Los Angeles Business Journal

Call to Reopen Angels Flight

After some business leaders and history buffs made an appeal – and more than 1,800 people signed a petition – the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board now says it will study a plan to possibly restore and reopen Angels Flight, the Los Angeles Times reports. It was closed a couple of years ago by state regulators.

Potholes Galore

If you think the streets are bad, you're right. Los Angeles-Long Beach roads are second-worst in the nation (San Francisco and Oakland are first) with about 73 percent in poor condition. Southern California drivers are paying more than $1,000 extra a year for blown tires and other maintenance costs as a result, according to a report released Thursday by a Washington, D.C., think tank, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Fracking Dilemma

Even though a company has state permission to start fracking off the coast of Long Beach, the California Coastal Commission has jumped in, saying it needs to give the company an additional permit, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports. However, some are questioning whether the commission has the authority to make such a demand.

Anthem Seals Cigna Deal

Anthem Inc. of Indianapolis has officially agreed to buy health care insurer Cigna Corp. for more than $48.4 billion, which combines the second- and fifth-largest health insurers by revenue, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal, which comes after a year of back-and-forth talks, still needs regulatory approval. It could close in the second half of 2016.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

The top 100 power plants nationwide, including those run by power companies in the Southern California region, reduced their carbon emissions by a total of 12 percent from 2008 to 2013, according to a report released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. Over the past couple of years, emissions have been flat but are expected to decline even more as power companies install pollution controls and retire coal-fired plants.

Transgender Modeling Agency to Open

Caitlyn Jenner has apparently ushered in a trend as Thailand’s Apple Model Management, a modeling agency that represents only transgender models, has announced it will open a Los Angeles office, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Public Prank

Who says your trip to the grocery store has to be boring? For those who shopped recently at a Vons location in East Los Angeles, it was anything but. Funny signs placed around the store (“Stay warm in the freezer aisle by rubbing against other shoppers”), thanks to the pranks of a local humor bloggist, LAist reports.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down six points in Friday morning trading to 17,726. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,101. The Nasdaq was up 12 points to 5,159. The LABJ Stock Index was up one point to 240.

Speaking Out Against AT&T, DirecTV Merger

While the Justice Department favors AT&T’s proposal to acquire El Segundo satellite TV provider DirecTV for $49 billion, and Federal Communications Commissioner Chairman Tom Wheeler said this week he would support it with conditions, some consumer groups say those conditions need to include better protections for consumers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The deal must still get approval from federal regulators.

Special Olympics May Boost Tourism Long-Term

The Special Olympics, which is scheduled to start here Saturday, will be the biggest such sports event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Olympics and could boost local tourism for the long haul since it’s expected to draw around half a million people and usher in $387 million in spending, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Concerns About Citrus

A quarantine, which is more than 87 square miles around San Gabriel, is growing after agricultural officials have discovered even more trees infected with a citrus disease that has destroyed orchards in Florida as well as Mexico and Brazil, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bacteria, which is spread by insects, is not harmful to people but can destroy crops.

Not in Our Neighborhood

The Redondo Beach City Council may soon say “no” to a proposed mixed-use development on Pacific Coast Highway; area residents are asking for a moratorium on such construction, citing safety and traffic concerns, the Daily Breeze reports. The Planning Commission is opposing a mixed-use project a couple of blocks away.

Out of Luck

Homeowners who failed to refinance their mortgages while interest rates were below 4 percent may be kicking themselves as rising rates seem to be slowing down refinancing, the Los Angeles Times reports. The average rate for a 30-year conventional loan has been above 4 percent for the past six weeks, and the Federal Reserve is expected to raise short-term lending rates later this year.

Studios in Hot Water

European regulators opened an antitrust case Thursday, accusing major Hollywood movie studios, including Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros. of illegally blocking consumers in most of Europe from watching American movies and television shows, the Los Angeles Times reports. A total of seven studios have been notified.

Asking for Papal Help

Some South Los Angeles residents in a neighborhood near USC are fighting AllenCo Energy Inc.’s plans to resume drilling oil, appealing to Pope Francis to intervene to help them, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company’s oil operation is on land leased from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. The Pope has stated he believes action should be taken to find alternatives to fossil fuels. Oil production was stopped two years ago after complaints led to an investigation.