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.
June 2012

L.A. picks up a mere 27,077 people

census2.jpg For a city with a population of 3,819,702, that's not much - 0.7 percent in fact. This seems to run counter to other parts of the country, where cities are growing faster than the suburbs.
subway2.jpg This is the one that the mayor has been pushing for the last two years - a plan that he claims will allow the Westside subway extension to be completed in 10 years instead of 30.

Dow gains 277 points as European news looks a bit better

dowjune.jpg June turned out to be a really good month, with the blue-chip index picking up a record-setting 486 points. All of a sudden, the Dow is up 5.4 percent on the year.

How much did B of A's purchase of Countrywide really cost?

countrywide4.jpg The 2008 acquisition of Calabasas-based Countrywide seemed like a bargain at $2.5 billion, but when you add up real-estate losses, legal expenses, and settlements with state and federal agencies, the real price is closer to $40 billion.

Such a deal: Stock up on wieners for the holiday

They're down 41 percent compared with last year. By the way, did you know that 67.6 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the Fourth with a cookout? But just be careful about paying for the buns.

Friday morning headlines

Bailouts for European banks, consumer sentiment hits 6-month low, Congress expected to approve bill that could expedite L.A. subway construction, and L.A.'s Jordan Downs housing project to be made over.

It's official - Stockton files for bankruptcy protection

The Chapter 9 filing was made in federal bankruptcy court in Sacramento. Assets are listed as more than $1 billion and debt ranges from $500 million to $1 billion. This could be a difficult, protracted process.

Garcetti and Greuel won't take Walmart money

walgrocery.jpg Seems like a no-brainer considering that the two candidates for mayor are in search of labor support and the local unions aren't exactly on great terms with the retail giant.
silver.jpg The Hollywood producer claimed that the Wall Street bank had agreed to pay $30 million in exchange for a share of revenue.

Obama playing Truman

dewey.jpg This is getting quite a ride around the Web.
Nearly 7 million people in the state are uninsured and 4 million of them are expected to receive new or improved coverage by 2019. That's a very big deal.

Health care quote of the day

Kentuckians, be proud. This from your senator, Rand Paul: "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right."...

Catching up on this morning's news

News Corp. announces split of entertainment and publishing properties, Gov. Brown signs budget after still more trims, JP Morgan's trading loss could be a lot larger than first estimated, and Madoff's brother cuts plea deal.

Health care law upheld

CNN.jpg Chief Justice Roberts turns out to be the deciding vote that upholds the law. Check for latest updates.

Register parent to lay off 66

No Register employees are included. The company has been selling off assets for some time, and earlier this month announced the sale of the Register and the remaining Freedom papers to an investment group.

First days of 'Rampture' are looking good

rampture.jpg For all the breathless anticipation, closing off two of the eight Wilshire Boulevard ramps to the 405 hasn't created any new traffic hassles. "So far so good," says an MTA spokesman.

Could L.A. be faced with a Stockton-type bankruptcy?

cityhall3.jpg Never say never and all that, but L.A. has many more funding options. Besides, a Chapter 9 filing for the nation's second largest city - and one of the world's largest economies - would be a political non-starter.

Europe not a big deal in L.A.'s import-export world

portoflongbeach.jpg China is, by far, the biggest trading partner for the L.A. area, followed by Japan and South Korea. The first European Union country to even show up on the list is Germany, at Number 11.
scotus.jpg For what it's worth, Tom Goldstein, publisher of the well-regarded Scotusblog, is predicting that the high court will not invalidate the insurance mandate.

Hollywood is a lot more stable than you might think

theater3.jpg The industry's basic business model has remained pretty much unchanged over the past 80 years. That is, money people lend money to creative people in the hope of getting a return.

Real estate envy: Check out London's high-end market

london.jpg Prime property prices have jumped 51 percent since 2009, thanks largely to overseas investors pouring billions of dollars into places like Mayfair and Knightsbridge. L.A. prices during that same period rose less than 5 percent.

