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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

California Envisions Fix to Water Distribution - New York Times

California Envisions Fix to Water Distribution - New York Times

The officials said their plan would ensure both that the ecosystem of the Sacramento River’s delta would be reinvigorated and that water deliveries to the south would become reliable.

The $14 billion blueprint envisions both the physical and psychological re-engineering of California’s plumbing, including the construction of twin 35-mile-long pipelines, each about as wide as a three-lane highway, that would tap river water from a more northerly, less polluted location. The pipelines would deliver the water straight to the conveyances in the south, largely replacing a system that pumps water from the murkier southern part of the 500,000-acre delta, disturbing the fragile ecosystem.

It also includes financial incentives for consumers of water — municipalities and farming interests — to use less.

But beyond that, the sweeping and ambitious plan was noticeably shy of details.

“As broken and outdated as California’s water system is, we are also closer than ever to forging a lasting and sustainable solution that strengthens California’s water security and restores the health of the delta,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “With science as our guide, we are taking a comprehensive approach to tackling California’s water problems when it comes to increasing efficiency and improving conservation.”

The secretary and Mr. Brown emphasized that the new system would be a hedge against natural disasters like flooding, earthquakes or sea level rise that could collapse crucial levees and disrupt water supplies. Mr. Salazar said the water system was “at constant risk of failure.” Mr. Brown added: “We know there are a couple of big issues, earthquakes and climate change. And this facility is absolutely essential to deal with both of them.”

Northern California legislators objected. “This rush to construction without the benefit of science is going to do irreparable harm, to Northern California in particular,” Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from the Bay Area, said.

The plan to move forward was announced at a news conference in Sacramento, about 35 miles from this small town at the northern edge of the delta where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet.

The local marshland ecosystem has suffered, in the words of one area environmentalist, a “biological meltdown” after 150 years of levee building and ever-increasing water withdrawals.

Repairing the ecosystem, where fresh and salt water, overwhelmed by agricultural runoff and invasive species, push against each other in a perpetual dance, has been made a political priority. Officially, it is as important as assuring the viability of water deliveries through one of two major water arteries for Southern California. The other is the Colorado River.

For decades, advocates for fish, for cities and for farmers have been trying to agree on a plan to manage the water flowing through the delta. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan has been fraught from the beginning, and its plans widely criticized.

With the announcement Wednesday, state and federal leaders sidestepped most of the specifics that could create controversy: operational details like how much water would go through the pipes and when, scientific goals for recovery of endangered and threatened fish, and even economic assessment of whether the benefits would outweigh the costs.

The management of the new apparatus would spring from a hybrid of agencies; documents released by the state last week described a “decision tree” to ensure that science was a main element of operational decisions.

Many scientists believe that delivering the water that powerful agricultural interests say they need — one-quarter of the Sacramento River’s annual average flow of 22 million acre-feet — would further harm the battered populations of smelt, sturgeon, salmon and steelhead.

The failure to solve this dilemma has been the catalyst for some willingness to compromise, since most of the stakeholders agree that the current situation is untenable. Decisions in recent years by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the courts to ensure there is enough water for fish have led to water delivery cutbacks in drought years.


California Water Service Group Announces Second Quarter 2012 Results -

California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT) today announced net income of $13.0 million and earnings per share of $0.31 for the second quarter of 2012, compared to net income of $12.2 million and earnings per share of $0.29 for the second quarter of 2011.

Revenue for the second quarter increased $12.2 million, or 9.3%, to $143.6 million compared to the second quarter of 2011. Sales to new customers added $0.2 million, general rate increases added $3.0 million, offset rate increases to recover increases in purchased water costs added $5.9 million, and increased usage by existing customers and other activities added $3.1 million.

Total operating expenses for the second quarter of 2012 increased $12.1 million, or 10.8%, to $123.9 million. Water production costs increased $7.9 million, or 17.7%, to $52.7 million, due primarily to increases wholesaler water prices and increases in the quantity of water produced. Administrative costs increased $1.6 million, or 7.9%, to $22.2 million, due primarily to increases in wages and benefits. Increases in pension costs do not affect earnings because in California, the company is allowed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to track pension cost increases in a balancing account for future recovery. Other operations expenses increased $2.0 million, or 12.6%, to $17.7 million, primarily due to increases in expenses for water treatment, water quality, and conservation programs. Conservation program expense increases are also tracked in a balancing account for future recovery.

