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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

California can't get enough of the Chevy Volt as sales surge - Detroit Free Press

California can't get enough of the Chevy Volt as sales surge - Detroit Free Press

Just a few weeks after General Motors curbed production of Volts, Chevrolet dealers in California are scrambling to get the extended-range electric cars on their lots as sales surge because of special state incentives for electric vehicles and West Coast gas still above $4 a gallon.

It's ironic because lower demand, in general, prompted GM to shut down production for five weeks during April and May. GM still plans a three-week shutdown this summer at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

"I've had more people talk to me in the last couple months about the Volt than I have in the last year," said Bill Cumming, general manager of Ron Baker Chevrolet in National City, Calif., a San Diego suburb. "Currently, I have none in stock."

U.S. sales of the Volt remain mediocre at best -- just 1,680 in May. But the car is gaining momentum in California, where hybrid and electric car owners are allowed to use carpool lanes no matter how many people are in the car. Through the first quarter, the Golden State accounted for nearly 23% of all Volt registrations, according to R.L. Polk.

It's more difficult to supply the California market because Volts must have a special low-emissions package for owners to qualify for special state incentives. And the package cannot be added after production.

Considering that GM's market share in California was only 9.3% during that period, compared with 17.4% nationwide, Chevrolet can't miss any opportunity to meet demand in the most populous state. Buyers registered 837 Volts in California in the first quarter. The next-best market was Michigan, at 232 registrations, or 6.28%.

"It is crucial that the Volt performs well there. Volt's success there says that Volt is indeed an environmentally advanced and friendly vehicle," Polk analyst Thomas Libby said in an e-mail. "GM and the other domestics have for years struggled in California; the success of the Volt in California will help GM in its efforts to be viewed as a competitive manufacturer that offers contemporary and competitive products."

The supply and demand issue for GM is complex when selling Volts in California.

For Volts headed to California, GM tweaks the exhaust system to reduce emissions from its gas generator to virtually zero. The low-emissions package qualifies owners to drive solo in special carpool lanes and receive a $1,500 state tax rebate. All Volt owners, regardless of state, qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Starting at about $39,000, the car remains expensive for most consumers. But in California, which has a high concentration of wealthy car buyers, the sticker price isn't as shocking.

Lure of carpool lanes

The carpool lane incentive has been in effect since February. The state has 1,400 miles of carpool lanes that are coveted real estate for commuters grappling with congestion. Some resort to inflatable dolls and mannequins to appear to qualify for the lanes.

GM says the Volt is selling particularly strong in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego markets -- areas notorious for intense congestion.

Mike Luner, executive manager of Del Grande Dealer Group's Capitol Chevrolet in San Jose, estimated that carpool lanes were the "primary deciding factor" for nine in 10 Volt buyers.

"Time is the most valuable commodity to these people," Luner said. "Our idea is that we want to take the opportunity to capture them with the Volt but for them to consider the other products that Chevrolet has in the future."

"There is a shortage of Volts for us," said Darryl Holter, CEO of Downtown L.A. Auto Group, whose Felix Chevrolet dealership had sold 29 Volts this year as of May 29. "We'll look to other dealers to see if they have any."

GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said GM was "really just starting" to meet demand for the Volt in California within the last several weeks.

"We sold everything we had out there basically," she said.

Calling on other states

The Volt has been a target of conservative pundits who have tied it to the government's rescue of GM through the 2009 bankruptcy restructuring. GM began engineering the car at least as early as 2007.

Two fires in Volt battery packs on cars that had been crash-tested generated another round of criticism. No Volt owners have experienced a fire in their cars.

When GM backed off its 2012 production targets for the vehicle, the criticism got louder, and CEO Dan Akerson lamented that the car had become a "political football."

But in California, the positive buzz for the Volt seems to be drowning out the criticism.

Some California dealers are so desperate for Volts that they're offering to buy more from dealers in other states.

"They had that shutdown for five weeks, which gave us no inventory," said Steve Krueger, inventory and fleet manager for Courtesy Chevrolet in San Diego. "We were buying them from out of state and selling those."

California dealers said buyers are quicker to embrace new technology, and the Volt's reputation as an environmentally friendly car is gaining traction.

