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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

From the California Dream to a cautionary tale - Financial Times

From the California Dream to a cautionary tale - Financial Times

June 10, 2012 8:03 pm


Move over, Wisconsin -- the union battle is beginning in California - Sacramento Bee

Labor unions and business interests have been quietly raising millions of dollars and testing campaign messages for months, girding for a brawl over a November ballot measure that could fundamentally shift political power in Sacramento.

Now, on the heels of an election that saw unions handed a major defeat last week in Wisconsin, the opposing camps in California soon will launch a campaign battle likely to consume $50 million or more in political spending.

"Unions have just two channels of influence," said Daniel J.B. Mitchell of the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, "collective bargaining and the political side, so this initiative is extremely important to them."

The measure, which has not yet received a proposition number, would ban both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, although both sides could still freely spend money on their own independent efforts.

Another provision forbids both sides from using money gathered from payroll deductions for political purposes. It promises to gut the power of labor unions because they raise nearly all of their money for political and other purposes via payroll-deducted dues from their members' paychecks.

Corporations, by contrast, raise the bulk of their campaign money from donations given by top executives and drawn from company treasuries.

Last year, public-sector and general-trade unions contributed $2.7 million to California political candidates and causes, according to campaign finance tracker Business interests, from the telecommunications industry and hospitals to computer firms and beer companies, gave $4.3 million.

"The public has got to read between the lines on this thing," said Ken Murch, chief negotiator and lobbyist for the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians. "The deception is that this levels the political playing field. It doesn't."

Proponents include conservatives such as former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and former Univision CEO Jerry Perenchio, who has given $250,000 to the measure. They contend it handcuffs business and labor interests equally by applying the same contribution limitations to both sides.

"This initiative is exclusively about the stranglehold that special interests have had over California's political system and whether voters are ready to demand reform," said Jake Suski, who speaks on behalf of the measure's supporters. The same business interests backed similar "paycheck protection" initiatives in 1998 and 2005 that didn't include language suggesting that corporations would be treated equally. Voters struck them down.

This time, proponents think the political headwinds have shifted, particularly after Tuesday's landslide votes for public pension reform measures that unions opposed in left-leaning San Jose and right-leaning San Diego.

"Voters are demanding reform and change," Suski said. "They're willing to do something, to say no to special interests."

Unions have been on the defensive in Wisconsin since Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation 17 months ago that curtailed public employee unions' bargaining rights and ended compulsory union membership. The law excluded cops and firefighters.

The controversial law left unions reeling. The Wall Street Journal reported that the number of members in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union in Wisconsin fell 45 percent from March 2011 to March 2012.

The unions mounted a recall campaign, pitting Walker against Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee. Walker's campaign spent more than $47 million, two-thirds of it from out-of-state donations. Barrett's union-backed campaign spent about $18 million.

On Tuesday, Walker won with 53 percent of the vote in a contest viewed nationally as a referendum on unions' clout.

But in California, those familiar with the details said that the Walker recall in Wisconsin wasn't a precursor of doom for labor in the Golden State.

Gubernatorial recall efforts have a much lower success rate than ballot initiatives. Some Wisconsin voters told reporters they voted for Walker because they felt the recall was inappropriate, regardless of their views on labor.

California is also dominated by Democrats in the Legislature and in every statewide office. The GOP has more power in Wisconsin.

While supporters of the California measure will tout it in coming months as necessary and even-handed campaign finance reform, the unions will argue that it hobbles labor's counterbalancing political role to business.

And rather than rely on that argument alone, labor groups plan to frame the proposition as an outgrowth of the power of the 1 percent, bankrolled by the wealthy to weaken everyone else.

"This is a self-service initiative written to create an exemption for self-serving businessmen," said Brian Brokaw, speaking for the labor coalition opposing the measure.

That will resonate with voters in California, a state considered more union-friendly than Wisconsin, said Mitchell, the UCLA professor: "It's a version of the old message, 'business versus the average Joe.' "

Ken Jacobs, a labor expert at UC Berkeley, said opponents also will work to frame the initiative as part of a larger attack on unions, and the middle-class values they espouse, that gained momentum with the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling. The 2010 decision found that corporations and unions have a right to spend unlimited money on political causes.

"This (initiative) is a serious threat to unions," Jacobs said, "It goes along with what we're seeing nationally."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043. Staff writer Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

Read more articles by Jon Ortiz


Death Row suicide highlights executions' delays - The Guardian


Associated Press= SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When James Lee Crummel hanged himself in his San Quentin Prison cell last month, he had been living on Death Row for almost eight years — and he was still years away from facing the executioner.

