Stories for August 1997

Monday, August 25


L.A. may take a back seat to New York as a headquarters for investment bankers, but on the brokerage end of the business, it's far from a backwater.


In 1995, when sunglasses manufacturer Oakley announced plans to build a 425,000-square-foot signature corporate headquarters, manufacturing and warehousing facility in the master planned community of Foothill Ranch, it marked a new era for


This code has never been discovered but it is mentioned in other documents as a consolidation of existing "ordinances" or laws laid down by Mesopotamian kings. An administrative reform document was discovered which showed that citizens were allowed to kno

Long Beach

On Aug. 8, Sacramento-based Greenbaum Public Relations won a $1.5 million contract to handle P.R. duties for the California Department of Conservation's beverage container recycling program.


Traders looking to buy and sell hundreds of shares of stock at a fraction of a second, and at the touch of a computer key, fear one thing above all others: computer crashes.


L.A. is the land of the boutique not only in clothes, but in brokerage firms and investment houses.


Among several programs they offer, The United Nations Development Project seeks to develop business ties in trade between the United States and other countries.


When the rubber meets the road for his morning commute at 6 a.m., investment banker Mark Lanigan is already talking.


Newhall Land has spearheaded efforts to lure large companies to the Valencia area.


A letter of intent is an important step in negotiating a corporate relocation or expansion.


Following months of legal delays, bids are finally being solicited from engineers and contractors to build the highly touted Alameda Corridor project.


Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s plan to acquire Queen of Angels-Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has sent ripples of concern through the medical center's staff as well as community and consumer health care advocates who fear layoffs, a drop in the quality o


If you've ever wondered why its rivals in the computer software industry hate Microsoft, the brand-new release of its CD-ROM reference package, Bookshelf, may help you to understand.


Looking to avoid a repeat of 1988's bitter strike, Writers Guild of America representatives and Hollywood producers have scripted a tentative contract agreement nine months before their current pact expires.


The City of Fort Lauderdale's economy has grown into a sophisticated mix of multinational companies capitalizing on the community's proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean.


San Pedro is set to become the site of L.A.'s first new marina project in two decades.


The Los Angeles economy clearly is booming, driven, in part, by the city's determination to create a business-friendly environment that supports the growing number of small and mid-sized companies that fuel Southern California's economic expansion. In lin


Summertime demand coupled with refinery problems have led to a sharp rise in local gasoline prices during the past month.


Officials at the Port of Los Angeles confirmed they are in talks with a "number of primary customers" interested in building a supertanker terminal that would allow crude to be shipped here from the Persian Gulf.


A union victory? That's been the undisputed spin on last week's settlement of the UPS strike, although upon closer examination it's much more of a mixed bag than the Teamsters would care to admit.


Lee West's fifth-floor office at Santa Monica-based Drake Capital Securities Inc. defies the usual stereotypes of a stockbroker's office.


During 120 years of legal practice, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP has developed the resources and the expertise to provide the highest quality representation in every area of law.


Birds of a feather flock together. It's an instinctive survival behavior that many of today's technology-based companies are adopting as a long-term business strategy. And communities focused on attracting clusters of these companies, and the high-wage, h

Small biz

Angelo Peloni has owned La Bruschetta, an upscale Italian restaurant in Westwood, for the past 13 years. In July, the city began construction on the street outside his business, creating traffic snarls and obstructing La Bruschetta's street visibility. Th


The Woodland Hills-based publisher, once strictly known for its array of body-building magazines, is extending into the volatile teen category.

Company Index

Aames Financial Corp. 40


During 120 years of legal practice, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP has developed the resources and the expertise to provide the highest quality representation in every area of law.


Congratulations, you've done it! You've located new space for your business or you're expanding your existing location. Perhaps you're remodeling and starting from scratch. Maybe it's a new branch office, or you're leaving the city and moving to the wide


When John Walters, Michael Ovitz and Gil Amelio were dumped by AT & T;, Walt Disney Co. and Apple Computer, criticism focused not simply on the performance of the executives themselves, but on the corporate boards that hired them. And rightly so.


A few months ago when officials of Bal Seal Engineering Co Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of spring-loaded seals and specialty products used in everything from semiconductor processing and heart pacemakers to gasoline pumps, broke ground o


It's been an open secret among bankruptcy attorneys: Avoid filing Chapter 11 petitions in the downtown courts, where three of the nine judges are said to be unfriendly towards debtors.


The oil stocks zip up and down tempting and tormenting Michael W. Harper as much of Los Angeles is just starting to wake up.


Eli Broad might best be known to the average Angeleno as being the second name in Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. a Westwood-based company that has grown into one of the nation's biggest home builders by selling affordable houses to first-time buyers.


Federal agents last week raided JB Oxford & Co., a Beverly Hills-based discount brokerage firm associated with convicted stock swindler Irving Kott.


Home builders enjoyed a strong year in 1996, with all but six of the top 25 residential developers in L.A. County experiencing sales growth over the previous year and double-digit sales increases by such big players as Kaufman & Broad and Shea Homes.


Shopping for homes, shopping for slips shopping for judges? It's all in this week's Business Journal.


The folks at Santa Monica-based Kennedy-Wilson Inc. think they have a smarter strategy than the real estate investment trusts that have been buying up so many office buildings and they have $200 million in financing to find out whether they're right.


Goal: To mobilize independent contractors into ad-hoc teams capable of competing with major agencies


The avalanche of bills in the state Legislature to tighten oversight and increase regulation of the managed care industry may have been stopped this year by Gov. Pete Wilson's veto threat, but the groundwork is already being laid for a bigger push next ye


Reduce, reuse, recycle...why not apply it to commercial real estate as well as to aluminum, glass, plastic, paper, etc.? Perhaps one of the slower industries to think "green," the commercial real estate industry has, in the past decade, become more cogniz


Commercial interior design is a cyclical business that tends to parallel the ups and downs of the commercial real estate market. Billings at local design firms peaked in 1991, plummeted in 1992 and have been slowly coming back.


TWBA/Chiat Day Inc. received nationwide attention by being one of the first companies to switch to the "virtual office" concept three years ago.


The fabulous stock market of recent years spawned a lot of investment clubs. Some 30,000 are currently listed with the National Association of Investors Corp. (NAIC), compared with 7,200 in 1992.


Citibank's Los Angeles presence is about to be boosted as a result of a new alliance it has formed with Farmers Group Inc. involving the marketing of car loans.


Riordan & McKinzie was founded in 1975 by a small group of attorneys who saw the need for a law firm that combined business savvy with an ability to meet the needs of individual clients. From its inception, senior member Richard Riordan fostered a bold


Evoking the grand architectural styles and classic metaphors and finishes of the "golden age" of Hollywood, a new era of movie palace is being built across the country, and the incubator and catalyst is Southern California.


Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest metropolis, and an economic powerhouse in the realms of manufacturing, entertainment and international trade.


He demonstrated that recently by joining Ernst & Young LLP as partner of the firm's sales and use, excise and gross receipts practice for the Pacific Southwest area.


? Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley exchanged punches and body slams in a knock-down brawl. The NBA came down hard. They will not have the National Basketball Association turned into a Minnesota town hall meeting.


Even though its expansion plans have been reduced, Universal Studios has made a major commitment to do more than originally proposed to mitigate traffic in and around its studio and theme park ("Traffic Remains Issue in Universal Plan," Aug. 18). Instead


I read with great interest and increasing dismay your recent "Who's Who in Health Care" (July 28). After reading the profiles of your 50 selected industry leaders, I was appalled to realize that less than 20 percent of those individuals were physicians.


Luxury hotels in Los Angeles are basking in the warm glow of success as summer fades into fall.


Throughout America's business history such well-recognized 'buzzwords' as Reaganomics, trickle-down economics, leveraged buyouts, Post-Cold War economics, corporate downsizing, Information Superhighway and Cyberspace have been the harbinger of trends.


Faced with constant technological advancements and periodic shifts in the economy, companies are constantly re-evaluating their business plan to remain competitive. In response, business owners face a myriad of challenges, from staffing issues to evaluati


Many companies are recognizing that their operations are no longer ideally located.


In 1977, William Burke graduated with a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts. His aim was to teach classic history and literature.


Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP began in Los Angeles in 1927 in a small office building on Spring Street. The founding partners believed that the firm would prosper only if its attorneys delivered high quality legal services demonstrably better


It took five months, five Realtors working simultaneously and a flash of luck for Kerry Wills and his family to find their dream house or at least their dream lot.


From the moment it opened in March 1990, Center West, the trophy Wilshire Boulevard office tower at the eastern gateway to Westwood Village, was cast as a barometer for the decade's turbulent commercial real estate market to come.

entrepreneur's notebook

The most obvious reason for having your business valued is because you want to sell it. Consequently many business owners assume that if they are not planning to sell the company, it's not necessary to know its value.


In the latest in a series of financial troubles for the new Hollywood Entertainment Museum, a $2.4 million lawsuit has been filed against it by a construction company that performed renovation work on the facility.


