LA Biz Observed archive

Mark Lacter covered business, the economy and more here from 2006 until his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
The entire LA Biz Observed archive — more than 10,000 blog posts by Mark — remains online and available.
August 2010

*Debate on plastic bags cut off

Senate Republicans have called a caucus, says Capitol Weekly. No telling when lawmakers will vote on a bill that would ban plastic bags. *Anthony York explains the nonsense: Lawmakers must adjourn by midnight, as required by the state constitution. That means if Democrats - or anybody else, for that matter--want their bills to get to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk, they need the Senate and Assembly to act quickly. Judging from the actions of Senate Republican...

No budget deal

State lawmakers from both parties turned down each others' budget proposals, which means that California is at an impasse.

L.A. entering the golf cart business?

Never mind that it runs counter to the belief among budget officials that L.A. needs to scale back its services.

Worst August in 9 years

Dow finishes the month at 10,014, down 4.3 percent. Now come the real fun months of September and October.

Business Update on KPCC

My weekly business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the fading prospects for the Grand Avenue project.

Shia LaBeouf offers most bang for the buck

He tops the list of actors who offer the best investment return for a Hollywood film, according to Forbes.

Immigrants are positive for economy

Unfortunately, this is a highly political, often emotional issue that will likely transcend any Ivory Tower analysis.

Tuesday morning headlines

Home prices edge higher, heading out for Labor Day weekend, UC retirement system faces shortfall, and most Americans would still see a Mel Gibson movie.

Big votes tomorrow in capitol

Both state houses will be voting on budget packages, but neither one is expected to get the necessary two-thirds vote.

Must the guy in the next cubicle clip his nails?

Ah yes, the life of an office worker who is forced to sit through the unpleasant habits of the people seated nearby.

Slow session dooms stocks

Slow volume tends to distort the market's ups and downs, and today was the slowest session of the year. Dow falls 140 points, to 10,009.

Burkle doesn't want control of Barnes & Noble

But the L.A. billionaire says that the book retailer's management has engaged in a smear campaign concerning his upcoming proxy battle.

Jeniifer Gold's 15 minutes

The ex-girlfriend of billionaire Donald Bren got to present her (children's) case on "Good Morning America" (hey, it's August).

Why no one is buying stocks

Fewer than 29 percent of brokerage stock ratings are "buys," according to Bloomberg, the lowest percentage in at least 13 years.

Monday morning headlines

Money-losing real estate, mulling over extension of homebuyer tax credit, vote nears on plastic bag ban, and McCourt divorce trial begins.

Nice summation of economy

Things are bad, they're not likely to get better anytime soon, and there's little or nothing we can do about it.

Mexicana to stop flying

All operations will shut down tonight because the airline doesn't have enough money to keep flying.

Locating the 200K club

income_by_state.gif In California, 6.2 percent the households make over $200,000, which as you might guess is near the top of the scale.

Please ignore warning that we're going to crash

Passengers on a British Airways flight were mistakenly told to prepare for a crash landing in the ocean.

Tina Brown after Newsweek job?

Fishbowl NY says she's "gunning for the editor-in-chief position at the struggling newsweekly.

More mortgage chicanery turns up

In a nutshell, Wall Street banks propped up the market for mortgage-backed securities even as investors began to shy away.

Shiller says morale is sinking

The noted Yale economist says that unemployment has reached the point where government needs to employ FDR-type job creation programs.

Friday morning headlines

GDP revised downward, Grand Avenue project delayed again, Port of L.A. wins truck ruling, and William Hurt to play Henry Paulson.

Economic benefits of high-speed rail

Yet one more public works project that's supposed to deliver tens of thousands of new jobs - some day.

Tribune meets with creditors

Tomorrow, the media giant is supposed to release a new version of its reorganization plan.

Not much doubt in Bren case

The trial provided way more up close and personal moments than the reclusive billionaire was comfortable with.

More cheating on sports tickets

This time it's not Antonio Villaraigosa, but NY Gov. David Paterson.

Why N.Y.-L.A. is cheaper than N.Y.-London

One big reason is that there's a lot of low-fare competition to L.A. but not to Heathrow.

Is a traffic jam the way to win hearts and minds?

The SEIU should really come up with better material if it wants to win over hearts and minds.

