Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business Section.
I'm Business columnist David Lazarus, and here's a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.
One story stood out for me:
Union organizing: A formal accusation of unfair labor practices against Palo Alto-based carmaker
Getting around: LA CoMotion, a conference and festival focused on urban transportation, will take place in Los Angeles' Arts District from Wednesday through Sunday. The first three days, aimed at policymakers and industry representatives, will be devoted to the "Cities in Motion" leadership conference. On Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to Expo Festival, which will showcase autonomous vehicles, innovative bicycles and transit options.
Jobs report: On Friday, the state Employment Development Department releases October jobs data for California. National statistics, released earlier in the month, showed that employers added more than a quarter-million new jobs last month, with the country's jobless rate reaching a 17-year low of 4.1%. Still, wage gains are tepid. Over the last 12 months, average pay for U.S. workers has risen just 2.4%, about the same middling pace as over the last three years.
Cycles on show: The 2018 Progressive International Motorcycle Show, the West Coast's largest power sports industry gathering, will convene Friday at the Long Beach Convention Center. The event will feature new products from most of the world's largest manufacturers of two-wheeled vehicles, as well as displays from hundreds of parts, accessories and apparel companies. The show runs through Sunday. Admission is $16 for adults, free for kids under 12.
Here are some of the other stories that ran in the Times Business section in recent days that we're continuing to follow:
Harassment: More news from the alleged harassment front. In a move that stunned the industry, Sony Pictures confirmed that Kevin Spacey was being dropped from the completed film “All the Money in the World” amid allegations of past inappropriate behavior with minors. He’ll be replaced by
CNN for sale? AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of
Retail woes: Macy's Inc. plans to close its store at Los Angeles' Westside Pavilion mall, as well as two others in California, the retail giant said, as it grapples with consumers' increasing shift to online shopping. The closures, which include Macy's stores at the Laguna Hills Mall in Orange County and the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco, will occur early next year. It was not immediately known how many jobs would be affected.
Fox and Disney: Despite reports of a possible sale of 21st Century Fox's movie and TV studios to Walt Disney Co., Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch said his company is equipped to stay the course in a changing media landscape. He and his brother James, CEO of 21st Century Fox, said they would not comment on reports the company had engaged in discussions with Disney about selling its film and TV programming assets.
WHAT WE'RE READING
And some recent stories from other publications that caught our eye:
Not so rich: Secretary of Commerce
Family business: A mysterious family named the Guptas have developed a stranglehold on business and government in South Africa, reports Bloomberg. "The family has been accused by activists and opposition politicians of stacking the leadership of powerful state companies, rigging bids in favor of suppliers it controls, and even helping orchestrate a planned $70-billion nuclear-power deal with Russia, for which it could supply vast quantities of uranium."
Tardy Tesla: At Cheatsheet.com, writer Eric Schaal explains why he's giving up on his reservation to buy a Tesla Model 3. He put down $1,000 in 2016 to be among the first to get to buy the electric vehicle when it became available. But with delays pushing back delivery of his Model 3 to mid-2018, Schaal says, "more and more, the entire vehicle launch is sounding like a publicity stunt."
Robo-cars: Cities and states across the U.S. are rushing to build infrastructure for self-driving cars, says the Wall Street Journal. Governments are partnering with car companies to build testing facilities for autonomous vehicles. "Even after the first driverless cars are available to the public — as soon as 2020, by some projections — cities see the projects as long-term investments as leaders in the field will still need to test equipment and innovations."
Since today's newsletter opened with flying taxis and closed with robot cars, it seems clear that some meditation is required on future transit. Clearly (and unfortunately) this isn't our future. Nor is this, I feel safe in saying. And I'm pretty sure not this either. So what can we really expect? I'm figuring it's this.
For the latest money news, go to www.latimes.com/business. Mad props to Scott J. Wilson for helping put this thing together.