Just six months ago, Solissa Welden was a shoe store manager who happened to design dresses in her spare time.


Westwood residents have attended countless meetings and rallies, been surveyed door to door, by phone and by mail. When asked if they want a movie mall on the Smedra site, the answer is a resounding no. When asked if they support revitalization in the Vil


After years of being in the doldrums, L.A.'s housing market is showing new signs of life. Home prices soared in the second quarter, posting double-digit increases in many L.A. communities, and the volume of home sales is also up. Indeed, realtors througho


The Business Journal had several inaccuracies in its Aug. 18 story, "Northrop Studies Plans to Convert Bomber Plant to Mixed-Use Center." In fact, Northrop Grumman Corp. does not plan to retain ownership of the Pico Rivera site and then lease it to a deve


"Can we talk?," can be the introduction to a gossipy conversation, a la comedienne, Joan Rivers. But in a community, it can be the introduction to something that just does not happen enough -- communication among stakeholders. With a severe lack of candid

Monday, August 18


L.A.'s deep connections to the Asian world are abundantly apparent in two industries: international trade and, increasingly, banking.


The president of the Los Angeles Water & Power Commission is pushing for the public utility to fast-track its transition to open competition within five months, by Jan. 1, 1998, the same day investor-owned utilities are to be opened up to competition.


Los Angeles County has long been considered a trailblazer when it comes to raising money on Wall Street.


With each passing day since the United Parcel Service strike began Aug. 4, the number and severity of business disruptions has grown. Many Los Angeles-area businesses have been hit hard, scrambling to come up with alternate arrangements for shipping and r


With their ATMs and mini-branches, banks have been setting up camp in an ever-growing number of gasoline stations, supermarkets and other paths of everyday life.


Trikon Technologies Inc. is considered by some analysts to be a technological marvel because of its cutting-edge equipment for the manufacture of sophisticated semiconductor chips.


Microsoft Corp., which has maintained a low profile in Los Angeles for years, is quickly coming into the spotlight.


The six-pack of beer you can get here for $4.18 will set you back more than $11 over there. And when it's time to nurse your hangover the next morning, the same bottle of aspirin that fetches $8.45 in L.A. will cost you a headache-inducing $22.91 in the J


The approach to funding the Walt Disney Concert Hall (commentary of Eli Broad, Aug. 11), ignores a large, committed group of Angelenos: the public employees of the state, county, city, L.A. Unified School District and other public agencies. These citizens


The new management at Petersen Publishing Co. is backing up its earlier promise to expand the company's operations and it couldn't have picked a better time, according to industry analysts.


Education: McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. B.A in economics and an M.B.A.


When Frame-n-Lens wanted to update the image of its eyeglass and contact lense stores, City Spaces Inc. looked at the retailer through the eyes of its customers.


Driving force: Business owners' desire to have their offices designed by a firm that listens to their needs, while staying within budget and meeting deadlines.

Company Index

Arbitron Co. 11


In one of the biggest individual transactions lately by a real estate investment trust, Santa Monica-based Macerich Co. has bought the 927,000-square-foot Stonewood Mall in Downey for $92 million.


No need to adjust your dial this is still the Business Journal. Just a new and improved version.


This month's completion of the merger between Boeing Co. and McDonnell-Douglas Corp. has answered few questions about the fate of the Douglas Aircraft factory in Long Beach, although city officials and aerospace analysts say they do not expect any immedi


When Craig Stevens looks at the recent infusion of Wall Street investors into the Los Angeles real estate market, he sees the end of an era. And the end of a lifestyle.


When Desmond Mail Delivery Service was bought out by the larger Anaheim-based Norco Companies in 1992, Desmond's 73 employees were naturally worried about their fate.


Faced with the pending closure of its B-2 bomber plant, officials at Northrop Grumman Corp. are working with Pico Rivera city officials to convert the plant into a mixed-use commercial center.


Los Angeles is home to 11,000 striking United Parcel Service workers a sliver of the 185,000 Teamsters who have taken to the picket lines in a drawn-out fight over part-time employment and pension plans.


Los Angeles-based marketing and public relations company Durazo Communications has promoted Dan Durazo to executive vice president from vice president and Joanne Gonzalez Forster to vice president from account supervisor. Durazo will oversee all day-to-da


It was good to see at last a doctor of chiropractic, Assemblyman Martin Gallegos, in the Los Angeles Business Journal's Who's Who Health Care (July 28).


At a distribution company, a Latino woman regarded as a high-potential employee announces that she is leaving because she feels stigmatized by the affirmative action program that brought her to the division.


