Friday, February 27, 2009

Odds and Ends 106

This is the Phantom Odds and Ends.

I wrote it on February 26 and forgot to use 'Post Options' to automatically publish the post last Friday.

You will see the February 27 date, but I am actually writing this after I pre-published Odds and Ends 107.

Here is what you would have read, had I published this on its correct date.

(I knew something was amiss all week, but I didn't take the time to figure it out, until today.)

Have you Emailed Mr. Oswald yet, at: If not, why not?
Your opinions are just as good as the approximately 60 individuals who were expected to be interviewed, aren't they?

Many of the folks who have been interviewed neither live in the immediate area (within one mile) of the project, or can avoid Western Avenue in the area of the project's site.
Heck, there just might be 60 people living at Seaport (Apartments) by now, but I would not be willing to bet on that.

We know there are 62 units at The Tennis Club condos and 129 units at Casa Verde Estates, both sharing the same street (Well it's really the alley named Fitness Drive) as Seaport. ______________________________________________

Just when you are beginning to try to believe that the Ponte Vista Outreach Team is serious when they contend that Ponte Vista at San Pedro would have "Smart Growth" transportation elements provided, even thought there is still only ONE metro bus line going by the site, here is yet another story of interest, in the Los Angeles Times.

City planning chief: We have to 'bite the bullet and do the subway'
3:58 PM February 25, 2009

Any time I write about the "Subway to the Sea," I inevitably get a few e-mails from readers along these lines: If the subway is built, won't all the development the line attracts make traffic even worse?

In one sense, it's kind of a silly question. All civic improvements have the potential to attract more traffic. If traffic is a concern, it can be used as an excuse not to do anything in a city.

On the other hand, it's also a question that's fair given the city of Los Angeles' dubious history of urban planning. The city -- and most others -- routinely change their zoning codes to encourage denser developments around mass transit. The idea is to put more jobs and housing near rail and bus lines as a way to discourage people from driving everywhere and instead hopping on transit. If the bus and rail lines are no good and the buildings have tons of parking, it seems completely plausible that the subway could end up attracting more cars to the Westside.

With those thoughts in mind, I had a chance to throw the question at Los Angeles planning chief Gail Goldberg last Friday at the Westside Urban Forum, where she was on a panel . Here's what she said:

If we are going to continue to grow and prosper, more people are going to come here.... We can accommodate more people, we can't accommodate more cars. And so we have to give people other options. Other cities do this....

I think we are going to have to bite the bullet and do the subway. We are going to have to find other ways to get people through the Westside other than getting in cars. People have to have choices. We are going to have to deal with whatever the consequences on the ground are -- we can do that with land-use planning, but we have to give people other options. The car that gave Angelenos freedom in the '60s has turned into a cell in this era. We have to put a movie in the backseat of the car to keep the kids busy while we take them to school. This is no way to live.

I know Goldberg fairly well, having profiled her for the paper in 2007, and wasn't at all surprised by her response. She sees cities as dynamic entities that with good planning should grow and change, and she has little patience for residents who say "Let's do nothing" because of traffic. Agree, dear reader? Or think the subway is going to make a bad situation worse? That's why we have a comment board
--Steve Hymon

Since there is only Line Number 205 traveling past the site and ending up at the Artesia Transit Center, then finally at the Imperial/Harbor Freeway Green Line Station, where might other transportation resources come from?

Sure, there is a rail line close to the site, but without the new road to Gaffey, it would be a struggle to get to that spur.
When the Outreach Team attempt to sway folks towards a denser project, using the concept of being able to live close to where one works, here is a reminder.

In 2006, information from Los County was provided that stated that there was only 6/10 of a job for each resident of San Pedro, in the San Pedro area.

Usually, a resident of San Pedro is 10/10 of a person, so it is troubling to learn where 4/10 of a person works. Of course there is no such thing as 4/10 of a person any longer, thank goodness.

So when Outreach Team members purport to suggest that there would be plenty of jobs in the local area for most residents of anything built at Ponte Vista at San Pedro, please ask them to show you 4/10 of a person.

The facts are, there are fewer than one job per San Pedro resident, in San Pedro.

Currently and for the forseeable future, there will be fewer jobs that folks normally would go to, in the entire Harbor Area and the rest of the greater L.A. area.

When one views the Ponte Vista Web site or blog and see the photos that include Longshore Workers, we should know that our ports are having a tough time offering work to potential buyers of units at Ponte Vista.

The days of getting two days of work as a casual, per MONTH, have also gone away. ____________________________________________
I wonder if Ted Fentin and Credit Suisse may want to temporarily put plans on hold at Ponte Vista and create more unemployment, at least temporarily, for the Outreach Team members. ____________________________________________
And now, here is a recent (Feb 11, 2009) article from Reuters UK.

