Postal Service honors George H.W. Bush with stamp

AUSTIN — There will now be a new, familiar face on postage stamps.

The U.S. Postal Service released a commemorative Forever stamp Wednesday featuring former President George H.W. Bush in honor of what would have been the 41st president’s 95th birthday.

“It’s especially fitting to honor President Bush with his own stamp because he truly understood the power of a handwritten letter,” said Robert Duncan, chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, at a Wednesday dedication celebration for the new stamp in College Station.

Duncan, asking for audience participation at the celebration held at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, asked how many people in attendance had received a handwritten letter from the former president. Dozens of hands shot up.

Bush’s grandson Pierce, his former chief of staff Jean Becker and various other friends of the former president also spoke at the celebration, which featured a cappella arrangements by musical groups and the unveiling of a larger-than-life replica of the stamp.

Bush selected the image for the stamp, according to David Jones, president and CEO of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation. Artist Michael J. Deas painted the portrait for the stamp, based on a 1997 photograph on the cover of Texas Monthly for an article about the dedication of Bush’s presidential library.

The former president died in November at the age of 94.

The Postal Service has been putting presidential likenesses on stamps since 1847 when George Washington became the first president to appear on one.

The stamps are available for purchase online and in some post offices.

— Austin American-Statesman

Howard Schultz delays decision on presidential campaign as he recovers from back surgery

SEATTLE — Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who spent much of the spring traveling the country exploring a presidential campaign, is putting off his decision on whether to actually run for president until the fall, he said Wednesday.

In a letter to supporters, Schultz said he will be taking the summer off to recover from three separate back surgeries in the last two months. He said he would be back in touch after Labor Day, but offered no hint as to whether he would ultimately launch the independent presidential campaign he’s been touting since January.

Schultz had previously said he would decide on whether to run by late spring or early summer. But he had essentially gone quiet since late April, halting his nationwide tour and mostly silencing his social media accounts.

On Wednesday, he wrote that he experienced “acute back pain” while he was in Arizona in April as part of his pre-campaign book tour, and it required him to stop traveling.

He subsequently had three back surgeries, he said.

“Today, I am feeling much better and my doctors foresee a full recovery so long as I rest and rehabilitate,” Schultz wrote. “I have decided to take the summer to do just that.”

“I take this detour from the road reluctantly,” he wrote. “My concern for our country’s future remains, as does my belief that the American people deserve so much more from our elected officials.”

Schultz has described himself as a “lifelong Democrat” and said he wants to see President Donald Trump “removed from office” but that today’s Democratic Party has moved too far to the left.

— The Seattle Times

Donald Trump’s Beverly Hills home quietly sells for $13.5 million

LOS ANGELES — President Donald Trump has visited California three times since entering the White House, but he’ll have one less place to stay for the next trip. The Trump Organization has quietly unloaded one of its last two properties in Los Angeles County, a Tudor-style home in Beverly Hills, for $13.5 million in an off-market sale.

The company bought the home for $7 million in 2007, when it was controlled by Trump. It’s now run by his two sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr.

A corporate entity — Hillcrest Asia Limited — is the buyer, real estate records show.

Built in 1927, the two-story home sits across from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Will Rogers Memorial Park on North Canon Drive. It has five bedrooms and six bathrooms across 5,395 square feet, and the 0.67-acre grounds expand to a hedged lawn and swimming pool out back.

The house previously sported a dark gray color but was painted orange during Trump’s ownership, according to sources familiar with the property.

The corner-lot estate sits at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Canon Drive — a hot spot for Trump. In addition to frequenting the Beverly Hills Hotel over the years, he previously owned a Greek Revival-inspired mansion on a neighboring lot that he sold in 2009 at an $850,000 loss.

The value of the property on North Canon Drive has been a point of interest over the years. In 2016, Trump’s tax attorney Wade E. Norwood argued the home was worth $6 million — less than half of the price it just sold for. Following the appeal, the county’s assessment board valued the estate at $6.004 million, according to L.A. County records.

It’s not the first time Norwood has made such a case.

In 2002, Trump shelled out $27 million for a golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which is now known as the Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles. He said he spent nearly $300 million restoring the 300-acre property, including repairing the 18th hole, which slipped into the ocean after a landslide in 1999 and drove the previous owners into bankruptcy.

Following the renovations, Norwood claimed the course was worth $10 million.

As first reported by the Real Deal, the sale of the North Canon Drive home leaves the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes as Trump’s only remaining property in the L.A. area.

— Los Angeles Times