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    THE PAIN IS REAL. None of us lives in Hearst Castle. Yet my natural gas bill shot from $44 to nearly $300 in the span of two months. Kay Kearney’s is projected to hit $368 in January — more than three times what she paid this time last year. And Burl Estes is staring down a $397 tab for having the audacity to keep warm. “It’s not sustainable,” said Kearney, whose home in Garden Grove is a modest 1,500 square feet. “We keep the thermostat at 68, when raining and cold. Turn off the heater when it’s nicer. With the current economic issues and inflation what are we to do? There is nowhere left to cut back.” We’ll talk about the powerful supply-and-demand forces at work here in a moment, but first, the nitty gritty, at least according to some experts: Politics, with perhaps a dash of greed. With good intentions and pure heart, more or less, California hurtles headlong toward 100% renewable energy. We snub fossil fuel power plants and natural gas storage facilities in our quest to quell global...
    The “Looking Glass” ponders economic and real estate trends through two distinct lenses: the optimist’s “glass half-full” and the pessimist’s “glass half-empty.” Buzz: California’s economy rebounded from an early 2022 slump to be the 12th fastest-growing state in the third quarter. Source: My trusty spreadsheet reviewed third-quarter growth in state gross domestic product, a broad measure of business output. Debate: How will California’s economy react to an era in which the government and Federal Reserve have turned from business saviors to tight-fisted villains? Glass half-full California, as always, has the nation’s No. 1 GDP at $3.6 trillion, 14% of the U.S. total. Business output statewide grew at a 3.8% annual pace in the third quarter. California’s surge also topped the nation’s 3.2% growth pace. Only 11 states fared better. And those top-performing states were big energy providers. Remember how gasoline prices soared for much of 2022? No. 1 was Alaska with 8.7% growth, followed by Texas at 8.2%, Oklahoma at 5.5%, Wyoming at 5.3% and North Dakota at 5.2%. Only three states had declines: Mississippi, off 0.7%, South Dakota, down 0.5%,...
    By Thomas Black | Bloomberg Millions of chickens have gone unfed as rail disruptions delay corn shipments to a California poultry farm, according to documents that provide unique details of how one shipper has suffered from poor rail service. Foster Farms, which processes about 1 million chickens and 12,000 turkeys every day, has said it’s had to pause some operations because of delays from Union Pacific Corp., the second-largest freight railroad in North America. The supply issues also forced the company to shut down a plant that processes raw corn into animal feed to sell, it said in federal filings. That meant cutting off its dairy farm customers from corn meal and giving priority to its chickens, which start killing each other when they go hungry. After a flurry of correspondence that offers unfiltered insight into shippers’ problems with rail service, the US Surface Transportations Board ordered Union Pacific on Dec. 30 to deliver more corn-laden trains to Foster Farms. This is the second time in the past year Foster Farms has asked the rail regulator to intervene directly because...
    Have the recent atmospheric rivers of rain and wind storms ravaged your home, property or business? If so, then the IRS understands it may put a damper on your filing of federal individual and business tax returns and the making of tax payments. It is willing to cut you some slack. California storm victims now have until May 15 to file, the government agency has announced. The IRS is offering relief to any area designated by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. What does that mean? It means that individuals and households that live in or have a business in Solano County and dozens of other counties, including Yolo, Napa, Contra Costa and Marin, qualify for tax relief. (For the complete list of counties, visit the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page on IRS.gov.) The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Jan. 8, and, as a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until May 15 to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes 2022...
    Counting down to Friday night’s Mega Millions draw, Joe Chahayed said he feels like he’s playing host to a party every day. Chahayed, 75, owns Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, where a yet-unidentified winner bought a Powerball ticket worth $2.04 billion two months ago. “I came in at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and there were people waiting in line up to there,” Chahayed said, pointing to the island of gas tanks outside. “We all went inside and I asked is anyone getting married? It looked like a party. They said it’s a Mega wedding.” Joe’s sold 7,500 Mega Millions tickets on Jan. 11, he said, and he expects sales to ramp up on Friday the 13th, when lottery officials said the jackpot is estimated at $1.35 billion, or $707.9 million cash. It would be the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history. A customer walks out of Joe’s Service Center at the Mobil gas station in Altadena where Joe is selling thousands of Mega Lotto tickets on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)  Officials said...
    By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg Tesla Inc. has failed to derail a suit by the California Civil Rights Department accusing the company of engaging in a pattern of racial harassment and bias at its main factory. A judge issued a tentative ruling throwing out counterclaims by the electric-car maker that the department’s 2022 suit is unlawful. Tesla had claimed state officials didn’t provide adequate information about the civil rights allegations or engage in efforts to resolve the dispute before going to court. The company will have a chance at a hearing set for Wednesday to persuade Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo to change his ruling before making it final. Grillo also said in his tentative ruling that Tesla can revise and refile its claims by Feb. 3. Before Tesla countersued, Grillo in August denied Tesla’s request to throw out the state’s complaint, which described the Fremont plant as a “racially segregated workplace.” California officials alleged that they found widespread evidence of Black workers subject to mistreatment, including harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, at Tesla’s Fremont plant during a...
