Stories for June 2003

Monday, June 30

Companies Decry Effort to Reassess Homeowner Risk

Insurers are challenging Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi's efforts to limit the industry use of electronic claims data in underwriting homeowners' policies.

Business Journal Gets Top Press Club Prizes

The Business Journal received two first prizes from the Los Angeles Press Club during the organization's annual awards dinner on June 21.

LABJ FORUM - Prescription for Malaise?

The Business Journal asks: Will last week's interest rate cut make a difference to you?

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Maersk Move Increases Cargo Edge for Los Angeles Port

The Port of Long Beach continues to feel the effects of the loss of its largest terminal operator moving to the Port of Los Angeles last summer, with May cargo activity slumping 9.3 percent while the Port of L.A. had a 22.7 percent increase.

Bankrupt Store's Vendors Probing Past Credit Deals

Unsecured creditors of linen retailer Strouds Acquisition Corp. have launched an investigation into whether the chain's management, lenders or secured creditors engaged in self-dealing prior to its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

Wilshire Subway Has Mixed Impact on Stores

Outside the entrance of the Red Line station at the corner of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, Oscar Hidalgo sits patiently at the stand from which he sells knock-off baseball caps, cheap T-shirts and assorted trinkets.

Surrounded by Clusters, Radio One Station Keeps the Beat

At KKBT-FM (100.3), the successful hip hop station owned by Radio One, the production director, music programmer and afternoon drivetime disc jockey were axed earlier this month following a dip in ratings.

Lawyers May Flee Restructuring at Arter & Hadden

Attorneys at the local offices of Arter & Hadden LLP began sending out their resumes after the firm's Cleveland-based executive committee met June 16 to discuss ways in which to restructure the firm.

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Environmental Firms, ranked by number of L.A. County environmental employees

Surviving the Telecom Bubble, Investor Shifts to the Mundane

WALL STREET WEST

THE LABJ STOCK INDEX

Tracking 200 selected Los Angeles County-based companies; Market Diary, Market indexes, Industry analysis, 52-week performance, weekly top Gainers & Losers, Market summary, weekly profile

Hotel Occupancy Will Improve While Rates Suffer, Report Finds

Following two years of declining occupancy and room rates, a new report by PKF Consulting projects Los Angeles hotels will see revenues grow by 1 percent in 2003.

Middle Market Clients Driving Growth at Quiet Business Bank

CORPORATE FOCUS

Office Out, Hotel in as Sunset Millennium Plans Alter

After two years of controversy over the Sunset Millennium redevelopment, developer Apollo Real Estate Advisors plans to fully reconfigure the project and add two hotels, condominiums and more parking spaces to the mix.

Airport Traffic Returns To High Levels of 2000 At John Wayne Airport

It's been a slow couple of years at John Wayne Airport, though passenger traffic through the first five months of the year has returned to the former highs of 2000.

Developers Pick Their Spots: Urban Infill or Outlying

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Monday, June 23

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Largest public companies, ranked by market capitalization

Grudging Compliance With Sarbanes-Oxley

Nearly a year after implementation of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, executives of Southern California public companies say they have made great progress in complying with the numerous provisions involving tighter scrutiny of corporate business.

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

IPO Nearing, Health Insurer Fights Bill That Could Threaten Growth

Opposition to a bill that would extend health coverage to some uninsured adults is coming from a seemingly unlikely source Molina Healthcare Inc., the Long Beach-based health insurer that specializes in serving the poor.

Chairman's Illness Adds Twist To Insider Battle at Farmer Bros.

WALL STREET WEST - Roy F. Farmer, the 86-year-old chairman of embattled coffee importer Farmer Bros., is incapacitated, suffering from cancer and emphysema, according to his attorney, Marshall Oldman.

LABJ FORUM - Driving v and Eating, Calling, Reading

The Business Journal asks: What do you do in your car on your drive to work?

