Stories for August 2002

Monday, August 26

WellPoint May Be Rethinking Union With Latest Move

Health Care by Laurence Darmiento

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Stories from around Town: Safety Chutes; Soundtrack to the Stars; Sweet Truths; Go-Going Back; Movable Books;

Views on Corporate Scrutiny: Where Things Go Wrong

Inside The Books - Banking & Finance Special Report

NEWSMAKERS

Brief profiles of people and businesses making news, on the move.

Prospect of News Corp. Flexing Its Muscle Raises Gemstar Expectations

With management of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. expected to come under the sway of former News Corp. executive Jeff Shell, expectations of better performance and a re-energized business strategy are running high among Gemstar partners, investors an

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - largest cities in Los Angeles County, Ranked by Population

LAX to Test System To Cut Checkpoints

Los Angeles International Airport will be used as a testing facility for a federal program designed to reduce the wait for passengers at security checkpoints.

"Man Show" Sued By Unwitting Butt Of Off-Color Joke

LAW by Amanda Bronstad

Houston Corporation Buys Out Miller Auto Business in L.A. Area

Miller Automotive Group, with six Los Angeles locations, has been sold to Group 1 Automotive Inc., a Fortune 500 car retailer based in Houston.

Dispute Over Community Newspapers Going to Trial

Unable to resolve a dispute with the buyer of five community newspapers, National Media Inc. is set to go to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 26.

Only Thing There Is to Fear Is More Unchecked News

Commentary by Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald.

Shareholders Find Little to Fear With Recalled Desserts

Retail by Deborah Belgum

LABJ FORUM: Taking Note of the Unthinkable

With the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center fast approaching, elected officials, business owners, educators and others have been reflecting on how best to commemorate the event. Much will depend on whe

Lt. Governor Trips on Business Journal List

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's attempts to commend businesses and organizations through the pages of the Los Angeles Business Journal have backfired a bit.

Baseball Strike Would Leave Costly Void on Airwaves

Media by Claudia Peschiutta

Ad Picture Mixed as TV, Radio Get Most From Spending Rise

A prolonged media recession that has wracked print and broadcast outlets for almost two years shows some signs of easing, although there's little agreement on what's fueling the improvement or how long lasting it might be.

Physician to Appeal Setback in Insurance Trust Suit

Stymied by a 2nd District Appellate court decision that found he could not directly sue fellow doctors in a failed L.A. insurance cooperative, a Northern California surgeon is considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Corporate Vigilance Equally Prudent for Private Investors

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

As Simon Campaign Hits Skids, Candidate Keeps His Wallet Shut

POLITICS By Howard Fine

Leave Laptop Behind and Take a Real Vacation

Opinion by Ana Veciana-Suarez, columnist for the Miami Herald.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite websites of Alison Locke, executive vice president of North American Publishing THQ Inc.

Wall Street Relationship Has Been Rocky for Company

Inside The Books - Banking & Finance Special Report

Get Set For Fall Follies

Comment by Mark Lacter

Quellos Sets Year's Price Record in Center West Deal

Real Estate by Danny King

It's Time to Hear From Those Other CEOs

Opinion by Ron Hartwig, executive vice president and U.S. corporate practice director at Hill and Knowlton Inc.

First American Revisits Web Strategy to Increase Margins

First American Corp. is betting more than $50 million and its future growth, profitability and market share on a new software system that it calls the biggest initiative in its recent history.

The Real Toy Story

Inside The Books - Banking & Finance Special Report

Review & Preview

Summaries of this week's other news; preview of upcoming stories

Monday, August 19

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Residential Real Estate Developers Ranked by units sold in L.A. County in 2001

Suit Over Random Search Rejected as City Cites Security

LAW by Amanda Bronstad

Farmer Bros. Will Open Its Books

Just weeks after its largest institutional holder demanded its financial records, Farmer Bros. Co. has agreed to open the company books.

Investment Banker Bucking Troubles in Merger Business

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

Davis to Get Bill Loosening Limits on Port Revenues

Two years after the city of Los Angeles agreed to return $62 million to the port of L.A. to settle a lawsuit alleging misuse of port-generated funds, a bill on its way to Gov. Gray Davis allows cities greater flexibility in their use of such revenue.