    By Jeff Green and Matthew Boyle | Bloomberg A Tesla Inc. software engineer could earn anywhere from $83,200 to $417,600. Netflix Inc. has one job posting advertising a pay range of $90,000 to $900,000 and another at $50,000 to $600,000. Under a new California law that took effect this week, all companies with 15 or more employees advertising jobs based in the state are required to post an estimate for what the employer “reasonably expects to pay” with the posting. Much like when New York City’s law went into effect last year, some  companies are taking a liberal interpretation of the new regulations with notably wide pay ranges. The Netflix and Tesla ranges were the widest among about 53,000 job posts from 700 tech companies analyzed by Roger Lee, co-founder of Comprehensive.io, a pay data and analytics site. The average pay range in postings he looked at was $130,000 to $200,000. In the earliest days of New York City’s law some employers had similarly broad listings, including one with a $2 million range. Many ended up being mistakes or glitches. Tesla and Netflix did not return requests...
    By Mark Bergen | Bloomberg Buying certain electric cars in the US just got cheaper, thanks to new tax credits meant to phase out gasoline-guzzlers. And a wave of companies that let wary drivers lease or subscribe their way to an electric vehicle are making the most out of the government carrots. “They’ve got to be convinced,” says Andrew Krulewitz, founder of Zevvy, an EV financing startup. “Buying cars is a big deal.” Zevvy, based in Hayward, California, offers six-month EV leases targeted at Uber drivers and others who spend considerable hours behind the wheel, giving them a different path into a Tesla, Chevy Bolt, or other electric model. The startup scraps the usual mileage caps in favor of a pay-per-mile price, which is designed to be cheaper than gasoline. After six months, customers can return the car, extend the lease or buy the car outright. “Where there aren’t any savings for the driver, we’ll make that obvious,” says Krulewitz. RELATED: Feds list electric vehicles eligible under new $7,500 tax credit program. Do you, and your dream EV, qualify? Octopus Energy Ltd., a green power...
    California’s Middle Class Tax Refund is entering the final two weeks of distribution with many people still wondering where their payments are. The state has previously said it will wrap up the $9.5 billion refund program by mid-January. So far, 15,414,790 payments have been sent to qualifying taxpayers via direct deposit or debit card. Another 2.6 million recipients are still in the pipeline as of Dec. 23, according to the Franchise Tax Board. Thanks to readers like David and Anita Jessup, we have another tip to share regarding missing payments and how to track their status. Like dozens of others who reached out to the Southern California News Group, the Jessups said they spent many hours on the phone and online trying to find their refund, all to no avail. The Fountain Valley residents say they are qualified recipients. They earn less than the $500,000 cap; they filed their 2020 tax returns electronically, on time and got a small refund. And like millions of other joint filers in the state, they should be getting an inflation rebate of $700. Eligible...
    By Josh Funk | The Associated Press Federal regulators have ordered Union Pacific railroad to make sure a livestock producer gets the grain it needs in California to prevent millions of chickens and hundreds of thousands of cattle from starving. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board told the railroad it must improve service to Foster Farms to keep it from running out of feed for the livestock it raises. It’s the second time in the past year regulators issued an emergency order related to delivery problems at Foster Farms, which is based in Livingston, California, as the railroad struggled with a shortage of crews. This time, however, Union Pacific blamed the weather for its problems. Spokesman Mike Jaixen said last month’s extreme cold and blizzard conditions slowed deliveries in 20 of the 23 western states the railroad operated in, and additional problems are possible because of the forecast for more severe winter weather. “Union Pacific remains committed to serving all of our customers as efficiently as possible, including Foster Farms, weather permitting,” Jaixen said. Foster Farms called on the STB to...
    A Sacramento Superior Court judge has placed a temporary hold on a bill aimed at boosting wages and protections for California’s fast-food workers, which had been set to go into effect Jan. 1. The Dec. 30 order prevents the law from being implemented until the court has a chance to hear the case and decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13. The move comes in response to a Dec. 29 lawsuit filed by Save Local Restaurants, which seeks to prevent the state Department of Industrial Relations from implementing the law while signatures are being verified for a referendum that would put it on hold until November 2024 when voters can decide the outcome. The coalition of restaurant and business trade groups is adamantly opposed to Assembly Bill 257, also known as the FAST Recovery Act. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the legislation, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, on Sept. 5, 2022. “Over 1 million Californians have made clear they want their say on this flawed measure, which would raise food prices and cost...
    Far-reaching new laws seek to better working conditions for a broad swath of Californians in 2023 from white-collar employees to blue-collar farm laborers, fast-food servers and construction workers. Measures expanding family leave, providing for bereavement leave and mandating pay transparency are among lawmakers’ “incredibly productive” record of accomplishment, said Mariko Yoshihara, legislative counsel and policy director for the California Employment Lawyers Assn. “But there’s still a lot more work to do.” Legislative wrestling between worker advocates and the state’s powerful industries meant several ambitious efforts failed to gain traction last year. They are likely to surface again this year, including bills to expand overtime, protect employees from artificial intelligence surveillance and stop businesses from moving call centers out of state. The California Chamber of Commerce celebrated the demise of 17 out of 19 bills it had dubbed “job killers” reflecting “a lack of appreciation of the economic realities and regulatory challenges employers — and especially small business employers — face as they continue to emerge from the impacts of the pandemic.” One of the most controversial new laws, aiming to...
