Stories for May 1997

Monday, May 26


In the fall of 1995, Mark Finucane was hired by L.A. County to serve as director of its beleaguered Department of Health Services. Earlier that year, the county faced a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, half of it stemming from the DHS. A federal-state bailo


Shortly after a miscarriage a few months ago, Silenia Fernandez was surprised by a phone call from her doctor at the Burke Health Center in Santa Monica.


A decision on a replacement for the aging, quake-damaged Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center could come as early as this summer, participants in the discussion say.


BankAmerica Corp. is quietly working with city officials and developers of the proposed downtown sports arena to relocate its richest Southern California vault, which holds an estimated $1 billion in cash.


There were decidedly mixed feelings last September when the Chris Brownlie House shut down.

Company Index

AEI Inc. 43


Westmark Realty Advisors has sold a 1.5 million-square-foot portfolio of mostly South Bay industrial buildings to two other pension realty advisory firms for a total of about $60 million.


Private health care recipients face some turbulent times as they switch from fee-for-service to managed health care. But don't expect any sympathy from the county's vast population of uninsured.

Messenger List

Despite the popularity of fax machines, e-mail and other document transmittal modes, most messenger service companies in Los Angeles are reporting steady or growing business.


The "proximity fuse" is a nasty and ubiquitous piece of modern weaponry, but a Simi Valley company has come up with a way to essentially make it harmless.


After months of searching, Los Angeles officials this month finally found someone willing to put up the money to bring a National Football League team to the Memorial Coliseum.


In response to several stories about the Village Center Westwood plan proposed by developer Ira Smedra, I would like to add my name to the list of supporters.


KNBC-TV Channel 4 in Burbank claimed victory in the local television news race during the May sweeps, but rival KABC-TV Channel 7 continues to dog its heels.

Entrepeneur's Notebook

After years of double-digit expansion, international trade growth in Southern California slowed to a trickle in 1996.


If you've heard anything about investing, you've probably heard about "One Up on Wall Street," the book by Peter Lynch about how to use common sense to be a successful investor.

Digest Add

A local apartment investment firm headed by a Taiwanese-American real estate investor has acquired the 232-unit Club Pacifica Apartments in Covina for $16.05 million.


With plans to build a cargo terminal on the site of the former Long Beach Naval Station unraveling, how will the Port of Long Beach accommodate its fastest-growing tenant, the China Ocean Shipping Co.?


Los Angeles County's massive Health Services Department keeps patient medical records the old-fashioned way on paper costing the county millions of dollars in lost staff time and missed billing opportunities, officials say.

Real Estate Column

Reflecting the renewed level of activity within local income-property markets, this week's column focuses on news at some very sexy office buildings, as well as some industrial properties.


New numbers released on unemployment and job growth dispel the widely held perception that Los Angeles continues to lag other major U.S. metropolitan areas.


That's essentially what two Wall Street giants and a well-connected Beverly Hills financier did last week.


Who is Robert Slater and how did he persuade one of Hollywood's most secretive power brokers to go on the record?

Computer Column

It was a "blue day for humankind," said ABC News. It was "the single most historic event in the history of chess," said the editor of American Chess Journal.


The South Bay overview story in the April 21 Real Estate Special Report ("Movie Theaters, Car Lots Dominate Market Activity") misidentified the city in which the Galleria at South Bay is located. The mall is in Redondo Beach.


Here is a list of the 27 finalists for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Los Angeles area. The winner will be announced June 26.

Weekly Briefing

After an almost uninterrupted run of declines since 1990, Los Angeles homeowners may have finally reached the promised land of real estate and that's spelled appreciation.


Access to medical care for the indigent has improved under Los Angeles County's 1995 plan to shift poor and uninsured patients from hospital emergency rooms to privately run clinics, county health officials say.


It's no secret that the entertainment industry has been booming in Burbank, Glendale and, increasingly, on the Westside.


Rupert Murdoch's planned purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers is expected to have profound implications not only for the Dodgers, but for the City of Los Angeles. The purchase could mean greater exposure for Los Angeles around the world. Owner Peter O'Ma

Market Column

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV: It's not just a utility vehicle, it's a crunchy outer shell for Tyrannosaurus Rex victims.


