Give Maria Contreras-Sweet credit for her drive to bring several new perspectives that ought to resonate amid the ongoing criticisms of Hollywood, where 2016’s Oscars prompted a discussion about minority representation and 2017 brought accounts of sexual harassment and assaults that have roiled the entertainment industry and others. Contreras-Sweet is after nothing less than Weinstein Co., ground zero for the sexual harassment scandals. She had an offer of around $525 million on the table at press time, reportedly with the backing of Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. and Dallas-based Lantern Capital. Contreras-Sweet’s background suggests a level of ethnic awareness and Main Street sensibilities that would likely make her an outlier in the world of movie moguls. Her resume includes experience as founder of ProAmerica Bank, which focused on the Latino-American market, and a stint as head of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama. Contreras-Sweet also has made it a point to guarantee that a female perspective will inform the Weinstein outfit if her bid succeeds, with a promise that a majority of board seats will go to women … A female perspective already is in place under terms of the bid, with calls for cash, the assumption of some Weinstein Co. debt, and funds for to pay any valid claims of sexual harassments against the enterprise in cases that are not covered by insurance … The plan for the special fund also indicates Contreras-Sweet can hang with Hollywood moguls when it comes to boldness in business – seems the rest of the potential bidders are holding off in hopes Weinstein Co. will be forced into bankruptcy, which would make it easier for a buyer to shed any liabilities tied to the sexual assault claims … Anyone who thinks the wave of sexual harassment claims and media coverage will solve the problems with public shaming and punitive damages can turn to page 104 and read this week’s Commentary to get a look at the comprehensive nature of the challenge … Turn to page 5 for our report on the street market that’s taken shape at the Metro subway station at MacArthur Park and you might recognize the photo credit for John Rabe from his days as host of the popular Off-Ramp show on 89.3-KPCC. Rabe gave up the show last year for a move up to production and promotions director at the station, but he still gets around, and we’re glad to get this contribution from him for our pages. And, yes, he is still on the job at KPCC — the citation of Bermudez Projects on his photo credit refers to the business of his husband, Julian Bermudez, who represents Rabe on personal photography and other art projects, including an exhibit opening April 14 at Bermudez Projects’ NELA/Cypress Park gallery … Is that page 5 report much ado about nothing when you consider the bigger retail picture in L.A.? Ask the merchants and property owners on Santee Alley how a market that started as an organic hustle has paid off over the course of decades … Kevin de León, the Echo Park-based president pro tempore of the California State Senate, appeared to have scored a coup of media coverage when he was quoted prominently and pictured in a Jan. 11 piece in the Financial Times about California’s growing divergence with President Donald Trump on matters ranging from immigration to marijuana. No mention, though, of de León’s campaign against fellow Democrat and incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who he’s attempted to pillory because she expressed early hopes that that the president might grow into the duties of the Oval Office. The omission by the FT reminds that taking on an incumbent in a statewide race in California is never easy, and especially difficult when it’s an intramural affair and the challenger starts with a negative as a raison d’etre for the run … Sullivan Says: You don’t have to get too far into immigrant communities around Los Angeles to see that math has become a lingua franca among high achievers here.
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