    Federal prosecutors have abruptly dropped criminal charges against a former executive with a defunct Irvine-based health sciences lab business who was accused of paying physicians at least $3.5 million in kickbacks to induce them to order unnecessary genetic tests for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a court motion last week that it dismissed the case against Brian Javaade Meshkin, 46, “in the interests of justice.” The Ladera Ranch man, founder of Proove Biosciences Inc., was indicted in 2021 on charges of conspiracy and receiving and making illegal payments. Charges also were dropped against Ossama Antoine Jawar, a former sales representative for Proove, and four physicians with the National Spine & Pain Center in Virginia. Three other defendants were granted immunity from prosecution and had their cases dismissed. Kelly Thornton, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, which handled the case, declined to comment on the dismissals. Proove offered several pharmacogenetic tests that purportedly determined a patient’s risk of abusing certain prescription opioids and how patients metabolized certain drugs. The tests were marketed...
    It’s football’s bowl season, and it’s generating must-see competition on the playing field. But when these holiday season games are done, the California economy still will provide plenty of noteworthy contests to be fought through 2023. Coming off a nearly unpredictable 2022, which California economic players will be winners – or losers – in the coming year’s business battles? Note the gyrations. In the summer quarter, California’s gross domestic product was growing at a 3.8% annual rate, 12th best among the states. That’s a reversal from the spring’s 0.5% drop. But the California economy grew 7.8% for all of 2021, No. 5 nationally. So let’s handicap noteworthy financial skirmishes that will dominate 2023 business arena. Many of these economic clashes, like the flood of post-season football games, feature heated rivals who will be looking to gain an edge in long-running competitions. A sagging global economy also creates a slippery playing field for most business combatants. So ponder my 2023 lineup of California Bowls that could decide if the state’s business scene avoids the ultimate losing streak – a recession. Shrinking...
    By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg A former top Apple Inc. patent attorney says she was unlawfully fired by the iPhone maker after complaining about being abused by a male colleague, including receiving death threats, with whom she was romantically involved. Jayna Richardson Whitt sued Apple in California claiming the company retaliated against her after it became aware of her “domestic abuse victim status” by denying her opportunities for higher-level positions and thwarting her career growth. She’s seeking unspecified compensation for economic losses and emotional distress. Apple didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Whitt worked at Apple since 2006, during which time she says she rose to roles such as Director of IP transactions, but also faced discrimination. A White male supervisor “favored Caucasian males and subjected minorities, females, and employees with disabilities to discriminatory treatment,” she claims in the complaint filed Dec. 20 in state court in San Mateo, California. The discrimination was evident in personnel decisions, mentoring, assignments and invitation to meetings, the patent attorney, who identified herself as single parent of Asian descent, said in...
    Are you among the 3 million California taxpayers who have yet to receive the state’s Middle Class Tax Refund? Bah-humbug, indeed! The latest on this inflation stimulus payment comes with a holiday asterisk. The latest data from the Franchise Tax Board was last updated Dec. 16. The FTB typically updates the distribution numbers every Wednesday, but last week the agency didn’t update the data, perhaps on a vacation break ahead of Christmas. As of mid-December, the state reported it issued 14,967,941 MCTR payments, either via direct deposit or by debit card. Interestingly, the debit card distribution has now topped the direct deposit flow with 8,011,510 money cards issued vs. 6,956,431 electronic transfers. Since October, we’ve been updating readers on the MCTR program. Here’s a brief recap: The state is sending out $9.5 billion in inflation relief funds to roughly 18 million California taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of less than $500,000. Payments range from $200 for certain high-income earners all the way up to $1,050 for two-filing households with a qualifying dependent. Similar to the pandemic-related Golden State Stimulus payment programs,...
    Welcome to another edition of “What’s up with California’s Middle Class Tax Refund?” To recap: As of Dec. 9, California has distributed 13.8 million MCTR payments worth $7.5 billion to eligible taxpayers in the state. More than 6.8 million (6,856,281) were sent out in the form of debit cards. In addition to the cards, 6,956,431 direct deposits have been made. The remaining 4.2 million payments, most in the form of bank cards or paper checks, will reach taxpayers between now and January. What’s the MCTR? California is sending $9.5 billion in inflation relief funds to roughly 18 million taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of less than $500,000. Payments range from $200 for certain high-income earners all the way up to $1,050 for two-filing households with a qualifying dependent. Readers’ wrath The debit cards and the myriad ways to use them have created angst among several recipients who reached out to us. Among their questions: How to cash out the balance without incurring ATM fees? How to transfer the money to a personal banking account — again, with no fees? How much...
    By ADAM BEAM | The Associated Press SACRAMENTO  — California will stop making companies pay employees who can’t work because they caught the coronavirus while on the job. For the past two years, California workplace regulators have tried to slow the spread of the coronavirus by requiring infected workers to stay home while also guaranteeing them they would still be paid. But Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to end that rule in 2023 — in part because the rule has become harder to enforce. Only people who caught the virus while at work are eligible to keep getting paid. But the coronavirus is now so widespread that it’s much harder to tell where someone got sick. Plus, changes in quarantine rules mean most workers are not required to stay home once they’ve been exposed to the virus as long as they don’t have symptoms and don’t test positive for the disease. While the board approved the new rule by a 6-1 vote, many board members said they were disappointed the rule was changed. The new...
