FROM Mark Lacter
Encino Residents Fight to Save Local Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble is one of the big chains that have pushed independent bookstores out of many neighborhoods. But Barnes & Noble tries to be different, with author readings and other events that provide a similar sense of community. It may be hard to escape the irony, but now Barnes & Noble is being pushed out of the San Fernando Valley community of Encino. Recently, a group of angry readers formed Save Our Encino Barnes & Noble .
California Economy Improving, but Still Waiting for Jobs Ben Bernanke says the recession is finally over, at least from what he calls "a technical perspective." The UCLA Anderson quarterly forecast says a turnaround has begun in Southern California, even though the state's unemployment rate will rise to more than 12% by the end of this year. Mark Lacter writes about business for the website LA Observed.
California Legislators Split over Bailout Package After Congress failed to pass the much-compromised Wall Street rescue today, the Dow took its biggest single point-drop in history—777 points. Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed Republicans for the bill's failure, but no less than half of California's Democratic Caucus also voted "no."
IndyMac Kneecapped by the Mortgage Crisis Because of the sub prime lending crisis, Countrywide , the big lender in Calabassas, is now owned by Bank of America . Now another national powerhouse— IndyMac Bancorp of Pasadena —is in big trouble. New York’s Democratic Senator Charles Schumer —chair of the Joint Economic Committee —set off a minor panic when he warned that IndyMac “could face a failure if prescriptive measures are not taken quickly.”
Sam Zell Says He Wants to Sell LAT Building But Does Anybody Want It? “Let’s be honest here. This is a crummy property being put on the market at a lousy time.” That’s from yesterday’s blog LA Biz Observed by Mark Lacter, contributor to Los Angeles Magazine , Fast Company and…that other radio station . The “crummy property” was the LA Times Building, which Sam Zell says just might be up for sale …
LA's Shrinking Middle Class "Forget about LA's middle class. It's dead and buried... Los Angeles has boiled down to an economy of the well-off and the far-from-well-off... And here's the weird, almost perverse part: it seems to be working." That's from an article in this month's Los Angeles magazine. It's well known that LA is becoming a two-tiered society, composed of the pretty rich and the very poor, with fewer and fewer people in between. Yet, contrary to ominous predictions, the economy is thriving--despite a shrinking middle class. We get two views on how long that will last.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?