Stories for January 2001

Monday, January 29

NEW---Santa Clarita Valley Leads Area in New-Home Sales

So what was the best-selling new housing project in Los Angeles County last year? The answer is Centex Homes' Cedar Pointe at NorthLake project in Castaic, where all 1 07 homes were sold, according to The Meyers Group, a real estate consulting firm.

POLITICAL PULSE---City, County Pension Funds Avoid Hit in Energy Stocks

While they might be increasingly nervous about the impact of the state's energy crisis, L.A. city and county officials are breathing a sigh of relief on one front. Unlike some of their colleagues in Orange and Riverside counties, city and county investmen

COUNTY---Countywide Vacancies Drop Despite Exodus On Westside

The "dot-bomb" implosion started a chain reaction that weakened the Westside office market during the fourth quarter, but the shock waves haven't hit in the rest of the county.

Real Estate Column---Ralphs Looks for Downtown Site as Population Grows

Recognizing that downtown L.A. residency is approaching the critical mass necessary to support a supermarket, Ralphs Grocery Co. has enlisted the services of NAI Capital Commercial to hunt down space for a central-city location.

ENTERTAINMENT---Based In Reality

Blanki & Bodi productions has blazed A trail for popular and profitable tv programming genre

SUPERFUND---Polluters on Hook for Baldwin Park Superfund Cleanup

After years of uncertainty that clouded the business atmosphere in the San Gabriel Valley, polluters of the massive Baldwin Park Superfund site and area water purveyors say they are finally close to a deal to clean up the mess.

MERGER---Clash of Cultures Coming As Giant Invades Studios

As if following a pair of giant pandas, the nation is watching news about AOL Time Warner to see if the media giants will mate successfully. To some insiders, the Tinseltown-meets-Dulles scenario is anything but a touchy-feely group hug.

MUSIC---Record Label Courting 'Outlaw' Artists

It might not be too surprising to learn that country music legend Merle Haggard released a simple-yet-raw album last October that wound up on both Rolling Stone and Salon's "Best of the Year" lists for 2000. And it probably wouldn't surprise you to learn

COOLING---As Sales Pace Slows, Values Flatten for Priciest Homes

Home sales activity in some of L.A.'s most prestigious neighborhoods has suddenly cooled in recent weeks, according to several real estate professionals.

Wall Street West---A Company's Value Can Be Found in Alliances It Forms

Even professional investors often overlook a company's alliances, and thus miss some good bets, says Peter Pekar, a former Claremont College professor and Booz Allen & Hamilton Inc. consultant, and now national director of corporate alliances for Century

Weekly Briefing

Jerry Neeley is one of those lucky few who has turned a hobby into a money-making proposition. Neeley, owner of Jerry's Video Reruns in Los Feliz, prides himself on having just about every type of film that a renter could want. But, he says, it's not just

TELEVISION---Fledgling Firms Attend NATPE With Big Hopes

Amid the major networks, films studios and other international powerhouses being showcased at the annual National Association Of Television Program Executives in Las Vegas last week, a number of fledgling Los Angeles companies were there trying to gain a

Chet Currier---Bond Funds Benefit Increasingly Risk-Averse Investors

These are the best times bond mutual funds have seen since the dawn of the Internet era. In the past year, the more than 3,800 bond funds tracked by Bloomberg have returned an average 9.5 percent, leaving the average stock fund, with its average 5 percent

Ahead of the Curve

The Gates of Hell: No, it's not a new album by Metallica. It's Rodin. Considered the father of modern sculpture, Rodin was also a bit of an artistic rebel. An exhibition at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University includes all the s

LONG BEACH---Upscale Apartment Boom Powers Long Beach Market

Up and down the waterfront near downtown Long Beach, there is a mini-boom in the apartment and condominium construction market.

MOVIES---Wide-Open Oscar Race Sparks Spending Spree

Faced with the most wide-open Oscar contest in recent history, the major Hollywood studios are quietly gearing up to spend what will likely be a record amount to publicize their top contenders.

TECHNOLOGY---IBM's Internet Arm Grows Despite Market Downturn

As many Westside tech companies downsize or collapse, IBM Corp.'s fledgling e-Business Innovation Center in Santa Monica is booming.

RETAIL---Big-Box Retailers Prevail in Effort to Block Zoning Ban

In a defeat for local labor unions and a victory for big-box retailers, the L.A. City Planning Commission last week unanimously rejected an ordinance introduced last fall by former City Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg that would have banned big-box retailers

LAWSUIT---Builders File Suit Over Federal Plan To Save Wild Bird

The Building Industry Association of Southern California and four allies have made good on their promise to go to court to overturn the federal government's designation 514,000 acres in the region as critical habitat for the threatened California gnatcatc

VENTURE---Local Companies Benefiting from Intel Cash Infusions

Plenty of U.S. tech giants are active investors in L.A.-based technology companies, but none was more active in 2000 than Intel Corp., according to a new survey by L.A.-based Growthink Inc.