Thursday morning headlines

Venture capital in free-fall, plastic bag backers pushing hard, SEC gives shareholders some leverage, and Century City will be a mess today.

Bren says it wasn't love

gold1.jpg The billionaire says he never promised to be a parent, adding that words of love were never exchanged with his ex-girlfriend.

Burkle pushed back by Barnes & Noble

The book retailer is calling the L.A. billionaire unfit to be on its board as the company tries to ward off a potential proxy battle.

State approves Anthem rate hike

They'll run an average of 14 percent for individual policies, down sharply from the initial 25 percent.

Michael Eisner talking to Tribune creditors

The former Disney CEO is in discussions about possibly operating Tribune once it comes out of bankruptcy.

More talk of double dip

Another recession is still considered unlikely, but not out of the question, especially after a recent spate of bad economic news.

Scorsese directs perfume ad

That's the French actor Gaspard Ulliel peddling Chanel Bleu.

Valley bank makes purchase

There's been talk of bank consolidation in the next couple of years, the result of Increased regulatory costs and stronger capital requirements.

Movie-related Ponzi scheme alleged

Investors were promised up to 35 percent returns for making loans to his B-movie production company.

Wednesday morning headlines

New home sales tumble, L.A. County property values fall, more shenanigans from Bell, and iTunes users may be able to rent TV shows.

Bren's ex-lover running out of money

Turns out that Jennifer McKay Gold, the woman at the center of a child support case involving the billionaire real estate mogul, has other money issues.

This makes the 405 seems like a breeze

60-mile-traffic-jam-in-Ch-006.jpg There are traffic jams and then there is the 60-mile backup near Beijing that could last until next month.

Business Update on KPCC

My weekly business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the reasons why bankruptcy filings aren't as high as they might be.

Top local performers on Inc. 500

The fastest-growing company in the L.A. area is Lead Research Group, a Huntington Beach marketing firm.

Pep rally for subway plan

Barbara Boxer says she could work out a way to include the mayor's quixotic subway plan as part of a big transportation bill.

Big worries about real estate

When sales slump so badly, and when inventories rise so sharply, you can be sure that the entire market is wobbling.

Tuesday morning headlines

Home sales nosedive, union cuts deal with city, SEC accuses Mozilo in VIP case, and gas prices start falling.

L.A. lags state in health coverage

Badly. Nearly 30 percent of county residents lacked health insurance for at least a portion of 2009.

Fortune discovers Trader Joe's

Seems like old hat for most of us, but Fortune has finally discovered the unconventional grocery chain.

*Final approval for Broad museum

A committee of state and local officials signed off on the billionaire's plan for a downtown museum to house his contemporary art collection.

UC schools get high marks in survey

Which colleges and universities are doing the best and worst in the areas of research, service, and social mobility?

Where the jobs are

Try North Dakota, with an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent - just a bit lower than California's 12.3 percent.

Monday morning headlines

Homeowners still believe in appreciation, big jump in L.A. bankruptcies, credit card rates at nine-year highs, and investor group buys Mexicana.

Can you be cheap - and sexy?

Bad new for skinflints: Your frugality might make sense in the long run, but not for dinner on a Saturday night.

Turning over the mattress biz

I'll be on "Off-Ramp" this weekend talking about the ins and outs of the bed business with John Rabe.

Another egg recall

A second big Iowa producer is recalling what could turn out to be millions of eggs because of concerns about salmonella contamination. The eggs were sold under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms and Sunny Meadow, and were distributed in California and 13 other states. From the LAT: Though the producer did not disclose how many eggs it was recalling, the firm did say that the eggs were produced and packaged as early as...

Tribune bankruptcy gets messier

Proposed settlement falls apart and the media giant might consider suing the bank that it had been aligned with.

L.A. jobs picture worsens

The county lost a whopping 37,400 payroll jobs from June to July, but it's not quite as bad as it looks.

Want to know how to belch?

It's part of the content that's being produced by Santa Monica-based Demand Media, which is in the process of going public.

Friday morning headlines

Furlough day for state workers, more 401(k) hardship withdrawals, Salmonella sick count hits 2,000, and big bucks in Vernon.

State loses more jobs

California was stuck at 12.3 percent in July, unchanged from the previous month. That's the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation

How to tell youngins from fogies

economix-19luxnecage-custom1.jpg Fewer than half of the 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed say that a landline is a necessity of life. Oldsters feel differently.

