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Lawmakers Propose Measure to Avert Government Shutdown

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 7:44pm
The vote on Tuesday will be a referendum on a bid to include Senator Joe Manchin’s plan to make it easier to build oil and gas infrastructure projects, including one in his home state of West Virginia.

For a Deaf Family in Ukraine, War Is a Bewildering Terror

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 7:35pm
People with disabilities in the country are often isolated and poor, and for those like Antonina Andriyenko and her daughter, Tanya, the fear and confusion of trying to stay safe is a constant struggle.

Biden Is Hoping Small Changes Go a Long Way on Immigration

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 6:46pm
The United States has started to allow people to apply for asylum under a new process that the secretary of homeland security hopes can help fix the current “very broken system.”

A New Book Traces the Last, Painful Days of Anthony Bourdain

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 6:33pm
A new, unauthorized biography reveals intimate, often raw, details of the TV star’s life and death. And it’s drawing criticism from many of his friends and family.

Keir Starmer Accuses Liz Truss of Losing Control of Britain’s Economy

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 6:33pm
Under the governing Conservatives, the markets are down and the pound is under pressure. On Thursday, Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, staked his claim as the guardian of sound fiscal policy.

The Stolen Babies of Spain

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:58pm
Under Francisco Franco’s rule, thousands of newborns were secretly taken from hospitals and sold to wealthy Catholic families. Now they are beginning to uncover their own histories.

Los Angeles homebuying hits record low, prices fall 5.2% from peak

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:31pm

Los Angeles County homebuying chilled this summer.

The homebuying pace cooled by 28% in August to a record low as house hunters were scared off by 41% higher house payments. Los Angeles County home prices are now 5.2% off their springtime peak.

Here’s what my trusty spreadsheet found in DQNews’ report on closed home purchases in Los Angeles County in August

Sales swings

Total: 5,580 Los Angeles County single-family, condominium, existing and newly constructed homes sold. This was the slowest August of the 35 since 1988.

Lansner’s mailbag: Housing crash is media’s fault

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One-month change: 2% increase from July. Since 1988, sales have fallen in August 44% of the time with an average 2.5% increase from July.

12-month change: 28% decrease — No. 23 biggest decline since 1988 (or only 6% worse months.)

Summer slump: It’s not just one month as the 17,710 homes sold in June to August was down 28% in a year to the slowest mid-summer pace in the past 35 years.

Price patterns

The median: $820,000 countywide for all homes — down 2.4% in a month and up 4.5% in a year. Record L.A. high? $865,000 set in April. So, prices are 5.2% off their peak.

One-month trend: Since 1988, a typical August had prices dip 40% of the time with with an average 0.04% gain.

One-year trend: Smallest increase in 23 months. Average gain since 1988? 5.3% annualized.

Downpayment: $164,000 at 20%, up $7,000 in a year.

Key L.A. slices

Existing single-family houses: 3,828 sold, down 29% in a year. Median of $872,000 was up 2% over 12 months.

Existing condos: 1,520 sales, down 30% over 12 months. Median of $683,000 was up 9% in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 232 new homes, down 23% in a year. Median of $990,750 was up 25% over 12 months.

Builder share: 4.2% of sales vs. 3.9% a year earlier. Related Articles

Rates

How pricey has money become? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.38% in the three months ending in August vs. 2.9% a year earlier. That translates to 26% less buying power for house hunters — largest drop since 1971.

Payment pain: Changing rates meant a buyer paid $3,677 a month for Los Angeles’s $820,000 median priced-residence vs. $2,613 monthly on a $785,000 median 12 months earlier. So prices rose 4% vs. a house payment’s 41% increase.Related Articles

Downpayment: 20% down was $164,000 last month, up $7,000 in a year.

Bigger picture

Southern California: 17,698 homes — sold in six counties, up 8% for the month, and down 28% over the past year, says a DQNews report. The region’s median price of $740,000 was flat for the month, and up 9% over 12 months.

What are sellers are thinking? Listings are up dramatically. August homes for sale in the four counties totaled 28,286 — up 61% from December, Redfin figures show.

What’s the industry thinking? Local real estate bosses cooled hiring — added 600 workers in the four counties in August vs. 1,240 workers added monthly on average in the past year.

What are landlords thinking? Rent hikes are smaller — $8 increase for a typical Southern California apartment in August vs. $13 increases on average the previous six months. And six of the 21 big cities had falling rents, ApartmentList data shows.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com

LA County Board of Supervisors to consider formally opposing Lindsay Graham’s abortion ban

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:23pm

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider going on record in opposition to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks across the country.

