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.

Friday, July 6, 2012

California gives OK to high-speed rail -

California gives OK to high-speed rail -

The California state Senate passed a budget measure Friday afternoon that sealed the deal: High-speed rail is coming to the Golden State.

The bill passed with only Democratic support in the upper chamber, 21-16, and authorizes the state to provide $2.7 billion in funds that the Department of Transportation will match with $3.3 billion, a total of $6 billion that will go to funding the initial, 130-mile high-speed segment in the Central Valley region.

The federal money was contingent on the state’s go-ahead; now there is enough money for contracts to go out and ground to be broken. Some of that money came from states like Wisconsin and Florida, whose Republican governors rejected the federal fast train money. The project, decades in the making, could begin construction as soon as this winter.

The legislation also contains nearly $2 billion for local projects in the state’s heavily populated Bay Area and Southern California. The General Assembly passed the measure Thursday, 51-27, but the Senate showdown was always the main event. In the days preceding the vote, Capitol Hill Democrats — reportedly including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — aided state supporters in shoring up the necessary 21 votes for the bill, which was the subject of intense media speculation all week as leaders delayed the vote until moments before a month-long recess began.

Before the vote, state Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D) took to the floor to offer a last request for support.

“How many chances to do we have to inject a colossal stimulus into today’s economy?” Steinberg said, imploring his colleagues to vote yes. “This project has now transformed from high-speed rail only to an $8 billion infrastructure infusion.”

And Republicans, who all opposed the measure, tried to use procedural votes and tactics to scrap the vote. Then they criticized the state for deficit spending during difficult financial times.

“I think this is a colossal fiscal train wreck for California,” said Sen. Tony Strickland (R). “This was sold to the people of California at a very low cost compared to where it is today.”

In the end the votes were there, delivering a crucial victory to Congressional Democrats, the Obama administration and perhaps most of all California Gov. Jerry Brown (D). He has stood up for high-speed rail in the face of heated criticism not only from Capitol Hill and Sacramento Republicans, but also California Senate Democrats, some of whom pitched an alternate plan up to the last minute. The project has also been subject to a series of polls that indicate swelling voter regret over authorizing state bond money for the fast-train project.

But Brown stood strong, absorbing the blows from opponents and the public, including this week’s Field Poll that found approval of the rail money makes about 31 percent of likely voters less likely to support Brown’s tax increase package. The survey suggests some voters see spending on the rail system as frivolous given the Golden State’s high debt and 11 percent unemployment. State Sen. Joe Simitian (D) cited the poll in opposition, questioning why the Senate would “put the future of the state at risk” by trading $40 billion in new revenues for $3.3 billion from the feds.

Brown and allies DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard have compared the system’s tribulation with consternation over such landmark American achievements as the California university system and the Interstate Highway System. Those projects too had to start somewhere, advocates say, just like high-speed rail’s first segment in the sparsely populated Central Valley corridor. The first train could run as soon as 2018, according to authority projections.

After ballooning from $33 billion to nearly $100 billion, Richard — who became chairman in the spring — cut back the business plan to $68 billion, which includes integration into existing systems to save money and makes the system more useful from the beginning. The plan was supposed to sate critics who point out the state is far short of securing the entire $68 billion and worry California could be left with “stranded assets.”

Concerns about funding remain and opponents will continue working to grind construction of the roundly derided “train-to-nowhere” to a halt.

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is investigating the use of the system’s federal money and has indicated the committee could hold a hearing this summer. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) tacked on an amendment to the House funding bill for DOT that prevents the department from spending on Golden State’s fast trains.

And GOP state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, the system’s most vocal dissenter in the Senate, is not giving up after his campaign to spike the bill in the state legislature failed. He will push for voters to have another chance on the ballot to vote on the system. Failing that, he may soon have another opportunity to attack the project. LaMalfa appears the favorite to take a sprawling northern coastal district congressional seat in November.

This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 7:19 p.m. on July 6, 2012.


California and the emotive death penalty debate - BBC News

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California bill seeks certification for pet groomers - Los Angeles Times

California already licenses furniture upholsterers, private investigators and recreation guides.

Now it wants to regulate pet groomers.

In a state that leads the country in the number of professions requiring a license, a bill moving through the Legislature has struck a nerve among those who clip Fido and Fluffy.

Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), author of the proposed legislation, wants to provide pet owners "peace of mind" by creating a voluntary certification program. Groomers would have to complete about 900 hours of training and pay an as-yet unspecified fee to be certified by the state — a designation that amounts to a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Vargas says the measure, known as SB 969, is intended to protect pets from untrained groomers. He said he drafted the bill after learning about lacerations, broken bones — and in one case, death — that some animals suffered during trips to their barbers.

"The pets really are the silent victims," Vargas said. "They can't tell you what happens."

Vargas' initial aim was to force California's pet groomers to obtain a state license that would have required them to pass an exam and carry insurance. But that proposal lost much of its bite after facing opposition from small-business groups. A similar bill stalled in 2005.

But even the watered-down version has some groomers growling. They fear that voluntary certification is just a precursor to eventual licensing that would snag California's estimated 11,000 pet barbers in more red tape.

"I want the government out of my salon," said Johnny Ray, co-owner of the Dog House in North Hollywood. "It's just a money grab."

