Business and economy

News and observations on the economy, business, real estate, aerospace, tech, wealth, poverty and more.
Incorporating LA Biz Observed.

Former Robinsons in BH for sale again

Thumbnail image for robinsons-bh-hess.jpg The site at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, just west of the Beverly Hilton hotel, would come fully approved for construction of a luxury condo project, says the LA Times.

Sign language

Mojave aster, Dante's View Death Valley 4-14 - Copy.JPG Sometimes, roadside attractions render the journey the destination
la-mag-grab-broad.jpg Broad tells Los Angeles Magazine the city needs "better political leadership and better citizen and corporate leadership than it’s had." He also confirms he is still trying to buy the LA Times.

Zócalo Book Prize to Ethan Zuckerman

rewire-cover-zocalo.jpg "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection" is in the view of the judges 2013’s most illuminating and compelling nonfiction book about community and human connectedness.

Malaysia informs families that MH370 crashed in Indian Ocean

malaysia-pm-grab.jpg Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysa announced Monday that analysis of satellite data confirms that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 flew south over the Indian Ocean after changing course and could...

LA Times names new Business Editor

Thumbnail image for latimes-building-aerial-tig.jpg Kimi Yoshino succeeds Marla Dickerson, who left the Times for the Wall Street Journal.

Australia may have Flight 370 wreckage in sight

aussie-pm-grab.jpg The prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, informed Parliament on Thursday morning that satellite images appear to show debris in the ocean under a likely flight path of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Calumet Photographic closes on Highland (and everywhere else)

calumet-photo.jpg Photographers are noting the abrupt closure today of Calumet's Hollywood store, along with the shutdown of all other American stores in the Chicago-based photo supply chain. An LA photog explains why it matters.

Deluxe Laboratories to close Hollywood film processing shop

deluxe-film-lab.jpg Deluxe has been a major player in the production of movies on film and in digital post-production. But film is fading away.

Dawn Chmielewski leaving LAT entertainment and tech team

dawn-chm-twitter.jpg Chmielewski will join ex-Wall Street Journal tech writers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at Re/Code.

Richest, biggest and most valuable in LA

getty-center-view-lawn.jpg I cherry pick some of the more interesting rankings from the Los Angeles Business Journal's annual book of lists.

A twisted tale: Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel

peanut-filled-pretzels.jpg The trouble began when Trader Joe’s allegedly switched suppliers, cutting out Aliso Viejo’s Maxim Marketing in favor of giant ConAgra Foods. Maxim has not gone quietly.

Occidental, LA's biggest company, leaving for Houston

oxy-hq-westwood-lao.jpg Restructuring Occidental Petroleum will give up its longtime home at the busiest intersection in Los Angeles. “Energy companies feel very welcome in Houston and in Texas,” says the head of the LA Chamber of Commerce.

Rich of the world once again investing in LA homes

blue-jay-way-home-bloomberg.jpg California mansions are being bought by Chinese families, foreign tycoons and U.S. celebrities as a hedge against currency and stock market disasters or the vicissitudes of politics, Bloomberg Luxury says.

Garcetti appoints a city innovation technology chief

peter-marx-meg.jpg Peter Marx has been vice president of business development at Qualcomm Labs and vice president of the technology and digital studio at Mattel.

Gender and the female journalist who dares read the Internet

Nasty online bullying of women affects many people who you know. When it's aimed at journalists, it seeks to intimidate and silence.

Doug Kriegel returning to air as a drive-by economist

doug-kriegel-2014-grab.jpg The former NBC 4 reporter will host a monthly show on the economic life of Southern California on PBS SoCal. The first episode airs Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.

Former Variety tower gets new tenant and name

Thumbnail image for variety-bldg-tower-side.jpg The Miracle Mile office tower formerly named for Variety (and before that for People's Bank) is getting a new top-floor occupant: SBE, the lifestyle and hospitality company headed by Sam Nazarian.

Thomas V. Jones, LA aerospace giant was 93

Thumbnail image for moraga-vineyard.jpg Jones led Northrop for three decades and after retiring created Moraga Vineyards and its respected winery on a slope in Bel Air — a premium winery within the city limits of Los Angeles.

Ace Hotel opens on DTLA's Broadway

ace-hotel-front-iris.jpg The Ace Hotel opened officially today in the building on Broadway that houses the old United Artists theatre. Iris Schneider took some photos before the opening day.

Turns out Uber can cost its victims more than a limo ride

metro-cab-taxi-lao.jpg Uber charged a woman $357 for a Saturday evening ride from the Westside to Hollywood. But it's an app so it must be cool, right? Taxis are looking better.

Siri versus Hawaiian pidgin (video)

siri-pidgin.jpg Breaking my posting fast with a short video.

Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene

treesinparadise.jpg "Wherever you go, there you are," says Buckaroo Banzai. Jon Christensen reads the new book "Trees in Paradise: A California History" on the long flight from LAX to Melbourne and reflects on what we can learn from history in a cosmopolitan era in which local diversity--biological and cultural--may be increasing rapidly, while the differences between places continue to shrink.

American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX

usair.jpg The brunt of the settlement involves the two carriers divesting 104 slots at Washington-Reagan National Airport and 34 at NY's La Guardia. At LAX, the combined airline would lose two gates at Terminal 3.
infographic-6-reasons.jpg Not to belabor, but just because you have access to mountains of data doesn't mean you know what to do with it.

Best to low-ball today's employment report

jobsoctober.jpg It's only a single month and October's figure will be subject to several revisions. Only by looking at the long-term picture do you have a sense of what's really going on.

Crazy opening for Twitter*

twitterpix.jpg Talk about pops - the social network's initial public offering was priced at $26 a share and promptly jumped to $50.09 before settling down a bit.

Catchy hed: Beijing has more billionaires than LA

billionaires-in-chinese-cities.jpg The actual headline at Atlantic Cities is "More Billionaires Live in Beijing Than in Los Angeles." Check out the data.

Mark Lacter and LA Biz Observed
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006 and posted until his death on Nov. 13, 2013. His 10,000-plus posts are archived here.
Streetscape: High clouds over LAPD
highlcouds-lapd-bldg-pal.jpgHard to take a picture in this town without getting a palm tree. Bigger
Van Nuys church
Central Lutheran Church surrounded by palm trees. View bigger
Desert dinosaurs
desert dinos4, Hwy 62 Joshua Tree 3-14.JPG This family faces Highway 62 in Joshua Tree. Ellen Alperstein observes from the desert: Native Intelligence
Bowl butts get cedar seats
hwd-bowl-benches-zevweb.jpgNew benches go in at Hollywood Bowl. Read
Streetscape: Van Nuys alley
potter-baail-bonds-alley-vi.jpg The view from the alley behind Van Nuys Boulevard. LA Observed: see bigger
National parks through an old lens
Tent-Camera-Old-Faithful.jpgIris Schneider admires photographer Abelardo Morell's fresh view of camera obscura. This is Yellowstone's Old Faithful geyser exposed on the ground. More
'Cry, Trojans'
wooster1-iris.jpgScott Shepherd and Kate Valk as lovers Troilus and Cressida. Iris Schneider
Misty Copeland has her say
misty-copeland-gene-schiavone.jpgMisty Copeland rose from a vagabond life in San Pedro to become the first black female soloist with the American Ballet Theater in 20 years. She talks with Judy Graeme. Native Intelligence
Stuck in the mud
miguel-almaguer-in-mud.jpgNBC News correspondent Miguel Almaguer had to be extricated from the mud in Azusa. Story
Ridiculous palm weed
Spotted in Pasadena by author Lynell George, who knows her ridiculous palms. Bigger
'Tartuffe' and 'Music Man'
tartuffe-shirley.jpgClassic con artistry in 'Tartuffe' and 'Music Man,' plus plays for the Passover season. Don Shirley
'Billy Budd' and more
Gustavo-Dudamel-dp-story.jpgA bedazzling "Billy Budd" and Dudamel does Tchaikovsky, by Donna Perlmutter. Native Intelligence
Gotta love the Pacific Ocean
noaa-wx-map-calif-22714.jpgNow that's a weather map. See big
First edition: '12 Years a Slave'
12-years-a-slave-ucla.jpgUCLA Library's 1853 first edition of the Solomon Northup memoir. Christelle Nahas/UCLA. Gallery
Vivian Maier
vivian-maier-mouse-ears.jpg"Finding Vivian Maier," a nicely done documentary on the late, reclusive Chicago nanny whose street photos have become a sensation, screens in Los Angeles in March.
Lion trackers
cougar-magic-lion.jpgSoCal's trail camera trackers. Story
LA Observed list
Richest, biggest and most valuable in Los Angeles. List
Streetscape: DTLA
great-republic-lofts-LAO.jpgGreat Republic Lofts, Downtown Los Angeles. Bigger
Leonard Knight, 82
salvation-mountain-knight.jpgLeonard Knight spent almost 30 years building a colorful mountain of adobe covered with donated paint in the Imperial Valley desert near Salton Sea. Read
Bunker Hill
broad-plaza-rendering.jpgBroad Museum opening delayed until 2015. Read
Exene sells her stuff
exene-rickenbacker.jpgExene Cervenka is done with Orange County. And her 1955 Rickenbacker Combo 600. Read
Ry Cooder at The Echo
ry-cooder-echo-iris.jpgIris Schneider spotted Ry Cooder at The Echo, backing up daughter-in-law Juliette Commagere on the slide guitar. Native Intelligence