Stories for January 1997

Monday, January 27

BTL

Friends and foes of Universal Studios Inc.'s massive expansion plan turned out in droves last week to express their views to a panel of L.A. city and county planning commissioners.

Hughes at a Glance

Before: Aerospace and defense, automotive electronics, telecommunications and space

Trade

L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan touts the importance of foreign trade almost every time he discusses the city's economy calling it "central to our region's economic vitality" in one recent speech.

Edit 1

Just when it seemed as if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had finally found sanity when a committee voted to kill the long-proposed but never-funded east-west route, along comes the full board last week to delay the inevitable.

Hughes Future

With Hughes Electronics Corp. jettisoning its aerospace and defense divisions, analysts say the newly trimmed company is poised for growth in its remaining units.

Computer Column

This column was written with version 7.0 of MicrosoftWord for Windows 95, which is now the industry standard word processor, and may be on its way to becoming the only word processor.

Newsmanker

David Lubars doesn't mind if his name doesn't jump out at you. It's his work that he wants to jump out at you.

Budget

Though the next city budget won't be unveiled until April, concern already is building at Los Angeles City Hall over the 1997-98 spending plan.

Web TV

By the time next fall's television season rolls around, some DirecTv customers could be watching "Seinfeld" on their personal computers.

Royalties

Two entertainment industry tax-reduction proposals, both part of a package originally intended to help lure DreamWorks SKG to build its headquarters at the Playa Vista site near Marina del Rey, are working their way toward the L.A. City Council.

LAXT

Harbor-area residents are fuming over plans to build the West Coast's largest storage facility for coal and petroleum coke on the edge of Terminal Island.

Sullivanoped

"We must reform a legal system that has made the lawyer's briefcase a weapon of terror that threatens to undermine California's economy." Gov. Pete Wilson.

Company Index

Advanta Corp. 4

Profile

Victor Drai has been an exterminator, a clothier, a real estate salesman and a film producer. Most recently, he's added the title of restaurateur to his resume.

WSW

This was supposed to be the year that equities cooled down, after the too-hot-for-anybody's-good 1996.

Universal

The corporate brass from Universal Studios Inc. got its first official taste last week of the opposition it will face over a proposed massive expansion for its Universal City lot.

Car Search

Vehicle Information Network, the Westlake Village-based operator of 1-800-CAR-SEARCH, has laid off its entire staff and shut down its core service of telephone-based classified advertising for used cars.

Healthcolumn

Tis the season for studies, and one of them out last week paints a somewhat ominous picture for local and state health care.

Listory-Comdevel

Many of L.A. County's leading commercial real estate developers are finally getting active again as can be seen in this week's List.

Strikesuit

High technology firms in Southern California rejoiced when Congress overrode a presidential veto to adopt legislation to limit frivolous securities fraud lawsuits.

Chamber

Regarding the "Where was the mayor?" item in your Between the Lines column of Jan. 20: Invitations to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce's 1997 Inaugural Ball were mailed to city, county and state officials including Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. R

Small Biz

Retirement planning just became simpler for small business owners and their employees.

Edit 2

One of the major themes in our recent "25 Ways To Make L.A. Grow" edition was the need to enhance the city's image especially among Corporate America, where Los Angeles is consistently viewed as a nasty place to do business.

Newsmaker People

William J.P. Smith Jr. has been appointed senior vice president and director of public relations at Ahlman & Associates. Smith, who most recently spent three years as a professor at Emerson College in Boston and Los Angeles, will be responsible for strate

Valley Theaters

Megaplex mania is sweeping the nation, and the San Fernando Valley is surfacing as a hotbed of new-theater development activity.

Milken

Michael Milken believes that downtown Los Angeles, as well as downtowns across the country, are in a state of irreversible decline.

Digest

Henry Cisneros, the outgoing secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, landed a job last week as president and chief operating officer with Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc.