Maintenance expense decreased $0.7 million, or 12.9%, to $4.6 million, compared to $5.3 million in the same period last year. Depreciation expense increased $1.3 million, or 10.8%, to $13.7 million, due to increases in utility plant.

Other income, net of income taxes, remained unchanged at $0.2 million. Interest expense decreased $0.7 million, or 8.9%, to $6.9 million due to increased capitalized interest and decreased short-term interest rates.

"Results for the second quarter are in line with our expectations," said Pete Nelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "As we move into our busy season where we see significant increases in demand, the Company will stay focused on serving our customers and operating as efficiently as possible," added Nelson.

In addition, the Company filed its 2012 General Rate Case (GRC) for California Water Service Company, its largest subsidiary. In its application, California Water Service Company is requesting authorization from the CPUC to increase rates to add revenues of $92.7 million in 2014, $17.2 million in 2015, and $16.9 million in 2016.

The filing, which begins an 18-month review process by the CPUC, reflects higher costs of providing water service, lower forecasted sales, and funding for necessary capital projects for 2014 through 2016. The CPUC requires a GRC filing every three years to ensure that rates reflect the actual costs of providing service while allowing the Company a reasonable return on investment in water system infrastructure.

"The 2012 GRC represents the second time we have filed all of the California operations in one rate case," said Nelson. "We expect a decision by December of 2013," he added.

In addition, on July 12, 2012, the CPUC approved the Cost of Capital decision that establishes an authorized return on equity of 9.99% and cost of debt of 6.24%, with a capital structure of 46.60% long-term debt and 53.40% common equity. It sets the authorized return on rate base at 8.24%. In addition, the proposed decision authorizes continuation of a Cost of Capital Adjustment Mechanism (CCAM), which provides for an adjustment in the return on equity in 2013 and 2014 if the cost of long-term debt, as defined by an index of utility debt rates, varies from the most recent index by 100 basis points or more.

All stockholders and interested investors are invited to listen to the 2012 second quarter conference call on Thursday, July 26, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. (EDT), by dialing 1-877-681-3372 and keying in ID# 4684903. A replay of the call will be available from 2:00 p.m. EDT on July 26, 2012, through September 23, 2012, at 1-888-203-1112, ID# 4684903. The call, which will be hosted by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter C. Nelson and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Martin A. Kropelnicki, will also be webcast under the investor relations tab at

California Water Service Group is the parent company of California Water Service Company, Washington Water Service Company, New Mexico Water Service Company, Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc., CWS Utility Services, and HWS Utility Services. Together these companies provide regulated and non-regulated water service to nearly 2 million people in 100 California, Washington, New Mexico, and Hawaii communities. Group's common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CWT."

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("Act"). The forward-looking statements are intended to qualify under provisions of the federal securities laws for "safe harbor" treatment established by the Act. Forward-looking statements are based on currently available information, expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections, and management's judgment about the Company, the water utility industry and general economic conditions. Such words as expects, intends, plans, believes, estimates, assumes, anticipates, projects, predicts, forecasts or variations of such words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. They are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may vary materially from what is contained in a forward-looking statement. Factors that may cause a result different than expected or anticipated include, but are not limited to: governmental and regulatory commissions' decisions; changes in regulatory commissions' policies and procedures; the timeliness of regulatory commissions' actions concerning rate relief; new legislation; electric power interruptions; increases in suppliers' prices and the availability of supplies including water and power; fluctuations in interest rates; changes in environmental compliance and water quality requirements; acquisitions and our ability to successfully integrate acquired companies; the ability to successfully implement business plans; changes in customer water use patterns; the impact of weather on water sales and operating results; access to sufficient capital on satisfactory terms; civil disturbances or terrorist threats or acts, or apprehension about the possible future occurrences of acts of this type; the involvement of the United States in war or other hostilities; restrictive covenants in or changes to the credit ratings on our current or future debt that could increase our financing costs or affect our ability to borrow, make payments on debt or pay dividends; and, other risks and unforeseen events. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the cautionary statements included in this paragraph, as well as the annual 10-K, Quarterly 10-Q, and other reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Company assumes no obligation to provide public updates of forward-looking statements.

