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George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Attendance at the Del Mar Fair is up 10 percent this year compared to the start of the event in 2008. Some suggest that the increase is a result of the trend for "staycations," where people recreate in their own backyards compared to traveling elsewhere for their vacation. Others -- like me -- tend to believe the increase is the result of rising consumer confidence and evidence that people aren't as gloomy as they were a year ago. I had to drive up to Burbank on Saturday and the freeways were jammed with people who were out and about, living life.

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In my column last Friday I referenced comments from Kelly Cunningham with National University System Institute for Policy Research at the Mid-Year Real Estate Conference at USD. He suggested that San Diego County has a population larger than 20 states in the Union and it might be interesting to consider separating from California and becoming our own state. I asked Kelly to take a look at our economy compared to all 50 states and the numbers are even more impressive. Kelly determined that our GDP is larger than 25 states including Oregon, Oklahoma, Nevada and Hawaii. The case for statehood continues to grow.

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Goodrich Corp. is celebrating 50 years in space. On June 25, 1959, the first space-borne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellite was launched with a Goodrich payload. The company also made the space suit that was worn by astronaut John Glenn during NASA's Project Mercury missions. And, technology from Goodrich was with Neil Armstrong when he stepped on the moon during the Apollo 11 flight. Goodrich, which got its start as a tire company, has a strong presence here in San Diego County. It bought Chula Vista-based Rohr in 1997 for $1.3 million and San Diego also serves as home for the sensor and integrated systems division.

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The annual auction of a power lunch with legendary investor Warren Buffett gets under way this coming Sunday. The proceeds from the auction -- which last year sold for $2.1 million -- go to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco charity that has been long-supported by the Buffett Family. The bidding will start at $25,000 and bidders must be pre-qualified. The auction will again be conducted on eBay and the winner and seven friends will dine with the Oracle of Omaha at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City. Good luck. Bidding ends on June 26.

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Another online auction is under way that might be more available to most of us. A Sony VAIO Notebook PC used by Denzel Washington in the movie "The Taking of Pelham 123" is available now through June 25. The current bid is just $1,000. The computer is autographed by Washington and the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, an organization Washington has long supported. Bidding is under way at charityfolks.com.

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Hot Dog on a Stick is celebrating its 60th anniversary today by giving way its popular food item. The company, which started in Venice but is now headquartered in Carlsbad, will be giving away the corn dogs between 5 and 8 p.m. at its 108 locations, several of which are located around San Diego County. Last year, the company gave away 50,000 hot dogs when it celebrated its anniversary. I remember when the only time you could get a Hot Dog on a Stick was when the fair came to Del Mar.

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