POT SHOTS: Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley declared all medical marijuana dispensaries in the county are operating illegally, and said they'd be prosecuted. There are hundreds of dispensaries throughout the county operating under a 1996 voter initiative that allowed marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, and a subsequent state law that provided for collective cultivation. Based on a state Supreme Court decision last year, Cooley and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich have concluded that over-the-counter sales are illegal. Cooley said his office had already begun preparing to prosecute a Culver City dispensary called Organica.
COMEBACK TIME: California's manufacturing companies have already entered recovery mode, according to a quarterly survey from Chapman University. Job declines in the manufacturing category are continuing, however, and employment gains in paper and computer products aren't high enough to compensate for losses in other areas, such as chemicals, plastics and wood products. Despite the job losses, the fourth quarter survey shows the manufacturing sector expanding for the second consecutive quarter, led by a surge in new orders of high-tech items and nondurable goods.
FASHION FORWARD?: Hot Topic Inc., the teen clothing retailer based in City of Industry, said that same-store sales for September declined 4 percent. However, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a decline of 6.3 percent, making the company's negative performance a relative success. Analysts noted that the better-than-expected results didn't come from Hot Topic stores, but rather from Torrid, the company's smaller chain of extra-size clothing stores.
RADIO DAYS: The surprising rise of KFI-AM (640) to the top spot in August's local ratings wasn't just a one-time fluke. The news talk station retained its hold on the No. 1 spot in September's L.A. radio ratings with a 5 percent listener share, according to data by Arbitron Inc. Top 40 music powerhouse KIIS-FM (102.7), which had been the top-rated station in L.A. before August, was second with a 4.8 percent listener share. Classic hits station KRTH-FM (101.1) claimed third place with a 4.7 percent listener share, while adult contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) was fourth with 4.1 percent. The two stations had tied for third place in the August ratings.
DONE DEAL: Manhattan Bancorp, the holding company for Bank of Manhattan in El Segundo, announced it completed its investment in a startup mortgage brokerage run by three former Countrywide executives. The operation, known as Banc of Manhattan Capital, is a mortgage broker-dealer focused on institutional fixed-income trading. In the future, BOM may try to originate residential mortgages, according to a Manhattan Bancorp filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
OLYMPIC DEBT: The Los Angeles World Airports announced an agreement with United Airlines and UMB Bank to settle a debt dating from the 1984 Olympics. The deal covers outstanding bonds with a principal of $59.3 million that were issued to build terminals 7 and 8 at Los Angeles International Airport to accommodate traffic for the Olympics. Bondholders will receive $75 million as settlement for all of their claims, which now exceed $94 million.
MERGER WOES: The U.K. Competition Commission provisionally ruled against the proposed merger of live entertainment companies Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc., saying it would stifle a prospective competitor from Germany, CTS Eventim. Possible remedies include prohibition of the merger, divestment of some of Ticketmaster's or Live Nation's U.K. operations, or requiring Live Nation to use CTS or another company to sell tickets for Live Nation's U.K. events.
DEBT TERMS: One of American Apparel Inc.'s big lenders has agreed temporarily to waive a requirement that the company maintain a specific debt-to-earnings ratio. The wavier covers $80 million that Lion Capital loaned to American Apparel in March. The money came with the condition that the L.A.-based clothing manufacturer maintain a ratio of total debt to earnings of 2.2 to 1. The waiver will last until Nov. 14. American Apparel continues to negotiate deals to help its financial situation, but "the company can provide no assurance that it will be able to secure such amendments or extensions," according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
FILM SUPPORT: The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a series of modest recommendations aimed at slowing the migration rate of TV and film production to other cities and states. The 17 recommendations include having the city evaluate a business tax credit for building owners that make their properties available for filming at "reasonable rate," and a sales tax refund for purchases made for filming when at least 75 percent of the shooting is done within the city. The council also agreed to offer city parking lots for free to film crews that shoot after hours or on weekends and to increase the availability of power nodes downtown that film production companies could use in lieu of generators.
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