Jane Applegate---Creative Marketing Can Be Big Boost for Small Firms

A dynamic new marketing strategy can help your business thrive, rather than just survive this year.

TRANSPORTATION---Accelerating Speed

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in response to the unexpected capacity crowds climbing aboard its red-and-white express buses, is moving to substantially expand its Rapid Bus system.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Charitable Donations of Stocks Not Just for the Rich

A multimillion-dollar contribution by an individual to a charity is a noteworthy event. National or local press coverage trumpets the donation and accolades spring forth from the general public. What some people do not realize is that usually such a contr

Newsmakers

James A. Cordova, Donita M. Joseph and Peter J. Scribner have all been named partner at Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp. in Long Beach. Cordova is in the tax department and specializes in matters involving pass-through entities. Joseph is also in the

Jane Bryant Quinn---Bush, New Congress Face Several Pocketbook Issues

No one can predict exactly what President Bush will do. But you can get a hint, based on what the Congress couldn't get through during President Clinton's time.

SCHOOLS---Realtors Using Student Test Scores as Marketing Tool

With virtually every politician from Bush to Davis to Riordan claiming education as their top priority, the importance of public school test scores has taken center stage. And that's presenting both opportunities and headaches for L.A.-area Realtors a

STORES---Fate of Warner Bros. Chain Suggests Concept Is Fading

Among the first wave of casualties executed by AOL Time Warner last week was the 130-store Warner Bros. retail chain, a seemingly solid business concept that faded into a dud.

Backlot Buzz---DreamWorks Basking in Golden Glow

Steven Spielberg was in an upbeat mood last week as he announced the five directors chosen as honorees for the March 2000 DGA Awards at the Directors Guild of America, the morning after the Golden Globes.

Tech Talk---Big Firms Attracted to Legal Web Site for the Masses

Most people are as well versed in the language of law as they are in Sanskrit, and most lawyers would prefer to keep it that way. A new breed of lawyers, however, is hoping to profit by bringing legalese to the masses through Web-based companies like L.A.

Mitch Albom---System Places Innocent on Path to Death

He didn't do it. That didn't stop police from interrogating him for 12 hours, screaming questions, denying him a lawyer, holding a gun to his head, telling him he should fess up because otherwise he was gonna "get the needle," the death penalty, dead man

CORPORATE FOCUS---Christian Media Company Targeting Growing Market

It may not own the nation's largest radio network, but Salem Communications Corp. has been successful targeting a market estimated to be worth more than $3 billion annually.

Roving Eye

Charlie the Tuna has moved from his cramped old quarters in those hard-to-open tinplate cans to a brand new, snazzy blue vacuum-packed foil pouch.

POWER---Energy Disruptions Spurring Manufacturing Layoffs

As politicians and power companies continue to bicker about how best to resolve California's chaotic energy problems, several local manufacturers have quietly laid off hundreds of workers. If power outages and price spikes continue, thousands of more fact

My Favorite Sites

This is a subscriber site. What I get from the site is Wall Street analysts' research. If I'm reviewing a private marketing-type company, for instance, I go to Investext and get research on a public marketing firm. I start there in order to get the big pi

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URBAN---Housing Built Over Retail Stores Gaining Popularity

A centuries-old concept that was integral to the development of New York, London, San Francisco and other major cities buildings with retail stores on the ground floor and housing on the floors above is finally taking wing in Los Angeles.

Cybersense---Today's Encryption Bypass May Avert Later Restrictions

They keep a few of their own, of course. But professional crime solvers spend most of their time trying to discover the exact things that criminals don't want them to find.

LABOR---Angered by Staffing Proposal, Nurses Taking Case to Public

As state health officials prepare to set the first comprehensive nurse-to-patient hospital staffing ratios in the country, the California Nurses Association has embarked on a statewide publicity blitz.

FELINES---Feline Fancy

Area breeders are getting top dollar and more than a little pride raising cats and seeing them preen for international acclaim

Deals & Dealmakers

Struggling Internet retailer Checkout.com said its assets will be acquired by Atlanta-based rival Amplified Inc.

INTERVIEW---Bracing For Turbulence

Airports executive director Lydia Kennard faces long list of opponents as she tries to sell LAX expansion plan to council and public

Monday, January 22

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Sunday, January 21

Real Estate Column---Warehouse Deals Highlight Surge in Industrial Activity

Industrial real estate brokers around the county have been hopping of late, closing a handful of significant leases and purchases in recent weeks.

