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  • Culture & MediaJune 11, 2013Capital & Main

    Midnight Special (The Donut Inn)

    It’s late, so the late

    Karen Carpenter comes off

    the radio at 1 a.m. The diners

    complain; she’s passé, she’s so

    post-mortem. You see,

    it’s Night of the Living.

    Outside the sirens rise up

    and home in. Now I’m upstairs

    asleep, lost to this din,

    but downstairs the Usuals

    stake out a square

    of linoleum, sit down and

    fit in.

     

    Like the jailed I bet

    they get the same damn thing.

    Some special—Styrofoam.

    They sip the rim. I bet

    at this hour the donuts

    lie face up, half

    human. The walls are glass

    there, so those guys can see

    the fix they’re in:  a block

    of illegally parked cars,

     » Read more about: Midnight Special (The Donut Inn)  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 10, 2013Capital & Main

    Maintenance Engineer Part Time

    after the long day’s hustle, Papa returned

    home waving fistfuls of Tootsie Rolls, wolfed down

    his supper, changed from his suit into his long-sleeved

    gray coveralls or blue cotton smock and slid out of

    silky stockings and Italian leather loafers into white

    cotton socks and well-scuffed All-American work shoes

    for his night shift scrubbing and waxing corporation floors

     

    we missed his loud full laughter

    around the television and what company we had

    wasn’t as interesting as the visitors

    who came through when he hung around home

    but we trusted Papa was doing his best

    to become “healthy, wealthy and wise”

    without shame over shameful wages—enough

    indian head nickels to finance a scheme

     

    (the men he worked graveyard with

    always became buddies

    and no matter whose car broke down,

     » Read more about: Maintenance Engineer Part Time  »

  • California ExposeMay 28, 2013Gary Cohn

    In Black and White: Strip Club Approved for Tax Credits

    California’s controversial $700 million enterprise zone program has long been shrouded in secrecy. But now Frying Pan News has obtained documents showing that the Rancho Cordova strip club Gold Club Centerfolds has been approved for enterprise zone tax credits. The documents show that the gentlemen’s club has received credits worth up to $37,440 apiece for nine employees — sales associates, door hosts and security officers — who are paid from $8 to $9.25 an hour.

    See Gold Club Centerfolds’ tax credit documents here.

    The documents reflect only a portion of all approvals for Gold Club Centerfolds. The approvals were granted by Sacramento’s enterprise zone manager and came in 2011. The documents were obtained by the California Labor Federation under a public records request. The labor federation also requested records to see if another Rancho Cordova strip club, Déjà Vu Showgirls, has similarly been approved for tax credits,

     » Read more about: In Black and White: Strip Club Approved for Tax Credits  »

  • California ExposeMay 28, 2013Gary Cohn

    How Enterprise Zones Are Killing the California Dream

    John Thomas and Hans Burkhardt have a lot in common. For more than 17 years each man had a good paying union job, with health and pension benefits, near San Francisco Bay. Thomas worked as a warehouseman for VWR International, a medical supply company with a warehouse in Brisbane, south of Candlestick Park. Burkhardt also worked as a warehouseman, for BlueLinx, a building products company with a facility across the bay in Newark.

    The similarities don’t end there. Both Thomas and Burkhardt are now collecting unemployment, having lost their $22-an-hour jobs after their employers moved to take advantage of California’s enterprise zone plan, a controversial state program that is supposed to create jobs.

    The enterprise program, established in 1984, provides $700 million in tax breaks for companies that set up business or move to one of 40 zones within the state.

     » Read more about: How Enterprise Zones Are Killing the California Dream  »

  • California ExposeApril 22, 2013Gary Cohn

    Budget Shocker: L.A. Shows $119 Million Surplus

    For five years a chorus of voices has been predicting bankruptcy for Los Angeles, while often calling for deeper cuts to city employee pensions. Today, however, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 that includes a one-time surplus of $119 million. While some of that surplus would rely on additional pay and benefit reductions for city workers, even without such cuts the city would have a projected surplus of close to $100 million.

    “It’s better than seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – we’re almost out of the tunnel!” Matt Szabo, Mayor Villaraigosa’s deputy chief of staff, told Frying Pan News in an interview last week. Szabo discussed the city’s financial picture and said that dire financial warnings have been largely overblown.

    “One of the issues that’s highly irritating is the ease with which some people have thrown around the bankruptcy term,” Szabo said.

     » Read more about: Budget Shocker: L.A. Shows $119 Million Surplus  »