South Koreans Eye L.A. Dodgers in $370 Million Minority Share Buy Bid

The Dodgers are in negotiations to sell a minority ownership share to a group of South Korean investors, it was reported today.

There is `”zero” chance the Dodgers’ owners would surrender control of the team in the deal, a person with direct knowledge of the discussions told press. That person added that the talks were “progressing” but otherwise declined to characterize how advanced the negotiations are.

None of the Dodgers’ five individual investors – controlling owner Mark Walter and partners Todd Boehly, Bobby Patton, Peter Guber and Magic Johnson –  would sell his share as part of the deal, two people familiar with the matter were reported as saying.

Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Dodgers for $2.15 billion in 2012. It is possible the funds from the sale of a minority stake could help repay the $1.2 billion portion taken from Guggenheim Partners insurance funds controlled by Walter, or could provide additional capital for club operations, it was reported.

The Dodgers’ player payroll next season is an estimated $263 million,
according to Yahoo Sports – more than $50 million higher than the team with the second-highest payroll, the New York Yankees.

The Korea Joongang Daily, one of two South Korean newspapers that first reported the talks, said the investment group hoped to buy 20 percent of the Dodgers for about $370 million, which would value the Dodgers at $1.85 billion.

Boehly told the Los Angeles Times in December 2012 that Guggenheim Baseball valued the Dodgers at $3 billion. The Dodgers are “probably the most popular MLB club among Koreans,” the Joongang Daily said, largely because of the two star South Korean pitchers who have played for them, Chan Ho Park, who is retired, and Hyun-jin Ryu, who is on the team.

Any party joining the Dodgers’ ownership group would have to be approved by Major League Baseball. The league does not prohibit foreign investors.

Bed and Sofa Ban: Council Calls For Venice To Be Bulky-Items Free

The Los Angeles City Council instructed the City Attorney’s office today to come up with an ordinance that would prohibit people from bringing bulky items, such as mattresses and sofas, into city parks.

The idea was proposed by City Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell, who represents parts of Hollywood, Silver Lake and Atwater Village, and Mike Bonin, who represents the Venice area, where homeless people have been bringing furniture to the beach and, at night, onto the streets near Gold’s Gym.

Under the proposed ordinance, violators would not be prosecuted, but the city would be given the authority to destroy or throw away any item that does not fit into the typical 65-gallon trash bin provided by the city.

City officials said the ordinance would not be a “free pass” for people to start illegally dumping bulky items at city parks in order to avoid landfill fees, since intentionally leaving items at parks would still be considered crime.

On Tuesday, the council also directed attorneys for the city to revise existing codes to make it easier for city officials to remove items left unattended on sidewalks, parks and other public property, such as setting a process for giving notice and temporarily storing the items.

City officials are not allowed to throw away smaller unattended items that appear to be personal belongings.

New ordinances are being proposed as city leaders come under increasing pressure to do something about public encampments. In Venice, property owners recently filed a lawsuit, claiming city officials are endangering public safety by not doing enough to prevent people from living in public parks.

In recent years, the city designated City Hall and Venice Beach as public parks.

California Lawmakers Back The President On SOTU, What Do You Think?

Democratic lawmakers representing California praised
what President Obama said about the economy in his State of the Union Address, though some disagree with a variety of foreign policy issues.
 

Representative Brad Sherman said he “strongly disagree(d) with the
President’s position on trade.” He said, “Congress should not give the President ‘Fast Track’ authority to force into place job killing legislation, such as the Trans-Pacific-Partnership.”
 

“Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, goods made in Vietnam. where
workers are paid 40 cents per hour, will enter America duty-free. That’s not the way to raise wages in America.”
 

Sherman also said he disagreed with the president on Iran sanctions.
Sherman supports enacting sanctions that would not take effect unless Iran “fails to agree to a reasonable deal by July.”
 

Senator Dianne Feinstein said she “thought President Obama gave a
forceful speech covering a broad range of areas where Washington must focus its attention.”
 

With regard to sanctions against Iran, she said, “I strongly support
the president’s call to Congress to refrain from imposing additional sanctions on Iran. New sanctions now would violate the interim agreement, collapse the negotiations and take us out of lockstep with the international community.”
 

Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the president’s appeal to Congress “to authorize the use of force against ISIS” is “vital,” but he said, “this is a debate and vote that should have taken place five months ago when we first began strikes against ISIS in Syria and began deploying troops to Iraq.” He said, “The Administration must resist the impulse to seek an authorization that is overly broad, without geographic limitation, a prohibition on the use of American troops in a combat mission, or a meaningful sunset date not subject
to unilateral administrative extension.”
Senator Barbara Boxer said, “Tonight we saw a confident President Obama lay out a bold and optimistic vision for our country’s future. And he has good reason to be confident – the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent, we have had the longest streak of recorded private sector job gains in American history and the deficit has been cut by nearly two-thirds.”
 

