Stories for May 2003

Monday, May 26

Flush, Not Plush

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Trusts, Partnerships Help Wealthy Take Sting Out of Taxes

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Teens Bummed to Discover Tough Summer Job Market

It's an especially tight job market for teens and college students as competition for the few openings available has been compounded by the presence of unemployed adults increasingly vying for low-pay, low-skill positions.

Despite "Snobby" Image, Being Bred in Beverly Hills Has Perks

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Gifts From Trusts Decline for First Time in Two Decades

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Investors Vote for Governance Reform at Cheesecake Factory

WALL STREET WEST

Effort to Restore Power Monopoly Falls to Pressure

Major California businesses and independent power producers have won a partial victory in their efforts to hold off a move to reregulate the state's electricity markets.

Anonymous Assets

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American Airlines Touts Cheap Fares in Effort to Catch Jet Blue

When is a fare war not a fare war? AMR Corp.'s American Airlines announcement last week that it would cap one-way fares between Long Beach and New York at $299 for coach and $599 for first class was a bit of sleight of hand.

Not Exactly Kids' Stuff

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Going Down for the Count

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Pain Quotient in State Budget Tied to Return of Vehicle Fees

Gov. Gray Davis' revised budget for 2003-04 goes much easier on local government funding than his original January budget, but city and county officials remain concerned they could lose several hundred million dollars in state funding.

Air Quality Fight at LAX Heats Up

An eight-month dispute over the installation of an emissions reduction system at Los Angeles International Airport escalated last week when the contractor, EmeraChem LLC, filed counterclaims against Los Angeles World Airports, the quasi-government agency

LABJ FORUM: If You Were a Rich Man...

The Business Journal asks: If you had $400 million, what would you do with it?

Attorney General Sues Chains Over Mercury Warning

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has sued 15 restaurant chains, but they're not exactly singing the blues.

Market Woes, Recalculations Exact Toll on Wealthiest

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Week in Review - Life Heads to Dogs for A Pamperer of Pooches

Americans own nearly 70 million dogs, and caring for a big one costs around $1,000 per year. So the level of care available at a business like Tamar Geller's Loved Dog Co. should come as no surprise.

Local Penny Stocks Rise With Market, But Doubts Persist

Several of L.A.'s biggest stock-market disasters are getting a second wind in the market's recent rebound.

Semiconductor Firms Boosted By Success of Wireless Devices

CORPORATE FOCUS - Despite a slow economy and sagging demand from big customers, semiconductor industry stocks have turned in one of the best market performances thus far this year.

Big Projects Fill in Where Once Stood Major Aerospace Efforts

When Hawthorne was one of the seats of the region's aerospace business in the middle of the last century, bigger was better. It still is, although the focus has changed.

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Disputes, Sale Have Left Prime Boulangerie Site a Dump

Once frequented by diners looking for an outdoor patio to enjoy lunch and Pacific breezes, the former Pioneer Boulangerie property in Santa Monica is a dumping ground with an ocean view.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Charitable Foundations/Trusts, L.A. County based; ranked by total assets in 2002

As If! Hollywood's View of Its Kids Is Not Flattering

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San Diego's Lindbergh Field Delays Gate Expansion

Plans to improve San Diego's Lindbergh Field, including adding new gates at one of the terminals, have been put on indefinite hold because of the still-sluggish travel industry.

Law Firms Cutting Estate Practices

Pursuing more lucrative lines of work, large L.A. law firms are de-emphasizing estate practices that typically bill at lower rates and are more partner-intensive.

NEWSMAKERS

Creative Director Car Hops to Competing Agency

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

Monday, May 19

LABJ FORUM: News Fit to Print?

The Business Journal asks: Do you believe what you read in the papers?

Investment Bank Strikes Deal to Sell Two Airport-Area Hotels

Two airport-area hotels are under agreement to be sold for a combined $22 million in a deal that represents the further retreat by institutional owners from the ailing LAX market.

NEWSMAKERS

Former Vivendi Marketer Aims to Alter Academic Hue; Businesspeople and businesses in the news, on the move...

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Business Improvement Districts, ranked by 2002 budget

Pain Tempered, But Businesses Still Facing Higher Costs in New Budget

Gov. Gray Davis' revised budget may be less of a hit on business than his original January blueprint, but that's little consolation to companies reeling from record increases in workers' compensation premiums and higher energy and health costs.

"Action Sports" Movies Pushing Rhino Further Away From Its Origins

Rhino, the Burbank-based unit of Warner Strategic Marketing, has formed a division to produce films of "youth and action sports" laced with music from Warner recording artists.

Shippers Shun Alameda Corridor Over Costs

The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor, which opened to considerable fanfare a year ago for being on time and on budget, is falling short of its traffic goals because shippers are unwilling to pay to use the rail service for short hauls.

Litigation Ends With Kajima Agreeing Not To Bid on Port Work

Kajima Engineering and Construction Corp. has agreed not to bid on any Port of Los Angeles projects for five years and forfeit $7 million the city was withholding for late completion of a $42.2 million port bridge

High Rates Entice New Workers' Comp Carriers to Jump Into California Market

A handful of workers' compensation insurers are bucking an exodus of dozens of carriers who left the state or went bust after major losses.

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

Printer Device Firm Turns Page As Market Shifts Force Change

CORPORATE FOCUS

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Drumming Up Clients With Schools, Shamans

WEEKLY BRIEFING

Apartment Buyer Suing Casden Over Refusal to Pay Judgment

WALL STREET WEST

Trading With China Rises by 22 Percent

China bolted ahead of Japan as the No. 1 trading partner with the Los Angeles Customs District in 2002, setting a new pecking order of nations even in the midst of growing concerns about SARS.

