Stocks edging lower: The downward slide continues, though the Dow is off its early session lows.
Toyota update: Still waiting on a fix for the Prius brake problem amid reports of a pending U.S. recall. Meanwhile, dealers have started repairing the pedal on other Toyotas. (AP)
Crackdown on health plans: State regulators are going after discount coverage that frequently overstates benefits and offers little savings. From the LAT:
"They're basically cheating poor people," said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, immediate past president of the California Medical Assn. Plan executives bristle at such criticism. They say a few bad apples have tarnished an industry that offers reliable -- and relatively inexpensive -- services. Consumers, however, have lodged complaints against more than 150 unlicensed discount health and dental plans over the last four years, prompting the California Department of Managed Health Care to seek new licensing regulations.
Risks in budget plan: In order to clear the deficit, L.A. officials want to deplete most of the city's emergency reserve - what's supposed to be used for earthquakes, floods and other disasters - and hope that they can recoup the money by leasing 10-city-owned parking structures. From the LAT:
That scenario means the cash-strapped city would be trying to cut advantageous deals just as it is desperate for money -- not exactly a strong negotiating position for a public agency. The bidding process is also expected to spark an aggressive blitz by the many lobbying firms that are paid to influence Villaraigosa and other elected officials.
Dip in home prices: January saw a $6,000 drop in the L.A. County median price compared with the previous month, to $348,000. Sales were down 8 percent, according to HomeData. (Business Journal)
Lionsgate after Miramax?: Might be a better fit for the independent than MGM, which Lionsgate is bidding on with big boys like Time Warner. (NY Post)
Pushback on Broad: NYT profile gets heavy into his not-so-charitable side as a philanthropist (an early paragraph says he is considered "both a genius and a despot"). His blowup with LACMA over exhibiting non-Broad artwork gets particular notice.
As a result, several board members said, he did not pay the balance of his pledged gift of roughly $6 million. "He owes us a fortune," said Lynda Resnick, a board member. "There was a period he wouldn't speak to me for a year and a half" over the dispute. Mr. Broad has "fulfilled my gift to Lacma 100-plus percent," he said. "The question is: Have they honored their commitments to me, which was to show our collection?"
Santa Anita avoids sale: Deal is being worked out between Magna Entertainment, now in bankruptcy, and its creditors that would leave race track mogul Frank Stronach still running the show. Reorganization plan must still be approved. (Business Journal)
No questions on Tribune: Chicago's WBBM scored a 40-minute interview with Sam Zell, and nobody brought up the Tribune bankruptcy. (Vocalo)