Los Angeles Business Journal

Water Woes

Even though statewide water usage was cut by 27 percent in June, officials are concerned Californians may become less worried about saving water in anticipation of El Niño, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Plot Thickens at Relativity

Ryan Kavanaugh, the billionaire chief of Relativity Media, is positioning himself to retain control of the company - minus some assets - in the wake of its bankruptcy filing, according to the New York Times.

Debate Over DWP Rate Hikes

By raising water and power rates, DWP officials say they will be able to fix an aging infrastructure and conserve water. But higher utility rates would also boost the city’s coffers by more than $100 million if the City Council approves a five-year package of increases, the Los Angeles Times reports, and some ratepayers are challenging the proposed increase.

‘No’ to Paramount Plan

A Paramount Pictures proposal to shorten the time between the end of a movie’s theatrical release and its availability on home video to 17 days isn’t sitting well with some big chains, including Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest exhibitor, the Los Angeles Times reports. Theater operators say a shorter window could keep potential moviegoers home, hurting ticket sales.

Call for Accountability

San Diego Coastkeeper, an environmental group, has gone to court to force the San Diego County Water Authority to do more to account for the potential environmental effects of a water desalination plant scheduled to be completed this fall in Carlsbad, the Los Angeles Times reports. Water authority officials say a mitigation plan has been put in place, and the environmental effects are being accounted for by the developer Poseidon Water.

Mixed Feelings About Beijing Olympics

While Los Angeles officials mull a bid to host the 2024 Olympics, Beijing was chosen Friday to host the 2022 Winter Games, becoming the first city to host both the winter and summer events, Bloomberg reports. The choice came despite Beijing having little natural snow and concerns about China’s track record on human rights.

Sneaking in ‘I Do’s’

If you’re thinking of getting married at Disneyland on the cheap – well, for free – you might want to follow in the footsteps of a San Francisco couple that recently sneaked into the park’s Enchanted Tiki Room, with 25 guests in tow, to exchange vows earlier this month, LAist reports. They had a four-minute window to get in their “I do’s,” but they made it work, and didn’t get caught.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones Industrial average was down 33 points in early trading Friday to 17,713. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,109. The Nasdaq was up seven points to 5,135. The LABJ Stock Index was up three points to 247.

Council Rethinking Uber at the Airport

Six council members, citing fairness and safety concerns, are now saying “not so fast” to a decision earlier this month by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners to allow ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to pick up riders at LAX, the Los Angeles Times reports. The council members want to closely examine the airport’s new rules, and if the motion passes next week, it could override the pro-Uber policy.

Unpermitted Park Vending Ban Back

The ban on vending at parks and beaches without a permit was reinstated by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, meaning sellers could face fines and possibly misdemeanor charges, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some complain the ban targets mom-and-pop vendors and could make it difficult for immigrants facing such charges to become citizens.

Sluggish Economy

Economic growth is still slow going with the gross domestic product growing just 2.3 percent in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning. The expected growth rate was 2.7 percent – itself modest. Some economists expect growth to pick up in the second half of the year. Then again, they’ve been predicting that for years.

Greenspan: Entitlement Spending at ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Level

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns an increase in government spending on social benefits is at “extremely dangerous” levels for the economy, CNBC reports. Such spending was 19.2 percent of the gross domestic product last year, up from 15.5 percent in 2005, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Feinstein’s New Drought-Relief Bill

In an effort to get Congress to pass legislation to help California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is proposing a drought-relief bill which would include using $1.3 billion over the next decade for storage, desalination and other projects, the Los Angeles Times reports. Still, questions remain, including whether environmentalists will support it, and if a compromise can be reached with a Republican-backed bill that has been approved by the House.

Oil Slick Spotted in Santa Barbara

Just when things were looking up in Santa Barbara, now a nearly 4-mile long oil slick is back, sparking new concerns in the area, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials say it could be natural seepage or possibly a remnant of last May’s oil spill caused by a ruptured pipeline which spilled more than 21,000 gallons of crude into the ocean, but they’re awaiting test results to find out for sure.

Export-Import Bank Fails to Get Revived

Those hoping for the reopening of the Export-Import Bank were given bad news Wednesday when the House approved a highway funding bill that excluded a reauthorization of the bank's charter, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Senate is expected to follow the footsteps of the House. Supporters argue the Ex-Im bank helps companies sell their products abroad. Opponents argue the bank mainly helps big businesses, which donate to politicians to keep the bank’s spigot open for them.