She was Devastated to learn the plant she’d watered for two years was fake!


Caelie Wilkes has been nurturing her succulent for two years before she made the discovery (Image: Facebook)

By: Paige Holland/UkMirror 

A plant lover was left devastated when she discovered the reason her succulent remained in “perfect” condition wasn’t down to her love and dedication.

Caelie Wilkes had been religiously watering the plant, making sure it was getting the right amount of sunlight and regularly cleaning the leaves, for two years.

She even admitted to having a strict watering plan for it, saying she would get “defensive” if anybody else tried to water it.

It was only when she went to re-pot the succulent that she noticed it was fake.

Caelie told her Facebook

friends: “I just wanted to keep good care of it. I absolutely loved my succulent.”

Six Americans Have Died from the Coronavirus


Last Friday, at a rally South Carolina  President Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the CoronaVirus.

 Later in the day, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News that Democrats “seemingly hope that it comes here, and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning.”

Neither Trump was specific, to which Democrat or Democrats was politicizing the CoronaVirus.

What they failed to mention Republicans and Democrats criticised the Trump Administration handling of the CoronaVirus.

Republican Senator John Kennedy accused acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf of not knowing enough about the virus’ spread in the US and the ways it can be contracted.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer accused Trump of having “no plan” to deal with the virus’ spread and argued he was exhibiting “towering and dangerous incompetence.”

Republican Senator Richard Shelby was critical of the proposed 2.5 billion dollars in emergency funding  said its not  the time to shortchange American people

The reality is the Trump Administration has made huge cuts in the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resulting in large staffing cuts.

Last week defending his cuts to the CDC, the President said  it was easy to bolster the public-health agency and cited his business approach toward running the federal government.  “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said. “When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”  Some of the expert targeted by the cuts ” hadn’t been used for many years and that additional federal money ane new medical staffers could be obtained swiftly since “we know all the good people”

Experts say those cuts affected  programs that health experts say weakened the federal government’s ability to manage a health crisis.

In 2018, the White House eliminated a position on the National Security Council tasked with coordinating a global pandemic response. The CDC that same year also axed 80% of its efforts combating disease outbreaks overseas because its funds were depleted.

There are 100 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments.

According to the CDC, there are 48 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems, there are 52 cases in 11 states. Bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 100.

This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases have received positive results from the CDC.

Here’s a breakdown of the 52 US cases:

  • Arizona – 1
  • California – 18
  • Florida — 2
  • Illinois — 4
  • Massachusetts —1
  • New York — 1
  • Oregon — 3
  • Rhode Island — 2
  • Washington state — 18 (includes 6 fatalities)
  • Wisconsin — 1
  • New Hampshire — 1

The Adult in the Room, Exits


Image result for pete buttigieg

Where in the hell is South Bend, Indiana? Boota-what? Gay?

Yes, we’ve elected Obama, but Gay.?

On April 14, 2019, 37 year old Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg announced he was running for the President of the United States of America. Becoming the first openly homosexual , to run for the office.

Buttigieg’s resume is very impressive. He was the valedictorian at St Josephs High, a Harvard Grad, and Oxford University. He was a lieutenant in the Army. He took a seven month leave of office from his mayoral duties to deploy to Afghanistan,where he was part of unit assigned to identify and disrupt terrorist finance networks. He has received numerous awards and had been apart of Indiana Politics for more than half of his life. Mayor Pete officially came out as a gay man 2015 and was re-elected Mayor later that year with 80% of the vote.

Mayor Pete

With everyone struggling with his last name, someone kept it simple “Mayor Pete.

Night 2 of Democratic Debate Miami, Florida, June 27,2019

CNN: If you knew nothing about Buttigieg going into Thursday night, you would have assumed from his performance that a) he was a senator or a governor who had been at this for a long time and b) a co-front runner with Harris in the race. That person would be stunned to learn that Buttigieg is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and running at the back of the lead pack. He was serious, smart, thoughtful and probing. His outspokenness on why Democrats need not cede religion to Republicans was powerful. His answer on the officer-involved shooting in his hometown was clearly well rehearsed, yes, but it was about as a good an answer as he could give on such a difficult issue. Buttigieg has lots and lots of natural political ability — and it shone through on Thursday night.

Bu-tig-geig

In a room full of seasoned candidates, some double his age. Buttigeig often came off as the adult in the room. He wasn’t a one issue candidate. When it came matters of national security he was as knowledgeable as the seasoned senators. Butttigeig was one of the few candidates that reminded them the goal was to replace Donald Trump. Candidate Buttigeg was available to the press and media outlets. He didn’t avoid questions about his sexuality.

Last weekend, I called Butiggeig the white boy. He struggles with blacks and people of color. South Bend is 63% white. The High Schools and the the majority of the students and make up of the Universities he attended was white.

There isn’t a fold out pamphlet that can instruct a candidate how to interact with people of color. He could have taken an short cut. Using the time tested and insulting route of having black and Latino surrogates speak for him. But he chose to meet with blacks in South Carolina. He didn’t black away from the issues he has with the Black community in South Bend.

The Bar is high in South Carolina. Over 60% of Democrats in the state is black. Hillary Clinton destroyed Bernie Sanders in South Carolina. Last Saturday, his numbers were higher than 2015.  Buttigieg’s honestly, humility converted some voters in South Carolina but not enough to make the hurdle. As a result, Buttigieg, joined Tom Steyer and Any Klobuchar, suspending their campaigns.

Pete Butiggieg returns to South Bend bruised but not broken. The Gay man from a small city in Indiana outperformed many seasoned politicians and shocked many professionals.

I suspect he will reevaluate his relationships with people of color in his city.

I don’t think he’s done. Senator Buttigeg? Governor Buttigeg? Or President Buttigeg. In five years he will be 43.

CityFella

 

Introducing Peanut Butter and Jelly Travel


Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something.

How many times have you said to yourself, Wow, I’d like to go here one day ?  I really want to travel ,I want to visit here, I would like to go there? But some reason, it never seems to come together.

We work hard, we play locally, and we fill our lives with stuff that brings us temporary joy. Clothes, shoes, jewelry. Wash Rinse and Repeat until the next pay check.

The Pile on…..

The reason many people don’t travel is some of us place unreasonable barriers that prevents us from straying far from home.

I need a lot of money!

I heard, this place is dangerous, what if?

When I  go on vacation, I want to live it up and stay in a nice hotel and have money to shop.

The more have too’s you pile on, the more stories of fear  you hear from people who never travel or have had a negative experience, the more likely you will stay home.

Stuff is stuff, when you bought (fill in the blank) it made you happy for the moment. Today, you may not know where it is.   Travel creates life long memories. You do need money to travel. A lot of money? How you do you know? What research have you done? If I’m going to Vegas to party. Do I need a expensive room that I’m going to use for sleeping?

Travel, often changes who we are. Introducing a world that’s different than our own. often resulting in a different view of people.  The more we are exposed to different people and cultures the tolerant we become.

