Stories for November 2004
Monday, November 29
City Controller Laura Chick's audit of the DWP's public relations contract may point out a flaw in charter reform: Who was responsible?
Last month, McDonald's Corp. began selling sandwiches at a handful of U.S. and Canadian locations in a step toward challenging Subway's domination of the deli submarine market.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach plan to launch a more aggressive program for extended gate hours in March.
More cases are diverted from the courts, while rules of mediation and arbitration are coming under increasing attack.
It's been a long, strange trip.
Proposition 64 required suits under Section 17200 to name a plaintiff and required the cases qualify as class actions.
Laurence Darmiento's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County health care industry.
Russ Weiner liked Red Bull so much he launched a competing drink, Rockstar, in a bigger can. Now he's bought a Hollywood party house to promote it.
An audit is under way concerning a deal engineered by the software company's one-time president.
The endowments of several local colleges performed better this year than in 2003, although their numbers trailed several other major schools nationwide.
Bondholders claim that Wedbush Morgan failed to disclose accurate information about a 1999 financing of an ice skating rink in Vacaville.
Sometimes you have to hold your nose and cut the check, but there's a
Burn centers are under a fiscal strain as an unintended consequence of the state's workers' compensation reforms.
Howard Fine's weekly column concerning politics in the city and county of Los Angeles and the state of California.
The defendant evaluates the plaintiff's evidence and vice-versa, and then they make a decision: litigate or negotiate.
As Los Angeles eases its tax on businesses, Redondo Beach considers the first increase in more than a decade.
Settlements aren't as dramatic as trials so they only rarely wind up on the
A handful of venues feed a seemingly unending appetite for expert insights. And they're all looking to land the biggest names.
Rebecca Flass's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County retail industry.
Dennis Wasser, Hollywood divorce attorney, tells of his adventures in the splits game.
Sirius is looking to boost its profile by piping music into common areas of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The business tax overhaul passed by the L.A. City Council could prove somewhat less than meets the eye.
Comic collectors have a place to meltdown.
The Dodgers new Dugout Club and field-level luxury seats open next season, the centerpiece of a $15 million stadium upgrade that could increase the team's gate by more than $10 million next year.
The differences between mediation and arbitration.
Weekly roundup of Southern California banking and investment news.
Renee Bertrand's fashion company didn't suit her, so she ventured into the luxury pajama market with BedHead.
Andy Fixmer's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County real estate industry
Insurance companies have the power to decide when to settle a case and when to go to trial.
Despite the rising costs of settlement agreements, taking a case to trial still exceeds the price of cutting a check.
Monday, November 22
An insurance venture formed by Gardena officials in response to a liability
As Vegas-bound travelers zoom through Pearblossom, traffic has become an issue in this farthest-flung L.A. outpost; but business is perking up, too.
A developer is already considering scaling back a proposal to rebuild the Santa Monica Place mall in response to swift and sharp protest against the plan's 21-story residential towers.
Despite perpertual charges of duplicity and inappropriate behavior Hollywood remains a draw.
Cyber-retailer of drums Chris Reid is branching out with bricks and mortar operation.
Ruthie E. Flores describes herself as a "traditional Latina" who still lives at home with her parents. But the 33-year-old Norwalk native, recently hired by Univision Communications Inc. as communications manager for Spanish-language television stations KMEX (Channel 34) and KFTR (Channel 46), has made a career out of challenging the status quo.
Like many junior high school students, Richard Crasnick used to fold a sheet of paper into a triangle and play tabletop football, or as some called it, paper football.
A press release war erupted last week between Malibu-based toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. and its partner-turned-legal foe, World Wrestling Entertainment.
The Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority will begin a rail shuttle pilot program next summer that's aimed at alleviating truck traffic congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Tens of thousands of garment workers could lose their jobs when trade barriers are dropped on Jan. 1, 2005, according to activists.
The strength of IPOs for Google, Los Angeles-based Jamdat Mobile and Shopping.com have helped spark a broad-based market rally that has lifted many beat-up technology issues.
High housing prices have grabbed the headlines, but when economists look back at 2004 they may highlight California's sustained job growth as the
How to gauge the strength of sales as the holiday shopping period kicks off? There are many indicators, from shopping bag counts to refinancing rates.
Airlines are struggling to pack planes in a bid to stay profitable atop razor-thin margins, but ticket prices and fuel costs are also factors in the industry's sustainability.
Public Storage Inc. is now spending the cash it has been stockpiling in recent years.
People Meters were supposed to change the tone of local news in the traditional "sweeps" periods, but stations continued to show attention-grabbing reports in November.
Rebecca Flass's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County retail industry.
Amanda Bronstad's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County legal community.
Laurence Darmiento's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County health care industry.
