Price of smokes is going up…way up! Seven bucks a pack?!?

Cigarette prices are apparently on the rise. I know my local 7-Eleven is urging customers to buy before April 1 when new federal taxes take effect, a new state tax is also in place.

Last pack I bought was $4.50. But I’ve heard tales of smokes going for between $6 and $7 bucks a pack. What are you paying? Looks like smokers are balancing the budget, paying for the stimulus and fun times in Sacramento.


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Stimulus money goes to local cops

Looks like the feds plan to dole out about $252 million in stimulus money to California cop shops. I haven’t done the math but in most cases it looks like the package will return about $1 to cities per resident. Here’s a round up of what some San Gabriel Valley cities can expect

PASADENA $342,008

EL MONTE $320,930

WEST COVINA $184,000

WHITTIER $152,145


PICO RIVERA $148,182

ALHAMBRA $143,111


ROSEMEAD $113,633


COVINA $95,090

AZUSA $93,347


ARCADIA $71,159


MONROVIA $64,503


INDUSTRY $59,590


LA MIRADA $55,152

DUARTE $45,009

SAN DIMAS $39,621


GLENDORA $33,599

LA VERNE $33,123

WALNUT $23,297




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Tuesday’s column (living on $13 a week)

I spent a good part of Sunday trying to figure out what to do with an extra $13 a week.

That’s what we’ll all get for six months beginning in June as part of President Obama’s ecomomic stimulus package. Thirteen bucks.

When I was a teenager, my dad used to scold me because (in his words): “Money burns a hole in your pocket.”

Heck, I don’t even have my first paycheck with a stimulus bump and already its spent. It didn’t even get a chance to burn a hole in my pocket.

Maybe I should have been a politician, they definitely know how to burn money.

Take that 13 bucks.

In truth none of us will ever get to see it, because our state government is going to get their hands on the money faster than an Indian casino can get rich opening it doors to bus loads of foreign students.

They will get it in increased sales taxes, vehicle license fees, and smaller income tax credits for children and married couples. We are going to get nailed.

I pushed that out of my mind, so that there was nothing to stop me from dreaming about economic stimulus, rather than worry about any economic ruin the state is attempting to hasten.

At first I thought about taking my $13 and spending it on iTunes. Certainly that will stimulate the economy. After all rock and rap artists need our money so that they can buy drugs, guns, and outrageous clothing.

Take pop singer Chris Brown. He’s certainly going to need a cash infusion to pay his lawyers.

Since that sickens me almost as much as paying for Octomom’s brood of 14, I decided to think about turning the money to a more productive use.

Where better than a 99-Cents Only store? I hit one on Hacienda Boulevard somewhere between West Covina and La Puente.

The place was so crowded, I almost left.

But after walking in, I gravitated toward the food. Who knew there are so many staples available for just 99 cents?

A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly – three bucks total – added up to lunch for a week.

A head of lettuce, some salad dressing and a six-pack of tomatoes? Salad with dinner for five or six nights.

And I still had $7 to spend, I went for three tins of spaghetti sauce, a package of noodles, two ham steaks and a box of off-brand cornflakes. Mmm mmm good – NOT.

Which is why I put everything back and decided to invest my $13 instead.

A package of tomato seeds, a package of onion seeds, some jalapeno seeds and carrot seeds cost less than $2. I took the rest of the money and spend it on compact fluorescent light bulbs.

We’ll be having salsa and carrots all summer. And saving money on the Edison bill to boot.

After all we’re going to need it. Someone’s going to have to pay for all this stimulus and bailout stuff that’s burning big holes in our economy’s pockets.

The sad part is, it’s going to be you and me.

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