Los Angeles Business Journal

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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