Stories for March 2003

Monday, March 31

Overture Testing Controversial Ad Plan to Aid Share

Paid listings provider Overture Services Inc., having lost some search engine customers, has quietly turned to a controversial software company to replace some of the audience.

Pared Down After Tech Crash, Firms Still Encountering Hurdles

Restructuring at Orange County technology companies in the past three years has changed the face of the industry.

Workers' Comp to Face New Crisis as State Fund Teeters

California officials are scrambling to avert what could be the biggest crisis yet to hit the troubled workers' compensation system: the closing off of new policies by the State Compensation Insurance Fund

Accounting Questions Face 3D; New Concerns on Real Estate

WALL STREET WEST

Device Aims to Lessen Danger of Hijacked Gas Trucks

ON THE HOMEFRONT - IMPACT OF WAR

Bumble Bee Goes to War as It Ships Tuna To American Troops

One San Diego company is making a not-so-high-tech contribution to the war effort: tuna.

Politicking Underway As State Prepares for Next Phase of Cutting

Gov. Gray Davis may have signed into law $3.3 billion in budget cuts earlier this month, but if anything, the state's budget crisis has become more acute since then.

Traditional Jewish Arbitration Panels Find New Converts

When Yaacov Isaacs ran into a dispute over the financial terms of a contract, he turned to someone he believed could resolve the issue cheaply, quickly and fairly a rabbi.

Its Defenses in Place, Mortgage Lender Braces for Higher Rates

The big question facing Countrywide Financial Corp. and every mortgage lender, for that matter is whether earnings will dry up once interest rates start to rise in earnest.

NEWSMAKERS

Voice of Poor for Regional Federal Reserve Board; Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Law Suit Dredges Up Spotted Past of Real Estate Mogul, Church Founder

People change. So says C. Frederick Wehba, founder of the In Christ Church in Beverly Hills, this year's winner of the annual humanitarian award from the L.A. branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Association

States Hungry for Defense Step Up Local Recruiting

ON THE HOMEFRONT - IMPACT OF WAR

LABJ FORUM: War Torn

The Business Journal asks: Do you think it is appropriate to demonstrate against the war now that U.S. troops are engaged in combat?

Review / Preview

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

Proposal to Cut State Tourism Agency Draws Industry Ire

ON THE HOMEFRONT - IMPACT OF WAR

Monday, March 24

Glendale Mall Rings Up Sale in Deal With Big National Investor

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Customs Officials Say Border Traffic Steady Amid Tighter Security

No, it's not true that the U.S.-Mexico border will close to northbound travelers or that traffic will be reduced to just a few lanes if the United States moves from orange, a high risk of terrorism, to red, a severe risk level.

Battle-Hardened Maguire Stays Active in Slow Market

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Local Quarries Provide Fertile Ground For Trammell Crow's Industrial Efforts

Among the gritty gravel pits that pockmark Irwindale, Trammell Crow Co. sees the glint of untapped gold.

Banner Year for L.A. Radio Stations As Revenues Soar for Many in 2002

In what shaped up as a very strong rebound year for L.A. radio stations, total market revenues in 2002 were $956 million, up from $868 million the year earlier.

LABJ FORUM: Duck and Cover

The Business Journal asks: Have you received any emergency training or taken any special emergency or security precautions?

Low Interest Rates Put Charge in KB Home's Entry-Level Houses

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Beginning of Fighting Triggers Sharp Rise in Mortgage Rates

WALL STREET WEST

Bill Would Phase Out Dry Cleaning Solvent Statewide

Just three months after Southern California's smog agency adopted landmark regulations phasing out use of its most commonly used dry cleaning solvent, there's a bill in the Legislature that would speed up the ban and make it statewide.

Prepared/Not Prepared: Take Your Pick

After Iraq: Security, Economic Worries

Support Workers at Long Beach Hospital Decide to Join Union

Some 1,100 workers voted to unionize this month at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, building on a lengthy but successful organizing campaign involving registered nurses in 2001.

