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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023


Entertainment Violence Probed

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into whether video game makers and other entertainment companies improperly market violent fare to children.

In announcing the probe, President Clinton cited several examples of questionable marketing, including one video game that proclaimed players can “kill your friends guilt-free.”

The 18-month, $1 million investigation will be conducted much like the sweeping inquiry that exposed the tobacco industry’s push for young customers. It could force video game, movie and recording companies to provide detailed internal marketing documents.

Industry officials defended their attempts at self-regulation, pointing out that warnings about violence are printed on games but often overlooked by adults who buy games for children.

Secession Plan Submitted

The group spearheading the San Fernando Valley’s proposed split from the rest of L.A. submitted its plan for breaking up the city to the Local Agency Formation Commission.

Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment proposed the breakup of many city agencies, including the police and fire departments, but favored shared control of water and power service. In addition, the proposal calls for an agreement to jointly operate the harbor and airport departments.

LAFCO will now study the economic impact of the proposal and decide whether to place the issue on the ballot, which could not happen before 2002.

Meanwhile, leaders of a second secession drive that would split the harbor area from Los Angeles filed petitions with LAFCO containing nearly 17,000 signatures. If validated as the signatures of registered voters, LAFCO also would undertake an economic impact study of that split.

Avondale Agrees to Acquisition

Avondale Industries Inc. said it was ready to accept a $529 million acquisition offer by defense-industry contractor Litton Industries Inc.

In making the announcement, Avondale appears to have abandoned a rival $470 million offer by Newport News Shipbuilding Inc.

It was the latest twist in a complicated acquisition triangle. Last month, Woodland Hills-based Litton offered $2.4 billion for both Avondale and Newport News. The Pentagon rejected Litton’s proposal to buy Newport News but allowed the Avondale purchase to proceed.

Last week, Litton continued an effort to rescue its bid for Newport News. But to trim the cost of new vessels, the Pentagon is demanding deep reductions in shipyard capacity before it would look favorably on any bid to acquire Newport News.

HMO Bills Advance

Patients denied medically necessary treatments by their HMOs could sue the managed care plans for damages under landmark legislation being considered in Sacramento.

The state Assembly and Senate each passed separate bills that would give powers that federal law now denies to most people covered by employer-sponsored health plans. The bills passed with only Democratic support.

Each proposal needs approval from the other house before it can go to Gov. Gray Davis, who has not said whether he would sign either of them.

California is among at least 30 states debating whether to give consumers the right to sue HMOs for damages.

Petition Seeks Cable Access

A petition was filed with the Federal Communications Commission contending that cable operators should be required to carry independent Internet services on their systems.

The document was filed by Redondo Beach-based Internet Ventures Inc. to win the right to deliver broadband communications via cable lines to home and office computer users.

The effort is based on the same rules that require cable operators to provide subscribers all local broadcast channels. But those so-called “must carry” provisions of federal communications laws have never been interpreted to apply to Internet service.

Cable providers contend it is essential for them to control Internet service in order to recoup the billions of dollars they are spending on system upgrades.

Northrop Buys Aircraft Maker

Northrop Grumman Corp., the No. 5 U.S. defense contractor, agreed to buy the Ryan Aeronautical unit of Allegheny Teledyne Inc. for $140 million in cash.

The purchase strengthens Los Angeles-based Northrop’s surveillance business and positions it in a field that is expected to grow. Unmanned air vehicles like those built by Ryan are being used in Kosovo and have been used for reconnaissance and surveillance in Bosnia and Iraq.

In an earlier incarnation, when Ryan Aeronautical was known as Ryan Aircraft more than 70 years ago, the company built the Spirit of St. Louis for Charles Lindberg. Today, the San Diego-based unit has about 300 employees and last year posted sales of $100 million.

Progress on Airport Plan

The agency that runs Burbank Airport has submitted plans to the city of Burbank for a scaled-down air terminal in a move aimed at ending a four-year-old legal battle with the city.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority agreed to cut the size of its planned terminal from 19 to 16 gates, meeting a key demand by the city.

The airport submitted its development plans to Burbank on May 24, and the city now will undertake a lengthy review process. The Glendale City Council agreed to support Burbank in its bid to require jet aircraft to abide by a mandatory curfew on nighttime flights.

Meanwhile, airport Executive Director Thomas Greer resigned after 15 years on the job in a move some observers believe stemmed from his resistance to accept restrictions on flights. Greer had been a driving force behind the effort to build a new airline terminal.

E-Commerce Degree Offered

Claremont Graduate University will launch one of the nation’s first master’s degree programs in e-commerce.

School officials expect about 30 people to graduate from the program each year. The degree will require eight courses in information systems that will prepare graduates to create e-commerce structures for companies.

“We know we are the first West Coast school to offer this degree, but we won’t be the last,” said Lorne Olfman, director of the School of Information Sciences.

Compiled by Danny Pollock

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