Los Angeles Business Journal

Companies Will Clean Up Chemical Site in South Gate

A group of 40 companies has agreed to pay $22 million towards the cleanup of a Superfund site in South Gate, federal officials announced late Tuesday. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced the agreement to further clean up the 3.8-acre Cooper Drum Superfund Site at 9316 S. Atlantic Ave. The companies will pay $15 million for groundwater treatment and $7 million to reimburse the EPA for past cleanup activities.

Four Finalists Named for Pershing Square Facelift

Several local firms are part of the four finalist teams named for a project to transform downtown’s Pershing Square from a concrete park into a more picturesque area.

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Plastic Bag Makers Double Up on State Measures

POLITICS: Sector’s latest initiative would shift sack fees away from grocers.

Upset with the state Legislature’s passage last year of a ban on plastic bag use in grocery stores, the plastic bag industry is mounting a most unusual attack on the law, with not one, but two initiatives aiming for November’s ballot.

Ruling by State Court Releases Chains in Malibu

DEVELOPMENT: Judge’s rejection of limits clears way for retail projects.

State court ruling unshackles retail projects from Malibu’s restrictions on chains.

County Unemployment Rate Dips Below 6 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent in November for the first time in eight years as holiday retail hiring led broad job gains, state figures released Friday show.

Measure Limiting Chain Stores in Malibu Overturned

Handing a victory to real estate developers, a judge this week overturned a measure enacted last year by Malibu voters to limit retail developments involving chain stores.

Judge Overturns Voter Measure Limiting Chain Store Development in Malibu

Handing a victory to developers, a judge this week overturned a measure enacted last year by Malibu voters to limit retail developments involving chain stores.

Metro Launches New Silver Line Express

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday announced the launch of Metro’s Silver Line Express.

State’s High Court Alters Environment for Projects

REAL ESTATE: Rejection of Newhall Ranch’s EIR may scare away developments.

State high court’s ruling against the Newhall Ranch project may chill other developments.

Survey: L.A. Hiring Up a Bit in First Quarter

Los Angeles employers say they plan modest hiring during the first quarter of next year, according to a survey to be released Tuesday from Manpower Inc.

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Affordable Fee May Be Costly

DEVELOPMENT: Some say housing ‘tax’ will kill projects.

Some businesses say L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed affordable housing fee could cost the city projects.

Suspended Distribution Further Sinks Oil Firm

ENERGY: Breitburn shares have shed 90 percent of value over last 52 weeks.

Breitburn’s stock hole widens after the oil and gas firm suspends shareholder distributions.

Business Groups See Project Moratorium as DOA

DEVELOPMENT: Initiative by activists draws ire as hurdle to housing needs.

Local business groups, led by downtown L.A.’s Central City Association, have begun a campaign against a likely ballot measure next year that would make it tougher to get approvals for development projects in the city of Los Angeles.

State Fines Edison $16.7 Million

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday penalized Southern California Edison $16.7 million for failing to report communications between Edison executives and the commission regarding the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant.

Breitburn Stops Distributions; Shares Plunge

Shares of Breitburn Energy Partners plunged more than 20 percent on Tuesday after the Los Angeles oil and gas drilling partnership made a long-expected announcement it is suspending shareholder distributions, effective immediately.

Bus Operator Seeks U-Turn on Beverly Hills Ban

TOURISM: Starline vows to fight Rodeo Drive weight restrictions.

Starline says it will fight Beverly Hills’ restrictions on big buses that will drive away its business.

Shift on Storm-Water Policy May Soak Businesses

PERMITTING: State mulls ditching flat fee for basing cost on usage factors.

Thousands of local manufacturers, warehouses, recycling facilities and other businesses in Los Angeles County and throughout the state could face huge increases in storm-water runoff fees under a plan being considered by state water quality regulators.

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Early Dismissal?

OIL: Venoco stresses financial benefit of well to stake holders, district as it seeks to keep pumping at Beverly Hills High.

Venoco works to dig up support for its bid to renew the lease for the firm’s well at Beverly Hills High.

County Unemployment Falls to 6.1 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell last month to 6.1 percent as the county added 38,000 jobs, state figures released Friday show.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91 points in Friday trading to close at 17,824. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 2,089. The Nasdaq rose 31 points to 5,105. The LABJ Stock Index rose 2 points to 244.

Activists File Initiative to Block Development Citywide

Community activists in Hollywood filed an initiative on Wednesday to place a moratorium on major construction projects in Los Angeles and make it tougher for developers to get projects approved in the future.

Put to the Test

Charter school operator Alliance steps back from growth mode as union intensifies push to sign up nonprofit’s teachers.

Question on whether to enroll in a union has divided teachers at L.A.’s largest charter school operator.

L.A. Companies Receive State Tax Credits for Job Creation

Sixteen companies headquartered or with facilities in Los Angeles County have been awarded state tax credits for plans to expand and create jobs, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development announced Tuesday.

Election Day Delivers Mixed Bag for Businesses

POLITICS: Rejection of shopping center, hike in hotel tax among setbacks.

Local business interests scored some wins and suffered some setbacks in last week’s off-year elections throughout Los Angeles County.

High-Price Products Rev Up Auto Parts Dealer

AUTOMOTIVE: New focus at US Auto Parts credited for strong third quarter.

US Auto Parts’ focus on selling high-priced products drove the firm to its first profitable third quarter in six years.

Voters Reject Malibu Shopping Center, Pass Hotel Tax in Hermosa Beach

Voters rejected a Whole Foods-anchored shopping center project in Malibu on Tuesday, while voters in Hermosa Beach approved a hike in that city’s hotel bed tax.

