Short on Cash for Donations???Consider Giving your Time…


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If you find you are a little short on cash as a result of the current economic environment but you still want to make your donations, you might consider giving your time rather than money.

Volunteering often helps understaffed non profit organizations and connects you more directly with the cause.  You are able to see what you are giving your hard-earned money for and better yet…you see your efforts pay off.

Many organizations welcome people as advisers or even board members. 

Your volunteer work is worth about $20 an hour to the recipient organization.  You’ll feel good too.  Consider giving 1 hour of your time to your favorite charity or non profit organization this year and see how it makes you feel.

Email your comments if you have a moment…

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Will Cities be Charging us if we Have a Car Accident?


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Recently a Cincinnati suburb decided it would charge an out-of-town driver for time that an officer is on the scene making the report for an automobile accident.  Oh, if a police car is used to get there and make the report, it brings and EXTRA charge!  And the longer the officer is there…you guessed it – the higher the bill!

This is not the only incident.  Seems small town cities are looking for a way to offset the costs of providing police services, but now even some mid-sized cities are considering this.  Most of these ‘bills for police services’ are being sent to the mortorists’ insurance companies.

Now lets see…..

1) I thought local taxes paid for local police forces? 

2) Is this an excuse for Insurance carriers to raise everyone’s automobile insurance?

Please email your thoughts…

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Ailing Wall Street Has Tons of Money for Campaign Contributions


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I see Wall Street limping along…I mean a 2,000 point drop in the NYSE since November and an enormous drop on the Nasdaq as well.  Trillions of dollars of wealth disappearing into devastation for many people….

But regardless of wealth drying up and regardless of whether Democrat or Republican, the Wall Street Wallets are open and contributing substantially to each Presidential political campaign.

Employees on Wall Street are the single largest source of campaign cash, accounting for over $50.4 million in financial contributions to the candidates of their choice so far in this election cycle…and there are 9 months left to go!

If you were wondering…54% of the contributions went the Republican way.

Email your thoughts…

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Are You “Starbucks Spoiled?”…Take The Test


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Well, the inevitable has arrived.  Recently, McDonald’s released some test stores for McCafe and I wonder…

Will the same guy who makes the McMuffin be making the Coffee?  Will it be from a push button factory-like machine, or a real espresso machine?  Will it taste like hot brown water (their regular coffee was never palatable) or will it have that deep rich flavor of my favorite green letter coffee shop.

One thing I know is that I won’t see people using their lap tops on plush sofas in the lounge area of a McDonald’s. 

I’m not a latte sippin cappuccino totin, non-fat triple this or that…I just like a cup of dark roast and a pack of splenda.

But I’m beginning to think us Starbuckers are gonna be perceived as the ‘Movie Stars of Coffee Drinkers’ if McDonald’s is serving the java…can Carl’s be far behind?  Cafe Jack in the Box? or the ultimate coffee nightmare…Cafe Kentucky Fried Chicken? 

Email your thoughts.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Buy a Hybrid…Save on Parking?!?


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Some cities (LA included)… are offering free meter parking to those people with hybrid cars.  In LA (the smog capitol in the eyes of many…literally) I can see this as one of very few options for LA to help the air quality from becoming worse.  But would this be a good option for cities with a better air environment?

Recently, “surf city” (Huntington Beach) city council voted down a similar proposal because the city would lose about $74,000 in revenue by making parking free to hybrid owners coming to the beach area. 

The air is much much cleaner at the beach and I agree with the city council decision…besides, it would seem to reward people who already have a hybrid rather than encourage people to buy a hybrid.

Maybe the hybrid manufacturers should be providing free beach parking permits or other things to provide an incentive to the public…car sales were reported slow in 2007 and slowing more, so hybrids can’t be flying off the shelves.  

Do you have any ideas that inspire a hybrid purchase without depleting city or county revenue?  Email your thoughts… 

Thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Put Your Asteroid Glasses On…


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The news said that an asteroid of about 500 feet in size (calculate that to be nearly 2 football fields in size for all my Superbowl fans) will make a very close pass to earth next week.  The object is expected to whiz by on Tuesday and at it’s closest point will be 334,000 miles away from earth.

The fly by should be bright enough to see for medium-sized tescopes to get a glimpse.

That’s not close enough to worry anyone but a Nasa representative said a similar sized object collides with earth about once every 37,000 years.

I’ll warn my grandkids when I get older….

Will you be watching for the Asteroid?  Email me your thoughts….

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Airlines Double Their Passenger Fuel Surcharge


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The 4 major air carriers (UAL, Delta, American and Continental) have all doubled their fuel surcharge passed onto passengers.  The round trip fuel surcharge was $20.00 until January 17, 2008 when it doubled to $40.00

The fee is a response to escalating fuel costs, which have risen 57 percent in the past year.  Fuel is now the largest single airline expense surpassing labor, which was previously the largest expense.

Thanks for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso