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Howard Fine

Stories by Howard

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Held Steady at 4.6 Percent in October Despite Job Gains

L.A. County’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.6 percent in October even as the county added more than 43,000 jobs to reach a record high employment level, according to state figures released Nov. 16.

State Regulators Launch Probe Into Cause of Woolsey Fire

Southern California Edison, a utility subsidiary of Rosemead-based Edison International, announced on Nov. 8 that a problem with its transmission grid occurred near the point of origin of the massive Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Forward Push

Interim President Wanda Austin looks to guide USC out of scandal-plagued period

Madame president

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Southwest Airlines Adds Flights at Burbank, Ontario Airports

Southwest Airlines on Nov. 15 announced it was adding flights at Hollywood Burbank and Ontario International airports, starting in June.

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UPDATED: Ontario Now Largest Outbound Freight Market in U.S.

Ontario is now the top market for shipments of outbound cargo in the U.S., according to trade magazine FreightWaves.

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Gov. Brown Nominates Former L.A. Attorney Joshua Groban for State Supreme Court Seat

Gov. Jerry Brown on Nov. 14 nominated his longtime judicial appointments advisor and former L.A. attorney Joshua Groban for a seat on the state Supreme Court, the governor’s office announced.

LA Region Loses Out in Amazon HQ Derby, But LAEDC Sees a Silver Lining

Los Angeles may have lost out on its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, but the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said there was a silver lining for the city in the tech giant’s decision: The partnerships and cooperation among the county’s many jurisdictions during the Amazon bid process should boost future business attraction and retention efforts.

Edison Shares Plunge After Utility Announced Grid Incident Occurred Prior to Start of Woolsey Fire

State Regulators Launch Probe into Cause of Woolsey Fire

Shares of Rosemead-based Edison International fell 12 percent on Nov. 12 after its utility subsidiary Southern California Edison announced that a problem with its transmission grid occurred near the point of origin of the massive Woolsey Fire now burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Foothill Glendora to Montclair Rail Line Project Scaled Back as Projected Costs Mount

Two of four bidding teams dropped

The authority tasked with building a 12-mile rail extension from Glendora to Montclair in the East San Gabriel Valley announced Nov. 12 that it was scaling back the project due to rising costs and that two of the four bidding teams have been dropped.

Azusa, Whittier Chosen as Most Business-Friendly Cities by LAEDC

Azusa and Whittier were chosen as the most business-friendly cities in the county for 2018 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., the nonprofit announced late Nov. 8.

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Hyperloop One Taps Transit Vet

TRANSPORTATION: UAE port exec also selected as board chairman

Virgin Hyperloop One brings on former NYC transit head as new chief executive.

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ASU Furthers LA Expansion

EDUCATION: University plans business partnerships

Arizona State University expanding in L.A.

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Construction Rises: Local Firms Show Big Growth During Region’s Building Boom

Fastest-Growing Private Companies 2018

No glass ceiling for Giroux

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Virgin Hyperloop One Elects Former N.Y. Transit Chief as New CEO

Virgin Hyperloop One, the downtown L.A. company developing a high-speed magnetic levitation transport system, announced Nov. 8 that former New York City transit chief Jay Walder, has been appointed as its new CEO.

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Compton Warehouse Building Sold for $11M to Terreno Realty

A Compton warehouse building currently occupied by an apparel distribution company has been sold to San Francisco industrial real estate company Terreno Realty Corp. for $11.1 million, Terreno announced Nov. 8.

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AeroVironment Wins $3.2M Defense Contract for Drones

Monrovia-based AeroVironment Inc. announced Nov. 6 that it has been awarded a $3.2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to provide a fleet of small drones to an unspecified nation under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which covers most of south and east Asia and Australia.

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Hazardous Waste Suit Filed Against Battery Recycler Quemetco

The state filed suit Oct. 31 against City of Industry-based Quemetco Inc. alleging that its battery recycling facility had 29 violations of state hazardous waste control law, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control said in a press release issued Nov. 2.

