Contractor hell

first_imgIN the wild world of home-remodeling contracting, sometimes you get what you pay for. But other times, you don’t even get that. That’s because in the real estate boom of Southern California, unscrupulous contractors have multiplied like flies on spoiled food. And having a license does not even guarantee good – or completed – work. Too many people have found this out after paying out thousands of dollars. Among them are Elmer Cortez, who says an unlicensed contractor took $37,000 and left him a messy pit filled with beer bottles, and Sam Rosa, whose parents lost $18,000 to a contractor who walked off in the middle of renovating their duplex. These two might wring out some measure of justice, as the Los Angeles city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo, is prosecuting 32 contractors accused of ripping off property owners. But this crackdown will hardly dent the scope of the problem. The high demand for home renovation has made it easy for anyone to put up a shingle and call himself a contractor. That means that the public is mostly on its own when hiring a contractor – licensed or not – and must be vigilant. It’s clear that the authorities have neither the time nor the resources to police this industry. And, as in sports, the best defense in hiring a contractor is a good offense. After getting bilked, Cortez said he would not be fooled again. “I would have to do my work – make sure to get some references to begin with, a license number, a copy of the driver’s license or ID.” That’s good advice.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Russia lifts World Cup ban on German journalist

first_img0Shares0000“The Russian side has since informed us that @hajoseppelt can at least travel to the World Cup. Let’s continue to push for free reporting,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.BERLIN, Germany, May 15 – Russia has granted a football World Cup visa to the German journalist banned after he broke the story on Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal, Berlin said Tuesday.“The Russian side has since informed us that @hajoseppelt can at least travel to the World Cup. Let’s continue to push for free reporting,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. German journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentaries on doping among Russian athletes sparked a storm and ended up with Russia being banned from this winter’s Pyeongchang Olympic games.On Friday, it emerged that his application for a visa, submitted by public regional broadcaster SWR, was rejected as he was apparently on a persona non grata list in Russia.Moscow did not specify the reason but Seppelt himself said the “uncovering of the state doping system has had such great impact for Russia that it felt that it needed to take such measures”.News of the ban sparked an outcry in Germany, and Berlin on Monday called Moscow’s decision to ban Seppelt “wrong”.The German government also warned that it “puts Russia as a host in a bad light if the freedom of the press and of opinion is curtailed before the eyes of the world.”Earlier Tuesday, German Football Federation chief Reinhard Grindel said he had spoken with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino to take up the case personally with Russia.“I told him that I hoped that he would personally get in touch with the Russian government,” Grindel said.Russia was already a disputed choice when it was handed the World Cup in a closely-watched 2010 vote that has since been tainted by bribery charges.But the row over Seppelt’s visa had further roiled an already controversial tournament which kicks off in June.FIFA said on Monday that it had already approved Seppelt’s accreditation request to cover the World Cup.“Generally speaking, the freedom of the press is of paramount importance to FIFA and we always aim to provide media representatives with the best possible conditions for coverage of all FIFA events,” FIFA said in a statement.The dispute also came just days before German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in recent years has clashed repeatedly with Western leaders on a litany of issues including the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more