California's automatic death penalty appeals take so long that the state's 723 condemned inmates are more likely to die of old age and infirmities —or kill themselves — than be put to death.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978, California has executed 13 inmates, and none since 2006. But 20 have committed suicide, including Crummel, who abducted, sexually abused and killed a 13-year-old boy on his way to school in 1979. Another 57 inmates have died of natural causes. The ponderous pace of this process has helped make the state's death row the most populous in the nation, and it has generated critics from all quarters.

Victim rights groups say the delays amount to justice denied. Death penalty opponents say the process, like execution itself, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

And now the state's voters will get an opportunity this November to vote on a measure that would abolish the death penalty, which critics deride as an inefficient and expensive system for a financially troubled state.

It took the Supreme Court four years to appoint Crummel a public defender, and it took his attorney almost that long to file his opening brief after several time extensions. Crummel's appeal was expected to consume a few more years before the high court decided the case.

While most condemned inmates welcome legal delays, even those seeking a speedy resolution are stymied.

Scott Peterson, who was sentenced to death seven years ago for murdering his pregnant wife Laci, is attempting to get his case before the Supreme Court as soon as possible, because he says he was wrongly convicted.

Peterson's parents hired a top-notch private appellate lawyer after sentencing, while other Death Row inmates wait an average of five years each for appointment of taxpayer-funded public defenders.

"We are moving at lightning speed compared to most automatic appeals," said Peterson's attorney Cliff Gardner. "He wants to establish his innocence."

The slow wheels of death penalty appeals, and the billions of dollars spent on them over the years, are making converts of some of capital punishment's biggest backers, including the author of a 1978 ballot measure that expanded the types of crimes eligible for capital punishment in the state.

Retired prosecutor Donald Heller, who wrote the 1978 proposition, and Ron Briggs, the initiative's campaign manager who now serves on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, say they support abolition in California because the system is too costly and hardly anyone is being put to death.

"We'd thought we would bring California savings and safety in dealing with convicted murderers," Briggs said in a statement. "Instead, we contributed to a nightmarish system that coddles murderers and enriches lawyers. "

The current measure — known as the SAFE California Act — would convert all death sentences to life in prison without parole and redirect $100 million from the death penalty system to be spent over three years investigating unsolved murders and rapes.

Despite the growing backlog, district attorneys continue to send murderers to death row. Five new inmates have arrived this year, and several more are expected, including Los Angeles gang member 24-year-old Pedro Espinoza who was convicted of shooting to death a high school football player. A jury recommended death for Espinoza, and a judge is scheduled formally sentence him in September.

Meantime, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is attempting to immediately resume executions of two longtime Death Row inmates Mitchell Carleton Sims, 52, and Tiequon Aundray Cox, 46, who have exhausted all of their appeals. Sims has been on Death Row since 1987, Cox since 1986.

"It is time Sims and Cox pay for their crimes," said Cooley, who is asking that the inmates be executed with a single drug rather than the three-drug lethal cocktail now being challenged in federal and state courts. The California District Attorneys Association is backing Cooley's attempt to resume executions.

Cooley argues appeals rather than trials consume the lion's share of what the state spends administering the death penalty in California. Cooley wants executions to remain on hold until after the November election. But if the death penalty is retained, he proposes a change in the law to allow the State Court of Appeal to start handling death penalty appeals rather than automatically sending every case to the Supreme Court for review.

Appealing the death penalty in California takes decades for a variety of reasons. There are too few qualified attorneys to handle too many automatic death penalty appeals, resulting in inmates waiting about five years each for a public defender. Once an inmate is represented by counsel, it still takes additional years to put together the voluminous trial record that serves at the heart of the appeal.

Those records often exceed 70,000 pages, according to Peterson's attorney, adding that he wouldn't be surprised if his client's record reached 80,000 pages.

Gardner says he expects to file his appeal brief later this month, which would be a first for any inmate sentenced to death during the past 12 years.

None of the estimated 250 prisoners in that category is as far along as Peterson, according to a study of California's death penalty published last year by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Arthur Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula Mitchell.

They estimated that $4 billion has been spent on all facets of the state's death penalty since 1978, including $925 million on appeals.

California's death penalty, the authors said, is a "multibillion-dollar fraud on California taxpayers" that has seen "billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to create a bloated system, in which condemned inmates languish on death row for decades before dying of natural causes and in which executions rarely take place."


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