Up In Air

Parsons’ Mexico City airport contract could disappear

The fate of a $100 million-plus contract held by Pasadena-based Parsons Corp. to manage the construction of a $13 billion airport in Mexico City has been thrown up in the air

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Car Rental Facility Gets Green Light

City Council approves $2 billion LAX project

The Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 31 unanimously approved a $2 billion contract for a consortium of 11 companies to build and operate a consolidated car rental facility near Los Angeles International Airport.

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Eagle Crest Project Gets Boost

ENERGY: Federal bill contains provision that could extend key deadline

Eagle Crest Energy Co. Inc., the Santa Monica company seeking to build a $2.5 billion pumped-energy storage project at an abandoned mine near Joshua Tree National Park, received an apparent federal boost last month

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Edison Expects Material Losses

INFRASTRUCTURE: Fire investigation reveals likely culpability, company says

Edison International on Oct. 30 revealed that an internal investigation found its Southern California Edison utility equipment was “associated with” one of the ignition points of the massive Thomas Fire last December

Local Airport Passenger Volume Mixed in September: LAX, Ontario Up, Long Beach Down

JetBlue Cutbacks at Long Beach Leave Airport Feeling Blue

Passenger traffic at three Los Angeles area airports in September was mixed, with a large gain at Ontario International Airport, a slight increase at Los Angeles International Airport and a drop at Long Beach Airport. But all three airports posted solid gains for the nine months year-to-date.

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L.A. Approves $2B Consolidated Car Rental Facility Near LAX

The Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 31 unanimously approved a $2 billion contract for a consortium of 11 companies to build and operate a consolidated car rental facility near Los Angeles International Airport.

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Edison Says Company Equipment Tied to Thomas Fire; Expects 'Material Losses' as Result

Edison International on Oct. 30 revealed that an internal investigation found that its Southern California Edison utility equipment was “associated with” one of the ignition points of the massive Thomas Fire last December and that as a result, the company expects “to incur material losses” in connection with the fire.

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Trade Troubles

Trans-Pacific tensions weigh on consumer confidence in L.A. County

L.A.’s consumer sentiment index drops as trade war heats up.

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SolarReserve Receives $2M Federal Grant for Solar Power Research

Santa Monica solar thermal power developer SolarReserve announced Oct. 25 that it has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for further research and development of its solar thermal power technology.

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Biofuel Producer World Energy to Spend $350M to Upgrade Paramount Refinery

World Energy, a Boston-based biofuel producer that bought a diesel and jet fuel refinery in Paramount earlier this year, announced Oct. 24 a $350 million upgrade to the facility, turning it into the largest biofuel refiner in California.

United Pacific Buys 39 Local Gas Stations

Long Beach gas station operator United Pacific announced Oct. 22 that it has acquired 39 gas station and convenience store properties – mostly in L.A. County – from Ventura-based Macland Investments.

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Perspective on L.A.’s Private Companies

Changes in L.A. economy reflected in private cos. lists

Manufacturing and real estate-related companies have declined in prominence on the Business Journal’s private companies lists over the past 20 years while architecture/engineering/construction, finance and wholesale/ distribution firms have grown their presence.

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Delta Air Lines to Launch Ontario Airport to Atlanta Service in April

Delta Air Lines announced Oct. 19 that it will launch daily nonstop service between Ontario International Airport and Atlanta in April, marking the third carrier with transcontinental flights from the Inland Empire airport.

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Airport Commissioners Approve $2B Contract for LAX Car Rental Facility

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners on Oct. 18 approved a $2 billion, 28-year contract to a consortium of 11 companies to design, build and operate a consolidated car rental facility near Los Angeles International Airport.

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L.A. County Unemployment Rate Ticked Up to 4.6 Percent in September Despite Job Gains

L.A. County’s unemployment rate edged up to 4.6 percent in September even as the county recorded sizable job gains in the education sector, according to state figures released Oct. 19.

