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Thursday, May 23, 2024

More to the Story

Sept. 8 around 1 p.m. Donald Bren and Irvine Co. announce they’ll urge the city of Irvine to join up to vie for Amazon’s HQ2. I had time and space for five words at the bottom of this column: “Late word. Bren is in.”

The Bren-Bezos story’s gotten bigger and better since that Friday afternoon—even with Bren and Irvine still with only slightly shorter odds than Leicester City to land HQ2. That the Chairman pushed his chips all the way in was at once quixotic, boosterish, and a booster shot—perhaps a bit of a warning shot—to the county. Which needs one, snapshot notwithstanding. 2.8% unemployment yes, but the job force is shrinking—25-44s leaving OC. This worries Bren.

2006 was the last year for which we named Donald Bren BPOY—Businessperson of the Year. Mark Mueller started the story then with, ‘You could tab Mr. Bren BPOY most any year …’ Very true. But in 2017—nod to Hyman Roth—it had almost nothing to do with business. He stepped up. Win or lose, that’s the story. And there’s more to this story, more to come. But The Pitch alone merits breaking an 11-year drought …

What was I smoking? Back in the day before the efficient market hypothesis became a real, real thing, there were sure bets—not just taking the $50 political tax credit or punting on fourth-and-forty from your own one-yard line. Sure bets you could bank. Like the stock market rising last week of trading. Xmas Rally. So I was thinking, what’s the can’t-fail-trade in the last days of 2017? Simple: the publicly traded CA-cannabis cos. on the cusp of legality. But this ain’t 1983. No one needs an early copy of “Heard on the Street” to make a quick buck. There are 300 million other geniuses with a calendar. I sit on my hands …

Five-day returns: Santa Ana-based maker of pot supplies Kush Bottles (OTC: KSHB) +35%; Irvine-based seller and grower Terra Tech (OTCQX: TRTC) +32%. 5 days!

Vegas, Maybe … Who went New Year’s Eve? Not a frivolous question. First big test. Heard Cowboy Christmas was less than merry …

Insider 2018 Prediction: I’m usually a bad horse to bet (see cannabis item) BUT I did pull off one longshot political call about 14 mos. ago …

So let the trend be your friend: Insider predicts Arte Moreno for next BPOY. Yup. Warmed up this fall with Upton, Cozart, Kinsler signings sandwiched around outmaneuvering six rivals, including Damn Yankees, to land “Babe” Ohtani for the price of a Kush Bottles day trade; Angels owner’s pouring dough into Big A, installing large video boards and no doubt pitching deals to the county’s big roster of Japanese companies. Bought franchise for $300M, now approaching $2B, per Forbes. Halos staying till at least 2029 … and with Shohei Ohtani and Upton as protection, so may Mike Trout …

Sell Signal … Just saw where the former CA Attorney Gen. Bill Lockyer and Eric Spitz, former pres. of Freedom Comm., the ex-owner of the OC Register, are forming a biz to supply marijuana-edibles to shops in LA. Can’t make this up. Contra-indicator?

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