Credit Suisse posts record annual loss
By Lisa Jucca and Emma Thomasson

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse Group (CSGN.VX) posted its biggest-ever annual loss after a poor fourth quarter hit by trading losses and restructuring charges, but expressed cautious optimism for 2009 even as it cut some financial targets.

The Swiss bank said it had a made a strong start to 2009 and each division was showing a profit in the year to date, echoing relatively upbeat comments from rival UBS (UBSN.VX) (UBS.N) which on Tuesday reported the biggest annual net loss in Swiss corporate history.

"We are well positioned going into 2009," Chief Executive Brady Dougan told a news conference, but added: "This is not a light at the end of the tunnel message."

Switzerland's second-largest bank unveiled an annual net loss of 8.2 billion francs (4.9 billion pounds), worse than the average analyst forecast of 6.3 billion from a Reuters poll but in line with predictions from some Swiss newspapers and less than half the loss posted by UBS.

Credit Suisse racked up a fourth-quarter loss of 6 billion Swiss francs, missing an average analyst forecast of 4 billion while further reducing its exposure to risky asset classes as it slashed its dividend and staff bonuses.

On average bonuses were slashed by 60 percent, with managing directors getting no unrestricted cash. The overall bonus payout for 2008 was 2 billion Swiss francs, mostly for junior staff.

Dougan said the bank had made mistakes but now had a stronger capital base than most of its peers thanks to a Tier 1 ratio of 13.3 percent and less than 12 billion Swiss franc of toxic assets on its books and was still managing to attract client inflows at its private bank.

West LB analyst Georg Kanders said: "Results are negative and not much better than UBS in Q4. But there were lots of extraordinary items ... Toxic assets are now less of an item. They have confirmed they have been significantly reduced.

"Overall I would say that wealth management did much better than UBS. They have also had a positive start in January and just confirmed they have new inflows in the period."

After falling as much as 7 percent, shares in Credit Suisse later turned positive, rising 1.1 percent to 31.22 francs at 11:51 a.m. British time, while UBS shares, which gained strongly on Tuesday, rose 1.3 percent to 13.80 francs, compared with a 1.1 percent drop in the DJ Stoxx European banking index .SX7P.


CS also cut some of its long-term targets, including its goal for an annual return on equity which was pared back to "above 18 percent" from a previous 20 percent.

It said it would pay a 2008 cash dividend of just 0.10 francs, compared to 2.50 francs in 2007. Credit Suisse had already warned in December that it made a net loss of about 3 billion francs in October and November and would take restructuring charges of about 900 million in the quarter as it moves to cut 5,300 jobs, or 11 percent of staff.

Analysts were also anticipating the 538 million franc loss it booked in the quarter for selling part of its fund management arm to Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L), but said they were surprised by the extent of trading losses in December.

The bank was hit by a trading loss of 6.7 billion francs in the quarter, of which about 1.7 billion francs came in December.

Credit Suisse said its private bank recorded net new assets of 50.9 billion francs in 2008, but only 2 billion in the fourth quarter, as strong net client inflows of 13.8 billion francs were offset by deleveraging.

"Inflows in the private bank look disappointing. A good aspect is that they have said January was positive, but the first impression is that the report is weak," said Citibank analyst Jeremy Sigee.

Walter Berchthold, CEO of private banking at Credit Suisse, said half the deleveraging happened in Switzerland while inflows mainly came from the U.S. onshore business: "I think the worst is behind us," he said, talking about the trend in deleveraging. Credit Suisse said it had achieved about 50 percent of its targeted job cuts to bring headcount down to 47,800 by the end of 2008. It reiterated a target of paring its investment bank to 17,500 staff by the end of 2009 from 19,700 at the end of 2008.

Dougan said Credit Suisse, which contrary to UBS did not need state help, will focus more on private banking, where he sees the best growth environment in a generation, and asset management.

(Additional reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Will Waterman and David Holmes)
Credit Suisse is one of the stronger financial institutions remaining on the planet.

Bob probably picked one of the best financial institutions to do business with.
I guess he was such a good salesman that the bankers really believed Bob could pull off the impossible.

Me thinks that there were several individuals at Credit Suisse who had dollar signs in their eyes, instead of views that were coming out, even back in 2005. ____________________________________________

Thanks so much to all of you who attended the regular production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at the Warner Grand Theatre.

I was able to greet folks supporting all sides of the Ponte Vista issue and everyone got along extremely well!

Since I don't feel there are any "Supporters" and "Opponents" at this time, it is wonderful to see how we all can get along so very well, when not divided by a greedy developer.

If you are a regular theater, sports, or concert attendee, may I recommend where you can purchase tickets to many things going on, at far lower prices that regular tickets run for. is offering tickets to "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" for the low price of just $10.00 per ticket, plus a $3.50 service fee.

The $10.00 ticket price is HALF the regular ticket price, found at the door of the Theatre. ______________________________________________

No comments: