(shutterstock)

Underhanded Dealings

The dark side of the “shadow economy”

Unscrupulous vendors are a small part of the so-called shadow economy – the unlicensed contractor for sure, but also a vast black market of businesses, often cash-only, working out of homes or garages, that don’t pay the taxes or licensing fees their competitors do. While profitable for the person getting away with it, this underground economy hits all of us right where it hurts – in the pocketbook.

Oct 24, 2014 Rich Ehisen
(Zuza Hicks)

In the Dark?

6 steps to navigating Title 24’s new lighting standards

The updated Title 24 energy efficiency standards will greatly impact how property owners design, construct and renovate buildings. Bernie Kotlier, co-chair of the nonprofit California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, shares the best ways to navigate the changes:

Oct 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
(shutterstock)

Missing Pieces

Is California's latest disability access law causing more lawsuits?

With California leading the nation in ADA lawsuits, two years ago state legislators enacted a reform designed to thread the needle between those positions by educating more businesses about their responsibilities so they would make required access changes. Today, no one can say whether compliance has increased. But the number of ADA lawsuits has soared.

Aug 27, 2014 Steven Yoder

Patent Trolls

What are they, and what's being done to stop them?

Patent infringement lawsuits have long been the business version of a first world problem — a thorny matter for the Googles and Samsungs of the world. But in recent years, so-called patent trolls, shell companies that exist only to sue other companies for allegedly violating patents the shell company owns, have been going after much smaller businesses, from coffee shops to real estate offices.

Jun 30, 2014 Rich Ehisen
U.S. Representative Ami Bera

Paging Dr. Bera

Seeking remedies in the halls of Congress

U.S. Rep. Ami Bera has spent most of his career as one of the Capital Region’s leading voices on health care, first as a doctor and later as Sacramento County’s chief medical officer and a dean of admissions for the UC Davis medical school.

Sep 30, 2013 Rich Ehisen
Article Consignment Boutique

Are You Watching?

Smart companies take advantage of new security options

The scene was right out of a TV cop drama. Shots rang out. A crowd ducked for cover. The bad guys sped off in a getaway car. The incident in a Sacramento shopping mall last year was real life. But just like on television, the case was wrapped up in three hours, with the bad guys in jail and the car impounded.

Sep 30, 2013 Bill Sessa

Merge or Purge

Community banks contemplate consolidation as regulatory costs grow

Banks throughout the country are putting new practices in place to comply with an onset of new federal regulations prompted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other post-meltdown rule changes. Those expensive efforts are sparking major changes and concerns for some of the Capital Region’s smaller lenders.

Jul 31, 2013 Torey Van Oot

Encryptionite

A simple step can hinder thieves

Last year, 2.5 million Californians were victims of security breaches that revealed their personal information to unauthorized people, according to the state Attorney General.

More dramatic than the number of people victimized is the conclusion that 1.4 million of those people would have been protected if merchants and businesses had taken the simple step to encrypt the data, inserting a digital key that locks access to information as it is transmitted.

Jun 30, 2013 Bill Sessa
(istockphoto.com)

We Are the 96%

What affordable care really means for your business

In just nine months, the bulk of the federal Affordable Care Act will go into effect. Many of its provisions will have a real impact on the majority of small-business owners. Still, less than 1 percent of America’s small businesses are currently in a position to face penalties under the law. Here’s what you need to know:

Apr 30, 2013 John Arensmeyer
Robert Rivinius, executive director, Family Business Association

Family Advocate

A new family-business crusader emerges

California’s seven family business centers (including two in the Capital Region) are committed to addressing the needs and challenges of family-owned companies.

However, all are registered as 501(c)3 organizations, and as such are precluded from lobbying activities.

Apr 30, 2013 Douglas Curley