New High at L.A. Pumps

Los Angeles-area gasoline prices hit a record high on Wednesday, and analysts expect more increases as the devastation from Hurricane Katrina continues to roil energy markets. A gallon of regular sold for $2.834 on Wednesday, jumping 2.5 cents overnight and could be a preview of what's to come, said the Automobile Club of Southern California. The spot market price for a gallon of regular, which impacts retail prices, has soared 32 cents since Monday, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. California gets none of its crude oil and only a tiny percentage of its gasoline from the affected area, so it faces less of a supply problem.

No Cheers in Hollywood as Film Rival Flattened
Hurricane Katrina appears to be quickly washing away Louisiana's goal of becoming "Hollywood South," with several major studio films now halted in mid-production while other projects are now in question, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Louisiana was becoming nearly as big of a headache to the Southern California movie industry as the runaway-production capitol, Canada, with many projects being lured by generous tax incentives and a rapidly growing production infrastructure. The outgoing voicemail message at the New Orleans and Louisiana film commissions stated, "Due to Hurricane Katrina, production in New Orleans has been suspended indefinitely."

Housing to Buoy Southland
Southern California's economy will grow modestly in the next three to six months, thanks to an expected boost from housing construction, according to an indicator released today. Cal State Fullerton said its Southern California index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter. Four of the indicator's seven components were positive, led by a "relatively large" increase in regional building permits, the report said. Also positive were the interest rate spread, regional unemployment and nonfarm employment, the Los Angeles Times reported. The index projects economic activity for Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial counties.

Financial Turnaround for Olvera Overseer
The agency that runs historic Olvera Street has moved from the brink of financial disaster to fiscal stability, City Controller Laura Chick said Wednesday. Chick said the follow-up audit of the Department of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument may represent the first time her office has found such significant improvement. The accomplishment is noteworthy because 18 months ago the department had piles of unpaid bills. Since then, the department reorganized, staff was hired and back rents were collected from Olvera Street merchants. A new master lease agreement for Olvera Street merchants is pending before the City Council, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

Delgadillo Plays Up His Differences From Jerry Brown
Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo launched his campaign for California attorney general Wednesday, acknowledging a difficult primary election fight against fellow Democrat and former Gov. Jerry Brown. Delgadillo's announcement on the steps of the Capitol included two references to Brown, now the mayor of Oakland, as being "the son of a governor." Delgadillo sought to compare his upbringing in northeast Los Angeles with Brown's more privileged life as the son of former Gov. Pat Brown. Delgadillo is expected to engage in a fierce fight over urban crime, the death penalty, the three-strikes law and Brown's controversial past, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Proof of Area Code Overlay's Need Is Sought
South Bay lawmakers are uniting to demand proof that carriers have exhausted their pool of telephone numbers before the state's first overlay can be implemented in the 310 area code. Assemblyman Jerome Horton has introduced legislation that would overturn last week's Public Utilities Commission approval of a new 424 area code. The legislation would require the PUC to rescind its approval of the overlay and conduct a new accounting of numbers. The PUC could not approve a new overlay or split unless a study has been done in the area code within 18 months, the Daily Breeze reported. The measure is the latest development in a six-year battle to save the 310 area code.

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