Review/Preview

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

Wide-Open Spaces, Inside and Out, Fuel KB's Sales in Castaic

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Retained Executive Search Firms, ranked by 2002 L.A. County revenues

Big Fish Gets Away But WellPoint Is Still Set on Growing With Acquisitions

WellPoint Health Networks Inc. went public in 1993 and was the nation's first conversion of a nonprofit Blue Cross to a for-profit structure.

Intel, Qualcomm Lead Funding For Area's Wireless Companies

The sponsorship of major technology players like Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. is keeping investments flowing to a host of Southern California wireless start-ups, despite a downbeat market for venture capital investments.

Strange Bedfellows Make Good Roommates in Stations' Design

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Woes Compounded by War, Area Hotels Teeter on Brink

ON THE HOMEFRONT - IMPACT OF WAR

Becoming Destination, Grove's Success Drives Action in Fairfax

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WEEKLY BRIEFING - High-Flying Firm Still Recovering From 9/11

Linda Lee Warren sees the world from a birds-eye view. A photographer and licensed pilot, Warren built her 23-year-old aerial photography business by taking pictures of construction projects.

Drawn by Dealmaking Process, Insignia Broker Off to Fast Start

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Pinnacle Deals Buck Downward Movement in Tri-Cities Market

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Recruiting Firms' Revenues Dive for Second Consecutive Year

ARTICLE: Still reeling from the economic downturn, Los Angeles executive search firms as a group reported a steep decline in revenues for the second consecutive year.

Johnson Fain Again Makes Its Mark on Century City

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Monday, March 17

Funding in Question for Traffic Improvements

If there is one overriding concern about Marina del Rey's redevelopment it's the fear that already congested streets will be overwhelmed by traffic from the new residences, stores and restaurants.

Entravision Stock Slides Amid Concerns Over Univision Deal

Since going public in 1996, Hispanic media company Entravision Communications Corp. has built a sizable presence nationwide, with 22 television stations, 58 radio stations, a newspaper and 11,400 outdoor billboards in New York and California.

LABJ FORUM: Tips for the President

The Business Journal asks: If you could get President Bush on the phone for 30 seconds, what would you say?

Rising Commuter Costs Unlikely to Hurt Housing Market

Despite a hike in gasoline prices that is taking a progressively larger chunk out of family budgets, there's no sign of a slowdown in the Antelope Valley housing market

Companies Face Emergency Fees On Jobless Fund

A new state report finds that the state's unemployment insurance trust fund funded by employers to cover benefits to unemployed workers is being depleted at a faster rate than expected.

Shareholders Get Home Operator

Fountain View Inc., the Burbank-based nursing home operator that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2001, has filed a plan to emerge from court supervision and pay off all its creditors.

Miramar's Owner Rethinking Project

The owner of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, shot down by the Santa Monica Planning Commission on plans to build a high-rise apartment building adjacent to the hotel, has gone back to the drawing board.

Capital Event

There'll be no private companies at Roth Capital Partners LLC's annual investor conference,just public ones, thank you.

Handful of New Bills Introduced to Thwart Proposition 65 Abuses

Four bills have been introduced in the state Legislature in the last month to reform the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, otherwise known as Proposition 65.

Loss of Talk Affiliates Is Setback for Christian Broadcaster

Christian broadcasting company Salem Communications Corp.'s drive to become a big-time player in the world of conservative talk radio has taken a hit.

Ad Firms Forced To Verify Claims About Revenues

Valued for an ability to pump up clients, the nation's publicly held advertising and public relations agencies have had to rein in their self promotion.

Sale of O.C. Register Could Muzzle an Influential Voice

The decision by the R. C. Hoiles family to put Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. up for sale could have a profound impact in Orange County.

Getting "House in Order" Aids Valuation in Business Sales

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Lawrence M. Braun

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Accounting Firms, ranked by number of accounting professionals in L.A. County

Monday, March 10

Future of Top Insignia Brokers a Question in CB Merger

In announcing the $415 million merger of CB Richard Ellis and Insignia Financial Group Inc., Insignia Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Farkas sold the deal as "a winning transaction for Insignia's shareholders, clients and employees."