Lenders, Homebuilders Prove Profitable Niches Remain

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Rise in Jobless Claims Sparks More Disputes

California businesses have become more aggressive in disputing unemployment claims, generating unprecedented numbers of appeals from employees who have lost their jobs.

Retooled ValueClick Rolls Up Firms to Supplement Offerings

CORPORATE FOCUS: ValueClick Inc., an Internet advertising provider whose shares rode the dot-com bubble to under $2 per share, has retooled and investors have taken notice.

New Tourism Chief Starts Fence-Mending With Hotels

Named last week president and chief executive of the convention and visitors bureau, now known as LA Inc., Mark S. Liberman said his first order of business when he comes to work June 23 would be to take stock.

L.A. Council's New Guard

Ambitious group is expected to challenge Hahn for city's leadership.

Monday, June 16

Democratic Donors Spreading the Cash Around

Richard Gephardt has been in politics long enough to know that when campaigning in Hollywood, it pays to put on a show.

LABJ FORUM - Terminator Politics

The Business Journal asks: How do you feel about the prospect of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Seeking Venture Capital? Investors Want Fundamentals

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Robert M. Freedman

Hotel REIT Selling Local Property

Reeling from the weight of $1.6 billion in long-term debt and an ailing hotel industry, MeriStar Hospitality Corp Inc. is seeking to sell one or more of its Los Angeles area hotels.

Regulations, Taxes Driving Businesses Away, Survey Finds

Companies frustrated by regulations and high taxes are heading out of the state and taking jobs with them. PLUS: Government Sector to Lead Paltry Growth in Downtown Workforce

Two L.A. Firms Prepare to Wade Into Tepid IPO Waters

With the market for initial public offerings showing signs of reawakening after a three-year snooze, two large Los Angeles companies will be among the first to test its wherewithal.

Speedy Service - Caltech is developing way to send video online even faster.

A program that speeds delivery of data via the Web, recently developed by computer scientists at Caltech, has piqued the interest of Hollywood studios as a potential breakthrough in the distribution of video-on-demand services.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Colleges & Universities, ranked by full-time student equivalents for the 2002-2003 average enrollment period

Diagnostic Products Shakes Off Scare in China Payment Probe

WALL STREET WEST

Nation's Weight Problem Feeds Bottom Line of Apparel Maker

CORPORATE FOCUS: America's swelling waistlines have meant expanding revenues for apparel manufacturer Tag-It Pacific Inc.

Bad Deal Puts State on the Hook for Liabilities of Workers' Comp Firm

For most workers' compensation insurers, having a business taken over by the state is bad news. For Fremont General Corp. it's money in the bank.

Dot-Com Survivor eUniverse Facing Scrutiny From Regulators, Associates

While still in his 20s, Brad Greenspan managed to assemble a curious collection of Internet assets and turn it into a thriving publicly held company with big-name investors like Lehman Brothers and Sony Corp.

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

Monday, June 9

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Money Management Firms ranked by assets managed as of Dec. 31, 2002

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Green Light for Blue Cross Age Suit

A three-judge panel in the 2nd Appellate District has ruled Blue Cross of California must go to trial in a multi-million dollar breach of contract class action suit.

Hiring Limits on Building Inspectors Put the Squeeze on Hospital Projects

What amounts to the largest boom of hospital construction California has ever seen is on a collision course with one of the state's worst fiscal crises.

Wasserman's Avengers Scoring With Fans

Casey Wasserman was still wincing last week from his Los Angeles Avengers' season-ending playoff loss.

Team Logos Step Up To State License Plate

Team Logos Step Up To State License Plate

Bill Granting Municipalities Income Tax Authority Narrowly Advances

The state Assembly last week passed a controversial bill giving cities and counties the authority to put local income tax measures before voters in their communities.

NEWSMAKERS

Mixed-Use Projects Lure Developer From the Mountains

Riddle Beneficiaries Sing Different Tunes in Royalty Spat

Long after their deaths, composer Nelson Riddle and his wife Naomi are embroiled in a money fight more often found in divorce proceedings.