Wednesday morning headlines

Stockton to file for bankruptcy, News Corp. board considers split of entertainment and publishing, state legislature to vote on budget, and Caruso gets tax break for Miramar Hotel development.

How are you supposed to celebrate Fourth of July 'week'?

fireworks.jpg July 4, 2012 happens to fall on a Wednesday, which of course is the worst possible day to celebrate a holiday.

Putting a price on the two sides of News Corp.

murdoch3.jpg Splitting into two companies - one for entertainment, one for publishing - seems like a real possibility. Top executives from the News Corp. empire are at a pow wow in NY this afternoon to discuss the potential division

So how bad was California hit by the recession?

Really bad, according to data released by the Census Bureau. Well, except for one notable industry.

Kiva crowdsourcing program comes to L.A.

kiva.jpg This online form of micro-lending provides small business owners with a chance to borrow money - something they're almost never able to do at a conventional bank. The idea is to match lenders and borrowers, using the Internet as a middleman.

MSG's purchase of the Forum is a long time coming

forum.jpg I had to take a second look at this morning's LAT story about Madison Square Garden Co. purchasing the Inglewood venue and planning an extensive renovation. Hadn't I read the same thing a year and a half ago?

Tuesday morning headlines

L.A. home prices edge higher, News Corp. considers splitting up company, more budget-tweaking in Sacramento, and the Forum's new owner plans a $50-million facelift of the aging facility.

H-P's customer service from hell

HP.jpg CEO Meg Whitman must have cringed when she read this very unflattering example of how the company handles complaints. Moral of the story: Don't assume that a customer service agent knows what he's talking about.

Stunning ineptitude of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer*

Forget about whether you agree or disagree with today's Supreme Court decision. What's remarkable is Brewer's appallingly unresponsive answers to questions during a press conference. How on earth can this woman be running a state?

Giving up on 'Made in China'

china3.jpg A number of smallish U.S. manufacturers are deciding that it's not worth all the hassles - despite still-lower labor costs. We are talking 7,000 miles and 15 hours away.

Monday morning headlines

Stockton close to bankruptcy filing, Villaraigosa blocks pension pick, six out of 10 Americans are skeptical and whether a president has much influence in creating jobs, and downtown gets big apartment project.

Split decision on Arizona immigration law*

The Supreme Court struck down much of the law, but a key portion that requires the police to check the status of someone they suspect is in the U.S. illegally could go forward.
ramps.jpg Basically no, at least for construction of the first two Wilshire Boulevard on-and-off ramps. The question is how bad traffic would have to get before city and county officials begin looking at alternatives for the rest of the project?

Snapshot of how Americans spend their time

sleep10.jpg They're spending more of it at work and less of it watching television, according to the Labor Department's American Time Use Survey for 2011. They're also sleeping more.
europe2.jpg The best thing to remember about what could happen in Europe - and what effect it would have on the U.S. - is that nobody knows anything. Still, it is worth noting that some states appear more vulnerable than others.
filmprod.jpg The findings from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office run counter to two earlier studies. The report also questions the amount of economic activity that the program generates.

Friday morning headlines

California budget cuts into welfare, child care, home care, and Medi-Cal, Tesla delivers five-seat sedan, today's pot hearing before City Council is apparently postponed, and affair leads to demotion at plane leasing company.
healthy.jpg In addition to deep cuts in California's welfare program, next year's budget would shift 880,000 children from the Healthy Families program to the lower-cost Medi-Cal system. Healthy Families supporters were outraged by the switch.

Bad day on Wall Street*

dow21.jpg Dow loses 250 points. While nothing horrible happened, the news was generally not good - or put another way, the news fits into the prevailing narrative about sluggish world growth and how the European mess might make things worse.

Dow Jones shuts down Smart Money magazine

smartmoney.jpg The financial advice magazine owned by Dow Jones publication will live on in digital form. Barron's is also believed to be making cuts.

