Posts Tagged ‘bankruptcy’

Ooh Nice One, Goldman Sachs! CODA Automotive in Bankruptcy Today – The Bay Area’s OTHER Electric Car “Factory”

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Read the news and turn the pages.

I remember seeing CODA Automotive’s first SFMTA bus stop ad back in 2010. I thought, “Man, what a turkey.” That’s the year I started the DeathWatch.

This whole CODA concept appeared to be another big fat loser from Goldman Sachs and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

Oh well.

Ah memories, memories from 2010:

Whatever You Do, DON’T Put $499 Down on the $45K, Mostly Chinese, All-Electric Coda Sedan

I’ll tell you, the Mitsubishi Carisma didn’t exactly slay the European market when it went on sale a decade and a half ago. Simply, it wasn’t popular. Then a regional car maker in China tried to take the design from Mitsu and make a version to sell to the Chinese in 2005. It wasn’t popular there neither, even at a price of just $10,000. It, as they say, “lacked quality to make a mark“ in the Chinese market. O.K. then.

Well, they went and took out the gas engine and fitted it with a big heavy battery and a lightweight motor and that’s how we’re getting the 2011 Coda Automotive Sedan at a price of, wait for it, Holy Toledo, $44,900. That’s the news of the day, 45K, officially.

Should California and the feds give you tax credits to buy this thing if all Coda Automotive is going to do is raise the price sky high?

What a POS this thing is. Just look at it. In some ways better, and in some ways worse than your sister’s ’94 Honda Civic:

Now, they’re going to have a showroom in the bay area soon and they’re going to let you take a test drive starting next month. Fine, test drive the thing, I don’t care. But don’t give them a deposit, don’t encourage them.

All right, what about the all-electric Nissan LEAF, the Coda Sedan’s arch-rival? The LEAF is better and cheaper.

Here’s what an overly-excited CODA fan was saying about the LEAF last year:

“It’s an alien-looking buggy with small wheels and no nose that won’t look like a real car to American buyers”

Uh, no, that’s incorrect. Sorry.

via NissanLEAF

Hey, here’s a question:

Why is the LEAF so much cheaper than the CODA?

Yes the CODA has a big trunk that the LEAF lacks but so what. (The CODA  has small rear seat area because of that big trunk, so oh well.)

Uh oh:

“More ominously for the company, the sedan is more expensive than the Nissan Leaf, which will retail for $32,800 before incentives. Put another way, the Leaf is almost as cheap before incentives as the Coda is after incentives. And Nissan has a well-known brand name and  years of automotive experience.”

Here’s another question:

Why does the CODA cost so much more than the Chinese design it’s based upon?

Here’s another question:

How on Earth can people call the CODA an American car if the bulk of it, the glider (basically the entire car except for the battery/transmission) is made in one factory in China and the giant battery is made in another factory in China? What’s that, you wait for the boats to arrive in L.A. County Contra Costa? Solano?, Alameda? (one of them counties anyway) and then slap the battery and various whatnots inside the glider and that’s your “final assembly” in America? I cry foul.

Let’s face it, the Coda Sedan is a Chinese car, whether you like that or not.

Maybe a $45k electric sedan seemed like a good idea last year, but this thing is looking like a clunker already. That’s why people are saying that it, “may be a tough sell.”

Now, speaking of tough sells, let’s look at some of the marketing we’re getting from the CODA people. Go ahead, click and read along:

Electric agility

“The CODA might be the most agile car you’ve ever driven.”

Nope!

“Do you know the feeling of stomping the pedal and waiting for the car to build speed? Those days are over. The experience of driving a CODA is completely different.”

Well, I know what a Chevy Chevette Diesel automatic is like. It’s slow, with a o-60 time of 20 seconds plus. I know your CODA is quicker than that, but is the experience of driving the thing “completely different” from other cars? Nope.

“It’s small, energy-dense UQM PowerPhase® electric motor packs a punch, and weighs hundreds of pounds less than internal combustion engines.”

How can a motor be “energy-dense?” Shouldn’t you be talking about the energy density of the battery instead? Speaking of which, how much does the battery weigh? Isn’t that the more salient aspect?