 

Note: Avoid people with negative stories, especially those who rarely leave home.  In this big world people have bad experiences, horrible vacations. But there experience isn’t yours.  While Sears, has guarantees, life doesn’t.

Image result for peanut butter

Travel

 

I’ve always traveled on a budget.   When my children were small, we traveled across the country with our presto electric skillet it was packed away in luggage we bought in a thrift store. We called it kitchen.    In the kitchen, were utensils and spices and all the things we could use to make a one pan meal.

We would cruise the K-mart stores all over the country.  Between 5 and 6 the stores would sell their prepared sandwiches for less than 50 off.

Life is what we make of it.  Most people can afford to travel but a lot of us overthink it.

Ask yourself a question?  What more important, eating in nice restaurants, shopping, souvenirs or the destination?

My grown children, fondly remember cooking in the Motel 6’s across the country, having sandwiches.  Today, these grown children clip coupons, search online for hotel and concert specials.  Last week, my son was in Singapore and believe me, he researched the city with goal of getting the BEST BANG FOR HIS BUCK.

In the next few Sundays will talking about traveling alone, with a family, and how to make a lifetime of memories on a peanut butter and Jelly Budget.

Every week, there will be an assignment. So you will need a dedicated travel workbook.

This weeks assignment: Choose two places you would like to visit.

The first place should be no more than 200 miles to your home.  The second place, no more than a thousand.

If you have a cell phone.  Download Travel Apps : Hotwire, Airfarewatchdog, com. and Kayak.

Next: Research the two nearest  passenger airports to your home.  Using Wikipedia, identify, three largest airlines at those airports.

After identifying those three airlines ,sign up for E-mail Specials from those Airlines

(Every week you will receive notifications of flight specials)

 

NEXT SUNDAY: HOTELS

 

 

 

 

 

Black Appeal SOUTH CAROLINA


Image result for democratic debate

It’s the BIG TEST, now who they think you are?

For nearly 30 years no Democrat have received the keys to the White House without the support of the black voter.

Black people make up over 60% of the Democratic Party in The Palmetto State.

This is first the big test of the six candidates (Michael Bloomberg is not on the ballot)   Surviving candidates will make adjustments to tailor their speeches to appeal to black voters in other    By all accounts, the race is Biden’s to lose.

In the last week, I’ve been following the Candidates politicking in South Carolina on you tube.

If Billionaire and Professional Trump hater, Tom Steyer receives more than 6% of the vote tonight. I expect him to buy a wave cap.  He has spent millions in South Carolina.  Steyer is talking Reparations and  125 billion dollars for historically Black Colleges and Universities.   If this man gets through SUPER TUESDAY, expect him to nominate Snoop Dog  for the Head of Agriculture, and  Magic Johnson for the Secretary of State.  Let’s be clear! if he gets that far, his running mate will be a black woman.!

Even with last minute Afro puffs and this years Dashiki , Amy Klobuchar is DOA, she seems indifferent to the Black Community in South Carolina.

Elizabeth Warren, connects well with black women and older voters.  Black women has campaigned for her throughout South Carolina, however she has been largely a no show.  We’ll see how that works for her.

. Pete Buttigieg is the white boy. He doesn’t have the experience of the other candidates.  South Bend, Indiana has a population of less than 110,000 people.  60% of it’s citizens are white, 26% black, 13% latino.  He struggles with people of color.  In South Carolina, he has met with a lot of skeptical black people who don’t get him and he doesn’t know how to reach them.   Unlike Warren, he doesn’t have a team of black surrogates working for him. Unlike Steyer, he hasn’t promised anyone 30 acres and a mule.  The 38 year old Mayor, hasn’t runaway from his history with black people in his city of  South Bend Indiana, he readily admits his shortcomings and failures.   Some older black Democrats struggle with his sexuality, others are moved by his frankness and his faith.   He is slowly building support within the black community and is making inroads with younger Democrats and women. The operative word is slowly. Of all the candidates in South Carolina, his candidacy is the most pure and the most complicated.  News at 11

While former Vice President Joe Biden has the older black voters on lock in South Carolina .Bernie Sanders has made inroads with younger black voters.  Unlike their parents and grandparents, they don’t have a history with Biden and being the Vice President of a beloved President isn’t enough.  His revolution, $ 15 minimum wage and health care for all resonates with younger voter in South Carolina.  For the last few weeks he has been chipping away at Biden’s lead with black voters

Former Vice President Joe Biden should win tonight. However, he doesn’t need to just win, he needs to win BIG!  Bernie Sanders has more people working for him in the state, Steyer has spent the most money in the state and Bloomberg who’s name is not on the ballot has run ads in South Carolina.   Biden’s Campaign is short on cash, staff and momentum. He needs a Grand Slam Tonight.

CityFella

 

 

 

The Hollywood Con Queen


It was a warm, overcast afternoon in August 2019, and Joe Scarnici was pumped. A talented photographer who has gone on tour with Madonna, covered the red carpet at the Academy Awards, and worked on campaigns for Pepsi, Scarnici had just wrapped up a call with a new potential client about a big photo shoot. He grabbed some lunch and headed into his office/garage in San Juan Capistrano, California, to sketch out lighting ideas. Suddenly, the phone rang again, this time from a U.K. number. The caller, who had a British accent, introduced himself as Albert, an assistant to Christina Ong, a Singaporean entrepreneur nicknamed the “Queen of Bond Street,” after London’s toniest shopping district, where Ong owns a number of designer stores.

Ong was looking to hire a photographer to shoot a handful of Indonesian athletes she was sponsoring to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Albert explained. If Scarnici was interested, she would call him directly to tell him more. Sure, he said, and 15 minutes later—just enough time for him to run a quick Google search on the reclusive billionaire—Scarnici’s cell phone lit up again. “My first impression was ‘Wow, why is this person reaching out to me?’ ” he recalls. “Because the richest woman in Singapore calling me in my garage just seemed a little fantastic.” Ong, who said she’d been passed Scarnici’s details by Martha Stewart’s assistant (Scarnici shot Stewart for a cookbook launch in 2016), was quick to put the photographer at ease, telling him he’d been highly recommended, before steering the conversation onto yoga, revealing she had a private studio in her house. Did Scarnici ever practice yoga? When he said he’d just done a session that morning, Ong seemed pleased. “Oh, we’re going to get along great,” she purred.

After the call, Albert swiftly sent over a nondisclosure agreement and then a detailed schedule for Scarnici’s six-day trip to Southeast Asia, along with a contract worth $36,000 (his fee plus expenses) and athlete bios. Within 48 hours, Scarnici was hugging his wife and children—one of whom was just two weeks old—goodbye and boarding a plane to Hong Kong, where he would catch a flight to Indonesia.

