FROM James Elmendorf
Political Warfare over the Sharing Economy Airbnb claims almost 5000 "hosts" are offering rooms, and entire houses, for short-term rental in 80 Los Angeles neighborhoods. The start-up that's raised almost $20 billion in venture capital says it helps travelers to get off the beaten path and artists and other creative owners to stay in their homes — producing a $312 million bonus to the economy of LA alone. But neighbors in Silver Lake, Mar Vista, Venice and the Miracle Mile have other ideas — and they've organized as Keep Neighborhoods First!
Airbnb Growth Outpaces City Policy The escalating wars over short-term rentals: Airbnb, VRBO, and others versus homeowners. And cities are caught in the middle with varying policies and regulations. One issue is taxes. Just yesterday, Airbnb said it will start collecting taxes from properties listed in Malibu. West Hollywood is considering a blanket ban on short-term rentals. And in the rest of the LA metro area, it’s technically illegal to rent through Airbnb. Although you wouldn’t know it on the site. Despite inconsistent regulations and enforcement, Airbnb is thriving in Los Angeles. But that has housing advocates worried for a city with a long history of rising rents and limited housing.
Walmart Comes to Chinatown In March, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on big chain stores in Chinatown. But Wal-Mart had beaten the politicians to the punch by pulling permits the day before. Construction on the new store at Cesar Chavez and Grand began last Tuesday. Opponents are appealing that action, and on Saturday staged a colorful protest in the neighborhood.
Downtown Walmart Grocery Store Draws Fire, Sparks Excitement It's a fight to the checkout line for those for and against a new Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for downtown LA. The new 33,000 square foot store is expected to go into the bottom floor of a senior housing complex just north of the 101 Freeway, a stones throw from central Chinatown. The world's biggest retailer has been trying a smaller footprint in high-density areas, but up to now has stayed out of LA, instead locating in other big cities like Chicago. Supercenters, those with more than 100,000 square feet, have more of a city hurdle to jump in trying to get built. An LA ordinance requires retailers to provide an economic analysis on how it would affect the job market and nearby businesses. Note: Walmart was invited to participate in today's discussion but their spokesman was unavailable.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?