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 2013
Vvilla2.jog.jpg People like humility - it shows that you have a healthy view of life, a maturity. It shows that you can be a mensch. Instead, it was always Antonio against the world - and guess who won?

Today's Senate vote on immigration could be non-event

immigrant.jpg House Republicans have made it clear that they do not intend to consider the Senate bill - that whatever action they take, if any, will be their own. That could be a problem.

Keeping today's Scotus rulings in context

map.gif Eventually, the intolerant core of the population that represents much of the same-sex marriage opposition will die out, but that could be a while. And judging by the comments of Proposition 8 supporters, they're not going anywhere.

Westfield's growing L.A. collection plate

westfield.jpg The monster mall operator is looking for a big tax break on its Topanga Canyon project - even though it has claimed that contributing thousands of dollars to local elected officials doesn't help to get any approvals.

Paula Deen had been fading from Food Network landscape

paula2.jpg Even before the recent controversies, the southern cook was not the draw that she used to be.
What's the point in delivering the news when we can ask viewers what they think about the news - and then turn those results into the news itself?
jobs7.jpg May's unemployment rate of 8.6 percent is down from 9 percent the previous month, one more indicator that the state's economy is improving at an accelerated level.

How does someone get stabbed at Hollywood and Highland?*

stabbing.jpg When you're trying to promote Hollywood, about the last thing you need is a headline on the Daily Mail website that reads, "Panhandlers stab woman to death on Hollywood's Walk of Fame."

Stocks plunge for second day - Dow falls 353

The concern is that this isn't a pause, but an inflection point for further losses. There's no reason to believe we're on that road, though inflection points are never predictive events.
cityhall3.jpg Here's a proposal that's hugely important for local businesses and developers, and yet it's barely gotten noticed.

Council moving towards ban on plastic bags

bags.jpg Final approval is expected next week, but today's 13-1 vote pretty much assures that L.A. will be the nation's largest city to prohibit stores from using plastic bags.

Tribune sale could be getting complicated

tribune.jpg The newspapers themselves, including the LAT, have been valued at up to $1 billion, but that doesn't include Tribune's financial ties to CareerBuilder and Classified Ventures, two big sources of revenue.

LAX hardly alone when it comes to Customs congestion

customs.jpg Actually, Miami International and JFK seem to be in worse shape, according to the WSJ. And we're not even into the summer vacation season.

Socal home prices hit 5-year high

mayhomes.jpg The market dynamic hasn't changed much, with too many buyers chasing after too few listings and those able to make all-cash offers dominating many parts of L.A.
californiacap.jpg Having a single party controlling the legislature certainly helps things move along - as does an economy that's on the mend. Still, there's quite a bit to be concerned about.
strip2.jpg Tax breaks are, in many cases, pretty dumb ideas, and enterprise zones could well be one of the dumbest. Does anyone seriously believe that the decision to plunk down a strip club or hamburger joint has anything to do with saving a few dollars on taxes?

Here's the real concern behind NSA revelations

snowden.jpg How did some low-level disenchanted punk get access to such sensitive information in the first place? If there's anything good to come out of this episode, it would be a serious look at classified access.

Does closing San Onofre plant raise blackout concerns?

sanonofre.jpg A little bit, but barring unusual problems this summer Southern California Edison should be all right. Longer term might be a different story.

No news is generally good news in jobs report

jobless6.jpg The economy wasn't exactly smoking in May, but the addition of 175,000 jobs - a bit higher than what many analysts had expected - was just enough to ward off concerns that growth was slowing down.

Wild market day starts off shaky and ends up decent

stocks66.jpg Sooner or later stocks will drop off significantly. Fed or no Fed, they don't go up forever. Of course, when and to what degree that happens is anyone's guess - even though everyone on Wall Street seems to have an opinion.

Stunning stat: 91% of U.S. adults own cell phones

cellphone2.jpg Pew study says the cell phone is the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world, though there are some groups being left out.

Time Warner Cable caught in the middle of a TV sandwich

TWC.jpg Media companies want to jack up program fees, subscribers want maximum selection at the lowest price, and there's all the competition: Netflix, Hulu, etc. For now, the cable guys are holding their own.

Airport lawsuit could be early test for Garcetti

lax3.jpg You might recall that the mayor-elect came out against moving the northern runway 260 feet closer to Westchester. That won him support among nearby residents, but most everybody else is okay with moving the runway,

Amazon begins fresh grocery delivery in L.A.

amazonfresh.jpg Socal will be the first market outside Seattle, where the online retailer has been doing groceries for almost six years.

UCLA forecasters still a gloomy bunch

ucla.jpg They continue to be downbeat about the recovery, even as other economists turn a bit more positive about the nation's growth prospects.

California Adventure surges while Disneyland lags

carland.jpg That's good news for Disney, which is starting to see more parity at its two OC theme parks. Disneyland remains the biggest draw, with attendance last year of 16 million.
godfather.jpg Among the titles that aren't available: "The Godfather," "Citizen Kane," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Star Wars," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Sting," "Jaws," or "Singin' in the Rain."
inland.jpg We're talking about the Inland Empire and other areas that bore the brunt of the real estate collapse. As in more affluent communities, prices in Riverside and San Bernardino have skyrocketed, but for somewhat different reasons.

Ontario sues L.A. over airport control

ontario.jpg Lawsuit is a long time coming - the city of Ontario alleges that L.A. officials have mismanaged LA/Ontario International Airport, which has seen a 40 percent drop in passengers since 2007.

ABC honchos must be praying for a Heat win tonight

spurs.jpg Not that a Pacers victory in Game 7 wouldn't be a great sports story. It's just that a Spurs-Pacers match-up in the NBA Finals would likely produce one of the lowest-rated series in recent years.