Newsmakers

Norm Tamkin has been named partner in the tax practice of the West Los Angeles office of Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt LLP. He provides tax and consulting services to high-net-worth individuals, closely held businesses, professional service companies, post

CORPORATE FOCUS---New Management Helping Mattel Play a Better Game

Although it's still early in the game, there are indications that the new management team at Mattel Inc. is steering the company in the right direction.

SHOPPING---Additional Expansion Coming To Landmark Farmers Market

Owners of the landmark Farmers Market property, where a major expansion project is already underway, last week revealed that it plans to begin construction on four additional buildings on the eastern edge of the property by the end of this month.

INTERVIEW---Disney's Dreamer

Longtime Imagineer Barry Braverman has risen through the ranks to oversee the region's newest theme park, the $1.4 billion California Adventure

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Sales and Marketing Aren't Interchangeable Functions

If I asked you to describe the goal of your company's marketing program, what would you say? Chances are, your answer would make some reference to increasing sales. Although that seems appropriate, in actuality, marketing and sales are very separate funct

Cybersense---White House Web Site Offers Bush Policy Opportunity

When George W. Bush was sworn in as the nation's 43rd president, he got the keys to the White House, the black bag with the nuclear launch codes, a bunch of official-looking stationery and other assorted goodies that have been passed along from POTUS to P

FOOTBALL---Ticket Sales Disappointing for Xtreme's Season Kickoff

With less than three weeks to go before opening day, officials of the XFL's Los Angeles Xtreme pro football team are getting nervous.

TECH---Defense Giants Launch Anew Into Commercial Market

Local aerospace/defense giants, replenished with talent as engineers return from failed dot-coms, are stepping up their push into commercial ventures. Through licensing agreements and spin-offs, companies like TRW Inc., Rockwell International Corp. and ot

Deals & Dealmakers

Billionaire supermarket mogul Ronald W. Burkle purchased a 6 percent stake in discount retailer Kmart Corp.

Weekly Briefing

Bert Grimms' World Famous Tattooing may well be one of Long Beach's historic landmarks. For decades the legendary ink shop enjoyed a steady stream of business thanks to its location on the rough-and-tumble oceanfront amusement park known as the Pike and t

LAW---Private Dispute Resolution Lures Rainmakers

Lawyers Join Ex-Judges, Would-be Litigants in Bypassing Courts for Faster Hearings

POWER---City Utilities Grow Impatient With Huge Overdue Power Bills

As California scrambles furiously to find enough energy to meet its needs, city-owned utilities in Southern California are playing a significant but increasingly reluctant role in providing surplus electricity to bail out the state.

Tech Talk---Local Firms Bridle at Barron's Burn-Rate Assessment

It's a pretty simple calculation: There's the money you have, the money you earn and the money you spend. When the money you spend exceeds the first two figures and looks to indefinitely that spells trouble.

LAWSUIT---Sanwa Bank Awarded $31 Million in Bizarre Lawsuit

In a trial wild even by Los Angeles standards, a country club developer from Japan contended that he had sold Westside homes for $3.5 million in cash delivered in cardboard boxes and Samsonite suitcases, and so those properties were no longer his and coul

PORN---Porn Industry Preparing For More Scrutiny

The $10 billion U.S. pornography industry, primarily based in the San Fernando Valley and a major contributor to the local economy, is mobilizing to fend off what it calls an unavoidable legal attack from the Bush administration.

Chet Currier---Mutual Fund Accounts Prove Successful for Retirement

Unsophisticated though you may be in the eyes of Wall Street, you're giving a good account of yourselves as pension managers. High-priced professionals can't always make the same claim.

Ahead of the Curve

Asian Acrobatics: Yikes! The Peking Acrobats, a troupe of 28 Chinese tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts bring their 2,000-year-old tradition of acrobatics to the Alex Theatre in Glendale on Feb. 2. The Peking Acrobats are known for

Jane Bryant Quinn---The Past's Investment Rules May Not Apply These Days

What's your best strategy for financial investments today? Some of your stocks are on life support (techs, dot-coms, telecoms). Some stocks shot up while you weren't looking (natural gas, HMOs). Business has suddenly slowed and a new financial policy team

Backlot Buzz---Big Budget is Virgin Territory for Ritchie

Things changed appreciably for director-writer Guy Ritchie during the filming of his recent release "Snatch" and not just because he married Madonna.

ENVIRONMENT---Retailer's Green Approach

With Gov. Gray Davis declaring a state of emergency and rolling blackouts sweeping the state last week, energy-wise retailer Real Goods has opened its first Southern California operation in West L.A. and is setting out to prove one can maintain creature c

TURBINES---Alternative Fuel Source Generates Growth for Capstone

Thanks to California's worsening energy crisis, a small company in Chatsworth could see a tremendous windfall.