But the trip turned out to be a bust. None of the promised subjects turned up—and neither did Ong; instead, at the entrepreneur’s request, Scarnici spent most of the time being chauffeured around Jakarta scouting gyms to use as backdrops while hoping that an athlete might finally make an appearance. The no-show was unusual, Scarnici reasoned, but not unheard of; he’d once spent a week in Europe waiting for a legendary soccer player to make himself available for a shoot. At Ong’s urging, he extended the trip by two days, bailing on a couple of small jobs he had booked back home. But when the talent still failed to materialize, he got on a flight home before the weekend; he was due in New York City on Monday to work with a major sports brand, and there was no way he could cancel. Sympathetic, Ong told him to invoice for his fee and the expenses he’d incurred, which included his flight to Jakarta and various things he’d been asked to pay cash for up front, including his driver, hotel, and food, all the while expressing her wish that once she pinned down the athletes, Scarnici would return to Indonesia and finish the job.

On Monday evening in New York City, Scarnici, his assistant, and another photographer headed for dinner in Midtown. As Scarnici was recounting his Indonesian adventure, Albert rang, saying Ong wanted to speak to him. He and Ong had been calling incessantly since Scarnici left Jakarta to discuss his return. As he paced up and down the sidewalk outside the restaurant, he explained with a touch of embarrassment that he just didn’t have the funds to fly back before he was reimbursed for the first trip.

Ong changed her tactic. She asked whether Scarnici would be willing to meet her privately instead to initiate a “discreet relationship” and needled him to blow her a kiss over the telephone. “In my head, I’m picturing a 72-year-old uber-rich woman in Singapore blowing me kisses, telling me she wants to fly me to Japan,” Scarnici recalls. Now “really weirded out,” he politely declined, and Ong hung up in a huff. Albert immediately called back, asking what Scarnici had said to upset his boss. He dismissed her indecent proposal as “something that was lost in translation.” Still trying to wrap his head around the exchange, Scarnici glanced up to see his assistant running toward him while typing furiously into his cell phone. He held it up for Scarnici to read: “THIS IS A SCAM!”

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Chinese-American philanthropist who was impersonated by the con artist.

While Scarnici was outside, his dinner companions had done some digging and stumbled across a blog post from Carley Rudd, a New York–based travel photographer, titled “Travel Scam Alert: I Was Victim to an International Travel Photographer Scam in Indonesia.” In it, Rudd described how a woman claiming to be Chinese-American philanthropist Wendi Murdoch had hired her to take photographs in Jakarta for an exhibition tied to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. After shelling out for airfare and food (under the assumption that these expenses were already being reimbursed via a wire transfer) and spending $1,400 in cash on a photography permit, Rudd began to sense some “red flags,” she says. On the second day of the trip, Rudd was asked to hand over yet more money and split from her husband, who had accompanied her. She refused, so the person pretending to be Murdoch said her assistant, a New Yorker named Aaron, would call to discuss further. He never did. When Rudd tried to ring him, “it went straight to this kind of automated British-accent voicemail saying this number is no longer in service,” she tells MC. “As soon as I heard that message, my stomach sank and I just cried.” Rudd realized she’d been targeted by a sophisticated con artist who had pocketed the $1,400 she’d handed over to the driver for the “photography permit” and had no intention of reimbursing her, let alone paying her fee. “I think it was $15,000 for business-class flights that I put on my credit card that I won’t see back,” she says. “That’s the biggest mental block for me.”

With Albert still jabbering in his ear about returning to Jakarta, Scarnici frantically scrolled through Rudd’s blog post. There was no denying it was the same scam and that Ong had been impersonated. “The first thing I saw on the blog was the photo of the driver I just spent eight days with,” he recalls. Using every ounce of his restraint, Scarnici hung up and immediately contacted the FBI. After yet another call from Albert the following morning—in which he continued to assure Scarnici the invoice was being processed, and when could he return to Indonesia?—he never heard from either Albert or Ong again. Altogether, Scarnici lost about $15,000. He still hasn’t fully processed what happened. “I give the con artist credit in a weird way,” he says. “It was just like any other job until it wasn’t.”

Scarnici, it turns out, was just the latest in a long line of victims who have fallen prey to a prolific scammer nicknamed by the media “the Con Queen of Hollywood.” And with most cases’ meager cash value, multijurisdictional complications, and absence of any physical threat, the FBI had no interest. It was hard to prove crimes had even taken place, rather than simply business deals gone wrong, allowing the con artist to operate for years with impunity. Until one night when the case dropped into the lap of a corporate investigator named Nicoletta Kotsianas, who soon found herself in a high-speed cyber chase through the Con Queen’s elaborate imaginary world.


Kotsianas is a senior director at corporate investigations firm K2 Intelligence, which offers investigative, compliance, and cyber-defense services. Its investigators have worked on behalf of Bernie Madoff’s victims to try to recover as much money as possible. More recently, they were hired to conduct investigations at universities in light of the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal; they have also worked for “democratic governments in foreign countries,” tracing assets embezzled by previous regimes. The firm was founded in 2009 by father and son Jules and Jeremy Kroll—the former widely considered to be the originator of the modern-day corporate-intelligence industry—and today boasts seven offices across the United States and Europe, employing a staff of about 350, about half of whom are women. “Women are, generally speaking, better listeners,” Jules Kroll says. “And here was a case where it really cried out for somebody to understand what we thought was a female con artist.”

Kotsianas joined in 2015. Now 38 years old, she is quick thinking and detail oriented, and she possesses a mild dramatic flair—she was big on theater in school—particularly when reenacting conversations. Her usual specialty is investigations and litigation support, asset tracing and recovery, and due diligence, “which is, you know, being brought in to find the needle in the haystack,” she explains. Like many of her colleagues at K2 Intelligence, Kotsianas originally trained as a reporter. She worked at the Financial Times, and her beat was financial markets with a focus on debt, meaning she had a “front-row seat” to the industry’s most turbulent period in living memory, the 2008 stock-market crash. “I covered all the biggest bankruptcies, including Lehman Brothers,” she says. From there, Kotsianas moved into due diligence at a bond-ratings agency before deciding she missed the more probing aspects of her old job, such as critical thinking and interviewing. Fortunately, the agency she worked for shared a building with K2 Intelligence. “And at one point, we were all on the same floor,” she says. “I knew that there was this company and it did corporate intelligence, but I didn’t really know what that was.” After striking up conversations with K2 Intelligence employees in the common kitchen and hallways, she realized being a corporate investigator sounded like the perfect fit.

Two years after joining the firm, following dinner at home with her two young children in October 2017, Kotsianas noticed a missed call from a Los Angeles lawyer she sometimes worked for. Parking the kids in front of the TV, she snuck into her bedroom to return the lawyer’s call. It turned out that one of his Hollywood clients, a high-profile female film producer (Kotsianas won’t disclose her name), was being impersonated in a spate of strange emails and phone calls. Was it something she could look into? Kotsianas thought it sounded pretty straightforward: shut down the fake email, run the phone number through public-records databases, and have an attorney send a cease-and-desist notice.

