Stories for December 1999

Thursday, December 23

Clock Is Ticking to Get Best Deals on Term Insurance

No matter how large or small your business, insurance can play an important role in your future planning. For the security of your family and your firm, it's important to adequately insure yourself.

THE LABJ'S L.A. stories123

Eddie Fisher really surprised the Hollywood Women's Press Club by showing up to accept his Sour Apple Award, which is bestowed each year on performers who give women a hard time.

Earnings Jump Causes Big Rise for Learning Tree Stock

Learning Tree International Inc. took analysts by surprise last month when it reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat the consensus estimate by more than 30 percent.


Thanks to a strong economy and an ever-tightening labor market, many L.A.-area companies have found success among those they hire off welfare.

Hitting the Wall

Land of opportunity? Not for hundreds of thousands of low-income Angelenos who are discovering that even in these golden economic times, working hard for six or seven bucks an hour won't always lead to advancement.

Goofing off

True story: An office worker sits at his desk, whistling "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." His boss comes by and frowns. "I wish you wouldn't whistle while you work." "Not to worry," says the employee. "I'm not working. I'm just whistling."

The Oscars Marketing War Between Boutiques

Late last August, a full six months before the announcement of Academy Award nominees, the co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics sat in a war room in New York, setting their strategy for the Oscars.

Culver City Unafraid to Slam AT & T; on Open Access

As the city of Los Angeles continues to mull the open-access debate, other Southern California municipalities are forging ahead.

Slower Growth Predicted for L.A. Than Rest of State

The same diversity that protects the Los Angeles economy against a severe downturn is expected to dampen its job growth next year.

Show Biz

Hoping to get the inside track on fresh talent, NBC is developing a farm team for actors, writers and comics by featuring them in a small theater in the SoHo section of Manhattan.

Yeah, Some Holiday

At the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, Earl Todd plans to stop whatever he's doing to gaze out of his office window in Canoga Park.

Can Stellar Gains of 1999 Carry Into the Next Century?

After the glorious gains of the '90s, you can't fault any mutual fund investor who's dreaming big dreams for the 2000s too.

1999 Achievements: Getting Contracts, Admitting Defeat

If you're like me, you still haven't lost the 10 pounds you resolved to lose last New Year's Eve; you're still working six or seven days a week; and you still haven't paid off all your credit-card balances.

Many P.R. Agencies Seeing

There's a saying in the news business that if something happens three times, it must be a trend.

LABJ FORUM Worried About Y2K?

The sky is falling or is it? On Jan. 1, we'll know whether Y2K was truly a major problem or just media hooey. Meanwhile, the Business Journal asks:


Despite one of the most expansive economic booms in L.A. history, almost 20 percent of Angelenos live at or below the poverty level. The Business Journal asked some prominent Angelenos for their thoughts about the disparity between L.A.'s haves and have-n

Snubbed Again!

The region has become the nation's top manufacturing center. Local seaports handle more container traffic than any other ports in the country. The local high-tech community is incubating a steady stream of world-class dot-com companies, and venture capi

Davis Sets Up Fledgling Record Group in Santa Monica

Dan Davis spent last year overseeing Gold Circle Label Group's move from Omaha, Neb. to spacious new offices in Santa Monica. With his promotion to president, Davis' next task is to fill that space by expanding the group's fledgling record labels.


A fixture at Farmers Market since 1956, Kip's Toyland has traditionally attracted customers with old-fashioned service. But times are changing. Child's play has become a much bigger business with the proliferation of major chains and e-tailers. Meanwhile,


Experienced trial attorneys for business, entertainment, probate, insurance & major tort litigation.


Your section on the poverty crisis in Los Angeles is excellent. Not only is it well reported, but it is the most important subject pertaining to the future for all of us in Southern California.

EarthLink Slings Mud at AOL in Marketing Battle

In the history of corporate marketing, a host of companies have implemented "Us vs. Them" campaigns to attract customers: Coke vs. Pepsi, Hertz vs. Avis, AT & T; vs. Sprint vs. MCI vs. everybody else.

Holidays Bring Too Much of a Good Thing to L.A. E-Tailers

'Tis the season when dot-com companies should be cashing in. Instead, many in L.A. are scrambling to fill orders and shore up dwindling inventory to meet holiday deadlines.

Parking Feud Puts Hollywood Project in Doubt

Despite winning approval from the Los Angeles City Council earlier this month, Regent Properties' $70 million Hollywood Marketplace retail-cinema complex is now faltering.

