If there was a soundtrack to banking this summer, it sounded something like the theme from “Jaws” — tense, ominous and hinting at unknown dangers below the surface.
This summer, the Milken Institute released its second report on manufacturing in California. Seven years the institute sounded the alarm that California was losing its manufacturing edge, the driving force for postwar prosperity from the aerospace industry through high technology. The institute said policy makers should pay attention to the state’s manufacturing decline.
Most recognized California as “the Golden State” long before lawmakers adopted the official nickname in 1968. But while California’s standing as the land of big ideas and golden opportunities is well-earned, so too is its recent reputation as a state in perpetual crisis. In few places is this more evident than the state’s ongoing debate over its aging and unsustainable water management system.
The new-home market in Solano County soared even higher than that of California as a whole, and it fell harder too.
Many things can claim victim status in the wake of the current economy, but local MBA programs aren’t one of them.
Despite significant tuition costs, ranging from $12,000 to $40,000, MBA programs are at worst holding steady in enrollments, and many are actually enjoying surges — not just in applications but in qualified applications.
The smart landlords are doing whatever it takes to keep old tenants and lure new ones. That includes free rent, bigger allowances for tenant improvements, free signs and plain old cash. “If there is less than two years remaining on the lease, a savvy landlord really should be talking to them about extending,” Frisch says. “Oftentimes landlords and property managers don’t start that conversation until it is much later in the lease term.” But if a tenant is in good enough financial shape to keep paying the rent, very few landlords will renegotiate a deal with more than two years left, Frisch says.
With the national economy stumbling along like a wounded animal, the only steady growth these days is in the number of workers being shown the door. But while layoffs can be demoralizing, those workers who remain on the job may find “the Great Recession” to be a huge career booster.
California is running out of money, pure and simple. As we go to press, the state is finalizing the budget and lurching from one financial crisis to the next thanks to elected leaders who put politics above fiscal responsibility.
Mary Nichols is no stranger to innovation. As one of the nation’s first environmental attorneys, Nichols has spent her career protecting natural resources at the state and federal level. She also served as the California Air Resources Board Chairwoman from 1978 to 1983, and now she’s at it again.
It may seem odd that local colleges, universities and vocational schools are putting energy into building a large base of qualified workers in an economy that is already showing double-digit unemployment and forcing many to leave retirement.
The cost of lumber, steel, asphalt and other construction materials has been on a wild ride since the early part of this decade, but don’t be fooled by the relatively placid prices in 2009. Industry players say it’s likely just a brief respite before the roller coaster starts climbing again.
For all of us at Comstock’s, this month is a cause for great celebration — and for a sobering assessment. We are celebrating 20 remarkable years in the business of delivering insightful commentary to the Capital Region’s business leaders. At the same time we are assessing what the next year or two, or 10, will mean for the magazine and for all of us in the region.
Boomers are booming, and skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities are struggling to keep up. But the focus isn’t on beds and population numbers alone. Baby boomers are a picky bunch, and they’re not likely to rest easy with the status quo, say caretakers, many of whom are seniors themselves. That’s part of the reason rehab care has taken on a new face in the past few years, one that’s focused on a philosophy change about senior care.
Late on a work night, Amy Mathews picked up her ringing BlackBerry to find a frantic customer on the other end. On an airplane nearing departure for Buenos Aires, a woman realized her debit card was on the verge of expiration. She would be out of the country for weeks without an easy way to access cash. Mathews knew she held the solution in her palm. From her BlackBerry, the corporate banking manager at Mechanics Bank fired off a couple emails and got a new debit card ordered in minutes.
Forty years ago, pedestrian malls became the rage across America. As cities tried to revitalize their downtowns to compete with fancy new suburban shopping malls, more than 200 cities and towns — including Sacramento — closed streets to traffic and parking, planted trees and installed fountains and benches to create pedestrian-friendly retail areas.
When most people think of action heroes, they do so in Hollywood terms: big, brawling, muscle-bound guys for whom compromise is always a dirty word. But in politics, brute force rarely holds sway over the art of the deal. In that regard, Doris Matsui, who represents much of Sacramento in Congress, may just be our very own action star.
The credit crunch and other broad changes in economic conditions cut a wide swath through the ranks of potential buyers. Those who are left are biding their time, lining up cash and waiting for a sweet deal, probably a distressed property at a bargain price. But far fewer multifamily properties are facing the default notices that helped drive down prices for single-family homes, and many landlords are trying to ride out the storm. The result is very few deals.
If Napa County is wine country and Calaveras County is frog-jumping territory, where does that leave a place like Solano? Trying to catch up, perhaps.Thirty years ago Napa County was where Solano is today, says Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan. In 1992, Napa brought in $361 million in tourism revenue, and with $319 million, Solano wasn’t far behind. Fast-forward to 2006: Napa brought in almost $890 million, but Solano’s revenue only rose to $554 million.