Citing stubborn opposition from local homeowners, George Lucas announced Tuesday that his Lucasfilm movie production company is scrapping plans for a massive production facility in Marin County. The studio issued a statement saying it is canceling the plan because even if it were able to get the necessary approvals, the studio would be ostracized by the community. The project, which details a 269,000 sq. ft. facility on Grady Ranch, was approved by the Marin County planning commission, but neighbors have expressed concern about the added traffic, noise and environmental hazard's the project would create.
San Diego, California housing data tracker DataQuick reported on Thursday that foreclosures in the city fell 13 percent in February from the prior month, and were down 30 percent in year-over-year terms. Of course, there are still millions of Americans seriously behind on their mortgage payments, DataQuick noted, so last month's dip in foreclosure activity will likely be short-lived. This massive backlog of delinquent borrowers is one of the biggest obstacles to a full-fledged recovery in the housing sector, as a serious delay in the recovery could result if banks were to foreclose on millions of properties in a short time, driving prices down further and bringing construction of new homes to a halt once again.
The California Association of Realtors (CAR) said on Tuesday that contracts to buy homes increased for the second straight month in February. The group's Pending Home Sales Index rose 24.9 percent to a reading of 127.8 from January's reading of 102.3. In year-over-year terms, the index was up 14.3 percent, having shown a reading of 111.8 in February 2011. Pending home sales are viewed as an indicator of sales activity 30 to 45 days later, as closing typically follow purchase contract signings by that length of time.
Former Massachusetts Governor and current Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is in Southern California this week on a fundraising tour. The politician spoke at medical equipment maker NuVasive Monday morning, where he spoke out against President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has been dubbed “Obamacare” by critics. Romney also planned to speak in downtown San Diego and Redwood City.
San Francisco, California is set to make history January 1st when it is scheduled to become the first US city to set its minimum wage at over $10. Beginning New Year's Day, minimum wage workers in the Bay Area city will start earning $10.24 an hour, more than $2 above the California state minimum wage and almost $3 more than the minimum wage requirement set down by federal officials.
The California Employment Development Department reported on Friday that the state's jobless rate climbed for a second consecutive month in August to 12.1 percent. Most of the decline, the agency said, was caused by a slowdown in the state's struggling construction industry. The unemployment rate had been in decline since March before reversing direction in July, when it climbed back up to 12 percent. At 12.1 percent, California's jobless rate is higher than any other state in the nation except Nevada, which is struggling to deal wit 13.4 percent unemployment.
Economists are touting a moderate recovery in Los Angeles county, fueled by strength in the technology, entertainment, trade and tourism industries. In the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation's mid-term report, the agency says that the regional economy should continue to show signs of improvement throughout the rest of 2011 and into 2012.