Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reality Check

I am very fortunate, I live in what I believe is one of the finest areas to live in the United States: Southern California, the Inland Empire, the Pomona Valley, Claremont.

The area has a wonderful climate, culture, entertainment, sports,  KTLA Morning News, and too many Republicans. What more could I ask for. But like anywhere in America problems exist. Many areas of the country currently are having problems between Police and their citizens: Ferguson, Missouri; Brooklyn, New York; Miami, Florida; relations strained, due to race, gender, income.

It so happens I observed these strained relations even in Claremont, California.

I was purchasing gas at a local station, while waiting in line to pay, a Claremont Police Officer entered the store and proclaimed and I quote: “Do you want that piece of human crap to leave?” The Officer was referring to a homeless gentlemen sitting on a bench in front of the store. The gentlemen working the cash register of the store said, “No he is okay, leave him alone.” I smiled good for him.

The Officer did not let up, again, “What a piece of crap, I will run him off.”  The Officer exited the store with the employee following behind telling him it is okay. The Officer treated the individual minding his own business sitting on a bench with disrespect and forced him to leave the area.

I was shocked on many fronts: the total disrespect of a human being, who was not harming anyone, the totally inappropriate nature of the Officer’s use of language and procedure, and finally, how this could happen in Claremont?

I love my life in Claremont, but also I realize Claremont is not perfect, it is my duty as a citizen to make the quality of life here better. I am bringing this incident to the attention of our Police Department. We shall see.

WHAT IS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA? - Southern California, often abbreviated as SoCal, is a megaregion or megapolitan area in the southern portion of the US state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The region generally comprises California's southernmost 10 counties, stretching along the coast from about San Luis Obispo County to the United States and Mexico border, and from the Pacific Ocean inland to the Nevada and Arizona borders. The heavily built-up urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura, through the Greater Los Angeles Area, the Inland Empire and down to San Diego. Southern California is a major economic center for the state of California and the United States.

Southern California's population encompasses eight metropolitan areas, or MSAs: the Los Angeles metropolitan area, consisting of Los Angeles and Orange counties; the Inland Empire, consisting of Riverside and San Bernardino counties; the San Diego metropolitan area; the Bakersfield metropolitan area; the Oxnard–Thousand Oaks–Ventura metropolitan area; the Santa Barbara metro area; the San Luis Obispo metropolitan area; and the El Centro area. Out of these, three are heavy populated areas: the Los Angeles area with over 12 million inhabitants, the Riverside-San Bernardino area with over 4 million inhabitants, and the San Diego area with over 3 million inhabitants. For CSA metropolitan purposes, the five counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura are all combined to make up the Greater Los Angeles Area with over 17.5 million people. With over 22 million people, southern California contains roughly 60% of California's population.

To the east of southern California are the Colorado Desert and the Colorado River at the border with the state of Arizona and the Mojave Desert at the border with the state of Nevada. To the south lies the international border with Mexico, and to the west lies the Pacific Ocean.

WHAT IS THE INLAND EMPIRE? - The Inland Empire (I.E.) is a metropolitan area and region of Southern California. It is situated directly east of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The term "Inland Empire" is most commonly used in reference to the U.S. Census Bureau federally defined Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, which covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2). The metropolitan area consists of Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

According to the Census Bureau, the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside are home to over 4 million people and is the 13th-most populous metropolitan area in the United States, and the third-most populous in the state of California.[2] Most of the area's population is located in the southwest of San Bernardino County and the northwest of Riverside County. At the end of the 19th century, the Inland Empire was a major center of agriculture, including citrus, dairy, and wine-making. Agriculture declined through the 20th century, and since the 1970s a rapidly growing population, fed by families migrating in search of affordable housing, has led to more residential, industrial, and commercial development. The U.S. Census Bureau also combines the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the Inland Empire into one larger region known as the Greater Los Angeles Area with a population of over 17 million.

WHAT IS THE POMONA VALLEY? - The Pomona Valley, located between the San Gabriel Valley and Cucamonga Valley in Southern California, straddles the border between Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County. The alluvial valley is formed by the Santa Ana River and its tributaries.

