Stories for April 2000

Monday, April 24

Cybersense-Thumbs Down on E-Voting Until Minorities Go Online

The principle of "one man, one vote" is as deeply ingrained in our democratic process as soft money, sex scandals and negative ads.

Letters: Other Side of Focus Group Story

I would like to present a more balanced view of the qualitative research industry than was presented in your April 3 article "Is Your Focus Group Legit? Cheating Rampant."

TV Network Of Future Has More Choices

Not that most Angelenos would know it, but many local TV stations are already sending digital signals through the airwaves. They just don't have anything much to put on them.

Asian Business Card Etiquette

As more and more companies continue to internationalize, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. More business executives take international business trips to establish new clients, research foreign investment, or to target additional and/or emerging m

TECH TALK--Shockwave Thinks Online Ben Stein Game Is Winner

Ben Stein, sporting a dark-blue blazer and a pink patterned Hermes tie, sat at a breakfast table in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel with a handful of reporters, but he was the one asking most of the questions.

Computer Games at Work Drain Productivity

Do you know when your employees are playing computer games instead of working? No one knows for sure how much time employees waste on games, but when they do, it's a drain on your productivity.

SCHOOLS--LAUSD Relying on Untrained Teachers

The Los Angeles Unified School District is looking for a few thousand good teachers.

IDEALAB--Idealab Facing Tough Sell to Investors as It Files for IPO

Idealab is the dot-com industry's biggest incubator, and after filing for an initial public offering last week, the company proved it's certainly the boldest.

SAG--AFTRA Poised to Strike

If commercial actors do decide to hit the picket lines as they were threatening last week, experts say the economic loss to Los Angeles could be as much as $3.5 million a week.

How To Sell A Seminar

Seminars have become one of the most popular means for high-technology companies to generate new business. If you're a manager, work in a large metropolitan area and subscribe to one or two computer publications, chances are you receive invitations to pr

The Agenda

Mayor Richard Riordan will discuss the LAPD's Rampart division scandal at a noon luncheon sponsored by Town Hall Los Angeles. The talk, which starts at 1 p.m., will also be broadcast on KCRW-FM 89.9's "Which Way, L.A." program. The event takes place at th

DESIGN--THANKS TO A 1998 BOND MEASURE, ARCHITECTS ARE DREAMING

In the '50s, it was the malt shop. In the '80s, it was the mall. And in the '00s, the new community gathering spot is a rather unlikely place: the public library.

The Last Word On Jet Lag

The next time somebody brings up jet lag, glance briefly at the ceiling, then tell them: "You mean, of course, circadian dischronism." That should shut them up. If you can take care of that, we'll do the rest right here. You shouldn't have to talk, read

THE NEWSMAKER

Carol Sapin Gold, a West Los Angeles management consultant and specialist in women in business, told a group of female employees of the L.A. Community College District that no one was holding women back in the corporate world. "Men are willing to give wom

INTERVIEW--Fortune Builder

Amid the market turmoil, Todd Morgan remains unfazed as he manages enormous sums of money for his clients some of L.A.'s wealthiest residents

How To Make Convention Publicity Pay

Sure, you've got your lead forms all printed out and ready for your salespeople to fill in. You've rented booth space and put together a dynamic-looking display. You've got your new products ready to show off.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--the roving eye

As Palm Pilots and similar devices get more and more popular, one problem continues to bedevil their users: It's a major pain to write and input data using a Stylus.

Use Strategic Planning to Reduce Travel Costs

When it comes to company expenses, travel is one of the most controllable: it ranks third after payroll and automation. It's also one of the easiest to overlook when cutting costs. Many companies believe they have exhausted their money-saving options once

The LABJ's L.A. stories

L.A. and New York are always trying to one-up each other. But who would have thought that New York would have an edge when it comes to traffic news?

Our view: School

Ramon Cortines, the interim superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District, does not like to stand still. An outspoken critic of bloated, glacial bureaucracies, he was known for criticizing administrative "tea parties" while heading up the San Francis

SHIPPING--Local Ports Could Be Overwhelmed Before Busy Season

Concerned that the looming deluge of holiday-season imports may pile up and overwhelm local ports, officials at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as shipping lines, are preparing to press major retail chains to institute round-the-clock dis

Ahead of the curve

Cinco de Mayo: Los Lobos is the headliner at the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the country. The 11th Annual L.A. Fiesta Broadway is dedicated this year to "D & #237;a de los Ni & #324;os: Celebrating Young Americans." It's set for downtown on Sunday, April 30. O

CHIAT/DAY--Selling the Dot-Coms

It's been said that the biggest beneficiaries of the dot-com revolution are advertising agencies, which have taken in billions from well-funded startups looking to create an instant brand identity. And while most Los Angeles agencies have been enjoying th

The pacesetter

With its 3.8 million residents, the city of Los Angeles is by far the largest city in L.A. County and as such, has long been the dominant force.

