Stories for February 1998

Monday, February 23

Riordan

Marking its importance to the L.A. economy, China will be the anchor of Mayor Richard Riordan's two-week Asia trip.

History

30 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Southern California Edison Co. and Bechtel Corp. announced plans to build "Calabasas Park," a $250 million development of 4,000 "all-electric" homes. Developers said the community would resemble a Bel-Air or San Marino, with prices

Koll

One of the largest industrial park developments ever undertaken in the San Gabriel Valley is preparing to break ground in the City of Industry.

Margin

I am pleased to be writing these words on a brand new personal computer, part of our long-awaited arrival into the modern era.

Cosco

Among the plum local operations thriving as a result of the huge and growing volume of trade with China, probably none is juicier than the China Ocean Shipping Co.

Grant

Your Jan. 19 article, "People, Groups to Watch in the Managed Care Debate" contained some factual inaccuracies regarding Health Access.

Correx

The Feb. 16 Business Digest contained an error about the sale of a unit of Woodland Hills-based WMC Mortgages Corp. to Norwest Mortgage. The latter has agreed to acquire WMC's portfolio of "A" loans, while WMC is still in the sub-prime business and contin

Equity

In a push to reduce the burden on L.A. businesses that already pay taxes to the city, the Los Angeles City Council is looking at spreading the pain to businesses that do not pay taxes at present.

Titanic

In the wake of the hit movie "Titanic," a surge of popularity is washing over the Queen Mary. Ticket sales for the Long Beach attraction are more than double the normal amount for this time of year.

Leslie

The current condition of literacy and education certainly cries out for improvement.

Comp Col

If you're a Clinton-Lewinsky junkie and find the all-news channels and nighttime talk shows just don't fill you up, you should power up your computer and head for the World Wide Web. It is Monica-land.

Aames

The company that made a name for itself by selling mortgages to people with risky credit ratings is now attempting to reduce risk on its own balance sheet.

Small Biz

Jordan Monkarsh started selling his Jody Maroni's sausage sandwiches from a single pushcart on the Venice boardwalk in 1979, barking at and cajoling passersby to try his food. His "carney" style was custom made for the boardwalk, and Monkarsh soon became

Ent note

It's no secret that Los Angeles is one of the costliest areas of the country in which to drive and one of the most traffic-congested, to boot. So with gasoline prices at their lowest level since 1994, will local businesses feel any relief? The Business

Lynn

I would like to comment on Chaim Yudkowsky's Commentary in the Feb. 2 edition, "Our Children Ill-Prepared for the Future."

Interview

Hobbies: Collecting Latino art (she's on the board of the Smithsonian Institution), reading, watching television and going to the movies

Weekly Brief

In 1964, Bill Fimpler Jr. noticed that a Miracle Mile store that sold cane was up for sale. Cane, the bark from the rattan tree, is grown in Southeast Asia and is used in furniture making. Fimpler, whose father had been a furniture maker, was looking for

Persi

Several big, new tax breaks take effect this year. They don't go on the 1997 returns that you're filing now. But you can start making use of them, to increase your spendable income.

Costas

Your article, "L.A. Schools to Hire Private Firms to Tutor Students" (Feb. 9) is interesting and annoying. Annoying because we, the citizens, again get to see how mismanaged our tax dollars are. The idea of using outside contractors to do what our inadequ

Contracts

The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to launch an overhaul of the city's contracting procedures to tighten standards and establish penalties for those companies that fail to deliver on time and within budget.

Boeing

The high-stakes dogfight comes as a result of Boeing Co.'s decision earlier this month to build two fighter plane prototypes at its Palmdale facility, just a short distance from where its competitor Lockheed Martin Corp. is building its prototypes.

Recol

Culver City may be getting a new multimedia campus on a 12-acre site at the corner of the Slauson Boulevard and the east terminus of the Marina (90) Freeway.

Eagle

It's the feel-good economic stimulus that's relatively easy to implement and gives elected officials the sense real or imagined that they're actually doing something to bring back long-forgotten inner-city neighborhoods.

Oped #1

A thorn in the side of L.A.-area high tech companies may soon disappear as Congressional action nears on closing a loophole in the 1995 federal reform of securities class action lawsuits.

Lorraine

Question: Our family business is about to expand. We desperately need new equipment of all kinds: computers, fax machines, copiers, printers, phone systems, etc. Our dilemma is as follows: should we use our cash flow, borrow from the bank or lease our new

Agenda

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp addresses the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on America's international agenda. Noon at the Regal Biltmore, 506 S. Grand Ave. Information: (213) 628-2333.

Faxon

The Thursday Farmer's Market has been forced by the Westwood Village Business Improvement District to indiscriminately ban certain merchants from selling their wares because one existing merchant fears competition and threatened a lawsuit. The real losers

Market Col

The general manager of marketing and advertising for General Motors Corp., Guarascio is the sort of person who prompts journalism professors to issue dire warnings about prior restraint. Working journalists, and the creators of TV programming, simply list

Players

Trade with China is booming, spurring growth for a broad spectrum of businesses throughout Los Angeles ports, shipping lines, financiers and importers and exporters of Chinese goods and services.

