Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks open lower: Today it's time to be worried about Spain's banking problems. Go figure - Dow is down 150 points.

Pep Boys sale called off: L.A. billionaire Alex Gores pulled the plug after the auto parts retailers reported a decline in business. As part of the split, Gores will pay the company $50 million. (Reuters)

Facebook update: Shares are up 1.5 percent, to $29.35. But with the stock's recent freefall, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no longer one of the world's 40 richest people. (Bloomberg)

Brown's tax hike plan holding up: The governor's proposal to temporarily raise sales taxes and personal income taxes for the wealthy drew 59 percent support in the latest LAT-USC poll, down five points from April. From press release:

This margin narrows further when voters are presented with arguments for and against Brown's proposal, along with information that California faces a budget deficit of $16 billion, much higher than the initial projection of $9 billion. In the face of these new numbers, 51 percent of likely voters agreed with a statement that it is "more important than ever to support Governor Brown's proposal to temporarily increase the income tax on high earners. No one wants higher taxes, but we need to make these tough choices to protect public schools, higher education and public safety."

Court office called dysfunctional: Superior courts in California are getting a raw deal because of how their administrative operations are handled, according to a report that calls for a major restructuring. From The Recorder:

[Administrative Office of the Courts] officials skewed budget and staffing-level numbers to give the false impression that the administration has suffered as much as trial courts in the economic downturn, the report said. For instance, the AOC reported in February that it had a staff of "more than 750." In fact, when all of the agency's contract and temporary workers - some of which had been with the AOC for more than two years -- were added in, the actual number climbed to above 1,000, a near-historic level. "The AOC's reporting of staffing levels has been misleading, leading to mistrust of the AOC," the report said. "Disingenuously suggesting that AOC staffing levels have been reduced in response to branch-wide budget and staffing cuts has led to further mistrust and cynicism."

Pot shop ban advances: A City Council committee has approved a measure to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, but would permit patients and their caregivers to grow the drug. The proposed ban, which must go to another committee before reaching the full council, would last at least until the California Supreme Court reviews a Long Beach case. (Daily News)

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?
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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
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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