As housing market picks up, beware of 'pinball' homes

forsale2.jpg Sometimes they're called "setups," and the idea is to list a house or condo for a crazy-high asking price as a way of getting brokers and potential buyers over to similar homes at far lower prices.

Figuring out inconsistencies in U.S., California economies

They're bound to show up in any recovery, but the contrasts this time out are especially prevalent - perhaps because consumer attitudes are bouncing all over the place.
lanai4.jpg Nice - from billionaire to billionaire. The deal involves 88,000 acres of land, plus two resorts, two golf courses, a stable and various residential and commercial buildings.

Thursday morning headlines*

Little change on jobs front, another record low for mortgage rates, Gov. Brown and Democratic lawmakers are nearing a compromise on welfare cuts, and Supreme Court rules narrowly on curse words (nothing today on the health care or immigration rulings).

Car quality slips at Ford; blame it on the gizmos

jdpower.jpg It's mainly about the telematics that operate entertainment and communications systems in the middle of your dash. The MyFord and MyLincoln systems were unintuitive and complex, according to the J.D. Power & Associates' Initial Quality study.

'This memo is from Kevin and I'

grammar.jpg Grammar in the workplace is bad and getting worse, especially among younger employees. There is no easy fix, according to the experts.
Some semblance of sanity remains at City Hall. On an 11-1 vote, the council approved the airport's contract to provide wireless access.
calif.jpg The glass is half full. No, it's half empty. Both UCLA's Anderson Forecast and Beacon Economics are offering subdued assessments of the state and local economies. They're certainly not terrible, but they're not wonderful either.

Here's the world economy at a glance for 2,000 years

economy2000.jpg Well, there's a little more to it, but for a quick primer on the last two centuries you could do a lot worse than this graph.

Brown on trying to change Prop 13: Lots of luck

brown5.jpg The governor tells Marc Cooper that he's just not going there - too much opposition, even if taxes are only raised on commercial property. "Go organize your friends and put it on the ballot," Brown says. "I don't see it happening."

Fed signals modest effort to juice the economy*

bernanke.jpg Noting a slowdown in employment, the central bank plans to buy about $267 billion in longer-term Treasury securities over the next six months. It's an incremental expansion of the so-called Operation Twist, which didn't do all that much good the first time around.

Wednesday morning headlines

Financial markets waiting for Fed announcement, UCLA expects pick up in housing market next year, billionaire investor Peter Thiel opens new venture fund, and Capital One receives the most credit card complaints.
walker4.jpg This flyer from the Service Employees International lays into the mayor for his proposal to change pension benefits for city workers. Thing is, the plan should be the least of the union's problems.
kodak2.jpg The new zoning guidelines will make it easier to put up taller buildings around subway stations and retail pockets. Homeowners in the Hollywood Hills aren't happy.
lanai.jpg Officials from Murdock's L.A.-based Castle & Cooke have told Gov. Neil Abercrombie that the company is talking to a buyer about the sale of his holdings in Lanai - often called the "Pineapple Island" because of its many plantations.

Sprinkles Cupcakes expands to the Middle East

sprinkles.jpg The deal involves 34 stores in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It's with the same franchise operator that handles Pinkberry and Cheesecake Factory stores overseas.

Looking for work? Lynn Tilton needs an executive assistant

lynn.jpg Not that the buxom entrepreneur (and possible billionaire) is full of herself or anything, but she likens the position to that of a senatorial chief of staff.

Tuesday morning headlines

Asian Americans are nation's fastest-growing racial group, big opening weekend for California Adventure, City National Bank gets fancy digs on Park Avenue, and family squabble over Carroll Shelby's remains.

City gets high ratings from credit agencies

Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch's rating services all gave the city their highest ratings for the notes used to provide enough cash flow for the $7.2 billion budget. But all three issued warnings about L.A. financial outlook.

Microsoft introduces tablet

surface2.jpg The latest competition to Apple's iPad is called Surface. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who did the unveiling in Hollywood this afternoon, says it's part of a new family of devices.

