May 12, 2021

Odds & Trends: Brylcream, Gavin and the Amazing City Council Pay Raise

Spoiler Alert: Some political commentary may ensue

By Ed Goldman

I’ve lived in California since I was not-quite eight years old and it’s often felt like being in a TV show I joined “in progress” because its opening was pre-empted by a hockey game in overtime. (“Folks, the players have just six minutes left to beat each other senseless with their sticks and fists in the name of good sport and icy fun, so please stay with us.”)

Or, better yet, the state is frequently like a movie to which I showed up late. When I was a kid, if you arrived tardily at a movie you could stay in your seat until the entire thing played again, leaving when you got back to the part where you came in. But this sometimes took a couple of hours because the movie you missed the opening of was part of a double feature. So you’d sit through 95 minutes of a black-and-white drama about young male hospital interns —and the young female interns and Brylcream they loved equally—in order to see the first 15 minutes (in full color) of “Hercules, Goliath and Atlas v. Barely Clothed Warrior Women from Neptune.” My boyhood had its pathetic moments.

Edgy Cartoon
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Today’s round-up column, Odds and Trends, will be semi-regular—which, at a certain age, also becomes one’s daily goal. And now, if I didn’t just lose you…:

MUSICAL SEATS—California is about to lose a Congressional seat and its Governor might be about to lose both his elective seat and anatomical seat.

The former is a by-product of the not-especially stunning news that our population hasn’t been growing by leaps and bounds and, in the Silicon Valley, by beeps and boings.

The latter may be a by-product of the former. By this summer, we’re likely to see even more than the 135 candidates who popped out of the paneling to replace Governor Gray Davis when he was recalled from office in October of 2003. This time around, people will be vying to replace Gavin Newsom if he loses the recall election—which I don’t think he actually will, but that won’t minimize the clown cars of wannabes driven less by the prospect of public service than by free visibility. I’d cast my own hat in the ring but it’s at the cleaner being Martinized® (the hat, not the ring).

RAISE OF HEAVEN—Sacramento City Councilmembers recently raised their salaries to more than $96,000 and the mayor’s to more than $145,000. They did this via their own Compensation Commission—the existence of which reminds me, just a tad, of when O.J. Simpson went through the elaborate motions of launching an investigation into the two murders he allegedly committed. I think he found he was innocent of all charges. (That’s too bad. I always thought by merely launching such an investigation, he could have got himself off with an insanity plea.)

Did I mention that Sacramento’s council and mayor are, by charter, part-time employees? If I could pull down $96,000 for a part-time job, I’d become a barista, Walmart greeter or even car-wash lifeguard.

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THE GIG IS UP—In a very recent column on my having been a member of what I called the Giggle Economy after leaving my last job in January 1984, I didn’t foresee myself ever becoming an employee again, because of my general antsiness, snarkiness and agedness. Then I did.

Winnie Comstock-Carlson, who founded the Northern California business monthly, Comstock’s Magazine, more than three decades ago, has hired me as its editor. We’re both calling it “interim” editor, possibly to avoid mutual shocks to our systems. Oh, I’ll still continue to write this column— but now while rocking a green eyeshade, green sleeve garters and permanently unlit green cigar. I may even clip a leaky fountain pen to my shirt pocket so I can lay claim to being an “ink-stained wretch.” This is the time-honored, heavily clichéd, self-description of a rapidly aging journalist. That works—though deep inside, I’m still the kid waiting to watch “Hercules, Goliath and Atlas v. Barely Clothed Warrior Women from Neptune” from the beginning.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet, Romeo famously asks, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Adapting that to my own field of endeavor: Who Cares if You’re Called a “Bank?”

Did you know the difference between a legitimate bank and a non- regulated financial services institution? You should. Under U.S. statute, (26 US Code 581) the term “bank” means a bank or trust company incorporated and doing business under the laws of the United States or of any State—and which is subject by law to supervision and examination by State or Federal authority having supervision over banking institutions.

You should know that when you bank with a real bank, you have certain protections and securities to mitigate risks such as those that can come with an economic upheaval.

Bankers generally want to be able to use the term “bank” in a correct way, one that isn’t misleading to customers. Recently, for instance, a non-bank company called “Chime” agreed to stop referring to itself as a bank in a settlement with California regulators.

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation ordered Chime to cease and desist using language the regulator says falsely portrays the fintech as a bank, according to a settlement agreement reached March 29.

The San Francisco-based company has been the subject of a yearlong investigation by the California regulator for using “” as its web address prior to February 2020, and for using the terms “bank” or “banking” in its business.

Chime, which does not have a banking license, has cooperated with the investigation, and has neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing, according to the settlement.

To sum up: If you want assurance that a bank is really a bank that is required to comply with strict laws and subject to frequent regulatory examinations, bank with a bank! No other name smells as sweet.

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