Shaun Del Grande, president of Del Grande Dealer Group in the Bay Area, said Volt supply at Capitol Chevrolet has improved in recent weeks. He said the carpool lane ruling has been a "tremendous" boon to sales.

"We're seeing new customers at Chevrolet that we've never seen before," he said.

Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or


California Voters U-turn on Bullet Train - Car Rentals

California High Speed TrainsAccording to a new poll, California voters are doing a u-turn on the $68.4 billion high speed rail project they had initially approved funding for. Ambitious plans for a fast track link between Los Angeles and San Francisco at speeds of up to 220mph, making journeys just over two-and-a-half hours, were favoured by 53% of voters in a 2008 ballot. The voters approved the state to raise $10 million in bonds, while the state was also able to get $3.5 billion in stimulus money from the federal government.

The California high speed rail project calls for about 300 miles of track to be added south from the middle of Central Valley over the next ten years and laid to reach the northern outskirts of Los Angeles. Construction on this part of the plan is due to start later in the year. Then a northern link from the Central Valley to San Francicso won’t be finished until 2028. With the funds the state has raised for the project, it’s still short $54.9 billion of what it needs to complete this construction. This has raised fears that the state won’t be able to get the funds needed to finish the later parts of the network, thus it would only be left with a rail line that links minor cities and farming communities.

With these concerns and how the project has been handled, a new poll shows that California voters have turned against the project. Three-fifths of voters polled oppose the bullet train and would stop public borrowing if they were given the chance to vote on it again. Nearly seven out of ten said that they would never or rarely every use the train if it eventually runs between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Out of those polled, not one voter said they would use the high speed rail more than once a week, while just 33% said they would prefer the train over a one-hour aircraft journey or seven-hour road journey. The $123 each way ticket, which is an estimate, is said to deter many as well. Politicians in the state have until August 31 to give final approval to an initial 130-mile portion of track in the Central Valley at a cost of $6 billion, and they are expected to do just that.

California governor Jerry Brown has praised the project as a way to create jobs, and the unions are supporting him. He has personally committed to getting a high speed rail link built since the 1970s. However, he is trying to persuade voters to spend billions on a train while proposing tax increases and austere cuts to public spending at the same time. This includes a 5% paycut for state staff to deal with a deficit in the budget that has grown to $16 billion.

Other supporters say the state’s economy will recover in the long run and the money left over will be from private investors, fees from its own cap-and-trade scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the federal government. They believe the high speed rail link will be vital to the economic future of the airline. However, critics say the funding will dry up and California will be left with an orphan track. Assembly Budget Committee vice chairman Jim Nielsen opposes the project, calling it an idea that worsens the more details are released about it. On top of this, the Legislative Analyst’s Office described the funding plan as speculative and vague.



Antique Tool Talk: Invention of air brakes helped trains and us - Oroville Mercury-Register
George Westinghouse was another of those men who invented a long list of items that makes our lives better today.

In the 1860s trains were having many wrecks, and there were many reasons, but a major problem was the braking system did not work well. It was larger in size, but it really was the same brake design used on covered wagons.

In the train's cab was a lever, which when pulled pressed a wooden block against one of the drivers (power wheels). If the wood did not start to burn, it would slow a short train, going slow. It could cause the rear cars to derail, or be crushed into the back of the next car forward.

The only other choice was to reverse the engine. This damaged the drivers as they were now spinning the wrong way, and the size of the train could still result in the rear of the train jumping the track.

They tried adding the lever system to cars along the length of the train, but this required a "brakeman" to be at each lever. There was no system to tell the last brakeman what was going on up front. To work required them all to be applied at an even rate, meaning the system only added to the danger.

All of these troubles kept the trains short and speed slow, even when the locomotive design had made great improvements. If you look at early photos of trains, they will be only be about six to eight cars long.

Going down a grade the only thing that slowed the train was the engine. Keeping the wood brake pressed on the steel wheel would cause them

to overheat, and fail.

Then Westinghouse invented the train air brake system. His brakes worked because of a valve which was operated at one location by the brakeman riding in the locomotive.

