Market back up: Probably helping are the better-than-expected results from Ford, American Express and Microsoft. In early trading, the Dow is up about 100 points.
Freeway work without funding: The MTA board approved plans to build a car-pool lane on the northbound 405 over the Sepulveda Pass even though it only has a fraction of the money needed to fund the $1 billion project. Construction should begin this summer; there's enough money on hand to last 15 months. (Daily News)
Greenhouse regulations approved: The California Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to approve a first-in-the-nation mandate requiring low-carbon fuels. The regulation requires producers to cut by 10 percent the carbon emissions of all transportation fuels sold in California, From the San Jose Mercury News:
Under the air board's new rule, it will measure the fuel consumed in 2010 to set the baseline for 2020 for all fuel producers. As the years progress, petroleum producers will meet their requirements by encouraging the use of alternative fuels -- such as hydrogen, ethanol, biofuels and electricity -- to power transportation, and by blending lower carbon fuels in their own petroleum mixes. While some say this change will cause the price of gas to jump, the air board disputes that, saying that over time, as more alternative fuel producers enter the market, it will become more competitive and prices will come down.
Gas prices flatten: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $2.329 per gallon, which is four-tenths of a cent less than last week, according to the Auto Club.
JetBlue stays in Long Beach: Relations with the city have been testy, but the low-cost carrier says it plans to remain at Long Beach Airport. The airline and city officials have been talking about ways to upgrade the facility, which JetBlue says is in bad shape. (Press-Telegram)
New MySpace CEO: As expected, former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta will get the top job, reports Kara Swisher at Boomtown. He will replace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe.
Van Natta has a lot of challenges, including: reinvigorating the MySpace brand, upgrading its technology, adding more innovation to its feature set, continuing to grow its nascent advertising business, and dealing with the expected end to its lucrative online ad deal with Google (GOOG). He also must play deft diplomat at MySpace, where many remain loyal to DeWolfe and to co-founder Tom Anderson. Anderson was in talks to step down as president yesterday for an unspecified new role in the company. He currently remains president.
L.A. Investment firm under fire: Wetherly Capital Group shelled out more than $300,000 to a political operative who was arrested on charges of running a kickback scheme involving New York state's pension fund. From the LAT:
Wetherly was founded by Dan Weinstein, a high-profile advisor to local politicians and longtime Democratic fundraiser. The firm made two payments to an entity controlled by Henry Morris, a New York political consultant at the center of the burgeoning scandal, according to an indictment last month in a case filed by New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo. The payments "represented the proceeds of criminal conduct," said the indictment, which did not elaborate.
"Soloist" gets mixed reviews: The Rotten Tomatoes site has 54 percent of the critics giving the Robert Downey Jr./Jamie Foxx drama positive notices. Both the WSJ's Joe Morgenstern and the NYT's Manohla Dargis liked it, but the LAT's Kenneth Turan did not. He says the story of columnist Steve Lopez's friendship with a homeless musician hits the wrong notes.