On Thursday, coastal-access advocates set foot on the sand at David Geffen's sprawling beachfront estate, some for the first time, celebrating the opening of a 9-foot-wide public pathway to the ocean in Malibu. Creation of the walkway came after Geffen reluctantly made good on a 22-year-old legal promise to let the public onto part of Carbon Beach, east of the Malibu Pier. The public will have access to the path as well as most of the beach in front of the Geffen estate. Geffen installed video security cameras that scanned the paved path off Pacific Coast Highway and beachfront in front of his house, watching for "trespassers" stepping onto his private sand, the Los Angeles Times said.
DreamWorks Hopes 'Madagascar' Helps Tame Wall Street Complaints
Just seven months after the company went public, DreamWorks Animation SKG has been chastened by the pummeling it took this month from investors, who hammered the company's stock when earnings fell well short of expectations. Investors and analysts criticized the company and Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg for failing to cushion the blow by preparing investors for the earnings shortfall as a more seasoned public company might have done. Now, DreamWorks hopes to make amends and reignite investor interest with "Madagascar." Regaining Wall Street's trust is especially important because DreamWorks is weighing a secondary stock offering to allow some of its key shareholders to divest a portion of their holdings. When that offering happens hinges on how "Madagascar" performs, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Non-profit Might Gain Windfall After Failure of Project
A nonprofit corporation headed by Harbor Commissioner James Acevedo stands to make a handsome windfall on land it bought in Winnetka for low-income rental housing that was never built, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The parcel was bought nearly four years ago with a $485,000 loan from the state, but soaring costs in construction materials and other problems led to delays. Now, the city's Community Redevelopment Agency plans to pay as much as $1.9 million for the property, reflecting the rise in property values, and use it for a scaled-back home-ownership project for families whose incomes are not as low. The CRA offer came after the state demanded that the property be turned over because the borrower failed to move ahead on the planned project.
L.A. City Council to Decide Fate of China Shipping Deal
A $22.2 million agreement to settle a claim made by China Shipping for delays in opening the company's terminal will go before the Los Angeles City Council for final approval now that the harbor commission signed off on the pact this week, the Daily Breeze reported. The Shanghai-based China Shipping Holding Co. asked the port for $42 million in March 2004 to cover the cost of the delays and other expenses resulting from a legal settlement on the project, although port officials this week said the company's initial demand was $72.7 million. A long period of negotiations followed, culminating in the agreement for the lesser amount approved Wednesday by commissioners.
Patients Sue for Amgen Experimental Drug
Two Parkinson's disease patients asked a judge on Thursday to force Amgen Inc. to supply them with an experimental drug that the Thousand Oaks-based biotech company insists could harm them, the Associated Press reported. Amgen ended a clinical trial for GDNF last year after it "made the decision that the drug presented an unreasonable risk," Mark Gately, the company's attorney, told U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan. In April, patients Robert Suthers and Niwana Martin sued Amgen, claiming GDNF had improved their condition. Physicians who administered the drug agreed it was working, said Alan Milstein, a lawyer for the patients. The judge will issue a written ruling as soon as possible.
Rapid Buses Not in MTA Budget
The MTA board on Thursday approved its $2.8 billion budget for 2005-2006 despite objections over cutting rail operations and failing to expand bus service, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. While the budget allocates $4 million to provide beefed-up sheriff's patrols for the Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley, it does not include money for 134 Rapid buses ordered to comply with a consent decree to expand service. Transit advocates also decried the loss of the late-night run on the Gold Line, Green Line and the portion of the Red Line from Wilshire Boulevard/Western Avenue to Union Station. MTA estimated that cutting rail service would save $1.4 million.
NBC Universal TV Studio Names President
Veteran NBC programming executive Angela Bromstad has been named president of NBC Universal Television Studio, the General Electric Co. unit announced this week. For the last year, Bromstad served as co-president with David Kissinger as the two merged NBC's studio with Universal's larger operation after NBC's acquisition of Vivendi Universal's entertainment properties. Kissinger, who ran Universal's TV studio for more than five years, stepped down to become president of comedian Conan O'Brien's firm Conaco Productions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mortgage Venture Targets Latinos
Countrywide Financial Corp. announced a venture Thursday to expand mortgage lending to the Southland's Latinos, amid criticism that it and other lenders aren't adequately serving that fast-growing community, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Calabasas-based mortgage lender said it would provide home loans through a bank owned by TELACU, a non-profit economic development corporation based in East Los Angeles. As growth in home sales and refinancings among white borrowers is expected to slow, large players like Countrywide are seeking to expand market share and loan volume in "emerging markets": immigrants and minority borrowers who often have a harder time qualifying for mortgages.
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