Stories for September 2002

Monday, September 30

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter - Savings & Loans

Summaries of this week's second List - Savings & Loan associations, L.A. County-based; ranked by assets as of June 30, 2002

Developer Nears Downtown Deal For Market Site

Encouraged by the growing number of downtown residential projects, CIM Group Inc. is finally about to sign a deal to bring a supermarket to its mixed-use development in South Park.

Cell Phones Hurt University Budgets

Students who use cell phones instead of university services are costing schools millions of dollars in lost fees.

L.A. Recovery Prospects Tied to Rest of Nation, Anderson Forecast Says

Los Angeles should bounce back next year from the economic slowdown, as long as the rest of the nation doesn't enter into a double-dip recession.

Frustrated KCET Joins Fundraising Consortium Beyond Realm of PBS

Dissatisfied with the amount of money they have been getting from the Public Broadcasting System's fundraising arm, KCET-TV (Channel 28) and seven other public television stations nationwide have formed their own organization to seek underwriting dollars

Risk Assessment

TRADING PLACES - Accounting After Andersen

Voters Getting a Chance to Set State Budget Priorities

It's called "ballot box budgeting," the diversion of discretionary government budget dollars to specific programs approved by voters.

LABJ FORUM: At the Center of the Sprawl

Staples Center, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels and the new Disney Concert Hall have spawned talk of a downtown revival. But it's not just the big venues; bars, restaurants and major cultural attractions, including the Central Library, Music Center an

Standardized Testing is Best Measure of Success

Commentary by By BILL SIART and ROBERT J. FLOWERS

AFTRA Targets Shared Staff In Viacom's L.A. Newsrooms

One of the first labor battles of the duopoly era in Los Angeles is heating up with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists challenging Viacom Inc. for allowing its two local channels to share news reports prepared by journalists at those st

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter - L.A. County Banks

Summaries of this week's List - L.A. County-based Banks, Ranked by assets as of June 30, 2002

NEWSMAKERS

Business people making news, on the move

Court Sets Staff Cutbacks in Face Of Rising Deficit

The Los Angeles Superior Court executive committee has voted to lay off 150 staff members and 26 judicial officers by Nov. 1, enraging local union leaders and trial attorneys who fear that the cutbacks are unnecessary and detrimental to cases.

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

More news and inside stories from around town.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite websites of Steve Straughan, partner, Kirkpatrick Associates Architects

Business Groups Close Gap in Living Wage Campaign

Proposition JJ, Santa Monica's coastal zone living wage ordinance that once was expected to pass overwhelmingly, could be in for a tough time this November.

AQMD Review Plan Met Skeptically

A proposal by the region's smog agency to cut the time it takes to upgrade refineries and build new power plants is getting a skeptical response from industry officials, who think the plan could end up hurting them more than it helps.

Industry Itself Joins Government in Policing Members

TRADING PLACES - Accounting After Andersen

Monday, September 23

LABJ FORUM: The Many Forms of TV Watching

The networks have been rolling out their fall offerings, old and new, as they jockey to grab not only big audiences, but the right kind of big audience (specifically, anyone younger than 50). So the Business Journal asks: What's your favorite television

L.A.'s No. 2 Bank Grows as Affiliates Prepare to Merge

A little-known Oak Park, Ill. bank holding company is about to merge its two Los Angeles subsidiaries, California National Bank and Fidelity Federal Bank, and bolster what's quietly emerged as L.A.'s second-largest financial institution, with $5.7 billio

Revenues Pressed, Law Firms Boost Resume Scrutiny

Squeezed by the economic downturn, fewer lawyers are generating the profits and client work that law firms want. As a result, more partners in the job market are fudging their numbers ...

Rate of Latino Home Buying Declines as Prices Climb

Rising home prices and low-wage jobs for recent immigrants have pushed down Latino home ownership in California, according to a study being released this week.

Union Leaders

WHO'S WHO ENTERTAINMENT - HOLLYWOOD UNIONS

Consumers Seeking Class Status in Action Over Phone Charges

Four Southern California residents have sued Verizon Communications Inc., claiming the phone company reaped millions of dollars in profits through an "unjustified" equipment rental charge on consumer bills.

Law Firms Slow Contributions To State's Political Campaigns

With this fall's election so far attracting little interest, local law firms have stepped back from their traditional role of bankrolling political campaigns.

Review & Preview

Review of other top news; Preview of upcoming events and stories

State to Join Request for Health Aid

State officials have finally agreed to go to Washington to discuss another federal bailout of L.A. County's financially ailing health department, eliminating a significant hurdle in preventing another round of service cuts and hospital closures.

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Women-owned Businesses L.A. County-based; ranked by 2001 revenues

Westfield Leads the Blanding of L.A. Shopping

OPINION by Carol Wade, a Los Angeles writer.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite websites of Melissa Karz, Chief Executive, Kadima Coaching and Consulting

Management Fights Dissident Group At Valley Maker of Oxygen Systems

CHAD Therapeutics Inc. has a market cap of $28 million, a stock price of less than three bucks and earnings for the last quarter of $178,000 not exactly takeover material.