She said, “I agree with the President that we should set our sights
higher than helping Canadian special interests build the Keystone tar sands pipeline and instead pass a long-term transportation bill that will support millions of jobs.”
She called on Republicans to pass a Homeland Security appropriations bill.
Representative Xavier Becerra, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement, “Thanks to policies advanced by President Obama, our economy has returned from the brink and is the strongest in the world.”
Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard said in a statement, “The policies President Obama outlined in his State of the Union address are a victory for all Americans, and especially for middle-income families.”
California Democratic Party Vice Chair and Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman said in a statement, “The ideas that President Obama outlined tonight will move our nation forward as we rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure to boost the economy and provide tens of thousands of high-paying jobs; as we invest in space exploration, scientific advancements and new technology to again place ourselves at the forefront of innovation in a
modern, global economy; and as we respect human dignity while protecting Americans and our allies.”
Representative Juan Vargas said in a statement, “President Obama
delivered a strong case for the economic recovery during his presidency.

Republican Representative Mimi Walters said in a statement, “In our
current economic state, now, more than ever, the American people need solutions that will move this country forward. Unfortunately, in the President’s State of the Union Address, we simply heard more of the same tired rhetoric and failed policies that involve more government and more federal spending.”
Democratic Representative Mark Takano said in a statement, “During his speech, the President laid out a bold plan, one that focuses on the ideals of our great nation – including fairness for working and middle class families and our immigrant communities.”

Minimum Wage Survey Results: Small Business Weighs In On The Debate

Councilmember Mike Bonin released the results of his Small Business Survey today, revealing significant support behind raising the minimum wage in the city.

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From Councilmember Mike Bonin’s desk:

WESTSIDE SMALL BUSINESSES SUPPORT MINIMUM WAGE HIKE

By a lopsided 2-1 margin, Westside business owners support raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles, according to the results of an online survey of business owners on the Westside conducted by Councilmember Mike Bonin.

In an online survey of businesses in Bonin’s 11th District, 55% of respondents said they supported raising the minimum wage to $15.25 by 2019. A mere 25% said they opposed the increase. More than two-thirds of the respondents said a wage increase would have no negative impact on their business.

“The message from small businesses in my district is clear – raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles will be good for our local economy,” said Bonin. “The businesses that give life to our neighborhoods and create the bulk of the jobs in Los Angeles understand that a better wage will be good for workers, good for business, and good for Los Angeles.”

Bonin, who represents the Westside, emailed business owners in the district late last year, seeking their input on a variety of issues facing small businesses in Los Angeles, and hosted the survey on his website for the past several months. Respondents also ranked their preferred methods of improving the city’s business climate, giving highest priority to phasing out the gross receipts tax, reducing traffic congestion, and simplifying the city’s permitting process.

Of the nearly 230 business owners who responded to the survey, 55% support raising the minimum wage, compared with just 25% who oppose an increase. Eighteen percent of the respondents said they needed more information on the proposal, and 7 percent said they oppose any minimum wage at all. When asked what effect they believed a gradual increase in the minimum wage would have on their businesses, 68.9% of respondents said that an increase would either have no effect on their business, or that they would benefit from their customers having more income and purchasing power because of an increase.  Thirteen percent said a wage increase would have a harmful impact on their business.

Last fall, Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed raising the minimum wage in stages, to $13.25 by 2017. Bonin supported that proposal, and – along with his colleagues Nury Martinez, Curren Price and Gil Cedillo – also called for exploring further increases to $15.25 by 2019. In the survey, Westside businesses gave thumbs-up to the proposal, countering the recent rhetoric that Los Angeles businesses oppose the proposals.

“As the Council deliberates on the wage proposals, we need to bust through the rhetoric and listen to the people who are actually running businesses in our neighborhoods,” said Bonin. “It is unfair and sells Los Angeles businesses short to claim the only way they can thrive is by paying workers a poverty wage. Our entrepreneurs are smarter than that, bigger than that, and better businesspeople than that.”

The minimum wage proposals are currently being considered by the City Council’s Economic Development Committee. The Committee is expected to consider reports from a variety of economists and wage experts in early February. More information about the minimum wage proposal can be found at www.11thdistrict.com/minimum_wage.

Got cats? Want more? City discusses five cats per home – license free

Angelenos are allowed to keep no more than three cats as pets, but a City Council committee today will consider a proposal to remove that limit.

The Los Angeles City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, which is chaired by Councilman Paul Koretz, is scheduled to consider the proposal, which is aimed at allowing people to rescue more cats from overcrowded shelters.

Prompted by a suggestion from Koretz, city Animal Services officials are recommending that residents be allowed to keep up to five pet cats, either indoor or outdoor, without having to pay licensing fees. Residents could own more if they pay for licenses, keep the additional felines indoors and agree to annual inspections.

Residents would have the ability to keep up to three outdoor cats, under the proposal, but those cats would need to be spayed or neutered.

City officials say removing the cat ownership limit could facilitate
more adoption of cats from shelters, and based on experiences in San Diego and Santa Monica, where there are no caps on cat ownership, hoarding would likely not become a problem.

Removing the three-cat limit in Los Angeles would also allow residents to temporarily foster cats in their homes when the shelters run out of space.

Brenda Barnette, general manager of the Animal Services Department, said cats are “less likely to make it out of our city shelters alive than dogs or rabbits.”

“There are people who would like to help us save their lives, keep them safely indoors and have them altered (spayed or neutered) so they do not reproduce,” she said. “We think that is a really good thing.”

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