The dust-up underscores a larger national debate about professional licensing and how to protect consumers without stifling entrepreneurship. Few dispute the public interest in regulating surgeons, lawyers and others who could do lasting harm without the requisite skills.

But licensing has mushroomed over the years to include all manner of trades. In Louisiana, florists must pass a test to earn a license to operate. Fortune tellers in Annapolis, Md., need to be licensed to practice their crafts. And, in Mississippi, hair braiders need to be registered with that state's health department.

California has about 177 occupations requiring a license, the most of any state, according to the most recent comprehensive count by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian-leaning think tank. (A separate review by The Times found the number has stayed roughly the same since that 2007 survey.) The national average is 92, said Adam Summers, a senior policy analyst with the organization.

Summers, who has studied the rise in occupational licensing, says this type of professional regulation stifles competition, drives up prices and is particularly burdensome to low-income entrepreneurs trying to earn a living in service trades.

Some have fought back. In the late 1990s, a group of African American hair-care specialists successfully sued to overturn California cosmetology laws requiring them to undergo 1,600 hours of training and pass an exam to braid hair. A Utah hair braider currently is waging a similar fight against that state's cosmetology board.

"Mandatory licensing tends to impose arbitrary standards," Summers said. "It's a monopolist system that doesn't necessarily improve quality of services and increases the cost of business."

In recent years, tens of thousands of laid-off Californians have been forced into self-employment. Critics contend that raising barriers to entry in fields such as dog grooming is counterproductive in a state where unemployment is 10.8%, the third-highest in the nation.

The proposed legislation comes at a time when pet owners are spending more money on their furry companions. Last year, Americans spent $3.79 billion on grooming and boarding services for their pets, up from $3.5 billion the year before, according to the American Pet Products Assn. The group projects spending in 2012 will grow to $4.1 billion.

Groomers have found steady work in the animal-care industry, where employment is projected to grow 23% from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bill, currently working its way through the state Assembly, cleared the Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Assembly committee last week on a 5-4 vote. It passed the Senate with a 22-14 vote, largely along party lines. It's next scheduled to appear before the Assembly Appropriations committee. No hearing date has been set.

State Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), who voted against the bill, called it unnecessary.

"Why is a state law needed to set up a voluntary certification program?" Anderson said through a spokesman. "It could all be done without the heavy hand of government, such as how the Better Business Bureau operates. One has to ask with a budget deficit of $17 billion why is the majority party focused on Fido's hair and nail care?"

Jose Miguel Nuñez, a dog groomer with four years' experience, said he opposed the bill, saying it was unnecessary and would create a distinction between groomers who sought the state's certification and those who didn't.

"I don't think the state's backing should give people more confidence," the North Hollywood resident said. "A piece of paper won't change anything.


California's biggest community college fights to survive - Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Jul 6, 2012 11:13pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's largest community college, the City College of San Francisco, will be forced to close next year if it fails to address a raft of longstanding problems that the school blames on state budget cuts.

The two-year college that serves 90,000 students risks becoming the first in California to lose its accreditation since 2006, triggering funding cuts that could shutter the school.

The threatened loss of accreditation for the school, which would occur in June 2013, comes as California's heralded system of public universities and colleges groans under the pressure of reduced government funding and curtailed school budgets.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges this week notified the 77-year-old City College that it must prove its worthiness to continue operating.

In a letter to the college's interim chancellor, Commission President Barbara Beno said an accreditation team in March found the school had failed to react to funding cuts and had reached "a financial breaking point."

The commission cited a lack of administrators as one chief concern and also criticized the college for insufficient assessments of student learning and achievement.

"The task really is to step up the quality of what they do," Beno told Reuters on Friday.

By March, she said the college must submit a plan for closing the school, in the event the commission decides to strip it of accreditation. At the same time, it must prove it has met performance standards.

"It's a severe verdict, which essentially puts the burden on City College to make substantial financial and structural changes in a very abbreviated period of time," said college spokesman Larry Kamer. "The task is quite formidable."

But, he added, "City College is not closing. We are not going to let that happen."

Interim Chancellor Pamila Fisher announced Friday that she would put together a committee of faculty, staff and students to implement the accreditation commission's recommendations.

The commission is authorized to operate by the U.S. Department of Education and oversees institutions in the West. It evaluates community and junior colleges every six years. In 2006, evaluators made eight recommendations for City College, none of which the school adequately addressed, Beno said.


This year's evaluation of City College of San Francisco criticized it for having too few administrators. The evaluator's report describes the college's 39 administrators as "overtaxed" and insufficient in number to support the college's more than 1,800 faculty members.

English teacher Alisa Messer, head of the local union representing faculty, said the lack of administrators was proof of the college's commitment to students.

"The real problem is the state's de-funding of public education and its disinvestment in our community-college system," she said. "There's no question that everyone is going to work to keep the college open."

The college had suffered five years of funding cuts, Messer said, including $17 million last year alone.

City College began operating in San Francisco with about 1,100 students in 1935. It has nine primary campuses, nearly 200 neighborhood sites and offers vocational training in nursing, culinary arts and aircraft mechanics.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Andrew Stern and Lisa Shumaker)


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