Mayoral Gala Celebrates Los Angeles

As he prepares to take office Friday, Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa brought some glitz and glamour back to Los Angeles politics, along with a healthy contribution to the LA Best after-school program, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Singer Natalie Cole entertained the black-tie and gowned crowd of 1,500 guests who paid a minimum of $500 to dance in the Music Center courtyard to the music of Tito Puente Jr. with the Johnny Polanco y Su Conjunto Amistad as actor Jimmy Smits served as master of ceremonies. Officials estimated the event raised more than $2 million for L.A.'s Best by far its most successful fundraiser in its history.


Del Amo Financial Center Sold
A Los Angeles-based private investment group bought the Del Amo Financial Center in Torrance for $68 million in what may be the city's biggest office deal, the Daily Breeze reported. Jamison Properties, L.A. County's biggest landlord, purchased the 350,255-square-foot office complex, said Grubb & Ellis Co., the real estate services firm that represented the buyer and seller. The office complex was sold by San Diego-based Southwest Value Partners. Jamison Properties has no plans to change the property, except to improve the occupancy rate. That rate was 70 percent, below the 88 percent occupancy rate of the Torrance office market.


Panel Advances 310 Area Code Bill
A Senate committee Thursday approved legislation that would ask the Public Utilities Commission to develop a complete accounting of available numbers in the 310 area code before an overlay or area code split is considered in 2007. The measure has been significantly weakened through its tortuous path in the Legislature, going from spelling out specific accountability requirements for the phone companies to its present form that is merely a recommendation, the Daily Breeze reported. The legislation is another round in a six-year battle by many South Bay residents and businesses who suspect that phone companies have not been fully forthcoming over the amount of phone numbers still available within the 310 area code.


Disney Execs Iger and Staggs to Get Big Stock Option Awards
Walt Disney Co.'s incoming chief executive, Robert Iger, and Chief Financial Officer Thomas O. Staggs are getting sizable stock option awards as part of their compensation for the year, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Wednesday, Iger was awarded options to acquire 274,241 Disney common shares at a strike price of $25.80. Staggs received 125,367 stock options at the same exercise price, SEC filings said. The grants vest over three years beginning in June 2006, according to the filings.


AAA: 4th of July Travel Could Set Record
AAA says the Fourth of July weekend beginning today could see more Americans traveling than ever before. AAA estimates more than 40 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home over the long weekend. The vast majority will be heading out on the highway to visit family and friends or to hit the beaches. And the travel service says higher gasoline prices won't be keeping Americans home. Pump prices are up, on average, roughly 24 cents a gallon over what they were a year ago, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

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