Well-Known Join Unfamiliar Names in Leader Ranks

WHO'S WHO ENTERTAINMENT HOLLYWOOD UNIONS

Two Union Veterans Reflect

WHO'S WHO ENTERTAINMENT - HOLLYWOOD UNIONS

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Stories and discoveries from around town.

NEWSMAKERS

People and businesses in the news, on the move

Debate Over Pop Musician Deaths Missing Outrage

Commentary by Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald.

Monday, September 16

Outlook for Holidays Is Cloudy as Back-to-School Sales Drag

Retail by Deborah Belgum

LABJ FORUM: Is it Time for a Pay Cut?

William J. McDonough, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and a possible successor to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, called on corporate executives to cut their compensation, saying rising executive pay reflects "terribly bad social policy and pe

NEWSMAKERS

Ex-Police Chief Takes Interim Port Post

Apparel Firms Closely Watching GMAC Factoring Suit

A lawsuit filed recently against GMAC Commercial Credit LLC, one of the nation's largest specialized lenders to the apparel industry, is being closely watched for its potential to alter the industry's financing relationships.

Bill on Arbitration Contradicts Ruling By Appeals Court

If Gov. Gray Davis signs a bill now on his desk, it could send California employment law into a state of confusion.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite websites of Allison Balson, Financial consultant, Salomon Smith Barney

Opinion Split on Whether EIDC Head Abused Office

Explaining why his organization wouldn't be attending a movie location trade show a couple of years back, Cody Cluff sneered at the event as little more than "a glorified junket for film commissioners" designed to take production dollars away from Los Ang

No Shortage of Candidates as City Council Races Take Shape

While attention remains focused on secession and other local measures on November's ballot, the April primary is just seven months away and campaigning for seven L.A. city council races has already begun.

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Weekly columns of stories around L.A.

Economic Forecast Shows Uneven Growth for Region

Los Angeles and Southern California dodged the recent national recession, but face a year of choppy growth, according to an economic forecast report to be released Sept. 16 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

State Supreme Court Ruling Hailed by Speech Advocates

A recent California Supreme Court ruling has eased the way for defendants fighting suits some claim are aimed at limiting their rights to free speech.

New Law Aims at Halting Some Rate Hikes by Insurers

Health Care by Laurence Darmiento

Review & Preview

Summary of other news; Preview of upcoming stories and events.

Entertainment Agency Veered Out of Control

It started out with the best of intentions and a clear set of goals: form a public-private partnership to reduce the layers of red tape for film shoot permits and to combat runaway production by marketing L.A. to film producers.

Baja Fresh's Growth Plan Heats up Rivalry Between Taco Chains

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill is stepping up its push onto Wahoo's Fish Tacos home turf.

Lawsuit Says Hilton Charged Resort Fees Under Guise of a Tax

A class action lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud has been filed against Hilton Hotels Corp. claiming the Beverly Hill-based company quoted a certain room rate to customers, only to add on extra non-tax charges when it came time to pay the bill

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Temporary Placement Firms Ranked by 2001 L.A. County revenues

Foote, Cone Office to Close After Loss of Mattel Account

Media by Claudia Peschiutta

Integrity vs. Temptation

Comment by Mark Lacter

Permits for L.A. Housing Decline

Homebuilders statewide are responding to record high home prices by ramping up construction, but activity in Los Angeles County does not appear to be following suit.

November Bond Offerings Reach Record Levels

Voters in much of L.A. County will decide in November on a record $22 billion in bonds to be sold by state and local governments for infrastructure projects ...

Rush to Disclose Customer Dispute Hits Semtech Stock

Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo

Convertible Bonds Proving Better Value in Bear Market

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

Weak Rents May Hurt Madison's Westwood Portfolio

Real Estate by Danny King

Worker Training Still Needed Despite Corporate Trimming

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Lois P. Frankel

LETTERS

Letters to the editor

Judge Finds Bank Covered Up Bad Loan Prior to Sale

A jury's recent decision to award L.A.-based Far East National Bank $9 million in a dispute over a loan transfer is causing headaches for the losing side in the case

Monday, September 9

Nominee for CRA Board Getting Cool Response From Business

POLITICS by Howard Fine

Wireless Firm Sold to Interactive Developer

GoldPocket Interactive, a recent L.A. arrival developing interactive television programming, has acquired Santa Monica-based wireless media company Moeo

COMMENT: Turning a Blind Eye

Commentary by Mark Lacter

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Software Firms Ranked by employees in L.A. County

Bookstore's Move Ends Independent Era on Promenade

Retail by Deborah Belgum

MGM's Law Firm Looks to Join Studio at High-Rise

Real Estate by Danny King

Software Bounty Hunters Cause Trouble for Unsuspecting Firms

Entrepreneur's Notebook by GEORGE SALMAS

L.A. Restaurants Going Hungry in Post 9/11 Environment

Already a notoriously volatile business, restaurants appear to be feeling the economic downturn more severely than their retail cousins.

