L.A. County ends controversial PACE home improvement loan program

Los Angeles County has ended its controversial PACE home improvement loan program, a decision that follows years of criticism that the county enabled predatory lending and put people at risk of losing their homes.

County officials — who launched the PACE program in 2015 to fund energy- and water-efficient home improvements — said they made the decision after determining the program lacked adequate consumer protections.

Homeowners repeatedly alleged the private home improvement contractors who signed them up for PACE misrepresented how the financing would work, saddling them with loans they could not understand or afford.

The county also faced lawsuits alleging that government authorities failed to properly oversee the private lenders it partnered with to issue loans that, if unpaid, could lead to foreclosure.

The criticisms mirror complaints directed at other Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, programs across California that fund environmentally friendly home improvements such as solar panels,

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Some people balk at the idea of freelancing, thinking it’s stressful and unreliable. But many freelancers actually earn more than 9-to-5 workers. At the very least, most rake in more dollars per hour compared to 70% of workers in the overall U.S. economy. Seriously. Freelancing doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Either way, now that we live in a time when job security is scarce, you may want to at least look into starting a freelance

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China home-built aircraft carrier conducting sea trials

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Defense Ministry said the navy’s only entirely home-built aircraft is carrying out sea trials to test weapons and equipment and enhance training of the crew.

Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said Friday the exercises were being conducted as planned, apparently unaffected by the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

The Shandong’s commissioning last year by Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the country’s rise as a regional naval power at a time of tensions with the U.S. and others over trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

It is the second Chinese aircraft carrier to enter service after the Liaoning, which was originally purchased as a hulk from Ukraine and entirely refurbished.

Both are based on a Soviet design with a ”ski jump” style flight deck for takeoffs rather than the flat decks used by much larger U.S. aircraft carriers. It is powered by a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant,

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Inside a Mecca of Midcentury Brazilian Art and Design

Brazilian design dealer Ulysses De Santi and his husband, Graham Steele, didn’t normally spend long periods of time together. They had different responsibilities, and very different rhythms. “Graham is extremely social, hyperactive, and his schedule was always insane,” says De Santi, who’s been sheltering at home with Steele since the pandemic upended life as we know it. “So just to be able to have him here is such a gift.” As a senior director at Hauser & Wirth, an art gallery with outposts in Asia, Europe and North America, Steele was used to jetting across the globe, sometimes having breakfast in one continent and dinner in another. By contrast, De Santi is an introvert. “He would happily be socially isolating for the next five years,” says Steele, only half-jokingly.

The couple’s personality contrasts extend to their design sensibilities: One is a minimalist and the other a maximalist. And yet in

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