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Last updateThu, 26 Mar 2015 8pm

LOS ANGELES Sunday, March 29th 2015 10:47

  • LA Issue: ‘McMansions’ Put on Hold

    Dakota Smith

    Date: Mar 27, 2015 

    Concerned that new “McMansion” homes are changing the character of Los Angeles neighborhoods, the Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to temporarily restrict development in 20 areas. 

    The City Council unanimously passed the Neighborhood Conservation Interim Control Ordinance, which put a two-year ban on the size of new, single-family dwellings in some neighborhoods. 

    The ordinance temporarily limits the size of single-family dwellings in 15 neighborhoods: Valley Village, South Hollywood, La Brea Hancock Neighborhood, The Oaks of Los Feliz, Miracle Mile, Larchmont Heights, Lower Council District Five, Beverlywood, Inner Council District Five, Fairfax Area, Bel Air, Faircrest Heights Neighborhood, Kentwood, Mar Vista/East Venice and Old Granada Hills. 

    The law also puts a temporary moratorium on the issuance of building and demolition permits in five proposed Historic Preservation Overlay Zones: Sunset Square, Carthay Square, Holmby-Westwood, Oxford Square and El Sereno-Berkshire Craftsman District.  

    The new rules came amid a “proliferation of out-of-scale developments that threaten the cohesion and character” of neighborhoods, a city report states. (Read the rest.)   

    -cw 

    CityWatch

    Vol 13 Issue 26

    Pub: Mar 27, 2015



Awww. Betty Whites biggest regret

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Moving. Words that is … from Kerry Washington

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Wall Street's Speed Freaks Could Trigger Another Global Financial Crisis

OTHER WORDS - The power suits making billions off the stock market are always trying to assure us that their trading serves a socially redeeming purpose. They steer money to companies and industries that make our economy more productive, they claim.

In reality, the majority of stock trading today has absolutely nothing to do with helping companies raise capital to innovate and create jobs. Thoughtful investors don't drive today's Wall Street. Computers do.

About 55 percent of all U.S. stock trading last year was performed by computers programmed to make trades at speeds measured in the millionths of seconds. The goal of these "high-frequency traders"? To move faster than the next guy to exploit microscopic differences in stock prices on different exchanges. If you can buy a stock in New York and sell it in London a split second later for a fraction of a penny more, and do that millions of times per day, those pennies can add up. One hedge fund alone, Citadel, made $1 billion in profits off such games in 2009.

As such high-volume, high-frequency trades have come to dominate the market, investment in small businesses has declined. For the computers, it's a lot easier to flip stocks all day than to identify promising enterprises and stick with them.

Oh, and sometimes the computers go haywire. Two years ago, high-frequency traders fuelled a dramatic freefall in the stock market. A trillion dollars disappeared in a matter of minutes.

That time the market recovered by the end of the day. But next time we may not get so lucky. Bart Chilton of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has warned that if the Flash Crash had taken place in the morning instead of the afternoon, it could have spread like wildfire to global markets.

The high-frequency traders claim they do serve a social good by providing the liquidity that oils the whole financial machine. But as Elara Capital Chairman Avinash Persaud and others have pointed out, during times of crisis, the speed freaks try to "run ahead of the trend, draining liquidity just when it is needed the most."

So what's the government doing to prevent these speed demons from driving us all into another global financial crisis? Not very much. Securities and Exchange Commission chief Mary Schapiro admits that she's worried and is exploring various ways to address the problem.

But so far the agency's main action has been to introduce circuit breakers to stop the trading of a particular stock if the price rises or falls drastically in a short time. These are merely Band-Aids that fail to address the root cause of the problem.

There are still no limits on the number of orders firms can make or cancel each second. The government doesn't even have the ability to monitor such trading as it's happening. It took regulators nearly five months to piece together what happened during the Flash Crash of May 2010.

The Obama administration has also opposed proposals for a small tax (less than 0.5 percent) on each trade of stock. Such taxes would make high-frequency trading less profitable while encouraging longer-term productive investment.

So buckle up. The speed freaks are driving our financial system.

(Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. This column was provided CityWatch by OtherWords)
–cw

Tags: Wall Street, Sarah Anderson, OtherWords, economy, business, stock market, financial crisis






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 37
Pub: May 8, 2012

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