The board’s motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, would call on the county’s lobbyists to formally oppose the bill by Graham, R-South Carolina, and all similar bans or restrictions.

“The bill’s mere introduction demonstrates a further attempt to erode the right to an abortion nationwide — disputing the veiled attempt of some to rely on the argument that the right to an abortion should be left to the state,” Solis wrote in the motion. “Instead, Senator Graham made clear, only several weeks after he said it should be left to the states, that abortion is not a states’ right issue.”

Graham’s bill was introduced in the Senate months after the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June, which ruled that U.S. Constitution does not grant the right to an abortion. The decision led to multiple states across the country outright banning abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

Some states have taken the decision on whether to ban abortions to voters, including in Kansas, where voters rejected a measure to change the state’s constitution to prohibit the procedure.

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“I agree that abortion is now in the hands of the states, but it does not mean that Washington is closed for business when it comes to protecting the unborn,” Graham said in a statement this month. “While I’m a strong believer in the Tenth Amendment, many abuses have been justified under the guise of states’ rights. I do not believe completely abandoning the unborn under the guise of states’ rights serves the conservative cause or makes us a better nation.”

Inflation Has Hit Tenants Hard. What About Their Landlords?

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:17pm
Publicly traded corporate landlords are reporting some of their highest margins ever, while smaller operators say rent increases are eaten up by costs.

Illuminate SilverLakes offers discount early bird tickets for Christmas event in Norco

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:00pm

An all-new holiday light show is coming to SilverLakes Equestrian and Sports Park in Norco.

Illuminate SilverLakes will open Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, and run through Dec. 30, according to a recent press release.

Visitors will walk through an illuminated tunnel to destinations such as a forest of electric Christmas trees, a reindeer grove with Santa’s sleigh and Santa’s village. There will also be shopping, food and live entertainment.

Illuminate SilverLake is produced by Skyline Production Group, based in Eastvale, which partnered with Pluto TV on a “Lupin the Third” escape room at the 2022 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, according to its Facebook page.

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Tickets for Illuminate SilverLakes are available at illuminate.holiday at a discount through Oct. 31. Prices are currently $28 for adults and $18 for children ages 3-12. Prices increase in November to $48 for adults and $34 for children.

SilverLakes is a 130-acre facility along 15 Freeway in Norco. It has space for family events and concerts as well as sporting events, including Boots in the Park with Tim McGraw earlier this year.

The park has been used for holiday events in years past, including a drive-thru experience called Electric Noel in 2020, a carefully curated socially-distanced holiday event produced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the 210 Freeway get an additional lane in San Bernardino County?

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 5:00pm

Q: Several years ago, the 210 Freeway was expanded from Los Angeles County into San Bernardino County. Steve Shepherd of Rancho Cucamonga said that when the San Bernardino County portion was built, there was room for four lanes plus a carpool lane, but only three regular lanes were painted. Around the transition from LA County to San Bernardino County, the lanes reduce from four to three. During rush hour eastbound traffic slows to a crawl, frustrating commuters, Shepherd said. He said there is plenty of space for an additional freeway lane and a shoulder, and asked why Caltrans has not added another lane.

A: There are four lanes plus a carpool lane as drivers cross the county line eastbound from Los Angeles County to San Bernardino County. The lane reduction occurs about two miles east as drivers pass the overcrossing at San Antonio Avenue.

There are currently no planned projects that would increase lane capacity on the 210 Freeway, and none are anticipated in the future, said Emily Leinen, Caltrans District 8 spokeswoman. “Additionally, initiating a project to add a lane is a complicated and very lengthy process. Pavement materials/structure/composition between travel lanes and freeway shoulders could vary, as the shoulders are not designed to carry continuous traffic every day,” Leinen said.

“Although the Transportation Concept Reports across the department used the Level of Service metric to determine future improvements, which for 210 had indicated a need for additional lanes in some segments of this freeway, the department has since moved away from Level of Service, per Senate Bill 743 requirements, as a metric to determine needed improvements on the State Highway System,” Leinen said. Additionally, she said, as a result of SB 743, when proposing any new development projects in the future, especially involving increased capacity, the development project will need to mitigate induced “vehicle miles traveled” impacts and greenhouse gas emissions impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act. Learn more about SB 743 at: https://www.sb743.org and https://dot.ca.gov/programs/sustainability/sb-743.