    A black California businessman demanded $600,000 from California taxpayers during the first meeting of the state's reparations task force on Wednesday.     Deliberations began on how to quantify how financial compensation might be calculated and what might be required to prove eligibility.  One of those who spoke at the public hearing was 35-year-old entrepreneur and the first black professional tri-athlete, Max Fennell who said that every person should get $350,000 in compensation to close the racial wealth gap and Black-owned businesses should receive $250,000, which would help them to flourish. Fennell added: 'It's a debt that's owed, we worked for free,' he said. 'We're not asking; we're telling you.' He concluded his remarks by saying: 'The tangibles of what I'm asking for is $350,000 per black American in California that's tangible, small business grant $250,000 and land 15-20 acres.'  Entrepreneur and professional triathlete Max Fennell spoke at the debate saying: 'It's a debt that's owed, we worked for free,' he said. 'We're not asking; we're telling you.' Fennell posted a video on Instagram showing him at the hearings, with around 60 others, alongside the...
    By Ariane de Vogue | CNN Supreme Court Reporter The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to challenge a California law that bans the sale of flavored cigarettes. There were no noted dissents. The company, which makes menthol cigarettes, argued the state law conflicts with a federal law called the Tobacco Control Act that gives the federal Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the sale of cigarettes. The ban is set to go into effect December 21, and the tobacco company said that without the Supreme Court’s intervention it would be barred from selling its menthol cigarettes — which make up approximately one-third of the cigarette market — in one of the nation’s largest markets. In November, Californians went to the polls and approved the ballot initiative by a 63.5% to 36.5% margin. The law, SB 793, makes it illegal to “sell, offer for sale, or possess with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer.” Lawyers for R.J. Reynolds argued that...
    How this US recession index works: If index rises above 67%, that’s a historically reliable indicator the economy has entered a recession. It was 29% for the spring quarter. (Source: St. Louis Fed)  “Recession or not?” isn’t California’s big 2023 economic question. Rather it’s more like “how bad will the downturn be?” Yes, certain business metrics, like job stats, show near-record strength while consumers pack shopping center parking lots this holiday season. Yet the resilient-to-date California economy has major challenges ahead. So, if consensus thinking is correct, then a recession – locally, nationally and globally – is all but a certainty for 2023. That same groupthink suggests it will be a short and mild downturn. But history tells us that collective wisdom isn’t always so smart. Let me help you form your own opinion about the chances for a significant economic stumble in 2023. Shoppers make their way through the Brea Community Center on Friday, November 18, 2022, during the Nutcracker Craft Boutique in Brea. More than 200 vendors sell one-of-a-kind items as well as hand-crafted holiday gifts and decorations...
    By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg Tesla Inc. was denied new trial in a suit by a Black former contract worker who was awarded $137 million by a jury that found he faced racist abuse at the electric vehicle maker’s northern California factory. Owen Diaz and his son, Demetric, left to right, talk about their lawsuit against Tesla at their attorney’s office in Oakland, California, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. The pair sued the EV car maker for discrimination and creating a hostile environment. (Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group)  US District Judge William Orrick on Wednesday denied Tesla’s request for a new trial over both liability and damages in the case brought by Owen Diaz. The judge slashed that award to $15 million in April, but Diaz refused the reduced amount. His lawyers then sought a new trial just over damages, which has been set for March 27, 2023. An attorney for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla has faced a number of high-profile suits — including one filed by the state of California in February...
    The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast for California offers two potential scenarios for California’s economy — a soft landing led by such factors as more construction and increased demand for defense goods, or a mild recession with elevated unemployment rates. The biggest source of uncertainty is tied to national economic policy. “In the coming months, the Federal Reserve will reach that fork in the road between continued aggressive tightening and moderation,” the study said, “and it must decide which path to take.” The good news? Unlike the past four slowdowns in economic growth, UCLA predicts a milder impact on the Golden State’s economy whichever path the Federal Reserve decides to take. The study notes that California’s non-farm employment base now exceeds the pre-pandemic level of February 2020 by 31,000 jobs. But many of the new jobs are in sectors different from those where job losses were the most acute. About 170,000 payroll jobs in leisure and hospitality, and other services sectors have not returned, the report said, but rapid gains in logistics, technology and healthcare made up for that loss. Recent...
    By Faith Karimi | CNN Ifeoma Ozoma’s path as an advocate for tech workers started with a series of tweets one morning in June 2020. It was a few months after she was pushed out from her job at Pinterest, the image-sharing and social media platform. Across the United States, protests and outrage filled the streets after a White police officer in Minneapolis knelt on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes, ultimately killing him. As companies scrambled to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, her former employer released a statement. “We heard directly from our Black employees about the pain and fear they feel every day living in America,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said in the statement. “This is not just a moment in time. With everything we do, we will make it clear that our Black employees matter, Black [Pinterest users] and creators matter, and Black Lives Matter.” Ozoma, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, said she wasn’t having it. She fired back with a series of tweets accusing the lifestyle company of...
    Opponents of a law aimed at boosting wages and strengthening protections for California’s 550,000 fast-food workers say they’ve gathered enough signatures for a referendum that will put AB 257 on hold until the November 2024 ballot when voters can decide the outcome. They’re hoping the law, the FAST Recovery Act, will be overturned. Assembly Bill 257 was set to take effect Jan. 1, creating a 10-person, state-run council to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions for an industry made up of mostly low-earning Black and Latino employees. The measure was signed into law Sept. 5 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Soon after, the Save Local Restaurants coalition — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association — attacked the legislation. The law will fuel higher consumer prices and “is bad for California and bad for America,” the chamber said in a statement issued Monday, Dec. 5. “It will stifle job growth and increase quick-service prices an estimated 20% at a time when families are facing record-high inflation.” The chamber said more than 1...