Monday, May 12

Weekly Briefing - Brothers' Slots Gamble Is Paying Off Overseas

Scott Zeidman's brother Larry was building muscle cars for a living when he began to restore and sell antique slot machines out of his garage in 1978.

Cheesecake Factory Run Stalls as Older Stores Sag

CORPORATE FOCUS - The Teflon-coated operator of casual dining stores failed for the first time since its 1992 initial public offering to show an increase in comparable store sales and paid the price with a steep drop in share price.

Out of the Ashes, Operation Hope Becomes a Force

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - Hotels ranked by the number of guest rooms

Two Institutions Seek to Expand Without Compromising Mission

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LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Unova Leaves L.A. for Washington

Unova Inc. is moving its headquarters from Woodland Hills to the Seattle area, where Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Brady lives and the company's largest unit is based.

REIT's Purchase Of Del Almo Mall May Let the Air In

The pending purchase of Del Amo Fashion Center by Mills Corp. for an estimated $440 million is likely to be followed by a wholesale renovation that could include opening up the 32-year-old enclosed center, according to real estate sources.

Little Change in Circulation Numbers at L.A. Newspapers

Circulation levels at the Los Angeles Times and its largest competitors in the L.A. area mostly held steady for the six months ended March 31, according to unaudited figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but several niche publications in the regi

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

LABJ FORUM: Someone May Be Watching

The Business Journal asks: Do you think people who swap music files online should be prosecuted?

Rush Hour Traffic Plan For Sepulveda Gains as Volume Continues Rise

In his mayoral campaign two years ago, businessman Steve Soboroff said the first thing he would do once elected would be to put reversible traffic lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard through the Santa Monica Mountains to reduce rush hour gridlock.

Valley Mall Operators Pursue Luxury Stores In Underserved Area

Some of the tonier names in retailing are looking to expand along the 101 Corridor, and several different developers are scrambling to get their attention.

City National Grows Into L.A.'s Largest Independent

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Area Creditors Seek $650 Million in Failure of National Health Care Firm

More than two dozen claimants with either headquarters or major operations in the Los Angeles area are seeking close to $650 million from National Century Financial Enterprises Inc., which is in the process of being liquidated amid questions of financial

NEWSMAKERS

Seeking Share of Growing Genetic Testing Market

For Goldsmith, All Roads Lead Back to City National

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Monday, May 5

Battle of the Brands Is Pitting Hotel Owners and Chains

A raft of brand acquisitions by Hilton Hotels Corp. and other major chains has left many of their existing franchisees feeling crowded by competition from new corporate stablemates operating nearby.

REVIEW / PREVIEW

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

LABJ's LA Stories / The Roving Eye

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

Farmer's Battle With Shareholders Coming Down to Price

So how much is Farmer Bros. worth? The valuation game has more or less begun for the Torrance-based coffee distributor in the wake of last week's disclosure that a disgruntled institutional shareholder has been discussing a repurchase of its shares.

Maguire Shifts IPO Assets, Seeks to Raise Up to $700 Million

In a bid to make the initial public offering of his real estate holding company more palatable to investors, developer Robert Maguire has shifted the assets to be included in the package.

NEWSMAKERS

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

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / THE PACESETTER

Summaries of this week's List - MBA Programs, ranked by full-time equivalent students at L.A. County campuses

Renamed Market Wire Looks to Nasdaq Deal to Boost Business

In a bid to gain ground on its larger rivals, Los Angeles-based Internet Wire has signed a deal with the Nasdaq Stock Market to serve as the preferred distributor of news releases for listed companies.

Little Guy Won't Fold In Format Scrap With Clear Channel Station

For independent radio station owner Saul Levine, the time has come to counterattack the company he calls the "800-pound gorilla."

Coastcast Considers Going Private As Delisting, Competition Take Toll

With its golf club head manufacturing business wedged in an Asian sand trap, Coastcast Corp. has established a special committee of its board to consider whether it should remain public, a step that could lead to a management-led buyout or the sale of th

Web Services Firm Banking on Growth of Online Bill Payment

Online banking is not new. It certainly isn't sexy. But in an era of downsizing, it has become an increasingly common weapon in the arsenals of banks looking to lower costs and retain customers.

Saban Readies German Funds; Atlanta Buyout Firm Enters L.A.

WALL STREET WEST

City Acts to Mend Contract Rules to Help Small Firms

The process by which more than $1 billion in contracts is awarded annually by the city of Los Angeles would be streamlined under reforms being proposed this week by Mayor James Hahn and other top city officials.

War Just Minor Blip For San Diego Hotels

While San Diego's lodging industry has lost business since the start of the war in Iraq, it has fared better than most markets nationwide.

Acquisition Gives Google a Welcome Presence in L.A. Area

Media & Technology: Back in the salad days of the Internet boom, tech workers could choose from scores of prospective dot-com employers in L.A., or sign up with recruiters parachuting in from Northern California.

A Hard Fall to Bankruptcy for Once High-Flying Extract Firm

A decade ago Hauser Inc. was on top of the world. The young company's pioneering work in extracting paclitaxel from tree bark the key ingredient in the blockbuster cancer drug Taxol was garnering it big sales, fat profits and brisk trading on Nasdaq.

Relying on Well-Prepared Plan Smooths Business Start Up

Entrepreneur's Notebook by Rachel Mickelson and Tom Starko

LABJ FORUM: Wall Street Shakeup v Or Not?

The Business Journal asks: Do you think the most recent settlement will change the way business is conducted?