In essence, SB 743 directed Caltrans to shift its focus toward considering other mitigations and strategies for addressing freeway congestion instead of adding more traffic lanes, Leinen said. These strategies include promoting projects that help move people without significantly increasing vehicle miles traveled, investing in networks of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and improving an integrated, statewide rail and transit network. “This shift is consistent and aligns with the guiding principles laid out in the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure and other Statewide policies and documents,” she said.

Transportation projects in the IE

Elsewhere in the Inland Empire, projects will move forward with newly allocated funding from the California Transportation Commission, which this summer allocated over $2.2 billion to fix and improve transportation infrastructure statewide. Over $1.6 billion in funding will come from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and nearly $336 million will come from the state.

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Projects approved for the Inland Empire include:

• $9.51 million to rehabilitate bridges on Highway 74 near Lake Elsinore at Morrill Canyon Bridge and near Hemet at Strawberry Creek Bridge in Riverside County.• $248 million to fix roadways, shoulders and ramps on the 10 Freeway near Blythe to the Arizona state line.• $2.38 million to improve safety at various locations along the 60 and 215 freeways in Riverside County.• $3.44 million to make bike lanes safer on the 38 in Chino and Ontario from Chino Avenue to the 10 Freeway.• $23.86 million to build a new southbound weigh station and truck safety inspection facility in the Cajon Pass. The existing southbound Cajon Truck scale facility on the 15 Freeway will be closed.

On the Road has a new email address. Please to write us at ontheroad@scng.com.

Do you commute to work in the Inland Empire? Spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, freeways, toll roads or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please include your question or issue, name, city of residence, phone number and email address. Write ontheroad@scng.com or call 951-368-9670.

Jails Boss Pushed for Dying Man’s Release to Limit Rikers Death Count

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 4:57pm
Louis A. Molina, New York City’s jail commissioner, told his senior staff to ensure that a dying man was “off the department’s count.”

Joe Biden’s $400 billion giveaway

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 4:49pm

 

President Joe Biden’s legally suspect plan to waive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Americans making up to $125,000 per year will cost approximately $400 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That’s an absurd amount of money to be conjured up through executive fiat in order to “aid” a set of Americans with greater economic prospects than the average American.

The CBO’s updated information should encourage legal challenges to the Biden administration’s cynical and irresponsible attempt to manipulate Americans with student loan debts at the expense of others.

To recap: In August, the Biden administration announced the plan to waive away $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans earning less than $125,000 per year, and an additional $10,000 for those who had qualified for federal Pell Grants, which aids low-income students.

The administration invoked the HEROES Act, a post-Sept. 11 law granting the secretary of the Department of Education the power to provide student loan relief in the context of a national emergency. The text of the law itself, however, makes clear that the law was intended to aid military members.

“The HEROES Act was intended to relieve student debt for soldiers risking their lives to fight for our country after 9/11,” noted Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Florida. “This is a slap in the face to veterans and Biden is using this law as an excuse for his disgraceful abuse of power.”

Yet the Biden administration decided to invoke the law, nearly two decades later, to apply to the “national emergency” of COVID-19. Ironically, Biden said this very month the COVID-19 pandemic “is over.”

“The pandemic is over,” Biden said in a “60 Minutes” interview. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.”

So much for a national emergency necessitating a $400 billion bailout of people making as much as six figures.

The Biden administration plainly overreached its legitimate authority in seeking this student loan relief plan without congressional authorization.

Americans who didn’t seek a college degree, and those who did and sacrificed to do the right thing and pay off their debts, would be right to be bothered by the Biden administration’s misplaced priorities.

If Biden really cared about the problem of student loan debts and college affordability, he would have worked with Congress to find a solution to the perpetually surging cost of a college education. But he didn’t do that. He opted for a costly and legally suspect political stunt rather than problem-solving.

Meta says it disabled 1,600 Facebook accounts spreading Russian disinformation

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 4:14pm

A sprawling disinformation network originating in Russia sought to use hundreds of fake social media accounts and dozens of sham news websites to spread Kremlin talking points about the invasion of Ukraine, Meta revealed Tuesday.

The company, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said it identified and disabled the operation before it was able to gain a large audience. Nonetheless, Facebook said it was the largest and most complex Russian propaganda effort that it has found since the invasion began.