This hasn't been the best time to calmly debate the merits of each side in the UPS strike. Spin-meisters from the Teamsters and the company have been weaving their own versions of why the other side is wrong a process that tends to confuse more than enl


The amount of work going on behind the scenes in Hollywood has more than doubled during the past 10 years, according to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, a group that handles pension and health benefits for Hollywood craft unions.


Anthony McHale works where Mediterranean mission-style villas are tucked away among wooded gardens, a waterfall and a swan-filled pond. As the new manager of the Hotel Bel-Air, McHale enjoys providing guests a respite from the stresses of urban life.


Laskow, a former studio engineer, bumped into members of a band he had once recorded. The band, Laskow remembered, had been very good. But the band members told him they "couldn't get through any doors."


San Francisco garners headlines for its astronomical apartment rents, but Los Angeles apartments are actually the least affordable in the West, according to a new report.


With the demise of FW Woolworth's, you can't find the classic "five-and-dime" anymore. But for Angelenos there is an inflation-adjusted substitute the 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. chain.

wkly briefing

Q I just found out that my only female salesperson has been falsifying client information on her call reports to cover-up the fact that she hasn't spent enough time on the road. Her performance hasn't even met the goals she established for herself six mon


You can't keep up with Wayne Snavely, chairman of Torrance-based Imperial Credit Industries Inc., diversified lender and financier.


After working as a shipping manager for Arrow Lighting Co. for the past 10 years, Michael Parker never thought his job description would change.


So now you have three Individual Retirement Accounts to choose from. Or at least you will have, starting next year. Which one looks best? In almost all cases, the new Roth IRA wins the day.


An Aug. 11 story on KMEX-TV misstated a comment from the station's general sales manager on how much local network affiliates can charge for advertising. The correct figure is $2,000 per ratings point during prime time.


As a national consolidation frenzy grips the financial services industry, L.A. thrifts have become popular targets for acquisition. Last year, an institution had to have at least $83 million in assets to make the List of 25 Largest S & Ls; (ranked by assets)


I am writing as a member of the family that has owned and operated Crescent Jewelers in Westwood Village for over 50 years. We are the oldest merchant in the Village, and have seen it through all its ups and downs. The many thousands of our clients out th


The domestic video sales and rental business is slipping, continuing a downward trend that began in the second half of 1995 after 14 years of steady growth.


Happy days are here again, or so it seems on KGIL-AM 1260, which last month switched its format from all Beatles music to show tunes.


Bryan Robinson lost his truck-driving job earlier this year when his drivers license was suspended. Now he's on welfare and trying to find work in construction or another field.


Your article (Aug. 4) on the abundance of "worthless" Class C office space in downtown Los Angeles (as well as in countless other downtowns throughout California) begs the question about how any public or quasi-public entity can financially and ethically


To get on L.A.'s most hair-raising roller coaster, you don't need to visit Magic Mountain or Universal Studios Hollywood. Just climb up to the executive suite of a big P.R. agency that specializes in multimedia and watch your clients wink in and out of ex


I am writing this letter to voice my opinion about the Westwood "Specific Plan," which was written approximately 15 years ago.


A deeply divided South Coast Air Quality Management District ousted its chairman Aug. 8, just weeks after handing its chief executive his walking papers.

Monday, August 11


When he died in 1976, oilman J. Paul Getty stunned the art world by leaving an astonishing $700 million to the Malibu art museum that bears his name. Today, that endowment has swelled to six times its original size, valued at some $4.3 billion, making the


Electronic Data Systems Corp., the information technology giant formed by Ross Perot and later aquired by General Motors Corp., is going Hollywood and doing it with big-money investments that are turning heads even in freespending Tinseltown.


Stephen Lewis of Los Angeles was concerned when Bank of America sent him a Visa debit card to replace his old ATM card. The new card, which looks and works like a credit card but takes money directly out of the holder's checking account, came unsolicited


I just want to echo the sentiments expressed by Robert Arias (Letters, July 28). I am a beneficiary of the kind of program of which Mr. Arias speaks so eloquently. As a youth, growing up in South Central, my program allowed me to work each day after schoo


As the real estate market resurges in Los Angeles, title companies are finally reporting relief from the battering they took during the recession.


The most encouraging thing about the selection of Bernard C. Parks as L.A.'s new police chief is that the LAPD had someone so qualified for the job. Actually, they had at least two qualified people; Deputy Chief Mark Kroecker, the other leading candidate


After 25 years of working for other laboratories, Alan Kaye decided to strike out on his own. So he and his wife, Randi, opened a cancer-testing operation, Pathnet Laboratory, in Van Nuys in May 1996.

entrepreneur's notebook

Jim Russell has been named the new general manager of USC/Radio Marketplace Productions, which produces the daily business news program "Marketplace," broadcast each weekday on 288 American Public Radio stations across the country.


