Stocks open higher: Early activity is perhaps being influenced by Bank of America raising $13.5 billion. Dow is up about 90 points.
Assigning blame: The LAT's Michael Finnegan says much of Sacramento's dysfunction, made that much worse after Tuesday's election results, is due to the outdated and damaging initiative process - and to a citizenry that is unwilling to face reality.
Nearly a century after the Progressive-era birth of the state's ballot-measure system, it is clear that voters' fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento. And that, in turn, has helped cripple the capacity of the governor and Legislature to provide effective leadership to a state of more than 38 million people.
"Together, voters' piecemeal decisions since the 1970s have effectively "emasculated the Legislature," said John Allswang, a retired Cal State L.A. history professor. "They're looking for cheap answers -- throw the guys out of power and put somebody else in, or just blame the politicians and pretend you don't have to raise taxes when you need money," he said. "This is what the public wants, and they deceive themselves constantly. They're not realistic."
Big sale at Albertsons: The plan is to lower prices for thousands of goods at the chain's 222 Socal supermarkets, an obvious nod to the business being lost to discounters like Wal-Mart and Target. From the LAT:
According to estimates by industry analysts, Ralphs, a division of Kroger Co., sells the most groceries in Southern California, controlling 16% to 17% of the market. Vons, part of Safeway Inc., is next with about 15%, Albertsons is third with about 13.5%. Stater Bros., the independent chain based in San Bernardino, is the smallest of the big grocers, with about 11.5%. "There is no question the whole food industry has lost some customers through this economic downturn to mass merchants. . . ."
Home prices will keep falling: So says Fitch Ratings, which expects an additional 36 percent drop in California over the next 12-18 months (that's even worse than Florida and Arizona). California's Realtors now forecast a 28 percent drop in 2009. (OC Register)
LAX in land deal? Los Angeles World Airports, which runs the place, is negotiating to buy a 21-acre parking lot on the east edge of the facility. Asking price could top $100 million. The land is expected to be used as a parking facility next to Terminal 1. (LAT)
Kogi banned in OC: The crazy-popular Korean BBQ truck never got the proper health permits to sell food in Orange County (owner Roy Choi said he thought his L.A. permits were all he needed). From Fast Food Maven:
In Old Towne Orange, for example, wait times lasted nearly three hours when Kogi rolled into the historic downtown on a recent Saturday night. Shortly after that, the O.C. health agency contacted Kogi about the need for permits, Choi said. The crackdown means Kogi and its short-rib tacos and kimchi quesadillas won't be back in the O.C. for a few months, Choi said.