METTLE--Inner-City

After growing up in South L.A. and graduating from rival high schools, both went into the metal-plating business and managed to stay employed at different companies during the region's worst recession in 60 years.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Rules to Live by When Putting Your Firm Up for Sale

If you are a business owner seeking liquidity, either through a sale or by bringing new capital into the company, you are fortunate to be facing an incredibly strong market.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Practice, Preparation Help Make Meetings Productive

Most people dislike meetings because they waste time and don't achieve objectives.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Briefing

RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESSThe roller-coaster stock market hasn't hurt business for Meir Levy and Ilan Levy-Meyer, co-owners of Cannon Trading Co. in Beverly Hills. Instead of investing directly in securities, the brothers originally staked their claim in th

Smaller Firms Can Raise Public Sector Capital

The SEC, apparently realizing that a gap existed in the financing opportunities for smaller businesses, undertook major new initiatives to zero in on the capital needs of smaller businesses. The efforts of the SEC culminated in final rules adopted in Apri

At Home or Abroad: Make Your Message Last

At the completion of a presentation, the conventional behavior is to wrap it up with a recap of the major points and a question-and-answer period. Although these conventions have merit and should not be over- looked in your planning, there are some more e

Innocence No Longer Option for Young

This month, we watched a 6-year-old Cuban boy bounced back and forth in a political ping-pong match. Someone and by that I mean, some adult put Elian Gonzalez in front of a video camera and had him plead his case for staying in America.

Buffett Offers Investors a Lesson in Value

Much has been written lately on Warren Buffett, the legendary value investor. The focus has been on how his stock, Berkshire Hathaway, hasn't been able to keep up with the recent stock market activity. Amateur and professional investors have outperformed

Home Businesses Are Now Common

Nearly half of the 17 million small businesses in the United States were home-based, according to a recent report released by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.

Small Businesses Can Control Travel Expenses

Small companies must find ways to reduce the cost of employee travel. Congress reduced the deduction for business meals from 80% to 50% of the cost. No deduction is allowed for a spouse unless he or she is a bona fide employee.

When Calling on a Consultant Makes Sense

When does calling in outside consultants make sense? When companies experience one or more of the following conditions: when time is of the essence, when more "hands" are needed, when special expertise is required and when objectivity is important. During

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Hackers, Politicians Portrayed as Biggest Threats to Net

Internet security expert Ian Angell had been working on his book, "The New Barbarian Manifesto: How to Survive the Information Age" (Kogan Page Ltd.), for the past eight years.

Catering to Ethnic Cultures Is Way of Life at Hospitals

Where can you get a bowl of seaweed soup or a plate of tabouli when you're in the hospital? In more places than you might think.

City

City

Analysts Claim They Saw Fall Coming, So Why Did Everyone Lose Money?

Following the 1987 stock market crash, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose 23 percent of its value in one day, no one owned stocks. Or at least no one admitted to owning stocks on the day in question.

Kaplan Seeks New Deals for Hollywood Stock Exchange

After four years, the Hollywood Stock Exchange is finally getting a chief executive.

How To Leave Your Pre-Presentation Jitters on The Plane

Just got into town for a big presentation? You may well be experiencing that sinking feeling we often call "pre-presentation jitters."

How Newsletters Can Help a Business Grow

Tired of paying big bucks for ads that don't generate enough responses? Need to turbocharge your company's sales? Then you may want to consider using a very effective but often-overlooked sales tool: a customer newsletter.

DEVELOPMENT--They're Back

When the namesake and founder of Alexander Haagen Properties Inc. stepped down as chairman and chief executive almost two and a half years ago, he could have just hit the golf course after a long career in real estate.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Casting Firm in Best Light Will Lure Workers

Spring and early summer is a great time to think about your home business' staffing needs.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--executive summary

The estimated 6.8 million people who live in the 25 largest cities in Los Angeles County run the gamut of cultural and economic backgrounds.

Newsmakers

If commercial actors do decide to hit the picket lines as they were threatening last week, experts say the economic loss to Los Angeles could be as much as $3.5 million a week.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Show Biz

Timing is everything in Hollywood, and the timing could be right for Phoenix Pictures and Chairman Mike Medavoy. He's got a deal with J.R. Moehringer, the Los Angeles Times reporter who just won a Pulitzer Prize for feature reporting.

