Culver City Observer -

Gas Prices Should Stay Lower (Maybe)


January 7, 2016

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Every time we drive the four miles to Costco for gasoline I wear an ear-to ear-smile because these low prices screw Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Also, the Iranians some time next year will increase production by one million barrels a day even though the world has a daily surplus of almost two million barrels (equal to the daily consumption of France).

The pump price should go lower and stay there but there is a serious problem and I immediately recognized it when the lights on the third floor of City Hall remained on past 10 p.m. every night recently. Rumor has it the city was counting on the increase in sales tax revenue on our gas purchases to keep paying for all those Cuban cigars, their gold toothpicks. and the wages with benefits of over $300,000 per year for those who toil on the third floor. They are, supposedly, scheming to raise the sales tax again.

The United States Department of Agriculture found the process used by the slaughterhouses to tenderize meat might cause bacteria to be driven into the meat. Our government will make meatpackers use new labels that will include cooking instructions which will remove most of the bacteria from the meat.

A friend recently paid approximately $560,000 for his Culver City condo and soon thereafter received the property tax statement of darn near $6,000. I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the next school bond tax increase of over $60 million that will be coming for a vote within the next four years.

The Republicans will be spending a ton of money on the 2016 election. One reason will, no doubt, be the age of the nine members of the Supreme Court:

Roberts 60

Scalia 79

Kennedy 79

Ginsburg 82

Thomas 67

Breyer 77

Alito 65

Sotomayor 61

Kagan 55

Looking for a career? Why not a Metro bus operator? Previous bus driving experience is not required. For requirements, locations and dates, please call Gabriela LaQuintana, (213) 805-4219.

News from the nation’s capital: The Supreme Court won’t hear a dispute over California’s requirement that nonprofit groups turn over the names of major donors. The Justices, on November 9, 2015, let stand a lower court ruling that said the state has a right to review donor lists to determine whether a group is actually involved in charitable activities.

Money, money, and money – who’s got the money? The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors just settled labor contracts with several of the bargaining units with a 10 percent raise over three years. I just bet the big salary makers are working the pencil to see how much will be left in the city’s payroll accounts. Now, don’t tell anybody I told you, but Culver City gives our police the same raises as the sheriff’s deputies.

Speaking of Los Angeles County sheriffs’ deputies, the Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $6 million to the victim of former deputy Jose Sanchez who, while on duty, sexually assaulted a female.

Are you also fed up with everyone reaching into your wallet? On the November 2016 ballot we will be able to agree to vote on the payment of projects that cost more than $2 billion. “Our friend,” Allan Zaremberg, President of the California Chamber of Commerce, said, “This ballot measure is both deceptive and dangerous.” So is eating at the mission, sleeping under a freeway bridge and having to declare bankruptcy.

Did you read the recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics regarding women who consumed freeze-dried blueberries equal to a cup of fresh blueberries every day for eight weeks? They had a reduction in blood pressure of seven points systolic and five points diastolic.

In February 2015 the Department of Health and Human Services updated the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which forms the basis for federal nutrition policy. There are many interesting items one could take from the 570 page report. One I chose is that a moderate amount (three to five cups) of regular coffee a day, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, can be part of a healthy diet because it is not associated with any long term health problems and may actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other conditions. Always check with your doctor first.

Uncle Neil has loved Culver City ever since he moved into town in 1978, so don’t worry any more because I’m not going to follow Britney Spears to her new digs in Thousand Oaks. Britney, a while back, bought, for a mere $7.4 million, a 12,464 square foot Italian villa on 21 acres with a three-green golf course, a lighted tennis court, a spa, an orchard, a 3,500-bottle wine cellar, five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Does anybody believe I would trade everything in Culver City for a headache in Ventura County?

The Los Angeles Clippers center. De Andre Jordan, bought a newly built mansion for a mere $12.7 million. The home has 10,500 square feet (the size of two basketball courts) and is three stories. Jordan will earn $87.6 million over the next four years with the option to end his contract after the third year.

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in the website’s search box.


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