Judge delays worker crackdown: U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said that the Bush administration's effort to track down illegal immigrants doesn't appear to be authorized by law. He extended for up to 10 days a temporary restraining order issued by another federal judge that stopped officials from mailing letters to employers notifying them of the new requirements. He said he would rule within 10 days on a preliminary injunction that would bar the change until the case went to trial or a higher court overruled him. From the SF Chronicle:
"There would be irreparable harm, serious irreparable injury," to legal employees if the government went ahead with its plan to send 140,000 letters to employers of 8 million workers in the next few months, Breyer said. He also said the central message of the government's letter - that employers must investigate and clear up discrepancies in their employees' Social Security numbers within 93 days or be viewed as a criminal - "is not an accurate statement of the law." Justice Department lawyer Thomas Dupre denied that the government was trying to coerce employers into cracking down on suspected illegal immigrants and said the proposal was merely "an optional safe harbor" for businesses to avoid liability.
Salinas out at Telemundo: The infamous TV newscaster who kept on reporting about Mayor Antonio even after she became his mistress is officially out at Telemundo. She had been dumped to the Riverside bureau after a suspension and didn't show up for work on her first day. Telemundo's KVEA-TV Channel 52 and Salinas "have mutually agreed to end our employment relationship," the network said. Why that didn't happen from day one remains a mystery (this would merit an on-the-spot dismissal in many newsrooms). But why did things even reach this point? From the LAT:
Villaraigosa declined to speak about her departure from Telemundo. "I don't have any knowledge about that," he said in an interview. "I just couldn't tell you anything. I wouldn't have any information." The two are still seeing one another, according to a source familiar with their relationship.
Edison knew about fraud: That's what an administrative law judge is concluding in a case involving the manipulation of customer satisfaction survey results. Edison tried to pin the blame on lower-level managers and employees (11 people were fired), but Judge Robert Barnett said "the evidence is overwhelming that senior management knew of the manipulation and falsification." The decision will cost the utility $200-million in performance bonuses and fines. The $160 million in bonuses would be returned to customers, possibly through a rate reduction. (LAT)
City workers cut deal: The tentative agreement on a new contract covers about 22,000 workers, including trash collectors, traffic control officers, 911 dispatchers, librarians, custodians, crossing guards and a bunch of other folks. If ratified by union members and approved by the City Council, the pact would run for five years and be retroactive to July. The unions had been negotiating with city administrators for months. Sources told the LAT that the deal includes cost-of-living adjustments and some measures that link the timing of employee raises to the city's fiscal health.
Valley home sales dive: The August drop was 33.1 percent from a year earlier, the lowest total for an August since record keeping began in 1984 (and the third lowest sales total this year). But in a familiar pattern, the San Fernando Valley's median price rose 5.7 percent, to $645,000. That reflects more sales at the higher-priced end of the market. The inventory level stood at 10.4 months (that's the amount of time it takes to deplete the inventory at the current sales pace). (Daily News)
"Grey's Anatomy" is tops: At least in terms of what advertisers are being charged. ABC's medical drama is bringing $419,000 per 30-second spot, according to an Ad Age survey of media-buying executives. That beats the $394,000 for "Desperate Housewives" last season. This fall, "Grey's" is followed by NBC's "Sunday Night Football" ($358,000) and Fox's "The Simpsons" ($315,000).
Sunday continues to be the costliest night on TV. And it does so despite a drop in the prices of 30-second ads for two of the night's hit shows, "Desperate Housewives" and "Extreme Makeover." According to previous Advertising Age surveys, "Housewives" commanded $394,000 for 2006-2007 and a $439,500 for 2005-2006.
Advertisers, particularly movie studios, have long coveted Thursday night as an important way to reach consumers before they make choices for the weekend, and the evening continues as one of the week's most costly. Not only does "Grey's Anatomy" have a roost there, but so does the backbone of the CBS schedule: A 30-second ad in "Survivor: China" is also one of the top 10 priciest, but a spot of the same length on "CSI" commands even more. NBC's Thursday-night comedies are no slouches, either: A 30-second ad on "The Office" costs $186,000.
Britney loses child custody: What on earth took so long? L.A. County Court Commissioner Scott M. Gordon ordered her to hand her two children over to former husband Kevin Federline. In an eight-sentence decision, Gordon said there was evidence that Spears was "a habitual, frequent and continuous" user of drugs and alcohol, which is not exactly news (there were tabloid stories about her baby falling out of a highchair and paparazzi photos of her driving while holding her infant son in her lap). He ordered her to submit to twice-weekly drug and alcohol testing, undergo co-counseling with Federline and receive parent coaching. (LAT:)
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian covers the building boom for luxury condos, Disney's exit from the cell phone business, and the new smoking ban in Bev Hills.