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Closer Look Reveals Key Factors in Wall Street Ride

Some of the Internet and high-tech stocks that crashed earlier this month subsequently bounced back, and some didn't. You "know" that markets always rise again, eventually. So you're trusting that your stocks the ones still in the dumps will recover t

Advantages of the Private Jet Alternative

Today airlines are in a defensive promotional position trying to demonstrate how their unique seating arrangements are more comfortable and crowds more tolerable. For the wearied business executive tired of poor on-time performance, airport congestion an

COLUMNS & FEATURES--Learning to Live With Market Volatility Can Pay Off

Say it until you believe it. You might as well, if you mean to be a long-term mutual fund investor who actually sticks around for the long term.

CORPORATE FOCUS--Herbalife Stock Ailing After Unsuccessful Buyout Effort

Herbalife International Inc. founder Mark Hughes is a man with big dreams. He is not only building a 45,000-square-foot house in Benedict Canyon, but he wants to conquer the world with his nutritional, dietary and beauty-care products.

Getting Into the Import/Export Business

Every business, whether a large commercial venture or a small home- based enterprise, needs to analyze its potential, examine its strengths and weaknesses, and determine the future of the organization. It works for the major corporations and it will wor

The Business Digest

Pacific Coast Feather Co. has leased a 335,000-square-foot build-to-suit being developed by Majestic Realty Co. on Rex Road. The 10-year deal is valued at $16.8 million.

Develop Lifetime Ties

You can't be content selling somebody something one shot, if for the same time and effort you could position them and set the stage for them to want to come back every month and buy from you. Don't set up a relationship with a customer unless you can set

IMPACTS--bubble, Economists See Downturn In the Market as Good News

If the recent sell-off of technology shares was bad news, you'd never know it by talking to local investment professionals and economists. Nearly all of them are placing a positive spin on the crash.

LABJ Forum: Getting Out of the Market?

It seemed like investors couldn't go wrong in a market fueled by high-tech hopes and dot-com dreams. Then the Nasdaq took the biggest roller-coaster ride in its history. So the Business Journal asks:

INTERNET--Web Site Aims to Compare Small Shops

Online comparison shopping is hardly a new niche. It's already crowded with such companies as New York-based DealTime, with 3.5 million registered users, and Santa Clara-based mySimon, with 1.4 million users, according to PC Data.

Report From the Trenches: Getting Business Done in Japan

Outside North America, Japan is the United States' largest trading partner. Naturally, there is plenty of litigation between Japanese and American businesses as a consequence. At least some of this litigation involves Japanese witnesses who, for whateve

When is An Expense Not An Expense?

So when is an expense not an expense? When the Federal Government Gets Hold of it!

MESSAGES--Firm Makes Getting the Message Simpler

The computer is screaming, "You've got mail." There are 14 messages on the voicemail system. The fax machine is spitting out papers, and the pager won't stop beeping.

NEWSPAPER--Pulled Ads Called The Latest Gaffe From L.A. Times

After the Los Angeles Times last week agreed to replace its controversial print and TV ad that featured a group of bikini-clad women posed opposite Muslim women draped head to toe in traditional chadors, staffers and outside observers were bemoaning yet a

Delving Into the Small Business Financial Arena

Small businesses are getting harder to define. Annual gross sales and number of employees are no longer in lock-step. One company with six computers and eight employees can generate $50M annually, while another may need 80 employees and thousands of squ

ETOYS--Bubble, Pundits Point to eToys as Dot-Com Dud

As pundits around the country sought to examine and explain the recent crash in young, speculative tech stocks, Santa Monica-based eToys was perhaps the most frequently cited example of a one-time Wall Street darling whose future now looks dim.

Moments In History

25years ago this week: A boost of almost 40 cents in the L.A. County property tax rate to the highest level in history was proposed as part of a record $3 billion county budget Steadily rising wholesale costs sent the cost of ground beef to 79 cents a p

Monday, April 17

Entrepreneur's Notebook - Tips for Turning Your Brilliant Ideas Into Big Bucks

Have you ever envisioned an idea for a new product and thought it would be a true winner if you could only get it launched?

MATERNITY - Hospital Program Frees Beds and Helps New Moms

It's a typical day at the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center. In the maternity ward of the hospital's Women's Pavilion, about 35 patients have just delivered babies. Another 14 women are in labor, about to give birth.