Clear Channel's eight L.A. radio stations are about to cut their hourly ad count as part of a companywide effort to boost both program time and ad rates.
Alan Long and two associates created DBL to practice their own brand of real estate sales; the company will be transformed as Sotheby's takes over.
Andy Fixmer's weekly column concerning the Los Angeles County real estate industry.
Howard Fine's weekly column concerning the politics in Los Angeles County and state of California.
L.A. real estate experts see Kmart stores going up for sale and Sears stores as a stronger force.
Monday, November 15
A collection of stories based in and around the Los Angeles business community.
The editor of the Business Journal says two things are hanging over our economic future now: Iraq and terrorism.
There were indications of turmoil within the ranks of Marsh & McLennan before allegations of serious wrongdoing arose.
The race to fill the 29-member commission that will dole out $3 billion in stem-cell research grants is turning into an insider's game.
It may seem like Starbucks dominates the specialty coffee market, but the Seattle-based behemoth is still outnumbered by independents.
Antonio Villaraigosa has finally turned his attention to unseating Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn - but has he started too late?
Councilwoman Jan Perry has proposed an ordinance that would give building inspectors and police new powers when trying to close problem businesses.
Brian Draper opened Geographia Map & Travel Bookstore in 1986, after almost a decade in the restaurant business. He had a 1975 degree in geography from California State University,
Technology and outsourcing services posted the most impressive results on this year's list of fastest-growing private companies.
In its call for a boycott of nine L.A. hotels, Unite HERE may have played its last card in the contract dispute.
Dave Marek loved drawing cars as a boy; now he's chief designer for Honda's American division.
Chancellor Albert Carnesale's choice to lead the Anderson School of Management has withdrawn from consideration.
Hospitals that relied on a stream of foreign nurses to fill an acute shortage will see the flow slow to a trickle.
Neighborhood council groups in L.A. and mayoral candidate Richard Alarcon are taking on 65 years of precedent challenging the DWP's right to transfer millions to the city's general fund.
Broadway Real Estate Partners LLC has agreed to buy the Wilshire Rodeo office and retail complex in Beverly Hills for $151 million, according to sources close to the transaction.
A Republican activist's push to put more California political districts into play is likely to meet resistance.
A couple of Hollywood notables are on the move.
A group of people who claim DirecTV falsely accused them of stealing satellite services intends to fight to reinstate the case.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf continues an expansion drive.
To give owners the benefit of the doubt, the city has a lengthy process for defining a nuisance business.
Los Angeles area papers are taking a hard look at how they calculate their readership.
A Beverly Hills hair model plans to appeal a published appellate ruling that could have a wide-ranging impact on an entire branch of employment litigation.
A list of the promotions and announcements of some of L.A.'s movers and shakers.
Adding film restoration to its repertoire through the purchase of Cinetech allows Ascent Media to cover the range of post-production services.
Hanmi Financial Corp. has had a banner few weeks, but some analysts are beginning to urge caution.
Aztec Tents and Events manufactures and mounts hangar-size shelters.
The 10 fastest-growing private companies in Los Angeles.
Customers, some rushing to start a busy workday, don't seem to mind waiting in lines for their caffeine fix.
A South Korean freight giant, fed up with delays at Long Beach, will divert its larger ships to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.
With the NHL lockout, the Shaq-less Lakers and the historically dismal Clippers, the cheering at Staples Center may not be as loud as usual this winter.
Thursday, November 11
The area's recent hospital closures affect different parts of L.A. in different ways.
Monday, November 8
The state Supreme Court will hear a case that could result in widening of protection against libel lawsuits.
Institutional investors are willing to pay huge sums for those pioneering housing projects in in downtown L.A., and some of the developers are preparing to sell.
The battle for Spanish-language newspaper readers in Los Angeles appears to be going to the incumbent, La Opini & #243;n.
China's burgeoning middle class is in the midst of a travel boom, but for the most part these new tourists are bypassing Los Angeles.
If California split its presidential electors based on the popular vote, both candidates might have actually campaigned here.
A group of UCLA students, unhappy with the labor practices of a supplier toTaco Bell, has prevailed in convincing the Student Union, to terminate the restaurant chain's tenure.
As a result of last week's presidential election, Los Angeles will likely face an uphill slog in getting its share of federal dollars for social programs and public works projects
The Los Angeles Times' restaurant critic recently demoted Bastide from four stars to one a harsh welcome for its new chef.
The numbers at L.A.-area newspapers are on the decline, with blame attributed to the new do-not-call rules, which hinder subscription campaigns.
Philip Anschutz has agreed to sell his share of a publicly held limited partnership, Pacific Energy Partners L.P., to a partnership with ties to controversial oilman Oscar S. Wyatt Jr.