Free Wi-Fi at LAX could be back on track

A City Council committee voted 2-1 to stick with a two-year, $633,333 contract, despite the objections of a single councilman who wants the deal killed in favor of a full bidding process.

Rodney King's struggles to make a living

king2.jpg Who knows what role money ultimately played in the sad life of Rodney King, but the sketchy accounts suggest a guy who had trouble making it, and given his lifelong struggles with substance abuse, holding on to it.

Super-rich investors targeting L.A. real estate

Some of the same European and Asian wealth that's been buying up London real estate at crazy-high prices appears to be focusing on Southern California.

Monday morning headlines

Greeks begin coalition process, how new immigration policy will affect economy, Greene & Greene building is up for sale, and average L.A. gas prices fall below $4 a gallon.

Breaking: Greek election goes to pro-bailout party

greekelect.jpg Financial markets can breath a bit easier - voters appear to have rejected the country's left-wing Syriza party, whose leader, Alexis Tsipras, had been pushing to reject a bailout deal with the European Union.
Whether the governor signs the $92.1-billion package is another matter. Democratic lawmakers couldn't reach a deal with Brown on the amount of cuts to the state welfare program.

Primers on the Greek election - and what could come later

election3.jpg Truth is, nobody has much of a clue on what will happen Sunday. The two leading parties - one that's opposed to the austerity measures spelled out by European officials and the other seeking accommodation with Europe - are said to be quite close.

Obama announces new immigration policy*

This is a fallback measure for the Dream Act, which would establish a path to citizenship for certain young illegal immigrants. Clearly, the new policy could benefit many thousands of illegal immigrants in the L.A. area.

L.A. job numbers improving - but slowly*

employ3.jpg The unemployment rate has been edging downward for several months now - a frustratingly long process, but reflective of a slow-growth economy that will probably last for several years. That's right, years.

Friday morning headlines

Consumer sentiment sinks in early June, illegal immigrants to get work permits under Obama plan, state lawmakers closing in on budget compromise, and parkgoers line up as Disney opens made over California Adventure.

California jobs picture rebounds in May

The state gained 33,900 payroll jobs, the largest month-over-month gain in the nation and solid turnaround from April when there was a job loss of more than 4,000.

Let's face it, newspapers were always destined to die

timespick.jpg This week's painful round of layoffs at the New Orleans Times-Picayune has prompted the predictable soul-searching about what could have been. But Justin Fox suggests that what happened in New Orleans - and what's certain to happen in other cities - could have been predicted long ago.
hollywood2.jpg Offering incentives to a single industry is questionable public policy, even for the sake of a few more jobs. Where's the tax break for plumbers or accountants? While it's hard to argue with the success of these particular giveaways, I continue to question the real need.
shrinking.jpg In 1990, the average flight from NY to L.A. took 5 hours and 52 minutes. Last year, the average was 6 hours and 6 minutes. The increase comes at a time when many airline flights are actually getting shorter.

Port traffic a mixed bag in May

portla.jpg The annual guessing game of what and how much consumers will be buying in the fall is especially tough in 2012, what with the economic uncertainty around the world. Still, retailers have become more adept at hedging their bets.
sellingobama.jpg Actually, it's the cover of the new Businessweek. Editor Josh Tyrangiel says it's "ugly on purpose." On the other side of the marketing circle, whose bright idea was it to have Anna Wintour pitching for the Obama effort?

Keep an eye on Spain - it's looking bad

spanish.jpg Bond yields are climbing today, another worrisome sign that demand for Spanish debt is drying up - no matter what the interest rate is. That's bad because Spain needs to sell billions of dollars worth of bonds to repay its debt and cover its deficits.

Thursday morning headlines

Bankers prepare to flee Greece if need be, California foreclosures fall while consumer confidence rises, judges protest state court cuts, and Activision advances on mobile.