LABJ Forum

If nothing is certain but death and taxes, at least a lucky few are getting money back from the IRS this tax season. So the Business Journal asks:

OVERVIEW - Driven by High-Tech Firms, Market Hitting Hyper-Drive

The commercial real estate market lurched into hyperdrive in the first quarter, with tenants devouring office and industrial space throughout Los Angeles County and rents exceeding their past peak on the Westside.

Disney's International Strategy Is in Hands of Johnson

If Michael O. Johnson were a conductor, the tune he'd be coaxing out of the diverse divisions that comprise Walt Disney International would have to be "It's a Small World After All."

REAL ESTATE - Huge Area Is Targeted for Modernization of Property

Although industrial vacancy in central Los Angeles is at a record low, new development has been slow in coming. But that's starting to change.

INSIDE VIEW - Class Struggle

By Taking to Streets, Janitors Put Face on Growing Labor Movement Class Struggle

INLAND EMPIRE - Market Getting Even Hotter With Flood of E-Tail Deals

Driven by the influx of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar distribution giants, the demand for industrial space in the Inland Empire kept outstripping supply during the first quarter of 2000.

Tech Talk - Talk Show Host Uses Celebrities to Hawk Internet Site

If Madonna herself asked you to go to a Web site and buy her latest CD, would you do it?

TATTOO - Tattoo Removal Lets Young Executives Erase Mistakes

At 29, Ryan Adams enjoys a good deal of prestige as coordinator of post production for Hearst Entertainment Productions, a creator of made-for-TV movies and miniseries based in West Los Angeles. Other than his youth, there's just one thing that makes Adam

FOUNDATION - Health Care Endowment Planning a Move to Downtown

The California Endowment, a nonprofit agency that provides grants to organizations helping to bring health care services to disadvantaged groups, is planning to move its operation from Woodland Hills to downtown Los Angeles.

Fund Managers With Tech Savvy Finding New Jobs

Like the stocks they invest in, quite a few mutual fund managers with Internet expertise are on the move these days.

LEASING - Tech Tenants Jockey Wildly For Offices

If the tech sector seems volatile on Wall Street, it's equally wild on Main Street.

Show Biz

HBO's "The Sopranos" just finished its second season with record ratings, but CBS's new mob drama, "Falcone," has been limping along even with some of the actors from the hit cable series appearing in it.

The Briefing

Ron Hutson had managed a chamber of commerce, worked as an independent business banker, and owned an upholstery cleaning business before embarking on his latest venture: Around Tuitt Fix-It Service.

REHAB - Promises, promises

Malibu rehab center is where the stars go to recover. But will luxury detox really cure their problems?

Repraisers

RepraisersRepraisers, list

Chatsworth Park Buyer Planning Big Renovation

After acquiring the 227,000-square-foot Chatsworth Business Park for $10.25 million from the government of Singapore, Newport Beach-based development and investment firm CT Realty Corp. plans to redevelop the 7.9-acre business campus.

The Agenda

Technology + Real Estate, a conference about applying technology to profit in the real estate business, takes place today at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. More than 40 real estate and tech leaders will speak at the event, which starts at 8 a.m.

Founder of Incubator Goes From Rock Stars to Startups

Steve Massarsky, founder of the Business Incubation Group in downtown Manhattan, used to manage demanding and ambitious rock stars. Now, he tries to manage demanding and ambitious entrepreneurs in his privately run incubator.

Our View: A Toothless Insurance Czar

In 1988, California voters who were fed up with high auto-insurance rates passed a ballot measure they thought would both reduce premiums for urban drivers and create an elected watchdog to make sure insurance companies couldn't gouge consumers.

PULP - Wastepaper Chase Heating Up to Feed Asian Demand

Last year, 2 million tons of the stuff was shipped from L.A.-area ports making it the No. 1 local export to Asia in terms of sheer volume. And that total is growing driven by increasing demand from paper mills in recovering Asian economies.

MINING - Good Times May Not Last Long for Mining Operations

With ambitious new infrastructure projects coming down the pipeline, business should be booming for local mining operations that supply the construction industry with the raw materials used in building roads and bridges. However, a looming supply shortage

The LABJ's L.A. stories

For Mark R. Goldston, chief executive of Calabasas-based NetZero Inc., out of sight is out of mind.

MID-CITIES - Slowdown in Development Brings Jump in Lease Rates

After a record 1999, the industrial market in the Mid-Cities showed no signs of softening in the first quarter. But because fewer new developments are coming onto the market, brokers expect lease rates to start rising faster.

