Stories for March 1999

Monday, March 29


Fairly early in the life of this column, we told readers about a precocious little girl named Willa Reid who came home from preschool one day with a broad smile of satisfaction. After weeks of work, Willa declared proudly, she had learned all the letters,


While most major record-label executives hem and haw over how to harness the Internet as it begins to transfigure the music industry, Al Teller has jumped right in.


Not only is it a real estate investment trust, a sector of stocks that has been in a slump for months, but Beverly Hills-based G & L; happens to specialize in buildings that cater to tenants in health care, another ailing sector.


In the world of network television, staying No. 1 can be tougher than becoming No. 1 in the first place.


In the new ABC comedy, "It's Like, You Know...," the lead character is a New Yorker who flies to L.A. to work on a book titled: "Living in Los Angeles: How Can You Stomach It?"


Now that "Shakespeare in Love" has been named best picture, will there be a sequel?


Two Orange County-based restaurant chains with several locations in the Los Angeles area have announced expansion plans.


A funny thing happened on the way to preparing our special report on over-40 workers struggling to survive in the workplace. We discovered that it wasn't exactly a struggle.


A chart accompanying the article "Big Supply of Pro-Labor, Pro-Lawyer Bills on Tap" in the March 22 issue incorrectly stated the first name of the author of SB 1254. The legislator's correct name is Sen. Adam Schiff.


The son of immigrant farmers, he came to L.A. with $60 and wound up with a $36 million company that counts among its credits some of the most successful animated shows on television, including "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill."

Weekly News Briefing

Doris Samuels and Maureen Kennedy opened the Art of the Dance Academy in North Hollywood 16 years ago. It was one of the first dance studios in the area to offer "Mommy and Me" and boys-only dance classes in an effort to attract the family market. A few y


Saverio D'Agostino, a senior engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Kari Lewis, his supervisor on the Deep Space 2 Mission to Mars, share an ongoing joke.


Hollywood is the ultimate youth culture, where people perceived to be out of touch with those under 30 or even 20 frequently find themselves out of work.


With the announcement of this year's broker and developer of the year winners ("Real Estate Awards," March 15), I am once again amazed that the criteria you use appear to be based solely on the number of deals done, total sales volume, or most square feet


Youth seems especially revered in Los Angeles, where industries like entertainment and new media are driven by twenty- and thirty-somethings. At some point, many of us are likely to face age discrimination in annual reviews, or when looking for a job. So


It's not too often that a 93-home subdivision is built smack in the middle of an urban area, but Irvine-based Granite Homes plans just that for a hillside in Northeast Los Angeles, near South Pasadena.


With April Fool's Day just ahead, the International Facility Management Association released a new survey of creative workplace pranks committed on April 1.


Question: Trying to keep up with the Joneses becomes more and more difficult when you're short on staff and long on customer orders. However, I realize it's important to know what the competition is up to. Got any extra eyes and ears I can borrow?


Convincing environmentalists that the Playa Vista project can be built without harming the adjacent wetlands may not be the easiest job in town. But it probably helps that the person taking up that task is a prominent local environmentalist.


20 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: General Motors Corp. unveiled its new Chevrolet Citation and other sleek X-cars in Los Angeles with the hope that the $2.7 billion line would crack the strong sales of imported cars in the region Parsons Corp. announced a $1 billi


One of 11 children, Janice Bryant Howroyd grew up in poverty in a segregated Southern town. After coming to Los Angeles in 1976, Howroyd landed a job at Billboard magazine, where she developed a knack for personnel placement. A couple years later, she lau


Contingency search firms get compensated for their services only after they have placed a candidate with a client company. This differentiates them from retained search firms, which are paid regardless of the outcome of a particular search.


Pico Rivera has had a tough time selling its heavily Latino population to name-brand retailers.


It's conventional wisdom that baby boomers are pushing the market up. Supposedly, they're pouring their money into stocks so that they can afford to retire someday. That's why the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached the dizzy, 10,000 range.


L.A.'s repeated attempts at revitalizing its blighted inner-city areas have hardly been a rousing success.


In the March 22 L.A. Stories item "Tale of Two Dans," the date that Dan I. Margolis and Dan R. Margolis went to work for Mayor Richard Riordan was misstated. In fact, Dan I. Margolis began his job as communications deputy for the Office of Economic Develo


The world is full of workaholics who continue to run businesses well into their 70s. But John J. Fallon, Jr. is that rarest of breeds an entrepreneur who launched a new business at an age that finds most of his peers winding down.


So how can you buy Southern California real estate for one-third below its estimated value?


It's clear, of course, that charter reform is the best, most coherent track for the future of Los Angeles and yet, it's hard to celebrate the circumstances behind its passage and the prospects for its implementation.


L.A. County supervisors unanimously approved the environmental impact report for the 12,000-acre Newhall Ranch project, the largest single housing development plan in county history.


If you're over 40 and in the market for a new job, sporting a nose ring or dropping words like "cool" and "rad" won't impress a prospective boss during an interview.