    Lilea Eshoo and her family are fond of telling people that Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computer aren’t the only successful Silicon Valley companies founded in a garage. There’s also the business inspired by her grandmother, launched in a San Jose garage, nurtured by her parents and now being run by Lilea and her siblings, Rick and Inanna. It’s Atoria’s Family Bakery, baking “clean recipe” flatbreads that are sold at hundreds of stores in 45 U.S. states, as well as online. Competing in the $130 million specialty-bread category against nearly 1,700 other products, Atoria’s boasts two breads in the top 50, their Traditional Lavash and their Whole Grain & Flax Lavash. The traditional is, of course, a version of the flatbread that Atoria Eshoo, now 92, started baking at home — using a garage oven that her son Rene engineered — after they immigrated here in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. The grain-flax variation represents how the current generation has innovated to meet changing consumer tastes. We talked with Eshoo about the evolution of the business and the inspiration behind it. Here’s...
    So, you’re one of the 4.5 million California taxpayers who got a debit card loaded with a Middle Class Tax Refund. You might have noticed that cashing the card comes with some hurdles. Transaction hurdles, that is. To review: The state is sending out $9.5 billion in inflation relief funds to roughly 18 million California taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of less than $500,000. Nearly 7 million taxpayers already have gotten their refunds via direct deposit. The state says it has issued 4,516,246 debit cards as of Nov. 25. The remaining 6.53 million payments also will reach taxpayers in the form of a debit card between now and January 2023. The Middle Class Tax Refund debit card must be cashed at certain in-network ATMs to avoid a transaction fee. (Courtesy of Money Network)  The MCTR payment card comes with some caveats. For those who will tuck the card into their wallet and use it like any other Visa debit card, the process carries no fees. For anyone who prefers to withdraw cash from the card and stash it in a...
    Clarence Gilyard Jr., an actor best known for his starring role in Walker, Texas Ranger, has died at 66. He made his film debut with Top Gun in 1986, later appearing as a series regular on Matlock for four seasons before getting his big break with Walker, Texas Ranger. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve worked with Michael Mann, John Avildsen, Tony Scott,” Gilyard told The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2017. “There are actors who are better looking, more talented, but at that time, the directors who were after me, they said, ‘This kid needs to be in my movie.’” “You have to be flexible and address the reality of the business—but you can realize your dreams in this business,” he said. Gilyard was born in Moses Lake, Washington, and he and his family moved several times to different air bases across the country before settling in California. The Matlock actor had been married to his wife Elena since 2001. Gilyard got his bachelor’s degree in acting from California State University, Long Beach and California State University, Dominguez Hills. He spent his...
    Even as pandemic lockdowns fade into memory, covid-19 has transformed California’s workplace culture in ways researchers say will reverberate well beyond 2022. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, working from home for some portion of the week has become the new normal for a large segment of Californians. The data shows high-income employees with college degrees are more likely to have access to this hybrid work model, while lower-income employees stay the course with on-site responsibilities and daily commutes. At a basic level, that means low-wage workers will continue to shoulder greater risks of infection and serious illness as new covid variants sweep through job sites, alongside seasonal waves of flu and other respiratory viruses. Multiple studies have found that covid took its greatest toll in low-income neighborhoods, whose workers were deemed essential during early pandemic lockdowns — the farmworkers, grocery clerks, warehouse packers, and other service employees who continued to report to work in person. In addition, researchers say the shift will ripple across the broader economy in ways big and small, as more employees...
    By Annie Sciacca | Kaiser Health News This spring, Chevron workers testified that the company revoked health coverage for hundreds of members of the United Steelworkers Local 5 at the Richmond refinery during a strike that ultimately lasted two months. Thousands of nurses at Stanford Health Care were told in April they would lose their health insurance if they did not return to work during their weeklong strike. More than 300 workers at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City received a similar message after going on strike in mid-July as contract negotiations stalled. Freezing health insurance benefits is a common tactic in a labor dispute because, without them, workers might be more easily persuaded to concede to management’s demands. But California lawmakers are giving an edge to strikers. Assemblymember Jim Wood, a Democrat, is hoping a new California law he authored will dissuade employers from cutting off health benefits during labor disputes by allowing private-industry workers to maximize state subsidies for coverage purchased through Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace. The bill, which takes effect in July, was sponsored by...
    With Thanksgiving costs up 20% this year amid record-high inflation, some readers are wondering where their inflation stimulus payment is from the state of California. Karen, a Bay Area resident, sent us a query, wondering what’s taking so long to get the Middle Class Tax Refund. The Franchise Tax Board has been hustling to distribute one-time direct deposit and debit card payments for qualifying taxpayers. Distribution began in October. As of Nov. 11, the state reports it has sent out $5,053,764,350 (yes, that’s billions). The breakdown of payments goes like this: —Direct deposits issued to qualifying taxpayers: 6,739,880 —Debit cards issued to qualifying taxpayers: 2,556,729 The refunds are part of an inflation-relief package Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature agreed to in June, setting aside $9.5 billion from a $308 billion annual budget. Instead of a gas rebate, the government settled on a plan to return some of the state’s $98 billion budget surplus to residents struggling with rising prices amid record-high inflation. Depending on a taxpayer’s AGI, payments will range from $200 for certain high-income earners to $1,050 for married,...
    by Eric Lendrum   The state of California is facing a budget deficit of $25 billion going into 2023, the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reports. According to the Daily Caller, the LAO’s Wednesday report claimed that the primary reason for the deficit will be the shortcomings in the state’s tax revenue, which will ultimately be about $41 billion less than originally projected. Corporate tax revenue in the state is expected to drop by about $6 billion from fiscal year 2021-2022 to 2023-2024, and personal income tax revenue has also declined, from $135.9 billion in the prior fiscal year to an estimated $122.6 billion in the coming fiscal year. “Under our outlook, the Legislature would face a budget problem of $25 billion in 2023‑24,” the report states. “The budget problem is mainly attributable to lower revenue estimates, which are lower than budget act projections from 2021‑22 through 2023‑24 by $41 billion. Revenue losses are offset by lower spending in certain areas.” The numbers reflect the broader trend of businesses, from large corporations to small businesses, all fleeing California over the...