Additional information is available at our Web site at

1720 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95112-4598

   CALIFORNIA WATER SERVICE GROUP CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS Unaudited  (In thousands, except per share data)              June 30,    December 31,                                                      2012          2011                                                  ------------  ------------ ASSETS Utility plant:   Utility plant                                  $  2,026,567  $  1,960,381   Less accumulated depreciation and amortization     (607,313)     (579,262)                                                  ------------  ------------     Net utility plant                               1,419,254     1,381,119                                                  ------------  ------------ Current assets:   Cash and cash equivalents                            20,816        27,203   Receivables     Customers                                          37,169        28,418     Regulatory balancing accounts                      25,100        21,680     Other                                               7,888         6,422   Unbilled revenue                                     23,650        15,068   Materials and supplies at average cost                6,066         5,913   Taxes, prepaid expense, and other assets             14,213         9,184                                                  ------------  ------------     Total current assets                              134,902       113,888                                                  ------------  ------------ Other assets:   Regulatory assets                                   323,831       319,898   Goodwill                                              2,615         2,615   Other assets                                         37,560        37,067                                                  ------------  ------------     Total other assets                                364,006       359,580                                                  ------------  ------------                                                  $  1,918,162  $  1,854,587                                                  ============  ============  CAPITALIZATION AND LIABILITIES Capitalization:   Common stock, $.01 par value; 68,000 shares    authorized, 41,915 and 41,817, outstanding in    2012 and 2011, respectively                   $        419  $        418   Additional paid-in capital                          220,294       219,572   Retained earnings                                   230,702       229,839                                                  ------------  ------------     Total common stockholders' equity                 451,415       449,829   Long-term debt, less current maturities             479,958       481,632                                                  ------------  ------------     Total capitalization                              931,373       931,461                                                  ------------  ------------ Current liabilities:   Current maturities of long-term debt                  6,684         6,533   Short-term borrowings                                87,775        47,140   Accounts payable                                     54,610        48,923   Regulatory balancing accounts                         4,255         2,655   Accrued interest                                      4,765         4,756   Accrued expenses and other liabilities               52,658        41,868                                                  ------------  ------------     Total current liabilities                         210,747       151,875 Unamortized investment tax credits                      2,254         2,254 Deferred income taxes, net                            116,340       116,368 Pension and postretirement benefits other than  pensions                                             234,948       232,110 Regulatory liability and Other                         79,196        79,050 Advances for construction                             188,001       187,278 Contributions in aid of construction                  155,303       154,191                                                   ------------  ------------                                                  $  1,918,162  $  1,854,587                                                  ============  ============    CALIFORNIA WATER SERVICE GROUP CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME Unaudited (In thousands, except per share data)  For the Three-Months ended:                                                   June 30,       June 30,                                                     2012           2011                                                -------------  -------------  Operating revenue                              $     143,552  $     131,397                                                -------------  ------------- Operating expenses:   Operations:     Water production costs                            52,678         44,745     Administrative and General                        22,167         20,554     Other operations                                  17,729         15,738   Maintenance                                          4,605          5,288   Depreciation and amortization                       13,712         12,373   Income taxes                                         9,062          8,638   Property and other taxes                             3,977          4,506                                                -------------  -------------     Total operating expenses                         123,930        111,842                                                -------------  -------------      Net operating income                              19,622         19,555                                                -------------  -------------  Other income and expenses:   Non-regulated revenue                                4,051          3,739   Non-regulated expenses, net                         (3,695)        (3,447)   Income tax (expense) on other income and    expenses                                             (138)          (112)                                                -------------  -------------     Net other income                                     218            180                                                -------------  -------------  Interest expense:   Interest Expense                                     7,821          8,061   Less: capitalized interest                            (946)          (516)                                                -------------  -------------     Net interest expense                               6,875          7,545                                                -------------  -------------  Net income                                     $      12,965  $      12,190                                                =============  =============  Earnings per share   Basic                                        $        0.31  $        0.29                                                =============  =============   Diluted                                      $        0.31  $        0.29                                                =============  ============= Weighted average shares outstanding   Basic                                               41,911         41,752                                                =============  =============   Diluted                                             41,911         41,768                                                =============  ============= Dividends per share of common stock            $     0.15750  $     0.15375                                                =============  =============    For the Six-Months ended:                                                    June 30,      June 30,                                                      2012          2011                                                 ------------  -------------  Operating revenue                               $    260,301  $     229,546                                                 ------------  ------------- Operating expenses:   Operations:     Water production costs                            91,630         76,703     Administrative and General                        45,185         41,056     Other operations                                  41,555         30,373   Maintenance                                         10,365         10,487   Depreciation and amortization                       27,663         24,961   Income taxes                                         9,090          7,397   Property and other taxes                             8,584          9,066                                                 ------------  -------------     Total operating expenses                         234,072        200,043                                                 ------------  -------------      Net operating income                              26,229         29,503                                                 ------------  -------------  Other income and expenses:   Non-regulated revenue                                8,187          8,072   Non-regulated expenses, net                         (5,794)        (6,871)   Income tax (expense) on other income and    expenses                                             (961)          (478)                                                 ------------  -------------     Net other income                                   1,432            723                                                 ------------  -------------  Interest expense:   Interest Expense                                    15,460         16,549   Less: capitalized interest                          (1,849)        (1,232)                                                 ------------  -------------      Net interest expense                             13,611         15,317                                                 ------------  -------------  Net income                                      $     14,050  $      14,909                                                 ============  =============  Earnings per share   Basic                                         $       0.34  $        0.36                                                 ============  =============   Diluted                                       $       0.34  $        0.36                                                 ============  ============= Weighted average shares outstanding   Basic                                               41,877         41,724                                                 ============  =============   Diluted                                             41,877         41,740                                                 ============  ============= Dividends per share of common stock             $    0.31500  $     0.30750                                                 ============  ============= 