Entrepreneur Magazine Suing Competitors Over Names

Entrepreneur magazine's zeal on behalf of enterprising business owners apparently has its limits.

BANK - Community Bank Sputters In Plan to Aid Revitalization

The new head of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank knows there are real opportunities for inner-city commercial real estate lending, which his publicly funded lending institution can capitalize upon.

INTERNET - New Incubator Weds Celebrities to Startups

Shaquille O'Neal: basketball superstar, rapper and Internet executive? Arnold Schwarzenegger: action movie hero, fitness guru and online media mogul?

Letters

I was astonished by the article in your April 3 edition, "Dot-Com Executives Stay Away From Local Chambers." Evidently, dot-com execs need to get off their rear end, take a walk, get some fresh air, and envision more than a video display terminal.

REVITALIZATION - Inner-City Struggle

With the aggregate purchasing power of urban residents climbing and many of their communities still underserved, some developers are concluding that their next frontier is the inner city. But convincing retailers to see past inner-city stereotypes can som

COST - Cost of Doing Business to Go Up, Again

It seems that wherever local employers turn these days, someone is trying to get more money out of them.

NORTH COUNTY - Moves From San Fernando Valley Spark New Building

Internal growth and migration from the San Fernando Valley fueled the North County industrial market in the first quarter.

EXERCISE - Karate Kids

WHEN STARS LIKE MEG RYAN AND GLENN CLOSE WANTED THEIR KIDS TO gain self-esteem, THEY SIGNED them UP AT ONE OF THE FASTEST-GROWING self-defense SCHOOLS IN L.A.

GAME SHOW - Come on Down!

She's a legal secretary from Long Beach. He's a kindergarten teacher in Hawthorne. They married in a drive-through Vegas chapel after meeting on the Internet. And for one day, Gayle and Kevin Paul will try their luck and test their shopping skills as game

EDISON - International Events Send Edison Stock Plummeting

A few months back, Rosemead-based Edison International's prospects looked bright.

Wall Street West - Mega-Account Managers in Demand at Top L.A. Firms

The downtown branch of Merrill Lynch recently seized upon a prize: Six premier high-net-worth managers, defecting from the rival offices of Goldman Sachs & Co.

INTERVIEW - Boosting Biotech

Since becoming president of Caltech, David Baltimore has taken steps to see that academic breakthroughs in biology and other disciplines can be utilized by private-sector interests

The Business Digest

Gov. Gray Davis took the wraps off a $5.2 billion state transportation plan that includes $2.2 billion for busways, light rail, carpool lanes, inner-city trains and some freeway expansion in Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

GENESIS - Ambitious Program by Mayor Off to Promising Start

Genesis L.A., the program Mayor Richard Riordan launched 13 months ago to revitalize 15 inner-city sites, is off to a roaring start on paper.

TELECOM - Global Crossing Heads Into Next Phase

The chairman and founder of Global Crossing Ltd. isn't lacking for employees he has somewhere around 14,000 of them. But the people with whom he started the company less than four years ago have either left or will do so soon. And that speaks volumes ab

SCHOOLS - Breakup Could Be Learning Experience for LAUSD

When Los Angeles school board members approved a plan to divide the mammoth district into 11 smaller districts, they assigned a Herculean task to be completed in a miniscule amount of time.

Moments

20years ago this week: Driven by increasing housing and transportation costs, the cost of living in L.A. was increasing at a whopping 25.5 percent annual rate, federal labor officials said The L.A. school board voted to boycott Hughes Airwest, joining S

RETAIL - Big Chains Are Realizing Value of Urban-Area Stores

There was a time when such things were unthinkable, but change is afoot in corporate America.

COMMENTARY - Years After Riots, Fortunes of Inner City Still in Ruins

A week before the nightmarish orgy of looting and burning in Los Angeles in April 1992, I talked with the owner of a mid-sized grocery mart in South Central Los Angeles. He had been in business only a few months and was plainly edgy about the area. He had

real estate appraisal firms

The fundamental role of a real estate appraiser is to provide a professional opinion, usually an estimate of a property's market value. Typically, appraisers are employed by lenders to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction. Appr

Cybersense - This Hacker Attack Short-Circuited Fortunes of Firm

Before the Internet arrived, the idea that you could make money by selling products for a fraction of their cost would have seemed ludicrous.

