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Friday, Feb 3, 2023

Morning Headlines

Villaraigosa Moving L.A. in Greener Direction

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has nominated six environmentalists for key positions in his administration, a sign the city’s new mayor is following through on his pledge to remake the city in a “greener” image, Copley News Service reported. While some nominees have held government positions, a few are getting used to the idea that they will be decision-makers for local government instead of activists working from the outside. He has also hired Nancy Sutley as his new deputy mayor for energy and the environment, a position created to oversee green initiatives across the city. Villaraigosa wooed the region’s environmentalists throughout his campaign, winning the support of the Sierra Club.

Sunshine Decision Delayed

With rejection of its contract extension appearing likely, the operator of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill gave in Monday to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s request for six more months to study alternatives for disposing of the city’s trash, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. This marks the third time Browning Ferris Industries has pushed back its deadline to renew its contract for five more years. The contract expires next June 30 and the company had warned that the dumping rate might soar unless the city acted now. Approval of the contract extension fell a vote short Friday and support was unlikely to grow with Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who returns from vacation today, saying she opposes going forward on Sunshine Canyon without more information.

Aid but No Subsidy for Grand Ave.

When a proposal was unveiled to develop 25 acres of public land around Disney Concert Hall into parks, shopping centers and entertainment venues, civic leaders touted the partnership as a model for getting things done without costing taxpayers a dime. With the L.A. County Board of Supervisors set to vote on the Grand Avenue project today, examination of the financing suggests that statement may understate the complexity of the deal. The Grand Avenue project will be built on land owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency. The developer and its investment partners will give government agencies $50 million as a down payment on the lease. The city and county will then pour the initial lease proceeds back into the development, funding traffic improvements, renovated streetscapes and a terraced park, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Villaraigosa Appoints USC Law Professor to City’s Ethics Commission

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Robert M. Saltzman, an associate dean at USC Law School, to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission on Monday, tapping a respected educator who teaches courses on ethics and also has practical political experience. Saltzman is to replace Ethics Commissioner Dale Bonner, who was appointed by former Mayor James K. Hahn, the Los Angeles Times reported. The nominee is an adjunct professor of law at USC, where he specializes in legislation and the political process, legal and professional ethics, and laws that govern higher education. The appointment must be ratified by the City Council.

SEC Says L.A. Lawyer to Leave

Sandra J. Harris, a top enforcement lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Los Angeles office since 1994, is leaving at the end of September to pursue a career in the private sector, the agency said Monday. Harris said she hadn’t decided yet where she would land, but was ready to move on after 18 years at the SEC. Harris, who joined the SEC in 1987 and has been head or co-head of enforcement for the regional office since 1994, directed several key enforcement actions over the years, including fraud suits against Homestore.com Inc., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and brokerage firm J.B. Oxford Holdings Inc., the Los Angeles Times reported.

DirecTV Doesn’t Have to Give Data to EchoStar

DirecTV Group Inc. doesn’t have to provide rival EchoStar Communications Corp. with competitive data for a patent infringement lawsuit between TiVo Inc. and EchoStar, Bloomberg news reported. U.S. Magistrate Judge Ralph Zarefsky in Los Angeles denied EchoStar’s request that would have compelled DirecTV to provide profit margins from sales of digital video recorders as well as internal documents regarding DirecTV obtaining a license from TiVo. EchoStar had sought the documents for a lawsuit that TiVo filed in January 2004 in Texas, accusing EchoStar of infringing a TiVo patent on technology for recording one program while replaying another.


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