Los Angeles Business Journal

Uber Singalong Dance Party

Who said a ride with an Uber driver has to be boring? A Los Angeles driver, Jonathan Gaurano, recently had his passengers dance and lip-sync to the group the Weeknd's “Can't Feel My Face,” and he shot video of it as they rode, LAist reports. Gaurano, who maintains he’s a safe driver, said he only participated in the dancing when the car was stopped, or when it was safe to do so.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 216 points in early trading Thursday to 17,133. The S&P 500 was down 23 points to 2,057. The Nasdaq was down 70 points to 4,950. The LABJ Stock Index was down five points to 230.

Uber, Lyft Get a Win at City Hall

After hours of testimony on whether ridesharing companies should be held to the same screening standards as taxi drivers, a committee of the Los Angeles City Council narrowly voted, 3-2, to support a policy with conditions that would allow Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International airport, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The full City Council is expected to vote next later this summer.

NBCUniversal Bets on Buzzfeed

Hoping to attract younger viewers, NBCUniversal Inc. has made a $200 million investment in digital publishing giant BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times reports. Just a week ago, NBCUniversal also invested $200 million in online publisher Vox Media.

Branson Backs Santa Monica Company

Billionaire Richard Branson is among those who are putting up millions of dollars to invest in Santa Monica’s Ring, a start-up that makes doorbells with a video camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. Homeowners who use the $199 “smart doorbells” can talk to anyone at their door via a smartphone app even when they’re not at home.

Stricter Grading System for Restaurants?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is aiming to make it harder for restaurants to score high on health inspections, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. According to a report sent Tuesday to the County Board of Supervisors for review, health officials want to make changes to the current, 17-year-old grading system which allows restaurants to get an “A” even when they’ve been closed for inspections or face two major violations.

Stolen Paintings in Beverly Hills Pawnshop

Four stolen N.C. Wyeth paintings were found in the high-end Beverly Hills pawnshop the Dina Collection, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. A total of six paintings by the artist, who’s the father of artist Andrew Wyeth, were stolen last year from a Portland, Maine collector, according to authorities. The four paintings found in the pawnshop, which is featured on a reality TV show, are valued between $1million and $2 million. A $20,000 reward is being offered by the FBI for information leading to two stolen paintings.

Homebuying Spree in July

It was Christmas in July for home brokers as house sales were the highest they’ve been in Southern California in nine years even with rising home prices, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Sales were up 17 percent of both new and pre-owned houses and condos, according to Irvine’s CoreLogic Inc. In Los Angeles County, sales were up 13.5 percent from last year with the average price around $492,000. However, the number of people paying in cash was down.

Why You Can’t See 'Straight Outta Compton' in Compton

While the film, “Straight Outta Compton,” is surpassing expectations with moviegoers flocking to theaters to see it, you can’t actually watch it in Compton, LAist reports. Compton, ironically, has no movie theaters. However, Compton residents can look forward to the future as a 16-screen movie theater is being planned for the city.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 136 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,376. The S&P 500 was down 13 points to 2,084. The Nasdaq was down 28 points to 5,031. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 235.

NFL Should Bet on Carson, Executive Insists

A former president of the San Francisco 49ers says building a stadium in Carson for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders would be the most beneficial for the National Football League and prove to be a fan “megamarket,” the Daily Breeze reports. The Carson stadium would bring in the most profits and attract a fan base of 22 million Southern Californians, according to Carmen Policy.

W Hotel to Be Built Downtown

A new W Hotel is headed downtown across from Staples Center and will replace the Luxe Hotel as part of a $700 million mixed-use development in the South Park area being built by China’s Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group Co., the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2019 and will be part of a complex that’ll include 650 condos as well as space for stores and restaurants.

Shaky Ground for American Apparel

With a second quarter marred by falling sales and a big net loss, downtown L.A. apparel maker American Apparel Inc. is inching closer to bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the company received a lifeline Monday when it was able to replace a $50 million credit line with a $90-million one, American Apparel is also facing a variety of lawsuits and has nearly $235 million in debt.

Overcharged LADWP Customers to Get Millions Back

Almost two years after Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were overcharged $44 million due to a faulty billing system, the utility will now either refund or credit those overcharged as part of a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, a consumer advocate says the amount is too small given the stress customers faced, and that it does not do enough to prevent something similar from happening in the future. A court will soon decide whether to approve the settlement.

Will Jerry Brown Get into the Race?

You knew this was coming. Speculation is already starting about who may jump into the race for president if Hillary Clinton’s campaign continues spiraling downward. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes California’s Jerry Brown could be one, Real Clear Politics reports.