Even with the cash infusion, that's going to take some hard work. Glenoaks still lacks the funds to hire an experienced staff of managers and marketers. As a result, those tasks often fall to Fallon. On one recent occasion, when a chef fell ill, Fallon fo


Never mind all that. Americans and particularly Southern Californians long have had a love affair with the Ferrari.


If Patsy Flanigan ever writes a book about her company, she could appropriately call it "The World According to Gorp."


Westside Pavilion has had its share of problems since opening along a busy stretch of Pico Boulevard in 1985.


All too often, small businesses don't fully grasp the tremendous opportunities the Internet presents to level the playing field with larger companies.


Small companies with a spiritual bent are profiting from the $3 billion-a-year religious products market.


Two tiger-headed mannequins in the window seem to stand guard over the newly opened Heaven 27 boutique.


As a U.S.-led NATO assault sent bombs and missiles raining down on targets in Serbia last week, there was something missing: Much of L.A.'s defense industry.


DD Western Wear has survived in Pacoima for 35 years. Its owners, Abel and Ben Diaz, have steered the store through two major earthquakes, the riots and various robberies.


The guy who quietly walked into downtown's Inter-Continental Hotel looked an awful lot like Alan Greenspan.


Bravo on a well done and touching interview with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (March 22). Thank God the Clintons have true friends in Harry and Linda Thomason! Linda, no stranger to controversy, dealt with the scandal regarding the president and first lady l


Mike has almost 25 years of experience as a Realtor. He dresses well and goes to the gym regularly. But at 52, he's afraid that he'll be perceived as an "old" worker less attractive, energetic and capable than his younger competitors.


Perhaps the reason employee stock ownership plans have not been popular with marketing firms is because they simply don't make sense for companies whose only assets their employees walk out the door every night ("Workers Become Owners at Crisis P.R. A


Due to incorrect information supplied to the Business Journal, the bank table in the March 22 issue misidentified National Mercantile Bancorp, which has one branch in L.A. County with $112.0 million in deposits.


Getting axed from his aerospace job five years ago turned Bill Lasser into Handyman Bill.

Company Index



The slow-growth movement that has transformed the development landscape in Ventura County is beginning to creep south into L.A. County.


For all the talk about age discrimination and layoffs and worries over wrinkles, baby boomers, by and large, still rule the roost.


The advertising account for EarthLink Network Inc. is sort of like a White House intern: It seems very tempting until you actually start a relationship.

Monday, March 22


It's no small trick to survive the consolidation that has been sweeping the banking industry, but many of L.A.'s community banks are proving that small can indeed be beautiful.


If you're among the millions of Americans who have a chance to invest some money in a mutual fund and can't decide among the choices available, the Internet may be the place for you. There are numerous free sites on the Web that should help match your goa


Given last week's hoopla over L.A. getting the Democratic National Convention, and perhaps an NFL franchise, we decided to ask Business Journal columnist Joel Kotkin to put it all in some context. As usual, Joel's analysis, while hardly the spin that loca


Jakks Pacific Inc. is using its army of popular action-figure toys to take Wall Street by storm.


When Mayor Richard Riordan was trying to secure the support of the city's major banks on a program to redevelop up to 15 industrial sites, he did not call on Bank of America Chairman Hugh McColl, who is based in Charlotte, N.C., but rather McColl's man in

Company Index


Featured newsmaker

As the new president of research and development at Walt Disney Imagineering, Bran Ferren spends his time trying to figure out what will entertain people in the next millennium.


For someone who spent much of the '90s insisting that Los Angeles was not about to fall into the Pacific without benefit of an earthquake, this past week should have been a gratifying one.


Washington Mutual Inc. has been extremely aggressive in its expansion drive but when it comes to technology, the Seattle-based bank is definitely in the slow lane.


Having produced such hit TV shows as "Designing Women" and "Evening Shade," Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband Harry Thomason became one of Hollywood's most prolific husband-and-wife teams during the '90s.


Which Japanese auto maker saw its sales growth outperform the overall U.S. auto market last month with an increase of 32 percent and had the sales of one vehicle jump a whopping 1,142 percent?


Los Angeles long has been a center for a certain kind of cheap labor: out-of-work actors. So a Carson computer company is looking for a few good thespians.

LA Newsmakers

Timothy R. Slapnicka has been appointed new Western region managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles. He will oversee the assurance and business advisory services practice for clients in states west of Colorado.


The movie that is expected to be the second-biggest moneymaker of all time (second only to "Titanic") is scheduled to hit theaters in a couple of months, and theater owners are feverishly working out the financial terms under which they will show "Star Wa


Conventional wisdom among analysts had been that merger mania of the past few years was going to subside for awhile. Another consolidation wave would eventually sweep the industry, but not until later this year.


The new chairman of the Democratic National Committee claimed what could be considered more than his fair share of credit for last week's DNC announcement that L.A. will host the party's 2000 convention.


One person's "hulking" community is another's celebration of art moderne, so we'll let your commentary about the aesthetics of Park Labrea in L.A. Stories ("Senior Web Surfers," Feb. 8) slide. On several other points, however, we must take exception.


Arbitration has been touted as a quick and cost-effective panacea for resolving civil disputes, but it also has been criticized for not living up to many of its claims.


