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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023

Beginning 2019 with a Farewell to Gov. Brown

We’ve made it to 2019, and after the holiday doldrums it seems everyone is casting about looking to make sense of the year past and the year come. There’s much to contemplate in the business world with economic uncertainty at top of mind. It’s an unfamiliar consideration after a decade of nearly uniform gains for stocks and real estate. While many are looking to broader national and international indicators, we’re hewing closer to home, where by most measures, 2018 was a bountiful year (see page 39 for more). Whether Los Angeles remains a bastion of strong business in 2019 remains to be seen… While most were enjoying some R&R over the holidays, the Los Angeles Times and several other newspaper operations that rely on the Times’ downtown printing press were thrown into disarray by a computer virus attack that wormed its way into critical infrastructure at Tribune Publishing Co., the Times’ former owner. The newspaper’s Dec. 29 print edition did not go out as planned, and it took on all-hands-on-deck effort to get the Dec. 30 edition out. The so-called Ryuk malware that infested Tribune’s computers was not a new tactic but one that has laid some of the mightiest companies low. The shipping industry was hobbled in 2017 after Maersk Inc.’s servers were breached by malware. Fixes are often difficult, and the most robust preventative measures can be undermined by simple human error. The Tribune fiasco is another reminder that, as we continue to push toward further reliance on digital assets, our control over these networks is still tenuous… The Los Angeles media community was shocked last week at the sudden death of KTLA anchor Chris Burrous, who was found unresponsive at a Glendale area motel. The veteran newsman’s death was still under investigation at press time, but early reports said Burrous’ death may have been the result of a drug overdose. Burrous’ colleagues took to social media platforms in the wake of his death, expressing shock and sadness. Burrous is survived by a wife and daughter… KTLA is also experiencing a blackout on television sets serviced by Charter Communications Inc.’s Spectrum cable service. The root of the issue is a dispute between Spectrum and KTLA parent company Tribune Media Co. over a broadcast contract. Twenty-four markets are affected by the blackout. If you’re worried about access to this weekend’s National Football League playoffs, get those bunny ears ready: Analog broadcasts of KTLA programming are still available… Gov. Jerry Brown’s second run at the helm of California’s body politic ends this week with Gavin Newsom set to take the reins during a ceremony Jan. 7 at the state Capitol building in Sacramento. Brown’s second term as governor began in 2011 with the state staring down an enormous budget deficit as a result of the 2008 Great Recession and ends with California on firm financial footing. If there’s a single line item that sums up the past eight years of Brown’s tenure, it would be his ability to hold back some of the spend-happy policies pushed by an increasingly powerful Democratic majority in the state. His critics would point out his penchant for pet projects – namely the ever more expensive bullet train that will allegedly, at some future date, connect Los Angeles to San Francisco – but given the overall economic turnaround the state has seen under his watch, those missteps seem largely forgivable. This journalist will remember Brown as a font of irascible and blunt quotes. Both he and his loyal corgis will be missed… Here’s hoping you all had a restful end to 2018 and are starting off 2019 with fresh legs. As always, I can be reached at hmeier@labusinessjournal.com or find me on Twitter at @henry_meier.

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