KUSC to Make South of Border Classical Connection

Media by Claudia Peschiutta

Businesses Balk At Paying High Liability Prices

The explosion in general liability insurance costs now hitting several industries in L.A. and throughout the state has caught nearly everyone off guard.

Comment by Mark Lacter

Comment by Mark Lacter

Condos: Market for Low-End Properties Pushes Ahead

When L.A.'s housing prices go through the roof, condos are sure to follow. But even by the usual measurements, June's $207,500 median price of a condominium stands out.

Housing: Plateau Seen, Allaying Fear of Steep Price Drop

LA's Home Buying Craze - How High, How Long?

Pressure Mounts In AFTRA Battle At NBC Stations

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists turned up the heat on NBC executives last week in its effort to organize employees at the network's recently purchased Spanish-language television stations.

Deal Near on Sale of Westwood Bullocks/Macy's Project

Real Estate by Danny King

Homestore's Recovery Hurt By Ongoing Legal Struggles

Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo

LABJ FORUM: First-Time Experiences at Work

A person's first paying job is always a character-building experience. Whether it was mowing the neighbor's lawns or delivering food in trucks you didn't know how to drive, the Business Journal asks: What was your first job?

Trizec Again Reports Poor Hollywood Sales

In another indication of the continued struggles at the Hollywood & Highland complex, developer Trizec Properties Inc. has disclosed that operating income will be sharply lower than expected this year and that the adjoining Hollywood Renaissance Hotel had

Bond Glut May Leave Cultural Institutions Outside Looking In

POLITICS by Howard Fine

Frederick's Ready To Emerge Out of Long Bankruptcy

Retail by Deborah Belgum

Review & Preview

Summary of week's news; Preview of upcoming events and stories

Monday, August 12

Attorneys Scramble as Failed Merger Spells End for 101-Year-Old Law Firm

LAW by Amanda Bronstad

LETTERS

Letters to the editor

LABJ FORUM: High Speed vs. Dial Up

The percentage of Web users who have high-speed Internet access in their homes has risen to 24 percent, up from 17 percent a year earlier. While most companies provide their employees with high-speed connections in their offices, the Business Journal asks

Tax Windfall for L.A. Businesses Fails to Materialize

Hopes have dimmed for an across-the-board tax cut for L.A. businesses funded by a state law that makes it easier to track down tax scofflaws because funds being collected are lower than earlier projected.

Gottohaveamoviewebsite.com; Digital Hollywood - Picking Up The Pieces

The Internet can make a small movie, like "The Blair Witch Project," a hit and help propel the success of blockbusters, such as the "Star Wars" films. But Hollywood studios might not be making the most of what is a cheaper and, sometimes, extremely effec

Downtown Roiled By Big Increase in Real Estate Deals

Downtown L.A.'s office market has gone through an investment churn over the past five months not seen in 15 years.

Delay Imperils 710 Freeway Funds

A firm hired to determine the best traffic congestion relief plan for the Long Beach (710) Freeway won't complete its work until late March, putting in jeopardy as much as $1.6 billion in federal grant money and possibly delaying project completion until

Forgetting the Simpler Times

Editorial by Mark Lacter

Big 5 Weighing Buyback After Disappointing Response to IPO

Retail by Deborah Belgum

Longtime L.A. Firm Planning to Relocate Facilities to Cypress

After more than 70 years in Los Angeles, Continental Graphics Corp. is moving its headquarters and 170 of its employees to Cypress.

For a Change, Merger Adds Firm to L.A. Corporate List

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

Greuel, Hahn Keep Hold of Idea Of Decentralizing Government

POLITICS by Howard Fine

Review & Preview

Review of other top news; Preview of upcoming stories.

Revamp, New Weekly Sections, Now Set for Fall at L.A. Times

MEDIA by Claudia Peschiutta

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Largest Technology Firms, Ranked by 2001 Revenues

People: NEWSMAKERS

Engineer Joining Airport Security Project

TV's Version of Reality Becomes New U.S. Drug

Opinion by Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald.

