It appears as if one of our local billionaires has a new venture. Don Friese, who clocked in at No. 51 on our 2018 Wealthiest Angelenos List with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, has officially launched the Friese Family Office and, under its umbrella, the Friese Foundation. Friese, the founder of Vernon-based glazing supply company C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (he sold it in 2015), wrote in a note sent to the Business Journal and others that he was looking forward to his new role as chairman and chief executive of the foundation, which will be focused on philanthropy. “Our new organization, which is centered on supporting charitable causes, is in the business of people,” Friese wrote. “While entrepreneurial by nature, I’m a philanthropist at heart. I feel we have the ability, and more importantly the responsibility, to build the people and businesses around us, ultimately better serving the needs of society.” Amen, Don… There appears to be a new sheriff in town. In one of the more surprising upsets in recent local electoral politics, incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell looks dead in the water as challenger, retired L.A. County sheriff Lt. Alex Villanueva took what looks to be a commanding 87,000 vote lead as of Nov. 21. McDonnell was widely considered a shoe-in for re-election and did little to campaign in the weeks and months leading up to the Nov. 6 election. Villanueva, should he ultimately prevail, will lead a department that has been rocked by scandal in recent years… One interesting byproduct of the Sheriff race: slow news. It’s been more than two weeks since Election Day and, while Villanueva is pulling ahead, McDonnell hasn’t conceded, and ballots are still being counted. Contentious races up and down the state – and nationally – have played out in similar fashion. In an age when even the most shocking and dramatic news seems to having trouble sticking around, the languid pace of our electoral system is almost soothing… We’re coming off Thanksgiving week, and the retail industry’s busy season kicked into gear with Black Friday on Nov. 23. The National Retail Federation released its typically rosy projections for American’s holiday spending, which, as Bloomberg columnist Barry Ritholtz writes (this year and every year) will almost invariably be incorrect. Are people going to shop? Certainly. Do we have any idea how robust the season’s spending will be? Certainly not. My advice? Don’t pay too much attention to prognosticators of any ilk and ride out the shopping season with a warm beverage and a good book… Speaking of reading, I’ll add on another article to my list of stories worth setting aside time for during the holidays. The New York Times reports that digital media giant Buzzfeed Inc., which has a sprawling office in Hollywood, is considering a consolidation play for one or more other major online news outlets. Buzzfeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti claims the move is necessary to combat the power of social media platforms such as Facebook Inc., which control how consumers consume content, and therefore the advertising dollars. The story is as fascinating as it is horrifying, and the general upshot seemingly is: only with the power of a near-monopoly can we fight the power of these near-monopolies… That’s all for me, hope the turkey was tasty.
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