Union Wants to Buy the SF Chronicle

Remember when United Airlines was acquired by their 3 main labor unions… that worked out really well didn’t it? Apparently a union representing newspaper employees wants to buy the SF Chronicle from Hearst in order to preserve the jobs that would be lost if the newspaper was shut down, which is a very real possibility. Their master stroke of strategy includes raising revenues rather than cutting costs… I wonder why nobody thought of that before?

The request was made in a written set of suggestions for keeping the paper alive that the California Media Workers Guild submitted to Hearst earlier this week. “It is our intention to form a public-labor partnership to explore the possibility of acquiring the Chronicle should the paper be offered for sale,” the Guild proposal states. “If necessary, we will keep the paper going on borrowed funds and volunteer labor.”

[From San Francisco - The Snitch - Union Floats Proposal to Buy San Francisco Chronicle]

According to local news sources, there is some kind of tentative deal between the union and Hearst, but if it’s like my proposed acquisition of Citibank, well it’s contingent upon necessary financing… which will no doubt be coming in the form of a no-doc, no money down, interest rate only ARM that I can pawn off on the government at some future point in time. Too big to fail!

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Read more on Chronicle at Wikinvest

SNL on Geithner

SNL got funny again this weekend, I didn’t watch it live but this clip has certainly made the rounds over the last 24 hours. It would be a lot funnier if it were not for the fact that there is a lot of truth to it.

S.F. construction slows to a crawl

It’s interesting to me that despite the great preponderance of stories documenting evaporating local government revenue sources and the subsequent impact on jobs and related economic activity, nobody makes the connection to how cities, in this case building departments, actually increase costs and time required for the economic activity they are supposed to support, thereby contributing to its unsustainability in the first place.

The dearth of development activity and the perception that a recovery is not imminent has meant stalled growth in neighborhoods that were expected to blossom, scores of layoffs in city departments that rely on permit applications, and a precipitous decline in construction jobs.

[From S.F. construction slows to a crawl]

The state of California, coupled with local regulations, has created a zoning, code, and environmental compliance scheme that assures one thing only, that it is really really expensive to build anything in this state. Putting aside complex urban developments like the condo referenced in the above article, even building a single family home is a budget buster in the Golden State, costs for modest homes begin at $150 per square foot, while in other states it is more likely to cost $50-75.

Will governments realize that they themselves are an obstacle to economic recovery? Doubtful because like all power structures well embedded, they resist change even when it is plainly obvious because to do so would erode their power and oversight, something that is in abundance in CA.