PUBLISHING---Circulation Booster

publisher of classified ad newspaper El clasificado reaps rewards and awards as she carves out huge niche in burgeoning latino market

ENERGY---Big Property Owners Form Alternative-Energy Venture

A young company backed by major commercial property owners is creating a buzz in the increasingly volatile California energy industry.

POLLUTION---Cities, Developers Bracing for Tough Pollution Rules

Proposed regulations to clean up trash in the Los Angeles River and other waterways are raising the hackles of city officials and developers who claim the rules would set a costly precedent.

Jane Applegate---Grassroots Lobbying by Small Business Has an Impact

As the political winds shift, and a new Republican administration moves into Washington this week, business owners and trade associations are preparing new strategies for influencing policymakers and legislators.

REAL ESTATE---Software Maker Havas Eyes IXL Site on Westside

Havas Interactive has tentatively agreed to a major lease, worth an estimated $36 million, at the Howard Hughes Center in El Segundo, according to industry sources, which would go a long way towards calming jitters in the Westside real estate market.

Roving Eye

It seems that every awards show tries to outdo the preceding one with lavish goody bags for the celebrity honorees, loaded to the brim with an outrageous cache of fancy loot.

THEATERS---AMC on Firm Footing as Others Stumble

Among the four leading movie-theater companies with public shareholders, one might avoid bankruptcy court. AMC Entertainment Inc. looks like one of the few North American exhibitors that might squeak through the current industry crisis.

RAIL---Marvel of Engineering Eases Traffic Logjam At Redondo Junction

A manual switching station dating from the first half of the last century still controls the intersection of tracks at the unsightly patch of industrial wasteland known as Redondo Junction.

Mitch Albom---Boom and Bust of Today's Teen Culture

Her mother, who already had breast enlargement, liposuction, a nose job and a cheek job, agreed.

Wall Street West---Finance Veteran Will Boost GKM's Western Expansion

Former Sutro & Co. investment banker John Morris, most recently known for being a Tech Coast Angel, part of a semi-formal angel venture group, has joined the expanding West Los Angeles offices of Gerard Klauer & Mattison Co. Inc., the New York-based secur

ECONOMY---Bruised Clients Reach Out for Relief

A broad spectrum of Los Angeles companies is suffering the ill effects of the national economic slowdown, and that's bringing busy times to local restructuring consultants, bankruptcy attorneys, opportunistic investors and other counter-cyclical professio

PARTY---Super Party

Physician's Annual Bowl Event Provides Food, Fun for the In Crowd As Well As Lucky Podium for Political Candidates

Monday, January 15

Wall Street West---An Equity Interest Sweetens Pot for a Legal Matchmaker

It may be difficult to think of lawyers as unsung heroes, but in the venture capital world, the legal eagles often spot promising situations on behalf of clients.

LUXURY---Peninsula Hotel Brings Homey Flavor to Rooms

The latest items on the room-service menu at The Peninsula, the classy Beverly Hills hotel that caters to the wealthy, the famous and the influential, is not pheasant under glass, foie gras or baked Alaska. Believe it or not, it's meat loaf, macaroni and

Chet Currier---Setting an Investment Strategy That Grows With Assets

Discussions of money too often leave out the amount. We speak here not of commonplace unknowns like a co-worker's salary or your in-laws' net worth, interesting as those subjects may be. Our concern today is with asset allocation models and other investme

AUDIT---City Audits Operations of Westwood Business District

Responding to complaints of poor service and questions of how money has been disbursed by the Westwood Village Business Improvement District, the Los Angeles City Clerk's office has conducted an audit of the BID, the first review of an L.A.-area BID since

David Wilson---After Bad Year, Software Firms Have Reversal of Fortune

Can an entire industry's performance turn on a dime? Apparently so, judging by the recent stock-market rallies in BMC Software Inc., Compuware Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc.

POLITICS---Mayoral Candidates Air Housing Views

The lack of affordable housing is one of L.A.'s most intractable problems. With rents out-of-reach for many low-income workers, the city has the most severe overcrowding of any major metropolitan area in the country, with four households vying for every u

Jane Applegate---Resolutions for Building a Healthier Business, Person

This year, resolve to make some changes aimed at improving your personal and professional health. If you try a few of these suggestions, I promise you'll be in better shape physically, emotionally and financially by this time next year.

Newsmakers

Brad Beesley has been promoted to design director within the interactive and convergent media group at Pittar Sullivan, an entertainment marketing communications company in Culver City. In his new post, Beesley will be responsible for designing selected i

RADIO---Minnesota Public Radio Ignites L.A. Market Changes

Minnesota Public Radio, which operates 30 stations in that state, has shaken up the public radio scene in Los Angeles since taking over KPCC-FM 89.3 last year.

