Los Angeles Business Journal

General Motors Admits Ignition Switch Death Toll is 19

General Motors Co. will pay compensation for 19 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch, more than the 13 deaths the automaker had previously admitted were caused by the recalled part, Reuters reports.

Regulators Slow to Respond to Vehicle Defects

An investigation by the New York Times into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s handling of major safety defects over the past decade found that the agency has often been slow to identify problems, tentative to act and reluctant to employ its full legal powers against companies. It recently failed to detect an ignition switch defect in several models of General Motors.

Murdock Tower Purchased

Murdock Plaza, a prominent Westwood office building on Wilshire Boulevard, has been purchased by New York real estate company Tishman Speyer for a reported $125 million, the Los Angeles Times says. Check out the previous coverage in the Business Journal.

61.4 Million Hit L.A. Beaches This Year

Attendance at Los Angeles County beaches hit a new high this year, along with the number of ocean rescues, county lifeguard officials said Friday, CBSLA reports.

Americans Won’t Relax

A new paper by economists Dan Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli found that Americans work longer hours and are more likely to work late at night and on weekends, the Atlantic reports. They found that on a typical weeknight, a quarter of American workers did some kind of work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., compared with about seven percent in France and the Netherlands.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down three points in Monday morning trading to 16,984. The S&P 500 was down four points to 1,982. The Nasdaq was down 41 points to 4,526.

Mayor Garcetti to Consider Replacing Gross Receipts

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday he and other elected officials are considering a ballot measure that would eliminate the gross receipts tax and replace it with a different tax on companies, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out previous coverage of gross receipts tax receipts in the Business Journal.

Alliance Data to Buy Conversant

Alliance Data Systems Corp., a Dallas company that operates loyalty programs and private-label credit cards, agreed to buy the Westlake Village digital marketing company Conversant Inc. in cash and stock deal worth about $2.3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Santa Monica Moves Forward with Bergamot Station Redevelopment

The Santa Monica City Council gave Worthe Real Estate Group exclusive rights to negotiate with the city for the right to moved forward with an $84 million redevelopment of aging Bergamot Station, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Council viewed the Santa Monica developer’s proposal as the least threatening to the character of the historic complex.

Deasy Requests Board Members’ Emails

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy filed a public records request seeking emails and other documents from school board members as part of the ongoing finger-pointing over the fumbled roll out of a plan to give all LAUSD students iPads, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the district’s inspector general has focused on reviewing communications between Deasy, his top deputy and Apple and educational publisher Pearson, Deasy and his lawyer are now apparently looking for ties between board members and tech companies.

How Yahoo Was Forced Into PRISM

The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to hand over user data, according to court documents unsealed Thursday, the Washington Post reports. The 1,500 pages of documents show an unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands, forcing the company to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program.

Secretary of State Candidates Debate

Policy differences were in short supply during a debate between Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla on Thursday, as the two candidates for California secretary of state battled over who had the better resume to turn around the office. The candidates outlined plans for improving voter participation in elections and upgrading the office’s antiquated business registration system, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Pasadena Commissioner

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed grand theft and forgery charges against city commissioner Allen Shay in connection with an alleged $2.3 million mortgage fraud scheme involving one of Shay’s former clients, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Removes Ex-Wife From Governor Portrait

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had the image of ex-wife Maria Shriver removed from his 6-foot-tall official government portrait, which was unveiled last week, the New York Post reports. Shriver’s face, which appeared on a lapel pin that Schwarzenegger wore as he sat for the painting in 2003, is now covered over by a visible smudge of blue paint.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 45 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,003. The S&P 500 was down eight points to 1,989. The Nasdaq was down 16 points to 4,574.