Mixed market: The Dow was on the plus side for a bit, but now it's down about 10 points. There's just very little enthusiasm to buy stocks.
Why it's so hard to solve economic puzzle: The basic problem, says NYT columnist Floyd Norris, is that national governments are weak. Even stalwarts like China and Germany are showing vulnerabilities.
There is no doubt that some countries could not afford to bail out their banks again; some, in fact, now rely on those same banks for loans to keep the governments functioning at a time when private investors are unsure about their creditworthiness. The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, suggested last week some type of common European deposit insurance and bank regulation, but there seems to be no consensus. Nearly every major government in Europe has been thrown out by unhappy voters when an election rolled around, the latest being France. It is not a matter of left versus right.
Remaking Grand Avenue plan: Developer Related Cos., which had designs on turning the area near Disney Hall into an L.A. "Champs Elysees," is now thinking smaller. From the LAT:
Bill Witte, president of Related California, said that the firm was working to adjust its plans to better reflect market conditions, and that its "dimensions, scope and scale" could be adjusted. He did not reveal specific details but suggested the new plans would be aimed at getting the project off the ground. "We still believe we can create some of the highest values downtown....But do I think we have to be a little bit less ambitious? Yes, I would agree with that," Witte said. "The city's and the county's expectation is that they want something with vision and that is doable. I don't think anybody is interested in pie-in-the sky talk."
Temporary relief for local redevelopment: The California Department of Finance is providing $318 million to the city of L.A. through the end of the year for ongoing projects - including $6 million for a Grand Avenue mixed-use development and $8 million for billionaire Eli Broad's planned Grand Avenue art museum. (Business Journal)
Thumbs down on high-speed rail: Nearly six in 10 California voters said they oppose funding a bullet train between Northern and Southern California - a turnabout from the 2008 passage of a ballot proposition to borrow $9 billion for the project. From press release:
"California voters have clearly reconsidered their support for high-speed rail," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "They want the chance to vote again -- and they want to vote no. The growing budget deficit is making Californians hesitant about spending so much money on a project like this one when they're seeing cuts to public education and law enforcement. But they also seem to be wary as to whether state government can run a big speed rail system effectively."
Kings reach TV deal with Fox Sports: The agreement guarantees the team about $250 million, the LAT is reporting, and keeps the Kings on Fox Sports West through 2024.
The Kings' television windfall has less to do with their Stanley Cup run than with the fractured cable sports landscape in Southern California. With Time Warner Cable swiping the Lakers from Fox and launching two sports channels, the Kings now have joined the Angels in leveraging the threat of jumping to TWC into a fat new deal to stay with Fox.
Stadium committee meets today: City Planning Department officials will review the proposed downtown football stadium and convention center revamp with the City Council's ad hoc panel..Session starts at 10:30.
George Lucas steps aside: Veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy has been named co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. and is expected to succeed Lucas at his Bay Area studio. Lucas plans to CEO for at least another year. (LAT)
Box office report: "Snow White and the Huntsman" topped the movie offerings with an opening weekend of $56.3 million. In second position domestically was "Men in Black 3," at $29.3 million. (THR)
More insurance rebates: Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente will be handing out more than $50 million to their policyholders in the state. From the LAT:
Not all of an insurer's policyholders will get rebates, and the amounts will vary widely. Lawmakers and consumer advocates pushed for the rebates as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act to ensure that companies aren't raising rates to pay more for executive salaries, shareholder dividends and other expenses unrelated to customers' care. They also hoped these rules would hold down future rate increases and force insurers to squeeze out excess costs.
State lawmakers get back to the budget: They need to cut $8 billion in health and welfare programs, and state worker compensation, among other items. (KPCC)