FILM---Hollywood Rush Skips L.A.

As the threat of major Hollywood strikes continues to hover over the local economy, there's no indication that the stockpiling of content by film producers has generated a rush of activity in Los Angeles, traditionally a favorite location site.

MOVIES---Pacific Theatres Thriving As Competitors Struggle

Whether through a judicious development strategy or plain indecision, Pacific Theatres Corp. is one of the few theater chains to avoid the multiplex construction craze of the 1990s a trend that drove many of its industry brethren to bankruptcy court.

Comment---Race-Specific Issues Exist Deal With It

Here's what I said: Black people are a constituency to which Republican candidates trolling for votes ought to pay attention and direct their appeals, just as they would any other group the military, the elderly, or parents of school-age children, for i

TELEVISION---Fox Success Becomes Issue in Labor Talks

When negotiations for a new labor agreement between industry representatives and the Writers Guild of America begin in earnest later this month, executives with Fox Broadcasting will be in the awkward posture of arguing against their own success.

COPORATE FOCUS---No Flash, Plenty of Cash for Athletic Shoe Maker K-Swiss

K-Swiss Inc. may not sell the flashiest sports shoes on the market, but that may be the good news.

My Favorite Sites

Between all the things I do with government and the community and taking care of things at the firm, I don't really have much time to use the Internet. But I do try to golf at least once or twice week, if I can find time. Whether I'm in the desert or the

Tech Talk---Despite Downturn, Tech Jobs Don't Stay Open Long

It would seem that the spate of job-cut announcements like the ones made by eToys Inc. and other Los Angeles-based dot-coms in the last several months would create a glut of tech talent in the L.A. market. It ain't so.

TRANSPORTATION---Airline Mergers Threaten to Bring Trouble to LAX

The blockbuster buyouts that would give American and United airlines dominance of domestic skies could hit travelers using Los Angeles International Airport with higher ticket prices, flight delays, fewer choices and service disruptions in the event of a

ENERGY---New Legislators Thrust Into Energy Fray

Two freshman state legislators from L.A., neither of whom even contemplated having to deal with electricity deregulation when they were campaigning last year, are now in the hot seat. They suddenly find themselves on an 18-member panel formed last week to

DOCTORS---Improved Pay, Conditions for Physicians in New Labor Pact

Los Angeles County resident physicians and interns have won 3 percent across-the-board annual raises. On top of that, first-year interns were given an additional 5 percent pay hike spread over two years.

Backlot Buzz---Roth Planning an Aggressive First Slate

How can you make a romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts on a $40 million budget these days when Robert's lattes and trainer's fees would amount to half of that? Leave it to Joe Roth, former head of both the Fox and Disney studios and now the head of Rev

Deals & Dealmakers

Officials of Calabasas-based Nassi Group said they are close to signing a deal with Montgomery Ward Inc. to help the national retail chain liquidate its merchandise as it goes out of business.

Weekly Briefing

Simon Romero of Simon's Taxidermy considers himself an artist. While stuffing a dead animal may seem brutal to some people, the man behind this Commerce-based taxidermy operation is actually an accomplished sculptor who discovered taxidermy as one of the

MASTERSOURCE---Music By Request

former rock band guitarist TURNS HIS TALENTS TO LICENSING SONGS BY UNKNOWN ARTISTS FOR USE IN MOVIES, TELEVISION SHOWS

DEFENSE---Defense Spending Expected to Brace Regional Economy

Forecasters expect the local defense industry to shore up Los Angeles' economy this year, as a nationwide slowdown is in the making.

FOOD---Puck Serves Up A New Program

Under the blaze of tungsten studio lights, Wolfgang Puck is doing what he does best: cooking.

BANKING---Internet Home Lending Puts IndyMac on Fast Track

The $1 trillion-a-year home loan industry is in the midst of a shakeup, fueled by an increasing number of consumers picking and choosing their mortgages online.

Roving Eye

With the rainy season finally descending on L.A., what's an upscale Angeleno to do to stay fashionably warm and dry? Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills has begun stocking cashmere-lined gloves, wraps, jackets and nylon raincoats that sell for around $1,000 ap

John Dorfman---Like Most Investors, Stock Contest Players Take Hit

Brett Gallagher of Bank Julius Baer took first prize in this column's 2000 Stock-Picking Contest with a 175 percent gain in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc.

Cybersense---Despite Hype, Convergence Still Seems a Pipe Dream

Predicting the future is tricky business, particularly when it comes to technology.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Tips on Maneuvering Through an Assessment Appeal

Thinking of filing a property tax assessment appeal? Better be sure you understand the rules of the game if you plan on successfully reducing your assessment.