BATS

Easton Co., a Van Nuys-based sporting goods manufacturer and the nation's No. 1 producer of aluminum bats, stands to lose an estimated $50 million in sales over the next two years if the National Collegiate Athletic Association goes forward with its plan

Subway

Putting an end to months of political bickering over the future of the Eastside subway extension, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week awarded a $65 million contract to supervise the digging.

Bullwinkle

In 1959, General Mills Inc. paid a fledgling animation company called Jay Ward Productions Inc. $8,000 per episode to deliver a television cartoon about a brainless moose, his flying rodent companion, and a brilliant dog who travels through time with his

Marketcolumn

That weird TBWA Chiat/Day Inc. building in Venice with the giant binoculars entryway.

Persfi

You might try mediation as a way of getting some money back. Mediation is an alternative to a lawsuit (your ultimate recourse in a dispute with a planner) or to arbitration (mandatory in disputes with brokers).

Forum

More than 6 million square feet of office space currently sits empty in downtown Los Angeles. Many perceive the area to be an unappealing place to visit much less locate a business. Despite such perceptions, the area has seen a slight improvement in off

Wage

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre has thrown a new roadblock in front of the city's proposed "living wage" ordinance delaying any action on the measure until a new analysis is completed.

Monday, January 20

Newsmaker

One of the most important people in the educational lives of students at UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management will now be important to business students around the world.

Listory

Smith Barney Inc. has retained its position as the largest local stock brokerage the old-fashioned way by having the most brokers in L.A. County, with 586.

RE Column

Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude once had visions of a complete makeover for the Van Nuys Civic Center, including a civic auditorium, movie theaters, a mix of new offices and retail development even a gateway bell tower.

Arena

In a posh private meeting room at the Biltmore Hotel, a small but influential group of business leaders gathered after work last week on the eve of the L.A. City Council vote on a new sports arena.

Edit

Last week's decision by Guess Inc. to shift most of its manufacturing from Los Angeles to Mexico could hardly be considered good news. But perhaps it will have the indirect benefit of focusing more attention on this critical and little understood comp

Malaysia

He has a reputation as one of Southeast Asia's most fiery leaders, but last week, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took on a considerably more humble role that of traveling salesman.

Goodwill

The date of Feb. 24, 1997 carries special significance for attorneys Doreen Blauschild of Southern California Federal Savings and Loan and Dennis Winston, who represents the now-defunct Western Federal Savings and Loan.

Market Column

All over Los Angeles this Sunday thousands of people, many of whom don't know a field goal from a Field poll, will gather around their television sets for America's favorite annual grudge match: Bud vs. Bud Light.

Vocation

In a first for the Los Angeles Unified School District and perhaps the nation officials are planning a new downtown high school that will include retail development and housing.

Edit2

L.A.'s biomed industry is made up of 500 to 700 companies employing better than 24,000 people. It has received more research grants from the National Institutes of Health than any other metropolitan area in the nation. Its businesses produce everything fr

Profile

In 1969, at the age of 16, Miguel Contreras climbed off his tractor in the grape fields of the San Joaquin Valley town of Dinuba and joined Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers.

Dodgers

The proposed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with the stadium and surrounding land, promises to be one of the most negotiated and intricately structured deals in sports history.

Budget

Gov. Pete Wilson's $66 billion budget proposal includes a number of proposals that he says will benefit the state's business community. Among them:

Fox Sports

Sports junkies eager to tune into Fox Television's new regional sports channel when it debuts next week will be disappointed if they subscribe to one of Southern California's two biggest cable operators.

Digest

Northrop Grumman Corp. announced last week that it will shutter its plant in Hawthorne, along with three other defense-oriented facilities around the country, cutting 755 jobs 530 of them in Hawthorne.

Persfi

It's conventional wisdom that baby boomers won't see a dime's worth of Social Security benefits. Younger people assume that, by the time they're old, the program will be dead and gone.