CNBC's Jim Cramer rants on Jamie Dimon's day in D.C.

cramer.jpg I bet he could give an impromptu 20 minutes on the meaning of life and barely break for air. Here is Cramer insisting that JPMorgan's trading mess has made CEO Jamie Dimon a loser.

The sad truth about most apps

apps.jpg They flame out. One estimate has two-thirds of all consumer apps receiving fewer than 1,000 downloads in their first year, and a significant proportion of those getting none at all.
darryl.jpg Yeah, but they want to cut into the state's rainy-day fund by more than $500 million (on par with last year's amount). Democratic legislators are also counting on an extra $330 million by using different accounting methods for education funds.

Honest talk about dishonesty

dan.jpg Economist Dan Ariely says that dishonest behavior isn't driven by what we think - and neither is honest behavior. He'll be in conversation at the Live Talks Business Forum series.
cup.jpg Me neither. Actually, the whole stadium thing is running into turbulence on several fronts. None of this will change enough minds on the council to block this risky project, but it probably should. Also, a look at the new TV deal for the Kings.

Home sales on the rebound - really

Sales jumped in May, not because of low-end foreclosures but because of transactions priced $300,000 and up. That portion of the market has been out of commission since the recession.

Wednesday morning headlines

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says he's sorry for trading losses, L.A. area gas prices falling sharply, health insurers file for rate hikes in California, and Honda recalls 50,000 Civics because of drive shaft problems.
sounstage.jpg Out of those 152 pilots produced during the 2011-2012 development cycle, 92 were filmed in the L.A. area, But there's been a noticeable drop in the number of one-hour pilots produced here.

Tuesday morning headlines

Growing doubts about Spanish bailout deal, Commerce Secretary takes medical leave after weekend auto accidents, movie attendance expected to grow through 2016 as 3D prices come down, and more foreign purchases of U.S. real estate.

Family wealth falls to levels of early 1990s

Net worth of a median family household was $77,300 in 2010, down from $126,400 in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve, with much of that drop attributed to housing prices.
This one would be for a 392-room hotel across from the L.A. Live complex. Under the plan, the developer and its partners keep up to half of the sales taxes, business taxes, hotel room taxes, utility taxes, property taxes, and parking taxes.

What the grocery money goes for, then and now

groceries.jpg The processed foods and sweets category really stands out. In 1982, only 11.6 percent went for stuff like frozen dinners, canned soups and snacks. In 2011, it's 22.9 percent. But it might not mean what you think.

Meet the Register's new owner

kushner.jpg Aaron Kushner's effort to buy the Boston Globe was met with lots of skepticism, largely because no one had ever heard of him. If he operates the Register the way he said he would have operated the Globe, look for an engaged, hands-on owner.

OC Register sold to private investment group

The group is led by investor Aaron Kushner, who had tried to purchase the Boston Globe. No purchase price was announced.

Monday morning headlines

Skepticism over bailout deal for Spain, Commerce Secretary Bryson involved in hit-and-run accidents that are being blamed on a seizure, deadline looms on state budget, and Rose Bowl renovations are delayed.
munger2.jpg Munger's plan would raise income taxes on a sliding scale for all but the poorest Californians. Gov. Brown's plan would increase the state sales tax and the personal income tax for wealthy Californians.
The Dow had its best week this year, gaining up 435.63 points, or 3.59 percent, to 12,554. Good luck trying to figure out why.
cheap.jpg The problem is that the number would be much higher if there were more stores. So the Australian-based Westfield Group, which owns and operates Century City and nine other centers in the L.A. area, is ready to start construction on a $500 million expansion. With Westfield, bigger is always better.

And you wonder why the LAT can't get more subscribers...

lat.jpg Writer Virginia Postrel was all set to sign up for Sunday delivery, but then the paper made her an offer she could refuse.

Council committee votes to ban marijuana dispensaries

The proposed ordinance would allow folks to cultivate pot for medicinal use (they would need a prescription). But all the clinics in L.A. would be out - at least until there's more clarity from the courts.

