Into Antiques?

On ebay you'll find over 100 categories covering the Medieval and Renaissance periods, through Georgian, Regency and Victorian, to Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Antique Dealers in California

Linda Stamberger

Linda Stamberger, author of "Antiquing In Florida", is a Florida expert and freelance writer of many genres. Visit this site to read her articles - some of which are available for purchase - as is her book.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records

Brooks Novelty is an all-vinyl record store. We specialize in: jukeboxes, vintage soda machines, antique slot machines, pin balls, arcade games, neon clocks and signs, rare concert posters, old advertising signs and much more!

The Antique Company

Established in the late 1900's, we occupy a huge corner building with a small garden area that leads to another 1000 sq foot store (called TAC) that contains our Mid Century collection.

Vintage Westclox

Westclox photo identification gallery and history and information of clocks, watches and other timepieces. This site primarily displays American clocks made by Westclox that were made from the early 1900's up to about the 1960's.

Antique Appraisals On-Line

We are one of the country's largest, oldest, most qualified and respected appraisal services. The majority of our appraisals are estate and personal property evaluations for valuation documentation purposes. However, we have evaluated goods and personal property for natural disaster losses (hurricanes), theft, fire, freight and shipping damage after the loss has occurred.

Connoisseur Antiques

Featuring fine antique furniture, Connoisseur Antiques is a Los Angeles Antique Furniture Showroom specializing in antique clocks and mirrors, European and French antiques, Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, Sconces, Armoires and much more.

Liz's Antique Hardware

Antique Hardware is the backbone of our business. We offer a complete selection of door, window and furniture hardware, lighting and accessories circa 1890 to 1970.

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall is the largest antique mall in northern California. We opened our doors in October 1997 with 75 dealers and today we have over 200 of San Francisco's most professional antique specialists.

Ambiance Antiques

Importer of 18th and 19th Century French Antiques

C'est La Vie Antiques

European Antique and Accessories in San Diego, CA.

Lang Antiques

We carry a large selection of fine antique jewelry, antique rings & antique engagement rings. We also have vintage estate jewelry, vintage estate rings & vintage estate engagement rings from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian & Art Deco style periods.

Once in a Blue Moon Online Thrift Store

We are an online thrift store featuring new, used, and unusual items.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

California courts seen called 'dysfunctional' - Vacaville Reporter

California courts seen called 'dysfunctional' - Vacaville Reporter
SAN FRANCISCO -- A blistering new report quietly released over the Memorial Day Weekend called for the overhaul of California's Administrative Office of the Courts, which it described as dysfunctional, secretive and top-heavy with overpaid executives.

The report was prepared by a committee of state judges appointed last year by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to investigate claims the administrative arm of the courts had grown too large and costly amid severe budget cuts. The chief justice released the nearly 300-page report late Friday night. The report chided the AOC for claiming in February that it employed "more than 750" when it concluded that the AOC has grown from 430 workers in 2002 to more than 1,100 last year with hundreds earning six figure salaries amid a supposed hiring freeze. AOC managers conceded they got around the hiring freeze by employing temporary and contract workers.

The report also said the AOC appeared guilty of violating its own work rules by allowing some workers to telecommute from long distances, including one attorney who works from Switzerland.

The report criticized the agency for a lack of transparency.

"The AOC's reporting of staffing levels has been misleading, leading to mistrust of the AOC," the report said. "Disingenuously suggesting that AOC staffing levels have been reduced in response to branch-wide budget and staffing cuts has led to further mistrust and cynicism."

The report calls for staffing cuts to fewer

than 700 employees and for the agency's headquarters to be moved from San Francisco to Sacramento.

"The organization needs to be right-sized," the report concluded.

The release of the report also comes amid Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to cut $544 million from the third branch's budget.

In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, the chief justice said the report will be considered next month by the Judicial Council, an appointed body that oversees the AOC. She said the report was a look at the past and didn't consider the AOC's current plans to grapple with deep budget cuts. She also defended the public release of the document, saying she released it as soon as she received it.

One of the agency's chief critics, the Alliance of California Judges, applauded the findings.

"The nearly 300-page report is an A-to-Z indictment of an out of control organization," the group wrote in an email Monday alerting media and others to the report's release. "It is an absolute 'must read' for everyone concerned about the functionality and credibility of our judicial branch." The group called for even more staff cuts.


California to ban foie gras July 1, so chefs load up on duck liver now - Denver Post

This is not a good time to be a duck with a fatty liver in California, although better times lie just ahead. Chefs are loading their high-end menus with duck liver: terrine de foie gras, seared foie gras with mango chutney, foie gras salad and sweet foie gras for dessert. And they are keeping secret the locations of their multicourse dinners to avoid protesters as a July 1 ban looms in California, the only state to outlaw foie gras.