Imagine the City of Long Beach without the Queen Mary. Long Beach City Manager James C. Hankla tried to do just that and found the notion dreadful to contemplate.


Two years ago this month, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services was a miserable place to be.

LA Stories

It was only a matter of time a very short matter, in fact before someone found a way to make money off the violent but botched bank robbery at Bank of America's North Hollywood branch in late February.

Robertson Letter

The recent article on attorney George Mihlsten ("He Talks, Pols Listen," May 12) failed to point out the main reason politicians listen to him. Mihlsten and his law firm, Latham & Watkins, are more lobbyists than lawyers. They funnel thousands of dollars


Tucked away in a three-office suite of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration is a small bureaucracy playing an unsung role in Los Angeles County's booming foreign trade sector.


Marianne O'Keefe's government job was a far cry from the boring bureaucratic paper-pushing often associated with the public sector.


A deal just announced between the government and the major telephone companies promises to cut your long-distance telephone bill. Target date, July 1.


When the South Coast Air Quality Management District launched its new emissions reduction program in 1993, it knew that the publicly traded pollution credits at the heart of the program would likely increase in value over the years.


More than any other large metropolitan area, L.A. County relies to a great degree on federal dollars to support its health care system a trend that increased in the 1990s as the recession cut into state and local revenues.


Once upon a time she was Diana the Enchantress, a magician who pick-pocketed her audiences and sawed men in half at nightclubs in Las Vegas and Reno.


Professors at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business decided that it's not enough to teach graduate students about the globalization of commerce they need to showed them first-hand.


With the annual battle over extending preferential trade status to China shaping up as the most contentious in recent memory, the stakes for L.A.'s economy are higher than ever.


CarMax Auto Superstores Inc. the fast-growing new auto dealership subsidiary of Circuit City Stores Inc. has agreed to purchase a 15-acre site in Duarte for its first West Coast location, the city announced.

Health Column 23

Public-private partnerships are all the rage in Los Angeles, as the county downsizes its inpatient hospital bed capacity. But one public-public partnership could go a long way towards identifying Los Angeles' actual health care needs.


While one theater-anchored retail project in Westwood Village is drawing intense opposition from homeowner groups, a rival project has garnered the support of some of those same community leaders.


I was glad to hear that the "West Hollywood: Where Creativity Gets Down to Business" marketing strategy and slogan is being rejuvenated (West Hollywood Inc., May 12, 1997). I would like to note, however, that neither this strategy nor this slogan is "new"


Mark Finucane


Through one of the larger downtown L.A. leases in recent months, Citibank has decided to relocate its downtown operations center from the highrise now known as Citicorp Center to 69,295 square feet of offices at the nearby tower at 444 S. Flower St. whi


Household International said last week it will buy Transamerica Financial Services, the L.A.-based consumer finance wing of Transamerica Corp.


Like the prodigal son returning, Warren Woo has returned to the fold at securities brokerage Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.'s Century City West Coast headquarters.

Monday, May 5

Leslie Gonda

Hollywood success stories seldom come as colorful as that of Arnon Milchan the majority owner of New Regency Productions and the man behind such major motion pictures as "Heat," "A Time to Kill" and "JFK."


One of the richest people in Los Angeles started his company in a place not normally associated with great wealth: Sun Valley, an east San Fernando Valley neighborhood known for its junkyards and landfills.


Working on the Clinton-Gore '96 election campaign has given Coby King plenty of experience for one of his new roles at Rogers & Associates crisis communications.


For more than a century, African American churches have played a major role in black economic life, often filling the gaps left by government agencies and businesses wary of operating in inner-city areas.


Like many veterans, George Joseph came home from World War II in search of employment opportunities.


It was a simple idea: Teach people the skills they need to run and program computers the kind of skills they couldn't get in public schools and colleges.


The Los Angeles Dodgers owner has not only led the team to successful seasons but analysts say he's done it with class.


There is an old, somewhat cynical adage that bad news sells and good news is advertising.


A bankruptcy report in the May 5 Business Journal incorrectly listed Breath Refresh and Bluecom Industries in connection with a bankruptcy filing by Adrian Rene Sansone. Those companies were not part of the bankruptcy filing.

