Stories for February 2003

Monday, February 24

User Fees, Taxes Eyed for Funding Of Transit Plans

With budgets strained in Washington and Sacramento, local transit and planning officials are looking at motorists and freight haulers as funding sources for local transportation projects.

LABJ FORUM: Sun or Snow?

There are some former East Coasters who admit feeling a bit nostalgic for ice-covered ponds and snow days. So, the Business Journal asks: Do you miss the snow?

West L.A. Chamber Names Bureau Team

The West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce has named a 25-member committee to organize a Westside Visitors and Convention Bureau and is planning to ask the city for seed funding next month.

Contract for Unmanned Off-the-Shelf Weapon Raises Profile of Firm

It's part pilotless drone, part cruise missile and a fraction of the price of either. The Office of Naval Research calls it the "affordable weapon," and San Diego-based Titan Corp. is its contractor.

PROFILES: Business Hall of Fame Awards

The recipients of the Business Journal awards are hard workers and innovators who are able to maneuver through a challenging business climate.

Private Equity Funds Investing in Growing Asian, Latino Markets

WALL STREET WEST

Companies Rush to Adjust to New Whistleblower Rules

The days when a company could dismiss an employee's grousing over corporate practices are long gone. Scrambling to respond to the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, human resources directors at L.A. public companies are designing new corporate handbo

Radio Ratings Service Again Under Fire for Methodology

Ratings company Arbitron Inc. is at the center of a growing dispute between local Spanish-language radio stations and their English-language counterparts over the methodology used to measure listening levels.

Box Office Gains, War Fear Spurring Local Productions

While other industries sputter under the weight of the sluggish national economy or hold back spending in anticipation of a possible war with Iraq, Hollywood is humming along at a decent clip.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Hospitals, ranked by number of licensed beds

Adjusting to Downturn Positions Companies for Rebound

Entrepreneur's Notebook by SCOTT CONNELLA

Flurry of Legislation Prepared to Overhaul Health System in State

Proposals to overhaul health care delivery in California are suddenly all the rage, although it's considered doubtful any of the plans can emerge from the current legislative session.

Monday, February 17

Alert Staffing Starts Over After Bankruptcy Filing

After resolving a dispute with global staffing powerhouse Adecco SA that threatened its survival, personnel agency Alert Staffing has emerged from bankruptcy.

Pace Slowing But Profits Up Again At Big Law Firms

The top partners at Los Angeles' three largest law firms took home more than $1 million in 2002, considered the big leagues in legal circles, and many of the biggest firms boosted profits-per-partner levels even as the broader economy remained mired.

Review & Preview

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

Scramble Is on to Save Transportation Projects

Massive state and federal budget deficits threaten to delay transportation projects throughout L.A. County, from freeway widenings, carpool lanes and bridge repair to rail projects in the San Gabriel Valley and on L.A.'s Westside.

Activision Decision to Drop PC Game Prompts Analysts' Wrath

WALL STREEET WEST

NEWSMAKERS

Making Playboy's Film Slate More Family-Friendly

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / The PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Venture Capital Firms, ranked by capital under management firmwide

Dealmakers Seek Niche Markets as Big Transactions Fade

Dealmakers Seek Niche Markets as Big Transactions Fade

Unions' Drive for Consolidation Up Against Ghosts of Past

After agreeing in principle on a plan to consolidate the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists into a single organization with three autonomous bargaining units, the two unions must tackle a host of longstanding ter

Cities Look to Business to Bail Out Budgets

Faced with a loss of funds due to the state's budget crisis, L.A.-area cities are now targeting businesses in their scramble to find new sources of revenue and resorting to drastic cost-cutting measures such as turning off streetlights.

CB, Insignia Merger Would Spark Change

The potential merger of CB Richard Ellis and Insignia Financial Group could give L.A.-based CB a much-desired foothold in the New York market, but is likely to result in a shakeup of the local brokerage community.

LABJ FORUM: Coping With Fear

The Business Journal asks: Given the threat of terrorism and the possibility of war, are you afraid?

