Stories for February 2001
Monday, February 26
Citing a burgeoning marketplace for digital production facilities, Tribune Entertainment Co. is undertaking a major overhaul of its historic Sunset Boulevard complex that will transform the facility into the nation's first fully digital studio lot.
A deal to grant an L.A. city franchise agreement to fiber-optic network builder RCN Corp. of Princeton, N.J. to go head-to-head with established cable companies has hit a major snag.
With the first converted MD-10 cargo plane slated to roll out of SR Technics Inc.'s Palmdale hangar next month, the company is poised to begin a new wave of local hiring.
With FM programming in Los Angeles and elsewhere focused increasingly on pop music, jazz lovers are generally left to listen to their own CDs or nothing at all.
The new chief financial officer of Picture PipeLine LLC, Jan A. Camacho, has joined the growing ranks of new-media types who are betting that digital content delivery will be the future of the entertainment business. Unlike many start-ups though, she has
Because marketing is a "soft" science, it is often surrounded by an aura of mystery.
Mark Siegel, former managing director of the Burbank-based Disney family's Shamrock Holdings, and chairman since 1992 of Century City-based Remy Capital Partners, likes to give orphans a home his home.
The reason I like Excite is, it was the first page I ever personalized for all my news information. What I have on my page is all my stocks of course, not as vast a portfolio as I'd like, nevertheless it's on the screen sports news, headlines of the d
To paraphrase the Robert Palmer song, might as well face it, we're addicted to Clinton.
Forget all the gloom and doom surrounding the dot-com bust. Savvy investors, both private and corporate, are dusting themselves off and getting back into the game.
A seismic shock is slamming into L.A.-area hospitals, resulting in billions of dollars in expenses and threatening several facilities with closure.
Los Angeles-area businesses, staring down the threat of rolling blackouts this summer, are concocting a vast array of strategies in a bid to keep their operations running.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to negotiate with the L.A. Unified School District to have a middle school built atop the Wilshire/Vermont subway station.
In a case of strange bedfellows, the California Trucking Association is vowing to help defend the Environmental Protection Agency against an expected lawsuit from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.
Joel Wachs Vows to Lift 'Veil of Secrecy' in Government, Make City Departments More Efficient
Drink in hand, Jay Springer was schmoozing with Ken Basart inside Club SoHo, a downtown Los Angeles nightclub where hundreds of dot-com victims gathered to lick their wounds.
Local air-freight companies, eager to cut costs and unable to find affordable warehouse/distribution space near Los Angeles International Airport, are being forced to relocate to far-off South Bay locations.
A slowing economy means less job hopping, so it's little surprise that the stock of Korn/Ferry International, the world's largest executive recruitment firm, is in the dumper.
UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale is Using Ivy League and White House Experience in the Task of Running the State's Largest Public University
The Internet is increasingly becoming a no-play zone for advertising-driven content sites, which, surprisingly, is good news to Jake Winebaum. The co-founder of eCompanies LLC has taken the helm of the business content site Business.com, the portal with t
It figures that ritzy 2 Rodeo Drive, the European-looking street in Beverly Hills that is home to Tiffany & Co. and Christian Dior, would have its very own ambassador.
There's enough recession talk in the air right now to spook the staunchest long-term investor in mutual funds.
Monterey Park is on the verge of getting its first major retail development, bringing new shopping alternatives to area residents and an estimated 35 percent bump in the city's sales tax base.
Friend Flicks: A dose of humanity can be found on the screen of the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro during its new series, "Foreign Films Featuring Friendship." The series, sponsored in part by the City of L.A. Cultural Affairs Department, kicks off on
Armed with new data from the U.S. Commerce Department showing that Hollywood is hemorrhaging jobs to Canada more than ever, the entertainment industry is turning up the heat on lawmakers to help stem the tide. And to a certain extent, legislators are resp
Tangerine. It's a delicious fruit, of course. But in the lexicon of the stock market, the word has another connotation. It refers to a company whose subsidiaries or divisions are very different from one another. Such companies can be taken apart into sepa
In the late summer of 1999, veteran actor William Daniels huddled in a corner booth of Art's Delicatessen in Studio City with a handful of disgruntled Screen Actors Guild members who were looking for a change in leadership. After listening to their storie
On the one hand, the newspaper headlines feature mordant layoff news. On the other, most American companies say that they still can't find enough workers.
An old Santa Monica telephone building is a 'lending library' for Eli Broad's art foundation, which boasts one of the world's top collections of contemporary works
It's been kind of slow in the Boy Wonder Department lately, don't you think? The boy wonders, they come and they go.