“So whether you’re standing still or moving at a good pace, you’ll get instant torque and acceleration when you need it.”

You’re selling an electric car on this basis? Isn’t the CODA slower than the average car being sold today? Yep.

All right, caveat emptor.

All the deets, after the jump

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Why is the Red Cross Driving Around San Francisco in Giant Hummer SUVs?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Uh, I don’t know.

Presenting the big-on-the-outside, small-in-the-inside Hummer H3, the “Baby Hummer.”

Click to expand

I can sort of see why GM donated this this vehicle, but nevertheless, sometimes, I just don’t know.

Wouldn’t a minivan be a better choice? I think so.

PS: We should have let GM die this time, you know, as opposed to waiting until next time…

Sears Seems to Think That It Does Business in San Francisco, But It Doesn’t Have Stores Here Anymore – SearsLocalAd.Com?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

I don’t know, Sears. Your latest press release here seems to indicate that you still do business in the 415 but then when people register at SearsLocalAd.com with a local address, they get a big fat “OAKLAND” where SAN FRANCISCO is supposed to be.

I cry foul.

I mean, Sears, you blew out of town a while ago, right?

The giant Sears at Geary and Masonic, back in the day:

Of course now this building is just an empty hulk, waiting for Target to move in (after the requisite amount of shaking down from rich, white, local, homeowners you, know, the NIMBYs.)

I’ll bet that the people behind the new “Sears Hyper-Local Shopping Website” can’t wrap their heads around the fact that Sears no longer has any stores here.

Oh well.

I don’t know, Sears. You have stuff that people like…

Like youthful Mother’s Day MILFs, and hand-tools, and big-ass TVs:

…but you’re just not putting it all together.

So call me up Sears – I’ll set you straight.

“New Sears Hyper-Local Shopping Website Offers San Francisco Shoppers Hundreds Of Local Deals In Real Time - Newly Launched SearsLocalAd.com Provides Localized Deals at Neighborhood Sears Store

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., May 7, 2012 — Sears has launched SearsLocalAd.com, which provides San Francisco customers with access to hundreds of additional local deals beyond the weekly Sears print circular or sears.com. The online shopping portal is dedicated to local customers, allowing them to shop smarter by previewing new local deals updated every week, and includes enhancements for Sears’ SHOP YOUR WAY REWARDS(SM) members.

“SearsLocalAd.com gives our San Francisco customers unprecedented access and power,” said Imran Jooma, senior vice president & president, online, marketing, financial services and pricing business units at Sears Holdings. “We know how savvy our customers are when it comes to finding the best deals. Giving our customers new services and conveniences like a real-time window into the selection and savings specific to their nearby store is a great example of how the future of integrated shopping is here today at Sears.”

Localization is pre-selected based on the shopper’s location and can be easily changed to another store within the experience. Shoppers can search their nearest Sears store and browse deals by department, brand or price point, quickly filtering to find offers of interest. SearsLocalAd.com helps shoppers ensure products are available before they go to the store. The site features not only hundreds of additional deals, but shows in real time how many items are currently in stock at the chosen location.

San Francisco residents can enjoy new tools such as ratings, reviews and product comparisons to shop with confidence–and for added convenience, customers can create lists that they can print for in-store shopping, send to their mobile devices, and share with family and friends via email, shopyourway, Facebook or Twitter.

Even greater savings advantages are available to members of Sears’ SHOP YOUR WAY REWARDS. Members get additional savings on SearsLocalAd.com offers, and bonus members can earn bonus points. Plus, SHOP YOUR WAY REWARDS members can preview upcoming sales before the print circular is released and receive personalized deals from their local store by email based on recent searches and site activity.

For more information on the service and to view the latest deals, visit the new local ad experience today at www.searslocalad.com.