The relatively high price-earnings multiples on Wall Street, and the hints of rising interest rates in March, may mean it's time to pull the horns in, said Richard Weiss, chief investment officer for the investment management division of Sanwa Bank Califo


Back in the '80s, when Los Angeles was expected to become the hub of the Pacific Rim, many people predicted that it also would serve as headquarters of some of the world's largest banks.


The unrelenting march of digital progress is claiming another entertainment fixture. This time it's the celluloid movie reel, which has remained virtually unchanged for more than 70 years.


After years of frenzied mergers and acquisitions, the Los Angeles banking community is now dominated by three giants Bank of America, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.


Congress has provided some relief for employers who struggle with complex tests to prove that their 401(k) plans do not overly favor so-called "highly compensated employees." Effective this year, they can adopt "safe harbor" 401(k) plans which are exempt


Peach-, pink- and cream-colored rose corsages elegantly adorned hundreds of women gathered at the Canadian Embassy to celebrate International Women's Day earlier this month.


The manufacturing industry has them. So does high tech. But there isn't a business incubator to help fledgling fashion businesses grow and develop in Los Angeles.


If you haven't begun preparation of your home business tax return for 1998, let me be the first to officially declare you "last minute." Corporate tax returns are due on March 15 and although unincorporated businesses have another month, you should still


As a high school student in Redondo Beach, Jamie fell in with a bad crowd and became a heavy drug user. She started skipping school, dropped out of sports and ran away from home. Her parents enrolled her in a recovery program, but the 15-year-old ran away


Irvine-based Endocare, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENDO), a developer of prostate cancer and prostatic stent technologies, announced recently that it has been informed by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) of the decision to implement national Medicare cov


In the often silly world of show business, a post-Oscar controversy is raging that has eclipsed all the earlier hand-wringing over director Elia Kazan. It is over the money spent by Miramax to persuade Academy members to vote for "Shakespeare in Love" as


25 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint alleging trade associations for five L.A. trash haulers conspired to fix prices in the $100 million rubbish business An insurance-company study of 1,078 executives found that cor


"Average premium increases for health maintenance organizations are rising 8% this year" reported the Orange County Register on Wednesday, January 6, 1999 after Towers Perrin, a human resource consulting firm released their latest survey. This is twice t


In regard to the article "Why Riordan's Tax Plan Fell Apart" (March 8), if there is to be any falling apart of the mayor's city business tax reform proposal, it will not be the fault of the meaningful reform penned by Mayor Riordan and council members Ala


First it was being sold to a private company. Then the County of Los Angeles swooped in with a better offer. Then Monterey Park city officials persuaded the building's owner to reconsider. And now it looks like the owner is going with the original buyer


Santa Monica-based Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX) is making a concerted run for the limelight after spending most of its two-year history on the periphery of the Internet phenomenon.


As the prized Van Gogh exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum hits the mid-point of its 17-week run, reality is not quite living up to the hype that has surrounded the show since it came to Washington last fall.


One of the toughest jobs a company president or human resources manager has to deal with is selecting the right health benefit plan for the employee population. In today's world of competitive HMOs, its often difficult to tell one HMO for another. When


Trammell Crow is focusing its marketing efforts on high-tech and Fortune 500 companies around the region, said Ron Heim, who along with Jonathan Larsen and Eric Hinkleman is marketing the property.


Los Angeles has been without its own football team since 1995, when the Rams moved to St. Louis. Last week, the National Football League awarded an expansion football franchise to Los Angeles, subject to various conditions. So the Business Journal asks:

Weekly Briefing

Mike Walsh opened Carriage House Automotive in Harbor City 24 years ago. His was one of the first independent auto repair shops to computerize. Walsh spoke with Jolie Gorchov about keeping up with the times in the automotive repair business.


Don't bother looking for Pacific Science Inc. in the Yellow Pages. The research equipment sales company yanked its ad for cryogenic freezers a few years ago after receiving one too many distressed phone calls from family members of the dearly departed.


Quick. You want to start a high-tech firm. Where do you go to be where the action is?


One look at the assembled executives at this month's meeting of the L.A. chapter of the California Bankers Association drove home the extent to which the local banking industry has devolved.


Years ago, Spanish-language stations started dominating the Los Angeles radio market and it's just a matter of time before the same thing happens in television.


The March 15 story "Boom Year for Real Estate, Despite Wall Street Turmoil" did not fully identify David Rosenthal. He is managing director of appraisal firm Curtis-Rosenthal LLC.


When Budd Schulberg wrote "What Makes Sammy Run" six decades ago, little did he realize that his classic Hollywood character, Sammy Glick, would become a role model for future generations of young studio executives.


The dust has started to settle on what has been two years of tumultuous activity within L.A.'s banking industry. In light of all these changes, we asked some prominent Angelenos to voice their views on L.A.'s banking landscape.


Your article, "Doctors, Lawyers Vie Over Cap on Malpractice Awards" (Feb. 1) unfortunately made a grave error in not considering consumers as major players in the fight over the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).