The operation involved more than 60 websites created to mimic legitimate news sites including The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and Germany’s Der Spiegel. Instead of the actual news reported by those outlets, the fake sites contained links to Russian propaganda and disinformation about Ukraine. More than 1,600 fake Facebook accounts were used to spread the propaganda to audiences in Germany, Italy, France, the U.K. and Ukraine.

The findings highlighted both the promise of social media companies to police their sites and the peril that disinformation continues to pose.

“Video: False Staging in Bucha Revealed!” claimed one of the fake news stories, which blamed Ukraine for the slaughter of hundreds of Ukrainians in a town occupied by the Russians.

The fake social media accounts were then used to spread links to the fake news stories and other pro-Russian posts and videos on Facebook and Instagram, as well as platforms including Telegram and Twitter. The network was active throughout the summer.

“On a few occasions, the operation’s content was amplified by the official Facebook pages of Russian embassies in Europe and Asia,” said David Agranovich, Meta’s director of threat disruption. “I think this is probably the largest and most complex Russian-origin operation that we’ve disrupted since the beginning of the war in Ukraine earlier this year.”

The network’s activities were first noticed by investigative reporters in Germany. When Meta began its investigation it found that many of the fake accounts had already been removed by Facebook’s automated systems. Thousands of people were following the network’s Facebook pages when they were deactivated earlier this year.

Researchers said they couldn’t directly attribute the network to the Russian government. But Agranovich noted the role played by Russian diplomats and said the operation relied on some sophisticated tactics, including the use of multiple languages and carefully constructed imposter websites.

Since the war began in February, the Kremlin has used online disinformation and conspiracy theories in an effort to weaken international support for Ukraine. Groups linked to the Russian government have accused Ukraine of staging attacks, blamed the war on baseless allegations of U.S. bioweapon development and portrayed Ukrainian refugees as criminals and rapists.

Social media platforms and European governments have tried to stifle the Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation, only to see Russia shift tactics.

A message sent to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., asking for a response to Meta’s recent actions was not immediately returned.

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Researchers at Meta Platforms Inc., which is based in Menlo Park, also exposed a much smaller network that originated in China and attempted to spread divisive political content in the U.S.The operation reached only a tiny U.S. audience, with some posts receiving just a single engagement. The posts also made some amateurish moves that showed they weren’t American, including some clumsy English language mistakes and a habit of posting during Chinese working hours.

Despite its ineffectiveness, the network is notable because it’s the first identified by Meta that targeted Americans with political messages ahead of this year’s midterm elections. The Chinese posts didn’t support one party or the other but seemed intent on stirring up polarization.

“While it failed, it’s important because it’s a new direction” for Chinese disinformation operations, said Ben Nimmo, who directs global threat intelligence for Meta.

California’s next state controller should meet deadlines for annual financial reports

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 4:00pm

Although other than the governor, statewide elected offices often receive limited attention in California, the next state controller will face serious challenges that could greatly affect the state’s fiscal future. Thus, it is essential for California’s next controller to execute the role’s core responsibilities and provide transparency to taxpayers.

One of the controller’s key responsibilities is producing California’s annual comprehensive financial report (ACFR). Unfortunately, Betty Yee, the current state controller, has consistently published this document after the legal deadline. According to data from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, California’s report for the 2017-2018 fiscal year (FY) was 68 days late, the FY 2018-2019 ACFR was 213 days late, and the 2019-2020 ACFR was 309 days late, which is far later than any other state filed its report.

The deadline for the most recent annual comprehensive financial report was March 31, 2022. Nearly six months later, the report hasn’t been filed. On March 22, the state filed a late notice with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board saying this year’s report would be late due to “the cumulative impact of delays in the completion of Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports for the three previous fiscal years.” The notice blamed the previous years’ lateness on “departments transitioning from several separate legacy accounting systems to a new statewide accounting, budget, cash management and procurement information technology system.”

In simplified language, the state and Yee, who cannot run for reelection this year due to term limits, are blaming the transition to Fi$Cal, California’s $1 billion accounting system, which has been under development since 2005 as well as backlogs caused by previous late filings. The latter is especially worrisome because it implies that the delays will continue even after Fi$Cal is fixed.

Regardless of the technology transition, California should be able to produce its annual reports on time. The reports aren’t even due until nine months after the end of the previous fiscal year. By contrast, large corporations that issue publicly traded stocks must produce their Form 10-K, which contains their audited annual financial statements, within 60 days of the end of their fiscal years.

