Stocks lower: Investors starting to think that the Fed won't take any stimulative action after all. Dow is down 85 points.
Jobless claims tick higher: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to 372,000. Numbers suggest that the jobs recovery remains tentative and uneven. (AP)
Mortgage rates inch higher: A 30-year fixed rate rose to 3.66 percent, the fourth straight weekly increase. (AP)
CEQA overhaul moving forward: A coalition of business and labor groups are pushing for changes in the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, while environmental groups are opposed. From Capitol Alert:
Rather than change CEQA itself, it would enact a new law, the Sustainable Environmental Protection Act, that changes how it's to be enforced, including integrating its provisions with other planning and protection laws, and placing restrictions on CEQA lawsuits that don't specifically address environmental matters. Given the decades-long conflict over CEQA's provisions and effects, however, winning legislative approval in a session that's due to end Aug. 31 will be difficult. A majority of the Assembly's Democrats have already signed a letter pledging opposition to changing CEQA.
Council rejects shorter fundraising season: The proposal would have reduced the time in which money could be raised from 24 months to 18 months in citywide contests and from 18 months to 12 months in council races. (LAT)
No action on blighted homes: Two years after passage of a measure to fine banks $1,000 a day for not maintaining hundreds of foreclosed properties, not a penny has been collected, the Daily News reports:
The city simply doesn't have enough inspectors -- 88 to handle 23,000 annual complaints -- to enforce the current foreclosure law, officials say. "Right now, we're going through our normal procedures and compliance fees," said Dave Lara, spokesman for the Building and Safety Department, tasked with policing blighted homes. "We would need to send an inspector up there every day to enforce the $1,000 fine," he said. "It would invoke a lot of resources on our part."
Contamination at Disney Studios?: An aging air conditioning system could have been responsible for contaminating groundwater with chromium 6. State and federal regulators are investigating. From the LAT:
The Disney site has recently come under scrutiny by state and federal officials as part of a broader investigation into groundwater contamination, records show. Citing community concerns about contamination, the California Department of Public Health in 2010 tested soil in a nearby park that historically had received discharges of water from Disney's cooling system and found Chromium 6. The levels were not deemed to be a threat to public health. Even so, the EPA sent a letter to Walt Disney Co.and its president, Robert Iger, last year, asking them to "describe in detail and in narrative fashion, the cooling system and cooling towers used at the facility, and changes to the cooling systems and cooling towers since the beginning of Disney operations at the facility."
LAX gets Dreamliner in January: United will begin flying the long-awaited Boeing 787 with daily flights to Narita, Japan. (LAT)
Snag in Tribune Co. bankruptcy exit: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey ruled that junior creditors should be able to appeal the company's reorganization plan to a higher court. But they need to post a $1.5 billion bond by Aug. 29. Tribune Co. owns the LAT and KTLA. (Bloomberg)
El Segundo plant to close: International Rectifier Corp., which reported a $68.2 million quarterly loss, will shut down a wafer fabrication facility. No word on job losses. (Business Journal)