Bren, ex-lover dispute relationship

gold.jpg Uh-oh, another one of those he said, she said things. This time, it's the child support case involving the billionaire OC developer.

Wall Street is gloomy

The Dow was off about 144 points in a lackluster session that seemed focused on the unexpected bump in jobless claims.

Mortgage rates keep falling

A 30-year fixed was averaging 4.42 percent for the week ended Aug. 19. That's the lowest level since at least 1971.

So what's Mexico really like?

mexico.jpg A lot depends on who you are and where you live. Today's WSJ has a story headlined "Mexico Under Siege" in which business leaders and city officials say that drug violence is out of control. The business community in Monterey, which until recently had been relatively safe, took out a full-page newspaper ad that begs the government to bring in more troops. From the Journal: Later that day, the body of Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of...

Why biz owners hate L.A.

The owner of a pet grooming store on Ventura Boulevard is subject to fines or even jail time for having signs in his window.

Are CA hens better off?

Lots of head-scratching among egg producers about the implementation of Proposition 2.

Thursday morning headlines

Intel buys McAfee, jump in jobless claims, Calpers staff treated to private jets, and Bren trial opens.

Mark Hurd telling his side

This is turning into a classic he said, she said dual - and good luck sorting it out.

State furloughs are back

The California Supreme Court overturns a lower court ruling that had temporarily stopped mandatory unpaid leave for state workers.

KNX's trumped-up LAX series

I hesitate to bring up KNX's "investigative" reports on the LAX police because it means having to acknowledge what has been a shockingly amateurish series.

Another record store bites the dust

This time it's the hip-hop-centric Fat Beats on Melrose, which will be shutting down on Sept. 18.

GM to go public

The long-awaited announcement is another watershed for a company that some had given up for dead a little over a year ago.

China's newfangled bus

Bus-popup.jpg This has to be one of the strangest ideas for improving traffic flow that you'll ever run across: An extra-wide, extra-high bus that carries up to 1,200 passengers without taking up any additional space. Called a "straddling bus," the vehicle spans the width of two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface on a pair of stilts that leave the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath. It's kind of a train,...

Wednesday morning headlines

Stores cutting work hours, Bell loaned money to high-paid officials, pension reform loses support, and state runs out of movie/TV tax credits.

Mattel accused of spying

MGA Entertainment, maker of the Bratz dolls, fires first in the latest phase of this never-ending battle with Mattel.

Is the Web dead? Not quite

There will still be an Internet, but apps, rather than browsers, will be ruling the roost.

Egg, fruit pulp recalls

Several dozen people in L.A. County have gotten sick with Salmonella Enteriditis after eating tainted eggs.

Haim Saban meets the monkey

julius-the-monkey-36879.jpg The L.A. billionaire is buying Costa Mesa-based Paul Frank Industries, a licensing and retail operation best known for the Julius the monkey icon.

Can American Apparel survive?

The L.A.-based apparel manufacturer and retailer has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney regarding its switch of auditors.

Business Update on KPCC

My weekly business chat with KPCC's Kari Moran (Steve Julian is away) looks at the battle between restaurant owners and food truck operators, and the consequences of having so many tour buses in Hyllywood and Beverly Hills. Available at and podcast (Business Update with Mark Lacter). Transcript is after jump....

Big drop in L.A. home sales

This is what many economists had been dreading - the end of federal homebuyer tax credits made mincemeat of the housing market in July.

Zagat: Five Guys beats In-N-Out

burger.jpg Best fast-food burger goes to the Virginia-based chain, which edged out the previous year's winner In-N-Out Burger.

Tuesday morning headlines

Sluggish sales for Wal-Mart and Home Depot, big trouble for American Apparel, cost of California housing bust, and Sam Zell wants to be repaid.

Jail sentence for car wash owners

Benny and Nissan Pirian had been charged with 172 counts of violating criminal and labor laws for their treatment of workers.

Playing around with job stats

The folks who put together the Rasmussen Report do not want to acknowledge that the unemployment situation is beginning to at least stabilize.

Egg recall

Concerns about salmonella contamination.They've been sold under the Ralphs and Albertsons brands, along with several others.

Consumer protection rap

Elizabeth Warren, who is considered a top candidate to head the government's Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, gets her own song.