LABJ FORUM: Back in the Game

Much to the relief of baseball fans nationwide, Major League Baseball owners and players reached agreement on a new four-year labor deal last month, allowing the remainder of the season and the World Series to go on as scheduled. Lingering bitterness asid

Water Controversy Leaves Shares in Cadiz Out to Dry

Wall Street West by Benjamin Mark Cole

Univision Has Plan to Meet Ownership Restrictions After Merger

Media by Claudia Peschiutta

No Rest for the Ritzy

Undaunted by an economic slowdown, shoppers have continued flocking to high-end shops on some of the region's toniest streets and the resulting volume of business is pushing retail rents to unprecedented levels.

Accounting Problems Cloud Prospects for Maker of RVs

Corporate Focus by Anthony

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Inside stories and events around the city.

My Favorite Sites

Favorite websites of Morrie Goldman, Vice President, communications and governmental affairs, Entertainment Industry Development Corp.

State Budget Reserves Deficit Pain for Future Years

The $99 billion state budget signed into law last week by Gov. Gray Davis put off the most serious decisions until next year and produced only limited relief for California companies.

"Hillbillies" Project Takes TV Stupidity To a Higher Level

Opinion by Kathleen Parker, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.

Review & Preview

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

Business Groups See Pending Bills Eroding Interests

With Democrats firmly in control in Sacramento and the state confronting a record $24 billion deficit, California businesses are seeing just the opposite from lawmakers: a host of measures that add mandates and restrict the flexibility of businesses to cu

NEWSMAKERS: TV Executive Tunes In To Academy Post

People making news, on the move.

Quiet Campaign Irks Supporters Of Secession Bid

As the secession campaign enters its final seven weeks, there's a growing frustration among proponents over the lack of a coherent and organized campaign for Hollywood and San Fernando Valley cityhood.

Monday, September 2

Attorney Takes on Chocolate Makers Over Toxin Traces

The attorney who sued the nation's top chocolate manufacturers earlier this year claiming their confections pose a potential health risk is leaving a bitter taste among state regulators.

Entrepreneurs Need to Know Financial Fundamentals

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Mark Hafner

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's LIST - Best-selling Automobiles Ranked by number sold in L.A. County

Sports Afield Reloads as New Publisher Takes a Shot

Publishing magnate Robert Petersen is counting on an old hunting buddy to keep Sports Afield Magazine alive. The 115-year-old hunting and fishing title is expected to return to newsstands in December

Hotel, Tourism Slump Expected To Continue Throughout Year

Retail by Deborah Belgum

Trizec Said Near Sale of Successful Pasadena Project

Pasadena's Paseo Colorado shopping complex, which has exceeded sales projections of developer Trizec Properties Inc., is close to being sold to a partnership led by Lehman Bros. for about $114 million, according to real estate sources.

Bank's Error Results In Upward Revision

A mathematical error has forced PFF Bancorp Inc., parent of PFF Bank & Trust, to restate its earnings per share for the past four years.

Arm of Major Investment Trust Makes Valley Purchase

Real Estate by Danny King

My Favorite Sites

Favorite Websites of Kevin Aratari, Managing Director, Mocean

NBC Won't Retaliate Over Rape Victim Parody

Media by Claudia Peschiutta

Country Star Sued Over Pay for Technicians on Box Office Dud

LAW by Amanda Bronstad

Flying Back To Basics

Comment by Mark Lacter

Review & Preview

Review of week's other top news; preview of upcoming stories and events.

LABJ Forum: Taken Downtown v Live on CNN

Trotting out handcuffed criminals before a lineup of photographers and camera operators used to be reserved for violent criminals and the grizzlier the crime the better. Those often scruffy figures have been replaced with a fairer, though no less notori

Goldman Sachs Chosen as Buyer Of National Golf

The board of National Golf Properties Inc. has narrowed down its search for a buyer to one.

Newsmakers

Aerospace Executive to Advise Military

Hot Topic Gets New Outside Chairman, Shuffles Committees

Hot Topic Inc. named an independent director as its new chairman and established a special committee of the board to oversee matters of corporate governance, including business ethics and conflicts of interest.

Hours-Long Wait at Terminals Sparks Campaign by Truckers

Reflecting the growing congestion of trucks idling outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a new study shows that drivers have to wait as long as three-and-a-half hours to enter a terminal, pick up cargo and leave the port.

Rails, Not Roads, Urged for Cargo

Thirty fewer commuting hours each year for L.A. drivers by 2020? That's the promise delivered in a new study that recommends freight now being transported by truck be moved to railroads.

Platelet Supplier Required to Stop Paying for Blood

HemaCare Corp., a major supplier of blood platelets to area hospitals, will no longer be able to use paid donors its primary local platelet source after losing a legislative battle with the nonprofit blood products industry.

On Assignment Dip Eased By Purchase of Nursing Unit

Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo

Budget Impasse Starting to Take Toll on State Vendors

The state budget stalemate has hit home for L.A.-based electrical supply wholesaler Aaron Comfort.

Simon's Stumbles Unleash Onset of Forecasts for 2006

POLITICS by Howard Fine

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Stories and events in and around the city