Archive for August, 2011


Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There is still not a set date on the airing of the news piece filmed, by Channel 2 News, a few weeks ago regarding private money lending.  They interviewed one of our private money lenders at his office a week ago, so I should hear from the reporter very soon.       

A recent report in BanC Investment Daily states that 80% of Congress has no background in business or economics.  To hold a public office, especially in Congress, shouldn’t there be an eligibility or educational requirement or competency test?  While serving in a public office is not all about economics and business, aren’t they involved in making decisions about education, business, and especially economics for “we the people”?  Have you ever wondered if all politicians are against deficits, inflation and high taxes, why do we have deficits, inflation & high taxes?  Perhaps as voters we should do our job in making sure the candidate who gets our vote is the best qualified; voting should not be a popularity contest.

These weekends is Labor Day Weekend, so drive careful and celebrate in Sonoma County.  Checks out Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, September 2nd-4th, call 800-939-7666; on September 3rd, Glen Ellen Art Show, call 707-235-7708 or Kunde Tunes on the Terrace, call 707-833-5501.

Current Events

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

We are officially underway with our Sonoma County grape harvest.  Over the next couple of months, growers will harvest almost a $1 Billion grape crop.  It is anticipated that there will be less fruit but prices for grapes are up.

The possibility of implementing a parking fee at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa is proving to be very controversial.  A charge of $2 for 2 hours or $5 for the day is being proposed.  There is no indication how the City intends to use the revenue earned from this added cost.  I think this issue could be a result of a larger problem: the public is opposed to cutbacks of government services and appears to not want to increase the taxes government needs to pay for everything it has promised.  At some point, we need to pay for the government we want or live with the reduced services we are willing to pay for.  I am not sure what other alternative we have.  Perhaps this is the new economy and we better get used to it.

If you purchased $1,000 worth of Delta Airlines stock a year ago, today you would have $49; if you bought $1,000 of AIG, you would have $33; if you bought $1,000 of Lehman Bros., you would have Zero.  However, if you bought $1,000 worth of beer, drank all the beer and turned in the cans for recycling, you would have $214.  So, perhaps a good investment plan is to drink heavily and recycle – the 401-Keg Plan!

Don’t forget this weekend to check out Infineon or Taste of Petaluma (707-763-8920).

What’s Caught My Eye?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

A news article by Warren Buffett caught my eye this week.  He feels that he and his mega-rich friends have been coddled long enough by a “billionaire-friendly” Congress.  While his tax bill last year was just under $7 Million (yes, million), it only represented 17.4 % of his taxable income; a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in his office, whose tax rates averaged 36%.  Buffett goes on to cite some interesting statistics and thoughts, which Congress should consider when taking on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances.

School buses hit the streets today, as the school season starts.  Our local Cardinal Newman High School has been an all-boys Catholic school for almost 50 years, until today.  Neighboring all-girls high school, Ursuline, closed its doors so Newman welcomed the girls today, marking the first day of its new co-ed existence.  

There are a lot of great activities this weekend—check out the listing in last week’s Blog.  For future events, here comes the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 26th-28th, call 800-870-RACE; or Sat. Aug. 27th, Rockin’-Rollin’ on the River, Guerneville, call 707-824-7000.

In the News

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Well, I suppose I should have given the S & P index more importance, since it is the agency who has down-graded the US, one notch, to an AA+ rating.  Despite the move, the US still enjoys a high credit rating and is not expected to face difficulty meeting its debt service in the near future.  Obviously, the downgrade has consequences.  It is reported that the main reason for the grade is our lawmakers did not act in a timely manner to raise the debt ceiling and concern about a credible plan to tackle the nation’s long-term debt.  Congress still needs to “play nice” among themselves and work seriously on a compromise, this year, for everyone’s well-being.

Yesterday morning, Channel 2-Fox News came to interview me regarding private money lending.  Their interest was prompted by a Wall Street Journal article regarding private individuals benefiting from private money lending.  What was originally to be a 2 minute piece might turn into a 10+ minute piece and possibly longer.  They also went to see 3 properties that we have loaned money on.  I was told they will schedule a return visit for a follow-up interview and will also let me know when the news piece will be aired.     

The Sonoma County Fair runs through this Sunday, Aug. 14th; Gravenstein Apple Fair is Sat. & Sun. (Aug. 13th & 14th); next weekend consider the Wings over the Wine Country Airshow, Aug. 20th-21st, call 707-575-7900 or the Sonoma County Country Music BBQ at the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, with local star Pete Stringfellow, Aug. 21st call 707-543-0100.

Ups and Downs

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

It appears that Moody’s (credit rating agency) will be keeping the United States at an AAA rating.  So, why all the news about “what happens if” the US is down-graded to AA?  Is it because negative news sells?  I am sure we all recognize that the past few years have not been positive for the economy but we are making progress and slowly the economy is turning around.  Yes, the debt ceiling has been raised but we are still funding a couple of wars and trying to figure out how to keep from increasing spending and taxes.  It is going to be interesting how Congress deals with the fact that our revenue is not keeping pace with our spending.

Even in the private money lending business, we have our ups and downs.  We have to foreclose on property from time to time.  When we do this, we generally list the property for sale as soon as possible.  I am pleased to report that we just sold a service station/convenience store in Sacramento.  The property took longer to sell than anticipated but it sold. 

Coming soon on our website, we will be posting flyers of our properties that are for sale.  More details to come, so stay tuned.

The Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa runs now through August 14th; the Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol is August 13th-14th, call 707-824-1765.