Are You Really Ready for the Next Big California Earthquake?

No one can predict when or where it will happen. Video of Napa’s 6.1 quake from 2014 reminds all of us to make preparations now.

Falling debris, power outages, ruptured pipes, and fires are just a few of the catastrophic things that can happen following a large earthquake. How prepared is your family?

Temblors occur on a daily basis in this state. They are a sobering reminder to Californians that large earthquakes could happen at any moment, and we need to be ready to take care of ourselves for several days following a disaster.

October 17, 2014 marked 25 years since the Loma Prieta earthquake struck Northern California. Bay Area residents will never forget the harrowing 6.9 magnitude quake that claimed 63 lives. Those not living in the area witnessed the event on television when the 15-second quake struck at 5:04 p.m. during the airing of the 1989 World Series.

Northern California residents were recently reminded of Loma Prieta when a 6.1 magnitude quake struck American Canyon in the North Bay Area during the early morning hours on Aug. 24, 2014. The devastating quake caused severe damage to buildings, homes, and infrastructure.

Or view more here: Stay Safe: Everything You Need To Know In An Emergency Is Now A Tap Away regarding an awesome app from the Red Cross.

What about your pets? Pets need disaster kits equipped with food, water, and medication.

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 5:58 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

California in Seismic Drought But Big Earthquake Coming, Professor Says

California is long overdue for an earthquake with a magnitude larger than 7 but one will come soon, says a university professor.

CALIFORNIA — California is long overdue for an earthquake with a magnitude larger than 7 but one will come soon, said a Colorado State University professor. Richard Aster, a professor of geophysics, wrote this week that the state has been in an “earthquake drought” for years with the last earthquake greater than a magnitude of 7.0 happening in 1906 in San Francisco.

The so-called drought is more serious than most people realize, Aster wrote for TheConversation.com.

“The earthquake situation in California is actually more dire than people who aren’t seismologists like myself may realize,” Aster wrote. “Multiple segments of the expansive San Andreas Fault system are now sufficiently stressed to produce large and damaging events.”

Aster explained that the San Francisco earthquake, which killed roughly 3,000 people, was the last shake that was more than 7 in magnitude. The result is that “strands of the fault system accumulate stresses that correspond to a seismic slip of millimeters to centimeters.”

“Eventually, these stresses will be released suddenly in earthquakes,” Aster wrote. “Reflecting this deficit, the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast estimates that there is a 93 percent probability of a 7.0 or larger earthquake occurring in the Golden State region by 2045, with the highest probabilities occurring along the San Andreas Fault system.”

Thankfully, California’s government has made headway in improving infrastructure and planning. Those efforts will be tested when the big one hits, Aster wrote.

“As California prepares for large earthquakes after a hiatus of more than a century, the clock is ticking,” Aster wrote.

Here are earthquake preparedness tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
  • Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction. Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.
Posted on February 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Very helpful article to read so you won’t get scammed

FBI and NAR offer 10 ways to guard against real estate cyber scams

Most breaches are due to human error, not inadequate security systems, experts say
Posted on January 30, 2018 at 10:07 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Inspiring Lessons From U.S. Athletes Competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Lydia Belanger  Entrepreneur Staff

Throughout the past few weeks, more and more athletes have earned their spots on Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

They’ve had to overcome serious injuries, past disappointments and even discrimination to qualify for the games. Some are rookies, while others will participate for their second or even their fourth time. Some had to sit out Sochi four years ago, while others set records there and aim to top their past performance.

1. Be patient and persevere

Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn sat out the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics with a knee injury, and she ended three of her past five seasons prematurely due to crashes. She’s even crashed a few times so far this season and suffered a back injury.

Now in 2018, the 33-year-old, who is the most successful female skier in history, is headed to PyeongChang after an eight-year Olympic hiatus. Earlier this month, Vonn secured her 79th World Cup victory and qualified to compete in her fourth Olympic Games.

2. Defy Stereotypes

Twenty-year-old Jordan Greenway will be the first African-American to represent Team USA in hockey at the PyeongChang Olympics.

“Go out and do something different against the typical stereotypes that most African-Americans play basketball,” Greenway added, “or whatever the case is.”

3. Don’t rule out a pivot

Figure skater Mirai Nagasu competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics, but the selection committee passed over her in 2014 despite the fact that she placed third in the national championships (they picked fourth-place winner Ashley Wagner instead). On Jan. 5, she secured a spot on Team USA for this year’s Olympics. This achievement followed another major milestone earlier this season when Nagasu became the first American female figure skater since Tonya Harding in 1991 to land a triple axel jump in an international competition.

4. Get ‘addicted to fear.’

Despite the fact that her sport requires her to fly through the air, 24-year-old freestyle skier Maddie Bowman says she stays calm and channels any fear she feels into empowerment.