© Marketwire 2012


California governor unveils ambitious water plan - Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO, July 25 | Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, July 25 (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday unveiled a multibillion-dollar plan for two giant tunnels that would dramatically reconfigure the state's water delivery system.

The nearly $24 billion project aims to help restore the habitat of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and improve the reliability of water supplies to the arid central and southern parts of the state.

The state already has two massive aqueducts that move water from the north to the south, but the way in which the water is transferred has severely damaged fish populations and degraded their habitat in the delta.

The planned project is similar to one Brown approved three decades ago when he was first governor. Voters rejected that project amid vociferous opposition from northern California residents. A similar political battle will be fought this time around.

"It's a long time in coming," the 74-year-old Democrat said, asserting that the project balances regional, environmental and agricultural concerns that have long blocked efforts to expand the state's water infrastructure.

The twin 35-mile tunnels would divert water from the Sacramento River just south of the state capital of Sacramento to the aqueduct system. The tunnels would bypass the delta rather than drawing water directly from it, reducing the number of fish killed by pumps and restoring natural water flows.

The tunnels would reduce the risk of environmental lawsuits that could interrupt water supplies, a critical concern for California's multibillion-dollar farming industry.

An estimated 25 million Californians who would rely on water from the tunnels would repay the bonds issued to finance them.

The cost of the tunnels is pegged at $14 billion. The additional $10 billion in costs includes debt service payments and 40 years of expenses for its operation, said Richard Stapler, a spokesman for the state resources agency.

Additional money for habitat restoration in the delta could come from an $11 billion water bond that lawmakers recently deferred until 2014, Stapler said.

Critics called the tunnels an expensive boondoggle and said there are cheaper conservation measures for the delta.

Kate Poole, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the plan for the tunnels is "putting plumbing before sensible policy."

"Twenty-first century technology opens up new sources of water, including water conservation and efficiency, recycling and other tools to allow us to reduce our reliance on the delta, allow fish to recover, farmers to farm and people to turn on the tap and rely on good quality water," Poole said.


California regulators to host public forum on fracking - Los Angeles Times


California oil regulators will hold their final public meeting on hydraulic fracturing in Sacramento on Wednesday, capping a months-long series of workshops aimed at shaping rules for the controversial method of oil extraction.

The meeting is set for 7 to 9 p.m. at the headquarters of the California Environmental Protection Agency, 1001 I St.