Newsmakers.people

John Giurni has been promoted to vice president of The Blaze Co. Giurni, who was previously a senior account supervisor at the company, will continue to supervise consumer product and service accounts, including accounts for the Beverly Center, The Gym, R

Computer Column

So vast is the explosion of material available on the Internet's World Wide Web that the future of Internet software may belong to the programs which can best retrieve, sort and present information in the way individual users want.

Hotels

The folks who bring you those not-so-adorable misfits Beavis and Butthead Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks animation group are the latest animation business bound for beautiful downtown Burbank, sources have told the Business Journal.

Fasttrack Box

Goal: To publish worthwhile books, to achieve artistic and commercial success, and to ensure that authors want to continue a lasting relationship.

Opend

Elite Manufacturing just ended the most profitable of its five years in business. Sales were doubling yearly and the company was expanding rapidly. But one employee's behavior ground Elite's progress to a halt.

BTLS

The Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce held its annual Inaugural Ball at the Century Plaza Hotel Jan. 15 a showpiece event for the city's business community.

Dust

A new dust-reduction rule slated for a vote at the South Coast Air Quality Management District's February meeting will cost an estimated $16.7 million each year between now and 2010.

Antonivich Letter

Congratulations on your January 6, 1997 commentary, "L.A. Needs Strong Leadership and Vision."

Letter/Luckey

30 "Get Plugged In Network Connection" 7:15 a.m. Mid Valley Chamber of Commerce Airtel Plaza Hotel, 7277 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys $13 (818) 989-0300

WSW

In this sky-high gusher market, are there any good investments left on Wall Street?

USC

USC's business school has struggled for decades to win national recognition, but last week it scored an undeniable coup a $35 million endowment from electronics tycoon Gordon S. Marshall, the largest donation ever to a business school.

Playa Invest

The number of investment teams vying to finance development of the 1,000-plus-acre Playa Vista community near Marina del Rey has been whittled to a half-dozen, and a top candidate should be selected by the end of the month, according to Playa Vista managi

Forum

Angelenos have had to weather some serious downpours over the last few weeks, subjecting daily commuters to pothole jolts, traffic tie-ups, fender-benders, and more. Productivity can be affected as a result, with workers arriving late to work, exhausted a

Sullivan Healthcol

UCLA officials have presented to the University of California Board of Regents a plan to build $1.1 billion worth of new and reconstructed medical facilities at the school's Westwood and Santa Monica facilities.

Apparel

Frustrated by high local labor costs and encouraged by the North American Free Trade Agreement, L.A. clothing manufacturer Tony Podell decided two years ago to try his luck in Tijuana.

Courtyard

In a move reflecting the continued financial strains faced by many local commercial property landlords, the owners of the 967,000-square-foot Wilshire Courtyard office complex in the Miracle Mile District have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Carver Letter

The Business Journal's Jan. 6 editorial, "If we had our way..." was right on target. One word describes it...OUTSTANDING!

Guess

When they sit down to write the history of the designer jeans giant Guess Inc., 1996 is not likely to emerge as one of the company's high points.

Smallbiz

The experience can be an eye-opener for any company that has not measured customer service recently. In an era of aggressive competition, customer service is more than a buzzword, it's a strategy ... and an imperative.

Monday, January 13

Families

The decision by Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley to sell the team illustrates the problems faced by family businesses trying to compete with corporate rivals.

Longies

A series of bitter waterfront labor disputes is wreaking havoc with the movement of cargo at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, costing shipping lines millions of dollars and casting a shadow over the port complex's future.

Auto Show

When Patty and Ron Price of West Hills decided to trade in their 1990 Honda for a minivan, they decided to make the L.A. auto show their first stop.

LA Economy

L.A.'s regional economy will stay in its growth mode this year, buoyed by stabilizing defense spending and international trade, according to an economic forecast to be released this week.

Activision

L.A. County's two largest accounting firms have once again traded places for this year's List of the top 50 accounting firms.