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Weekly Columns; More news and talk from around the town, behind the scenes...

Monday, February 10

BANKRUPTCIES

Recent business bankruptcies

Delays, Closures Possible to Bridge Court Fund Gap

Faced with the largest budget reduction in history, officials of the L.A. Superior Court are considering a wide range of cutbacks that include additional layoffs, courtroom closures and the shuttering of entire courthouses a few days a month.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Securities Brokerage Firms ranked by number of registered, licensed securities brokers in L.A. County

Review & Preview

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

Northrop Is Taking Another Go With Unmanned Decoy

The Air Force is giving Northrop Grumman Corp. a second chance at developing an unmanned aerial decoy that would trick enemy radar and divert attention from the real thing.

War Stills Expansion Plans - Economy at a Crossroads

The economy is on hold. Whatever positive momentum might have been developing in recent weeks has been effectively checked as the United States draws closer to war with Iraq.

The LABJ's L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories

Shareholder Proposals Aim to Get Attention of Disney Board

WALL STREET WEST

Federal Bailout Triggers Demands to Reopen Clinics

Don't expect the squabbling over health care cutbacks to stop now that Los Angeles County has made a deal for a $150 million federal bailout of its financially troubled health department.

THE LABJ FORUM: Assessing the Risks

The Business Journal asks: Do you think NASA should continue with shuttle flights?

Monday, February 3

Job Freeze Adds to Workers' Comp Ills

A hiring freeze imposed last year by Gov. Gray Davis at the state's largest workers' compensation insurer has resulted in costly delays for both employers and injured workers. PLUS: Workers' Comp Reforms

Advertising Likely To Wane Against a Backdrop of Battle

The prospect of war in Iraq is threatening to hit local television and radio stations with a financial double whammy: stretching budgets for news coverage while dashing expectations for a long-awaited advertising recovery in 2003.

Territorial Disputes Over Internet May Arise at Franchises

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Barry Kurtz

Digital Newsletter Seeks Buyer Amid Online Ad Slump

Rising Tide Studios LLC, the New York-based research and business information company that publishes the Southern California-focused Digital Coast Reporter newsletter, is seeking a buyer.

One Shareholder Suit Dropped, Mercury Air Still Faces Assault

WALL STREET WEST

Veteran Writers to Press on With Age Discrimination Suit

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit last month filed by Kalish and 174 other older screenwriters that would have consolidated 23 separate suits against television studios and networks.

Local Classified Advertising Boosting Newspaper Sites

Tribune Co.'s announcement last week that revenues at its interactive division rose 17 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months was another signal that the strength in online advertising lies in the newspaper classified market.

Reserve Call-Ups Hit Businesses in The Pocketbook

Local businesses are scrambling to replace military reservists being called to duty as the U.S. mobilizes for a possible war with Iraq.

Market Soars for Top Restaurant Locales Despite Slow Economy

Shallom Berkman barely flinched when he heard the sale price for a tiny restaurant on one of Beverly Hills' more popular streets.

Lions Gate Reacquires Old Titles In Bid to Build Library Revenues

Looking to bolster its film library, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has signed two home video and DVD distribution deals, re-acquiring the rights to previous theatrical releases in addition to buying new rights as a third-party distributor.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Franchisers, L.A. County-based firms, ranked by number of franchised units

USOC's Problems Endanger Financial Support

COMMENTARY by David Carter, author of "On the Ball"

Consultants Claim Bills Go Unpaid at Sunset Millennium

Fallout from West Hollywood's trouble-plagued Sunset Millennium development now has several firms claiming that their bills have gone unpaid by the developer who took control of the project.

Pending Land Swap May Give Developer 10 Acres of VA Site

Watt Commercial Properties is in discussions with the U.S. Army to develop a 10.1-acre parcel at the southwest corner of the Veterans Administration campus

LABJ FORUM: Sounding the Alarm

The Business Journal asks: Do you think the LAPD should respond to all burglar alarms?