Another problem the next state controller will inherit is that California’s 2020 financial statements did not receive a clean audit opinion for the first time in nearly decades. The state auditor found material misstatements in the Unemployment Programs Fund that could not be rectified by the time the comprehensive financial report was issued.

Normally, credit rating agencies react to consistently late financial reports by downgrading the issuer or withdrawing its ratings entirely because tardy filings are a sign of mismanagement. California has been spared this fate because rating agencies have other ways of monitoring the state’s financial status and because revenues have been so strong. Although audited, accrual-based financial statements are lacking, rating agencies can take comfort from the fact that general fund cash receipts have been running ahead of year-ago and forecast levels.

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But, on this score, California’s luck appears to be running out. The Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates is contributing to a dampening of stock prices and thus capital gains income. Additionally, some of the California-based technology companies that have produced a gusher of corporate tax revenues and high-income earners who pay large amounts of individual income taxes, are now facing revenue headwinds and trimming staff. These factors are already impacting state revenues. For the first two months of California’s 2022-2023 fiscal year, which started July 1, the state’s general fund revenues were $2 billion, 8.4%, below the budgetary forecast. Eventually, the state’s financial management issues could even jeopardize its credit ratings, and, thus, its ability to borrow money at relatively low interest rates.

To best serve California taxpayers, the next state controller should work with the governor to stabilize Fi$Cal and then actively manage the department’s staff to end the production backlogs and delays in filing comprehensive annual financial reports. While this will likely mean working on two comprehensive annual financial reports simultaneously to catch up, California taxpayers deserve a timely report on the state’s finances.

Marc Joffe is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation. 

Padilla, Feinstein advocate for federal protections for elections workers

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 4:00pm

With less than two months before the midterms, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are pushing legislation to protect election workers.

California Sens. Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein are co-sponsors of the bill that would establish grants for states and local governments for the recruitment, retention, training and safety measures for poll workers; cover election workers under federal prohibitions on doxxing; and safeguard election officials’ ability to remove poll observers who attempt to interfere with an election.

The bill would also make coercing or threatening an election worker a federal crime, among other things, according to Padilla’s office.

“As California’s former secretary of state, I know that election workers are the backbone of our democratic elections,” said Padilla, a Democrat who assumed office in January 2021. “But increasingly, they are facing threats rooted in misinformation and ‘the Big Lie,’ simply for doing the critical work of administering our elections.”

“The Big Lie,” as Padilla referenced, refers to the oft-repeated but false claim by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

FILE - Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., is co-sponsoring legislation to enact federal protections for election workers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)FILE – Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., is co-sponsoring legislation to enact federal protections for election workers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Multiple efforts are being made to ensure the safety of election workers in Southern California, particularly in the wake of the 2020 election.

In a recent interview with the Southern California News Group, Orange County Registrar Bob Page said his office is working on extra training for those who work with voters. And a bill from Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, allowing election workers’ home addresses to be kept private, made it through the state legislature and is sitting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

One in six election workers said they have received threats and more than 75% said the federal government should be doing more to safeguard them, the Brennan Center, a nonprofit and public policy institute, found in a March survey.

Introduced just last week, the bill is led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat.

“Election workers are facing a barrage of threats from those seeking to undermine our democracy,” Klobuchar said. “We need to respond to these threats head-on and make sure that election workers are able to do their jobs. This legislation would ensure that state officials and law enforcement have the tools and resources they need to protect those on the frontlines defending our democracy.”

Related links

In a recent letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 15 secretaries of state implored the legislative leaders to push for greater federal protections for election workers, pointing to death threats and the publicization of home addresses.

“Election workers are essential to the administration of our elections, and each election we rely on citizens from across our states to lend a hand and help ensure the free exercise of the right to vote,” the Democratic coalition said. “The safety and security of these election workers is critical to the health of our democracy.”

California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber was not among the signatories to the letter. Her office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Staff writer Alicia Robinson contributed to this report.

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Russians Are Terrified and Have Nowhere to Turn

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 3:47pm
For citizens who want to escape conscription, there simply aren’t many options.

Niles: Why Disney needs a bigger Land

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 3:33pm

Some of Disneyland’s most loyal fans and customers remain salty over the resort’s recent changes to its Magic Key annual pass program.

