabitants lived in peace and harmony with one another until the evil, conquering white man appeared, life in the pre-Columbian Americas’ was, to say the least, quite grisly. A recent archeological discovery in Mexico City of the ancient Aztec Empire shows again what most knew, prior to the onslaught of leftist historical revisionism, that human sacrifice was practiced on a large scale.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 4, 2017.