Everything on today's menu is low-fat and high-fiber. Consume as much as you wish.

  • If nothing else gives Richmond pause about its dubious plan to seize underwater mortgages through eminent domain -- investors' sudden aversion to its municipal bonds should have raised brows -- then perhaps a recent story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal will.

    The newspaper reported last week that North Las Vegas city leaders, who considered and rejected a similar plan, have yet to be reimbursed the $55,000 they incurred in legal fees while performing due diligence

    The company they say promised to make good on that expense was their partner, Mortgage Resolution Partners. That's the same company that's now partnered with Richmond.

  • A reader emailed me to suggest that Lafayette residents' uproar over a proposed 315-unit apartment complex across from Acalanes High School could be seen as a rebuke of the high-density housing endorsed by Plan Bay Area.

    Sure, that's one interpretation. Here's another: Residents' vocal displeasure over the plan persuaded the developer to reduce and revise the project to 45 single-family homes, illustrating what regional authorities have contended all along:

    Communities will have the last say over local growth.

  • BART union leaders have never worried about currying public favor -- and they seem indifferent to the hardships strikes impose on riders who pay the workers' wages -- so they probably ignored last week's Field Poll.


    Advertisement

    Findings showed that 52 percent of registered voters in the Bay Area think transit workers should be denied the right to strike, and by only a slim margin (45-41) do they think unions do more good than harm.

    If Amalgamated Transit and Service Employees International union representatives do their usual good work and continue to play hardball with management over a disputed six-week-paid family leave provision, they probably can alienate their customers even further.

  • Random tidbits to digest over morning coffee, courtesy of the 2014 World Almanac: California's population is about twice that of New York, but it can boast three times as many prison inmates; in terms of tonnage, the Port of Richmond is about 30 percent busier than the Port of Oakland, according to the Army Corps of Engineers; California ranks second (behind Texas) among all states in total energy consumption but only 47th in per capita usage. See, that green movement is working wonders!

  • When students in Gary Stofer's personal finance class took part in a "Bite of Reality" at Clayton Valley Charter High School Monday, each was assigned a random monthly salary and required to make purchases at eight merchant stations -- groceries, housing, transportation, etc. -- in a test of their budgeting skills.

    Some purchased expensive cars, only to have to return them. Some paid for vacations they later realized they couldn't afford. "The best way to learn is to learn by failing, so we set them up to fail," said Tena Lozano, of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, which created the exercise.

    The busiest station near the end of the event was the one where local credit union representatives advised overspenders where to cut back. The quote of the day came from a student suddenly struck by the difficulty of staying within a budget: "I feel so sorry for my parents."

    Contact Tom Barnidge at tbarnidge@bayareanewsgroup.com.