His first valve was invented in 1869, and it was better than anything before, but still had problems. The brakes on all cars could not be applied at one time. He made an improved, "automatic air brake" valve in 1872, then the "triple valve" in 1887.

Now, the system has much more details than I've shared here; the issue is space and I'm not sure I could explain the triple valve, and the air pumps, tanks, etc. It made all the brakes along the whole train be applied at the same time, with equal pressure. The rear cars were now under control, by one brake handle in the cab.

His invention allowed trains to now be longer, faster and safer. The larger locomotives added tons, that required this new brake system, and it worked. Soon there were trains a mile long that on level ground could be pulled at 55 mph. The number of engines could increase, and brake as one unit.

George was not finished with the air brake system. His next invention was the size of a wheel barrel, with an air tank, hand valve, and hose. Before the train departed one man could check the air brake system.

He hooked up to the train's air lines, and pulled the brake handle, and then could watch a pressure valve. If it held the pressure, it was safe to go.


Why you shouldn't buy California GO bonds - CBS News

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY As a Missouri resident I would never buy a state of California bond, even if it were a AAA-rated general obligation (GO). The reason is that the high state tax rate in California increases the demand for double tax-free income for the state's residents, suppressing yields. However, for California residents, highly-rated state GOs once make sense, at least in an era when they were highly rated. The problem today is that California's GOs are no longer highly rated. The current Moody's (MCO) rating is A1. While still considered to be above-average in credit worthiness, an A1 rating is only the fifth-highest ranking.

California's problems are well known. The failure of the state's elected officials to seriously address its fiscal problems has even led to comparisons with Greece. However, Greece's CCC rating is in the "junk" category -- 11 notches below California's. And California's debt-to-GDP ratio is substantially lower. Clearly the California and Greek situations are quite different. But there are some similarities that should send up caution flags for investors.

Like the Greeks, California politicians promised benefits that could never be paid based on any realistic assumptions. In an era when we're living longer, they kept promising higher benefits and allowed public employees to retiree earlier and earlier, compounding the problem. The state has made matters worse in several ways. First, they keep using bookkeeping gimmicks to push the problem forward, without ever addressing the real issues, leaving them to be solved by the next group of politicians.

Second, the state uses an unrealistic assumption on the rate of return on pension plans. High rate-of-return assumptions push the pension plan system to take more risks. The financial crisis provided a reminder of why that's a bad idea. The result has been an increasing problem in terms of underfunding.

Third, they have continuously made unrealistic revenue assumptions. The state keeps raising taxes to make up for the shortfalls, but revenues persistently fall short of projections. One reason is that high net worth people and corporations are fleeing the state for more tax-friendly pastures, putting the state in a vicious cycle.

Yet Governor Jerry Brown proposes even more taxes, which will only worsen the problem. He now wants voters to approve the highest sales and income tax rates in the nation. The state's top tax rate would leap from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent for seven years. Sales taxes would increase to 7.75 percent on average. Brown claims that these tax hikes would generate another $9 billion in revenues. Just as past projections have failed to generate the revenue expected, the odds are high this will fall short also because individuals change behavior. They move, they shelter income, and if you raise rates high enough they even stop reporting it, going underground.

In fact, Brown recently announced that tax collections were again coming in well below projections. Thus, the state faces a $4 billion deficit by the end of its current fiscal year. Even worse is that if they do nothing, by the end of the coming fiscal year the deficit would grow to $16 billion -- and that's without taking into account the unrealistic assumptions mentioned above. Their budget also optimistically assumes large revenues from Facebook's (FB) recent initial public offering.

The problem is so bad that one has to even begin to wonder if California's problems could impact the rest of the country. In an interesting recent New York Post article, Kyle Smith made these observations:

  • California contains about one-third of the nation's welfare recipients, despite having 12 percent of the nation's population.
  • Despite its problems, the state is planning a high-speed rail system that will cost an estimated $68 billion, including $4 billion on a section The Los Angeles Times dubbed a "train to nowhere."
  • Its pension costs for public employees, 85 percent of which are unionized, rose 2,000 percent in the first decade of this century, which is only 1,976 percent more than revenues increased.
  • A CEO survey in April ruled that California was the least business-friendly state in the U.S.
  • In 1999, the state allowed government workers as young as 50 to retire on 90 percent of salary they earned in their final year, when they would ramp up the overtime. In order to cover these commitments through the CALPERS investment fund, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would have to be over 25,000 by now.
  • Pension and health-care spending for retirees are set to triple this decade. More than 12,000 state and local workers are collecting more than $100,000 a year in pensions. Even convicted felons can collect pensions.