A growing number of small businesses and individuals in Los Angeles are resolving their legal disputes online these days.
Computer printer services inc. finds clients still have large need for hard copy even in tech-filled office environments
Faced with escalating costs and dim prospects for profitability, CoachSports Inc. has halved its expenses by switching the professional affiliation of its Long Beach-based ice hockey club.
Despite "Gladiator's" slew of Oscar nominations and more than $187 million in box-office receipts, the film's cinematographer, John Mathieson, said they never had a script to work from before or during the 80-day shoot. Mathieson said that he and director
Pacific Design Center owner Charles Cohen, in Los Angeles for his monthly visit to the West Hollywood landmark, said he's committed to opening the vast blue and green buildings to the public, and that part of that effort will be the two new restaurants co
It's easy to smirk about a place like Utah. It's where religion dominates politics and where sex outside of marriage isn't just frowned upon, it's prosecuted.
Allen and Liz Rawl, owners of Allen C. Rawl Inc. Historic Maritime Recreations, make a living out of traveling the world building boats. The husband-and-wife team specializes in seafaring vessels based on historic "tall ships." They've had great success i
Monday, February 19
Just a short while after the opening of the XFL season recently, Lisa Specht kicked off her term as president of the nine-member Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission. Specht assumes the one-year position from the incumbent, L.A. County Supervisor Zev
After a tremendous run, shares of Calabasas technology innovator Ixia came crashing back to earth last week in a broad sell-off precipitated by gloomy financial reports from its most important customers.
The losses are piling up at Impco Technologies Inc., and investors are excited about it.
It's every business owner's worst nightmare: You spend years of hard work building a business, only to discover that an internal theft puts the business in jeopardy.
The race is on to serve up a kinder, gentler and of course moneymaking Napster to Hollywood's content providers, and local powerbroker Howard Weitzman is one of the latest and most ambitious to jump into the fray.
This is a file-sharing site, particularly for video. I think it's interesting to follow the evolution of sites like Napster, Scour and now Flycode. I enjoy keeping tabs on the Internet sites that allow people to exchange files via a peer-to-peer connectio
Tommy Hilfiger Corp. has vacated Rodeo Drive's largest store, and the company is now faced with the daunting task of finding another tenant to take over its $1.5 million-per-year lease.
Jerry Snyder finally has his movie theater. The $50 million Howard Hughes Promenade retail center being built by his company, J.H. Snyder Co., in Westchester has landed National Amusements Inc. for a new live entertainment/movie theater component.
If you've dreamed of spending an exotic night on a Chinese junk, you don't have to go to China.
CarsDirect.com's Robert N. Brisco Takes Online Car Dealership on Road to Major Growth Through Exclusive Internet, Brick-and-Mortar Agreements
I remember the first moment I felt like a journalist. I was 22, and it was just before classes started at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. I was enrolled there, green with inexperience, and I went to the admissions office.
Something about Richard Jones' Irish accent confirms the authenticity of his product. The owner of the Irish Import Shop has not only been selling Irish goods to Angelenos for nearly 40 years, he has become, more or less, a Los Angeles consultant for all
One post-production facility is using its experience in reality-based TV to profit from the growing demand in the faster, cheaper programming craze.
Napster is more than just a service. It's a movement," said Gary Lacey. Lacey is an analyst with WebNoize Inc., the New York-based Web research organization that monitored Napster Inc. the weekend before a federal appeals court handed down its ruling agai
It's been a decade since developers pulled back from their audacious plan to develop $1 million homes in the middle-class enclave of West Covina. The reason was bad timing, because a major recession was descending on the local real estate market.
After 75 years and four generations, the owners of El Cholo are still serving up authentic Mexican cuisine to a Los Angeles hungering for a taste of the real thing
What started as a sideline in Bob sidell's garage has grown into California Cosmetics Corp., a Mail order business with $5 million in revenues, a dozen employees and two locations
Soboroff Says Using His Business Approach is the Best Way for City to Solve Problems
Brothers Chris and Paul Weitz are the hottest up-and-coming young directors in Hollywood and could be this millennium's Coen brothers.
Facing a diminishing stock of industrial property in and around Los Angeles, developers are contemplating the same types of "teardowns" that swept the posh Westside housing market in the late 1980s, when rich Angelenos snatched up mansions only to tear th
For proof that patience really can pay off in investing, we offer the story of the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund.