    “Mailbag” gives insight into the comments I get from my readers — good, bad, or in-between — and my thoughts about their feedback. More than a few readers questioned my recent description of white cars as boring. The comments followed my column on a study by the Iseecars website that found only 17% of California vehicles were not white, black gray, or silver – the smallest share in the nation. I lamented, along with Iseecars analyst Karl Brauer, the dull color choices of California car owners. “Individuals purchase ‘safe’ colors to avoid challenges when it comes time to sell,” Brauer told me. “They feel like everyone will buy a black, white or silver car and they don’t want to work hard to find the rare buyer seeking a creative color. Many dealers order ‘safe’ colors when stocking their lots for the same reason.” I noted in the column that black-gray-silver vehicles make up 53% of vehicles statewide. Owners of those cars didn’t object much to my words. But owners of white cars – 30% of all California vehicles – seemed...
    Haven’t gotten your Middle Class Tax Refund? You and 17,999,999 taxpaying California residents haven’t either. It’s been a week since California started sending out the MCTR to millions of qualifying residents. The Franchise Tax Board said Friday that it has issued 4.5 million direct deposits and mailed out 905,000 prepaid debit cards since distribution began Oct. 28. A representative with the tax board said the state still has 18 million more payments to distribute between now and mid-January. “We expect about 95% of all MCTR payments – direct deposit and debit cards combined – to be issued by the end of this year,” the FTB said via email. The state in June set aside $9.5 billion from its $308 billion annual budget for inflation-relief payments. Initially proposed as a gas rebate, the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom settled on a plan to return some of the state’s $98 billion budget surplus to residents struggling with rising prices amid record-high inflation. Payments will range from $200 for certain high-income earners to $1,050 for married, joint tax filers with a dependent. Related Articles ...
    By David Downey | Contributing Writer Targeting the growing struggle for many to put food on the table, Riverside officials are teaming up with DoorDash to boost home meal deliveries in the Inland Empire’s largest city. Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson announced at a Wednesday, Nov. 2, news conference a partnership with the online company to deliver food door to door. Leaders of community organizations and a company official joined her. Lock Dawson said Riverside is the first city to partner with DoorDash on a company initiative called Project DASH that launched in 2018 and has delivered more than 50 million meals in the United States and Canada. DoorDash plans to share delivery data with the city to help identify areas of need, a news release states. Also, the city is working to connect DoorDash with local nonprofit groups that help those who are hungry. “Food insecurity is all too real an issue here in Inland Southern California,” Lock Dawson said, and the partnership will help ensure that many families have enough to eat. “This program creates a more dignified...
    By Gerson Freitas Jr. | Bloomberg California Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed Valero Corp.’s latest blowout profits, accusing the company of jacking up profits while ripping off consumers. “Big Oil is ripping Californians off, hiking gas prices and making record profits,” Newsom said in a statement Tuesday. “As Valero jacked up their profits by over 500% in just a year, Californians were paying for it at the pump.” Newsom has railed against oil company profits as California gasoline prices topped $6 a gallon earlier this year, the highest in the nation. The governor has called a special session of the state legislature for December to pass a new tax, which he dubs the “price gauging penalty,” on oil company profits and has said he wants the profits returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates. Valero, which reported $2.82 billion of net income for the third quarter, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A campaign spokesman said Newsom is likely to comment on the profits of all the refiners that operate in California during the third-quarter earnings season, which...
    Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed GlockStore owner Lenny Magill in the studio to talk about the company’s enormous growth and doing business in the state of Tennessee. Leahy: In the studio, our very good friend Lenny Magill with the GlockStore. The great American entrepreneur who saw the light and brought the GlockStore from California here to Nashville, Tennessee. Good morning, Lenny. Magill: Yes, thank you, Michael Patrick Leahy. I love that radio name, by the way. (Chuckles) Michael Patrick Leahy. Leahy: (Irish accent) Michael Patrick Lahey. Magill: Yes. We escaped from California and are here now in Tennessee with the retail store as well as our manufacturing. And it’s really interesting, a lot of people don’t know that we actually manufacture parts right in our facility. And we manufacture them and we sell them nationwide. So we’re bringing money back into Tennessee. Leahy: You have, like, half a dozen big CNC machines....
