Iger Says Disney to Pare Miramax

Less than two weeks before he takes over as CEO of The Walt Disney Co., Bob Iger said the Burbank-based company will be scaling down the output from its Miramax Films division now that founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein have departed, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Iger said at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference in New York that he now expects from four to six low-budget film releases from Miramax going forward and that overall, Disney is "reducing dramatically" its investment in live-action films. He said the company's studio division has better returns and across-the-company leverage when it invests in Disney-branded movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean," which has two sequels in the works.

PUC Plans Incentives to Save Energy
Utility regulators today are expected to approve an aggressive conservation program that could slash energy costs for homes and businesses by more than $5 billion and eliminate the need to build three large power plants over the next three years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The California Public Utilities Commission's plan would require investor-owned electricity and natural gas utilities to administer $1.97 billion of energy-efficiency incentives ,rebates for buying items like high-tech refrigerators and adding home insulation, that would be paid for by ratepayers. By committing to a 62 percent increase in annual spending through 2008, the state is making energy efficiency the first line of defense against power shortages. Encouraging conservation is the quickest way to save money and protect the environment, proponents said.

MTA Mulls Buying Nearly 200 Buses
The MTA board today will consider spending $125 million to buy nearly 200 buses to fulfill a court order mandating better service as part of its consent decree with the Bus Riders Union. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposes spending $79 million for 94 articulated buses the double-long coaches that seat more passengers than standard buses and at least $45 million on 100 smaller buses, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The MTA said the procurements would satisfy a court order issued in April to buy 134 express buses, as well as a 2004 mandate to replace existing buses that need to be retired. But the Bus Riders Union said the latest plan is inadequate and that it will urge the MTA board, chaired by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to reject it.

Boeing Settles Suits Tied to Rocketdyne
Boeing Co. has settled a group of lawsuits brought by residents who said contamination from a Rocketdyne plant caused cancer and other illnesses. Terms of the agreement, which settles cases dating back to 1997, were confidential, Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said Wednesday , the same day jury selection was scheduled to start in the case in federal court in Los Angeles. Residents contended that chemical and radiological pollutants from the site caused a wide range of cancers, disfigured growths, autoimmune disorders and tumors, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Westsiders Don't Shrink From Growth Fight
The Westside is in the midst of one of its biggest building spurts in decades, heightening concerns of residents and community leaders that the area has reached saturation and that its clogged roads cannot tolerate further development, the Los Angeles Times reported. A number of large projects are underway or in the works, stretching from Century City , a nonstop construction zone where one high-rise tower is being built and four more are being planned , to Santa Monica, where the owner of aging Santa Monica Place seeks to replace it with residential towers, parks and retail shops. The fiercest battle over growth is raging in Westwood, where residents are expected to turn out by the hundreds today to protest the federal government's proposals to redevelop the Veterans Affairs campus.

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