Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Unemployment Falls to 5.6 Percent Amidst Robust Job Gains

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 in February, the lowest it’s been in more than eight years.

Air Pollution Reduction Program Ruled Illegal

A controversial program to give local refineries and major manufacturers more flexibility in reducing air pollution has been ruled illegal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials disclosed late Wednesday. The federal agency said the program fails to meet national clean air standards.

L.A. CFOs Expect Increased Hiring Over Next Six Months

Chief financial officers at Los Angeles firms expect to step up their hiring over the next six months, compared to the six months just ending, according to a survey from Robert Half International.

Anti-Development Initiative Postponed

Backers of an anti-development initiative in Los Angeles on Tuesday announced they have dropped plans to place the measure on the November ballot and instead will attempt to qualify it for the March 2017 city ballot.

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All Fired Up

New California law has pot shops jockeying to roll up required city of L.A. license.

City of L.A. pot shop operators fear a new state licensing law could nip their business in the buds.

L.A. Mayor Buys Into Property Transaction Levy

POLITICS: Unlike squashed state plan, city would limit tax to commercial buildings.

Remember that proposal a few years back by L.A. city officials to double the transaction tax on property sales?

L.A. Selected as Host for 2018 National City Summit

Los Angeles has been selected as the 2018 host city for the National League of Cities’ annual city summit.

State Court Upholds L.A. Billboard Ban

A state appellate court has upheld Los Angeles’ billboard ban, reversing a lower court decision in favor of Lamar Central Outdoor, which was seeking to overturn the ban.

Survey: L.A. Employers to Increase Hiring a Little

L.A. employers say they plan to step up hiring during the second quarter, according to a survey released Tuesday morning from Manpower Inc.

Utility Exec Says Customers May Rate Bill Cuts

ENERGY: Ted Craver talks keeping costs in check as Edison upgrades system.

Edison International CEO Ted Craver has power points to make on the costs of running utilities.

L.A. Unemployment Falls Despite Huge Drop in Jobs

While L.A.’s jobless rate dipped to 5.8 percent in January, employers in the county shed almost 88,000 jobs from their payrolls, marking an especially dismal start to the year, according to state figures released Friday.

Local Economist Shake-Up

Robert Kleinhenz, the well-known chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., is moving on to Beacon Economics. He’ll be replaced by Christine Cooper, who was promoted from within.

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Long Beach Aims to Sell Voters on Sales Tax Hike

POLITICS: Business groups yet to take sides on increase that will phase out in 2026.

Long Beach businesses are in a tough spot.

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Business Booster

NONPROFIT: Thomas Sayles to focus on job creation as new L.A. chamber chair.

New L.A. chamber chair Thomas Sayles is ready to get to work on job creation as his main focus.

Aquifer Operator Rides Brief Wave of Enthusiasm

WATER: Cadiz’s stock rises, then falls despite good news on firm’s pipeline proposal.

Shares of Cadiz made a brief splash on Wall Street after news the aquifer operator may salvage its pipeline plan.

Hospital Hack Bill May Grow

HEALTH CARE: Future costs unknown for facility, patients.

Hospital may end up paying more than just hacker’s ransom after cyberattack.

Forecast: L.A. Job Growth Slowing Down

The local economy will see slower job growth this year and next as it reaches cruising altitude, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. says in a forecast to be released this morning.

Hole Deepens for Oil Companies as Prices Plunge

ENERGY: Breitburn, CRC dragged down further by firms’ heavy debt loads.

Local firms lose even more ground with investors as stock and oil prices continue to plunge.

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Employers Mull State Pay Hike

POLITICS: One rate may ease clash of different city wages.

Some business groups hope a statewide minimum-wage measure will pay off with a uniform rate.

Full Ballot Could Work Against Business Interests

POLITICS: Supporters, foes of measures face choices on use of campaign resources.

Local businesses face the prospect of being overwhelmed this fall by the sheer number of major ballot measures that would impact operation.

Breitburn Receives Warning Notice of Future Delisting from Nasdaq

Breitburn Energy Partners of Los Angeles on Monday received a warning notice of future delisting from the Nasdaq exchange should its stock price fail to rise above $1 for 10 consecutive days over the next six months.

Developers Don’t See ‘Mansionization’ as Big Deal

REAL ESTATE: Businesses fear restrictions on lot size would lock out projects.

Developers are speaking out against city efforts to curb “mansionization” – the expanding size of homes in single-family residential neighborhoods.

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Front, Center

Downtown L.A. booster Carol Schatz sees area’s strides as opportunity to step back.

Central City Association’s Carol Schatz thinks downtown will prove its mettle by boosting L.A.’s Olympic bid.

County Unemployment Rate Unchanged Despite Broad Hiring Gains

L.A. County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.9 percent in December even as local employers added 26,000 payroll jobs across a broad spectrum of industries, according to state figures released Friday. Employers added nearly 94,000 jobs in 2015, the biggest gain in many years, according to figures from the state Employment Development Department.

BizFed Installs Officers for 2016

Chairing BizFed this year is Gilbert Ivey, former chief administrative officer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The chair-elect for next year is Mike Lewis, a consultant and senior vice president of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition.

Developers: Will We Be Stunted in L.A.?

REAL ESTATE: Two anti-growth measures could drive off projects.

Developers say anti-growth proposals would leave Los Angeles short on housing.

Nonunion Contractors Still Don’t Work for L.A.

CONSTRUCTION: City’s Public Works Department renews labor-favoring deal.

Nonunion contractors are once again frozen out as the city of L.A.’s Public Works Department has renewed its project labor agreement with the Los Angeles and Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council for five years.

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Cloudy Future

SMOKING: Fate of e-cigarette business up in air as federal, state regulations could drive up costs for vaping vendors.

E-cigarette business owners fear looming regulations could drive up costs and snuff out the industry.

Schatz to Step Down as CEO of Central City Association

Carol Schatz, who for 20 years has headed the powerful downtown business group Central City Association, announced Friday that she is stepping down from her post later this year.

Garcetti Names New Planning Director

Bertoni returns to L.A.’s planning department after five years as Pasadena’s planning chief, where he oversaw that city’s general plan update. As a deputy planning director in Los Angeles, he oversaw the formation of 16 historic preservation overlay zones, new guidelines for the Broadway Historic District and a Hollywood community plan.

Long Beach Businesses Counteroffer on Wage Hike

POLITICS: Proposal aims to head off $15-an-hour spike with $12.50 plan.

Long Beach business groups’ proposal urges the city to step back from a $15 minimum-wage hike to $12.50.

Cadiz Shares Zoom

Shares of Los Angeles water and land resource company Cadiz Inc. rocketed nearly 27 percent Wednesday on news of an immediate $12 million cash injection from a land lease agreement.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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