Party Producer

angel city designs started out solely as a planner of Events, but now it's creating touring theatrical shows like a revival commemorating the hit musical 'hair'

Ahead of the curve

Holiday tradition: What better way to celebrate the season than by taking in a performance of "The Nutcracker" by a Russian dance company? The Moscow Classical Ballet and its 52-piece orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky's classic at the Pasadena Civic Audi

'Tis the Season for Taking Steps to Beat Holiday Stress

If you graphed annual fluctuations in stress, this time of year would correlate to the peaks. This month, on top of life's regular load, you have gifts to buy, cards to write, parties to attend and end-of-year business tasks to handle.


You don't have to speak the language to live in L.A., but it's a prerequisite for advancement

Web Chatter May Crack One of Best-Kept U.S. Secrets

Information about every possible topic races to fill any available space online. And if someone tries to keep something secret, the Net can fill that void with a flood of speculation, innuendo and far-flung evidence that renders either the secret or th


The INS is cracking down on illegal workers, but it's still very easy to come up with phony papers


15years ago this week: L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley said he would appeal to Congress to fund the $3.3 billion Metro Rail project after the Reagan Administration announced that it did not intend to cover 62 percent of the cost, as previously expected Local ret

Investing in Due Diligence Can Uncover Shaky Firms

A Midwestern insurance agent, who doesn't want his name used, claims he was scammed into selling questionable "promissory notes." You need to hear what he says, in case you're advised to make a similar investment, by someone you trust.

The Business Digest

The top auditor of the Los Angeles school system said his investigation into the Belmont Learning Complex has found more than $2 million in overbilling, and that millions more could be unearthed.

The Agenda

One of the more important events for the future of planning in Los Angeles takes place today with the first meeting of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. The group is the policy-setting body for the L.A. Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the o

L.A. TV Stations Plan Heavy News Coverage on Y2K

Millennium doomsday predictors won't be the only ones spending New Year's Eve hunkered down watching news reports from around the world.

With Rite Aid Staying, Rivals Gird for Drug-Store War

Now that Rite Aid Corp. has decided to stay put in Southern California, the troubled drugstore chain could soon be facing stiffer competition.

Breaking Up the School District Won't Make It Work Better Staying Whole

Given the disappointments and controversies over the management of the Los Angeles Unified School District, many in the business community may be inclined to support the breakup of the district or may even have lost faith in our public schools.


There are thousands of stories about people trying to get off welfare some of them more successful than others, but all embarking on a new life with new responsibilities.

Drug Downturn

It is 9 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning and Ellis Herz is shuffling through a stack of computer printouts.

Welfare to Work

Robust economy helps many welfare recipients to find jobs, but huge number of less-employable people remain


20 Board of Neighborhood Commissioners Meeting 9:00 a.m. L.A. Dept. of Neighborhood Empowerment City Hall East, 200 N. Main St. #316, L.A. Free (213) 847-1269

Coming Soon to the Web: Buying and Selling Expertise

Even though Al Gore never claimed to have invented it, the "information economy" ranks as one of the most cherished concepts of the age.

For the Record

Chapter 7: a "straight" liquidation bankruptcy involving an appointed trustee to sell all assets by auction or other means to pay creditors and trustee fees.

Stores, Labels Win With CD Compilations

Those catchy tunes that retailers play to enhance their customers' shopping mood are popping up with more frequency at checkout counters this holiday season on custom-made music CDs.

The Media's Millennium Mania

We've already been bombarded with people of the century contests, greatest hits of the last 1,000 years and, of course, various predictions of a millennial apocalypse. One department store is giving away millennium T-shirts (with the purchase of more tha

Ortel Eyes Move to Abandoned Home Savings Campus

Ortel Corp., which makes lasers and fiber-optic products for cable companies, wants to move from Alhambra to the former Home Savings of America campus in Irwindale.

Our view: The Land of Opportunity

It's not exactly a news flash that many of L.A.'s poor are concentrated among recently arrived immigrant groups, most of them Latino.

Barrister Bands

Attorney-to-the-stars Don Passman represents some of the biggest names in the recording industry, and has negotiated two of the biggest paydays in history

Econowatch L.A. County

Property acquisition lending (mils.) (Sept.) $2,287.3 $2,185.7 +4.6 $2,307.6 -0.9

First Job

Many new immigrants find that the restaurant industry represents their best chance at employment

REITs May Be Swept Up as Stocks Continue Dropping

Shares of publicly traded real estate investment trusts just keep languishing, raising the prospect that at some point a deep-pocketed bottom-fisher may swoop in and take one or more of them private.

The roving eye

Vellum envelopes and invitations aren't new, but the see-through stationery is making a major splash this holiday season.


Rob Yarin was named senior consultant at Frank N. Magid Associates, a media research and consulting firm in Universal City. He will advise syndication, network television, cable and new media clients on branding strategies and talent development. Yarin wa

Against All Odds

Going from Skid Row to Easy Street is rare, but a few poor Angelenos have achieved a measure of success