DOWNTOWN - Telecoms Grabbing Lots of Prime Space for Machinery

This time last year, the only thing downtown brokers wanted to talk about was the Staples Center and how it was the great hope to revive the region. Now that it's open, there's some scattered activity around it, but the real downtown story is about someth

MXG - Firm Adds Online Video to Focus on Teens

MXG Media Inc. is looking to grab a bigger piece of the $75 billion spent by teen-age girls every year.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY - Major Deals, New Projects Bring Life to Office Market

The bad news in the San Gabriel Valley was that the office vacancy rate jumped more than 3 percent during the first quarter.

UNIONS - At Pueblo Nuevo, Janitors Run Their Own Company

Janitors who were walking picket lines last week might want to take a lesson from the workers at Pueblo Nuevo Enterprises, a cooperative whose employees own their company.

LENDERS - Banks Battling to Lend Money to Urban-Core Developers

It's too risky. The return on investment is too small. The loans aren't big enough.

WESTSIDE - Feeding Frenzy' Making Space Very Tough to Find

The Westside commercial real estate boom reached crescendo levels in the first quarter, as dot-com tenants continued to flood the market.

REAL ESTATE - The Next Frontier

In the eight years since post-riot promises to rebuild inner-city L.A. filled the air, charity-minded redevelopment efforts have been largely a bust. Little surprise. That's been the case throughout L.A. history.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY - Surging Demand for Office Space Pushes Rents Higher

With the development of new office space lagging well behind economic expansion, tenants were hard-pressed to find suitable digs in the San Fernando Valley during the first quarter of 2000.

SOUTH BAY - Shut Out of the Westside, Dot-Coms Signing Deals

Three engines are driving the South Bay real estate market: Booming business at the Long Beach and L.A. seaports, growing air cargo traffic at Los Angeles International Airport, and rapid movement of Internet companies into the area.

HOUSING - Developers Taking Aim at A Different Class of Tenant

Slowly but surely, higher-income urban pioneers are joining the traditional low-income tenants and homeowners in L.A.'s inner city.

TRI-CITIES - New Projects Reflect Wave Of Demand in Hot Market

The Tri-Cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena hummed with development activity in the first quarter of 2000, after a burst of new leases late last year reaffirmed the need for more office space in the market.

VENTURA COUNTY - Camarillo Is Ground Zero For Surging Office Market

Dot-com fever improved the health of the Ventura County office market during the first quarter, driving the vacancy rate down to around 10 percent from 12.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999, according to preliminary figures from CB Richard Ellis Inc.

TRAINS - Plans for Magnetic Levitating Train Troubled by High Cost

A consortium of local transit planners over the next two weeks will begin selecting a team of consultants to help them hone their pitch for $950 million in federal funding to build a $4 billion "maglev" train linking LAX to the Ontario Airport and Riversi

Hybrid Mortgages Helping Buyers Get Foot in the Door

Mortgage rates and home prices are climbing in every part of the country. But buyers hardly seem to notice.

WEB - Party Is Ending For Hollywood Web Companies

At one time, Web sites could flash a little shiny animation on the screen and attract thousands of visitors a day. But online visitors are becoming more sophisticated.

CORPORATE FOCUS - New Platforms, Hard Times For Video-Game Publisher

As every video-game aficionado knows, sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your powers in order to advance in the game.

Going to Work for Dot-Com Can Require Big Changes

Question: My partners and I have previously built several very successful businesses, with the last one selling for over $7 million. We've been invited to participate in a dot-com enterprise, but felt totally out of place and uncomfortable when we went to

AIRPORTS - Ontario's Spacious Skies

While Los Angeles International Airport is bursting at the seams and awaits a possible $12 billion expansion, Ontario International Airport has a new $270 million terminal that on many days resembles a ghost town more than a bustling travel center.

The Roving Eye

Yeehaw! Cowboy boots are back, but they don't look like anything your daddy wore.

In This Economy, Profit Can Takes Its Toll

My first encounter with the "new" economics came a few years ago, when a radio show I was doing was up for renewal.

Developer Finding Niche for Small Industrial Spaces

As the industrial market has boomed in the San Gabriel Valley, so has construction of big-box warehouse and distribution facilities, leaving smaller entrepreneurs with few options.

HOLLYWOOD - Vacancy Rate Plummets as Comeback Hits High Gear

Hollywood's transition from sketchy to edgy persisted in the first quarter, as vacancy rates continued to dip, particularly among the area's top buildings.

