MOVE? Huy Fong Foods gave a tour of its Irwindale factory for representatives from cities in California and 10 other states, with owner David Tran saying he may consider leaving. The city sued the Sriracha hot sauce maker over complaints about a spicy odor coming from the plant. In addition, the Irwindale City Council this month voted unanimously to designate the factory a public nuisance, even though Huy Fong had said it would submit a mitigation plan to address odor problems by June 1.
BUDGET PROPOSAL: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first proposed $8.1 billion budget plan calls for hiring 140 firefighters and overhauling the city’s 911 dispatch system, both popular moves. But the new mayor is getting criticism for delaying a promised cut in the city business tax. Citing a tough budget year, Garcetti said the city would not be able to afford any immediate reduction in the tax rate, and instead wants to phase in a $45 million reduction in business tax collections over three years starting in 2016.
FILMING: On-location production remained flat in the L.A. region in the first quarter, despite evidence that the state’s tax credit program is keeping more production here. Local production days were down less than 1 percent to 13,265, according to FilmLA, a Hollywood non-profit that handles production permitting in the city, unincorporated neighborhoods and other local jurisdictions. Feature film production days increased 24 percent to 1,588 in the quarter, but TV production was down 9.2 percent to 4,624 production days.
NEW HQ: A South Korean energy company plans to open the headquarters of its wind energy division in Palmdale. Anywind Wind Power Electric Inc. and the city signed an agreement for Anywind to manufacture its wind turbine systems in a building left vacant after its previous tenant went bankrupt. Anywind is owned by Pishon Energy Inc. It has 11 patents on various components of wind turbines. Mayor Jim Ledford said the deal is another step toward the city becoming a major player in renewable energy.
LAYOFFS: Southern California Edison Co. plans to lay off hundreds of employees, mostly at its Irwindale offices, in a management streamlining effort. The unit of Edison International in Rosemead had warned of layoffs but not provided numbers. State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), chairman of the energy, utilities and communications committee, said he was informed that the utility expected to cut 500 employees and lay off an additional 400 to 500 contract workers starting this summer. An independent audit has noted that top-heavy management in Irwindale was contributing to an unhealthy workplace environment.
GRAND FESTIVAL: Jay Z has announced plans to bring his Budweiser Made in America music festival to downtown L.A.’s Grand Park on Labor Day weekend. The plan has drawn criticism from Councilman Jose Huizar and others who are concerned about disruption and damage to the park and surrounding neighborhood from the event. As many as 50,000 people could be drawn to the festival, where beer would be for sale, and streets in the area are expected to be closed before, during and after the event.
PORT ACTIVITY: Traffic at the Port of Long Beach declined 1.9 percent in March compared with the same month last year, while activity at the Port of Los Angeles jumped 34 percent. The lower activity in Long Beach was attributed to harsh weather in the Midwest and East Coast as well as some shipping lines suspending services or switching to the nearby L.A. port. Exports were 1.5 percent lower at Long Beach and imports fell 0.7 percent year to year. At Los Angeles, exports increased 21 percent and imports jumped 42 percent year to year.
PARTNERSHIP: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. in Santa Monica announced a multiyear partnership with YouTube content producer RocketJump Studios. RocketJump is affiliated with YouTube MCN Collective Digital Studios, a subsidiary of L.A. management and production company the Collective and is known for its hit online show “Video Game High School.” The deal will give Lions Gate first-look access to RocketJump’s slate of digital content. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FINANCING: A.F. Gilmore Co. has obtained a $100 million credit facility from Wells Fargo Bank, secured by its iconic Farmers Market retail center in L.A.’s Fairfax District. The company, whose namesake founder purchased the original site in 1880, has completed significant improvements in and around the property, including Gilmore Station across the street. It will use most of the capital for future development, according to Johnson Capital, an Irvine advisory firm that arranged the financing.
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