Friday morning headlines

Obama tip-toes on European debt crisis, Californians have little faith that state lawmakers can resolve budget problems, Socal Edison warns of blackouts this summer, and Bijan's Beverly Hills estate goes on the market for $12 million.

Assessing the future of unions

unions.jpg The Scott Walker victory has some people wondering whether there even is a future. That would seem to be a stretch, especially if you examine unions one by one.

Brown, Democratic lawmakers still $2 billion apart

Sticking points include cuts to welfare-to-work and child care for low-income families. The legislature faces a June 15 deadline to come up with a budget for the upcoming fiscal year and then send it on to Gov. Brown.

Are consumers cooling it on credit card use?

More signs of a sluggish economy: Consumer credit grew in April at a much slower pace than expected - and the March figures were revised downward. Revolving credit, which includes credit-card debt, actually fell.
This is just too bizarre for words. Kerkorian turned 95 yesterday and his fiancé, Joan Dangerfield, the widow of comedian Rodney Dangerfield, wanted to give him a special gift. You just have to see what happens next.

Beverly Center to get makeover

bevcenter.jpg No formal announcement, but Architect's Newspaper is reporting that the badly needed overhaul will be handled by the Italian design firm Studio Fuksas. What the overhaul will include is the big question.

Chinese companies on a global shopping spree

chinabuy.jpg The big news in the U.S. is the recent purchase of the AMC movie chain for $2.6 billion (photo), but acquisitions have been made in South America and Europe as well.

Nate Silver's election forecast gives Obama the edge

jobtracker.jpg Believe this, don't believe this - it's entirely up to you. But for what it's worth, the NYT's numbers guy gives the president a 61.8 percent chance of winning in November while Mitt Romney has a 38.2 percent chance. Other indicators are a little less positive for Obama.

Thursday morning headlines

Bernanke says Fed is prepared to do something, Tribune Co. is getting closer to an exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, feds are targeting L.A. County medical marijuana dispensaries, and Westfied wins LAX concession contracts for Terminal 1, 3 and 6.

History of video games in under 3 minutes

pong.jpg Whippersnappers attending this week's E3 show take note. From Pong to "Call of Duty" - what the industry has given us in 40 some-odd years.

Price list for attending Obama bashes

obamasf.jpg About 600 people will be attending tonight's LGBT Leadership Council at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. But what you actually see and do depends on how much money you're willing to contribute to the campaign.

How to handle the LinkedIn hacking

linkedin.jpg Your first thought might be no big deal - LinkedIn is not a place to keep financial information. Problem is, folks often use the same password across multiple sites - including banks and credit card companies.

Job cuts at Albertsons

albertsons2.jpg Up to 2,500 positions will be eliminated at all 247 stores in California and Nevada. No stores are being closed. Not that big a surprise - Albertsons parent Supervalu lost $424 million in the fourth quarter.

Market's big day may be a quick bounce

dow7.jpg The news has been so relentlessly bad that all it takes is a small break in the clouds to cheer up investors. That appears to be the case with today's rally.
sanjosepolice.jpg Certainly not for a while - there will be all sorts of legal challenges that could easily drag out for months or perhaps years. But the overwhelming passage of two ballot measures to curb employee pension costs can't be great news for city unions.

How panic is becoming the new normal

Martin Wolf is worried - not only by the legitimate questions that have been raised about European debt, but by all the "what ifs" that no one has good answers for. No wonder Wall Street is so skittish (even though the market is up sharply this morning).

Wednesday morning headlines

Stockton moves closer to bankruptcy, Facebook ads don't sway most users, California Film Commission announces projects receiving tax credits, and super-low interest rates could delay retirement.

Keep an eye on big ballot measure in San Jose*

san jose.jpg Tonight's vote on changing the city pension system is likely to end up in the courts. But it could offer some insight into public attitudes about publicly financed retirement plans.

Luck doesn't conquer all - but it sure helps

lewis.jpg Funny how life works. Michael Lewis was a graduate student going nowhere fast when he happened to have been invited to some dinner and then happened to be seated next to the wife of a big shot at Salomon Brothers.