MUSEUM---Staff, Vendors Left in Dark in Wake of Museum Closing

When the California Museum of Latino History, Art and Culture quietly padlocked it doors in August, no one in the local art world was too shocked.

INTERVIEW---Shaking UP the Sheriffs

Lee Baca has initiated a multimillion-dollar, top-to-bottom overhaul of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the nation's largest law enforcement agency

TECHNOLOGY---Creative Planet Hires Former CFO Of Amazon.com

Creative Planet Inc., an L.A.-based supplier of information and technology resources to the entertainment industry, has hooked former Amazon.com Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. executive Kelyn Brannon as the company's new chief financial officer, a hiring

Jane Bryant Quinn---NASD Cracking Down on CD Scams Targeting Elderly

When you see an ad for unusually high-rate certificates of deposit, get out your skunk detector.

PERFORMANCE---Encore With a Latin Flair

landmark Doolittle Theater in Hollywood has found new life as a home for Latino performing arts

Ahead of the Curve

Got docs? Probably not. Documentary films are hard to come by these days, but thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Foundation and UCLA Film and Television Archive, doc fans can take in a few at the Contemporary Documentar

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INTERNET---Offline News Sources Struggling Online

By now, print journalism was supposed to be a relic; broadcasters like Brokaw, Jennings and Rather were supposed to be dinosaurs and online journalism was supposed to be the glitzy titan of news media. Yeah, right.

Real Estate Column---Fund Closes All-Cash Deal For Santa Monica Properties

By putting up $16.5 million in cash, completing its due diligence in two days and keeping escrow to less than three weeks, a Minneapolis opportunity fund came out on top of a crowded field of competitors to buy two Santa Monica office buildings from New Y

HEALTH CARE---Local Firm Sues Red Cross Over Its Business Practices

A Sherman Oaks company with national ambitions, just four years after settling a lawsuit alleging that the American Red Cross had used illegal practices to protect a virtual monopoly in supplying blood in Los Angeles, is once again taking on the giant non

COFFEE---Coffee Bean Making Push in Cafe Wars

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, one of many Davids in the battle against Goliath Starbucks Coffee Co. for java supremacy, is set to brew up more business.

Monday, January 8

Newsmakers

Cary Walker has joined the Los Angeles office of Fleishman-Hillard Inc., an international communications and consulting firm, as a senior vice president. He will be responsible for developing and implementing communications programs for clients and help b

Cybersense---Legal Challenges Force Content Sites to Alter Data Use

Advertisers and commercial content companies usually lobby against proposals for federal laws protecting personal privacy on the Internet.

THEATER---Dramatic Rebirth of the Boulevard

HOLLYWOOD RESTAURANTS PACK 'EM IN AS THOUSANDS OF THEATERGOERS FLOCK TO 'LION KING' PERFORMANCES

REAL ESTATE---Promenade Eateries Flee Rent Increases

Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade is undergoing a change of character as independent restaurants, increasingly falling victim to escalating rents, are driven to cheaper space on less trafficked streets.

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LAND---Tight Industrial Space Targeted for Competing Uses

When animation and visual effects company Rhythm & Hues Studios Inc. started out 14 years ago in a basement beneath a dental office in Culver City, vacancies were high enough and rents low enough in the area that finding room to grow was hardly a worry.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Make Sure to Read Fine Print When Taking Out Loan

In this booming economy, money for small businesses is plentiful. As a small business owner, you've probably been approached by numerous lenders willing to extend credit to your company.

Chet Currier---Value Funds Escape Damage, Still Lag Growth Indexes

The scene is the boss's office, where a faithful old toiler we'll call SVX is having his year-end performance review.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Firm Finds a Strong Market In Managing Supply Chains

With more and more manufacturing businesses operating on a global scale, there is a growing market for logistics firms that oversee the increasing complex supply chains for these businesses.

MEDIA---Survey Sees Hollywood Growth After Turmoil

Possible strikes by actors and writers may have many people forecasting a gloomy 2001 for Hollywood, but thanks to growing global demand for content the long-term outlook is actually quite bright, with L.A. well positioned to reap the benefits, according

HOUSING---Housing Affordability Dips, Rate Drop Offers Little Help

The surprise cut in interest rates by the Federal Reserve Board may offer scant relief to potential homebuyers out kicking the tires in Los Angeles County. Homes are scarce and prices remain high.

John Dorfman---These Stocks Could Show Gains Even If Market Dips

It's the time of year when otherwise sane men and women succumb to the prediction virus.

T-BIRD---Redesigned T-Birds Won't Be Very Easy to Find in L.A.

