Los Angeles Business Journal

Plumber Aims To Seal Deals With Valves

Cesar Balbin plugs toilet flappers as way to cut water usage.

Reliance Home Services takes the plunger on giving away toilet flappers to win customers.

Area Advocate Discusses 25 Years in Downtown

NONPROFIT: Carol Schatz praises housing, restaurants; homelessness still concern.

Carol Schatz talks downtown L.A.’s revival during her 25 years at Central City Association.

Ex-Chief Exec Looks to Steer Retailer Into Sale

INTERNET: Mehran Nia says U.S. Auto Parts too small to be publicly held.

Co-founder and ex-CEO of U.S. Auto Parts looks to drive the online retailer into a sale.

Insurance Commissioner Urges Work Comp Rate Cut

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Friday announced he has recommended a 10 percent cut in the workers’ comp premium rate that insurers charge employers, the first such recommended cut in four years.

L.A. Restaurateurs Want Tips to Count Toward Minimum Wage

As Los Angeles city officials consider hiking the minimum wage to as much as $15.25 an hour, local restaurant owners on Monday proposed a lower wage level for servers who receive tips.

Java Maker Follows Pot of Gold to Lone Star State

COFFEE: Incentives light fire under Farmer Bros. to ditch L.A. for Dallas.

Texas brews up a range of incentives to spur Farmer Bros.’ relocation to the Lone Star State.

California Hopes Incentives Work to Create Jobs

DEVELOPMENT: State to hand out $69 million in tax credits to 94 companies.

The headlines are full of other states offering incentives for local companies to set up shop there, either by moving entirely or expanding.

Dad Goes to Bat for Fairness

Andrew Kugler just wanted to coach his daughter in a softball league. He never expected it would turn into a legal fight.

LAX’s Slurpee Runneth Over

International terminal lands only 7-Eleven store inside airport in United States.

LAX looks to have more in store for international travelers with the first 7-Eleven in a U.S. airport.

Judge Halts Millennium Hollywood Project

A state judge on Thursday halted plans for two massive and controversial skyscrapers in Hollywood, ruling that the city of Los Angeles failed to adequately assess the $1 billion project’s traffic and neighborhood impacts.

Anonymous Blogger Kicks Sand at Desert Aquifer

WATER: Cadiz’s shares hit by claims that pipeline plan heading for failure.

Anonymous blogger sinks stock of Cadiz on claims its desert aquifer plan is doomed to fail.

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Rate Runoff

Building owners look to tap tenants for water bills

Drought concerns open the door for landlords of older buildings to pass bills on to tenants.

San Gabriel Valley Growth to Continue

The San Gabriel Valley economy will continue its robust growth this year, adding more than 10,000 jobs and increasing total payrolls by $1.2 billion, according to an economic forecast to be released Tuesday morning from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Union Group Chief to Wage Pay-Hike Campaign

POLITICS: Rusty Hicks of labor federation backs bigger increase than L.A. mayor’s.

Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s new chief, Rusty Hicks, says a minimum-wage hike will pay off in more jobs.

Oil Firms Pumped Up to Fight Ban on Fracking

ENERGY: Industry groups ready to file suit if city of L.A. proposal goes through.

Oil industry opposition to a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the city of Los Angeles has ramped up, as trade groups have threatened to sue if such a ban is enacted.

City Might Run Greek Theatre

In the latest twist in the saga of who will get to operate the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, a city commission on Wednesday voted to not extend its contract with operator Nederlander Concernts and to instead turn over operation of the venue to the city.

Buses, Retailers Look for Break

TOURISM: Shops fear drop-off if Beverly Hills relocates stops.

Rodeo Drive businesses fear relocation of tour bus loading zones risks driving off potential customers.

20,000 Green Jobs Among Garcetti’s Environmental Goals

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced an ambitious plan to make the city more environmentally sustainable and to create 15,000 more “green” jobs by 2017.

Forecast: L.A. Economy to Continue Strong Growth This Year

The Los Angeles County economy will continue its strong growth this year and beyond, according to a forecast to be released this morning from Loyola Marymount University and Beacon Economics.

Business Groups Battle Bill on Schedule Changes

RETAIL: State lawmaker pushes penalties for chains that don’t provide notice.

It’s shaping up as one of the biggest battles between business and labor in Sacramento this year: AB 357, brought by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would enact a “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” modeled on a law recently passed in San Francisco.

Oil Company Finds Backer but Investors Back Off

ENERGY: BreitBurn’s plan to cut distribution trumps $1 billion investment.

$1 billion investment in BreitBurn fails to light a fire under shares of the oil and gas company.

Dockworkers to Vote on Port Labor Deal

A longshore union caucus voted Friday to recommend approval of the West Coast port labor agreement reached in February, sending the deal on to rank-and-file union members for a vote next month.

BreitBurn Secures $1 Billion Investment, Cuts Shareholder Distribution

BreitBurn Energy Partners, the debt-strapped Los Angeles oil partnership, has obtained $1 billion in financing from EIG Global Energy Partners of Washington D.C., the company announced late Sunday.

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High on Dry

LANDSCAPING: Sales of drought-resistant plants blossom at nurseries with help from government subsidies to cut back on grass.

Drought-resistant plants become hot items at nurseries, boosted by government subsidies to trim lawn space.

