Tuesday morning headlines

Another sluggish start: Better-than-expected earnings from Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs, along with an upbeat reading on retail sales, might get Wall Street going. So far, Dow is flat.

Budget update: Talks resume today after a weekend of upbeat reports, but funding for schools and community colleges is expected to be a tough go. Debate will center on suspending Proposition 98, which sets a minimum funding level for education. (Mercury News)

Governor switches to TV: He's releasing a 60-second ad in which he vows - again - not to raise taxes. It's kind of a strange time to be doing this, what with the all sides supposedly searching for a compromise. From the LAT:

"I will not sign a budget that pushes our financial problems down the road, because the road stops here," the governor says in the commercial, looking directly into the camera. He also rails against raising taxes: "Sacramento is asking me to sign a budget that raises your taxes and spends money we do not have."

Gas prices fall: Not that surprising given the recent drops in oil. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $2.906, down about a nickel from last week, according to the government's survey.

L.A. picks up tab: Mayor Villaraigosa says the city will not bill AEG or the Jackson family for the costs related to last week's memorial service. From the LAT:

"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection. Period. The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical," Villaraigosa said, adding that AEG also should not have to reimburse the city. Villaraigosa, after announcing a summer jobs program, also criticized his staff for launching a website that asked the public for donations to help pay the city's costs. The website, which raised $35,000, was taken down Friday. It's unclear if the money will be returned to donors.

End of ad slump?: The worst is over, according to a new forecast, but don't expect significant revenue growth until well into 2011. Q2 ad revenue will be the worst showing since the Great Depression. From AP:

[Brian Wieser, Magna's global director of forecasting], is bearish on newspapers, with 2009 ad revenue expected to fall by 24.8 percent to $28.5 billion. Its five-year forecast is a decline of 3.7 percent per year. "Newspapers don't have a likelihood of recovery for the forseeable future" as print readers age, he said, describing the industry as one in "terminal decline."

Dreier gets 20 years: The NY attorney pleaded guilty in a scheme to bilk investors (prosecutors had asked for 145 years). Dreier, whose legal empire had expanded to L.A., allegedly used the proceeds to finance a lavish lifestyle. (NYT)

SFV office glut: About 1 million square feet of space came onto the market over the past year, which boosted the vacancy rate to nearly 13 percent and has driven down rents. Expect rising vacancies into next year. (Daily News)

Possible BusinessWeek buyers: For whatever it's worth, two area firms make the list of potential bottom feeders: OpenGate Capital, which bought TV Guide, and Platinum Equity, new owner of the San Diego Union Tribune. Chatter is that parent McGraw-Hill is prepared to give the place away. (FT)

Business chat preempted: The Sotomayor hearings knocks off my weekly segment with KPCC's Steve Julian. Maybe tomorrow morning, depending on the coverage.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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