As Smith rightly points out, Greek and Californian politicians made the same mistakes. "They wanted union backing so badly that they promised far more than they could ever deliver," he writes. "They knew that they'd be long gone before the crisis kicked in, or maybe it would solve itself. Either way, they didn't care. They were happy to use tomorrow's seed corn to buy themselves power. California's pension plans face a $500 billion hole in unfunded promises."

Although Brown says he wants to overhaul the cost structure of California by raising the retirement age, it seems unlikely he will be able to push these reforms through the state's Democratic legislature (some would say a legislature that has been bought with union funds).

The bottom line is this: Greece was a bubble that was just waiting to pop. While there are some similarities, California's situation is very different, as reflected by both the investment grade rating its bonds still carry and the spreads its bonds trade at versus similarly rated bonds. The state still has time to address these problems, and the likelihood of a default on the bonds in the near future is remote.

With that said, what should you do as an investor?

Before considering if the risks of investing in California's GOs are worth taking, remember that the main role of fixed income in your portfolio should be to provide stability, lowering the risk of the overall portfolio to an acceptable level. That means not taking risks in search of higher returns. With that caveat, the following suggestions are offered:

  • On 10-year bonds, California's A-1 rated GOs provide about 0.9 percent more yield than a AAA-rated bond and about 0.6 percent more than a AA-rated bond. On three-year bonds, the incremental yields are just 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Are the higher yields worth the risk? Will you be able to sleep well if the situation deteriorates? Can you stand the loss of principal if there is a default of some kind? If the answers are "no," you should at least consider selling your existing holdings. And you should certainly avoid buying more.
  • Since the longer the maturity, the greater the risk of a default, consider holding bonds where the remaining maturity is short term (say three years or less), but selling ones that have a longer remaining term.
  • Limit any holdings to a very small percentage of the portfolio, perhaps 5 percent or less.
  • If you're holding existing bonds and are considering selling, keep in mind that trading costs could be high if the holding is a small one (say less than $100,000). That cost should be considered in your decision.

As a concluding thought, consider these words of wisdom I was given at a credit-risk training course for bank lending officers: It takes an awful lot of interest to make up for unpaid principal. That's why you shouldn't be adding new California GOs to your portfolio. For any risk-averse investor (and that almost certainly includes you), the value of the incremental return seems disproportionate to the pain if there were to be a default. Thus, even though the odds of a default in the near future are very low, the consequences of being wrong are likely to be too high to make the risks worthwhile.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Fabio Ikezaki


California's Top-Two Primary System Faces First Statewide Test - NPR News
Abel Maldonado, a former California state senator and current congressional candidate, pushed for the change to the top-two primary system. He says he thinks the system will lead to "more open-minded and more reasonable" officials.
Enlarge Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Abel Maldonado, a former California state senator and current congressional candidate, pushed for the change to the top-two primary system. He says he thinks the system will lead to "more open-minded and more reasonable" officials.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Abel Maldonado, a former California state senator and current congressional candidate, pushed for the change to the top-two primary system. He says he thinks the system will lead to "more open-minded and more reasonable" officials.

When voters go to the polls in California's primary on Tuesday, instead of only being able to vote for candidates in their own party, they will be able to vote for anyone they please.

Tuesday will be the first statewide test of California's new open primary system, where the top two candidates move on to the general election, regardless of party. Backers hope this system will favor moderates.

In California, there aren't very many purple areas. The state has strongly Democratic regions and strongly Republican regions — and the Democrats dominate.

"The Republican Party is no longer a statewide party," says Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican and publisher of the California Target Book, which handicaps congressional and legislative races in the state. "It's a regional party. There's huge areas of this state where the Republican Party has all but ceased to exist."

What this means is that for years it's been all about the primary, which usually rewarded the extremes on both sides. Former state senator and current congressional candidate Abel Maldonado says he hopes the new system will change that.


