Carson Officials See Megamall as 'Turning Point' for City

After the Carson City Council gave up on trying to snag a $500 million professional football stadium, the city signed up with a developer this week to build restaurants, movie theaters and places to shop. The Hopkins Real Estate Group, along with partner Lennar Homes, plans to create a 2-million-square-foot shopping oasis the Carson Marketplace on a 157-acre former landfill that sits between the San Diego (405) and Harbor (110) freeways, commonly called the MetroMall site. The Marketplace project is valued at $710 million and could generate $5.6 million annually in city property tax increment, $4.9 million in city sales tax revenues and 2,570 permanent jobs, the Daily Breeze reported.

Voice Actors Reach Video Game Deal
Negotiators representing actors who voice characters in video games reached a tentative contract settlement with game publishers late Wednesday, ending a lengthy dispute over how much actors should be paid. The contract provides for a 36 percent rise in minimum wages paid over 3 1/2 years and various benefit increases. But it does not grant any form of residuals on top-selling games, a demand companies had fought, the Los Angeles Times reported. The roughly 2,000 actors affected are represented by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. National leaders of both unions must sign off on the proposed agreements before July 1, but member ratification is not required.

Port Officials Delay Budget OK at Villaraigosa's Request
Port officials postponed approving their annual budget Wednesday, deferring to Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa, who requested the delay citing stagnant port revenue projections, the Daily Breeze reported. The flattened revenue figures, Villaraigosa said, require further review and possibly spending adjustments in the 2005-2006 budget to reflect the "more realistic levels." It marked Villaraigosa's first foray into port business as he prepares to take office July 1. Harbor commissioners scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday to consider the $693.5 million budget.

U.S. Faces Becoming as Diverse as L.A's
One of every seven people in the U.S., and one of every three in California, is Hispanic, a record number that probably will keep rising because of immigration and a birth rate outstripping non-Hispanic whites and blacks, according to a Census Bureau report released today. In the city of Los Angeles and the county as a whole, one in every two people is Hispanic, according to officials. Preliminary 2004 estimates show Hispanics make up 46.7 percent of the Los Angeles County population - up from 44.5 percent a year ago and an increase of about 131,640 people. In L.A., about 48 percent of the population is Hispanic, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

New Mayor to Lead MTA Board
Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday he will exercise his right to become board chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when he is sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles on July 1, and will use the post to tackle transit issues throughout Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported. The mayor-elect discussed his leadership plan for the MTA on a busy day when he also called for a report on restricting noisy jets at Van Nuys Airport and held his first one-on-one post-election meeting with Mayor James K. Hahn to discuss the transition. After assuming the chairmanship, Villaraigosa said he will ask the MTA staff to report on how to implement transit projects he proposed during his campaign.

Broken Rail Joint to Blame in Pico Rivera Train Crash
A broken rail joint caused last year's freight train derailment that forced 100 people from their homes and caused $2.7 million in damage, federal regulators concluded. The Union Pacific train went off the rails on Oct. 16 because a joint that connected two, 133-pound rails failed, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a report adopted May 31. In the wake of the accident, Union Pacific re-inspected all the joint bars and found a few defective ones but nothing systemic that required total replacement, the Associated Press reported.

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