When Disneyland finally opened renewals for Magic Key last month, it changed the program’s top tier, replacing the old Dream Key with a new Inspire Key. The big difference between the two? The Inspire Key is blocked out for the period between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays — the first blockout period for the top tier of a Disneyland annual pass.

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Magic Key already requires passholders to make advance reservations to visit the parks, meaning that passholders cannot always just roll up and visit the parks on any day when their pass is not blocked out. That has elicited a great deal of pushback — and even a lawsuit — from some longtime Disneyland fans. But many Magic Key holders have figured out how to play the advance reservation game, so that requirement is not keeping the most dedicated fans from getting inside the gates when they want.

More from Robert Niles

But no amount of checking Disney’s website for reservation ability will help you get in on a blockout day. Only buying a daily ticket can do that — and it’s understandable that Disneyland fans who already have dropped $1,599 for an Inspire Key are in no mood to do that to visit the parks during their most popular week of the year.

Contrary to the wild speculation of some conspiracy theorists, Disneyland does not make these changes because it wants to annoy or offend its most loyal customers. Disneyland is trying to balance the needs of its annual passholders with the desire of other potential visitors not to be crowded out of the parks when they want to buy a daily ticket.

Claiming that Disney managers are hurting the park when annual passholders can’t get in because the parks have hit capacity is an argument straight out of the Yogi Berra School of Logic. (“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”) Disney managers have pointed to the theme parks’ recent record financial performance as proof that their policies are working. If a few annual passholders get upset and choose to not renew, that just opens space for other Disneyland fans to get into the parks.

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Either way, the parks get filled and Disney makes bank.

Still, a company that sells happiness cannot stay long in the business of frustrating its customers. At some point — and soon — Disneyland needs to add the capacity that will allow it to welcome not only annual passholders and daily visitors, but also the new Disney fans that the company attracts through movies, television and Disney Plus.

With its DisneylandForward proposal, Disney is asking the City of Anaheim for additional planning flexibility to allow it to add that attraction capacity. Without that flexibility to expand the parks’ footprint, it’s hard to see how the frustration that some Disneyland fans are feeling over park access will not get even worse.

 

Why Candidates Like John Fetterman Owe Voters Full Medical Transparency

NY Times - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 3:22pm
Health doesn’t have to be so political.

Hurricane Ian hits Cuba as Florida braces for Category 4 damage

Daily News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 2:33pm

By CRISTIANA MESQUITA and CURT ANDERSON | Associated Press

HAVANA — Hurricane Ian tore into western Cuba on Tuesday as a major hurricane, with nothing to stop it from intensifying into a catastrophic Category 4 storm before it hits Florida on Wednesday.

Ian made landfall at 4:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, rushed in emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops in Cuba’s main tobacco-growing region.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said “significant wind and storm surge impacts” were occurring Tuesday morning in western Cuba. Ian sustained top winds of 125 mph as it moved over the city of Pinar del Rio. As much as 14 feet of storm surge was predicted along Cuba’s coast.

Ian was forecast to strengthen even more over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, reaching top winds of 140 mph before making landfall again. Tropical storm-force winds were expected in Florida late Tuesday, reaching hurricane force Wednesday morning.

  • This Sept. 26, 2022, satellite image released by NASA shows...

    This Sept. 26, 2022, satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba. Ian was forecast to hit the western tip of Cuba as a major hurricane and then become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida. (NASA Worldview/Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP)

  • Johnny Ford, right, and his wife Jerria Ford fill free...

    Johnny Ford, right, and his wife Jerria Ford fill free sand bags at an Orange County park in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Shoppers at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla. grab...

    Shoppers at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla. grab bottles of water from the last pallet in stock on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, as Central Floridians prepare for the impact of Hurricane Ian. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

  • Jesus Rodrigues loads wood in his vehicle outside a Home...

    Jesus Rodrigues loads wood in his vehicle outside a Home Depot store in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Ian was growing stronger as it approached the western tip of Cuba on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • A resident of El Fanguito neighborhood carries a mattress in...

    A resident of El Fanguito neighborhood carries a mattress in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian is growing stronger as it approached the western tip of Cuba on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

  • Residents of Orange County fill sand bags at Baldwin Park...

    Residents of Orange County fill sand bags at Baldwin Park to protect their homes in preparation of Hurricane Ian, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Ian was growing stronger as it approached the western tip of Cuba on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • In this aerial image, the city of Tampa, Fla., is...

