California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails

October 19, 2018 Editor 0

Tenants in California have received threatening letters from their landlords promising massive rent hikes if Proposition 10 (previously), which restores rent control, passes. It’s part of a national, lavishly financed attack on pro-tenancy measures, which has coincided with the entry of large private equity firms into the rental property market, skyrocketing rents and evictions, and a calamitous decline in the safety and quality of rental housing. In Boston, landlord lobbyists killed a modest measure that would produce public statistics on […]

E-moto startup Alta Motors reportedly powers down

October 19, 2018 Editor 0

Brisbane, California based e-motorcycle startup Alta Motors has ceased operations, TechCrunch has confirmed.  Earlier today Asphalt and Rubber — and several subsequent outlets — reported the company stopped operating this morning, fired its staff, and may be looking for a buyer. Alta has yet to comment on the situation. “As of this morning I no longer represent Alta Motors so I’m not in a position to speak on it,” a former Alta Motors spokesperson told TechCrunch on background when asked about the […]

California ballot measure to reintroduce rent control met with millions in opposition from Wall Street landlords

October 13, 2018 Editor 0

California is one of the hot-zones in the world’s urban housing crisis, driven by a combination of opposition to highrise/high-density living and the mass purchase of foreclosed properties following the 2008 crisis by giant Wall Street landlords who have steadily ratcheted up rents and evictions in a big to safeguard the flow of payments to bondholders who get a share of the rents extracted from struggling tenants living in dangerous, substanding housing. California’s cities have different policy levers they can […]

Los Angeles’s homelessness epidemic has created a typhus epidemic

October 6, 2018 Editor 0

Los Angeles county has some 104,000 homeless people, thanks to a real-estate bubble that has priced housing out of reach of working people, while programs to reduce homelessness have been incoherent and unwilling to take the only proven step for reducing homelessness. The circumstances that lead to housing bubbles and homelessness are described as a set of individual choices and thus individual responsibility: if you save and are willing to settle, you can get a roof; if you have too […]

California passes law that bans default passwords in connected devices

October 5, 2018 Editor 0

Good news! California has passed a law banning default passwords like “admin,” “123456,” and the old classic “password” in all new consumer electronics starting in 2020. Every new gadget built in the state from routers to smart home tech will have to come with “reasonable” security features out of the box. The law specifically calls for each device to come with a preprogrammed password “unique to each device.” It also mandates that any new device “contains a security feature that […]

America’s super-concentrated telcoms industry unites to sue California over Net Neutrality law

October 4, 2018 Editor 0

Competition scholar Tim Wu has described how industries over time become more concentrated and less competitive, as executives move sideways from one giant company to another, creating a web of backchannels that lets the companies unite to pursue their industry-wide goals rather than competing with each other to deliver better service at better prices to their customers. You couldn’t ask for a better example of this than the lawsuit just filed against the State of California by the CTIA, NCTA, […]