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Scam Diego Entries for May, 2009

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As Expected, GM Will Go into Bankruptcy Tomorrow

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To no one's surprise, the White House is saying this evening (May 31) that General Motors will go into bankruptcy tomorrow morning. President Obama will speak to the nation. The company will be shrunk drastically. American taxpayers will own 60% ...

Two Top U-T Officials Get the Axe

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A management person has confirmed rumors going around the Union-Tribune today (May 29). Robert (Bobbie) Espinosa, head of human resources, has been separated from the company. Also out, according to good information, is Scott Whitley, chief revenue officer, or the ...

Tourism in Tailspin

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The occupancy rate of San Diego hotels plunged to 64.5% in April from 74.4% in April of 2008, according to Smith Travel Research. That was a 13.3% drop. Revenue per available room (called RevPAR) plunged 27.2% from a year earlier. ...

Some Legislators Pushing Bill to Curb State Municipal Bankruptcies

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According to the Wall Street Journal today (May 28), some California legislators are pushing a bill that would make it difficult for a municipality to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Under the proposal, any political jurisdiction that wanted to file ...

Corporate Heads Warn: Sober Up

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The stock market has finished three martinis and is now working on its fourth. Governments have poured so much liquidity into global economies (more than $13 trillion in the U.S. alone), and used every trick in the book to lower ...

After Long Drought, San Diego Lead Indicators Turn Up

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The leading indicators of the San Diego economy turned up in April to 100.9 from 100.7 in March. The index had only risen during one month from April of 2006, when it was at 143.8. Building permits, stock prices, consumer ...

Investigated Hedge Fund to Close; San Diegan Provided Information

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The Wall Street Journal reports today (May 27) that Arthur Samberg's Pequot Capital Management is liquidating its core hedge fund amid an investigation into possible insider trading. Much of the information for that investigation -- and another insider trading probe ...

Amylin Loses Two Board Seats, but Won't Reincorporate in North Dakota

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Biotech Amylin Pharmaceuticals lost two board seats today (May 27) in shareholder voting. Eastbourne Capital Management and corporate raider Carl Icahn, that have been waging a proxy fight against management, each won a seat. But the company won 10 seats ...

Local Home Prices Continue Dropping

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San Diego metropolitan area single-family home prices continued dropping in March -- down 1.5% from February and down 22% over the last year, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller data, announced today (May 26). The drop for the 20 major metro ...

Realistic Funded Level of City Pension Plan Now 56.8%

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Earlier this month, the City's chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, sent a memo to the mayor and council members outlining the purported status of the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS). The note said that the actuarial liability as ...

San Diego's Unemployment Rate Drops, but Job Losses Continue

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San Diego County's unemployment rate was 9.1% in April, down from a revised 9.5% in March, according to the Employment Development Department. However, the county lost 800 jobs between March and April, and 45,300 from a year earlier. San Diego's ...

Local Law Firm Sues AIG for Fraud in Los Angeles Court

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Aguirre, Morris & Severson, the San Diego law firm made up of former top officials of the city attorney's office, today (May 21) sued American International Group (AIG), the huge, deeply troubled financial conglomerate, for unlawful, fraudulent and unfair practices ...

Vical Stock Surges on Alleged Swine Flu Advance. Be Wary

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Biotech Vical stock is soaring more than 29% to $2.84 this morning (May 21) as the company announced that it has developed a prototype vaccine against the swine flu virus, has begun testing on animals and could move to human ...

Laid-Off U-T Workers Told to Leave Friday, Will Be Paid until July 6

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Union-Tribune employees who were laid off in the recent round were told today (May 20) that they should leave Friday but will still be paid through July 6. They are cleaning out their desks now. This does not apply to ...

Property Tax Reassessment Firm Still at It, but under Investigation

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Property Tax Reassessment, a Los Angeles firm, continues to send its pitches to San Diego residents. The letter, which looks like a government form, says your property may have been overassessed by such and such an amount. It says it ...

Consumer Spending to Fall as Households Shed Debt, Says San Francisco Federal Reserve

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In a just-released study, researchers at the San Francisco Federal Reserve say that the nation may be in for a "substantial and prolonged slowdown in consumer spending" as households get rid of excessive debt. (Consumer spending is 70% of the ...

Derivatives Regulation Proposal Leaves Huge Loophole, Says Partnoy

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The Obama administration's proposal for regulating derivatives is a good step, but "reopens a dangerous loophole," says Frank Partnoy, University of San Diego law professor, in an op-ed in this morning's (May 15) New York Times. Partnoy was the first ...

Boston Globe Writers Ask if Platinum Might Want Their Paper

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Two Boston Globe writers asked in a recent story if Beverly Hills's Platinum Equity, now that it has purchased the Union-Tribune for a song, might be interested in snapping up their ailing Globe. The Globe is owned by the New ...

Padres Charging Less, Winning Less, Attracting Fewer

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Following a dismal 2008 season, the Padres cut the average ticket price this year by 27% to $20.01, according to Team Marketing Research. The total cost for a family of four to attend a game, including purchases of beer, soft ...