Nearly a dozen environmental and consumer groups plan to rally outside the building to call for a moratorium on fracking, which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil.

Environmentalists and community activists have raised concerns about potential environmental and public health hazards, including contaminated drinking water. Representatives from the energy industry have said that hydraulic fracturing is safe and that oil companies have used the technology in California for decades without incident.

Much of the anxiety stems from the fact that, unlike other oil-producing states, California does not require oil companies to disclose where they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into the ground.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) has introduced legislation that would make such disclosure mandatory; Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) is pushing a bill that would ban fracking in California until regulators write rules governing the procedure.

For their part, regulators have conceded the need to collect more information on hydraulic fracturing. They have pledged to begin drafting regulations later this year, using the input from the series of seven public workshops.

California Senate rejects 'fracking' legislation

Protesters head to Culver City meeting to decry fracking

State officials ask energy firms to disclose 'fracking' sites

-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

Photo: A fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times


California police shootings prompt Anaheim arrests - BBC News

Police fired soft bullets and pepper balls at the crowd after violence broke out in Anaheim, California

Twenty-four people have been arrested during a fourth night of violence after fatal weekend police shootings of two men in Anaheim, California.

The violence mounted outside City Hall as council members voted unanimously to investigate the incidents.

About 600 protesters threw rocks, broke windows, and threw a petrol bomb at a police car as 250 policemen fired soft bullets and pepper balls at the crowd.

Order was restored around 02:00 (09:00 GMT), police said.

At least six people were injured, including a police officer who was struck on the arm with a brick, a protester who was hit in the chest by a pepper ball and three reporters who were struck by rocks and a beanbag round.

Rubbish bins were set on fire during a seven-hour standoff with police wearing riot gear.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has called for state and federal investigations, and the FBI said it would review one of the shootings to see if a civil rights investigation should be launched, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Deadly weekend

"Anaheim Police Department is just way out of control," protester David Zavala, 25, told the newspaper on Tuesday evening. "The cops are supposed to be there to protect and serve."

Police Chief John Welter said Manuel Diaz was fatally shot on Saturday after two policemen approached three people who were behaving suspiciously in an alley. He then tried to run away.

Mr Welter did not say what led the policeman to shoot Diaz.

But the police chief said the man did not obey orders to stop and threw something that police believe contained heroin onto the roof of a nearby building.

Kerry Condon, president of the Anaheim Police Association, said: "Feeling that Diaz was drawing a weapon, the officer opened fire on Diaz to stop the threat," the Los Angeles Times reported.

The police association's statement said that "the documented gang member" was holding a "concealed object in his front waistband with both hands."

Diaz was shot in the leg and the back of the head, court papers are reported to say. His family filed a lawsuit against the police department on Tuesday seeking $50m (£32m) in damages.

At a Wednesday press conference, lawyers for the Diaz family said it was not true that Manuel Diaz was a gang member. They called for the officer who shot him to be arrested and a full trial to be held.

His mother, Genevieve Huizar, said that she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community but called for protests to be peaceful.

"Please stop the violence," she said. "It's not going to bring my son back."

The second shooting took place on Sunday, when police saw a suspected gang member in a stolen car. After a short chase, three people jumped out of the sports utility vehicle and ran.

Joel Mathew Acevedo, 21, fired at a policeman who then shot him dead.


California court reinstates lawsuit against Glock - The Guardian

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court has reinstated a now-retired paralyzed Los Angeles police officer's product liability lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock.

Enrique Chavez was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son accidentally shot him with his service pistol.

The lawsuit claims the .45-caliber Glock 21 pistol lacks adequate safeguards against accidental discharge.

The Glock has no grip safety, a device attached to the pistol grip that the shooter must deactivate before firing.

A Los Angeles judge dismissed the suit two years ago, saying a Police Department review of the gun's design found the Glock's advantages outweighed any inherent risks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports ( ) the 2nd District Court of Appeals on Tuesday reinstated the suit, saying a jury could conclude that a grip safety strong enough to withstand a child's grasp would minimize the risk of accidental discharge.


California scouts staff return badges over dismissal of gay Eagle Scout -

Ten scouts staff in northern California have returned their badges to protest the firing of an openly gay 22-year-old Eagle Scout.

