California’s drought could suppress job growth by 0.2 percent over the next few years, according to UCLA economists. The losses would fall mostly in the state’s fishing and manufacturing industries. That’s fairly modest given the severity of the drought. But the Anderson Forecast warns that all bets are off if the current dry weather turns out to be the start of a long arid period in the state. Meanwhile, a companion report to the forecast highlight L.A.’s job woes. It says L.A. lost 3.1 percent of its jobs between 1990 and 2013. That’s worse than Cleveland, or even bankrupt Detroit. The report says L.A. has not had job growth in 23 years. The high cost of housing here is a major factor. Other problems include a lack of skilled workers, heavy traffic and what the report calls a less-than-friendly business environment.
The L.A. City Council has agreed to transform how trash is collected in the city, with an eye toward more recycling and less air pollution. The L.A. Bureau of Sanitation picks up trash from single family homes, but four dozen unregulated private companies haul refuse away from businesses, apartments and condos. The Council vote divides the city into eleven trash collection zones, with just one franchisee operating in each zone. Like the city sanitation bureau, they’ll have to furnish customers with three bins: for trash, recycling and organic waste. Opponents say the changes will drive some smaller trash haulers out of business and drive up trash collection rates. A final vote on the changes is scheduled for April 8.
More than 450 medical marijuana dispensaries have filed paperwork to pay city taxes in L.A. this year: That’s more than three times as many as are legally allowed to operate in the city. Proposition D, approved by voters last year, limits the number of medical marijuana shops in Los Angeles to fewer than 150. Currently, there are thought to be about 900 pot shops in L.A. City officials say more than 100 dispensaries have shut down since the new rules went into effect. The city has continued to register new dispensaries to pay business taxes.
It’s been nearly four years since a gas pipeline explosion killed 8 people, injured more than 60 and flattened 38 homes in the Bay Area suburb of San Bruno. Now, federal authorities have charged Pacific Gas and Electric Company with a dozen felony counts involving safety violations linked to the blast. The violations carry a potential fine of $6 million. Federal prosecutors say PG&E knowingly relied on erroneous and incomplete information when assessing the safety of the pipe that eventually ruptured. No company officials are facing charges.
Charles Keating – one of the central figures in the Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s – has died. He was 90. Keating’s Irvine-based Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion and leading to the suicides of several elderly investors who lost their life savings. Keating was convicted on state securities fraud charges, but his conviction was overturned. He and his son – also named Charles Keating – were then convicted on federal charges. The elder Keating served four-and-a-half years in prison before those convictions were also overturned because of jury misconduct.