Treat Trade Shows as More Than Just a Line of Exhibits

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Sharon Berman

Apparel Firms Feel Brunt of Downturn In Retailing Sector

Kids aren't the only ones ruing the back-to-school season this year. As retailers began reporting sluggish July sales last week, raising fears of a recovery petering out, two of L.A.'s biggest apparel companies felt the squeeze.

Politics Could Determine Size of Health Care Bailout

A key Bush Administration health care official says it's a straight technical policy decision on whether Los Angeles County gets another federal bailout for its beleaguered health care system.

Apartments Replace Market in Latest Beverly Hills Plan

Real Estate by Danny King

Earthquake Impact Still Being Felt as New Projects Start

The Northridge earthquake is turning out to be a big driver of change in the region's hospital industry.

East West Ends Squabble Over Research Deal

First Union Securities has quietly settled a lawsuit accusing it of making, and then breaking, a promise to provide research coverage to East West Bancorp in exchange for receiving $10 million in investment banking business.

Apex Capital Finding Profit From Interest-Rate Climate

Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo

L.A. Duopolies Grapple With Changes at TV Stations

Two Stories: New KVEA Manager Faces Clash of Cultures

Monday, August 5

Cost of Workers' Comp Rising for State Employers

Employers in L.A. and throughout the state, already reeling from double-digit increases in workers' comp premiums over the last two years, are bracing for a triple dose of rate hikes likely to drive up premium rates at least another 20 percent over the ne

Farmer Bros. Asked to Open Books

The largest institutional investor in Farmer Bros. Co. has demanded that the company open its financial records to determine how it is managing its investment funds.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite Websites of Michael Vallente, Executive Director, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Peeved at Valet Parking Policy, Past Guest Sues Beverly Hilton

Plus: Regulated Firms Pay House Counsel Best

LABJ FORUM: Not Such Friendly Skies

Airport security is a mess, flights have been canceled and people are still just plain nervous about getting on a plane. Add to that corporate belt-tightening, and you have a recipe for business travel turmoil. In light of the environment, the Business Jo

Immigration Law Changes Add Pressure to Employers

Entrepreneur's Notebook: The federal government's effort to tighten up the Immigration and Naturalization Service promises to make it more difficult than it already is for employers to hire foreign workers.

Corporate Accounting Woes Weigh on Firm's Bond Pool

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

Review & Preview

Summaries of other news, upcoming stories

Hahn Courts Black Support by Pushing Transit Line

At a time when L.A. Mayor James Hahn is looking to repair frayed relations with the city's African-American community, his administration is pushing a long-stalled proposal for a light rail line or dedicated bus lanes along Crenshaw Boulevard

Federal Official Signals County Health Support

Los Angeles County's financially ailing public health system will have to be downsized, but the federal government won't allow it to collapse when its current bailout expires in three years

Lease Woes Stall Reynolds' Museum

The developer of Hollywood & Highland, seeking to shake the stalled Hollywood Motion Picture Collection museum from its 18,000-square-foot lease, has sued the project's organizers.

Reforms Have Lawyers Running for Liability Coverage

A few months ago, Latham & Watkins began laying the groundwork for the conversion from a general to a limited liability partnership.

Highly Leveraged, Imaging Company Ekes Out a Profit

By most measures, Primedex Health Systems Inc. has had a rotten year. Earnings are off and the stock price has fallen nearly 50 percent since February, to around $1 recently.

Riordan Paper's Debut Delayed, Slow Summer Cited

Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan is backing off on his plans to launch a local newspaper this summer.

LETTERS

Letters to the editor

Nurses' Dispute With Tenet Over Queen of Angels Is Heating Up

Plus: Pharmaceutical Buyback

Shareholders Push for Sale of Ethnic Chinese Bank

Institutional shareholders of GBC Bancorp., unhappy over the refusal of several board members to sell the bank holding company despite offers that value the company at twice its current market value, are mounting a campaign to push for a sale.

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Travel agencies/vendors, Ranked by number of full-time L.A. County employees

Time to Say You're Sorry

Comment by Mark Lacter

No Happy Ending Expected in Hollywood's Bid for Secession

POLITICS by Howard Fine

Industrial Developer Adds to Portfolio in Tight Market

Real Estate by Danny King