But the closer she looked, the stranger the case became. The impersonator was using the Hollywood producer’s identity to strike up conversations with production companies, talent managers, and even actors—sometimes to fish for information about fellow industry executives, but other times for something more. “We learned very quickly that some of these conversations turned sexual,” Kotsianas says. The con woman, it seemed, was enticing men into phone sex under the pretext of an audition, and in some cases it was more like a pseudo relationship. It was unclear whether the producer was the victim of a prank or a smear campaign, but, either way, the order was to shut it down. “They were calling people on the phone and having weird conversations,” she says. “We weren’t treating it like a law-enforcement referral.”

Until, that is, Kotsianas learned that sometimes the con went much further than phone calls. She began hearing that some of the victims had been convinced to fly to Jakarta, although at that point it was unclear why. “I hadn’t spoken to the victims yet,” Kotsianas explains, “so I didn’t know if it was drug trafficking, if it was prostitution …” Scouring the Web for mentions of previous Jakarta-related cons, she soon stumbled across an article published exactly one year earlier, on October 21, 2016, in The Hollywood Reporter. It detailed an elaborate scam in which British makeup artists were being asked to fly to Indonesia to work on a blockbuster Chinese action film. Upon arrival in Jakarta, the women were each instructed to hand over at least $1,200 in cash—sometimes multiple times—to their driver, ostensibly for his services, which they were promised would be reimbursed by wire transfer on top of their substantial fees.

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After they spent two or three days being chauffeured around the city on research missions, however, a long-promised interview with the female Chinese film producer would be canceled for one spurious reason or another, and the disappointed makeup artists would return home, file an invoice for their expenses, and wait for the money to show up in their account. It never did. “I was pretty sure I was going to get the money back,” says London-based makeup artist Anna Cichon, who was deceived into flying out to Jakarta twice in the space of three weeks in the summer of 2016. “They sent me a receipt from their bank.” After the second trip, however, the producer stopped responding to her emails and Cichon understood she’d been had. She lost a total of almost $8,000, which included the cost of business-class flights (the only ones available on short notice), food, and other expenses. “You always think, Oh, it’s not going to be me,” she says, tearing up over the phone.

Kotsianas, by now working with the rest of K2 Intelligence’s Investigations and Disputes team, which is made up of about 100 investigators and led by executive managing director Snežana Gebauer, soon established that the modus operandi in the Chinese film scam had many similarities to the one the Hollywood impersonator was using. The case had taken a dark—and significant—turn. “That’s what started to allow us to understand, this wasn’t just our client,” Kotsianas says. “We were dealing with something that had been going on longer than we understood and had taken in many more people than we were aware of.”


The team quickly adopted a multipronged approach. On one hand, there was “really old-school investigative work,” says Kotsianas, which involved countless interviews and fact gathering. On the other, there was digital investigative work like painstaking trawling through databases. With the identity of the con woman still unknown, the Hollywood producer filed suit against John Doe, which gave her the power to subpoena websites to hand over any information they held about the scammer. “Scammers know that subpoenas can turn things up, so they’ll use fake information,” Kotsianas says. “But sometimes they leave fingerprints.” The producer’s lawyer subpoenaed more than 20 companies, including Internet providers, domain-name registrars, and hotel-booking websites. (To give her enterprise credibility, the con woman always prebooked a Jakarta hotel room for her victims; occasionally, when she was feeling generous, she even paid for it.)

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Former head of Sony Pictures impersonated by the scammer.

As team members at K2 Intelligence began combing through the evidence, they discovered their original client was not the only individual being impersonated; there were dozens of high-profile or high-net-worth figures, many of whom were women. Grouped together, their names read like the VIP guest list at an Academy Awards after-party. There was Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, former Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal, Marvel Studios
executive vice president of production Victoria Alonso, and longtime Warner Bros. collaborator Deborah Snyder, who was a producer on Man of Steel and Wonder Woman. (While K2 Intelligence wouldn’t confirm the names of its clients, these are some of the executives Marie Claire was able to independently verify were impersonated.)

Even more surprising was the number of people flying to Jakarta hoping to land a dream job. “I was amazed,” says Kotsianas. “It was constant—constant: ‘I was there this day,’ ‘I was there the next week,’ the next week, the next week.” In some cases, victims were almost overlapping. Lured by the promise of work on the same Chinese movie offered to Anna Cichon, South African makeup artist Heather Pitchford also flew to Jakarta in July 2016. During one stop on the itinerary she’d been given, an Indonesian local heard Pitchford speaking English and asked whether she was working on a film production. It turned out the local had learned about the supposed film from Cichon just a few days earlier and both makeup artists had completed an identical itinerary within a week of each other. Only afterward did Cichon and Pitchford realize the itinerary had been designed to keep them trapped for hours in Jakarta’s notoriously bad traffic so the con woman had an excuse to cancel her meetings with them. In another instance, the scammer contacted a British talent manager and persuaded her to send two actors to Jakarta, supposedly for auditions, within days of each other.

It wasn’t just British film-industry professionals being targeted. Victims hailed from a variety of countries and professions. “Actors, makeup artists, security guys, photographers, screenwriters,” Kotsianas ticks off on her fingers. “Bobsledders, athletes, mountain climbers, scuba divers.” Bobsledders? “You’re an expert on this thing,” Kotsianas says, mimicking the scammer’s sales pitch. “I’m interested in expanding into Asia.” Still, though, bobsledders? In the same way the con woman had effortlessly moved from impersonating Chinese producers to American ones, after word got out about her original tactic, she simply gave herself another makeover. Now she was posing as female entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and socialites such as Murdoch, the ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Christine Schwarzman, spouse of billionaire Blackstone Group cofounder Stephen A. Schwarzman, and even a little-known heiress to a Mexican distilling fortune. “It was whack-a-mole,” says Kotsianas. “We would get a domain shut down, we would get an email shut down, and then a new one would pop up.”

Like the fraudulent email addresses (most were from registered domains and sometimes Outlook), the websites were used to impersonate the high-profile women’s companies or foundations in order to further convince victims of the scam’s legitimacy. As the K2 Intelligence team encountered an ever-increasing number of websites, it began to map out a network of domains with “shared commonalities,” and it included not only those women who had already been impersonated but also those who were going to be faked next. “I was like, this isn’t going to stop,” Kotsianas says she realized only a few months into the investigation. “This is a road map to the scam.”

At one point during the investigation, Kotsianas believes, she even spoke directly to the Con Queen, although she didn’t realize it was her at the time. “I knew there were cutouts doing different pieces of it,” Kotsianas explains. (In the lexicon of espionage, a cutout is someone who acts as an intermediary.) In this case, the con woman was employing cutouts to set up the more technical aspects, such as the websites and emails. One morning, on a rare child-free weekend when Kotsianas was away with her husband, her phone began ringing during brunch—and didn’t stop. “I finally picked up and went outside,” she recalls. “And that was the first strange conversation with this person.” The caller, who went on to ring Kotsianas again a handful of times before eventually disappearing, claimed to be a cutout who had been cruelly tricked into helping the con woman. Despite the caller’s protests of innocence, “from that point on, my mind kept coming back to this person,” Kotsianas says.