"Now as a candidate, you have to talk to everybody, not only the hard hyperpartisan right or the hard hyperpartisan left," Maldonado says. "You have to talk to everybody, and I hope that we get more reasonable elected officials."

Maldonado has always been an outlier in California politics, a moderate Republican who was willing to cross party lines. In 2009, during a particularly tough budget battle, in exchange for his vote, Maldonado pushed for changing to the top-two primary system, modeled after one in Washington state.

He says he thinks this will do away with what he calls the political party two-step.

"You had to vote party line because they're the ones that give you your budgets and so forth," he says. "And if you didn't do that, they'd primary you in the next election and it wouldn't be pretty.

"Under the new system, you can change the behavior of the elected officials, and it's one where, to me, they'll be more open-minded and more reasonable."

It could be quite a few years before it's clear whether Maldonado's utopian vision has become a reality. What is clear, according to a Target Book analysis, is that there could be as many as 30 races where two people from the same party face off again in the general election.

The most prominent is a fight between Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman in the 30th Congressional District race in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.

"That's where I think you're really going to see something going from a boxing match to a knife fight to a gun fight," says Josh Pulliam, a Sacramento-based political consultant who mostly works for Democratic causes and candidates.

For consultants like Pulliam, this new system — in combination with a pretty dramatic redistricting — means the rules have changed. And there's a whole lot of guessing about how to play the game.

"Anybody that says they're an expert on it is just simply an expert on spin, because everybody is sort of walking around with blindfolds on and hoping that they can be right one or two places and then they can go and take a victory lap afterwards or something and talk about how smart they were," Pulliam says.

He's running a couple of independent expenditure efforts in a heavily Republican district in Orange County, trying to make sure a moderate Republican makes it through to the general election. The key swing voters in this Republican district are Democrats and independents.

Matt Rexroad, a Republican political consultant, says during this election cycle, he was sending mail to Inglewood — a very Democratic city in Los Angeles County, where fewer than 7 percent of voters are Republican.

"I kind of like that," he says. "That doesn't happen very often."

The thing about this new top-two primary system, Rexroad says, is that even in lopsided districts, every voter, regardless of party affiliation, could now make a difference in the primary.

"You know, traditionally my universes for mail have only been Republicans, but now we're saying, 'Well, we need to include conservative Democrats or those sorts of people as we're looking for votes,'" he says. "Everyone's out looking for votes."

At this point, no one knows whether what they're trying will work.


California falls short in PIAA playoffs - Observer-Reporter
"In the last two games, our bats have gone silent," Hartman said. "We've had our opportunities, and we simply can't get a timely hit when we need one. We can't get any momentum at all. Without that timely hit, we can't get any enthusiasm."

That summed up California's performance against Bishop McCort. Whether it was a hangover from suffering its first loss of the season in the WPIAL title game or Bishop McCort's situational hitting and pitching, the Trojans (19-2) were playing catch-up most of the afternoon.

Bishop McCort (21-2), the District 6 champion, scored two runs in the second inning and broke the game open with a three-run fifth to win its seventh in a row.

California pitcher T.D. Conway, who started every postseason game for the Trojans, gave up eight hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings. He struck out six. Hartman and Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil said Conway appeared worn down from a heavy postseason workload.

"You could tell he didn't have his best stuff," Hartman said.

Added Pfeil, "It looked like he didn't have quite the velocity he had when we saw him in other games."

Still, it wasn't like Bishop McCort was crushing Conway's pitches. What the Crimson Crushers did was get runners on base, move them over then drive them in with situational hitting.

In the second inning, Bishop McCort loaded the bases on singles before Justin Vardian, the No. 9 hitter, dropped a two-run single into left centerfield. Though hitting at the bottom of the order, Vardian entered the day with a team-high .424 batting average.

"We put Justin the No. 9 spot when we were trying to find someone to roll the lineup over. He's one of our hottest hitters, but we're going to leave him there," Pfeil said.

The Crushers used a single, stolen base and two groundouts to produce a run in the third for a 3-0 lead.