About Sears Holdings Corporation

Sears Holdings Corporation is one of the nation’s largest broadline retailers with over 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, consumer electronics and automotive repair and maintenance. Sears Holdings is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands’ End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has the Country Living collection, which is offered by Sears and Kmart. We are the nation’s largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. For more information, visit Sears Holdings’ website at www.searsholdings.com. |Twitter: @searsholdings||Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SHCCareers

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ: More Money Laundering Found in Ed Lee Campaign – Meet CitiApartments’ “Eviction Goon”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

[UPDATE: Senator Leland Yee is on the case this AM - he's doing a presser involving this latest allegation. (I guess it's too late to call this an October Surprise, and frankly, it's not all that surprising neither. Let's call it a November Expectation. Brace yourself for more.) Oh, and Leland is onto some Chinatown voting sting operation as well.

And there's this: "Statement from Chiu Campaign on Money Laundering Allegations - SAN FRANCISCO (November 2, 2011): Addisu Demissie, spokesman for the David Chiu for Mayor campaign, released the following statement about a San Francisco Chronicle report of potential money laundering by supporters of Mayor Ed Lee:

"This is now the fourth allegation of illegal conduct by Mayor Lee's supporters, and it should be investigated fully by the District Attorney and appropriate authorities,” Demissie said. “With six days to go before Election Day, it will be up to the voters to decide whether this kind of bullying, pay-to-play politics is what they want to see at City Hall for the next 4 years. David is going to spend the last 6 days of this race talking about why he represents a new generation of leadership for San Francisco that will stand tough against the special interests and shake things up at City Hall."

Paid for by David Chiu for Mayor 2011, P.O. Box 641541, San Francisco, CA 94164, FPPC##1337108]

Well, it looks like early-rising City Attorney Dennis Jose Herrera is the first one out of the gates to follow up on today’s piece from San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers John Coté and Heather Knight.

Testify, DJH:

“Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more – and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it.

Amen.

Earlier this year, Ed Lee was picked unanimously to be an Interim Mayor. He wasn’t picked to be a Reformer. He’ll never be a Reformer.

In Ed Lee’s world, the notorious Willie Brown Administration deserves an A+, Rose Pak is not a cancer on Chinatown, and corner-cutting PG&E (“KABOOM!“) is simply “a great local corporation” and a “great company that gets it.”

Oh well.

Is Ed Lee Breaking Bad? Has the City Family corrupted him? Or has he corrupted the City Family? A little of both?

Click to expand

All the deets:

“Herrera calls on FPPC to join D.A. in investigating new Ed Lee campaign money laundering charge - CitiApartments’ former eviction goon led reimbursement-for-donation scheme, suggesting political payback for City Attorney’s 2006 tenant-protection lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 2, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera this morning called on the state Fair Political Practices Commission to join District Attorney George Gascón in reviewing new allegations reported in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign received donations that appear to have been illegally laundered to skirt San Francisco $500 per donor contribution maximum.[1] Andrew Hawkins, a property services manager whose harrowing tenant intimidation tactics were central to Herrera’s lawsuit five years ago against the Lembi Group landlords’ once high-rolling CitiApartments empire, promised reimbursements to at least sixteen employees in exchange for maximum contributions to Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign at an Oct. 18, 2011 fundraiser, according to the Chronicle.

It is the second major allegation of campaign money laundering to benefit Ed Lee’s campaign. The first, involving GO Lorrie’s airport shuttle, is the subject of separate investigations by Gascón’s office and the FPPC, the state commission responsible to investigate and impose penalties for violations of the California Political Reform Act. Such schemes have been prosecuted as felonies in California for conspiring to evade campaign contribution limits, and for making campaign contributions under false names.

I think San Franciscans have now seen enough,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more — and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it. If this is how they behave before an election, just imagine how they’ll behave after the election, if Ed Lee wins. This scheme is clearly a bid for political payback by CitiApartments henchmen for my litigation to protect tenants five years ago. It is patently illegal, and I call on the FPPC to join the District Attorney in investigating.”

Hawkins is listed in Ed Lee’s campaign disclosures as the owner of Archway Property Services. As the one-time head of CitiApartments’ “tenant relocation program,” the gun-carrying Hawkins is reported to have coerced more than 2,500 tenants out of their rent-controlled units, and once boasted in civil court testimony, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.

Several recipients of Hawkins’ email invitation to an Oct. 18 event on Russian Hill made contributions to Ed Lee’s campaign on the same date. All contributed the maximum $500.