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Lucasfilm president whose name was used to scam victims

The intensity of the investigation had begun to seep into her life outside the office. Kotsianas spent a vacation in Greece fielding calls from victims—many of them in their 20s and early 30s—who had been tricked into flying to Indonesia, at times speaking to them while they were still there. She would stay on the line while they walked through the airport, frightened and broke, with the con artist attempting to call them every few minutes. “I’ve heard from moms and dads who are crying, [saying,] ‘I can’t believe they would go’ and ‘They didn’t tell me,’ ” she says. Sometimes, after her own kids were in bed, Kotsianas would sit at her computer and spend the evening investigating leads. In the mornings, she woke up thinking about it. “In all the cases that we do, you have those moments where it’s going into your dreams,” she says.

For the victims, however, her steady presence proved invaluable. American Hustle producer Andy Horwitz, who was touched by the scam twice—once when he learned his personal trainer had been conned into traveling to Indonesia and again, two years later, when he discovered his name had been used by the con artist to initiate contact with an actor who was then tricked into phone sex—is full of praise for Kotsianas. “She went way above and beyond just working for whoever hired her. She really was a true warrior,” he says. “We didn’t hire her, we didn’t pay her, but she was so helpful. It felt like she really did care.”

In fact, Kotsianas reveals, there was sometimes no paying client. Once she’d succeeded in shutting down domains and email addresses for each successive producer, they no longer had a reason to fund the investigation. But together, Gebauer and Kotsianas persuaded K2 Intelligence’s directors, including cofounder Jules Kroll, that the case was worth pursuing. “The people who were conned were hoping for a way to advance their professional careers and spending tens of thousands of dollars and enormous amounts of time only to find out they’d been scammed,” says Kroll. “So we decided, you know what? We’ll stay with the case.”

But there was one element of the scam that didn’t make sense. Although the victims were losing thousands of dollars, at least part of that was spent on airfare, and what the con artist was left with just didn’t correspond with the amount of effort she put in. “Other impersonation scams that I’ve personally investigated work within business hours,” Kotsianas acknowledges. “It’s a business: You’re clocking in, clocking out.” In this case, however, the Con Queen was keeping tabs on her victims long after she’d pocketed their cash, often calling them at all hours of the day and night, regardless of what time zone they were in.

A couple of days into makeup artist Heather Pitchford’s Jakarta trip, she was alerted to the scam by a film-industry contact who knew the actor supposedly attached to the Chinese film. She immediately returned to the airport, where she waited, traumatized, in a café for the next flight home. “My phone started ringing because the driver had gotten to my hotel and realized that I’d skipped out,” she says. “And my phone just rang and rang and rang and didn’t stop ringing, and every time it got to the end, she’d ring again.”

For those who deviated from the con woman’s itinerary or dared to question her, the blowback was intense. She would rage over the telephone or accuse them of racism. At other times, especially with men, she would become overly familiar. “It was very strange,” says Neil Aldridge, a British photographer who was lured to Indonesia by the con artist—posing as Christine Schwarzman—in April 2018. “She was talking about how she really felt that she could talk to me very easily and she enjoyed the connection we had in a short space of time.”

Convinced this was about more than money, K2 Intelligence brought in psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Kerry Sulkowicz. The obsession with high-powered women, Sulkowicz hypothesized, suggested some kind of childhood trauma. “Our mothers are all high-powered women when we’re children,” he points out. But where Sulkowicz was perhaps most insightful was in giving credence to a theory Kotsianas had long harbored: that the Con Queen wasn’t a queen at all; it was a king. “Even though the person was putting themselves forward at the beginning as a female, it was not entirely clear that it necessarily was a woman doing this,” says Sulkowicz. “Which turned out to be correct.”


At the very beginning of the investigation, Kotsianas says, “I thought it was two people.” From the information gleaned via the victims, it was clear the con artist wasn’t acting alone. There was the chauffeur in Jakarta, the cutouts doing the technical bits (registering domains and emails), and occasionally other hired help: secretaries, tour guides, even a Caucasian man who actually supervised some auditions in Jakarta in one of the earliest iterations of the scam. And then, of course, there was the male assistant who would always make the first overtures. As the Con Queen spoke to an increasing number of victims, it often seemed the assistant “played the largest role,” leading Kotsianas to suspect that the same individual was impersonating both the con artist and her underling.

In early 2018, even though the investigation was ongoing, Gebauer and Kotsianas took the unusual step of going public with the story in order to warn as many people as possible. The resulting article, published in The Hollywood Reporter in July 2018, prompted even more victims to come forward. Helpfully, a number of them had recorded their calls with both the Con Queen and her assistant after becoming suspicious. A few weeks after the article came out, the K2 Intelligence team was working in its open-plan office when Kotsianas started shouting. “I remember we heard screaming across the floor,” Gebauer recalls. “ ‘It’s a man! It’s a man!’ ” Armed with a handful of recordings, Kotsianas gathered staff around her desk to analyze the voices. “There were British accents, American accents, Asian accents, sometimes it sounded like a woman, other times it was a man,” Gebauer says, “but it was very obvious they were all the same person.”

They made that discovery by identifying characteristics that were similar throughout all of the calls. “There were turns of phrase, cadence, ways his tone would go up on certain words or sighs—things like that,” Kotsianas explains. “It was the personality coming through versus just the voice.” Most of all, however, Kotsianas kept thinking back to the person who had called her, claiming to have been manipulated by the con woman. “It became abundantly clear that this man I had spoken to was the person in all of those recordings—the mastermind himself.”

For some of the victims, particularly those who had been induced into sexual conversations, discovering they had been talking to a man felt like a further violation. Kotsianas was equally incensed. “What’s most offensive to me as a woman is the way he portrays women,” she says. “When they get angry, they’re shrill and manipulative and all these caricatures. These women have worked their entire careers to make their names, to get to the top of their industry, and he’s using casting-couch sexual innuendo and berating people and talking down to them, and a collection of awful things, none of which were accurate for any of the women I’ve interacted with as part of this.” In a post-#MeToo era, of course, such claims are also potentially career-destroying.

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Victoria Alonso is executive vice president of production at Marvel Studios, where she is credited on 24 superhero movies, including Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Spiderman: Far From Home, an unprecedented accomplishment in an industry long dominated by men. In April 2019, just days before the world premiere of Avengers: Endgame, a seminal moment in her career that had been over a decade in the making, Alonso found out she had been caught up in the con artist’s web after receiving an unsettling message from Endgame actor Josh Brolin. “He reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you,’ ” Alonso recalls. “ ‘There’s a friend of mine that was [contacted by you] and asked to do something that seemed out of character for who you are. I don’t think this is real. Can I call you and talk?’ ” When they connected, Brolin explained that Alonso had allegedly told his friend, a stunt performer, that Marvel planned to replace Jeremy Renner as bow-and-arrow-wielding superhero Hawkeye. The fake Alonso then asked the stuntman to audition for the part over the telephone, and the call had quickly turned sexual.