*Nervous times for baby boomers

If retirees are forced to scrimp, it means that they won't be able to spend - and that's bad for the economy.

Monday morning headlines

Hulu prepares to go public, still far apart on state budget deal, Bren's child support case goes to trial, and easing out of business class.

The Hindenburg Omen

A technical stock market indicator named after the doomed German airship indicates that a market crash might happen in September.

Port traffic climbs

Imports coming into the ports of L.A. and Long Beach jumped sharply in July, but for reasons that might have little to do with increased consumer spending..

More tour buses around lately?

Starlinehoponoffnight.jpg One resident counted 113 of them in her neighborhood from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Boxer gets more HP money than Fiorina

The numbers aren't large but they're telling. Fiorina, the former company CEO, left on not-so-wonderful terms.

Maxine Waters deflects blame

The L.A. Democrat apparently doesn't believe that rules - as well as negative perceptions - should apply to her.

Friday morning headlines

Deflation fears eased, Waters defends herself, no state furloughs for now, and Goldman Sachs says Joel Silver's claims are "absurd."

Burkle talks collapse

Burkle nominated three new directors, including himself, to the Barnes & Noble board.

*Concession 'crap' at LAX

That's how Councilman Bill Rosendahl describes the process by which the lucrative airport business is being awarded - and he's right.

Demand Media's curious financials

When the Web content company filed its IPO, everybody was expecting to see a business that was solidly profitable. Well, surprise!

Falling into poverty

As many as one-third of all poor people were not born poor. They fell into poverty during their lives.

The Wrap rescinds its scoop

Nice to see The Wrap's Johnnie Roberts acknowledge his misstep in calling yesterday's piece on David Bergstein an exclusive, when in fact much of the material had been covered in May by the Daily Journal. Roberts says he had done an extensive Google search, but the Daily Journal protects its content behind a pay wall. So there was little way to know the story had been out. Earlier: Was Wrap story on Bergstein an 'exclusive'?...

Stats of the day (or century)

India's working-age population will grow by 300 million over the next 40 years. The U.S. will add 35 million.

Thursday morning headlines

Nation is in a grim mood, GM reports strong second quarter, CA foreclosures drop in July, and revelations about bank that Waters was helping.

Where is Jodie Fisher now?

The woman who was responsible for ousting H-P CEO Mark Hurd works at a New Jersey staffing agency that's run by her mother.

Stocks tumble amid gloom

The Dow was down 265 points, and all 30 companies in the index were in the red. The three major indexes are into negative territory for the year.

L.A. becoming pro-business?

In other cities the reflex among government officials is to actively assist businesses. In L.A., there is no such reflex.

**Was Wrap story on Bergstein an 'exclusive'?

*I'd be careful about using that word these days - seldom does a story get reported that's an undeniable scoop. Chances are, bits and pieces have been published before. Sometimes, the whole thing. This morning, The Wrap posted an impressive sounding account of the Las Vegas gambling debts that were owed by Hollywood producer/financier David Bergstein, specifically mentioning his arrest in Florida last year. The piece was labeled an exclusive. Bergstein was picked up Nov....

Employers not filling jobs

That helps explain why 45 percent of unemployed workers have been without a job for at least 27 weeks.

Flight attendant freak out

steven_slater_jetblue_31_540x404_370x278.jpg The only thing surprising about the Steven Slater meltdown is that it doesn't happen more often.

Mark Hurd called a "thug"

Ex-H-P CEO received the lowest employee approval rating of any major tech CEO. But he also turned the company around.

Socal bank subpoenaed by SEC

The parent company of Citizens Business Bank is being asked to provide information about lending guidelines.

Wednesday morning headlines

New skyscrapers proposed for Century City, stocks are plummeting on sour economic news, ethics panel wimping out on freebies, and more business for C-17 plant.

Another theory on H-P sex scandal

jodie.jpg Still waiting for a definitive account of what happened between CEO Mark Hurd and his friend Jodie Fisher. For now...

Mad over McNuggets

Doesn't quite match the JetBlue flight attendant - but close. Must be low blood sugar.

Closing in on MGM deal?

Spyglass Entertainment is close to an agreement in which it would run the financially troubled film company.

Business Update on KPCC

My weekly business chat with Steve Julian looks at how Santa Monica Place is likely to attract higher-end shoppers and why the LAX concession contract is being held up.