Herrera sued the CitiApartments residential rental property behemoth in Aug. 2006 for an array of unlawful business and tenant harassment practices, which sought to dispossess long-term residents of their rent-controlled apartments. The coerced vacancies freed the company to make often-unpermitted renovations to units, and then re-rent them to new tenants at dramatically increased market rates. The illegal business model enabled CitiApartments, Skyline Realty and other entities under the sway of real estate family patriarch Frank Lembi to aggressively outbid competitors for residential properties throughout San Francisco for several years — before lawsuits and a sharp economic downturn forced the aspiring empire into bankruptcies, foreclosures and receiverships.

A 2009 San Francisco Magazine feature story on the Lembi real estate empire[2] described Andrew Hawkins as “a burly former nightclub bouncer who headed up CitiApartments’ relocation program.” Hawkins reportedly led teams as large as 14 full-time employees, according to the report, and the company estimated that “Hawkins relocated more than 2,500 tenants.” An earlier exposé in 2006 by the San Francisco Bay Guardian[3] cited civil court testimony in which Hawkins boasted to one tenant’s family member, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.”

# # #

SOURCES:
[1] Source: “Ed Lee donors face money-laundering allegations” by John Coté and Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 2, 2011, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/02/MNKJ1LOMB7.DTL
[2] Source: “War of values” by Danelle Morton, San Francisco Magazine, Nov. 19, 2009, http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/war-of-values
[3] Source: “The Scumlords: Part One of a Three-Part Series” by G.W. Schulz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 8, 2006, http://www.sfbg.com/40/23/news_skyline.html

Wow, Andronico’s Supermarkets are Seeking Bankruptcy Protection, But They’ll Stay Open For Now

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

The local Andronico’s supermarket chain, home to an insane collection of fruits and vegetables, is seeking bankruptcy protection, per the San Francisco Business Times.

Their website is down now, but the stores are open and they’ll continue to be open for the foreseeable future.

Taste the rainbow, in the Sunset District:

Via bmeabroad – click to expand.

Wow.

Good luck, Andronico’s workers.

This Work Van on Geary Proves that Muzak Still Exists

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Is this the FBI undercover? Probably not, so this must be a genuine Muzak vehicle. Can you believe that they’re still operating after all these years?

There was that BK business (in industry parlance “BK” means bankruptcy, for some odd reason) earlier in the year, but obviously that hasn’t kept the rolling stock from rolling.

They’ve got ladders and everything. As seen recently on San Francisco’s Geary Boulevard:

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Now this is what rocker Ted Nugent had to say about Muzak a while back:

It’s an evil force in today’s society, causing people to lapse into uncontrollable fits of blandness. It’s been responsible for ruining some of the best minds of our generation.”

In fact, the Motor City Madman actually offered to buy the company for the sole purpose of shutting it down. Harsh.

But let’s hear from the Muzakians themselves:

Music is art, but Muzak is science. And when you employ the science of Muzak: in an office, workers tend to get more done, more efficiently, and feel happier. In an industrial plant, people feel better and, with less fatigue and tension, their jobs seem less monotonous. In a store, people seem to shop in a more relaxed and leisurely manner. In a bank, customers are generally more calm, tellers and other personnel are more efficient. In general, people feel better about where they are; whether it’s during work or leisure time. Muzak is all this and more. That’s why we say Muzak is much more than music.”

O.K. fine. This incomprehensible MUZAK STIMULUS PROGRESSION CHART proves something, just not sure what that is:

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Don’t stop believing, Muzak. Never stop believing.

All the Muzak channels, after the jump.

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Forget About the Chrysler Bankruptcy, Get Your Imperial Out and Drive, Drive, Drive

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I’m thinking this is a 1965 (Chrysler) Imperial Crown - check it out as it makes an appearance on the 101 freeway. Now you’d probably prefer to drive a 1960 model or even a Chrysler 300 letter series, but this white whale will do in a pinch.

Crank up the oldies on the AM radio and change the station whenever they start talking about having to bail out Detroit. No matter, this aging rig will certainly get you more friends than Sinatra.

Click to expand:

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Sic transit gloria Chrysler