Tuesday morning headlines

Stocks slip: Market seems to be on hold as the Federal Reserve meets this week. Dow is down 30 points.

L.A. home prices gaining ground: They rose 2.2 percent from April to May, according to the Case Shiller Index, but fell 2 percent from a year earlier. All 20 markets surveyed posted month-to-month increase. (press release)

Pickup in confidence: The Conference Board index rose to 65.9 in July from 62.7 the previous month - and higher than economists were expecting. (AP)

Duarte considers emergency tax: City officials say they're in trouble because of the loss of redevelopment funds. The Council will vote tonight on whether to ask voters to raise the sales tax. From the LAT:

Although the proposals signal the fiscal pain many cities are feeling, Duarte officials said the San Gabriel Valley city has no plans to file for bankruptcy as the cities of Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino have done or voted to do. Those cities' actions set off a wave of speculation about which would be the next to fall, and other municipalities have rushed to assure investors and the public that they are not contemplating "the B-word." "The city is not in a bankruptcy situation, and we don't want to get there, either," Duarte Mayor John Fasana said in a statement.

Pot donations to two councilman: Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl have received more than $16,000 in campaign contributions from marijuana dispensaries and their supporters. From the LAT:

Pot dispensaries, said Rosendahl, are no different than any other group seeking to weigh in at City Hall. "They wanted to do something for me, and it's been clear for 20 to 30 years where I stand on this issue. I think the war on drugs is destroying this great nation." Councilman Paul Koretz, who also faces re-election, saw 9% of his campaign contributions in the past year, or more than $7,300, come from dispensaries and their advocates. "I'm an unabashed supporter of medical marijuana. I think it's a matter of life and death, literally. So they know keeping me in office would be a positive thing for them," he said.

Warner's contribution to L.A. economy: The studio spent $1.6 billion in 2010 on products and services and paid $2.5 billion in wages and residuals to county residents, according to a study. That's a nearly 30 percent increase from 1999. (LAT)

NBC scoring big in Olympics: For all the complaints about delaying the broadcast of major events, the network is racking up record ratings. Friday's opening ceremony drew 40.7 million viewers. (MarketWatch)

Layoffs at Fresh & Easy: The struggling grocery chain has cut about 40 positions at its El Segundo headquarters. The cuts were mainly in the real estate department. (Daily Breeze)

Cracking down on another lap-band business: The FDA has warned the owners of Lap-Band VIP to change their marketing campaign or face disciplinary action. From the LAT:

Lap-Band VIP, based in Tarzana, has promoted its weight-loss surgery on television, the Internet and freeway billboards throughout Southern California. One billboard featured a photograph of a thin woman with the pitch: "Tiffany lost over 100 lbs. Actual patient. Results may vary." Those ads were misleading, the FDA said in a June 25 letter, because they failed to include adequate warnings about the surgery's risks. The agency said Lap-Band VIP "should take prompt action to correct the violations" or risk "regulatory action."

More by Mark Lacter:
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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*
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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
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