New warning on state budget

State Controller John Chiang is warning that he might have to issue IOUs by late August or early September.

Fed tweaks policy

No big action was taken, but the Federal Open Market Committee acknowledged that the pace of the recovery had slowed.

Ahoy there, moguls!

This being the dog days, much of the Hollywood/media elite are getting away from it all on their satellite-equipped sailing vessels.

Show biz enters the governor's race

whitman.jpg All the usual suspects are contributing in all the familiar ways.

Tuesday morning headlines

Wal-Mart raises prices, state furlough plan is blocked, ex-Anthem executive opposed raising rates, and Terminal 6 to be spruced up.

Fed researchers talk recession

Specifically, there's a "significant" chance that the U.S. economy will slip back into recession in the next two years.

Maxine Waters' grandson is cited

Mikael Moore, who is also her chief of staff, was "actively involved" in trying to help out One United bank, which Waters' husband had a financial stake in.

Don't tell me what to tip!

I'm generally a heavy tipper, but I don't believe in automatic gratuities being tacked on at the bottom of checks.

Was Mark Hurd ouster an over-reaction?

Hard of know since there isn't much clarity about the circumstances in which the ex-CEO of H-P falsified expense accounts.

Johnny Carson's philanthropy

johnny.jpg He donated $156 million to his charitable foundation, which dwarfs some of the largest Hollywood-related charities.

What happend to Irwin (aka 'You're killing me Larry!')?

Sit 'n Sleep's kvetchy bean counter couldn't bring in enough customers when the economy began to slide.

L.A. incomes take fall

Per capita income in the L.A. area was $42,818 in 2009, a 3.8 percent decline from the previous year.

Monday morning headlines

The woman behind Hurd's resignation, iPhone executive leaves Apple, Demand Media to go public, and decent news for magazine biz.

Extending biz tax holiday

The City Council voted 10-0 to extend the tax holiday after a big push by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

*H-P sex inquiry claims CEO

Company says that Hurd had filed "numerous" inaccurate expense reports, some of which were made to an outside contractor.

Worst cities to find a cheap hotel

Just in case you're thinking about a late-summer vacation, Moscow is worst, and NY and Washington are on the top 10.

Mob scene at Santa Monica Place

Quite a disconnect between today's bleak employment report and the throngs waiting to get into the refashioned Santa Monica shopping center.

Hollywood keeps scripts under wraps

Producers aren't even showing scripts to potential cast members out of concern about having them wind up on the Internet

New ideas to make parking easier

One is a variation on congestion pricing, where metered parking rates will be raised or lowered according to demand.

This job chart is banned at the White House

EmployRecessionAlignedJuly2010.jpg The job hole created by the recession is massive - and there's little indication of a strong uptick.

Putting a positive spin on job news

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is spending much of the day trying to show that the employment report isn't as bad as it seems.

Friday morning headlines

Waters defends her actions, state and local government jobs being cut, Boeing shuts down OC facility, and Mexicana stops selling tickets.

Economy loses jobs

Payrolls fell by 131,000 in July, though a large portion was of was the result of temporary Census workers being let go.

Awaiting jobs report

The consensus from a Bloomberg survey of economists is for a loss of 65,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment edging higher.

Death of the phone call

My wife gives me a hard time because I don't love making calls - or receiving them, for that matter. Turns out I'm not alone.

Bankruptcy brings another dubious honor

bankrupt.png Filers in the Central District of California (that's us) were in the hole by an average of $375,875 last year.

Downtown lights to get brighter?

Tokyo Lights.jpg Developers behind a plan to replace the Wilshire Grand with a retail/office/hotel complex want the city to establish a sign district in that part of downtown.

LAT showing bad form - again

The Times finally runs an item on the identity theft case involving Donald Bren - and fails to note that the story was first reported by another publication.

Irving Azoff's twitter-tantrums

Live Nation's executive chairman has been posting some not-so-flattering tweets about music columnists and concert-goers.

Frank McCourt's sleight-of-hand

Frank-McCourt.jpg At last, someone takes a closer look at how the Dodgers owner has been able to bankroll his business operations and over-the-top lifestyle. Basically, he borrowed, then leveraged, and then borrowed some more. The LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus sums it up this way: "For a very successful real estate developer, he has actually developed very little." Examples abound of McCourt's sleight-of-hand, going back to the 1970s with Boston real estate developer Jim Craig. The two...