With the National Football League expected to decide this week whether to award a franchise to Los Angeles, there are growing indications that L.A.'s two competing bidders Hollywood power broker Mike Ovitz and a group led by businessmen Eli Broad and Ed

Trends in Employee Benefits

One of the most difficult and time consuming jobs performed by Human Resource professionals is the design and implementation of employee benefit programs. These programs can represent a significant percentage of a corporation's annual budget, and the pros


More than a year ago, this newspaper lamented that Los Angeles lacked a cohesive business community and that in ways large and small, it was holding down the city's potential. Since then, we have seen evidence of what's best described as ad hoc involvem


When it comes to L.A.-area bank branches, one person's castoffs can be another person's treasures.


Here's a little fact for investors to think about, especially investors with online accounts. Stockbrokers are being alerted to build their legal defenses, so they can't be blamed if computer missteps cost you money.


Hughes Electronics Corp. announced it will invest an initial $1.4 billion into its new Spaceway satellite system, which will provide direct high-speed, two-way communications to companies and consumers.

Monday, March 15


After graduating from Asuza Pacific University in 1983 with a double music degree in teaching and vocal performance, Dale Rehfeld held three jobs at one time janitor, choir director and music teacher.


As hard as it may be to imagine, there was a time when stars didn't show up at the Academy Awards dressed in taffeta and jewels. Janet Gaynor, who won the very first Oscar for best actress in 1929, wore a sweater and scarf combo that looked more secretari

Computer resellers list

Most of the companies on this list do more than sell computers and computer equipment. Many offer training, system design, support and maintenance, infrastructure reengineering, and a variety of other computer-related services that can be as simple as a s


Louise Marquez, general manager of Panorama Mall, looks out her office window and counts the number of people wheeling strollers on the street.


One of the most common sights during the Great Depression was that of thousands of people living in tents and tar-paper shacks. They crowded into these makeshift dumps because they had no money and were forced to make do with whatever type of shelter they


AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has been spending more time in Los Angeles lately, and the warm weather has little to do with it.


In another reflection of Hollywood's pending revival, the city of L.A. has approved 50 conditional use permits for liquor sales in the area over the past 12 months.

Retail developer

Vestar Development Co. specializes in building major retail projects, and it has two whoppers going up in the L.A. area right now. Those were sufficient to qualify the Phoenix-based company as L.A. County's most active retail developer of 1998.


A number of major restructuring moves undertaken by Unocal Corp. this year capped by a top-management reshuffling announced March 3 are beginning to make favorable impressions on Wall Street analysts.


Having already lured two of the nation's four largest carpet manufacturers to open new headquarters offices at its La Mirada business complex, San Francisco-based Catellus broke ground there for a third, Beaulieu of America. Catellus is building a 260,000

Featured Newsmaker

The forensic accountant and former FBI special agent is the new partner in charge of Arthur Andersen's business fraud and investigation services practice for the Pacific Southwest.


Country singer George Jones was critically injured after he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a bridge near his home in Tennessee. Police believe he was talking on his cell phone at the time of the accident, further fueling the ongoing debate over wh


Sipping a glass of Cabernet in a crowded banquet room at the Business Journal's real estate awards last week, Christopher E. Maling, a 33-year-old retail broker in the downtown office of Marcus & Millichap, smiles as he describes a stereotypical L.A. brok


There was lots of celebrating among bus rider activists last week when a court-appointed official ruled that the MTA must get more buses on the streets and hire additional drivers and mechanics all in an effort to relieve the overcrowding that has plagu


One of the fun parts about editing the Business Journal each week is that you get to juggle so many things, whether it's breaking business news, features or special reports. This week, we hit the jackpot.


With $66 million in local billings Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall is by far the biggest and most active architecture firm in L.A. County largely reflecting the firm's involvement with a number of mega-projects that go far beyond traditional architec


William Bauman has nearly filled the biggest retail project to break ground in L.A. County last year Vestar Development Co.'s 1 million-square-foot Long Beach Towne Center.


When actress Gwyneth Paltrow takes that fabled stroll down the red carpet at the Academy Awards on March 21, all eyes and lenses will focus on her dazzling gown, her sparkling jewels, and even her high-heeled shoes.

Office landlord

L.A.'s top landlord broker in 1998 credits his success to his background in working on the tenant side.


Canoga Park may be an unlikely spot for high-profile real estate deals, but the sale of two major apartment complexes in that San Fernando Valley community helped put Ronald Harris over the top as the highest-producing multifamily investment broker of 199


Attention P.R. agency owners: If Sitrick & Co. starts stealing all your best people, there's only yourself to blame.


The average cost of producing a major studio movie fell more than $700,000 in 1998, to $52.7 million, while the cost of marketing those movies climbed 13 percent in the same period, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.


Several downtown properties either changed hands or signed new lease deals last week.

LA Newsmakers

Nitin Gupta and Bonnie P. Chow have been appointed senior tax consultants for Deloitte & Touche LLP. Both will oversee tax engagements and provide consulting to clients in the general tax services group, based in Los Angeles. Gupta previously worked for C


David Hasbrouck didn't just beat the other industrial brokers in terms of the value of deals signed last year he crushed them.


The Business Journal determined this year's award winners from a range of parameters depending on the individual category.


