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George Lucas to build low-income housing after his dreams of a movie studio are thwarted

George Lucas Does Something Likeable For a Change: Revenge on Rich Neighbors | Movie News | Movies.com
George Lucas' rich neighbors don't want him building a movie studio in their backyard. His response is the best thing he's done in years. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, for four decades Lucas has owned a large swath of land in Marin County in the North San Francisco Bay and has spent the past few years trying to transform the ranch on it into a massive, nearly 300,000 square foot, state-of-the-art movie studio complete with day care center, restaurant, gym and a 200-car garage. His neighbors, however, have rejected it every step of the way. Despite the promise of bringing $300 million worth of economic activity to the area, the already-well off neighbors are worried about years' worth of construction activity and the additional foot traffic it will bring into their neighborhood once completed. The local homeowners association has been such a thorn in Lucas' side that he's decided to abandon the studio construction entirely, issuing this official statement about Lucasfilm's withdrawal of the new studio: The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors. We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough. Marin is a bedroom community and is committed to building subdivisions, not business. Many years ago, we tried to stop the Lucas Valley Estates project from being built, but we failed, and we now have a subdivision on our doorstep. So what is George Lucas going to do with his property now that he's tired of his rich neighbors putting up a not-in-my-backyard stink? He wants to transform the property into low-income housing, naturally, ending their official statement with this zinger, "If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit."

May 14, 2012

As readers gobble up ebooks, publishers are demanding writers work faster

In E-Reader Age of Writer’s Cramp, a Book a Year Is Slacking - NYTimes.com
The push for more material comes as publishers and booksellers are desperately looking for ways to hold onto readers being lured by other forms of entertainment, much of it available nonstop and almost instantaneously. Television shows are rushed online only hours after they are originally broadcast, and some movies are offered on demand at home before they have left theaters. In this environment, publishers say, producing one a book a year, and nothing else, is just not enough. At the same time, the Internet has allowed readers to enjoy a more intimate relationship with their favorite authors, whom they now expect to be accessible online via blogs, Q. and A.’s on Twitter and updates on Facebook. Some of the extra work is being pushed by authors themselves, who are easing their own fears that if they stay out of the fickle book market too long, they might be forgotten. Ms. Scottoline has increased her output from one book a year to two, which she accomplishes with a brutal writing schedule: 2,000 words a day, seven days a week, usually “starting at 9 a.m. and going until Colbert,” she said.

It's disgusting when billionaires flee the country rather than pay their fair share of taxes

Eduardo Saverin, Facebook co-founder, ex-American citizen, total asshole. What Eduardo Saverin owes America. (Hint: Nearly everything.) | PandoDaily
When Eduardo Saverin was 13, his family discovered that his name had turned up on a list of victims to be kidnapped by Brazilian gangs. Saverin’s father was a wealthy businessman in S�o Paulo, and it was inevitable that he’d attract this kind of unwanted attention. Now the family had to make a permanent decision. They hastily arranged a move out of the country. And of all the places in the world they could move to, the Saverin family saw only one option. They took their talents to Miami. Would it be too much to say that America saved Eduardo Saverin? Probably. Maybe that’s just too overwrought. The Saverins were just another in a long line of immigrants who’d come to America for the opportunity it affords—the opportunity, among other things, to not have to worry that your child will be kidnapped just because you’ve become wealthy. Just because his parents moved here doesn’t mean Eduardo Saverin owes America anything, right? . . . Now comes news that Saverin has decided to renounce his U.S. citizenship, most likely to avoid a large long-term tax bill on his winnings in the Facebook IPO. Saverin owns about 4 percent of Facebook stock. By renouncing his citizenship last fall, well in advance of the IPO, Saverin will pay an “exit tax” on his assets as they were valued then. But he’ll pay no tax on income derived from stock sales in the future—that’s because he now lives in Singapore, which has no capital gains tax. It’s unclear how much this move will save him, since it depends on how Facebook’s stock performs. But let’s say the value of his stock doubles over the long run, from an estimated $3.8 billion now to around $8 billion. If that happens, he won’t pay any tax on the $4 billion increase in value—which, at a 15 percent capital gains rate, will save him $600 million in taxes. . . .