Passing Propane Torch

When Julie Johnson entered the propane business founded by her father 30 years ago, she stood out as one of the few women in a male-dominated industry. And it was her father who had to mentor her so she could take over one day, making sure the men in the industry respected her.

Briefs: Medbox Climbs, LMU Names New President, Kirk Douglas Donates

Medbox Climbs Medbox Inc. shares jumped 17 percent on Friday to $1.65 after the West Hollywood marijuana dispensing firm filed its first annual report and first regulatory filing since restating previous years’ financials.

Verengo Co-Founders Exit Leadership Posts; Marketing Exec New CEO

The co-founders of Torrance solar panel installer Verengo Solar are leaving their leadership posts as a tech marketing executive has been named as the new chief executive, the company announced Wednesday.

USC Receives $50 Million Donation from Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist for Brain Research Center

Silicon Valley venture capitalist and longtime USC benefactor Mark Stevens has donated another $50 million to the university for a brain research institute, USC officials were set to announce Wednesday.

Business, Labor Reports Not on Same Wage Page

POLITICS: Groups’ studies look at impact of different proposed pay increases.

When local business and labor groups came out with their respective studies on the impacts of hiking L.A.’s minimum wage last week, the fact that they came to different conclusions – business opposing and labor supporting – was not surprising.

Card Clubs Bet On Online Bill

GAMBLING: Casinos expect legal Internet poker to boost draw.

Local card clubs wager that they will draw more players if California OKs online poker.

L.A. Unemployment Drops Amid Broad Job Gains

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in February as the county added 25,000 jobs across almost every industry, according to state figures released Friday.

City Study Backs Wage Hike; Biz, Labor Release Dueling Studies

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated from an earlier version. Hiking L.A.’s minimum wage would bring more benefits than costs to both Los Angeles and the region, according to a long-awaited and controversial study released Thursday afternoon.

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Wage Hikes May Hit Tipping Point

DINING: State bill would cap pay for gratuity-receiving employees.

State bill would let restaurants skip out on paying increased minimum wages to tipped workers.

Coda Energy Names CEO

Monrovia energy storage company Coda Energy on Wednesday named veteran technology executive Paul Detering as the company’s first chief executive following its emergence from bankruptcy in 2013.

Mercury Agrees to $1 Million Fine to Settle Underwriting Practices Case

Mercury Insurance has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to settle a long-running case involving its underwriting practices, state Insurance Commissioner David Jones announced Tuesday.

California Resources Chooses Chatsworth for Headquarters

California Resources Corp., the recent spinoff from Occidental Petroleum Corp., is moving its headquarters to Chatsworth from Westwood, the company announced Monday.

Survey: L.A. Employers to Ramp Up Hiring Plans in Second Quarter

LA employers plan to hire at a solid pace during the second quarter, according to a survey to be released Tuesday by Manpower Inc.

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Piling It On

OhCal Foods rides acquisition to No. 1 in Subway franchising

Acquisition delivers the Subway franchise crown to OhCal Foods – and potentially a lot more bread.

Business Groups Rack Up Victories at Ballot Box

POLITICS: L.A. Chamber’s endorsements for measures, candidates go 13-2.

Local business groups fared pretty well by backing the winners in last week’s municipal elections.

Local Unemployment Rate Drops, More Jobs in County

Los Angeles County’s jobless rate dipped below 8 percent in January for the first time in nearly six years, according to state figures released Friday.

Garcetti Names Film Liaison; Announces Steps to Expedite Filming

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday named Kevin James as film liaison and announced several steps to expedite filming permits within the city.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Andrew Stalbow

Foreign-born business owners talk about how they sowed success by putting down roots in Los Angeles.

Investors Line Up for Firm’s Online Ad Exchange

INTERNET: Strong quarter maintains winning streak for Rubicon Project.

Online ad exchange operator Rubicon Project clicks with Wall Street after strong quarter.

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Business Group Walks on Wage

POLITICS: Organization bucks peers’ unity against pay hike.

Los Angeles Business Council works against other business groups with its support of a minimum-wage hike.

State Plastic Bag Ban Put on Hold as Ballot Referendum Qualifies

Plastic bag manufacturers and other opponents of a statewide ban on plastic bags have qualified a referendum for the November 2016 ballot, thereby putting the ban on hold, the California Secretary of State’s office said Tuesday.

Hoteliers See More Room for Incentives to Build

DEVELOPMENT: Business leaders say L.A.’s moves won’t bring projects to city.

Hotel execs welcome city of L.A.’s incentives but say they won’t inspire new projects to check in.

Business Groups Provide Election Endorsements

POLITICS: Jose Huizar earns consensus support for Los Angeles City Council.

Believe it or not, next Tuesday, March 3, is Election Day in Los Angeles and 28 other cities around Los Angeles County.

Hearing Execs Speak Volumes on Trip

Steven Sawalich, senior director of global media and philanthropy at Starkey Hearing Foundation in Playa Vista, has traveled to 75 countries during his time at the non-profit, which delivers hearing aids to people in need.

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Tight Market

Small-lot homes boom despite boos from neighbors

Small-lot homes have taken off in a big way, aided by cost savings versus condos and townhomes.

L.A. Economy to Grow, See Record Employment Level this Year

The good times should continue to roll for the local economy.

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