Physical dividing lines separating Pomona Valley from San Bernardino Valley on the east include San Antonio Creek, which runs south out of the San Gabriel Mountains watershed around Mount San Antonio (known locally as Mt. Baldy) and joins the Santa Ana River south of Chino. Pomona Valley is separated from San Gabriel Valley to the west by the northeastern end of the San Jose Hills, running approximately along State Route 57. The northern boundary is the San Gabriel Mountains; on the south lie the Chino Hills. Historic U.S. Route 66 runs east-west across the north side of Pomona Valley.

On March 1, 1893 the California Assembly voted 54-14 for a new county to form in the region, to be named San Antonio County, with Pomona as its seat. Los Angeles interests in the Senate rejected the concept, however, and today the eastern and western portions of the valley remain divided between San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

WHAT IS CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA? - Claremont is a college town on the eastern border of Los Angeles County, California, United States, 32.5 miles (52.3 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. Claremont is located at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and Claremont Colleges are located there. The population, as of the 2010 census, is 34,926. Claremont is known for its many educational institutions, its tree-lined streets, and its historic buildings. In July 2007, it was rated by CNN/Money magazine as the fifth best place to live in the United States, and was the highest rated place in California on the list. Due to its large number of trees and residents with doctoral degrees, it is sometimes referred to as "The City of Trees and PhDs".

The city is primarily residential, with a significant portion of its commercial activity revolving around "The Village", a popular collection of street-front small stores, boutiques, art galleries, offices, and restaurants adjacent to and west of the Claremont Colleges. The Village was expanded in 2007, adding a controversial multi-use development that includes a cinema, a boutique hotel, retail space, offices, and a parking structure on the site of an old citrus packing plant just west of Indian Hill Boulevard. Some critics say that the expansion negatively altered the original, small-town feel of The Village.

Claremont has been a winner of the National Arbor Day Association's Tree City USA award for 22 consecutive years. When the city incorporated in 1907, local citizens started what has since become the city's tree-planting tradition. Claremont is one of the few remaining places in North America with American Elm trees that have not been exposed to Dutch elm disease. The stately trees line Indian Hill Boulevard in the vicinity of the city's Memorial Park.

The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank (lets’ keep that quiet), is located in Claremont. Several retirement communities, among them Pilgrim Place, the Claremont Manor and Mt. San Antonio Gardens, are also located in Claremont. Also Claremont is the home of Rink Rats.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Mark Cuban is fighting back against student loan sharks who are drowning thousands of college students, and the economy, in a sea of debt.

Cuban went on CNBC to pitch his plan to tackle the country’s student loan debt crisis, which has now eclipsed $1 trillion. The best way to fix the crisis, he says, is to limit the amount each student is allowed to receive a year to no more than $10,000.

Cuban said that a cap on student loans would force universities to lower tuition cost and curtail spending. Rising tuition cost are putting a strain on an already fragile economy, and lowering tuition costs would improve a student’s purchasing power, Cuban said.

Tuition revenue has become the primary source of revenue at universities across the country, and Cuban equates this revenue source as “easy money,” and that colleges are using the money to embark on spending sprees: “[It's] just easy money, and easy money goes to a college administrators’ head just as much as anybody else. Anytime you create easy money, you’re gonna create a bubble or inflation, and that’s what’s happening with college tuition.”

And the bubble is on the verge of bursting.

Debt has become the new black for millenials, as TransUnion, a Chicago-based credit management firm, released a report that shows student loan debt is hampering the ability of 20-somethings to take out additional loans.

How bad is the crisis? Student loan debt is now carried by 36.8 percent of people ages 20-29, a jump from 12.9 percent just a decade ago. To put it in raw numbers, the average student loan balance jumped from $12,442 in 2005, to $29,575 today, and according to a study by Pew Research, even the rich have turned to borrowing for college.