 

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Change How You Think About Life

Deep Patel  Contributor

Perhaps the biggest challenge when attempting to think your way to success is reprogramming your mind. Habits of the mind can be difficult to break, but by implementing the strategies outlined below, readers will be able to develop new patterns of thought in the new year.

1. Change your daily routine

Takeaway: Take a few minutes to outline your daily routines, being as detailed as possible. Then choose one new routine you would like to add or replace.

2. Take time to travel

Takeaway: Plan a trip that takes you out of your daily routine. Traveling doesn’t need to be expensive; even a short excursion can provide new perspectives.

3. Read fiction

Takeaway: Everyone has time to read. If you think you’re too busy to pick up a great book, think again. First, outline your daily routines as mentioned in section one. Second, schedule a few minutes to read each day. Paging through a good book during your morning commute or right before bed can be an effective way to reprogram your thoughts.

4. Align your time with your priorities

Takeaway: By gaining control of your calendar, you’ll be able to gain control of your thoughts. Take a long hard look at how you allocate your time and commit to spending your days on your terms.

5. Develop healthy sleep habits

Takeaway: Invest in a sleep-tracking app. If the data show that you’re not getting adequate sleep, you may have identified the single best way to change your thoughts. Make sure you get eight hours of sleep a night, and in time your thoughts will become healthier.

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Economic Straight Talk

Selma Hepp is Pacific Union’s Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence

  • In the last two months of 2017, California employers added more than 105,000 jobs, ending the year on an incredibly positive note. In fact, with more than 200,000 jobs added in the last four months of the year, it was the strongest streak of job growth in the state since the data series began almost 30 years ago.
  • California’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, which marks the lowest point since 1976 according to a report from the state Employment Development Department. California’s unemployment rate is now only 0.2 percent higher than the national rate of 4.1 percent. This is incredible progress for California given that the unemployment rate peaked at more than 12 percent in 2010.
  • Jobs gains were broad-based across many industries, with the most additions in the administrative support and leisure and hospitality sectors. The other industries with solid additions included transportation and warehousing, construction, financial services, and information. The construction, education, and information sectors, which all generally pay solid wages, put up the largest relative annual gains. Also, job growth in the information sector is good news, as the industry saw some losses earlier in 2017. On the other hand, while any job growth is welcome, the administrative support and leisure and hospitality sectors do not generally pay above-average wages.
  • Regionally, solid job gains were seen in all California metropolitan areas.
  • Los Angeles County added 8,300 jobs in December to reach 4,518,900. On a monthly basis, the largest gain was in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, followed by retail trade. Other industries that posted gains were financial activities, with a concentration in real estate and rental and leasing, which added 1,900 jobs. On an annual basis, the education and health services industries added the most positions, with information services following. Most of the information sector jobs were concentrated in motion pictures and sound recording.
Posted on January 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Start thinking about way you can deduct from your taxes

Author, Attorney and CPA

As a certified public accountant, everywhere I go, even when I’m at dinner with friends, I constantly am asked the question: “So, what can I write off my taxes?”

Surprisingly, there isn’t some master list included in the Internal Revenue Code or provided by the Internal Revenue Service. There is simply the tax principle set forth in Code Section 62 that states a valid write-off is any expense incurred in the production of income. Each deduction then has its own rules.

A good CPA should be teaching their clients to think above the line — that is, your Adjusted Gross Income line. Your AGI is the number in the bottom right-hand corner on the front page of your tax return. Any tax return. And what I mean by thinking above this line is constantly trying to think of any and all personal expenses that may have a business purpose. With a small-business venture in your life and on your tax return, you may be able to convert some personal expenses to business expenses, as long as you have the proper business purpose for that expense.

You should track every business expense and comb over them with your CPA at the end of the year to ensure you only take legitimate deductions, both to minimize your risk of audit and to have the documentation in place in case the IRS ever comes knocking.

Accounting fees
Advertising
Amortization
Auto expenses
Bad debts that you cannot collect
Banking fees
Board meetings
Building repairs and maintenance
Business association membership dues
Business travel
Cafeteria health-insurance plan (requires plan)
Charitable deductions made for a business purpose
Cleaning/janitorial services
Collection Expenses
Commissions to outside parties
Computers and tech supplies
Consulting fees
Continuing education for yourself to maintain licensing and improve skillsl
Conventions and trade shows
Costs of goods sold
Credit card convenience fees
Depreciation
Dining during business travel
Discounts to customers
Education and training for employees
Employee wages
Entertainment for customers and clients
Equipment
Equipment repairs
Exhibits for publicity
Family members’ wages
Franchise fees
Freight or shipping costs
Furniture or fixtures
Gifts for customers ($25 deduction limit for each)
Group insurance (if qualifying)
Health insurance
Home office
Interest
Internet hosting and services
Investment advice and fees
Legal fees
License fees
Losses due to theft
Management fees
Materials
Maintenance
Medical expenses (with plan)
Mortgage interest on business property
Moving
Newspapers and magazines
Office supplies and expenses
Outside services
Payroll taxes for employees, including Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment taxes
Parking and tolls
Pension plans
Postage
Publicity
Prizes for contests
Real estate-related expenses
Rebates on sales
Rent
Research and development
Retirement plans
Royalties
Safe-deposit box
Safe
Software and online services
Storage rental
Subcontractors
Taxes
Telephone
Utilities
Website design
Workers’ compensation insurance
 

