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Sunday, August 25, 2013 – 10:30 a.m.

Here’s some news flowing across the transom last week, in case you missed it!

San Bernardino County to take sweeping charter reform to voters.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors thinks the county charter needs a major overhaul.

Even though the document seems to have worked well for many, many years. One has to wonder what bait and switch stunt is in this little agenda.

Obviously, Board Chairwoman and Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who is up for reelection next year, needs something to champion in order to garner the good press. I have to admit this fits the bill perfectly.

Why not just convert to a general law county and save everyone all the drama?

Recall on for San Bernardino Councilman Valdivia

A whopping 43% of signatures collected to qualify San Bernardino Councilman John Valdivia for recall were actually bad.

That’s a pretty high number.

It’s still questionable as to whether or not Valdivia will actually be removed by the constituents in his Ward. Remember, he’s actually in his first full term of office, and really had nothing to do with the long-term decisions that led up to the city filing bankruptcy.

The number of signature collected against Council Members Chas Kelley, Wendy McCammack and City Attorney Jim Penman leave no wiggle room for that high of a signature error rate.

New homes sales plummet in July

It only took one jump in interest rates to make the residential real estate market look a liitle anemic.

Newly-constructed home sales numbers for July took a nose dive across-the-board.

Sales of new single-family homes in July plunged 13.4% from June. Sales were 6.8% higher from a year ago.

Rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which have climbed from under 3.5% earlier this year, to about 4.54% on Friday, has apparently impacted borrowers.

“Under” employment rate starting to take center stage

Economists and investors appear to be looking at the monthly government unemployment figures (U-3) with a jaundice eye these days.

The ‘official’ rate is currently at 7.4%, seasonally adjusted. Unadjusted, the rate is 7.7%.

The new focus is increasingly turning to the ‘official’ underemployment (U-6) rate. That rate sits at a seasonally-adjusted 14.0% Unadjusted the rate is 14.3%.

Why all the attention? The rapid conversion of full-time jobs to part-time (under 30 hours per week), due to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), combined with all the part-time hiring, has skewed the U-3 numbers.

The underemployment rate, takes into account everyone receiving unemployment benefits, those working part-time and everyone who has quit looking for work. Most experts suggest that real underemployment rate is actually around 15-18%. The Inland Empire is likely much higher.

Seventy-Five percent of all jobs, created this year, have been part-time.

Ballmer leaving Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is retiring. Wooo Hoo!

Wall Street appears pleased. Micorsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) stock climbed on the news.

You have to admit, the company and its products have been stagmant. The venture into the notebook/pad market was a disaster.