Ahead Of Curve

Arty film stills: In the past, artist Cindy Sherman has portrayed everyone from sultry film-noir heroines to grotesque Elizabethan gentlemen in her revealing and sometimes historical self-portrait photos. This time, the mistress of disguise plays women wh

Newsmakers

Peter Adee was named partner at New Wave Entertainment, a Burbank company that makes film trailers. He will be involved in business development and audio/visual entertainment advertising. Adee was previously a co-president at Creative Domain in Los Angele

WILSHIRE - Arrival of New-Media Firms Sends Vacancies Tumbling

New-media companies continued to be attracted to the Wilshire Corridor during the first quarter, as rents soared and available space dwindled on the Westside.

Monday, April 10

Ahead The Curve

Still waiting: In Samuel Beckett's classic "Waiting for Godot," a homeless man suffering existential angst kills time by doing vaudevillian antics and music hall ditties with people around him. The latest revival of the play is at the Matrix Theater in Ho

Advertising Agencies

Los Angeles advertising agencies had a good year in 1999, with most reporting higher billings than the previous year. Combined, the top 25 reported $5.6 billion in L.A. County billings for 1999, a 19 percent increase from 1998. The glut of dot-com adverti

DEVELOPMENT - Developer Lands Exclusive Deal With California Pizza Kitchen

Eager to be assured locations in future shopping centers built by hot-handed developer Rick Caruso, California Pizza Kitchen has taken the unusual step of granting Caruso exclusive franchise rights to build and operate CPK outlets in an area stretching fr

Jane Applegate - Taking Daughters to Work Can Bring Payoff in Attitude

On April 27, thousands of small-business owners will be heading to work with their laptops, lunch bags, and hopefully, a daughter or two in tow.

HEALTH - Hospitals Pulling Plug on Blue Cross

Blue Cross of California is facing a revolt from hospitals, which continue to terminate their contracts and turn away Blue Cross patients because of low reimbursement rates paid by the state's second largest health insurer.

Wall Street West - Market Turmoil Is Having Little Impact on This Deal

Despite the market gyrations of the past two weeks which some say put the chill on a number of venture deals other financiers are shouting "Damn the torpedoes."

Tech Talk - New Toys and Juicy Perks Are Conference Highlights

Leaving Internet World is kind of like leaving Disneyland: You've seen a lot, done a lot, and probably had fun, but you don't feel the need to go back for a long, long time.

HOME - Chairs Extraordinaire

Raoul Benassaya grew up on a cobblestone street in Paris that was home to a strip of furniture makers and restorers. As a teen-ager, he served as an apprentice to his mother, whose family has been crafting handmade furniture for more than 100 years.

CORPORATE FOCUS - Cadiz Goes From Flush to Dry in the Wake of Report

Two months ago, Santa Monica-based Cadiz Inc. was sitting pretty. It's stock was trading at an all-time high of more than $12 a share. And it was nearing approval on its plan to set up a first-of-its-kind underground water storage and retrieval system ben

FEES - District Proposes Developer Fees to Pay for New Schools

The Los Angeles school district is considering a proposal to more than double fees on new residential projects, sparking an uproar from local developers and affordable housing advocates.

Entrepreneur's Notebook - Making Workers Aware of Profit Aids the Bottom Line

If your company has a fantastic financial year and makes record profits, where do your employees think the money goes?

Column & Feature - Newsmakers

Dan Casey was named executive vice president of sales and marketing at WorldLink in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for day-to-day sales operations. Casey was most recently vice president and general manager of Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Es

Real Estate - Former Site of Kerkorian Headquarters Is in Escrow

The Beverly Hills office building developed by and formerly occupied by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and his Tracinda Corp. is about to change hands.

Letters: Troubles in South Central

As I gaze past the remnants of two Molotov cocktails (vintage 1965 and 1992) on my desk, through the heavy steel security-clad window to the ripe bloated dog in the gutter across the street, I read your whimsical article about how but another group is now

LABJ Forum: Government Going Too Far?

The recent spate of government lawsuits targeting industry giants like Microsoft, Phillip Morris and Smith & Wesson has some critics decrying interference with the free market. So the Business Journal asks:

Stock Options Becoming Less of a Lure for Executives

Executives being enticed to Internet companies are no longer as willing to forego cash salary in exchange for stock options as they were a year ago, according to recruiters.

COMPETITION - Fight Brews Between Homestore, Microsoft

Homestore.com has faced down an ever-increasing array of competitors, but the online real estate company could be facing its toughest challenger yet: none other than the 800-pound gorilla of the tech business, Microsoft Corp.

Compared to Peers, L.A. Teachers Well Paid

L.A. teachers were loud and clear last week in announcing they are direly underpaid and deserve a 21 percent raise that would cost the district at least $400 million a year.