Hed--Party Poopers

One of the interesting and also distressing fallouts of Ellen DeGeneres' media-hyped "coming out" last week was the decision by a number of major advertisers to either pull out of the show or simply steer clear.


It was a bullish, if choppy, market for Southern California stocks in the first quarter, as most companies posted generally good earnings figures figures that were not necessarily reflected in stock prices.


After 15 years as an investment banker, Peter Nolan, managing director and co-head of securities brokerage Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette's busy Century City office, has hopped the fence he's joined Leonard Green & Partners L.P., the big league leveraged b


Henry Earl Singleton's wealth comes primarily from his stake in Allegheny Teledyne Inc., the hodgepodge of defense and industrial companies he cobbled over 30 years.


As L.A.'s biggest aerospace companies capture headlines and investor interest with their huge takeover battles, one of the region's smaller publicly held aerospace firms has been engineering a remarkable turnaround.


Roy E. Disney was a company kid, attending screenings of animated movies with his Uncle Walt and later going to work as an editor, producer and writer at the old man's studio.


It's only 4:30 on Friday afternoon, not even official quitting time for most white-collar workers, but 25 cars have already pulled into the parking lot of the La Ma Golf driving range on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Catalina Street in the heart of

Louis Gonda

The son of a Hungarian father, Louis Gonda was born in Venezuela before the family came to the United States and settled in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

Real Estate Column

Aggressive Boston-based real estate investment trust Beacon Properties Inc. has followed up last November's $133 million acquisition of the 24-story Saban Plaza in Westwood with the $99.4 million purchase of the tower's "sister" highrise the 24-story to


In the long friendship and business partnership of Gary L. Wilson and Alfred A. Checchi, the latter has dominated the limelight.


As the California economy continues to grow, local meeting planners' calendars keep filling up with bookings for industry trade shows, banquets, sales meetings and seminars.

Weekly Advisor

Wanda Martinez started Los Angeles-based Dean Ryan Consultants & Designers in 1983 with $10,000 in capital and one employee herself to provide construction management consulting services.


Golf is more than a game for David Price. Since buying three golf courses and founding American Golf Corp. in the '60s, Price, 64, has amassed a wealth estimated to be about $550 million.


If you have a complaint against a Certified Financial Planner, there's a grievance procedure you may not have known about. The CFP Board of Standards in Denver, Colo., is putting more effort into enforcing its code of ethics.

Bank Time Line

Feb. 17 Ahmanson makes an unsolicited offer to acquire Great Western in a $6.5 billion deal offering 1.05 shares of Ahmanson stock for each Great Western share.


Commercial properties along a prime stretch of the Ventura (101) Freeway have been snatched up over the past year at a clip faster than in more than a decade, local real estate experts reported.


Due to incorrect information provided to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the revised size of Ira Smedra's proposed development, Village Center Westwood, was misstated. The correct revised size is 437,000 square feet.


Just months after missing out on one of the aerospace industry's biggest mergers, Northrop Grumman Corp. announced an acquisition last week that helps explain why the company's stock is trading near its 52-week high, and why its long-term prospects remain


If Richard Riordan can make the switch from businessman to politician, Alfred A. Checchi figures he can, too.

Digest Add

Universal Pictures last week announced a deal to acquire a majority interest in October Films, a specialty film label that attracted attention last year by distributing the Oscar-nominated "Secrets and Lies."


Every young man's dream a fast, shiny car was the subject Robert Petersen captured in the pages of the magazine he launched in 1948, Hot Rod.


He is one of L.A.'s richest people, but outside of certain financial and publishing circles, Munger is about as well-known as a local K-Mart manager.


Richmond-based Shoe Pavilion has purchased Standard Shoes, a 50-year-old family company in Inglewood, for an undisclosed sum.


Guilford Glazer who one colleague described as a tough businessman who "trades on his own terms" is probably best known in the Los Angeles area for building Torrance's Del Amo Fashion Center, which at 3 million square feet is easily the region's large


An ambitious Steven Udvar-Hazy couldn't even wait to finish college before starting his rise to the richest of the rich. He began his business career during his undergraduate years at UCLA, where he formed his own aircraft brokerage firm.