Why the airlines want to charge you for carry-on bags

airline-profitability.jpg Aside from a few successful stretches, most carriers have made little or no money over the last 40 years - and many have lost huge amounts. Fares are often too low, which forces the companies to look for new revenue sources, such as baggage fees.
GDPstate.jpg California's gross domestic product was 2 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is better than some (New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida among them) but well below others (Texas, Oregon, North Dakota, Alaska among them).

Another side to the game console business*

Xbox.jpg The consoles themselves have become de facto connections to streaming services from Netflix, Hulu and others. Matter of fact, video game consoles are the most common means of watching content from the Internet on a television set.

Tuesday morning headlines

Turnout for election expected to be low, Disney to restrict junk food ads on ABC and its other platforms, Starbucks to upgrade food with purchase of SF bakery, and Golden West Financial co-founder dies.
This doesn't sound like a dealbreaker, but the draft environmental impact report prepared by developer Anschutz Entertainment Group didn't provide enough details on traffic congestion and the project's effects on nearby neighborhoods.

Good news/bad news on LAX renovation

Good news is that it's coming along; the first phase of the expanded-and-overhauled Bradley Terminal is expected to open next April. The bad news is a bunch of road closures, starting Tuesday.

Just what makes up technology in Los Angeles?

replamap2.jpg The industry has always gotten short shrift locally - the area is too huge, the businesses too diverse, the Bay Area too close, the absence of a Google or Apple too glaring. Whatever. But L.A.'s reputation appears to be shifting.

Two-sided gaming business opens its big E3 show in L.A.

E3.jpg They're expecting about 45,000 people at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of downtown's biggest shindigs and almost always a gamer's delight. Except maybe not this year.
The 100 biggest spenders - individuals and special interest groups - have shelled out more than $1.25 billion to state campaigns over the last 12 years, about a third of the total contributed in that time, according to California Watch. The biggest single donor is Hollywood producer Stephen Bing.

Monday morning headlines

Stocks struggling to recover, developer scaling down Grand Avenue plans, California voters oppose funding for high-speed rail, and Kings reach long-term deal with Fox Sports.

Hollywood Palladium is up for sale

adele.jpg The landmark venue on Sunset Boulevard, along with its 90,000-square-foot parking lot, are being listed by an unidentified investment group, reports THR, and the property is being marketed as a development opportunity.

One more piece of not-so-wonderful economic news

autosales2.jpg Boy, what a day. First the jobs report, then the stock market plunge, and now comes word that auto sales - the one bit of news that the Obama administration had come to rely on - fell 4.1 percent in May. LA Biz Observed coverage

OC Register parent sells more papers

This time Irvine-based Freedom Communications is unloading 20 newspapers in Florida and North Carolina. Still no word about what happens with the Register.

Ugly day on Wall Street

dow6.jpg The Dow lost 274 points, which was the worst one-day drop in 2012 and brings the blue-chip index into negative territory for the year (0.8 percent). It also moves the Dow closer to the 12,000 mark (12,118).
chinese.jpg The couple certainly got a deal - the property was first listed two years ago for $68.5 million. Chinese purchases of pricey Southern California real estate have become more commonplace in the last few years (especially since the recession).
employ2.jpg No recession is in sight, but barring some disaster in Europe, this is shaping up to be a grayish kind of economy - and if there's one thing politicians, pundits, and media folk can't stand it's gray.

Lottery day at the California Film Commission

eric.jpg Applications for next year's tax credit program are being accepted today, and there's already a lineup at the California Film Commission in Hollywood.

Friday morning headlines

Weak jobs report raises speculation about Federal Reserve action this summer, California workplace is getting tougher, according to a new poll, Americans were still buying cars in May, and Calpers slashes pensions in Vernon.

Terrible job numbers for May*

Only 69,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent the previous month. Not only that, the gains from the previous two months were revised downward, by a net 49,000.