    By BY JEANNE KUANG AND LIL KALISH | CalMatters It took two shifts to clean the five-story central Los Angeles office building where Edith Lopez worked as a janitor. From morning to dusk she vacuumed, wiped down kitchens and took out trash, and her employer, Pacific Commercial Co., paid her like a regular employee. Then from 5 to 10 p.m. she did the same but Pacific classified her as an independent contractor and paid for those hours with personal checks that left out typical payroll deductions such as income tax or Social Security withholding, she said. Edith Lopez, 57, stands for a portrait at Eugene A. Obregon Park in East Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2022. Photo by Pablo Unzueta for CalMatters Over her eight years working for Pacific Commercial the company sometimes paid her late and cut her hours, she said, and she didn’t receive any time-and-a-half overtime premiums. Lopez, a single mother who emigrated from Durango, Mexico, fell behind on rent and worried about supporting her three daughters. A doctor warned the 52-year-old that stress was causing her blood...
    By Linly Lin | Bloomberg California has been generating the most initial public offerings of any US state every year since 2003. That streak could end this year unless the Golden State picks up the pace. Only nine companies headquartered in California went public during the first three quarters of 2022, compared with 81 that launched IPOs during the same period last year, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. Even more dramatically, California’s share of US IPO proceeds fell to 2% through Sept. 30, compared with 39% for 2021. Massachusetts has the lead at this moment, with 10 companies debuting in the public market this year, thanks to its robust biotechnology scene. Moreover, the total raised by those companies — $1.2 billion — is more than six times that of their California counterparts. To zero in on US corporate activity, the Bloomberg News calculation is limited to IPOs of common stock and excludes the special purpose acquisition companies that helped propel listing volume to an all-time high last year. It also leaves out real estate investment trusts and closed-end funds....
    A TV journalist’s lawsuit alleging he was defamed by Facebook fact-checking labels was dismissed this week by a federal judge in San Jose. John Stossel objected to labels on two videos he posted on Facebook, including one in which he said “bad policies,” rather than climate change, were the biggest cause of California’s devastating wildfires of 2020. A small label that Facebook placed at the top of the video frame had the text “Missing Context: Independent fact-checkers say the information could mislead people.” A button below labeled “see why” took readers to more information, including a page on the website of fact-checker Science Feedback about wildfires and climate change. In granting the dismissal request by Facebook parent company Meta, U.S. District Judge Virginia DeMarchi cited two reasons: First, the judgment of the fact-checkers is subjective and therefore not an “actionable statement” in relation to a defamation claim. Second, such fact-checking activity is protected by California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which allows for the dismissal of meritless suits aimed at preventing free speech on a matter of public interest. Stossel,...
    By JESSICA GRESKO | The Associated Press WASHINGTON  — The Supreme Court is weighing a California animal cruelty law that pork producers say could upend their industry and raise the cost of their products nationwide. But in arguments Tuesday, the justices seemed to have bigger concerns beyond bacon. Pork producers say California’s law requiring more space for breeding pigs will force the $26 billion-a-year industry to change its practices even though pork is produced almost entirely outside California. The question for the high court is whether the nation’s most populous state has violated the U.S. Constitution with its law. During more than two hours of arguments, both conservative and liberal justices asked about the fate of other state laws that impact other states. “So what about a law that says you can’t sell fruit in our state if it’s produced — handled by people who are not in the country legally? Is that state law permissible?” asked Justice Brett Kavanaugh. His colleague, Justice Elena Kagan, pointed to a law from the state where she grew up: “I understand New York...
    Shares of Irvine-based Rivian Automotive declined after the electric-vehicle maker said it will recall about 13,000 vehicles it delivered to customers after discovering a minor structural defect. The stock fell 8.5% at 9:37 a.m. Monday in New York, deepening a slide that had already wiped out two-thirds of its value this year through Friday’s close.Irvine, California-based Rivian is making the recall because a fastener “may not have been sufficiently torqued,” Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaringe said in a letter to customers that was seen by Bloomberg News. The nut could loosen fully in “rare circumstances,” he added. The company said it’s recalling almost all of the vehicles delivered to customers even though the issue was discovered only in seven, “out of an abundance of caution.” Rivian said it isn’t aware of any injuries resulting from the issue. The cost of the recall isn’t material, according to a person familiar with the matter. The recall is a setback for Rivian, which has only recently overcome production problems and parts shortages to deliver its EVs to customers in meaningful volumes. The company...
    Investigators have released shocking surveillance video footage that shows the moment a family of four, including an 8-month-old girl, was kidnapped at gunpoint from their trucking business in central California.  The California Sikh family disappeared on Monday and remains missing, despite police taking a suspect into custody. Jesus Salgado, 48, was arrested on Tuesday in Merced, California, after he used one of the victim's ATM cards.  Police have not yet revealed a motive for the kidnapping, and they do not yet know where the family is.  Jasleen Kaur, 27, was kidnapped along with her husband Jasdeep Singh, 36, their eight-month-old daughter Aroohi Dheri and her 39-year-old brother-in-law Amandeep Singh from their newly-opened trucking business on Monday morning.
    By Lizette Chapman | Bloomberg Billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said he decided to “double down on California” and stay in the state, even as he likened it to “living in the ruins of a once great civilization.” In a 34-tweet thread on Tuesday Andreessen, who co-founded the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said that he and his family considered leaving after a “surreal 2020.” They  bought real estate in Nevada and almost bought in Manhattan, he said. But they ultimately decided to stay, and now “rationalize” the decision by comparing it to living it in Rome before the fall. “Like Rome in maybe 250 A.D., we live amidst an enormous flowering of culture and creativity, but the roads are becoming unsafe and nobody is quite sure why,” he wrote. Andreessen has been critical about the Silicon Valley area and its governance in the past, calling out San Francisco’s allergy to constructing new housing in his 2020 essay, “It’s Time to Build.” Even as the region’s economy has surged, Andreessen and other tech industry leaders have lamented the social problems persisting in the Bay...