The basic-black tux is starting to show its age at least for some Oscar attendees.


It was a busy year for real estate professionals in 1998, as demand outpaced supply for most types of property in most areas of Los Angeles County. It was also a wild ride, as global crises and Wall Street gyrations impacted local property markets.

Office tenant

In the past, he waited tables at the Warehouse Restaurant in Marina del Rey and sold beer to Dodger Stadium as a rep for Budweiser.


Willem Wijnbergen, who marked his one-year anniversary last week as managing director and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has not hesitated to shake things up.


The Oscar statuettes that will be presented during Sunday's Academy Awards took a road trip last week in the protective custody of two security guards from Pinkerton's Inc.


Walking through a room lined with telephone switching equipment on the third floor of a downtown office building, David Glickman boasts that the machinery is so well protected that it should be down for no more than an hour every 40 years.


At a small hamburger stand in Silver Lake, Jay Coffin brings a hot burger from the counter to an outdoor table. With its freshly grilled patty, thick tomato slices, pungent chopped onions and thin layer of chili spread across the toasted bun, it is the an

Resid broker, by dollar

Raju Chhabria knows how to delegate, and that, he says, is his secret to selling $84.3 million worth of homes last year more than any other Realtor in Los Angeles County.


Monah Li has become one of L.A.'s hottest designers, but she is not widely known outside fashion circles. That's why the prospect of having an actress wear one of her creations at the Academy Awards becomes the marketing opportunity of a lifetime.


For many things in life, being a success requires minding your P's and Q's. But to be a success at marketing your business, you need to mind your P's and P's.

Single Industrial

It took Koll Development Co. of Newport Beach just seven months to sell or lease 82 percent of the first phase of The Plantation, its 670,000-square-foot project in the City of Industry that broke ground last June.

The Event

It was a night of back-slapping, networking and trading the inside scoop on the latest big deals.


15 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Financially troubled Mattel Inc. won an 11-month reprieve from lenders to repay $349 million in debt that it blamed on its discontinued electronics, publishing and entertainment units A federal judge upheld the seizure of San Mari


The ferocious Africanized honeybee, capable of stinging a human being to death, has colonized L.A. and while that might strike fear in the hearts of many Angelenos, companies that specialize in bee removal or protective gear have reason to celebrate.


For two decades, the Cleveland Office of Small Enterprise (COSE), (pronounced "cozy") has been making life comfortable for local entrepreneurs. A pioneer in providing group health insurance and group discounts on office products, COSE is now launching a c


In just six months, Staples Center is expected to open, bringing thousands of additional cars to already-jammed downtown streets and freeways. Yet the arena's developer has yet to submit a plan spelling out how that traffic will be handled.


A new congressional report that found L.A.'s air to contain high levels of certain toxic pollutants had its share of national headlines.


Remember, folks, you read it here first. About 10 years ago in this space we were commenting on the way personal computer prices constantly come down. "Pretty soon, they'll just give the things away," we said.


Now that Washington has turned its attention from scandal and to the problems faced by "real people," suburban sprawl has gained prominence on the national agenda.

Weekly Briefing

The Giebel family has owned Mordigan Nurseries for over 60 years. They have a central location in Farmers Market, and business has never been better. But they face a huge stumbling block: they've never had a lease longer than month to month, and now the F


Every year, the government seems to offer more tax incentives to save and invest. And this year, you might even have some extra money to do it with.


The LatinChannels Spring '99 conference boasted a straightforward premise: Bring buyers and sellers together in the same room and let the deal-making begin.


Question: Our Internet company is just hitting $1 million in revenues. We have a decent business plan and the three of us are equal partners who complement each other. To date, our board has consisted of ourselves and our spouses. It might be time to bran

Residential developer

Most large-scale housing projects are built at the edges of L.A. County, but the largest new development to hit the market last year, as well as the hottest-selling one, is right in the middle of the area's industrial heartland.


After spending four days in Santa Monica at the American Film Market with movie executives and agents, Chinese film officials have declared their first major trip to Hollywood a success.


For the second year in a row, Gensler was the most prolific commercial interior design firm in Los Angeles, with $15.3 million in local billings in 1998.


Despite a tough year for real estate investment trusts, Arden Realty Inc. still managed to claim the distinction as 1998's largest investor in L.A. County.


Come Sunday, fashion designer Allen B. Schwartz will gather his four-person design team at his ranch-style home in Mandeville Canyon.


Just six months ago, Adelphia Communications was a little-known, family-run cable operator with a few scattered markets on the East Coast.

Company Index



The key to Bob Safai's stellar year in 1998: "off-market deals." That's real estate lingo for deals that involve properties that aren't listed for sale.

Wednesday, March 10


Kevin Ross thinks he'll go into business for himself one day, but making big money won't necessarily be at the top of his priority list.

Monday, March 8


Francisco Letelier, the new senior vice president and creative director of L.A.'s largest Latino ad agency, sees a strong shift in the way Spanish-language advertising is viewed these days.

Digest 08

The L.A. City Council approved a charter reform compromise last week, meaning the measure will be put before voters in June.


The Danes have landed in America, and in keeping with their Viking past, they're plundering the coast first.