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Efforts underway to protect older downtown LA buildings from earthquake damage

At 1136 Sixth St., just west of the heart of downtown Los Angeles stands The Mint, a nearly 100-year-old medical building that has been repurposed into luxury apartments.

Despite its age, it is very likely one of the safest buildings in downtown after a full seismic retrofit in 2016.

“What we did here was introduce a 16-inch concrete sheer wall that goes from the basement of the foundation to the roof of the structure,” explained Richard Chen, principal with Miyamoto International, Inc.

Inside those walls are seismic stirrups and ties which will allow the wall to dissipate energy in an earthquake.

This building was strong, but in earthquake engineering, there is a difference between strong and tough. As Chen explained, it needs to be tough so it can dissipate energy.

In 2015 the Los Angeles City Council passed the nation’s most sweeping seismic regulations.

Since then Miyamoto International has seen a steady increase in business. They’ve retrofitted iconic and crowded spots like the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Bowl.

But Chen says downtown LA is of concern because many of the towers were built with outdated technology.

There are a lot of high-rise buildings in downtown and most were constructed in the 1970s and ’80s. Those are all pre-Northridge earthquake and that’s when experts learned a lot about how these steel connections didn’t work well.

Chen says it’s unlikely the skyscrapers will collapse, but the chance the buildings will stay straight and be reusable after a big quake is very small.

While buildings like the brand new Wilshire Grand are built with the latest and safest earthquake technology, Chen says they’ve seen more and more developers come to them looking to retrofit older existing buildings wanting to make them safer and more profitable.

“If you think about it we’re running out of land to build new projects,” Chen said. “So developers are now looking at property that’s distressed or hasn’t been in use for decades and is trying to see if there are opportunities to turn them into better use buildings for a better investment.”

Courtesy: Richard Chen, principal with Miyamoto International, Inc., explains seismic retrofitting work recently done at a downtown LA building.
Posted on January 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Dinner at NVCS

ThanksGiving Article

Posted on November 22, 2017 at 10:34 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

Buyers Checklist – 10 steps

1. Figure out how much house you can afford.

  • Calculate your monthly income and debt.
  • Check your credit report and FICO score.
  • Use FrontDoor’s mortgage calculator.
  • Figure out your down payment.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

  • Choose a type of mortgage.
  • Speak to at least five lenders and mortgage brokers.
  • Shop for the best interest rates and programs.

3. Determine what you want and need in a home.

  • Choose a location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
  • Choose a type (single family, townhouse, condo, loft).
  • Choose a price range.
  • Choose a size.
  • Choose an architectural style.

4. Research your target neighborhoods.

  • Look online for information on schools, crime rate, traffic and zoning.
  • Determine your work commute.
  • Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops and restaurants.

5. Work with a buyer’s agent who knows the neighborhood.

  • Get referrals.
  • Consider working with an exclusive buyer’s agent.
  • Interview at least three agents.
  • Look for experience and good chemistry.

6. Search for homes in the MLS and For Sale By Owner (FSBO).

  • Browse listings online, including FrontDoor.com.
  • Ask your agent to set up tours of homes that fit your criteria.
  • Check local newspapers.
  • Pick up flyers and attend open houses.

7. Research each home you want to buy.

  • Ask your agent for comps to estimate the property’s fair market value.
  • Ask the seller’s reason for selling.
  • Review all property disclosures.
  • Find out about liens, easements or other restrictions.

8. Make an offer and negotiate.

  • Determine the purchase price.
  • Include contingencies, such as financial, inspection or purchase.
  • Spell out any special requests and repairs you want included in the sale.
  • Determine an earnest money amount.
  • Define a move-in date.
  • Once both parties agree to the terms, sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

9. Finalize the deal.

  • Get the house appraised.
  • Get a professional home inspection.
  • Consider getting specific inspections for structural engineering, roof and termites.
  • Use the appraisal and inspection reports to re-negotiate if necessary.
  • Choose a home insurance company.
  • Complete the loan process with the lender.
  • Do a walk-through inspection prior to closing.
  • Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.

10. Close the purchase.

  • Review the settlement document at least 2 days before closing to see how funds will be collected and distributed.
  • Get a cashier’s check for the amount you need to bring to closing, including the down payment and closing costs.

 

(Courtesy HGTV)

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm
Gordon Myers | Category: Uncategorized

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