Jane Bryant Quinn - Has Buffett Lost His Touch? Legend Finds Mixed Results

How often have you heard it said, "Warren Buffett is buying XYZ stock, so you should, too"?

ACTORS - Labor Talks on Ads May Impact Hollywood Contracts

It's hardball time for the TV commercial industry, and perhaps the rest of Hollywood.

The Business Digest

Billionaire Eli Broad has given $1 million to the host committee for the Democratic National Convention in hopes of helping fund raisers meet their final goal.

WAITERS - Interruptions Du Jour

A couple of years ago, as is the natural course of things, I proposed marriage to a young woman of my acquaintance. Or, at least, I tried to propose marriage to her.

Missing Those Wild, Crazy College Days

Recently I spoke at a local university. Seeing the students, with their books and backpacks and floppy coats, reminded me of all that I miss about the college years.

AWARD - Business Journal Named Among Top U.S. Weeklies

The Los Angeles Business Journal for the third year in a row has been named one of the best business weeklies in the country by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Working at Home - Tips for Getting Money's Worth From Online Auctions

When online auction sites made a splash five years ago, computer hardware and refurbished electronics constituted much of the sites' merchandise. Now, the product selection has blossomed to include furniture, equipment, travel offers and groceries.

Moments

15years ago this week: El Segundo-based National Transactional Systems outfitted 217 Safeway stores with a new generation of ATMs to let shoppers use cards from any California bank to buy groceries and withdraw cash from checking accounts The Navy said i

Show Biz

It hasn't been a great year for TV talk shows, but two-year-old "Donnie & Marie" has been the exception. It's one of only two returning talk shows that has increased its audience this year, up 11 percent over last year's February sweeps and 13 percent for

Cybersense - Game Platforms Linked to Web Could Be Big Winners

A few years ago, Microsoft told us a set-top box would change the future of television.

INTERVIEW - Citizen Dukakis

Now a public policy professor at UCLA, former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis is trying to inspire young people to get involved in politics

The Roving Eye

How does an up-and-coming advertising agency stand out from the crowd in L.A., where so many firms are begging for attention?

Web Startups Rethink IPOs

If there were any lingering doubts that Internet commerce companies are no longer the darlings of Wall Street, last week's technology tumult should have erased them. And that doesn't bode well for local Internet companies currently seeking to go public.

PAY - Wage Proposal Threatens CRA Projects

In what may be the first proposal of its kind in California, the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency is considering a living wage law that would not only apply to contractors and developers doing business with the CRA, but also to employers who lease spac

The Agenda

Homeowners beware: The second installment of your annual property tax payment is due today to the L.A. County Treasurer and Tax Collector's Office. Information: (213) 974-2111.

The LABJ's L.A. stories

One of the most popular karaoke venues in the city has turned to live bands as a way to calm the standing-room-only crowds that turned out for the songfests.

A Study Shows Anecdotal Evidence Is True: CEOs Are Getting Crazy Sums Pay Inflation

Maybe you sensed CEO pay was soaring. Well, the numbers are in, and they will blow you away.

FX - Tight Visual Effects Market Forces Creative Alliances

When Burbank-based Available Light replaced its outdated visual effects equipment earlier this year, the small boutique found itself with empty space. At the same time, another special effects company called Area 51 was looking to relocate from Marina del

Column & Feature - The Weekly Briefing

It's a textbook example of how Internet companies morph to fit the rapidly changing digital economy.

Our View - Bizarre Doings By the Beach

To the north there's Santa Cruz, a city whose last mayor was an avowed socialist and whose council has passed or pondered such odd ordinances as declaring the city a Hate Free Zone or making it illegal to discriminate based on a person's physical appea

Extravagant Parties Irk Investors

Danny Bonaduce, Paul Sorvino, members of the band Nine Inch Nails and Penny and Garry Marshall partied at the Playboy Mansion last week, but not at one of Hef's legendary bashes.

TRAINING - Thin Blue-Collar Line

In the manufacturing lab at Don Bosco Technical Institute, about a dozen high school students are working at brand-new lathing machines, wearing blue dustcoats and safety glasses. They are a rare sight in Los Angeles, because virtually all high schools he

HOUSING - Homebuilders Flocking to San Gabriel Valley

Just when it looked like all the local homebuilding action was taking place in the northern reaches of the county, the eastern San Gabriel Valley has roared back to life.

EToys: Stock Went From Hot to Shot

Anyone seeking to contrast the euphoria that greeted Internet commerce companies going public last year with the silence they're facing from investors now need look no further than eToys Inc.