Health Column

Boy he's quick. On the heels of Dr. Bernard Salick's resignation (ouster?) from Los Angeles-based Salick Health Care Inc. in early April, and the announcement that he plans to start a rival global health care firm with "hundreds of millions" of dollars in


Michael Eisner is the highest-paid corporate executive in U.S. history. And don't think shareholders of Walt Disney Co. don't know it.


The modern progenitor of Pasadena's Hixon family, Joseph Hixon, made a large investment in AMP Inc. stock back in the early 1940s. The shares paid off handsomely with the outbreak of World War II and the subsequent build up of the United States' industria


This column was written on a brand-new, 200-megahertz Gateway Pentium MMX PC with 32 megabytes of RAM, a 2.5-gigabyte hard disk and an assortment of other bells and whistles a computer junkie dreams about: big monitor, 16-speed CD-ROM drive, foot-high spe


Routinely listed as one the nation's wealthiest people, high school dropout Murdock is known for his ability to strategically acquire and sell corporations as well as for some major league mistakes.


In their heroic effort to keep Angelenos attractive, a growing number of L.A. physicians are setting down their scalpels and picking up lasers.


That is the argument offered by some of Los Angeles' home-based writers, authors and artists, who contend they should not be taxed on their work by the city in the same way as other home-based business people.


Los Angeles County supervisors have a plan to balance the county's ever-precarious budget this year.


Venture capitalists were bullish on Los Angeles in the first quarter of 1997, as L.A. County firms received more venture capital than either Orange or San Diego counties.


BEIJING A mainland Chinese company has purchased a major stake in L.A.'s Inter-Continental Hotel, and plans to invest substantially more in the future.


Large-scale layoffs seem all but certain in the months ahead for Great Western Financial Corp., which is currently the subject of two competing takeover bids from rival suitors Washington Mutual Inc. and H.F. Ahmanson & Co.


Reflecting a growing national trend, Bugle Boy Industries Inc. has launched an aggressive bid to enter the school uniform market.

Apple Pan

The legendary Apple Pan on Pico Boulevard is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and according to owner Martha Gamble, the tiny hamburger joint is offering up virtually the same kind of fare in the same surroundings as when her parents opened the


State officials are so pleased with a pilot program that allows new Los Angeles garment manufacturers to register for city, county and state permits in one location that they want to expand it to cities throughout the state.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. came roaring back into the ranks of major film studios last week by making a deal to acquire most of the entertainment assets of Metromedia International Group.


Broad has a passion for collecting art and for making big donations to the arts. A founding member of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Broad is currently raising money for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and many consider him to be the driving f


Of a sampling of 10 L.A. firms from computer hardware and software, industrial machinery, electronic games and semiconductors, all but three saw lower share prices coming out of the three-month period than going in.


Most know Donald T. Sterling as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, or as the mysterious real estate magnate who runs full-page tombstone ads in the Los Angeles Times declaring his abundant access to capital.


In 1982 Janice Davidson was a school teacher-turned-computer programmer experimenting with the use of personal computers in the classroom. Stood up at a lunch meeting with a software publisher, Davidson opted to start her own firm with encouragement fro


Michael Milken is, of course, the junk-bond wunderkind of the 1980s, whose imprisonment six years ago was seen as the legal denouement of a debt-fueled, go-go decade.


This father-and-son real estate team has been responsible for 30 million square feet worth of commercial developments.


After years of double-digit expansion, international trade growth in Southern California slowed to a trickle in 1996, according to a pair of studies released last week.


As a youth, Seattle-born Michael Forman paid his way through college by working nights at a drive-in theater. He is now president of Decurion Corp., which owns and operates the Pacific and Cinerama theater chains. Between them, the chains have more than 3


As Times Mirror Co. goes, so goes the wealth of the 100-member-plus Chandler clan. And Times Mirror has been doing quite well lately.


With the radio industry rapidly becoming dominated by a dozen or so huge station groups, companies that syndicate radio programming are facing a squeeze.


The history of the Watson family in the Los Angeles real estate market reaches back generations to 1784, when King Carlos III of Spain gave Juan Jos & #233; Dominguez 76,000 acres of land for his service as a soldier in the Spanish Colonial Army.


