CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 2013 |
The pickup truck tooled around Highland Park on Saturday morning, loudspeakers in back crooning in Spanish: "Wendy, la Wendy. We're gonna vote. $15 an hour we'll make. Wendy, la Wendy, we're gonna dance. Eric Garcetti, start crying. " A political mailer prepared by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor -- and duly posted on the city's Ethics Commission website -- offers a strikingly similar promise. "On May 21, our votes can raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour," says the brochure from the Coalition for Better Schools and Communities, the organization's "super-PAC.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 5, 2013 |
In 2006, billionaire computer magnate Michael Dell, one of the world's richest men, agreed to pay $200 million for the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, a beachfront landmark in Santa Monica that long has been a retreat for Hollywood starlets and U.S. presidents. A few months later, Dell tore up the contract. He still wanted the hotel. But his attorneys had found a simple way to reshuffle the deal to avoid a legal change in ownership. The maneuver saved about $1 million a year in property taxes -- an option available only to businesses, not homeowners, under the arcane rules governing Proposition 13. The Miramar deal illustrates how businesses can easily -- and legally -- avoid property tax hikes under the California ballot initiative passed in 1978.
May 5, 2013 |
Fifty miles north of San Francisco, straddling U.S. Highway 101, sits Santa Rosa, former home of Charles M. Schulz and the gang from "Peanuts. " From the highway, as you boom past at 70 mph, Santa Rosa appears to be just another somewhere on the way to somewhere else. But a short detour east into downtown or west into the wine country quickly proves otherwise. The tab: We spent $163 for a night at the Hotel La Rose, dinner for two at Willi's Wine Bar was $84, including wine, and a lavish picnic from Whole Foods Market came to $43. Gas and incidentals added $100 to the tab. Wine at Bella and Iron Horse vineyards, of course, was extra.
May 5, 2013
Mahalo nui loa ("thank you very much") for the Special Hawaii Issue [April 21]. Fabulous memories of several visits to the islands in paradise were made vivid by the stories, pictures and maps of Oahu, Molokai and the cruise with stops at the Big Island, Kauai and Maui. One bit of cautionary advice: Limit each visit to Hawaii to no longer than five days. By Day 7, island fever sets in and your vacation turns into "Paradise Lost. " Aloha. Dan Anzel Los Angeles Fast passport renewal Regarding "Fast … and Safe" [On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, April 21]
April 29, 2013 |
CAIRO - Hold the martini, please. With fanfare and cheers from Islamists, the first nonalcoholic hotel in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Hurghada has opened, a testament to a new political culture, which seeks at the very least a veneer of piety in a nation caught in the fury of upheaval. Egypt is mired in political and economic problems. It drifts from crisis to crisis and is headed for a dangerous summer of power outages and gas shortages. Such temporal annoyances, however, have not dissuaded conservative Islamists from trying to bring the nation in closer sync with the Koran.
April 28, 2013
Nobu Hotel, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas; (702) 785-6677, http://www.nobucaesarspalace.com . Doubles $169 to $459 a night. Adjacent to the hotel is the dramatic 12,775-square-foot Nobu restaurant, whose Latin-infused Japanese cuisine (entrees $14 to $95) informs the hotel's in-room dining menu; hotel guests get preferential reservations. At Qua, the Caesars Palace spa, therapeutic treatments are $50 to $1,200.