    In this aerial image, the city of Tampa, Fla., is seen Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian was growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba on a track to hit Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. It’s been more than a century since a major storm like Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area, which blossomed from a few hundred thousand people in 1921 to more than 3 million today. (DroneBase via AP)

  • In this aerial image, the city of Tampa, Fla., is...

    In this aerial image, the city of Tampa, Fla., is seen Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian was growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba on a track to hit Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. It’s been more than a century since a major storm like Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area, which blossomed from a few hundred thousand people in 1921 to more than 3 million today. (DroneBase via AP)

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, speaks as he stands with...

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, speaks as he stands with Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, during a news conference, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Largo, Fla. DeSantis was keeping residents updated on the track of Hurricane Ian. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

  • A woman takes photos while waves crash against a seawall...

    A woman takes photos while waves crash against a seawall as Hurricane Ian passes through George Town, Grand Cayman island, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian is on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kevin Morales)

  • Waves crash against a seawall as Hurricane Ian passes through...

    Waves crash against a seawall as Hurricane Ian passes through George Town, Grand Cayman island, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Kevin Morales)

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The hurricane center said there’s a 100 percent chance of damaging tropical storm force winds and water along Florida’s west coast, and expanded its hurricane warning, from Bonita Beach north through Tampa Bay to the Anclote River.

Tampa and St. Petersburg could get their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

“Please treat this storm seriously. It’s the real deal. This is not a drill,” Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Timothy Dudley said Monday at a news conference on storm preparations in Tampa.

While Ian’s center passed over western Cuba, with tropical storm force winds extending outward 115 miles, Cuba’s capital was getting rain and strong gusts Tuesday morning. Havana’s residents openly worried about flooding ahead of the storm, with workers unclogging storm drains and fishermen taking their boats out of the water.

“I am very scared because my house gets completely flooded, with water up to here,” Adyz Ladron said, pointing to his chest.

In Havana’s El Fanguito, a poor neighborhood near the Almendares River, residents packed up what they could.

“I hope we escape this one because it would be the end of us. We already have so little,” health worker Abel Rodrigues said.

Ian’s forward movement was expected to slow over the gulf, enabling the hurricane to grow wider and stronger before it brings punishing wind and water to Florida’s west coast. Forecasters said the surge of ocean water could reach 10 feet (3 meters) if it peaks at high tide. Rainfall could total 16 inches inches with as much as 24 inches in isolated areas. Coastal communities could be inundated.

As many as 300,000 people may be evacuated from low-lying areas in Hillsborough County alone, county administrator Bonnie Wise said. Some of those evacuations were beginning Monday afternoon in the most vulnerable areas, with schools and other locations opening as shelters.

“We must do everything we can to protect our residents. Time is of the essence,” Wise said.

Lee County — where Fort Myers is on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast — also issued mandatory evacuations early Tuesday for low-lying areas including Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Bonita Beach, where about 250,000 people live, after forecasters expanded the hurricane warning area.

“People on the barrier islands who decide not to go, they do so at their own peril,” Roger Desjarlais, Lee County’s county manager, said early Tuesday. “The best thing they can do is leave. With the kind of tidal surge we’re talking about, it would not be uncommon for both islands to be overwashed, and it’s a dangerous place to be. We cannot by law force people off the islands, but we strongly recommend that they go.”

Floridians lined up for hours in Tampa to collect bags of sand and cleared store shelves of bottled water. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency and warned that Ian could lash large areas of the state, knocking out power and interrupting fuel supplies.

“You have a significant storm that may end up being a Category 4 hurricane,” DeSantis said at a news conference Monday. “That’s going to cause a huge amount of storm surge. You’re going to have flood events. You’re going to have a lot of different impacts.”

DeSantis said the state has suspended tolls around the Tampa Bay area and mobilized 5,000 Florida state national guard troops, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states.

President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. The president postponed a scheduled Tuesday trip to Florida because of the storm.

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Playing it safe, NASA was rolling its moon rocket from the launch pad to its Kennedy Space Center hangar, adding weeks of delay to the test flight. The airports in Tampa and St. Petersburg announced they’ll close Tuesday afternoon. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said they would relocate football operations to the Miami area on Tuesday in preparation for next weekend’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Damaging winds and flooding was expected across the entire peninsula as Ian moves north, reaching into Georgia, South Carolina and other parts of the southeastern United States on Friday and Sunday, the hurricane center said.

Associated Press contributors include Freida Frisaro in Miami, Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Florida, Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida, and Julie Walker in New York.