Hahn, Villaraigosa Lock Up Backers

Mayoral contender Antonio Villaraigosa won the support Wednesday of several San Fernando Valley community leaders while incumbent James Hahn picked up the endorsement of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Councilman Bernard Parks, the former police chief who finished fourth in the election, is expected to announce this week who he will endorse. He has been said to be leaning toward Villaraigosa.

Agency OKs Appeals to Stop LAX Modernization Plan
A county agency gave preliminary approval Wednesday to appeals by El Segundo and county officials that aim to prevent the city of Los Angeles from moving forward with revamping Los Angeles International Airport, Copley News Service reported. The appeals contend that the airport plan falls short of state requirements by failing to protect nearby residents from excessive noise and safety hazards. The Airport Land Use Commission has until April 30 to take up written appeals.

USC Study Figures Local Tsunami Cost
A USC study released today concludes Southern California would experience "grave economic consequences" with losses reaching $43 billion from a tsunami-caused landslide off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Daily Breeze reported. The costs do not include damage caused by the earthquake. The study examines four different scenarios of increasing severity. Depending on the scenario, economic losses ranged from $7 billion to $43.5 billion. In the worst case, both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would be out of commission for a year. The study, which appears in the April issue of Civil Engineering magazine, is the first effort by scientists to try to quantify economic losses from a tsunami.

Angelenos' Yearly Commute Equivalent to 10 Full Days
Enduring commutes far worse than most Americans, Southern Californians spend nearly 240 hours a year driving to their jobs, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday. The census data are part of the bureau's newer American Community Survey, which compiles information on a yearly basis instead of the traditional once-a-decade census, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. L.A. County residents spent 28.7 minutes on their one-way trip to work, about the same as Los Angeles city residents who spent 29 minutes getting to work. L.A. city residents' commutes ranked sixth worst in the nation.

Will Disney, Pixar Iron Out a Deal to Work Together?
The Walt Disney Co.'s amicable divorce this week from Miramax co-founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein brings to the forefront its troubled partnership with Pixar Animation Studios, which remains unsettled, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. With Disney CEO Michael D. Eisner stepping down in September and his predecessor Robert Iger already calling some shots, there is a general feeling in the Hollywood community that there may be room for more conciliatory talks since the current contract does not expire until next year. Pixar has not yet aligned itself with another studio.

Northrop CEO's Compensation Up 18 Percent
Northrop Grumman Corp. paid Chief Executive Ronald Sugar $6.91 million in 2004, an 18 percent increase over the previous year. He also received 250,000 options worth $3.79 million, Bloomberg News reported. Sugar earned $1.28 million in salary in 2004, compared with $1.04 million in 2003, the Century City-based company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sugar's bonus climbed 17 percent to $3.1 million.

Union Pays $8 Million to End Claims
A sprawling union local representing more than 100,000 home-care workers in Southern California has paid $8 million to settle claims that some workers it represented were overcharged in dues, the Los Angeles Times reported. Service Employees International Union Local 434B mailed checks this week averaging less than $100 each to 97,000 claimants. The payment was the final chapter in a lawsuit filed three years ago by the Virginia-based National Right to Work Legal Foundation, which has challenged union dues collection in hundreds of similar suits across the country.

Jesus Doll Ready for Market
A Jesus doll that quotes the Bible at the push of a button is the star of a Messengers of Faith collection set to be released in June by Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. that hopes the secular market is ready for the toys, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Also part of the series are Barbie-size Moses, David and Virgin Mary dolls. The company already markets a teddy bear that sings "Jesus Loves Me." The 12-inch figures, meant for children 4 to 10, will sell for $24.99.

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