L.A. Budget Deficit is Not Temporary

Gary Toebben on April 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Filling a $222 million budget deficit is a daunting task and there are many objectors to the 2012-13 budget proposal that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented to the L.A. City Council last Friday. Immediately after the budget was presented, members of the public objected to more cuts in city services and additional fee increases. City employees said they had already sacrificed enough and responded with a “no” to reopening negotiations on wages, benefits and pensions. And regular City Hall budget critics said that once again the mayor was kicking the can down the road to the new mayor and City Council that will be elected in 2013 and 2015.  




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A Good Supreme Court Decision

Gary Toebben on April 17, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week, the California Supreme Court made a common sense decision that will be good for California employers and employees. The ruling eliminates a major complaint that businesses and business organizations, like the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, have been urging the California Legislature to address for years. 

In a unanimous ruling, the court stated that employers must make duty-free meal and rest breaks available to employees, but cannot be held liable if employees decide to work instead of rest. "We conclude an employer's obligation is to relieve its employee of all duty, with the employee thereafter at liberty to use the meal period for whatever purpose he or she desires, but the employer need not ensure that no work is done,” Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the court. 

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L.A. City Budget Requires Tough, Long-Term Decisions

Gary Toebben on April 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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When the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Los Angeles begins a 50-page report on budget options with an introduction titled "A cautionary Tale: The City of Stockton, California," it is clear that a serious fiscal challenge faces the second largest city in the nation. On Feb. 28, 2012, the Stockton City Council adopted a resolution to pursue a state mandated process in an attempt to prevent insolvency and bankruptcy.



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Lights, Camera ... Hollywood Community Plan!

Gary Toebben on April 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Hollywood. The name alone is iconic; conjuring up images of fame, fortune and glamour. The Hollywood Sign sitting atop Mount Lee constantly reminds us that our past, present and future is inextricably linked to that image — the movies.

But Hollywood is more than an image and it is more than the film industry. It is a real community with geographical boundaries where people live and work. Hollywood is not just a destination for the world’s tourists; it is also an important economic driver as a location for creative start-ups, professional services and urban housing.

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