Bug

One month before the arrival of the 1999 Volkswagen Beetle in showrooms nationwide, Los Angeles-area VW dealers are already being inundated with requests from customers interested in buying one or more of the perky bug-eyed car.

Oscars

With the Super Bowl a faded memory, office pool junkies are turning their attention to the Academy Awards. But instead of guessing wildly at who will win in the short-documentary category this year, why not hit the Internet for some guidance?

Sports

Sporting-goods retailer The Sports Authority Inc. will start moving into the Los Angeles market this year but it may take some muscle to push aside the competition.

MSNBC

It could be a typical scene in the MSNBC recording studio a reporter interviewing the CEO of a public company, video camera running.

Rlations

After nearly a decade of troubled diplomatic relations between China and the United States, politics seems to be giving way to pragmatism.

Trans

Will wholesale demand for work gloves three months from now be 30,000 pair, 600,000 pair, or 1 million pair ? or more?

Overview

When the Asian currencies began their precipitous decline last fall, few local companies were hit as hard as Iwerks Entertainment Inc.

Peet's

On Santa Monica's Main Street there sits a Starbucks Coffee Co. shop only two blocks away from a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf outlet ? and by April, a Peet's Coffee & Tea store will open within three blocks of the others.

Types

Despite growing concerns of an ever-increasing trade imbalance with China, it's not entirely a one-way street.

Name

Armed with a brand new nickname the "Digital Coast" L.A.'s multimedia companies say they're ready to do battle with such current high-tech hotbeds as Northern California, Seattle and New York City for the title of technology capital of the world.

Playa

Holding the key to millions of dollars in building subsidies, DreamWorks SKG is pressuring Playa Vista's developers to give them a 50-acre studio site for free or they will take their project elsewhere, according to sources close to the negotiations.

Newsmaker

Nancy McLachlan has been named vice president at Los Angeles-based Western International Media. McLachlan will serve as associate broadcast director. She formerly was vice president and broadcast supervisor at Carat/ICG.

Monday, February 16

Small Biz

Here's Seung Soo Lim's secret to success in a cut-throat industry: Set your prices low, offer quick service, speak the same language as your customers, and accept any size order, no matter how small. It's not exactly a novel approach, but it's one that ha

Games

The computer gaming industry has been one of the bright stars of L.A.'s emerging high-tech economy. Throughout the 1990s, thousands of young computer whizzes flocked to local gaming companies or struck out on their own in the hopes of hitting the gaming j

Computer Column

We started up Internet Explorer the other day and connected to the Internet, as we've done 10,000 times before. Once connected, we clicked on the "Mail" command. That's when things went terribly wrong.

History

20 years ago this week: Chevrolet, concerned that its local dealers were out of touch with the small car movement, dragged hundreds of its Southern California sales people to the Ontario Motor Speedway for a crash course in small cars. The salesmen most

L-Grant

Your Jan. 19 Health Care Quarterly article,"People, Groups to Watch in the Managed Care Debate," contained some factual inaccuracies regarding Health Access.

Interview

Glenn Entis' life changed in 1995 when he got a call at his Northern California home from a Microsoft executive. She asked if he would be interested in heading up a new joint venture between Microsoft and a new studio called DreamWorks SKG.

MarketCol

Perched over the Starbucks shop at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, a tall, blue-eyed Texan with a buzz cut sits in a little office and hatches a whole new kind of network.

NewsMaker

Christina Briggs has helped build habitats for animals ranging from real-life tigers to make-believe dinosaurs.

Oped #1

It is now time for Attorney General Janet Reno to open a formal inquiry to determine if someone, including prosecutor Kenneth Starr, should be disciplined or prosecuted for leaking grand jury testimony.

Regent

When Jeff Dinkin and Doug Brown were in law school together in the early 1980s, they began a lucrative part-time business: fixing up run-down houses and reselling them at a profit.

Titanic

Instead of steaming toward a jagged iceberg, the new "Titanic" is heading toward Hollywood box office history last week surpassing the $350 million mark domestically and garnering 14 Oscar nominations.

L-Argue

This is in response to Wayne Avrashow's commentary ("Council Should Approve Sports Arena," Oct. 27) suggesting a parallel between the 1984 Olympics and the Staples Arena. It requires a reply. While Mr. Avrashow's support of the Staples Arena is welcomed,

Port

The Port of L.A.'s harbor pilot strike may be history, but the effects are lingering.

Digest

Fund-raisers for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. passed an important milestone last week by raising the $25 million in donations needed to secure a $25 million challenge grant from the Walt Disney Co.