The con artist possessed both an uncanny ability to impersonate Argentinian-born Alonso and insider knowledge of the film industry. (Last October, rumors surfaced that Marvel had considered replacing Renner after allegations emerged that he had threatened his ex-wife.) But the con artist seemed clueless on one point: Alonso is one of Hollywood’s foremost LGBTQ advocates and usually appears on red carpets with her wife, actress Imelda Corcoran. Still, Alonso was horrified. “That people would ever think for a second—for a second—that this was part of how I do things,” she says, “just makes me sick to my stomach.” Instead of spending the summer basking in Endgame’s box-office success (by July, the film had earned $2.79 billion worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film of all time), Alonso worked with K2 Intelligence and asked Marvel Studios and its parent company, Disney, to further investigate. “Very few times in my career, I’ve lost sleep over something,” she admits. “And this is definitely the one time where I just couldn’t believe that this was happening.”

Like many of the high-profile women who have been impersonated, however, Alonso was principally concerned for those who had been taken in by the imposter. “Most important, I felt for the people that were on the other side of the phone call,” she tells MC. “Because what this person does is, they go after somebody’s dream. That to me was the most hurtful and the dirtiest [aspect] of it all.” Similarly, former Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Sherry Lansing was “horrified” to learn she had also been impersonated in the scam. “You’re preying on someone’s hopes, you’re preying on someone’s dreams,” she says in an interview with MC. “You’re preying on a particularly vulnerable population who all have artistic sensibilities, and it just breaks my heart to think that in any way, without my knowledge, I might have contributed to that.”

Many of those enticed into flying to Jakarta have yet to recover financially. Adrian Morris, a documentary and editorial photographer based in Spain, admits he was desperate for work when the con artist reached out to him. He now wonders if his outwardly glamorous social-media presence—filled with photographs of exotic locations—made him a target. “Maybe he thought that I had more money than I do or that I was more successful than I am because it kind of looks like that on my Instagram,” he says. “And then he just kind of got disappointed when he realized I didn’t have much.”

The brilliance of the con—and its inherent cruelty—is how much research the scammer conducts into all his victims, both the ones he is stealing from and those he impersonates. He always name-drops a mutual contact to introduce himself (in Scarnici’s case it was Martha Stewart; for Adrian Morris, an editor at Suitcase magazine), and often those who fall for the con are going through personal upheaval—divorce, money troubles, a new baby. The conceit of impersonating both a high-powered woman and her assistant allows him to play good cop/bad cop with his victims, and he uses anger and accusations of racism to confuse and intimidate them. “It’s tailored to your vulnerabilities, your potential weak spots, your background,” Kotsianas explains. It also helps, of course, that the con artist primarily targets freelancers in notoriously unstructured industries, where everyone is competing for a life-changing opportunity. “The impersonator exploited people’s weakness or association with celebrities or with having that Cinderella moment, your one big chance,” Gebauer agrees.

Since Kotsianas didn’t have the power to make arrests herself, she had a goal of getting the case to a point where she could hand it over to law enforcement. In May 2018, the FBI took an interest in the case and K2 Intelligence began sharing all the information it had amassed.

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Over a year later, in July 2019, the FBI finally announced it was officially investigating the so-called Con Queen. “The FBI is seeking victims who may have traveled to Indonesia under the promise of a potential job offer from individuals purporting falsely to be well-known entertainment industry professionals,” the bureau stated in a press release, which announced the launch of an online questionnaire for victims of the scam to submit. “For it to reach the threshold of what the FBI wades into, it needed to be buttoned up in a way that shows the size and the scope of it,” Kotsianas explains. “Three or four victims—that’s not enough.” She estimates there are hundreds of victims who, between them, have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars—and those are just the ones Kotsianas is aware of. She believes the real number could be at least three times higher. However, even if the con artist is brought to justice—to face charges of wire fraud—it is unlikely victims will ever recoup any of their money.

Citing an ongoing investigation, the FBI declined to comment on the case, but now that the feds have their sights set on catching the con artist, it is hopefully only a matter of time before he is unmasked. “In a weird way, I have respect for how good this person is,” says Joe Scarnici. “I can’t wait to see what he looks like.” Neither can Hollywood. In a perverse twist of fate, movie executives—including some of those who have been impersonated—are already pondering how to bring the scammer’s story to the big screen. It would no doubt be a revelation that would delight the Con King. “I personally think he’s obsessed with Hollywood and entertainment,” says Kotsianas. “So it’s sort of a love letter, in a way, in his head. The women he chooses—he’s not doing it because he doesn’t like them or as a vendetta or anything. He thinks it’s the greatest honor to [impersonate] a powerful woman.”

CITYFELLA: I have kicked and grabbed rude Airline passengers!and now I’m taking the bus more.


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Millions of people have seen a passenger punching the seat back of Wendi Williams seat on an American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Charlotte last month. In her video we see him punching the back of her seat. From what we know, as soon as she sat down she reclined her seat . The 6.2 250 pound passenger behind her, asked ( she said with an attitude) if she could put her seat back up while he ate, which she said she did. Ten minutes later without warning, she reclined her seat again, causing a drink to spill on him.

While her video clearly shows his overreaction, it doesn’t show the actions that lead up to his anger. She said she tried to get the attention of a flight attendant and failed. The flight attendants were not paying attention, so I started videoing him. That was the only thing that I could think of to get him to stop.”

Ms Williams was not happy when the flight attendant, who she says (rolled her eyes) and offered the man she accused of hitting her seat some complimentary rum.

Ms Williams, Tweeted her displeasure. The flight attendant handed me a stern form letter, titled “Passenger Disturbance Notice.” “Notice: YOUR BEHAVIOR MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW,” “You should immediately cease if you wish to avoid prosecution and your removal from this aircraft at the next point of arrival.”
“It was shocking. “I think the more calm I remained, (the flight attendant) got angrier and more aggravated. So she said, ‘I’m not talking to you anymore. I’m done with you,’ or ‘I’m done with this,’ something to that effect, and then handed me this passenger disturbance notice.”After that, the flight attendant told her, “‘I will have you escorted off the plane if you say anything else. Delete the video,’ “And I was scared to death.”
This Morning viewers have slammed the 'shocking behaviour' of American Airline staff after  passenger Wendi Williams (pictured) was reprimanded for filming a man 'punching' the back of her chair
Ms Williams,a school teacher from Virginia Beach has extended her 15 minutes, Appearing on Cable News and talk shows. She is contemplating a law suit and she wants the flight attendant fired!   The debate rages on social media with slightly more than half siding with her.
Airline passengers are entitled to “fly rights,” outlined by the US Department of Transportation, when they buy a plane ticket. Those ensure airlines will do things like provide passengers with water when delayed on the tarmac or, if overbooked, ask passengers for volunteers before others are bumped off involuntarily. But comfort and personal space are not among those rights.

CityFella’s Bad Behavior

For those of you who regularly followed the blog, know I’m a BIG man. I’m 6.4 and over 350 pounds. In a typical year, I travel 20,000 miles. Back in the day, the airlines boasted about their wide seats and leg room. Their champagne flight and extensive menu. It was a time of large wide bodied aircraft and professional service. People dressed for travel.

