NBC Universal's Meyer, DreamWorks' Geffen Lead Talks

Universal Studios President Ron Meyer and DreamWorks SKG co-founder David Geffen are driving negotiations for NBC Universal to acquire DreamWorks, The New York Times reported. Meyer became interested in the closely held live-action division more than a year ago when DreamWorks was considering a public offering of its animation business. The two men have homes in Malibu and talk almost daily. They met when Meyer ran the Creative Artists Agency and Geffen worked with the Eagles, Joni Mitchell and other musicians. As of yet, the companies haven't consulted with outside bankers.


Noise Will Increase With LAX Runway Construction Project
Shifting a Los Angeles International Airport runway 55 feet south would unavoidably increase aircraft noise during construction, according to an environmental analysis released today of the first green-lighted project of the LAX modernization plan. The document, which analyzed environmental effects of the $288 million project, summarized construction-related noise impacts of moving the airport's runway closer to El Segundo. Because the project would involve the closure of the airport's southernmost runway for eight months and require the re-direction of air traffic, an increase in noise would be unavoidable, the document stated. Los Angeles World Airports officials said the effects of the project would be temporary and insignificant, the Daily Breeze reported.


Red-Light Cameras Paying Off for Gardena
A red-light camera issued the first $351 ticket in Gardena on March 11, and the city banked about $450,000 in the first four months of operation. Over the next year, the tally should hit $800,000, according to the city's budget. The money is said to be sorely needed in this city, which is barely making ends meet with a $35 million general fund while facing a $26 million bill for debt due Aug. 31. Under the city's contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, the equipment will cost the city about $6,000 per month. Redflex also contracts locally with Hawthorne, Inglewood and Culver City, the only other South Bay cities with these systems, the Daily Breeze reported.


Hard Choices May End Mayor's Honeymoon
Supporters say Antonio Villaraigosa's ability to finesse complicated issues is what makes him a skilled negotiator. Detractors knock him as a slick pol with a habit of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Sooner or later, of course, he will have to make difficult choices and he will inevitably make enemies. As a result, some observers say, it makes sense for the mayor to extend his honeymoon with the city's factions as long as possible. Some are commending the mayor for his handling of the issues that he has confronted in his first month, such as MTA spending and his belief that the mayor should have control over the ailing Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Times reported.


Local Cops May Lose Help in Meth War
Despite a surge in methamphetamine arrests and addiction, local law-enforcement agencies face severe budget cuts that could result in their drug programs being dismantled, officials said. An $800 million federal program, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants provides money for local drug task forces, as well as the state's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. The federal budget for fiscal 2005-2006 could cut the grant program in half or eliminate it entirely. Cutting is proposed because the Bush administration considers local task forces ineffective. Methamphetamine experts consider that view short-sighted, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

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