It may be the hottest new car to come out this year, but chances are you won't be driving a 2002 Ford Thunderbird any time soon. Local dealers expect that the limited number of T-Birds they are allocated by Ford will be sold out well before they arrive on

Horror---The Horror of It All

a private collection of all things strange and unusual has turned into a must stop for those who care about the dark side of life

Comment---Lessons Learned From Teen Pregnancy

Let's start with the act that got her in trouble, then we can deal with what made her do it.

TECHNOLOGY---New Tech Stars Rise to Fill Void Left by E-Tailers

Most L.A. dot-coms may be in the Dumpster, but a new breed of tech company is stepping up to cash in on the ongoing tech frenzy and the willingness of investors to get a piece of it.

E-COMMERCE---L.A. Swap Meet Culture Embraces eBay Auctions

In early 1998, an occasional customer and fellow antique dealer walked into Farhad Hakimfar's Brentwood store Ambiance, and mentioned that he'd heard of people selling merchandise on eBay Inc.'s online auction site.

SHAKEUP---Real Estate Agents Anticipate Impact If eToys' Space Opens

If troubled eToys Inc. is eventually forced to abandon its massive Santa Monica headquarters, it could dampen the steady rate increases that have characterized the Westside real estate market for months.

Ahead of the Curve

Violin Sensation: The Pasadena Symphony ushers in the new year on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. with a program featuring violinist Jennifer Frautschi, a Pasadena native discovered by musical director Jorge Mester 15 years ago. Frautschi, 28, has since become a sensat

Jane Applegate---Modeling Agency Fills Special Needs for Publications

When Susan Kane, editor in chief of Baby Talk magazine, a parenting magazine with a circulation of two million, wanted to feature a baby with Down syndrome on the cover, it took her almost a year to find a model.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Rules to Live By in Coping With New Dot-Com Reality

It's over, like a bad romance. Your mother told you dot-coms were no good and would let you down hard, but you didn't believe her. Now you're singing the blues, with your beloved Yahoo, Priceline and iVillage down 90 percent or more in price.

TRAVEL---Entertainment Types Taking Road Trips to Trio of Events

For many Angelenos who toil in entertainment, high tech or any cross-pollination of the two, it's time to get out of town.

DOTLA---Putting Local Spin on Net Name Game

Cindy Palacios wants to market her downtown salon on the Web, but she doesn't want to be associated with washed up, ailing dot-coms. She also wants her site to be distinctly L.A., i.e. hip, fashionable and cutting edge. That's why she grabbed one of the n

RETAIL---Hilfiger Planning Third Street Move

After a little more than three years on tony Rodeo Drive, the manufacturer of upscale casual clothes worn by very cool rappers and less cool suburbanites is opening two stores on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, sources said.

Real Estate Column---Short Escrow Nets Buyers Fully Leased Jewelry Mart

Two former tenants in 625 Hill St., in the heart of the L.A. jewelry district, were among a four-man investment group named Marmar Properties that bought the building for $15 million.

FOG---Out of the Fog

Mee Industries' patented Water compression system is finding New life in theme parks, wineries after firm emerges from bankruptcy

TRADE---Economic Group Keeps Growing With Trade Center Pact

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. took a big step last week toward shoring up its position as a major countywide economic development force as it folded the management of the World Trade Center Association of Los Angeles-Long Beach into it

Weekly Briefing

Galco's Old World Market has been in L.A. for more than 100 years. Its longevity is due in large part to its ability to weather changing times and markets. When the owners of the Highland Park grocery store recently witnessed the closing of many of Los An

FLEETS---Hikes in Natural Gas Prices Driving Up Costs for Fleets

With the cost of natural gas skyrocketing after years of rock-bottom prices, homeowners and businesses who heat with the fuel aren't the only ones experiencing natural-gas sticker shock.

Deals and Dealmakers

Sitestar Corp., an Encino-based Internet holding company, said it is withdrawing an unsolicited $22.5-million cash offer for Fashionmall.com Inc. after the online retailer received other higher bids.

Tech Talk---Web-Based Technology Could Breathe Life Into Toys

Barbie has been deprived of emotions for too long. It's time she let it all hang out.

INTERVIEW---Holding Pattern

Dios Marrero fights frustrations as he pilots the latest effort to resolve the 20-year battle over expansion of Burbank Airport

Monday, January 1

Ahead of the Curve

1930s' Chinatown Revisited: The Autry Museum of Western Heritage opens its Family Discovery Gallery Jan. 20 and continues its exploration of the cultural diversity of the American West. The exhibition, based on Lisa See's book, "On Gold Mountain: The 100-

POLITICS---Which Officials Brought Home Most Bacon in 2000?