Hollywood Waiting as Wireless Carriers Lag With New Features

For all the success of entertainment-related wireless products overseas, especially in Asia, Hollywood is having a hard time getting anyone's attention back home.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Title Companies, ranked by total mortgages insured during 2002 in L.A. County

Bankruptcies Down in L.A. as They Rise Elsewhere

Steadily rising home values and a solid job base helped Los Angeles buck a nationwide trend that saw a record number of Americans file for bankruptcy protection last year.

When Unexpected Strikes, Best Laid Plans Can Avert Disaster

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Andre Sharp

LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Youbet.com Sees Early Results In Online Horse Racing Gambit

In the race for online horse wagering in California, Youbet.com Inc. has jumped to an early lead. The question is whether the Woodland Hills-based company will have enough stamina left for the stretch run.

LABJ FORUM - Enjoying the Show

The Business Journal asks: What is your favorite movie theater and why?

Review & Preview

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

NEWSMAKERS

Uphill Effort in L.A. for Vespa's New U.S. Chief; Businesspeople and businesses in the news, on the move...

More Traffic for San Gabriel as Alameda East Hits Funding Wall

Cutbacks in state and federal budgets could force a major scale-back to the much-delayed $1 billion Alameda Corridor East project, adding to already increasing traffic congestion in the San Gabriel Valley.

Jobs Data Reveal Rest of State Still Lags Los Angeles

Los Angeles is poised to lead California out of its current economic slump even as the San Francisco Bay area struggles to regain the footing it lost two years ago.

Monday, March 3

Union Gets Partial Win in Truck Ruling

A federal judge's ruling in a longstanding class-action lawsuit granted Teamsters organizers a partial victory against large trucking firms but much less than union officials had hoped for.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - 50 Largest Law firms, ranked by number of attorneys in L.A. County offices

Former NASA Facility in Downey To Get New Life as Production Studio

The city of Downey has reached a deal to sell a 50-acre portion of a former NASA manufacturing facility to a developer with plans to turn it into a full-service film studio.

FCC Vote Boosts Plan by DWP to Sell Fiber Service

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a recent Federal Communications Commission ruling that dealt a blow to broadband service providers in Los Angeles.

Occidental Trading Range Belies Underlying Balance Sheet Gains

With rebels in Colombia holding three Pentagon contractors hostage last week, Occidental Petroleum Corp. again finds itself entangled in one of the world's geopolitical hotspots.

CSC's Overhaul Of IRS Systems Is Falling Short

Five years into an $8 billion project to modernize the Internal Revenue Service's computer systems, the agency and its prime contractor, Computer Sciences Corp., are feeling the sting of a report that found cost overruns, management delays and performance

Top L.A. Corporate Counsels Facing Maze of Litigation

WHO'S WHO LAW IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

Aggressive Disney Legal Strategies Fueled by In-House Counsel Loyalty

Going up against corporate counsel at Walt Disney Co., say litigators who have battled the media giant, is a fight to the death.

Raising Cash for Expansion Requires Some Calculation

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Paul Gurrola and Eric Lesin

Review / Preview

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

LABJ FORUM: Pedal to the Metal?

The Business Journal asks: Are you changing your driving habits?

Decision Benefits Whistleblower in Cal State L.A. Suit

A whistleblower suit against California State University, Los Angeles got a boost when a three-judge panel ruled that a former employee could sue for "constructive discharge" in retaliation for discovering what she believed to be fraud at the school.

Neighborhood Councils See Problems

They were the centerpiece of L.A.'s charter reform effort four years ago: a network of neighborhood councils to give people more of a voice in their communities. Now, neighborhood councils are a reality in Los Angeles.

Last Link of Alameda Corridor To Disrupt Traffic Flow on PCH

Although it officially opened to great fanfare last April, the Alameda Corridor still isn't finished.

PEOPLE

Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Overture's Business Model Challenged by Competition

As the business models of the still-young Internet further evolve, Overture Services Inc. finds itself on the defensive.

MTA to End Exclusive Arrangement With Legacy on Hollywood Project

Legacy Partners' $325 million Hollywood & Vine mixed-use project was dealt a major setback last week when the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land, voted 7 to 1 to end exclusive negotiations with Legacy on March 28 and t