Strategies

How do you move your goods and receive your shipments today? How would you have moved your goods and received your shipments 100 years ago? Today, most likely a truck is involved; 100 years ago, you would have relied on the railway system.

Outsider

Donald T. Sterling was born in Boyle Heights, the son of a vegetable salesman who sold to restaurants. He stills owns the house in which he grew up.

Broker

The recent jailing of Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Slater is another reminder that big-money productions could be jeopardized if wayward stars are incarcerated during movie shoots.

Retained Search

Retained executive search firms are employment consultants hired by companies to find top-level executives, usually with salary requirements over $100,000 a year. Unlike contingency search firms, retained firms are paid whether or not an executive is plac

Customers

When Brad Wilkins joined Tamco last March as chief financial officer of the Rancho Cucamonga metal manufacturer, one of his first tasks was to learn the ins and outs of power deregulation.

WSW

Talk about growth as of Jan. 31, he reached the milestone of having $10 billion under management, after less than three years on his own.

Consolidation

A consolidation wave is sweeping through L.A.'s new-media industry, changing the shape of a still young field that constitutes a growing part of the local economy.

Hotels

Carol Burnett once lived in a townhouse suite there. Gladys Knight and the Pips threw parties in the Champagne Suites. Over the years, guests have included The Beatles, the Bee Gees and Michael Caine.

LA Forum

HMOs, the latest whipping boy in Sacramento, are once again the center of attention as lawmakers convene for the 1998 session.

Oped #2

President Clinton, bless his pea-picking heart, plans to nominate a country music fan to a position of great influence in the cultural arena.

Antelope

Palmdale and Lancaster, which routinely squabble over which one gets the next new car dealership or Wal-Mart, have begun playing out their sibling rivalry on, well, a more dramatic stage. The two neighboring Antelope Valley cities are about to begin compe

Margin

What if they gave a revolution and nobody showed up? That seems to be the case with the state's much-awaited deregulation plan, which was supposed to get started on Jan. 1, but got postponed for three months because of computer problems.

Stocks

After being in the doghouse for several years, California's three investor-owned utilities have regained some respectability from Wall Street despite the dawning of deregulation and its inherent uncertainties.

B Column

CareAmerica Health Plans announced plans last summer to relocate in the new West Hills Corporate Village office park. Then, just a month later, San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California announced that it would acquire CareAmerica.

Co Index

Acceptance Insurance Co. 16

I-Ramirez

Michael Schantz has been named vice president at TRI Capital Corp. Schantz will serve as regional manager for Southern California business development and will be based in the company's Los Angeles office. He previously served as principal at Real Estate

Enterpreneur's Notebook

You're running a business in L.A., and as if you didn't have enough to worry about, there's a potential new calamity barreling down the freeway in your direction.

Contingency List

Contingency search firms are employee recruiters who get paid for their services only after a candidate is placed with a client company. This sets them apart from retained search firms, which are paid up front for their work. Contingency search firms also

Persifi

If you're due a refund on your income taxes, how fast can you get it? And is it worth taking a quick loan to lay your hands on the money even sooner?

Nightclub

Last Wednesday night, during one of the slowest times of the year for nightclubs, the place was filled to the brim with nearly 500 clubgoers from wannabe actors in Army pants and wafer-thin models in spaghetti-strapped dresses, to lawyers and realtors i

Garment

Two old-time names in L.A. women's apparel have joined hands, bringing swimwear and lingerie under the same ownership.

Corporate Focus

Macerich Co., the regional mall real estate investment trust, has been on a shopping spree.

Combo

Folding shirts he had just taken out of the dryer at a newly opened self-service laundry, Jos & #233; Almaraz contemplated getting a cup of Starbucks coffee to sip while waiting for the rest of his clothes to finish drying.

Zone

When Vice President Al Gore announced that Los Angeles would get its long-awaited federal empowerment zone in 1999, local officials hailed it as a remedy to many of the economic problems in such areas as Pacoima and South Central L.A.

Weekly Brief

For the past 18 months, Gardena-based ball bearing maker IKS American Corp. has been reorganizing its business practices in a bid to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization.

Utilities

California's grand experiment into electric utility deregulation, which is supposed to bring full competition and lower electricity prices to California homes and businesses, has gotten off to slow and rocky start.

Players

Though much remains unknown about the coming deregulation of the electricity market, this much is certain: It has added a new level of competition for California's three biggest utilities.

Correction

The Feb. 9 list of 50 largest law firms incorrectly reported the number of attorneys with Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe. The correct number is 55.

Reits

The once high-flying shares of Hollywood Park Inc. have been driven to much lower altitudes following President Clinton's proposal to limit the tax benefits enjoyed by paired-share REITs.

Sunday, February 15

Measuring

are still very primitive in their communication measurement techniques. Certainly, they have machine-derived data about a rep's telephone time on and off calls, as well as average call length. But they have very unreliable information about a given rep's