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Review & Preview

Review

September 17 – 23

Writers Vote: The Writers Guild of America resolved a long-running leadership crisis by electing Daniel Petrie Jr. as president. Victoria Riskin resigned from the post when she had been deemed ineligible after her election last year. Her replacement, Charles Holland, then had to quit after it was revealed he lied on his resum & #233;. Petrie was seen as the candidate of stability in the election, which pitted him against reform-minded Eric Hughes.




Disney Moves: The board of Walt Disney Co. said it would name a successor to Chief Executive Michael Eisner no later than next June. The lone inside candidate, and Eisner’s choice, is company President Robert Iger, although the board said it would name a headhunting firm to launch an outside search. Chairman George Mitchell said Eisner would step down as soon as the new chief executive was installed. Earlier, Fortune magazine quoted Eisner as saying, “My assumption is that I will not continue on the board or as chairman.”

Politics, Polls: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure that would have raised the state’s minimum wage to the highest in the U.S., boosting the rate to $7.25 next year and $7.75 in 2006 from the current $6.75. He said the veto addressed the high cost of doing business in California. The governor also vetoed a measure that would have required retailers such as Wal-Mart to fund studies on the impacts of their proposed stores. A measure to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants was also vetoed. Separately, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that 64 percent of likely California voters approve of Schwarzenegger’s job performance, down from 69 percent last month. A Los Angeles Times poll gives the governor a 67 percent job approval rating. Both polls also show Sen. John Kerry to be well ahead of President Bush in the state.

Earnings Wrap-Up: KB Home reported third-quarter net income of $117.9 million, compared with $97.8 million for the like period a year earlier. Revenue for the Los Angeles-based homebuilder rose 22 percent, to $1.75 billion.

Gas Update: Local pump prices were on the rise. The average price per gallon of self-serve regular was $2.06 for the week ended Sept. 20, up from $2.054 the previous week, according to the Energy Information Administration. Statewide, the average was $2.057, up from $2.053. With wholesale gasoline prices taking a sharp jump last week, much of it related to production cutbacks because of Hurricane Ivan, analysts expect prices to remain high.

Western Head: JPMorgan Chase & Co. named Vice Chairman David Coulter to head the bank’s West Coast operations. Coulter was chairman and chief executive of BankAmerica Corp. until 1998 when the bank combined with NationsBank Corp. Coulter had been running Chase’s investment-banking, asset management and buyout businesses.

Skid Marks: Superior Industries International Inc. sharply cut third-quarter earnings estimates based on a slowdown in wheel orders for big sports utility vehicles. The Van Nuys-based company relies on pickup trucks and SUVs for up to 60 percent of its annual production. Shares of Superior fell to a 52-week low on the news.

Aircraft Deal: Northrop Grumman Corp. received a $170 million award from the Air Force to extend its work developing a new ground-surveillance aircraft that can track cruise missiles. The latest 12-month award brings the total value of the work for the Los Angeles-based company to $408 million.

Preview

September 27 – October 3

Economic Reports: Monday (27th): August new home sales. Tuesday: ISCS-UBS weekly store sales index, Redbook weekly retail sales index, ABC/Money consumer confidence. Wednesday (29th): Second quarter final GDP. Thursday (30th): Initial weekly jobless claims, August personal income, August help wanted index.

Election Issue: Town Hall Los Angeles presents “Race, Justice and Voting Rights: Make Every Vote Count,” featuring Theodore M. Shaw, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel on Tuesday (28th). For information: 213-312-9307.

Sports Beat: Can the Dodgers limp into a playoff birth? They’re at home against Colorado on Monday through Thursday (27th-30th) and finish off the season against arch-rival San Francisco Friday through Sunday (1st-3rd). The Angels are on the road in Texas and Oakland. The UCLA football team plays Washington on Friday (1st). The Galaxy plays Kansas City on Saturday (2nd). Oak Tree Racing opens at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday (29th).

Conference Time: Mario Cuomo, Phil Jackson and Christie Hefner will be among the speakers at the 2004 Middle Market Conference on Mergers, Acquisitions & Finance on Tuesday and Wednesday (28th-29th) at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Conference topics include corporate development strategies, business risk management and acquisition financing. For information: 310-576-0903.

Money Talks: Former state Controller Kathleen Connell and author Peter Navarro will discuss “Politics, Policies and Your Pocketbook, Bush or Kerry: Is There a Bottom Line?” as part of Wescom Credit Union’s annual speaker series on Wednesday (29th) at the Hilton Pasadena. For information: 888-493-7266.

Travel Expertise: LA Inc. President and CEO Mark S. Liberman will discuss tourism trends and their impact on the area at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce General Membership Luncheon on Tuesday (28th) at the Roosevelt Hotel Hollywood. For information: 323-468-1376.

Interactive Talk: Growth in the videogame industry will be the subject of a luncheon panel at the Beverly Hilton on Wednesday (29th) sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Business Council and moderated by Robert Dowling, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter. For information: 310-553-4623.

NASA Future: NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe will outline the trials and tribulations of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Thursday (30th) during a Town Hall luncheon at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown. For information: 213-628-8141.

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