Forum

Peter O'Malley's announcement that he will sell the Los Angeles Dodgers surprised and saddened many Angelenos. Sale of the Dodgers, which was the last major league baseball team wholly owned by a single family, marks the end of an era not only in the spor

Persfi

In a surprise move that could lower thousands of homeowners' monthly mortgage payments this year, the nation's largest investor in home loans wants to require automatic cancellation of mortgage insurance coverage when borrowers build up substantial equity

Company Index

Activision Inc. 34

Wall Street

Talk about your big league financings: James T. Sington, investment banker and managing director over at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette's Century City offices, last month successfully engineered a combined $814 million pair of underwritings for the Palm Des

Tseng Letter

The plans for the future of Los Angeles International Airport ("LAX bursting at the seams," Dec. 16) are quite exciting, and there is no denying that the modernization of our airport is sorely needed.

Toohey

A few years ago a friend of mine was holding down both a full-time day job and a half-time night one to get himself out of a financial hole.

Wade Letter

Why is the California Country Club Homes Association of Cheviot Hills, Track No. 7260, interfering with the plan to construct at 38-story highrise building on Constellation Boulevard? ("Residents fight Century City high-rise plan," Dec. 9).

Magic Ford

It only took three minutes for the company controlled by billionaire Wayne Huizenga to win a Bankruptcy Court auction for the Magic Ford and Magic Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in Valencia last week.

Calenda

13 "Corporate and Business Tax Planning 7:30 a.m. USC Law School Beverly Hilton Hotel, Empire Room, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills $445 (213) 740-2582

Small Biz

Looking back on 1996, there have been many opportunities to take action, build business relationships, close sales and create profitable revenue.

Lawyers

A growing crop of L.A. cyber attorneys consider the infamous computer glitch in which computer systems around the globe are supposed to crash on Jan. 1, 2000 as a golden opportunity for litigation.

Arena

After almost a year of intense negotiations to build a sports arena in downtown Los Angeles, the developers and city officials are now saying that an agreement might be close at hand.

Zufu

In the latest indication of the Wilshire Center/Koreatown district's real estate woes, the Hong Kong-based owner of five major office towers there has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Glenfed

A coalition of community groups has launched a campaign to delay Glendale Federal Bank's pending acquisition of TransWorld Bank, in a bid to draw attention to Glenfed's poor record of lending to minorities and low-income families.

Digest

Businesses don't have to worry about mandatory ridesharing programs any longer. But employees better start carrying proof of insurance on their way to work.

Moriarity Letter

We take issue with your assertion that it is "impractical to consider El Toro as anything but a secondary facility for air cargo" (Editorial, "Let our airport grow," Dec. 23).

Computer

Activision Inc. 34

Vegas

Las Vegas and Los Angeles are two cities joined at the hip pocket the one where the wallet is kept.

Newsum

Experts say a new L.A. Dodgers owner could score a hit for the team's bottom line by adding luxury boxes and boosting cable TV contracts.

Profile

As chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board, Larry Zarian is helping to shape the future of transit in Los Angeles County a future that is very much in doubt.

Alameda

The cities along the route of the Alameda Corridor have lost whatever say they might have had in the development of the $1.8 billion transportation project.

Edit

Sentimentality aside, Peter O'Malley is making the right decision to put the Dodgers up for sale.

REColumn

Leasing and sales activity is on a brisk pace in Los Angeles, with several key deals going down before and after the holidays.

BTLS1-1

As if the billions of dollars in flood damage and loss of life and limb weren't bad enough, fashion, it appears, took a beating in the recent spate of winter storms hitting the country.

Winard Letter

Most professions only have an accreditation system if there is an immediate danger that sloppy practitioners might kill people.

Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers may not make much money now, but experts say a new owner could supercharge revenues with the addition of luxury boxes, a boosted cable television contract and more aggressive onsite retailing.

Wednesday, January 1

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