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LABJ Insider: December 5

Another UCLA-USC Competition

You know that crosstown rivals UCLA and USC compete against each other in sports, but did you know they have battled each other for 25 years in a contest about … property development? It’s called the UCLA vs. USC Real Estate Challenge. This year’s competition, held Nov. 17 on the UCLA campus, pitted five-member teams of graduate students from the Ziman Center of Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and the Lusk Center at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Their challenge: propose the highest and best use of a nearly 21-acre blank-slate parcel in Carson. Each team made written and oral presentations on their ideas and were awarded points by seven judges selected by the sponsor, NAIOP SoCal, the professional organization of commercial real estate interests.

And what would be a competition without coaches? Robert Hart, the founder and chief executive of L.A.’s TruAmerica Multifamily, cheered on the UCLA team. Watt Capital Partners’ CEO Nadine Watt inspired the USC team. (Both were on the Business Journal’s LA500 list of the most influential Angelenos earlier this year.)

This year’s winner of the prize, called the Silver Shovel: the UCLA team. And it was particularly gratifying because over the life of the competition the score had been 12 to 12, making UCLA the slight winner overall. For USC? There’s always next year. (Photo on page 28.)

• • •

Are your workplace colleagues showing up at work when they should be home in bed? Inflation and worsening economic prospects apparently are at least partly to blame.
Michael Levine, an L.A.-based author and public relations specialist, said he was shocked to read a poll recently that said 41% of Americans “always” or “often” go to work while sick because they cannot afford to take a sick day from their job. And 64% said taking a sick day would cause financial strain.

“Overall, 67% of those polled said inflation has made them less likely to take an unpaid sick day,” said Levine.
People of color are less likely to take a sick day. Latinas, for example, are more hesitant to take time off than their white counterparts (71% vs. 52%), he noted.

The Insider column is compiled by Editor-in-Chief Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@sfvbj.com.

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