Career Highlights: Represented Merrill Lynch & Co as underwriter in several initial public offerings, and Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co. Ltd. in numerous debt restructurings.
When news surfaced late last week that President Bush is considering a special tax on huge legal fees, you could almost hear the cries of despair echoing through the Los Angeles Basin.
As the New Economy continues its shakeout, startup euthanasia is on the rise. Increasingly, dot-com managers and their financial backers are opting to shut down operations earlier to ensure there's enough money left to pay off creditors and avoid bankrupt
Hollywood determined not to be stung by a Napster-like service is becoming energized about finding ways to profitably distribute movies and other content over the Internet.
A local company is hoping to turn up the volume in the growing but heretofore largely unprofitable world of Internet-only radio with a new technology that enables broadcasters to insert narrowly targeted advertisements into live streams of content.
Fred Astman, who began running money for the old Eastman Dil brokerage about the time John F. Kennedy was getting inaugurated as president, last week joked, "I am finally getting the hang of it."
The argument between open floor plans and closed offices has been a heated topic since the 1960s, when the Quiekborner team, a group of German management consultants, coined the term Burolandschaft, or "office landscaping."
Having already decided to stay put and expand its campus in Pasadena, the Art Center College of Design now has its eye on a defunct power station that would become the new public face of the prestigious school.
In a former IRS office building in the Rampart district of Los Angeles, an eight-month-old record label is germinating what it claims will be the next phenomenon to sweep the nation's pop culture scene.
Something about Richard Jones' Irish accent confirms the authenticity of his product. The owner of the Irish Import Shop has not only been selling Irish goods to Angelenos for nearly 40 years, he has become, more or less, a Los Angeles consultant for all
They sure are graceful, and their little round faces are cute as the dickens. But wouldn't they be even more appealing if they were shaped like a cube?
Telemundo Communications Group Inc. is expanding its local presence, announcing last week that it has agreed to purchase independent Spanish station KWHY-TV Channel 22 in a deal worth about $239 million.
Monday, February 12
Last February, the 20 startups that participated in the Southern California Biomedical Council's annual investment conference made their cases for funding during the waning but still frenzied days of tech-investing mania.
E-Trade, the online brokerage firm, is running some pretty aggressive ads to attract accounts. They're aimed directly at the tens of thousands of people who are currently leaving their jobs.
Teen horror-romance movies like the newly released "Valentine" are hot at the box-office these days and the studios are cleaning up on them.
If your New Year's resolutions included making more money, making valuable contacts, getting better organized and eliminating people problems, here are my recommendations. (I know it's time to do a book review column when the piles of new books on the flo
Finally, a corporate buyout in which L.A. may come out holding the long end of the stick.
The first Sparrows have begun descending in Los Angeles, and they're already turning out to be a bigger hit than those San Juan Capistrano birds ever were.
Thanks to the precipitous drop in the stock market over the past several months particularly tech issues the region's real estate market is once again drawing the attention of many institutional and high-net-worth individual investors.
Four months ago, Chatsworth-based biomedical company North American Scientific Inc. was riding high. Its stock was in near-record territory at more than $30 a share, and the company had just announced an acquisition of new technology that could give it ac
On the theory that every investor likes to play a long shot once in a while, here's an off-the-wall suggestion.
During a recession, people scale back their expenses and their expectations until the economic storm blows over.
Villaraigosa Says Education, Police Department Reform at Top of His Agenda
If his wife hadn't stayed home one day with one of their sick children, Wayne Woods might never have left the fashion business to become a florist. Today, the couple owns The Woods Exquisite Flowers. He and his wife, Ivonne, a florist whom he met in a flo
As co-editor of the Los Angeles edition of the Zagat Survey for the past 15 years, Karen Berk has seen dramatic changes in the city's culinary flavor
In this volatile stock market, the legions of MOPs (millionaires on paper) and ex-MOPs are growing by the day. In this climate, executives who hold stock options and other forms of equity compensation need to develop at least a basic awareness of the key
With the city facing an estimated $100 million in workers' compensation claims this fiscal year, Los Angeles officials are finally waking up to the urgent need to contain the out-of-control spiraling costs.
CarParts technologies shifts into higher gear by attempting to become the leader in b2b software for automotive aftermarket
There's a quiet wrinkle in an old story about Unocal Corp., the El Segundo-based oil company. And one analyst with BancAmerica Montgomery Securities has waved the "buy" flag, in part because of it.
