Glazed no more: Krispy Kreme's La Habra store, which opened with so much fanfare that lines were snaking out the street, is closing its doors, the victim of plummeting popularity (the no-carb fad didn't help) and some financial shenanigans at the corporate parent back in North Carolina. In 1999, the store's first year, sales reached $9 million. The local franchise still has 17 KK locations, down from 31.
Affording a house: Just 19 percent of first-time homebuyers in Los Angeles County could afford a median-priced home during the second quarter, down from 21 percent in the first quarter of 2006 and 27 percent a year earlier. If those numbers look a little higher than in the past, it's because the California Association of Realtors has developed a new index for measuring affordability.The index reflects changes in the way homes are being financed these days.
Sad, sad, sad: Andrew Young's idiotic comments about Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners ripping off low-income communities for years, followed by his extended apology and resignation from a post at Wal-Mart, point up the many minefields faced by the image-conscious Arkansas-based retailer. All companies have contingency plans, but no one back in Bentonville could have possibly imagined that one of the nation's most renowed civil rights leaders would be slurring so many people in a single sentence. And yet, the basic notion that shopkeepers have been ripping off the poor is a well-established reality in the inner city.
Naming rights: Washington Mutual Inc., the nation's largest savings and loan, is changing its brand name to WaMu. It will start appearing on branches and in advertising in the next few months. The corporate name stays the same. Good idea, but what about more tellers?
No tax relief: The state Supreme Court turns down efforts by Microsoft Corp. and General Motors Corp. to pay less in state taxes. The companies had wanted to change the formula that determines how much non-California corporations shell out. At stake was $500 million in refunds and $100 million annually in lost revenue - no small consideration given that that lawmakers expect a whopping budget deficit next year.
Swag follo: Now that gift baskets have been banned at the Oscars, thanks to the IRS cracking down, what about the Emmys and Golden Globes? Both the television academy and the Foreign Press Association will think about it. By the way, did you know that usually fewer than than 10 percent of the high-ticket items in gift baskets, stuff like the cruises and trips, are ever redeemed?
Treading water: Little movement on the gasoline price front this week. The Auto Club's weekly survey shows that the average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.233, one-tenth of a cent lower than last week, five cents lower than last month and 44 cents higher than last year. The other surveys were also pretty much flat.
Talk of the Web: It's still several weeks before the new TV season, but handicapping what will and won't make the grade has been going on for months, thanks to covert and overt marketing efforts - as well as constant Internet chatting. NBC wins the prize as having the most talked-about shows, among them “Heroes,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “30 Rock” and “Friday Night Lights.” Two of Fox's shows and three of ABC's are getting some of the least buzz.
Web dispute: NBC Universal says that the Writers Guild has asked showrunners for shows "The Office," "Heroes," "Crossing Jordan" and "Battlestar Galactica" are refusing to provide materials for use in the shows' Web versions. The network has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Speaking of disputes: The walkout by a dozen writer-producers at "America's Top Model" will not impact the premiere of the CW reality show on Sept. 20. All 13 episodes of the Tyra Banks-hosted series have been shot. The writer-producers are demanding recognition as members of the Writers Guild.