Mayor vetoes "air rights": He still seems to support the plan to sell 9 million square feet to developers - he just wants more of a say in reviewing proposed projects. Villaraigosa's second veto in 21 months in office apparently took the Council by surprise because he appeared supportive at first on the idea to offer the air rights over the Los Angeles Convention Center. As noted by the LAT, the veto "was seen by some as a bid to flex his political muscle with the council and to distance himself from what has proved to be a controversial policy."
A380 coverage: Predictably, it was huge - like the plane. The novelty of an eight-story airplane that can seat 850 (but will be configured to hold closer to 555) continues to provide mostly positive press for Airbus, which can use good press considering how production problems will delay delivery of the plane by a year or more. The LAT focused more on the A380 that landed in NY rather than the one coming into LAX because the L.A. plane was a stripped-down model without seats. The NY flight had lots of VIPs, free drinks - and seats. The point was mentioned - sort of - at the bottom of A16 in the LAT. The NYT made more of a deal out of it (makes you wonder whether LAX's efforts at getting the A380 were really worth it). From Joe Sharkey's NYT column:
The Airbus-Qantas crew was hoping to score the first touchdown in what was regarded by the Airbus-Lufthansa crew as a brazen publicity stunt — a last-minute attempt by Los Angeles boosters to bill the New York landing as a B-movie to the main feature on the West Coast. But there were at least two problems with comparing the two events, annoyed crew members of the New York-bound flight said. The Lufthansa flight carried 460 passengers — mostly Airbus and Lufthansa employees, as well as about 60 reporters and photographers — plus about 30 crew members. It was operated, with full food service and in-flight entertainment, to test the aircraft as it would run in normal commercial service. The A380 flown by Airbus to Los Angeles — it landed about 15 minutes after the New York flight — was a little different.
“It has no seats,” scoffed Wolfgang Absmeier, an Airbus test pilot who made the A380 landing at Kennedy International Airport, where a mob of reporters and broadcast trucks was waiting. After the plane slowly taxied up to a terminal, two gates, one for the upper deck and one for the lower, rolled out so passengers could get off. Not only did the Los Angeles A380 have no seats, cabin amenities or passengers, it didn’t have a gate. To accommodate the A380, airports need expensive renovations to taxiways and boarding gates, and Los Angeles International Airport has lagged on that. The A380 that landed there yesterday had only a parking spot on a ramp, where it came to rest basically as a very large photo prop.
Cable's "near failure": That's how the president of the mayor's Board of Information Technology Commissioners described Time Warner Cable's Socal expansion last fall. He's called on the company to explain what went wrong. TWC said that it has slowed down the roll-out of new products until it can straighten out the big stuff. LAT
The quiet supermarket talks: What a difference three-plus years make in contract talks involving the three major supermarket chains. Both the chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers union have agreed to another contract extension - this time for three weeks - as both sides keep talking. The move was seen as a sign that talks were going reasonably well. John Arnold, spokesman for the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said the level of progress made during the past two weeks resulted in both sides agreeing to the extension. Daily News
The gas report: Still going up, according to the latest government survey. For the week ended March 19, an average gallon of self-serve regular in the L.A. area was $3.11, up from $3.05 a week earlier. The experts say there's a lot of strain on the state's aging refineries - to the point where it doesn't take much of a disruption to cause major problems.
Jim Cramer up close: When is this guy finally going to self-destruct? In a video from TheStreet.com's Webcast, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" boasts about manipulating the price of a stock down and admits that doing so might have been illegal. "A lot of times when I was short, I would create a level of activity beforehand that would drive the futures. . . . It's a fun game," Cramer said. Later, he added that, "No one else in the world would ever admit that, but I don't care." Quite the role model. NY Post
Remember First Look?: That was the movie production company financed by Merrill Lynch and hedge funds and run into the ground by novice Henry Winterstern? Well, Nu Image/Millennium Films is in talks to buy First Look. Meantime, First Look's operations are being scaled back. Variety
Caruso makes case: The big-name retail developer was at the Arcadia Masonic Temple pushing the city of Arcadia to approve his plans for The Shops at Santa Anita. The development has been opposed by mall operator Westfield, which happens to own the shopping center next to Santa Anita. Many residents have expressed concerns about traffic and several changes have been made. The city's Planning Commission will consider the proposal Wednesday. Star-News
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian covers continued growth at the ports, the downtown air rights debate and Joachim Splichal's bid for Smith & Wollensky.