On tax returns, this is the Year of the Child. If your children are young or in college, big write-offs are probably coming your way.

LA Newsmakers

Eric Koehler has joined Campbell-Ewald/West as a vice president and management supervisor. Prior to joining, Koehler was an account supervisor with BBDO Advertising.


Europe loves L.A., and the attraction is expected to grow even stronger in the coming months.


My husband runs a home-based business that requires a lot of cold calling. He calls strangers and convinces them to listen to him and sign up for his service.


When Mayor Richard Riordan unveiled his business tax reform proposal last December, he told reporters there would be little problem in getting it through the City Council. This was, after all, no fly-by-night proposal; it had been in the works for more th


Inside a cavernous complex at Long Beach Airport, workers are testing the electronics systems of a small jet unlike any other one with four wings rather than two.


Just a decade ago Los Angeles was ruled by a uniquely effective coalition of labor, business and ethnic forces. Forged by the AFL-CIO's Jim Woods, the corporate elite, and Jewish and African-American political establishments, it formed the core of what ur


What's a fast-talking ham sandwich doing in the middle of what could be a precedent-setting copyright infringement case involving the logs of Web-site visitors?


It's no secret that Westside commercial real estate is hot, and there's no hotter spot on the Westside than the area around Cloverfield Boulevard and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica.


Whenever a person crawls around the Internet, he or she leaves behind a computerized trail of sticky fingerprints as personalized and obvious as, well, fingerprints.


Clearly spelled-out procedures and policies in your company's employee handbook can prevent expensive lawsuits by employees.


William E. Simon & Sons LLC has launched a new fund, Special Situations L.P., to buy distressed debt and high-yield IOUs, and make leveraged equity investments.


After months of litigation, the trial of the government's antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. is in a recess, with both sides having put on their cases and most observers saying that the government is well ahead on points.


The imminent and virtually certain announcement that L.A. will host the 2000 Democratic National Convention is a boon not just for the Los Angeles economy, but for its newest sports and events facility Staples Center downtown.


Herb Reston likes to dress well, even to the point of coordinating his ties exactly with his suits and sport coats. He has a problem, though. One of his favorite ties, a chocolate-brown Zegna, has come apart at the seams. To replace it, he'll have to spen


A congressional study released last week showed that L.A.'s air contains dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. The risk of contracting cancer from breathing L.A. air is 426 times higher than health standards established by the federal Clean Air Act. So the


You're in for a disappointment if you thought the closing of Bargain Circus would bring a more upscale retail tenant to La Brea Avenue.


It's quite a feat to be simultaneously described as a star-struck na & #271;f by some and an emerging Hollywood powerhouse by others, but Seagram Co. Ltd. Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. has done just that.


If you conduct financial business over the Internet, whether it's balancing your checkbook or buying stocks, beware. You never know who might be watching.


It's not news that women-owned businesses in the United States today generate more jobs than the Fortune 500, that they contribute $42.3 trillion annually to the United States economy, or that women are creating new companies at twice the rate of men.


When Scott Johnston designed, the Web site for his father-in-law's mailbox and office supply business in Portland, Ore., he didn't assume that customers would find their way to the site on their own.

Weekly Briefing

There's nothing fancy about the Esquire Barber Shop on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Despite haircuts that go from $35-$40 on par with many Westside hair styling establishments this shop has a simple look. It hearkens to the old days of grooming whe


Even as relations between the United States and China get worse, the Magic Kingdom is intensifying its efforts to do more business in the Middle Kingdom.


Topping the Business Journal's list of 100 largest women-owned businesses in L.A. County this year is Don Kott Auto Center. "I run the company on a daily basis and have invested a lot of my own money in the company," said Margaret Kott, wife of Don Kott


Shrouded under a green tarp, the first highrise ever built in Westwood (commonly known as the "Monty's building" for its top-floor steakhouse) is like a patient undergoing major invasive surgery.


At Neiman Marcus' lower-level restaurant in Beverly Hills, Petrossian Beluga Caviar is on the menu at $80 a plate and real oranges and kumquats adorn the dinnerware displays.


The film is based on a highly popular ABC series from the late '60s about three young cops, so it should, the theory goes, bring out nostalgic baby boomers. Plus, it should appeal to teen audiences because it features a group of edgy young cops plumbing t


At first glance, it looks like any other magazine's editorial department, complete with 12 desks, papers strewn pell-mell, stacks of trade journals and glossy magazine pages affixed to walls.


If such an award existed, the Paper Wealth Winner of the Week would be Steve Kim.


At one point during last week's heated L.A. City Council debate on tax reform, Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg turned to the business leaders in the audience and said: "You folks have made your case. Business tax relief is needed. I agree with you. But why g

Company Index



Luxury homes may be in the offing for a picturesque canyon in northern Los Angeles County, where Special Devices Inc. has maintained a headquarters and manufacturing facility for the past 38 years.


If so, you might want to get in touch with TrizecHahn Corp., which is in the early stages of issuing the naming rights for the theater in its Hollywood & Highland project that will host the Oscars starting in March 2001.