Some people strike it rich by working slowly, steadily, methodically. Not David Geffen.

Westwood Letters

Ira Smedra's proposed movie mall clearly violates the Westwood Village Specific Plan. That Specific Plan is city law. The community relies on the protection of that law.


Millions of moviegoers around the globe have helped line the pockets of Steven Spielberg, whose audience-pleasing films are consistently among the industry's highest grossing.


With more than 50 TV series and 3,000 episodes to his name, Aaron Spelling, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the most prolific producer in history.


In 1985, Luiz F. Costa came to Los Angeles from his native Brazil in search of economic opportunities. What the former civil engineer ended up finding was a job as a delivery driver for a Manhattan Beach Pizza Hut.

Market Column

Which is why some clever wag appropriated the term "Astroturf" to describe grass roots campaigns that don't really originate within a community, but are in fact organized fronts paid for by corporate interests and usually orchestrated by public relations


Never mind the "Singing Cowboy" stuff Gene Autry long ago established himself as one of Southern California's shrewdest investors, on or off a horse. He did it by staying ahead of the curve in radio and television.

Hed--What Deficit

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Washington last week talking about a balanced budget amendment not with new projections showing that the federal deficit is shrinking to its lowest level in more than 20 years.


When Eric R. Garen co-founded Learning Tree International Inc. one of the first schools devoted to teaching computer operation and programming his role at the company was relatively modest.


As TV stations prepare to make the federally mandated transition from analog to digital broadcasting, Angelenos have the potential to get dozens of new channels on their digital TV sets.


Unlike most college students majoring in art, Josh Meyer isn't worried at all about what he'll do after graduation.


Once confined to more suburban locales, these retail centers are popping up in densely populated urban areas including West Los Angeles, where One Westside Place is set to open May 16 at the southeast corner of Sawtelle and Olympic boulevards.


Millicent Boudjakdji and David Whitmire Hearst Jr. are the children of David Whitmire Hearst, one of the sons of William Randolph Hearst, who built a media empire and was the inspiration for the classic film "Citizen Kane."


In a rare interview, a top executive of the China Ocean Shipping Co. in Beijing expressed anger, confusion and frustration over the ongoing controversy related to the company's plan to expand into a larger terminal at the Port of Long Beach.


Merv Griffin got his start in show business as a big band singer, but he is best remembered for his daily television talk show, which completed a 23-year run in 1986.

Daily News

The publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News is seeking to buy the newspaper from the heirs of Jack Kent Cooke following the death of the publishing and sports magnate last month, according to an associate.


Murdoch controls about 30 percent of the shares of News Corp., which is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Its holdings include not only the Fox TV network and movie studio 20th Century Fox, but 22 U.S. television stations, the fX, Fox News and Fox Sport


Ted Field could have had a successful career just tending to the family fortune the Chicago-based Marshall Field & Co. department store chain.


William Barron Hilton, son of legendary hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, spent his early years resisting the pull of the family business. He worked as a Navy photographer, got into the Southern California orange juice business and worked at an aviation leasin

West Wood Letter

Leonard Green & Partners has announced the appointment of Peter Nolan to general partner. The private merchant banking firm is located in Los Angeles. Nolan served as a managing director and co-head of the Los Angeles investment banking office of Donaldso


Lew Wasserman's vision is as legendary as his signature, oversized glasses. He turned a talent agency into a movie studio in the 1940s, snapped up movie rights for television in the 1950s and in the 1960s turned a studio back lot into a theme park.


Wayne Hughes might not be a household name, but the business he operates is Public Storage Inc.


John Anderson has held many jobs, from Western Union messenger to corporate attorney. But he made his fortune in beer and soda pop.


In 1971, Peter Morton was a young expatriate living in London when he hit upon an unusual new idea: a restaurant that would sell classic American malt-shop cuisine in an atmosphere full of music and rock 'n' roll memorabilia. With his partner Isaac Tigret


The astonishing rise and rapid fall of Michael Ovitz could easily be the subject of a three-volume epic. And it may well be, someday.


As one of Latham & Watkins' top land-use attorneys, George Mihlsten spends a lot of time maneuvering his way through the city's inner political circles.