With the local tourism industry making its strongest showing in years, L.A.'s labor unions are gearing up to demand a larger share of the pie.


Cedars Sinai Medical Center's Dan Mendias sends out about 20 packages every day on an urgent mission: to get tissue samples and other medical supplies to doctors throughout the nation.


Recently in this space we discussed the useful Internet appliances called Search Engines, which can help you dig out the single datum you need from the zillions of facts, charts, and pictures available on the Net. This week we're going to take the next st


The most notorious rivalry in computing ended last week when Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. formed an alliance. The agreement included a $150-million investment by Microsoft plus a commitment to continue making software for Apple, which has los


"Obviously, for samples and documentation, the shipping services are a very important business tool. In terms of merchandise, we've seen an enormous amount of flexibility between these companies and regular ground transportation. In other words, they are


The Health Insurance Plan of California (HIPC), a health insurance purchasing pool designed for small business, suffers from the same deficiency many businesses suffer: poor marketing.


If you've been wondering whether to invest by computer, the answer is, "Absolutely yes." The time has come, even for technodummies like me who try new things later rather than sooner.


Sure, it's hot on the ground but it's hell at 40,000 feet for many business travelers this summer, who say that flights crowded with vacationers make it nearly impossible to get any work done let alone relax a little.


One of L.A.'s biggest buyers of neighborhood shopping centers, El Segundo-based Summit Commercial Properties, has closed three more acquisitions in Southern California, bringing its total investment to $125 million in 10 deals over the past three months,


What do telephone psychics, Spandex-clad abdomen flexers and the Los Angeles Times have in common?


As his Web page design business was getting off the ground last year, Matthew D'Andria went hunting for office space.


Education: Ph.D., Princeton University comparative literature; M.A., Princeton University; B.A. Brooklyn College


For three years, a little-heralded local television station's 6 p.m. newscast has been the most-watched news show among adults, beating out even its Big Three network-affiliated rivals.


This year's List of L.A. County-based hospitals, ranked by number of beds, shows that occupancy rates have dropped even while the number of beds has been dramatically cut.

oped #2

For years, the press has been telling the heartrending tale of doomed old-growth redwoods in Northern California that are about to be chopped down by a greedy corporation owned by a Wall Street raider, all for the sake of paying off some junk bonds.


Remember vinyl records? Those black, 12-inch platters with grooves in them? They were supposed to be extinct by now, destroyed by the mighty compact disc, relegated to dusty second-hand shops and spun by only the most hard-core nostalgia buffs.


Traditional auto dealers in Los Angeles face a powerful threat on the horizon: The automotive superstore, a new type of dealership soon to explode all over L.A. County.


In the article "Rival Casting Services Prepare For Battle" (Aug. 4), you omitted CastNet, the most highly capitalized, technologically advanced and secure online casting service in the marketplace.


As another wave of wireless communications carriers prepares to enter the L.A. market, mobile phone users aren't the only ones to profit. Property owners who have buildings in the right places are already reaping financial rewards.


In a move that raised questions among some industry analysts, the nation's two largest creators of motion-simulator attractions, Iwerks Entertainment and Showscan Entertainment, last week announced plans to merge.


That Wall Street is in the deepest throes of a blue-chip love rally is exemplified by some statistics forwarded our way by Jeffrey Bronchick, principal at Reed Conner Birdwell, a Westside money manager with $850 million under wing.

Company Index

Activision Inc. 20


Embattled architect Frank O. Gehry has won the contract to complete working drawings for the Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, following the appointment of Diane Disney Miller as vice chairwoman of the hall's oversight board.


Renovation of the aging Coliseum took center stage at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce last week, as directors met to discuss the future of NFL football in Los Angeles.


More than a generation ago, public and private leaders in Los Angeles joined hands to build the Music Center, a lasting and magnificent testament to their belief in the city and a wonderful gift to our own and future generations. Stroll along the Center's


After taking over a growing share of Pacific Bell's local toll call business, several major telecommunications firms are moving in on PacBell's recently-ended monopoly on local phone service.


Nearly three years after Los Angeles lost out on a bid for a federal empowerment zone, the city is now expected to get the designation as part of the new federal budget bringing tax breaks to businesses in the poorest parts of the city.


That was evident last week as state legislators and Gov. Pete Wilson hammered out the final details of the $68 billion 1997-98 state budget.