SMOKING BAN: The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a ban on smoking in outdoor cafes, food courts and within 40 feet of mobile food trucks. Violators face fines of up to $250, but the measure will be self-enforced along with the rest of the city’s smoking laws, which already ban smoking at parks, beaches and within 25 feet of playgrounds, sports fields and picnic areas. In expanding the ban, the city is following the lead of several neighboring communities such as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Calabasas.
MEDI-POT: After years of controversy and weeks of debate, the Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval to a medical marijuana ordinance that requires pot shops to be at least 1,000 feet from places where children congregate, such as schools, parks and libraries. The ordinance caps the number of dispensaries at 70, but allows some exceptions for registered dispensaries that opened prior to a 2007 moratorium; those dispensaries could total in the hundreds. The council has to take a second vote this week because the initial 11-3 vote fell short of the 12-0 tally an ordinance needs to pass on the first reading.
NEW NAME: Warner Bros. Entertainment has rebranded its in-house New Line Records music label WaterTower Music and expanded its scope to marketing the soundtracks of all its films. The rebranding will allow the label to clearly communicate its new role in supporting all divisions within Warner Bros. Entertainment. WaterTower will be led by L.A.-based Jason Linn, who created the label in 2000 at New Line Cinema. The label’s most recent successes include a Grammy nomination for the “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” soundtrack.
ACQUISITION: Broadcast Facilities Inc. acquired the Atlanta-based satellite services division of Crawford Communications Inc. to expand services it can offer to major broadcasters and media companies. The L.A. company, which owns the Andrita Media Center production facility near downtown Los Angeles, said the acquisition is in response to broadcasters’ growing desire to outsource facilities to reduce fixed costs. It also gives its commercial and government clients locations on both coasts. Company owner Wasserstein & Co. and Santa Monica’s Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC helped finance the deal. Terms were not disclosed.
FINED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department said that Pacific Pipeline Systems LLP agreed to pay a $1.3 million fine related to a 2005 oil pipeline break in northern Los Angeles County. The Long Beach company also agreed to shut down a 70-mile stretch of the Bakersfield-to-L.A. pipeline until that portion can be strengthened or relocated. The break stemmed from a March 2005 landslide in the Tehachapi Mountains. More than 140,000 gallons of oil spilled, with most of it flowing into Pyramid Lake. The oil was contained before contaminating drinking water supplies.
WITHDRAWN: Erroll Southers, assistant chief of the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, withdrew his name from consideration to head the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. His confirmation had been blocked by Senate Republicans after Southers had provided misleading information to Congress.
NEW CEO: TicketsNow, the online ticket reselling service for Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., said Ron Bension has become the company’s chief executive, a newly created position. Bension has more than 30 years of experience in related companies had been CEO at Prolink Solutions in Phoenix. There has been speculation that West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster would be willing to divest TicketsNow in order to gain U.S. antitrust approval for its merger with Live Nation Inc. of Beverly Hills.
MILITARY TRAINING: Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract worth up to $550 million for training and other services for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The contract, awarded through the U.S. Army, will be carried out by a subsidiary of the L.A. defense contractor, Vinnell Arabia LLC. Under the terms of the contract, Vinnell Arabia will provide U.S. Army-based doctrine and military training as well as logistics and support services throughout the kingdom.
AIRPORT SCREENING: OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan Systems security division was awarded a $35 million contract to upgrade baggage screening systems at 12 airports in Mexico. The Hawthorne company will install its Rapiscan advanced screening baggage handling and related equipment upgrades at airports operated by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico in central and northern Mexico, including Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.
CLEANUP CONTRACT: Tetra Tech Inc. was awarded a worldwide remediation services contract by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center that will include overseeing the cleanup of unexploded ordnance and other hazardous materials. The Pasadena engineering company said it is one of seven large businesses awarded the five-year contract, with a total value of $965 million. Tetra Tech has held similar contracts since 2000.
EARNINGS: Wilshire Bancorp Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $3.15 million, 36 percent lower than a year earlier. Interest income rose 22.5 percent to $44.6 million and noninterest income rose 287 percent to $17.6 million. … American Business Bank reported fourth quarter net income of $2.4 million, 50 percent higher than a year earlier. Interest income rose 12 percent to $7.4 million and noninterest income rose 64 percent to $735,000.
The interview with Michael Sitrick in the Jan. 18 issue headlined “On the Line” gave an incorrect location for Interstate Bakeries Corp. headquarters. At the time Sitrick worked for Interstate Bakeries, it was in Kansas City, Mo. Also, the article had the wrong name of the company where Sitrick started his career. It was the National Can Corp. Finally, the name of the former chief executive at Wickes Cos. was misspelled. It is Sandy Sigoloff.
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