Defense Dollars

Latest report pegs spending in L.A. County sector at $6.2 billion annually

Breakdown of defense dollars in L.A. County.

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Forecast: Slower Job Growth Ahead

Economy: Unemployment rate expected to remain low in tight market

Forecast sees slower job growth.

Report: L.A. City Economy Boomed in 2017

The Los Angeles city economy boomed last year, registering more than 2 percent job growth over the previous year, a 25 percent jump in the valuation of building permits and a 7.5 percent increase in business gross receipts taxes, according to a report released Oct. 17 from Beacon Economics.

SCE Fined $8M for Alleged Safety Violations Uncovered After Fallen Powerline Incident

State regulators announced Oct. 16 that they have fined Southern California Edison $8 million for alleged safety violations uncovered after a 2015 fallen powerline incident in the Mojave Desert community Twentynine Palms.

Spark Networks to Pay Fine, Refunds for Automatic Credit Card Renewals

Billing transparency required for Spark dating sites including Jdate and Christian Mingle

Spark Networks USA Inc., the parent company of niche dating sites Christian Mingle and Jdate, has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and refund nearly $1 million to settle charges from the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office of automatically renewing credit card charges for subscriptions without customers’ consent.

CSU Dominguez Hills Receives $4.5M Grant for College-Prep Programs in Compton

California State University, Dominguez Hills has received a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of low-income students in the Compton Unified School District in a program to help preparing them for college, the university announced Oct. 12.

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BizFed Opposes 3 Ballot Measures

BizFed Opposes 3 Ballot Measures

BizFed weighs in against trio of ballot measures.

BizFed Name Heads North

ORGANIZATIONS: Brand, model in use by new group

The Los Angeles County Business Federation has launched a franchise venture.

Edison Still Not Fireproof

UTILITIES: State offset on liabilities not retroactive

Edison International could be on the hook for up to $4 billion in damages from recent fires.

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Lobbyists Set Up Shop in DC

SERVICES: Vectis Strategies hires pair of former congressman for office

Lobbyists open satellite shop in D.C.

Long Beach Airport Opens Reconstructed Runway for General Aviation

Long Beach officials marked the opening of reconstructed runway at Long Beach Airport for general aviation on Oct. 11.

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L.A. Prices Rose 0.5 Percent in September

Annual inflation rate remains steady at 3.9 percent

Consumer prices in the Los Angeles area rose 0.5 percent in September, but the annual inflation rate held steady at 3.9 percent, according to data released Oct. 11 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Parsons Joins Contractors in Exide Battery Clean Up

Parsons Environment and Infrastructure Group Inc., a unit of Pasadena-based Parsons Corp., has been added as a contractor to clean up properties near the former Exide Technologies battery recycling plant, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control announced Oct. 10.

Metropolitan Water District Board Selects New Chair

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a downtown-based water wholesale cooperative, selected local water official Gloria Gray as its new chair.

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Local Lobbying Firm Vectis Opens DC Office with Two Former Congressmen

Vectis Strategies, an El Segundo government relations and lobbying firm, has opened a Washington D.C. office with two former California congressmen as partners, the firm announced Oct. 11.

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LMU Receives $1M Federal Grant for International Business Education Program

Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration has received a grant of more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to expand international business education initiatives over the next four years, the university announced Oct. 10.

Cadiz Promises $5 Million to Mojave Water Systems

Cadiz Inc., the downtown water company with a proposed project to pump and transport water from an aquifer beneath its Mojave Desert land holdings, announced Oct. 5 that it plans to donate up to $5 million from project revenue towards efforts to improve water quality at nearby water systems and throughout Southern California.

Cadiz Promises $5M in Mojave

UTILITIES: Funds for water systems would come from project’s revenue

Cadiz Inc. donates $5 million toward improving water quality.

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