Private pilot Colin Teubner said: ‘There was a smoking section and a non-smoking section on the plane, but the whole place reeked of smoke' (stock image)

Can you Imagine?

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Today’s Reality
Today the planes are smaller and crowded. Six hours in this bucket from California to Hawaii. Need to stretch your legs-where.
Today most of the time when I fly, I’m anxiety ridden.  I’m usually in pain, its the width or the seats and leg pain.  I worry about what I will find. I’m usually the last person to board and the last to deplane. Why wait and stand as passengers load and unload their bags. Since I’m always in the aisle seat, when I finally arrive my seat mates have settled in.
Being a big man, I know which airlines offer the most space. If its a new airline, I check airline seat guru,com before buying a ticket. The app is fairly accurate when it space on nearly every airline on the planet, which is very important on a long international flight.
A lot of you write and say, of course your uncomfortable, your 350 pounds! and your right, but what would I do with my legs? After losing the weight, I’m still 6,4
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Note to those who believe reclining is a right! If this man is sitting behind you . You ain’t reclining!

 

A few years ago I few Allegiant Airline from Stockton to Las Vegas. The relatively new airline had old Douglas planes in their fleet.. For twenty eight dollars, my expectations were pretty low from the Ultra Discount Carrier where they charge you extra, for two packs of gum.

Entering the plane was low rent, a few rows were duck taped to prevent passengers from sitting in them, but we are talking about a short flight, I’ve survived worst . Once, I sat down, its was heaven. The seats were wide, the leg room was abundant AND I didn’t need a seat belt extender. Where am I? I thought to myself. I had stepped back into the seventies. As we landed in Vegas, I said to myself, “I wanna go again.” Today, Allegiant has done away with the old planes. Today most of its fleet consist of the AirBus 320 which is a little larger than the 737. Like the other airlines they have squeezed every bit of available space for profitability.

There is a lot more violence at thirty thousand feet then ever before. I blame the airlines and the governments that allow passengers to be packed on these airlines.
Rude and Crude
Anxiety is the order of the day. Some of the passengers are rude and self centered. On a recent flight from San Diego. A last minute passenger began to relocate bags from the overhead above his seat to other bins. No one said a word! I did! When he touched my bag and I told him to LEAVE it where it IS! The passenger wisely left it where it was .
If I’m sitting behind you, reclining isn’t an option. There are no laws on the books that says the person behind you must allow you to recline. On one flight, I realized I had packed my phone in the overhead bin. The minute, I got up, the jerk in front of me reclined his seat, blocking my access to my seat,  Starling a man to his left. I asked him to excuse me, so I could sit down and the fool ignored me and after three minutes I took my tiny paws and squeezed the top of his head
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My Tiny Paws
He screamed bloody murder. Everyone was called including the Temptations, a steward ,stewardess and one of the pilots? The passenger was very dramatic and wanted me to be arrested. But he was one voice against other passengers who saw him recline his seat to prevent me from sitting.
One tiny mean man……
It was a horrendous day. It was a super deal from Boston to Sacramento $143.00 . However it meant four legs and nine hours total. It was the third and longest leg from Philly to Phoenix. Aisle seat, in the seat in front of me was a thin man about 5.8 one hundred and fifty pound tops.
After an hour in the air, he attempted to recline his seat. I could have put him in my bag the overhead compartment, but I didn’t have the energy. At one point he started bouncing on the seat ,on my knees until the seat reclined. At one point, he bounced out of his seat and said your knees are digging into my back! I looked at him and said, you see this (meaning me) this is the best your going to do. There is an empty seat next to you and there is no one behind it. He said, I don’t want to sit there, I paid for THIS SEAT.
So the teeny tiny man started waving his hand to get a flight attendants attention and complained. She walked him to the front of the aircraft and back to his seat and pointed to the empty seat to his right. He declined, and pushed the button to recline his seat on my knees again, I told him and everyone in earshot he was not going to bounce on my knees anymore. But he was foolish, and I reclined my seat pushing myself back in the seat and kicked him in the back. dislodging his glasses. Unfortunately for me a stewardess saw me, however she did nothing.
This is not who I am, I’m not a violent person. But I’m on edge when I fly. The extra economy seats are bullshit. two maybe three inches of leg room AND the seats a re still narrow.

Rediscover The Bus

After narrowing the seats, some airlines like Southwest may make your purchase an additional ticket if you body is wider than seat. Its called Passengers of Size. If you are a large traveler or traveling with a large person. Check their POS policy before purchasing your ticket.
Occasionally, I will use my miles an upgrade to first class where I don’t need a seat belt extender and the seats are wonderful . On some flights I successfully get upgrades.
I find passengers on airline more aggressive than subway riders in New York City.
In many parts of the country Bus Travel has returned in a big way. There are new bus intercity bus companies. Unlike Greyhound, there are no brick and mortar stations. There are simply bus stops. Tickets are purchased online via your PC or a phone app.
Like the airlines the best deals are bought in advance. Tickets selling as low as $2.00.
Unlike the Airlines, I do not have to arrive hours in advance. Ive found the buses clean and the routes non stop. If I’m traveling between cities on the east coast Mega Bus is a pleasant option. Leg room, seat width not an issue. I sleep on the bus, and I’m less stressed and I’m not squeezing, kicking or threatening anyone.
CITYFELLA

In America’s Richest Town, $500k a Year Is Now Below Average


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By: Shelly Hagan, Wei Lu and Sophie Alexander\Bloomberg.com

You could easily drive through this leafy Silicon Valley suburb without realizing you were in America’s richest neighborhood. From the road, it’s all high brick walls and opaque gates.

It takes Google Maps to get a glimpse of what lies behind. Satellite images of Atherton, California –- where the average household income just blew past half a million dollars — reveal the sprawling homes of tech billionaires and sports stars, studded with tennis courts and pools.

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For the fourth straight year, Atherton topped Bloomberg’s Richest Places annual index. With an average household income of more than $525,000, it became the first and so far only community to top the half-million dollar mark since Bloomberg started compiling the index in 2017.

At least some of the town’s Silicon Valley neighbors are more or less keeping up. Atherton is joined in the upper echelons of the Bloomberg list by Hillsborough (No. 3) and Los Altos Hills (No. 5), two more communities in the hi-tech corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. Both have average incomes upwards of $400,000.

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A street view and satellite view of the same area in Atherton, California.

‘Company Town’

Elaine White, a real-estate agent and native of neighboring Redwood City, has watched the tech boom shape the region.

“Because of how big Facebook has gotten, and Google, we’ve kind of become this concept of the company town, where so many people work for these Silicon Valley companies,” she said.

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In Atherton, the cheapest house on the market is currently listed for $2.5 million, according to real estate marketplace Zillow.com. Numerous tech billionaires have called the town home, including Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Microsoft’s late co-founder Paul Allen, whose former residence there was sold last week for more than $35 million. Golden State Warriors athlete Stephen Curry bought an Atherton estate last year for $31 million.