Thursday morning headlines

Lackluster times for retailers, hopeful job news for California, new hotel fee sought in L.A., and Jackson estate up for sale.

How Kenneth Starr got nabbed

starr.jpg Not the Clinton prosecutor - the NY money manager who is alleged to have scammed dozens of celebrities out of tens of millions of dollars.

*LAX concession vote delayed

The city's Board of Referred Powers has postponed a hearing on the selection of a concessionaire for the airport's retail, food and beverage operations.

Korean Air wants tax break

This would be for a $1-billion hotel, office and retail complex that would replace the Wilshire Grand hotel.

Clunker hangover

clunker.jpg Many of the lease-holders from the government's Cash for Clunkers program want out.

New Newsweek owner introduces himself

Sidney Harman will have a tough time keeping the newsweekly alive, but so far he's a class act next to the jerky Sam Zell.

More billionaires giving most of it away

Several of Socal's wealthiest people have signed on to the call by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to give the majority of their wealth to charity.

Wednesday morning headlines

More Californians lose jobless benefits, spending remains sluggish in July, L.A. pension worries mount, and counterfeit scam busted.

Barnes & Noble up for sale

One potential buyer of the giant bookstore chain is an investor group led by its chairman and founder, Leonard Riggio.

More millionaires in NY or L.A.?

millionaires.gif Study shows that the NY metropolitan area has 667,200 people holding $1 million or more in investment assets. L.A. is second highest.

Mexicana files for bankruptcy

mexicana.jpg Not a huge surprise considering that the carrier had been slashing flights all over the country.

Business Update on KPCC

My weekly business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the ongoing public pension crisis and the stunning payouts for retiring corporate executives, including former Northrop CEO Ronald Sugar. Available at and podcast (Business Update with Mark Lacter). Transcript is after jump....

Why deflation is bad

The more prices fall, the more likely people will expect them to fall and at some point the cycle is hard to stop.

Highest paid actresses

Santra Bullock lands in the top spot, according to Forbes, at $56 million. Reese Witherspoon ranks second.

L.A. investment bank saw Tribune's financial woes

Houlihan Lokey concluded that the leveraged buyout by Sam Zell would have left Tribune with too much debt.

The comic stylings of Maxine Waters

The L.A. representative who is accused of conflict of interest finds time to accuse the Treasury Department of conflict of interest.

Tuesday morning headlines

Countrywide settlement approved, Mexicana cancels LAX flights, Long Beach loses Boeing work, and Roski gives lawmakers free Lakers tickets.

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

five guys.jpg Socal's beloved burger chain could be in for a fight. The Virginia-based Five Guys Burgers & Fries has just opened in the city of Orange (the local franchisee already has stores in Cerritos and Carson) and so far the reviews are good. Really good. Even long-time In-N-Out customers are impressed with the quality of the burger, choice of toppings, and tastiness of the fries. From the OC Register: "It's pretty good," [Johnny Nielsen] said with...

Before Tina Fey was a star...

...She was making a few dollars in this 1995 Mutual Savings Bank commercial.

Billionaire Bren gets scammed

Somebody stole the the OC honcho's $1.4 million federal tax refund check, set up bank accounts under Bren's name, and withdrew nearly $1.1 million.

The case against Waters

As expected, Congressional investigators have accused L.A. Congresswoman Maxine Waters of violating House ethics rules.

Big day for stocks

What's up with the market? This is August - I thought investors were heading for the hills.

City unions nix health payment

Most workers would be ecstatic about paying 5 percent of their monthly health care premium. But not L.A. city workers.

Investors go after Oxy

CEO Ray Irani is finally getting some heat for his outrageous compensation.

What Americans do online

Almost 23 percent of their time is spent on social networking sites and blogs, up from 16 percent a year ago

Mexicana struggles to survive

The airline, which was downgraded by U.S. regulators because of safety concerns, could file for bankruptcy.

*Newsweek deal getting close

Sidney Harman has reached a tentative agreement with the Washington Post Co., parent of the financially struggling newsweekly.

Monday morning headlines

BP to start plugging, why Maxine Waters is in trouble, state lawmakers return to work, and beware bacon lovers.