The decision by Levi Strauss & Co. to ship much of its manufacturing work overseas came as no surprise to L.A.'s apparel community, which has seen a steady exodus of garment production work for many months.


There's nothing like going out of town to provide a little perspective on your own surroundings. That happened to me last week during a very brief trip to Chicago when I had time to grab a very good steak and rifle through the local newspapers.


30 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. announced that net income for 1968 was $13.8 million a $1.5 million drop from 1967 mostly because of poor performance by "Dr. Dolittle." Air West President G. Robert Henry told the Civil Aerona

Monday, March 1


For more than four years, residents and officials of the city of Santa Clarita have waited and watched as government and industry worked to clean up a 1,000-acre parcel contaminated by years of munitions manufacturing on the site.

Weekly Brief

For the Los Angeles construction industry, 1999 may prove to be the best of times. Local job growth remains healthy, L.A.'s population continues to swell and mortgage interest rates are low.


Little more than a curiosity four years ago, the World Wide Web is the focus of billions of dollars of investment activity and a constant stream of new ventures. Meanwhile, the audience using the Internet is growing exponentially. So the Business Journal


The early '90s wasn't a great time to go into commercial real estate. Los Angeles was in the grip of a severe recession and untold numbers of seasoned brokers were bailing out for other towns or other professions.


In one of the biggest L.A. hotel deals in a decade, the Century Plaza Hotel and Tower, where kings, presidents and heads of state have stayed for decades, has been sold by an affiliate of Nippon Life Insurance Co.


The governor has not taken a position. The governor will have no comment. No Cabinet member can speak for the governor.


Talk about a stock not firing on all cylinders: Bonded Motors Inc., the former media darling and automobile engine rebuilder in South Central Los Angeles, has hit some hard bumps in the road.


It's ironic enough that Generation X was initially labeled the "slacker generation."


District Director for State Assemblyman Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City; Candidate for 7th Council District, City of Los Angeles


Most advertising creatives in their 20s toil away on little-known campaigns for pretty dull clients, hoping to get a break.


Whenever an investor buys a multimillion-dollar piece of commercial real estate, there is a key figure: the person who performs the financial analysis and due diligence.


When KCRW-FM 89.9 Program Director Ruth Seymour asked Warren Olney to do an evening of interviews after the riots, he said sure, he had nothing else to do. One evening has turned into almost seven years and counting, and Olney's weekday show, "Which Way,


Greg Suess has had a busy two years since becoming the youngest graduate in the 10-year history of the law and MBA degree program at Pepperdine University.


They're bright, they're driven, they've achieved considerable success and they're still in their 20s.


While such aerospace giants as Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. face tough times both in terms of earnings and stock price, one aerospace giant with a large L.A.-area presence continues to soar: AlliedSignal Inc.


As the only publicly held commercial production company and one of the nation's biggest, Harmony Holdings serves as something of a barometer for how the industry is doing. And the forecast calls for bad weather.


Almost a decade has passed since contractor Don Chase installed plumbing in what is today the Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica, yet he is still waiting for his $1.2 million payment.


On a recent afternoon, deep inside a bustling TV studio, entrepreneur Katherine Legatos sparred with three men charged with finding holes in the business plan for, her new Internet cosmetics company.


Officials with the Seattle-based aerospace giant might bristle at such a suggestion, but the company indicated last week that it is ready to take drastic action to deal with unprofitable business units. And while no programs or plants have yet been identi


A T-shirt in Danielle Perez's junior contemporary line originally was embedded with studs to spell out "Lady," a reference to the name of the line, Lady 7. But Delia's, a popular clothing catalog for teen-age girls and young women, preferred the word "Sta

Co Index



You suddenly discover that you're locked out of your 12-bedroom Tudor on Beverly Glen, and need a locksmith in a hurry.


Downtown L.A. has been hit hard by bank mergers and corporate downsizing in recent years, but a lease announced last week goes against that trend.


Maybe it was Vince Arena's blue-collar upbringing in Buffalo, N.Y. that caused him to turn his back on what he saw as the stuffiness of Wall Street and take a job in L.A.


Joseph Ruszkiewicz, recently named chief operating officer and executive vice president of Santa Monica-based iMall, brings a managerial background to the still-fledgling provider of e-commerce services on the Internet.


In the often-weird world of the National Basketball Association, nice guys usually don't finish first especially head coaches who must supervise a bunch of immature and very wealthy young men. So it was little surprise last week when Lakers Coach Del Ha


As a child growing up in Portland, Ore., Bryan Rosencrantz was always among the smallest of his peers. Then he began to lift weights and bulk up.


For the Los Angeles construction industry, 1999 may prove to be the best of times. Local job growth remains healthy, L.A.'s population continues to swell and mortgage interest rates are low.


Paul Thomas Anderson wrote the first version of "Boogie Nights" when he was a 17-year-old high school student in Studio City.


Jayson Won started out as a drummer in a local hard-rock band, but it didn't pan out quite as well as he had hoped.


A dusty, unused computer lured Erik Kellener to the back of his classroom when he was 12. His math teacher got so excited about the youngster teaching himself to program his first computer that Kellener's regular homework was waived for the rest of the te


When I talk to business people about Y2K, I'm struck by one thing. They all say, "I'm going to be OK, it's the other guy I'm worried about."