The real-life legal sequel to "Erin Brockovich" has quietly been sitting in a docket file for five years and is finally scheduled to play out in Los Angeles Superior Court this summer, with twice as many defendants and the potential for an award surpassin
Tod Rathbone has been appointed associate creative director and vice president at the Rabuck Agency, an advertising firm in Los Angeles. In his new position, Rathbone will work with each of the agency's clients, including Buy.com, Homestore.com, and Wells
Last Tuesday (Feb. 6), one L.A. Web entertainment company Ifilm Corp. announced it had received a $10 million infusion of venture capital. A day later, another local Web entertainment company Icebox.com announced it had failed to raise the $10 mil
It's a perfect sun-drenched morning and Disney show tunes are piercing the air at the new Walt Disney Co. theme park, California Adventure. A thousand greeters smile as though their jobs depend on it, even though the park is eerily empty.
Three Los Angeles investment bankers have joined the newly opened Los Angeles office of Minneapolis-based Goldsmith Agio & Helms, a middle-market investment banking firm.
The high-pitched whine of a gas-powered leaf blower is the bane of many a home office worker, but L.A.'s Department of Water and Power believes it has the solution.
The new-media landscape has become a much less friendly place in recent months, with a number of companies folding and investors heading for the exits.
Just a month after being rejected in its multi-year-long bid to secure $1 billion in federal funding to build a $6 billion magnetic-levitation bullet train system, the Southern California Association of Governments is mounting an all-out campaign directed
Santa Monica-based PeopleLink Inc., a provider of what it calls "e-community infrastructure" online chats, message boards and instant messaging inked a deal last week with two of Viacom Inc.'s Internet properties. For 5-year-old PeopleLink, the deal w
Feb. 12 could be a make-or-break day in Antonio Villaraigosa's 18-month quest for L.A. mayor. That's the day the L.A. County Federation of Labor's political committee is interviewing all six major mayoral candidates and is expected to announce whether it
Foundering Santa Monica Internet toy retailer eToys Inc. cut its remaining 293 employees, telling workers who weren't laid off last month that they would be needed only through April 6.
For shopping I use a combination of the MSN and mySimon sites. What I do is I go to MSN to get information about products. When you want to buy a product say, a pair of skis MSN gives you detailed product information on each product but also allows yo
What just might be the hippest tradeshow in America takes place every year in Long Beach, but the Action Sports Retailer event isn't just for surfers and shredders
The real estate arm of New York-based investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. is spending close to $200 million to buy the MTV Building and Arboretum Gateway, two office buildings in Santa Monica, according to Westside real estate sources close to the deals.
Environmentalists bent on halting Carnival Cruise Line's move to a new dock near the Queen Mary in Long Beach have agreed to meet with cruise line officials on Feb. 21 to try to resolve their differences.
It's not like I've never known pain before. I've had a root canal. I've had a broken jaw. I've been to an L.A. Clippers game.
Drive around Los Angeles and the advertising is omnipresent: Posters and fliers are everywhere touting this year's American Film Market, the annual bazaar in which buyers and sellers of independent motion pictures flock to Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel t
Honoring Satchmo: If you watched Ken Burns' jazz series, you were probably persuaded that Louis Armstrong is the king of jazz. His music comes to life at Nicholas Payton's Louis Armstrong Centennial Celebration on Feb. 15 at UCLA's Royce Hall. Drummer Roy
The $41 million Screenland center being developed by OliverMcMillan in Culver City may be back on track as Pacific Theatres Co. is apparently close to signing up to anchor the stalled project with a single-floor cineplex featuring nine to 12 screens and u
Monday, February 5
Neil Resnick, a commercial broker known for his long list of entertainment industry deals, has jumped from CB Richard Ellis Co. to Grubb & Ellis Co. He will keep his title of senior vice president.
These are chastening days for many people who call themselves "momentum" investors.
Handel's Aria: "Temptation Island" and "Survivor" can't hand hold a candle to the intrigue and epic battles that ensue in Handel's "Giulio Cesare." The L.A. Opera presents the Baroque classic at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Feb. 23 through March 10. Coun
The two local Daniel Freeman hospitals quickly sinking in red ink are being targeted for a sale, merger or new affiliation that would keep their doors open.
Blue-jean giant Bugle Boy Industries Inc.'s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last week sent ripples through the local apparel manufacturing industry, and those ripples are expected to spike higher in the months ahead. Rising energy costs a
It should come as no surprise, then, that it was one of the first cities in Los Angeles County to install bright amber, flashing motion-sensor warning lights in its crosswalks.