This is the problem that Cuban is trying to find a solution to, as he believes solving the student loan debt crisis among college students will go a long way towards fixing the economy.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Paul Abbondante …enough said, John Dean III (76), Shannon Higgins …she does it all, Ralph Lauren (75), Roger Moore (87), Paul Simon (73).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/18, 8:00 PM ET, ABC; #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0) visit #2 Florida State Criminals (6-0). Against all out better judgment, we pick The Irish to send Florida State to jail, 32 – 30.  Season to date (4-3)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/18, 5:00 PM ET, HGTV; The central Michigan rivalry continues: Albion Britons (3-2) visit Adrian Bulldogs (4-1). They will be 3,000 strong in this MIAA traditional clash – Bulldogs 28 Britons 10. Season to date (3-3)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/19, 8:30 PM ET, NBC; San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-1). We smell an upset here, 9ers 35 Broncos 32.  Season to date (3-3)

THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS – Swami had a bad week all around last week, we seek redemption this week.

(NCAA, Oct. 18) #15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-1) 45 at #12 TCU Horned Frogs (4-1) 35

(NCAA SCIAC, Oct. 18) La Verne Leopards (1-3) 42 at Whittier Richard Nixons (1-3) 28

(NHL, Oct. 19) Toronto Maple Leafs (1-2) 3 at Detroit Red Wings (1-1) 4

(NFL, Oct. 19) New York Football Giants (3-3) 24 at Dallas Cowboys (5-1) 21

Season to date (55 - 49)

MARKET WEEK - MARKETS KEEP SINKING: Asian stocks got off to shaky start on Monday in step with a steep decline on Wall Street as worries about global economic growth sapped confidence, keeping crude oil prices stuck near four-year lows. ... Japanese financial markets are closed on Monday and other major centers including the United States and Canada will be partially, or fully, shut for holidays as well. The declines in Asian markets came after U.S. stocks skidded 1.2 percent on Friday and Wall Street's fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, jumped to a near two-year high.

With Europe staring at the prospects of a recession, Japan's economy floundering, China's expansion slowing and the Federal Reserve on track to end its bond-buying stimulus soon, investors have been cutting back on risk assets in earnest.

THE CORRECTION IS ALREADY HERE - For most American stocks, the correction has arrived. While gauges such as the Standard & Poor's 500 Index cling to gains for the year, declines that exceed 10 percent are spreading in the broader market. In the Russell 3000 Index, for example, 79 percent of companies are down that much from their highs ... Concern the rate of global growth is slowing and the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates has pushed the S&P 500 down 5.2 percent from its September record. The 1,700-stock Value Line Arithmetic index, which strips out weightings related to market value to show how the average U.S. stock has fared, is down 10 percent since July. Three weeks of declines have broken the almost unprecedented calm that had enveloped markets for most of 2014. Eight trading days into October, the S&P 500 has posted six single-day moves exceeding 1 percent. The market went without any swings of that size for 62 days in May, June and July, the longest stretch since 1995. At the same time, the 5.2 percent decline that started in September is only slightly bigger than the last two retreats that exceeded 3 percent, in April and August. Both gave way to larger advances. At about 15 times forecast earnings, the S&P 500's valuation has climbed 40 percent from the bottom in 2011.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Wall Street banks begin reporting third-quarter results this week with JPMorganChase kicking things off on Tuesday. JPM execs will face lots of questions over the latest cyber attack that hit 76 million accounts. Citigroup and Wells Fargo also report on Tuesday followed Bank of America Wednesday and Goldman Sachs Thursday, among others ... President Obama makes a rare public campaign appearance on Wednesday but it is in deep-blue Connecticut for a rally featuring Gov. Dan Malloy ...

CHINA EXPORTS RISE: China's exports rose more than estimated in September and imports rebounded as global demand helps underpin growth in the world's second-largest economy. Exports increased 15.3 percent from a year earlier ... compared with the 12 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Imports rose 7 percent, against projections for a 2 percent decline, leaving a trade surplus of $31 billion. ...

China is benefiting from a U.S. recovery, bolstering an economy weighed down by a property slump and slowdown in industrial-output growth. Analysts forecast China's expansion this year will moderate to 7.3 percent, the slowest since 1990, and to 7 percent in 2015.

Next week: Fall in the garden and auto contract negotiation time.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

October 14, 2014
#V-26, 235

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – eflake The New Yorker

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