Workers Comp

Workers' compensation is beginning to resurface as an issue in Sacramento, with business groups concerned that a Democrat-sponsored bill could be an attempt at undoing the landmark 1993 reforms that some have hailed as contributing to the state's economic


Downtown L.A.'s venerable Jonathan Club, looking to capitalize on the opening of Staples Center and other developments in the area, is renovating its facility and making it easier to become a member.


In 1994, he put the first record-industry site on the Web for Geffen Records. Then he was instrumental in creating the first downloadable, full-length entertainment product an Aerosmith song. The achievement was noted as part of an Internet exhibit at t

E Style

Laurie McCartney used to spend hours scouring the Internet, as well as brick-and-mortar retailers, for chic, affordable maternity clothes usually to no avail.

Computer Colum

In the world of business presentations, there's a marked gap between software and hardware capabilities. That is, the major software programs that help you create graphic presentations have awesome power; but the hardware available to show off these creat


Bassil Dahiyat is a walking energy machine developing super-sophisticated computer programs, directing a team of genius-grade scientists, raising millions in venture capital, and leading one of the L.A. area's most promising biotech companies.

Los Angeles

It's seen each day at movie and television studios, of course, as twentysomething actors, writers and directors make a stab at a career in show business. But it's also seen at advertising agencies, Internet companies, law firms and fashion design houses,


The Feb. 8 article, "Edison All but Surrendering in Power Wars," created a misleading impression about our business strategy. Far from surrendering to our competition, we have actually gone beyond the more publicized and less profitable playing field


For an agent, clout is your clients and Larry Salz has clout. He currently represents writers on "Spin City," "The Drew Carey Show," "Dharma & Greg," "Mad About You" and "Party of Five."

Ent Note

The importance and utility of your company's annual report should not be underestimated. The annual report serves critical marketing and information functions, with real impact on corporate performance ratings.

Small Biz

Core Business: Designing and producing engines for electric cars, as well as a line of electric cars built from the ground up


One of TV's hottest shows isn't a sitcom or a cop show it's the "CBS Sunday Night Movie," which routinely finishes as one of the top 10-rated prime-time shows each week. Helping develop and guide those shows is 28-year-old Bela Bajaria, director of CBS'

santa Cruz

When National Park Service officials approached Francis Gherini in the late '80s to buy his family's sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island, they offered him $4 million just $2,500 an acre for his share of the property.

Ask Lorraine

Question: I'm a young a mother of three children under the age of 5. I'm recently divorced. I have a liberal arts degree but don't feel qualified for any particular career, even if I could afford the time to go into business or afford the child care. I ow


Sempra Energy has agreed to acquire KN Energy Inc., the nation's second largest natural gas pipeline and storage operator, for $1.9 billion.


JVC Entertainment Inc. pulled the plug on Largo Entertainment Inc., even though one of its productions, "Affliction," generated Oscar nominations for stars Nick Nolte and James Coburn.


It's hard to imagine a 24-year-old with a busier schedule than Casey Wasserman. The grandson of legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, he has his hands in any number of projects philanthropic, commercial and civic.


USC sophomore Paula Rincon serves as her sorority's scholarship chairwoman, teaches international relations at Manual Arts High School and mentors a mentally disabled youth.


If L.A.'s twentysomethings seem like a promising lot, consider what happens when they turn 30.


As a full-fledged couture designer, Daniel Franco has done individual pieces for the likes of actress Cameron Diaz and Japanese pop star Anri. And last week, the first collection carrying the Daniel Franco name went on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly


The duo at Naughty Dog can't keep track of all the awards they have won for their Crash Bandicoot video game series. And yet, the two longtime friends seem to take the hoopla in stride. After all, they've been creating games since they were 15.


New Times Los Angeles thinks of itself as an alternative newsweekly that does things a bit differently than the competition. But in April 1998 it took a really unorthodox step, even by New Times standards: It named a 24-year-old ad-sales prodigy as publis


Four years ago, when Calabasas-based Xylan Corp. wanted to hire an engineer from Salt Lake City, the computer networking company hit a snag. The worker wanted the job, but balked at the Southern California location.


10 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: The merger of Warner Communications and Time Inc. created the largest media company in the world, with such lucrative assets as Warner Bros. studios and Home Box Office After 12 years and $200 million, Atlantic Richfield Co. gave


"Man needs postage, man wants postage, man gets postage" is how Ari Engelberg, 27, laughingly refers to the idea that eventually became, a fledgling Internet service that enables users to print postage directly onto envelopes, labels and busine


If you're of a certain age, it might be tempting to skip this week's special report on L.A.'s up and comers under 30. Frankly, that's how I felt when we started receiving resumes from folks who have started their own companies, been promoted to executive-


Where does an unmotivated student at Yale who rarely went to class and spent much of his time watching movies on cable wind up after graduation? Hollywood, of course, and with a screenplay in tow.


Some days Julie Carson is on the phone to Europe before the sun rises. Other days stretch well into night as she works on a deal in Asia.