It looks like Chamber President Ezunial "Eze" Burts' position at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce was not so permanent after all.
According to Marcia Herman, owner of Fun Furniture, many Angelenos are willing to pay top dollar for custom-designed furniture, especially if it's for their children. After 15 years in business, the success of her Beverly Boulevard children's furniture st
You've probably been hearing about broadband Internet connections for years and how zippy digital-subscriber lines and cable modems will quicken the flow of information across the Web, bringing businesses and customers closer together.
Playa Capital Co. is betting that plenty of ordinary Joes and Janes do and that more than a few millionaires are willing to live next to subsidized housing.
For years, executives at Torrance-based LEDtronics Inc. have been banking on a new revolution in lighting that would see their product light-emitting diodes push out the traditional incandescent bulb.
So there we were, sitting at this news conference, listening to the new football coach that the Detroit Lions had hired, and he was saying some funny things, and we were laughing, and at one point I turned to a friend of mine and casually whispered, "How
I go to this site and link directly to the Padres. This gives me the latest news about the Padres as published in the San Diego Union Tribune. I'm from Los Angeles, but I've been rooting for the Padres since 1990. At one time I owned a small piece of the
Wireless carriers bid fiercely for Los Angeles airspace at the recent Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction and raised $1.5 billion for the U.S. Treasury, but local consumers could be the unwitting losers in the long run.
With its merger now official, AOL Time Warner stands today as the giant to slay in Hollywood. It's far ahead of the pack in delivering all types of content into America's homes and offices.
Sure, it hurts being lied to, locked out or just flat dumped. But you can take comfort in knowing you're one of many who have been through the same thing. Heck, there are probably at least two songs on the radio right now that describe your situation exac
Del Webb Corp. is actively exploring development opportunities in Los Angeles, representing a marked departure for the Phoenix-based developer. The publicly traded company has built a national reputation for developing sprawling "active-adult" communities
The Walt Disney Co. will scale back its Go.com Web site, shedding 400 jobs and folding its money-losing Disney Internet Group back into the company.
Theater chains, desperate to pull back from the financial brink, are steadily phasing out all but the blockbuster films on which they make the most profits. In response, major art-house divisions of Hollywood studios are reinventing themselves, moving awa
Everyone knows you use OPM (other people's money) to finance film projects, but sometimes you've got to dig into your own pocket, and that's just what Ed Harris did, along with producers Peter M. Brandt and Joseph Allen, to get "Pollock" made.
As technology continues to revolutionize the way the world does business, a new breed of corporate official is emerging in Los Angeles: Chief Privacy Officer.
Amid the turmoil of the movie theater industry, Laemmle Theatres is undertaking an expansion program striking a booking deal with a Palm Springs theater, opening a six-screen art-film house in Hollywood, and even checking out properties being divested b
In the 1970s' sci-fi flick "Fantastic Voyage," a team of scientists including the improbable Raquel Welch are miniaturized, along with a submarine. The mission: enter a VIP's body and perform vital surgery.
Having been notified by the DMV that it was time to get a smog check on my car, I found a discount coupon in the local newspaper, presented it to the manager of the garage when I arrived one early Saturday morning, and proceeded to have the smog check per
Barkley court reporting profits as it attracts powerful clients while maintaining its independence amid wave of consolidations
H. David Nahai begins his third term as chairman of the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board resolving to push governments and industry to cut pollution levels and rehabilitate regional waterways
If you took a fixed-rate mortgage anytime in the past year, you ought to look at rates again. You might get a new loan for 1 percent to 1.5 percent less. The loan might even be tailored to your personal risk profile.
Back in the mid-1990s, Westlake Village-based Breath Asure Inc. was one of L.A.'s highest-flying entrepreneurial success stories. Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign for its breath-freshening tablets, the company saw its sales shoot from virtually
Despite the continued financial instability plaguing the Internet sector, there are indications that a small Woodland Hills-based Internet content producer may finally be heading toward profitability.
Being Dropped from Exchange Could Restrict Tech Companies' Access to Capital
A year ago, a name like Go.com would have been worth big bucks to the Walt Disney Co., owner of the soon-to-be-deceased portal.
Kris Ellenberg has been promoted to senior vice president at Manning, Selvage & Lee, a public relations firm in Los Angeles. She oversees creative and strategic direction for campaigns for Nike and Namco. She has also developed successful branding program
With consumer confidence on the wane and Valentine's Day falling on a Wednesday, hotels are going to great lengths to convince couples to splurge