Thanks to record budget surpluses in Sacramento and Washington, politicians last year were able to indulge in one of their favorite pastimes: dispensing pork-barrel projects for their districts. And for once, L.A was not left out, as area legislators and

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Competition, Specialization Push Lawyers to Marketing

Once upon a time, those who dispensed legal counsel and services were able to build successful businesses because they worked hard, served their clients well, had good reputations and were reasonably visible in the community. They found work through peopl

VENTURE---Money Sits on Sidelines as Venture Capitalists Recoup

A year ago, venture capitalists were the rock stars of the New Economy, trafficking millions to startups they hoped would reap billions. Well, the party's over and the hotel room's trashed with dot-com wreckage.

Backlot Buzz---Carrey's Next Film Role is Capra-esque

Jim Carrey's next big hush-hush project is a film called "The Bijou," co-written by director/writer Frank Darabont, whose previous credits include "The Green Mile" and "Shawshank Redemption."

INTERVIEW---Going to the Xtreme

After failed attempt to bring NFL back to L.A., player- turned-executive J.K. McKay leads effort to form Coliseum team that will be part of new pro league

LIST

LISTel listo

John Dorfman---Value Stocks a Safe Harbor from Poor Earnings Reports

Microsoft Corp. rocked the stock market when it announced that per-share earnings for the December quarter will be 2 or 3 cents shy of expectations.

Real Estate Column---Fabulous Forum Revival Due in Church-Led Purchase

Faithful Central Baptist Church and L.A. Arena Co. have agreed to a $22.5 million deal for the Great Western Forum that keeps the Inglewood monument standing as a family-oriented sports and entertainment complex.

Comment---Will Integrity Be Enough For Ashcroft?

As we approach the confirmation season, a word of caution: Beware the "I" word, integrity. It is a situational trickster.

OVERVIEW---Some of l.a.'s few remaining giants get swallowed and new powerhouses surface

The year 2000 was a rollicking, up-and-down ride for dealmakers in Los Angeles. Venture capital continued to pour into the region, but those holding the purse strings became ever more selective as the months went on. Westside Internet companies that dream

INSIDERS---Tech Chiefs Lead Charge as Insider Sales Grow in 2000

U.S. executives and directors sold $70.5 billion of shares in their companies this year, 55 percent more than in 1999, with Microsoft Corp. officials leading insider sales for the fifth year in a row.

Newsmakers

Michael E. Wilford has been named a partner of the accounting firm King, King, Alleman & Jensen in Burbank. He specializes in tax, audit and quality control matters.

Deals & Dealmakers

Hughes Electronics Corp. has offered $180 million in cash for Cupertino, Calif.-based Telocity, a provider of high-speed Internet access. The deal calls for Hughes to pay $2.15 for each of the company's 84 million outstanding shares. Telocity was trading

Jane Bryant Quinn---As Business Growth Slows, Consider Investing Strategy

Is this the bottom of the market? Is it time to step in and buy stocks? No one knows, so commentators cheerfully fill the void with guesses of their own.

Weekly Briefing

Critical Mass Studio began when Steven Kates took his biology degree, added a little touch of glitz and mixed them with the new breed of workout equipment coming to market. The result has been that Critical Mass has become the inspiration for the cutting-

Roving Eye

Jet-setting corporate executives may soon be able to do away with luggage all together.

THAI---Traditional Elegance

Owner of sunset strip thai restaurant bringing upscale concept to more affordable level with New cafe chain

CORPORATE FOCUS---Kilroy Realty Riding Wave of Success in REIT Sector

As nervous investors keep dumping technology stocks, sectors that are viewed as safe harbors are enjoying an influx of cash. And chief among those perceived safe harbors are real estate investment trusts, including El Segundo-based Kilroy Realty Corp.

Chet Currier---For Long-Term Investors, the Proof Is in Holding On

In times like this, people find out whether they really are long-term investors.

Tech Talk---BizRate's E-Commerce Research Model proves Popular

It could be the last noel for some pure-play e-tailers, but it's the season to be jolly for BizRate.com, a comparison shopping site and online research company based in Marina del Rey.

Jane Applegate---Alliances, Fundamentals Stabilize Year's Bumpy Ride

Riding the entrepreneurial roller coaster in 2000 required seat belts and crash helmets.

LOS FELIZ---Chain Reaction

Residents, shop owners in Los Feliz both lament, welcome changing character of area as arrival of chain stores boosts business, drives up rents

Cybersense---Getting Access to High Bandwidth Can Be Slow Task

As my computer-savvy friends have bought high-bandwidth connections and zipped into the fast lane, I've been trapped behind minivans and construction equipment, trudging along at 28.8 kilobytes per second. I know that's the speed most people are travel