Arbitron Study Says Filmgoers More Receptive to Theater Ads

Audiences are increasingly receptive to advertising in movie theaters and tend to remember those ads better than advertising in other media, according to a new study by Arbitron Inc.

LABJ FORUM - Not a Good Thing

The Business Journal asks: Do you think Martha Stewart is being treated fairly?

Cell Lobby Claiming Complaints About Car Use Don't Ring True

There's no shortage of rhetoric in the arguments for and against state legislation outlawing the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

Insurer Holds On Tight Through Stormy Workers' Comp Market

CORPORATE FOCUS

Promotion Effort Ends In Discrimination Suit For Downtown Eatery

Windows Steaks & Martinis, nestled on the 32nd floor of Transamerica Center downtown, boasts some of the best views of the city. But a music promoter from Atlanta claims that the restaurant operators didn't like what they saw when he ran a jazz and rhythm

Downturn Makes Receivables Management a Focal Point

What do you call the people who handle credit and finance responsibilities for your company?

Failure to Communicate With the City Threatening Sun Valley Development

A much lauded development that promised to bring hundreds of jobs to the Northeast San Fernando Valley is drawing fire from city officials who are threatening to shut down the project if its plans and ownership are not clarified.

Monday, June 2

Arts Unions Merge in Effort to Boost Power Of Bargaining Teams

In a bid to enhance their bargaining leverage and better adapt to new technologies, the memberships of the Art Directors Guild and the Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists union have voted overwhelmingly to merge.

Technology Tapped to Battle Bioterror

The investigators at L.A. County's Acute Communicable Disease Control unit recently noticed a worrisome development: The emergency room at a local hospital had received three times the number of patients it normally did with rashes.

Job Satisfaction Demands More Than Just a Paycheck

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Marci Alpert

$30 Million at Risk in MWD's Latest Water War With the State

In the latest round of the region's never-ending water wars, two key water deals that would benefit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California are threatening to unravel.

AQMD Clean-Air Plan Puts Heavy Burden on Business

It's getting more expensive than ever for businesses, governments and residents to clean up L.A.'s dirty air.

Overseas Wheel Deals Helping Superior Industries Keep Busy

WALL STREET WEST

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

DA on the Hunt for Firms Skirting Law On Workers' Comp

Amid growing signs that companies are illegally avoiding high-priced workers compensation insurance, the L.A. County District Attorney's office is preparing to bring criminal charges against violators.

Comcast Broadband Strategy Leads To Customer Complaints on Pricing

Not long after taking over AT & T; Broadband last November, Comcast Corp. instituted a bundling plan that offers AT & T;'s existing broadband Internet customers a discount if they purchase Comcast cable TV service as well.

LABJ FORUM - Getting Back Into the Water

The Business Journal asks: Are you going to play the market or play it safe?

Business Groups Rally Against News Rack Ordinance

A handful of business groups are urging the L.A. City Council to reject a proposal by the Board of Public Works to rewrite the city's news rack ordinance.

City Pressures Arden To Drop Police Chase

A unit of Arden Realty Group Inc. has pulled out as middleman in negotiations between the city and several downtown property owners on finding temporary headquarters for the police department.

Customs Has Yet To Fine Security Violators at Ports

Four months after a new security regulation covering ship cargoes went into effect, the U.S. Customs Service appears to be holding steamship lines on a loose leash.

Past Fortunes No Guarantee of Future Gains in Mortgage Game

CORPORATE FOCUS - Three years of falling interest rates have meant a windfall for a little-known Santa Monica company that invests in the arcane area of mortgage-backed securities.

Credit Processor Laid Bare by Porn Deadbeats

When a check bounces, the retailer is stuck and the checkwriter is charged. When a credit card transaction is kicked back, whoever processes the sale takes the hit.

NEWSMAKERS

Businesspeople and businesses in the news, on the move...

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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