California grabbed some momentum briefly in the top of the fourth when cleanup hitter Matt Bakewell hit a one-out single, stole second base and scored on Ronald Barron's single. That pulled the Trojans to within 3-1, but Cal couldn't capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities throughout the game. The Trojans left two runners on base in four of seven innings and stranded nine on the day.

"This all started with the Bentworth game (a 2-1 nine-inning California win in the WPIAL semifinals). We didn't hit," Hartman said. "Then, the Neshannock game and this one. In the last three games, that's 23 innings of baseball, we've really driven in only one run, and that was today. That's the demise of the season in a nutshell."

Bishop McCort pulled away with the three-run sixth. The Crushers used an error, a perfect hit-and-run single by Washington & Jefferson College recruit Christian Leech, a sacrifice fly and a two-run double by Luke Williams, who sat out the last eight games with an elbow injury.

Winning pitcher Jesse Cooper threw five innings, scattering five hits. California batters did not strike out, but the Trojans had 13 groundball outs.

"I had an absolute blast with this team," Hartman said. "This team had so much fun going to practice each day. These guys didn't give me one issue all year. It was one of the finest seasons I've had in 22 years of coaching. I'm very proud of these guys."

Related articles:

Neshannock pitcher has solution for Cal

California boys knock off Bentworth in 9 innings

Rested Conway, California dominate


California Cannabis Commission Approved By State Assembly (PHOTOS) - Huffington Post

SAN FRANCISCO -- A measure that would provide a significant boost to California's medical marijuana industry cleared a major hurdle Thursday in the face of an increased federal crackdown on dispensaries throughout the state.

Assembly Bill 2312, sponsored by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), aims to create a statewide system for regulating medical marijuana, including a formation of the first-ever "cannabis commission." The proposal passed the state assembly on a 41-29 vote just one day before the deadline.

"[It's] a really, really good day for us," organizer Matthew Witemyre told the East Bay Express. "When AB 2312 was introduced it had a snowball's chance in hell of passing."

Ammiano crafted the legislation in response to the Obama administration's aggressive crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries throughout California, which has dealt a huge blow to the state's $1.3 billion industry. Since the Department of Justice announced in September that it would be using federal resources to target cannabis operations, hundreds of businesses have shuttered and even more jobs have been lost.

Medical pot has been legal in California since voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, but the drug remains illegal under federal law, and authorities are citing the industry's "explosion and proliferation" as the basis for their actions.

"[The U.S. Attorneys] are using a lack of statewide regulation as justification," Ammiano spokesman Quintin Mecke told The Huffington Post. "If we create regulations, we've removed every reasonable explanation on their part to justify the crackdown."

Mecke explained that while certain local jurisdictions carefully regulate their medical marijuana economies, other areas have yet to impose sufficient restrictions. Oakland and Santa Cruz, for example, have thriving communities that follow a strict set of rules.

But the cannabis industry in places like Los Angeles and San Diego remains relatively unregulated, with very little control over the number of dispensaries that open or the criteria for doctor recommendations. As a result, such cities have become what Mecke described as the "poster child of chaos."

"It's created a myth that California is out of control," he said. AB 2312 works to dispel that myth by forcing all local jurisdictions to adhere to the same standard.

According to Mecke, San Francisco serves as a model for what a successfully-regulated medical marijuana economy should look like. But since the crackdown began, the city has not been without its casualties. Five dispensaries have been forced to shut down, and a dozen more have received threatening letters from the justice department. To the chagrin of its wide customer base, Haight Street's beloved collective The Vapor Room warned that it may close its doors this month.

Despite the federal government's actions, a recent poll revealed that 80 percent of California residents support medical marijuana.

Mecke remains optimistic that AB 2312 would serve as a solid weapon against the crackdown. "We have to at least be able to say that the state of California did its part," he said.

Take a look at some of the most prominent Bay Area dispensaries that have been forced to shut down in the past year:

  • Medithrive

    1933 Mission St.

  • Oaksterdam University

    1600 Broadway

  • Marin Medical Alliance

  • Berkeley Patients Group

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    174 Valencia St.

  • Divinity Tree Wellness Co-op

    958 Geary St.

  • Market Street Collective

    1884 Market St.

  • Sanctuary

    669 O'Farrell St.


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