Islands sale emblematic of California water woes

November 11, 2015

Zurich Insurance is set to sell land in the state’s northern water hub to a utility in the dry south. It may form part of a broader $15 bln plan and raises concerns about water rights, the environment, big projects and how to finance them and how best to use a scarce resource.

California drought may find relief from Down Under

April 1, 2015

Governor Jerry Brown has ordered a 25 pct cut in water use. With reservoirs and snow caps low, it’s a wise, if belated, move. Now he needs a comprehensive plan for identifying new sources, reallocating existing ones and getting citizens to buy in. Melbourne offers a good model.

Global water woes mix with trickle of good news

March 23, 2015

The planet faces a 40 pct H2O deficit by 2030 as rising populations require more food and energy. Droughts in Sao Paulo and California may become harbingers of doom. But progress on everything from data to usage to business awareness to international agreements offers some hope.

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

September 16, 2014

Calpers, the $300 bln pension manager, is offloading its $4 bln of hedge funds. Too many in the 2-and-20 crowd look like stock pickers yet still present liquidity risks and, lately, low returns. Endowments are different, but for retirement funds Calpers could be setting a trend.

Bankruptcy loses its taboo for California’s cities

July 11, 2012

San Bernardino is the third Golden State city to fail in two weeks as the housing bust and bad governance have left California’s heartland strained. Investors seem sanguine, but aggressive court tactics and more filings could hurt them and push up costs for other muni borrowers.

Who would argue with a U.S. millionaire tax hike?

November 9, 2012

OK, millionaires would. But selling out the 250,000 super-rich by taxing them at Clinton-era rates might be the political compromise needed to avert the fiscal cliff. It would only raise a third less than hiking rates on Americans earning $200,000 but snag 2 mln fewer taxpayers.

Markets won’t force California’s budget hand

November 16, 2010

The state is marketing $10 billion of short-term debt that matures next year to big and small investors at interest rates that would make Dublin or Athens green with envy.

Raft of U.S. states has variant of Greek flu

February 17, 2010

A raft of the 50 U.S. states has a variant of Greek flu. Sure, they don't have imbalances on the scale afflicting Greece.