Can you buy a $1.5 million Beverly Hills house for $180? Well, no. But you could win one for that price if you enter Century Housing's raffle.
Napster, now based in L.A., will soon start offering a $14.95 monthly subscription service that allows unlimited downloads from its archive.
Andrea McNichol founded Graphology Consultants International in 1980 to combine her areas of expertise, handling both routine and prominent cases
Stogie lovers keep on puffing, even as California's taxes, smoking bans and advertising blackouts become more problematic for tobacconists.
The 11-year effort to reform the business tax structure in Los Angeles is poised to clear one of its last major hurdles this week.
In tapping Ron Deaton to head the DWP, Mayor James Hahn forestalled a protracted nationwide search and created a plum opening at a key City Hall post.
Spending related to California propositions took up some of the slack from a virtually uncontested presidential race and a cakewalk for incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Almost all the propositions that were supported by the business community won voter approval, aided by the governor's backing.
The editor of the Business Journal asks: "The predictable finger-pointing is well under way: How could the Democrats have blown it again?"
Generating earnings growth has been a challenge for small technology companies in the aftermath of the industry downturn of four years ago.
Laura Trice's Wholesome Junk Food cookies took off when she shrunk them down to sample size.
Maritime officials, hoping to avoid a repeat of this year's port congestion, are considering changes that could include additional hires.
Gary Michelson was awarded $510 million after a legal dispute over the spinal implants he developed in his move from surgeon to inventor.
Headphones and window coverings are tools in the battle against construction noise in Century City.
County supervisors have called for an investigation into a Vernon company's alleged improper sale of carcasses for use as animal feed.
Monday, November 1
Film producer Gary Barber is in a tax battle resulting from a dispute over the value of his shares in former employer Morgan Creek.
Several big downtown properties have sold or are about to sell in an ongoing race to the end of the year.
The spate of activity in the western San Fernando Valley continues to intensify through the fourth quarter.
How does a business cope when its flavor-of-the-month status ends? Von Dutch Originals is finding out.
Century City's St. Regis hotel is nearing a sale and may be converted to condominiums.
Collegiate Sports of America tries to match students looking for sports scholarships with schools around the country.
Nobody would want to eat a 65-year-old hot dog. But everybody wants to eat at a 65-year-old hot dog stand.
The editor of the Business Journal reflects on turning 50.
An appellate court has reinstated a lawsuit over a Santa Monica firm's claim that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne breached a contract for their reality TV series.
National Iranian Television News has filed for Chapter 11 protection.
A recent mandate for reduction of greenhouse gasses could spur development of cleaner engine technology.
Stores at the Westfield Century City shopping mall have been hit by street construction and renovation of the center.
Some insiders are concerned about the emergence of Geoffrey Garrett as the leading candidate for dean of UCLA's Anderson School of Management.
Taking a glass-half-full view of a series of reforms to the county jury system, Los Angeles Superior Court officials are touting gains that have brought responses to summonses up to 40 percent.
A look at the army of truck operators who fan out across the city each rush hour to collect cars parked illegally on major thoroughfares.
From Wall Street to Main Street, the perceptions can seem worlds apart. Take Computer Sciences Corp.'s 2003 purchase of DynCorp, the world's 13th largest private military contractor.
Several Fashion Week shows were hampered by late starts, wet weather, power problems, mixed attendance and complaints that there wasn't enough spark.
Uncertainty surrounding a union's dispute with nine Los Angeles hotels has resulted in canceled room reservations, banquets, catering assignments and meetings.
Two L.A.-area Democrats are at the center of the storm created by the growing scandals surrounding fellow Democrat and California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.
Yash Gupta, the new dean of USC's Marshall School of Business, wants to revamp the faculty and improve ties to the city's business community and the school's alumni.
Contingent commissions at the center of the Marsh & McLennan scandal were the subject of two lawsuits filed three years ago in California.
Gary and Wayne Johnson, owners of Rockaway Records in Silver Lake, started out buying and selling old records at swap meets, and they've survived by relying on their old favorite records.
The city of Los Angeles is about to get tough with motorists who park in tow-away zones during rush hour.
Sony officials are already listening to pitches from real estate brokers whose clients want to sublease MGM's newly built Century City headquarters.
Some clients of Marsh & McLennan's L.A. office are concerned enough to start shopping for a new broker.
The task of keeping UCLA students caffeinated has fallen to locally based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
A new wave of development has turned Santa Clarita from a bedroom community into a busy suburb, eating up open space and bringing traffic problems.
The retirement of Jack Fuller, president of Tribune Co.'s publishing unit, raises the murky question of which shoe might drop next at the beleaguered newspaper group's flagship paper.