    A Punjabi family including an eight-month-old baby girl have been kidnapped in California.  Jasleen Kaur, 27, her husband Jasdeep Singh and their eight-month-old daughter Aroohi Dheri were kidnapped along with the baby's uncle, Amandeep Singh.  Police say they were taken from 'a business' in Merced, California, but they have not shared which business it whether the family owned it.  They have also not revealed how many suspects they believe were involved in wrangling the three adults and infant.  Police have released surveillance footage of one light-skinned suspect in a ski mask, who they say has now attempted to 'cover his tracks'. Jasleen Kaur, 27, her husband Jasdeep Singh and their eight-month-old daughter Aroohi Dheri The baby's 39-year-old uncle, Amandeep Singh, was also taken against his will, according to police  Police are at a loss over the man's motive.  'We have a low life out there that kidnapped an eight month old baby, her mom, dad and her uncle.  'We have no idea why the kidnapping - we have no motivation behind it.  'We just know that they are gone,' Merced...
    Federal regulators have sued an Orange County construction firm for harassment of Latino workers, alleging the company mocked them if they couldn’t speak English and referred to them as “wetbacks” and “home depoteros.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims Laguna Niguel-based Goodsell/Wilkins‘ actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The EEOC suit seeks a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief aimed at preventing future discrimination at the company. A male Mexican worker, who began work at Goodsell/Wilkins around December 2017, stayed with the company until June 2019, the action says, when he was laid off after complaining of harassment to his supervisors and managers. Another male employee of Nicaraguan descent and some of his co-workers were allegedly fired on or about Sept. 19, 2019 for making similar complaints of harassment. The harassment included offensive racial graffiti on the walls of portable...
    By Malathi Nayak | Bloomberg Tesla Inc. filed a countersuit against the California Civil Rights Department after the agency accused the company of fostering racial bias at its main factory. The world’s most valuable car maker said state officials didn’t give it adequate notice of claims or earnestly engage in efforts to resolve the dispute in violation of state law. The department’s conduct “is entirely inconsistent with the principles of fair notice, neutral investigations, good faith conciliation, and mandatory pre-suit mediation,” required under state employment law, Tesla said in its complaint filed Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court. The suit was brought unlawfully without seeking public comment or holding a hearing, according to the complaint. A judge last month rejected similar arguments by Tesla in its request for dismissal of the department’s complaint, which described the company’s Fremont plant as a “racially segregated workplace.” Read More: Tesla Must Face California’s ‘Rampant’ Workplace Racism Suit Tesla wants a court order barring the agency from applying “invalid and unlawful underground regulations” until the agency comes up with a fresh set of rules...
    A Long Beach Superior Court judge this week waived a more-than $5,000 penalty and dismissed a misdemeanor criminal case against the owner of a now-closed Long Beach restaurant who refused to shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when restrictions were in place. Judge Christopher J. Frisco on Monday, Sept. 21, set aside the monetary penalty because Dana Tanner would be unable to pay it and had lost her Fourth Street business, which closed in April 2021, Long Beach City Prosecutor Douglas Haubert said. The judge also dismissed 20 misdemeanor charges against Tanner, who kept her restaurant, Restauration, open for in-person outdoor dining despite numerous warnings from the city regarding restrictions during the height of the pandemic. When the city cut off her gas line, she was accused of tampering with a neighboring business’ gas line to keep her business running. “She was trying to gain an advantage over other restaurants,” Haubert said. “When she tampered with the gas line, which was extremely dangerous, that certainly escalated the seriousness of this case.” Tanner told the court she was...
    California saw solid gains in leisure and hospitality, health care, social services, technology and construction in 2021, and the state’s economy will be further strengthened by increased defense spending and ongoing demand for technology, a new report says. The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast warns that the state faces economic headwinds as a result of slow national growth, but it still posted the nation’s second highest GDP growth (6.3%) between the pre-pandemic fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2022. California easily outpaced rivals Florida (5.3%) and Texas (3.5%) during that period, ranking second only to Washington state, which held the top slot with GDP growth of 6.9%. The report places California’s GDP — the total value of its goods and services — at $3.36 trillion, making it the world’s fifth largest economy if it were a country. The report places California’s GDP at $3.36 trillion, which would make it the world’s fifth largest economy if California were a country. (Photo by John McCoy, Contributing Photographer)  California’s unemployment rate for the third quarter of this year is expected to be...
    There’s a new building at the corner of Talmage Road and South State Street that many Ukiah residents feel is much more attractive than the structures it replaced. However, some also feel that the name of the new business, “Cookies,” and its signs are much too attractive to minors, given that it sells marijuana. “I think that sign needs to be re-thought,” said James Whittaker, addressing the Ukiah City Council during its Sept. 7 meeting, describing the color, name and imagery used by the business as evoking the Sesame Street character “The Cookie Monster,” which he described as “straight marketing to kids. Somebody really needs to take that seriously.” A representative of Cookies said the company “brand identity and artwork was designed to have an adult appreciation and appeal.” (Justine Frederiksen – Ukiah Daily Journal)  When asked last week if city planners were aware of the name of the dispensary and what exactly the signs would look like at the time the business permit was approved, Community Development Director Craig Schlatter explained in an email that: “No City Staff, Planning...