Demand for the delicacy created by force-feeding ducks has never been higher as diners sate their palates with a product that soon will be banned for production and sale in the Golden State.

The California ban maintains that overfeeding ducks using a pipe stuffed down the esophagus is cruel. Foie gras — French for "fatty liver" — is made from liver swollen to 10 times its normal size. Ducks' livers become so engorged by the feeding process, called "gavage," that the birds can't walk and have trouble breathing.

Gavage has been outlawed in a dozen countries, including Israel, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


California lawmakers to amend license plate bills - Vacaville Reporter
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers trying to establish new specialty license plates this year said Wednesday they are moving quickly to amend their bills and enact safeguards to ensure the money is spent as promised after an Associated Press investigation raised questions about oversight of the program.

Several lawmakers said they are changing their bills to include regular audits as a way to assure the public that the extra fees drivers pay for the specialty plates are going to the right place. Some also are calling for ongoing oversight of all the specialty license plate funds and say the state should return the millions it has borrowed from one of them.

A key lawmaker leading a transportation committee said he plans to hold legislative hearings to examine the program.

Brown on Tuesday ordered an audit of California's specialty license plate program after a review by the AP found there was little oversight of the $250 million raised in the 20 years since the Legislature authorized it.

"I'm going to support maximum transparency and accountability," Assemblyman Jared Huffman said in an interview on the floor of the Assembly. "I saw that the governor's calling for an audit, and that's great. Let's make sure we're keeping faith with the voters and whoever buys these license plates."

The San Rafael Democrat is leading a high-profile effort to create a new license plate that would help the financially embattled state Department of Parks and Recreation,

which is trying to avoid the closure of dozens of state parks because of the state's ongoing budget deficits.

Organizations and agencies participating in the specialty plate program must report annually to the state Department of Motor Vehicles about money collected and the percentage spent to promote the specialty plates, which isn't supposed to exceed 25 percent of the revenue.

Other than that, there is no direct oversight. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has never examined the program, nor has the independent state auditor's office.

The AP also found questionable use of millions of dollars raised from the sale of special memorial license plates created in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had taken $3 million from that fund to help close state budget deficits. The money was supposed to provide college scholarships to children whose parents perished in the attacks and help law enforcement fight threats of terrorism, yet only a fraction ever went to scholarships and millions funded operations that have little to do with directly fighting terrorism.

Brown did not say whether he would order the loans from the memorial license plate fund to be repaid when asked about it during a social event Wednesday night. He said he wanted to await the results of the review he requested by the state Department of Finance.

"I ordered an audit, so whatever comes out of the audit that is warranted, we will do," he said.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, who is carrying a bill that would increase fees for all veteran's license plates and create a new "support our troops" variation, said she is looking for a way to add an oversight mechanism by amending the bill in the Senate. Money from these plates is supposed to go to county veteran service offices.

"It would be deeply disturbing to think that that money wasn't reaching veterans directly," the Concord Democrat said during an interview on the Assembly floor. "When you consider the sacrifice veterans have made, we need to do everything to ensure that the small amount of money that people are designating for their help should reach them."

In the Senate, Sen. Doug La Malfa, D-Willows, has written a bill that would allow California drivers to buy special eight-character vanity plates, with a portion of the additional fees going to open-space preservation. He called the raid on the memorial license plate fund "shameful" and said it could dampen enthusiasm for future specialty plates.

"When the state just flat mugs the fund, it's a betrayal and it doesn't keep the faith that the people expected," he said. "If people hear this story, they're going to be much more skeptical."

Specialty license plate sales have been declining since the recession began. Californians bought or renewed about 380,000 of the plates in 2011, 10 percent fewer than in 2009.

La Malfa and Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, called the Department of Finance audit a good start but said the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office or the independent state auditor's office would be better suited to the job. The finance department is part of the governor's administration.

DeSaulnier, chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, said he will send a letter to Brown and is likely to include the issue in oversight hearings this winter.

"There needs to be proper oversight," DeSaulnier said. "These are large amounts of money that needs to have proper oversight and a second set of eyes, and I'm pleased with the administration looking into it, and we'll partner with them."

Huffman said the $3 million taken by Brown and Schwarzenegger money should be paid back, but only once the state budget crisis has passed.

"Tough decisions on cash flow have to been made in a crisis, but over time, we're going to honor that obligation to the dollar," Huffman said.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who is carrying a bill that would let car enthusiasts pay extra for retro "legacy" California license plates, also said he was worried about the ramifications of the examination. His bill directs the license plate revenue directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

When he introduced his legislation on the Assembly floor Wednesday, the Los Angeles Democrat emphasized that the program would not benefit any special funds. The bill passed unanimously.


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