The Eagle Scout, Tim Griffin, says his sexual orientation was not previously a problem. He believes that the decision of Boy Scouts of America to uphold its gay ban earlier this month was the reason for his dismissal.

Officials said Mr Griffin had been fired for refusing to heed uniform rules and for wearing nail polish and an earring.

However, his colleagues at Camp Winton in Amador County said the firing was wholly about his sexual orientation. Ten of the 30 staffers have resigned in protest and some have been wearing nail polish to show their support for him.

The Boy Scouts of America announced earlier this month that it will retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

As a private organisation, the Boy Scouts of America has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed.

Discuss this →


What recession? Peers spend nearly £175,000 of taxpayers’ money on art and statues for the House of Lords - Daily Mail
  • 108,000 of taxpayers' money was spent on new artworks for offices close to Parliament
  • Pictures of Queen Victoria's Jubilee and a bust of Prince Philip bought in the last year

By Martin Robinson


Peers seem to have forgotten Britain is suffering a deep double dip recession after splurging 175,000 on new artworks last year.

Official House of Lords figures show that tens of thousands has been spent on sculptures, paintings and silverware during the spending spree.

The 175,000 is almost ten times more than spent a year earlier because it includes a 108,000 blow out on fresh artwork for the peers' new offices in Millbank next to Parliament.

Additions to the giant House of Lords art collection include a 7,500 portrait of suffragette Viscountess Rhondda, who fought for the rights of women to vote, by Alice Mary Burton.

Splurge: A bust of Prince Philip, left, and a portrait of Lady Rhondda, right, have taken their places in the House of Lords giant art collection as part of a 175,000 spending spree

There was also 25,200 splashed out on a silver piece by British maker Brett Payne.

Another 8,500 was laid out on a bust of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and a 5,000 painting of Queen Victoria's Jubilee procession by Robert Weir Allan.

Peers get around 50,000 a year in grants from Government departments to add to the 8,000 pieces of Parliament art on display and in storage.

But they can opt to save up the money over several years and go on a huge spending spree.

The Lords has been able to build up artworks since the 17th century, and has bought up major pieces throughout the centuries to the present, with some art around 1,000 years old.

'The House of Lords works of art budget for purchases has been halved from 50,000 in 2010/11 to 25,000 in 2011/12. There will be no grant in 2012/13,' a House of Lords spokesman told MailOnline.

'In September 2011 the House of Lords opened a large new office block in Milbank House. A separate grant of 135,000 was provided to purchase works of art for the new building.

'This was a one-off expenditure which will not be repeated.

Peers: The House of Lords has a collection of at least 8,000 artworks worth millions

Peers: The House of Lords and Parliament has a collection of at least 8,000 artworks worth millions

'The House of Lords art collection is a public collection and much of it is on view to the public on tours of the Palace of Westminster. It can also be viewed online on the Parliament website.'

But the spending pales in comparison to the Coalition's plans to reform the House of Lords, which will cost taxpayers nearly half a billion pounds, it has been claimed.

Labour peer and economist Lord Lipsey put the estimated cost of running a fully-elected chamber over five years at 484million, enough to fund 15,000 nurses' salaries.

It is 7million more than the previous estimates and more than five times the 91million cost of the existing House of Lords in the last five years, according to the peer.

Here's what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have not been moderated.

I have long considered that the House of Lords is simply a reward system for failed or old politicians. Can anyone give a serious reason and convincing explanation to justify the continuance of the House of Lords?

Presumably there must be a committee who decide what purchases will be made. Can we have their names please?

Is the house a place of work or a museum/ art gallery. I find it admirable that such a collection is built on behalf of the nation but surely it should be on public display not adorning the walls of an individuals office. Private display of the items will tend towards 'leakage' where people forget where they came from and having hung in the study for a generation are absorbed in the beneficiaries collection.

AND .................WHAT do we think will be done about it ???????:

its utterly unacceptable...but we only have ourselves to blame with our total apathy about this and other ways our hard earned money is wasted

Disappointing to say the least

So much for the in it together slogan it makes my blood go to boiling point

Do these people live in the same world as the rest of us??????????????????/?????????

Rogues, thieves and vagabonds, why don't we rid ourselves of the lot of 'em.

bring back the vikings at least they only rob you once.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.


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