Expo on Drones Gets Off Ground

Turnout at first year’s event spurred organizers to land at L.A. Convention Center.

Tesla Foundation Group’s drone expo wings way to Los Angeles Convention Center after packed first run.

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Cloudy Future For Solar Sales

ENERGY: Utilities’ proposals would cost installers, customers.

Utilities’ proposed changes to solar power incentives could leave installers and customers in the cold.

Street Vendors Sue Fashion District BID and LAPD Over Confiscation of Carts

Street vendor activists filed suit in federal court Thursday against the downtown Fashion District Business Improvement District and the Los Angeles Police Department over the confiscation of carts and other personal belongs of street vendors.

High Costs Home In on Landlords

REAL ESTATE: Seismic retrofits, rent-control caps boost burden.

Decisions on seismic retrofits and rent-controlled units have opened the door to higher costs for landlords.

State Lawmakers Laid Most ‘Job Killers’ to Rest

POLITICS: Only one out of 19 anti-business bills made it into law in past term.

Business interests capped a relatively successful year in Sacramento: All but one of the 19 bills the California Chamber of Commerce tagged as “job killers” failed to advance and several business-supported bills were signed into law.

Edison Reaches Insurance Settlement over Shuttered Nuclear Plant

Southern California Edison and the other owners of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant have reached a $400 million claims settlement with a national power plant consortium that provided insurance for the power station.

Greywater Valve Swims Upstream

CONSTRUCTION: Will costs sink inventor’s recycle device?

Inventor Garry Sato is plumbing interest in his valve that diverts a home’s greywater into reuse.

Review Ruling a Drain on Aquifer Operator’s Stock

WATER: Cadiz shares dive after bureau rejects firm’s railroad right-of-way plan.

Aquifer owner Cadiz vows to fight ruling on needing an environmental review after stock plunges.

County Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.5 Percent as Payroll Employment Reaches Record

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell last month to 6.5 percent as the county added 40,000 jobs to reach record payroll employment, state figures released Friday show.

Small-Business Veteran Sees Big Future for Latinos

NONPROFIT: Ex-SBA chief hopes fellow Republicans pass on Donald Trump.

Latino Coalition’s Hector Barreto discusses Hispanic businesses and Donald Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants.

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Salary-Equity Act May Equal Grief

Some business owners fear pay-equity act’s “substantially similar” wording will open the door to a different class of lawsuits.

California Ponders Cure For Toxic Chemical Suits

LAW: Kamala Harris floats restricting amount, purpose of payouts to attorneys.

For years, small businesses throughout California have been targeted in shakedown schemes from plaintiff attorneys threatening lawsuits over seemingly trivial violations of the state’s Proposition 65 toxic chemical notification law.

L.A. Quake Retrofit Ordinance Signed Into Law; Cost Burden Decision Deferred

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday passed an ordinance that will require landlords of thousands of apartment buildings to retrofit their buildings to better withstand earthquakes. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the ordinance immediately afterward.

Cadiz Responds to Criticism as Stock Continues Plunge

In a bid to counter a deluge of criticism following news of a key adverse ruling this week, Los Angeles water marketer Cadiz Inc. issued a statement Friday morning attempting to get its side of the story out.

Stocks Up; Mattel Rises, Cadiz Sinks

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 304 points in Monday trading to close at 16,776. The S&P 500 rose 36 points to 1,987. The Nasdaq rose 73 points to 4,781. The LABJ Stock Index rose three points to 223.

Event With Pope Beyond Belief

PR vet David Herbst scored seat to see Francis speak to joint session of Congress.

PR exec David Herbst partook of Pope Francis’ mass appeal during the pontiff’s visit to Congress.

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Wages Raise Concern of Business

GOVERNMENT: Some groups move to head off hikes in cities.

Business groups in some L.A. cities are paying extra attention to heading off wage-hike issue.

Thursday Rundown: Long Beach Pipeline Company Acquires NorCal Pipeline from Chevron, Music Instructor Snags Nationwide Licensing Deal

Long Beach’s Crimson Pipeline has reached agreement to acquire Chevron Pipeline Co.’s 295-mile KLM Pipeline in Northern California, along with related assets, the companies announced Thursday.

Exxon Mobil Strikes Deal for Torrance Refinery

Exxon Mobil Corp. on Tuesday announced it has agreed to sell its damaged Torrance oil refinery, a pair of Vernon refinery product centers and other related California assets for a reported $537 million.

City of L.A. Committee to Work on Job Creation

GOVERNMENT: Business groups welcome new panel but see familiar hurdles.

Even though local business groups are still smarting from their failure to stop city of L.A. leaders from raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years, they are cheering a recent development: the creation of a City Council committee focused on job creation.

County Unemployment Rate Dips Below 7 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell below 7 percent last month for the first time in more than seven years, according to state figures released Friday.

Refinery Blast Costs Californians $3 Billion ... So Far

GAS: Prices at pump stay up as ExxonMobil plant stays down.

ExxonMobil’s restricted refinery has only fueled local pain at the pumps from California’s towering prices.

Landlords Fear Zap From Energy-Efficiency Rules

REAL ESTATE: Groups say proposed plan opens door to steep building costs.

A bill that would mandate doubling the energy efficiency of all buildings in the state over the next 15 years might have been overshadowed by a more controversial provision to halve gasoline consumption that was stripped from the bill last week, but it’s ambitious nonetheless.

Survey: L.A. Employers Cautious About Fourth-Quarter Hiring

Local employers say they plan to slow down their hiring and will likely lay off more people in the fourth quarter than earlier in the year. And they are also more cautious about hiring plans than their counterparts nationwide, according to a survey to be released Tuesday by Manpower Inc.

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