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A worker pushes a wheelbarrow down a driveway of a home in Atherton, California.

Coast to Coast

In second place for the second straight year is Scarsdale, New York, less than 25 miles outside Manhattan, with an average $452,000 in annual household income. Also making the top 10 are a town near Denver, two northern suburbs of Chicago, and a wealthy enclave in Dallas, Texas.

In general, the East and West Coasts dominate the top-100 list. California takes up 23 places, while the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey accounts for 32 (although that’s down from 36 last year). Middle America is slowly gaining some ground. States including Illinois and Minnesota added one new listing in this year’s index, while Texas gained two (Lucas at No. 73, and Alamo Heights at No. 75).

Altogether, 16 states are represented on the list, the same number as in previous years — suggesting that the concentration of wealth in certain regions remains largely unchanged over time. Also, the richest communities continue to get richer. This year, in order to make the top 100, a neighborhood needed an average household income of $220,000 — up from $209,000 last year.

The top 200 richest towns are now available on the Bloomberg terminal. To access, click HERE.

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Methodology

Bloomberg evaluated inflation-adjusted household data for all U.S. locations with a minimum of 2,000 households (as defined by the Census), and ranked them based on average household income. Almost 6,300 communities met the criteria, which includes approximately 75% of total households in the U.S.

Sacramento’s Recipe for Disaster: Homeless Teenagers in Trailers?


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Really Really Bad Idea!

The Mayor and the City Council rubber stamped a very bad idea Tuesday night.  Perhaps they should have polled a group of parents with 18-24 year old adult children before voting.

Perhaps, I’m missing a few details in the plan for the trailers.  Perhaps they have included 24/7 on site security/police.  Let’s hope so for the surrounding community..

The homeless/ low income housing issue must be shared citywide. In most cities, the quick fix is to place  homeless and low income housing in lower income areas of the city.  This is currently happening in Sacramento.

Some homeless individuals need time to re-acclimate into society.  Last summer there was a fire at a senior apartment complex downtown.   Some of the tenants believed a new tenant ,who was previously homeless, accidentally started a fire in her unit when she placed candles near her closet.

Long term solution is more than placing an individual or family into a home.

There are several layers of homelessness.  There is the individual who recently became homeless after losing there job.   Next layer is someone who is chronically homeless, who are  homeless several time a year. Then individuals and families who have been homeless a year or more.

Once placed, the last two groups will need monoriting and counseling to be successful. However, I am not talking 18-24 year olds, who has little to no experience of being on their own and maintaining a residence. Especially in Sacramento where its not uncommon for a one bedroom apartment to cost more that $1200 a month.

This age group is better served in group housing where they are given tools that will prepare them for independent living.

More 2 Come

CityFella

15 Signs You’re Not In Love, You’re Just Afraid Of Being Alone


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Stop deluding yourself.

I’ll admit it: I’m one of those people who is just not happy if I’m single, even if I won the lottery. The fact is that being single isn’t easy, especially with how insane the pressure can be to find someone that’s compatible with you.

That being said, it’s really easy for someone like myself to get a bit delusional when it comes to dating. With this kind of delusion, you end up feeling like you’re falling for your latest date, even when it’s clear it won’t work out long-term. And that has a lot to do with your fear of being alone. Not sure if you’re really in love? Look for these signs that suggest you’re feeling lonely and are only into the idea of being taken.

By: Ossiana Tepfenhart/YourTango,com

1. You really don’t know much about him.

So, you’ve been on 3 dates. You know he works at a software spot nearby and that he’s into video games. That’s about it. But, oh, he’s the one. You just know it… not!

If you don’t know anything about him, you like the idea of him rather than him.

2. You find yourself excusing him for anything bad he does.

It’s always a new excuse. That time he belched in a 5-star restaurant, it was because he didn’t have Pepto Bismol. That time that he cursed off your friends, he was in a bad mood and drinking made him do it.

Sound like you? Wake up! This is not a guy you’re in love with. It’s a guy you’re desperate to keep because you think it’s better than being alone, despite it being quite the opposite.

3. Your relationship feels shallow.

If you feel the relationship has an oddly shallow vibe, it could be that it is a superficial relationship, even if you don’t want it to be. A deep, real love won’t ever feel this way.

4. Your relationship feels overly forced.

Most relationships will have points where it’s hard to stay together, and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is when every little thing feels forced, it feels like a constant uphill battle, and you can’t seem to get a break. Iff he’s not even bothering putting in effort, it’s safe to say the relationship is dead and you need to realize that he’s not in love with you.

5. If you were honest about how you feel, you’re really, truly panicking about being alone.

When we panic, we do stupid things. In a fire, we might panic and re-enter a dangerous area to get our favorite possession out. In a “relationship fire,” we may stay with someone who isn’t good for us because we feel that it’s all we can get.

6. People have asked you what you two have in common, and you don’t know how to answer it.

Assuming what you have in common isn’t insanely taboo, this just tells you how mismatched you probably are. If you can’t even answer this question, you have to wonder what you’re doing with yourself.

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Owning Alone: conquering your fear of being solo 

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7. You feel awkward with him.

This is generally a sign that you’re not feeling someone. If you’re ignoring this gut feeling, you need to face the facts: He’s not the one for you.

8. To a point, you feel like you’re in love with him, but it’s only because “this is it.”

Do you feel like you’re doomed to be single if he slips through your fingers? If so, this is a typical warning sign that you really aren’t into him as much as you are into the taken status.

9. You regularly hide parts of yourself to appease him or keep him around.

If you literally are hiding aspects of your personality, hobbies, or opinions you have, you’re not in love. What you’re doing is trying to turn yourself into someone you think would want that person, or turning yourself into someone who that person would be in love with.

10. Your biggest relief about being with him is being able to flaunt him to friends.

If this is your #1 interest, then you may need to think about that for a second. His most attractive feature to you is to stand next to you. Does that seem like love to you?

11. Your conversations are forced, or mostly about how happy you are.

People who are genuinely in love don’t tend to need to force conversation. It’s something that just happens, and it’s something you’re usually on the same wavelength about.

12. You panic when you’re alone.

This is a key sign you’re at risk of this behavior and that you should be worried about your mind playing tricks on you. If you get this way frequently, the chances of this being a “not in love” situation are astronomically high.

13. You think of him as a “pit stop” or a temporary thing until you find a better option.

If this is the case, then you really need to stop fooling yourself. That isn’t love and you’re not in love with him. You’re using him until you find something better.

14. You hope to change him.

Love isn’t like that. You don’t just mold him into what you want him to be. He’s not clay. If you can’t stand him as-is, don’t try to change him into someone you’d want him to be.

15. You regularly feel like you have to convince others he’s the one.

Most of the time, this is done because people simply can pick up the vibe that it’s forced. So, don’t try to explain things until it fits your mold. Rather, work on getting the right guy instead of dealing with this one.

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. She writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships. You can follow her Twitter.

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