Santa Monica Observer issue 50 : Page 1

Page 7 Volume XI Number 50 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ December 1 - 7 2008 Holiday for the Homeless Volunteers serve dinner to guests during St. Monica's Catholic Church29th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Needy on Wednesday, November 26, 2008. More than 800 guests enjoyed a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner at St. Monica's Church on Wednesday. INSIDE: Owning a Home on SM Beach, leads to Bank Crackdown, P 3 Spirit Award Noms for Inapprop Directors, Page 6 News SMMUSD Super Sought, Page 4 Cadillac Record: Movie Review, page 8 Classifieds, page 18 Services Directory, Page 19 Waxman to Head Energy & Commerce Waxman Replaces Longtime Leader of House Panel By JOHN M. BRODER, New York Times WASHINGTON — Representative Henry A. Waxman wrested the chairman- ship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee from Representative John D. Dingell last week, in a coup that is expected to acceler- ate passage of energy, climate and health legislation backed by President-elect Barack Obama. Mr. Waxman, 69, of California, who mounted a quiet but devastatingly effective two- week campaign against his long- time Democratic colleague, won the chairmanship with a 137-to- 122 vote in the Democratic Caucus. The vote was secret, but many allies of Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed Mr. Waxman’s move, and several members said they had voted on the assumption that Ms. Pelosi had tacitly approved. Democrats also read the sig- nals coming from the president- elect’s transition office, which this week announced the inten- tion to name Philip Schiliro, a longtime aide to Mr. Waxman, as the White House director of Congressional relations. The takeover marked the fall of a third long-serving member of Congress in the last two weeks. Senator Ted Stevens, 85, Republican of Alaska, lost his re- election bid after a federal fraud conviction. Senator Robert C. Byrd, 91, Democrat of West Virginia, stepped aside as chair- man of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. The ouster of Mr. Dingell, of Michigan, was another blow to the reeling American auto indus- try, which learned Thursday that it would not get any financial assistance from Congress until it showed how it could be prof- itable again. Mr. Dingell, who represents a suburban Detroit district, has been the industry’s most stalwart defender in Congress, having slowed or blocked many safety and envi- ronmental standards that the auto WAXMAN, Page 2 Photo by When Will It End? Recession hits local businesses hard. Small Businesses Feel Recession Brian Kim says he knew something was up thirteen months ago. He could hear it in his customers’ comments. “Price range …what they’re looking for goes lower, lower, lower,” said Kim, owner of Newman’s Vacuum and Appliance on Santa Monica Boulevard. People were simply less like- ly to spend as much as they used to, said Kim. He added that fel- low business owners shared sim- ilar stories with him. When asked if things have gotten worse or stayed the same since then, Kim replied, “It’s worse, of course.” And Monday, Kim’s suspi- cions were confirmed. The U.S. economy has been in “recession” since December of last year, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a non-profit group of economists in Washington, D.C. “It explains the pain we’re seeing,” said Jack Kyser, senior economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “The high unemployment rate, the slowdown in sales.” Kyser said the government refrains from using the “r” word for various reasons, chief among them: The psychological impact. “Somebody might say, ‘Gee, I was going to buy something new. I’m not going to do it now because we’re in a recession’,” said Kyser. Government economists are reluctant to push that possibility along, especially in a presidential election cycle. But there’s no doubt now. Economists say “recession” occurs when there are two quar- ters in a row of declines in gross domestic product, providing you adjust for inflation. Kyser said the NBER then adds such trackable trends as unemployment, slumping sales — even as the holiday season kicked off four days ago — and personal income declines. What’s more, smaller busi- RECESSION, Page 2

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