As if people didn't have enough to worry about now, how about this: soaring gasoline prices.
From the LAT's Ronald D. White and Dalina Castellanos: "Skyrocketing gasoline prices caused some local service stations to shut off their pumps Thursday while others shocked customers with overnight price increases of 30 cents or more."
"California's fuel industry isn't running out of gasoline — supplies are only 2.5% lower than this time last year — but recent refinery and pipeline mishaps sent wholesale prices to all-time highs this week. As a result, some station owners weren't buying fuel for fear they couldn't sell it. Those who did buy simply kicked prices higher and bet customers would understand."
"If this keeps up, I'll be looking at $5-a-gallon gas by next Thursday," said Ali Mazarei, who owns an Arco station in Riverside County. On Thursday, Mazarei was charging $4.52 for a gallon of regular gasoline, up from $4.27 on Wednesday and $4.21 on Tuesday."
It's no news that money plays a big role in politics as corporate and labor interests, among others, weigh in. But a trend is develpping as bigger and bigger donations are coming from fewer and fewer people.
From Capitol Weekly's Max Theiler: "Of the roughly $200 million sunk thus far into the committees supporting or opposing the various initiatives, a third -- $68 million -- has come from out of the deep pockets of four people."
"The big spenders include Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who has put some $28 million toward promoting her tax-for-education spending proposal, Proposition 38. Munger and Proposition 38 pose a direct challenge to Gov. Brown’s own tax initiative, Proposition 30."
"Tom Steyer, a San Francisco-based hedge fund manager, has contributed $21.9 million to the campaign for Proposition 39, which would close a loophole approved three years ago and force multi-state corporations to pay California state income taxes on their Californian sales and temporarily dedicate some of the revenue to clean energy projects."
In the race for the newly drawn 47th Congressional District, the big bucks are coming from outside the district.
From Martin Wisckol in the OC Register: "The 47th Congressional District race saw a massive TV ad attack campaign launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Republican Gary DeLong, portraying Democratic opponent Alan Lowenthal as a job killer."
"On the other hand, the 203,000-member California Small Business Association has endorsed Lowenthal as one of their favorite legislators. But that group has virtually no political advertising budget."
"That means that the chamber ads could tighten up the race in the newly drawn Long Beach-to-Westminster district, where Democrats have an 11-point advantage in voter registration. DeLong, a Long Beach councilman, was already leading Lowenthal, a veteran state legislator, $863,000 to $511,000, in the money game."
Speaking of money and people who don't have it, those who didn't pay their credit-card debts may be in for an unpleasant surprise -- a company is threatening to foreclose on their homes.
From Rick Jurgens in the Bay Citizen: "In a significant escalation by debt collectors who pursue consumers for payment, a major Canadian bank has threatened to foreclose on the homes of hundreds of Californians unless they pay back old credit card debts."
"California law generally makes foreclosure available only to lenders using residential properties as security, and collectors of unsecured debts, like credit card loans, normally are limited to attaching wages or bank accounts."
"But Credigy Receivables – a unit of the National Bank of Canada, which has more than $150 billion in assets – has taken advantage of California’s relatively lax debt collection laws. The bank has repeatedly bypassed a legal hurdle that normally prevents credit card companies from threatening to take away the homes of debtors who refuse or are unable to pay."
The operators of the idled San Onofre nuclear power plant want to restart one of the facility's reactors but they won't be powering up fully until repairs are made.
From the LAT's Abby Sewell: "Southern California Edison asked federal regulators Thursday for permission to restart one reactor at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, but the plant will not return to full power in the near future."
"The proposal comes eight months after the plant was powered down over safety concerns when a small amount of radioactive steam was released from one of the plant's generator tubes."
"The leak led to the discovery of wear on thousands of tubes that carry water that transfers heat from the reactor core to generate electricity. The steam generators were newly replaced and had been operating for less than one year in one of the reactors, Unit 3, and less than two years in Unit 2."