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Monday, December 29, 2014

Good eating in the burbs to the city

So W.O.T.S.M. is all about getting you the news but we have to eat too you know so we wanted to end the year and start the new one with a bang. So every week we will pick a place in the cook and surrounding counties including Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana only because our readers travel to these state to.

So this week we have our sites on 2 places. 1 is on 63rd street that we heard has good food but wasn't given a name so the sarge will get that too and the 2nd is a spot is alleged to be owned by a Chicago Police Officer possibly retired but the Sarge will find out when we send him to 19 PAUL.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Good eating in the burbs to the city

Well W.O.T.S.M. is doing a weekly thing were we go to a place and writer a review of the food.
Our first week takes us to Summit, Illinois to El Faro.
Bi lingual menu and speaking employees.
The food is terrific there parking isn't the greatest but well worth it if you wait for a spot to open up to dine in. It has pool tables and a jukebox.  TV.

The food is great
Fountain drinks and imported bottle drinks from Mexico.

There is homemade jordinar
All in all I give it 4.5 sears towers

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Uber shits on drivers

We have been talking to Uber drivers and riders. While both love the service they have some concerns.  1 concern is a driver shows up to pick up a client and the client cancels the driver doesn't receive the any part of the cancelation fee. We are wondering why? 2 they don't allow any driver to use Frod Crown Victoria,  Mercury Grand marquis, and Lincoln Town car.  They say the city of Chicago regulations state that drivers can't.  We asked the city and they sent a letter stating that statement from Uber is untrue.  So what gives. 
Well this is what Forbes had to say about Uber. On June 3, news reports carried the story that multiple investors (including big name institutional investors like Wellington & Fidelity) had invested $1.2 billion into Uber, a technology company that matches consumers to car services in many cities around the globe. Based on the investment (and the percentage of ownership that these investors were getting in exchange), the imputed value for Uber (pre-money, i.e., prior to the influx of $1.2 billion) was $17 billion, a mind-boggling sum for a business that generates a few hundred million in revenues and has little to show in terms of operating income. That said, Uber has lots of company in this high-value space, with Airbnb and Dropbox being two other companies that in recent months have been valued at more than $10 billion by investors. With all these companies, the key selling point is disruption, the latest buzzword in strategy, with company owners arguing that they are upending existing ways of doing business (hailing a taxi, with Uber, and finding lodging, with Airbnb) and given the sizes of the businesses that they were disrupting, that the sky is the limit on value. If you are old enough to remember market fevers from past booms, you are probably inclined to dismiss both the claims and the valuations as fantasy. I do believe, however, that there is a kernel of truth to the disruption argument though I think investors are being far too casual in accepting it at face value. As I attempt to attach a value to Uber, I have to confess that I just downloaded the app and have not used it yet. I spend most of my of life either in the suburbs, where I can go for days without seeing a taxi, or in New York City, where I find that the subways are a vastly more time-efficient, cheaper and often safer mode of transportation than taxis. Uber is not in the taxi business, at least in the conventional sense, since it owns no cabs and has no cab drivers as employees. Instead, it plays the role of matchmaker, matching a driver/car with a customer looking for a ride and taking a slice of the fare for providing the service. Its value comes from the screening that it does of the drivers/cars (to ensure both safety and comfort), its pricing/payment system (where customers choose the level of service, ranging from a car to a SUV, are quoted a fare and pay Uber) and its convenience (where you can track the car that is coming to pick you up on your phone screen). The figure below captures the steps in the Uber business model, with comments on what it is that Uber offers at each stage and whether that offering is unique:
Uber business model
Uber has been able to grow at exponential rates since its founding in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, with the latter (who is new CEO) claiming that it is doubling its size every six months. While we have no access to the company’s financials, there have been periodic leaks of information about the company that allow us to get a sense of its growth. Here, for instance, was a picture that was widely dispersed in December 2013 of a five-week period in late 2013:

Uber historical numbers

While the company claimed to be outraged by the leak, it played nicely into the narrative of growth that it was selling to its investors. In fact, the December leaks suggested that the company generated gross receipts (the fares paid by customers for cab rides) of $1.1 billion, which would translate into revenues of $220 million (based on the 20% slice that Uber claims for itself). That was a few months ago and at the rates at which the company is growing, I would not be surprised if the updated values for both numbers are higher; I will be using $1.5 billion for the gross receipts and $300 million as revenues for Uber as base year numbers.

There was no information that I could find on the company’s expenses and income, but according to public sources, the company has 900 employees in its different locations and that it pays them reasonably well. Uber has been active in both marketing its service and offering deals to attract firms time customers and has an active technology department (doing the equivalent of R&D). In summary, these expenses are likely to have been much larger than the revenues (of $300 million) posted during the period. Since the company can legitimately argue that some of these expenses (such as the R&D and customer acquisition costs) are more in the nature of capital expenditures than operating expenses, I will assume (generously) that the company generated an operating income of $10 million in the most recent 12 months. (The effect on value of changing this number is relatively small).

The Washington post writes
The ride-sharing service Uber has, once again, been getting some bad press coverage over its surge pricing. The latest outrage occurred when Uber quadrupled its prices due to a surge in demand in central Sydney. The cause of that surge? A hostage siege was unfolding in a Lindt chocolate shop in Sydney’s central business district and people wanted to get out of there, fast.

Though Uber backed down when it realized that this was a mistake, once again, Uber’s surge pricing was called into question. Is it right for companies to engage in what some call “price gouging?”

Specifically, should CEO Travis Kalanick consider “fairness” when making Uber’s business decisions?

The answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

That’s because whereas policymakers look at their choices through two lenses, one that focuses on efficiency and one that focuses on fairness, businesses tend to have one goal in mind: Will the decision maximize profits?

Policymakers take a different approach.  First, they figure out whether there’s a reason for the government to intervene, such as to fix a market failure. Classic textbook examples of market failures are negative externalities, such as pollution and drunk driving, or positive externalities, such as education.

This analysis has nothing to do with fairness. The policy maker simply wants to get rid of the market failure in the most efficient way possible. It can do this with taxes, quotas, price ceilings, and so forth.

Would surge pricing qualify as a market failure calling for government intervention?

It depends, which brings fairness into play.

Fairness becomes an issue when the policy maker begins to take into consideration who will benefit and who will be hurt by the policy.

When Uber engages in surge pricing, it’s simply a response to an imbalance between supply and demand. As Uber explains, when demand suddenly increases, Uber raises the prices for a ride as a way to get more drivers, i.e., supply, on the road. No need for anyone to figure out what price will work because if prices are too high, demand will fall, whereas if prices are too low then supply will fall. At some point, the invisible hand of the market gets the prices just right so that there are enough Uber drivers to take riders where they want to go.

Economists might say there’s nothing wrong because that’s how markets work. Matthew Feeney at the Cato Institute, for example, recently wrote a vigorous defense of the economics of Uber’s surge pricing.

So our thing is Uber ripping off the driver and customer? Does Uber regulate what kind of cars people can drive? Why aren't the people getting a portion of the cancelation fee?  All of what we asked Uber. Stay tuned for their response.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Coward shoots himself after killing his girlfriend and two NYPD officers

From USA TODAY Biggest news you missed this weekend http://usat.ly/16GDEvf Get USA TODAY on your mobile device: http://www.usatoday.com/mobile-apps

Mayor's son falls victim

The son of Rahm Emanuel was beaten up and robbed by two men close to the mayor’s Ravenswood home Friday night.

According to a police report obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel’s 17-year-old son, Zach, was walking on the 4200 block of North Hermitage when he was approached by two people who grabbed him and took his phone before fleeing the scene.

According to the report, the teen was talking on his phone not far from his house. One of the robbers put the teen in a chokehold and the second hit him, knocking him to the ground.

They patted him down and stole his cell phone, making him punch in the security code before they took off.

The report also says the teenager was treated for cuts and bruises on his face by a personal physician at the Emanuel home.

The incident occurred just after 10 p.m. Friday night.

No arrests have been made.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Safeway closed Dominick's leaves community hungry for a year

This one is one of our hardest stories.
A year ago Safeway announced that they are closing all the Dominick's stores.  With most of the old chain bought up by Mariano's and Jewel the chain puts hard wrench in the deal breaker at 7 1st and Jeffery. Whats on the sarges mind has had the opportunity to eat at Seashell and New China Express and Jeffery Sub. It is sad when we talk to residents that the politicians don't back and push hard on Safeway as all they are looking at is money as people walk or use public transportation to go elsewhere or even out of the city to get what they want. As a reporter for W.O.T.S.M.  I decided to come enjoy a nice meal at Seashell and speak with community leaders who are outraged at the politics at hand. Safeway put a lot of people out of work and then refuse to give up the empty space, which is now starving and depriving the community from groceries.  We dug in deeper and found the following article.

The owner of Jeffery Plaza said it has found a tenant for the vacant Dominick’s in South Shore.

Shervin Mateen, the owner of the shopping center at 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard, said a deal is close to being finalized with Pueblo Supermarkets of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to fill the space Dominick’s left vacant on Dec. 28.

“It’s at the signature stage right now,” Mateen said, adding that the lease was already prepared for the store to reopen in May when the former Dominick’s lease ends.

He said the new grocer would not pursue any of the tax benefits the city has offered as incentives to get a grocer into the space.

But Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said she was skeptical that the deal was as far along as Mateen claimed.

She met with the Jeffery Plaza owners on Friday, she said, and at at the time they did not mention Pueblo Supermarkets, which she said had a questionable record.

Hairston pointed to a 2010 report in the Virgin Island Daily News about the Pueblo owner, Chicago resident Ahmad Al Khatib, who prosecutors accused of  stealing $1.3 million worth of electricity for his four Virgin Island stores. Under a plea deal, Al Khatib pleaded no contest to tampering and illegal use of utility equipment and agreed to pay a $12,000 fine and provide additional community services, according to the newspaper.

A lawyer for Al Khatib could not be reached for comment.

Mateen said he was unaware of the case.

A representative for Mateen made the announcement during the public comment section of a meeting of the Chicago Community Development Commission, which was debating whether to give the city authority to acquire the South Shore property through eminent domain or other means.

The commission voted in favor of granting the city the authority to acquire the property, sending the measure to the City Council.

Mateen predicted the city would back down on eminent domain.

"This is not going anywhere, we are going to be the owners," Mateen said.

So what is the Alderman trying to do for her constituents. It appears nothing other wise the space would not have been empty for an entire year. Guess the politics also care about money in their pockets too.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Government Releases Obama’s Real Birth Certificate

According to reports, the Office of the Principal Register of the Nyanza Province in Kenya has just released 11 documents concerning Barack Obama’s birth and early childhood in the country. The papers have been requested by  Americans for years, but the Kenyan Supreme Court finally just ordered authorities to release the documents based on a law on “access to information.”
The papers indicate that Obama was actually born in Lamu, Kenya. They could prove that Obama had no legal right to become the American president in the first place. It also means that the American papers we’ve seen are all forged documents.