Bad Review for New Union-Tribune Publisher

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This blog post by Ron Kaye, an ex-editor of the L.A. Daily News, has been making the rounds, but we wanted to pass it along for those who haven't yet read it. Bottom line, according to Kaye, new U-T publisher ...

Newspaper Chains McClatchy, Lee May Be Worth Nothing

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The prestigious stock-rating firm of Morningstar says that two big newspaper chains, McClatchy and Lee Enterprises, may be worth zero. "McClatchy stock could be worth nothing," says Morningstar, adding that Lee Enterprises "shares could lose their entire value." Fair value ...

Apropos This Week's Cover, An Interesting Piece in the NYT re Waning Influence of Christians in the Middle East

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This morning's New York Times has an interesting story about the waning influence of Christians in the Middle East, noting that many have immigrated, similar to the experience Tom Joubran describes in this week's cover story. "Christians used to be ...

SD Home Prices Down 30% in Last Year, but That's Better than Bay Area, LA, Other Markets Did

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San Diego home prices dropped 30% in the last year, according to data from the Center for American Progress. The county was 16th on the plunge list, but some major Western markets did worse: San Francisco, 4th worst, -43%; Silicon ...

Bauder Back, but Infirm; Expects to Resume Blog Posts, Write Columns Unless Condition Questionable

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I am back after three weeks+ overseas, where I was incommunicado. Thanks to those who have written me messages inquiring about me. I returned with a physical affliction; I should find out Friday how serious it is. Many thanks to ...

Platinum Equity Names New Union-Tribune Publisher with Reputation for Cuts

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Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, which took over the Union Tribune last week, has announced that Ed Moss of L.A. will become publisher effective May 18. He's most recently been president and CEO of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, owned by ...

Black Press's Red Ink Mounts

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Yesterday brought yet another major debt downgrade of Black Press, Ltd., the Canadian-based outfit run by David Holmes Black, who is also a “senior advisor” and partner with Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity in that firm's takeover of the Union-Tribune. The ...

State's Professional Sports Teams Ante Up for May 19 Ballot Measures

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Look who’s backing the May 19 ballot measures, specifically the Yes on 1A campaign being waged by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s, along with the Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks, L.A. Lakers and Los ...

City Auditor Blasts Qualcomm Stadium Management Over Missing Files, Gross Mismanagement, Unverified Revenue

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San Diego’s City Auditor is out with an audit report on Qualcomm Stadium concluding that if the Chargers leave town, as is widely expected, taxpayers will have to shoulder $21.4 million in remaining debt. The report also concludes that the ...

End of Yet Another Era: Burl Stiff to depart the Union-Tribune June 4

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On the heels of yesterdays’ announced layoff of 192 employees at the Union-Tribune, society writer Burl Stiff, who has covered the doings of San Diego’s upper crust for the paper since 1976, says he is departing the U-T on June ...

Tracking the Takeover: Union-Tribune layoffs on schedule

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TV and other websites are full of the news. Less than a week after the U-T takeover by Platinum Equity was first reported here, the Union Tribune is laying off workers. Back in March, Don Bauder reported that the move ...

Tracking the Union-Tribune Deal: Five parcels sold for a total of $51.2 million

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Just how much in a hurry was David Copley to unload the Union-Tribune? The close of the sale to a Delaware affiliate of Beverly Hills Platinum Equity was announced Monday. Deeds showing the transfer of five real estate parcels were ...

Olympic Snowboarder Allegedly Hits Some San Diego Snow

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The Vancouver Sun brings word of yet another San Diego cocaine connection. This one involves Ryan Wedding, a 27-year-old Olympic snowboarder who placed 24th at the Salt Lake City Games of 2002 and hoped to compete in 2010 in Vancouver. ...

Early Word on U-T Transition: Hope Winner Stays

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Platinum Equity's Mark Barnhill has told Editor & Publisher that the company hopes Union-Tribune editor Karin Winner stays on board now that the buyout firm is in control. Platinum has yet to announce a publisher, and the role of Canadian ...

Countdown to the Union-Tribune takeover by Platinum Equity

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We're still waiting for the official announcement, but a spokesman for Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, which put together the buyout of the Union-Tribune from the Copley Press, says that the close of the deal is "imminent, maybe as early as ...

Copley Bell Rings No More: Union-Tribune Sale Closes Monday?

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The end of the Copley-era at the Union-Tribune apparently arrived yesterday when workers at the Mission Valley plant were photographed preparing to pry the huge bronze Copley Press "Ring of Truth" logo from the building. Next to go, reportedly today, ...

Bonnie Dumanis pays off her Bank of America loan

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District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has closed out her campaign committee, Bonnie Dumanis for District Attorney, but not before raising enough money from local fat cats to pay off the $6500 balance on a $20,000 loan at 9.5 percent from Bank ...

Is the Union-Tribune deal about to close?

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Is the close of the Union-Tribune sale to Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity by the Copley Press near completion? So says one source at the U-T plant, who claims that documents including an offer of employment with the new company, to ...

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