Stories for October 1999

Monday, October 11


When I visited friends this summer, I noticed that most of them had one thing in common. In addition to being great hosts and lots of fun, almost all had home offices. Some run businesses from home; others work at home part-time for a large employer.


So now that Los Angeles isn't going to have a football team anytime soon, what was really lost?


Angelenos have a reputation as lousy tippers. But while they still aren't coughing up as much as New Yorkers, L.A. restaurant goers appear to be getting more generous.


Over the past 20 years, I have effectively utilized La Opinion as part of a number of marketing strategies for a wide range of clients in varied product and service categories. I have also watched the L.A. Times wrestle with the Hispanic market with less


On a recent night at Dodger Stadium, Brad Luster was taking in the game but suddenly felt compelled to reach for his cell phone.


Nearly 10 years ago, professional skateboarder Steve Rocco decided to take a stab at breaking into the manufacturing side of the skateboard industry. He charged $6,000 to his personal credit card to buy blank skateboard decks that he painted with colorful


Sunday's Los Angeles Times Magazine marked a milestone: at 170 pages, it is the fattest Sunday magazine ever published by the Times.


Opponents object to the growing avalanche of daily messages that clog the box. Proponents continue to remind us that e-mail is a technology support tool whose universal acceptance and use is inevitable.


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but to one San Fernando Valley landlord, it could also be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Entrepreneur's Notebook

There is nothing quite so exhilarating as the call from a prospective client saying, "We chose you." It's not just the fact that your business will benefit from the income; it is as much about a personal triumph, an affirmation of all the work you've put


When Los Angeles was given several months earlier this year to find a suitable financing package for an NFL expansion franchise, this newspaper referred to the process as rich guys' chess. Now that the match is over, it's tempting to conclude that the ric

Ocbj-real estate

National sales by publicly traded commercial brokers were up 32 percent in the first half of 1999 from the like period a year ago, according to researcher SBG Partners.


Not that business was bad for the San Francisco investment bank that accepted $1.5 billion cash from Chase Manhattan Corp. The 31-year-old firm posted two straight quarters of record profits this year. That followed a strong fourth quarter, when most riva

Featured Newsmaker

Greenwich Group International LLC has hired real estate veteran Martin Sawa to head up sales for its Western U.S. region.

Digest Add

Two of the nation's biggest radio station operators agreed to merge last week. Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s $15.9 billion acquisition of AMFM Inc. is expected to greatly consolidate media ownership nationwide, including in the Los Angeles market.


Once known as the "aerospace capital of the world," the South Bay continues to shift its economic focus from defense contracting to the commercial high-tech arena.


I was surprised to see the omission of Banco Popular North America in your special report "Banking on Latinos" (Sept. 27).


10 years ago this week: Friday the 13th saw a 190-point plunge in the stock market, the biggest drop since the crash of October 1987. Southern California was hit hard, led by Hilton Hotels Corp.'s 20 percent drop. Five days later, the Dow regained more th


Art in America has come down to this: If you're looking for a painting that matches your sofa, there is now a Web site to help you find it and then buy it.


Marking a return to the Long Beach Airport after an absence of over two years, American Airlines Inc. plans to begin service to its Dallas/Ft. Worth hub starting Jan. 31.


"Stocks are now, we believe, in the midst of a one-time-only rise to much higher ground to the neighborhood of 36,000 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. After they complete this historic ascent, owning them will still be profitable, but the returns w

LA Stories

Last week, two campaign committees based in Montebello filed for bankruptcy: Calderon for (State) Senate '98 and Calderon for Attorney General.


Terry Fisher doesn't believe the length or difficulty of the work week has changed all that much over the years, regardless of technology. It's just that time is more efficiently spent.


While Gemstar International Group Ltd.'s proposed $7.7 billion acquisition of TV Guide, announced last week, was neither long strategized nor long hatched, it's probably the move that will catapult the Pasadena technology company into the big time.


It looks as if the network has a hit on its hands with the new Friday night drama, "Now and Again" especially with 18- to 49-year-old viewers, the ones most coveted by advertisers and the ones CBS has desperately tried to add to its aging schedule.

Company Index



Newhall Land & Farming Co. already has 30,000 lots slated for development in and around Valencia.

Q & A

As co-director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, Daniel J.B. Mitchell tracks local, national and international trends in the workforce to decipher how jobs are affected by everything from trade restrictions to the widespread use of cell phones. He also has w


Navid Mahmoodzadegan, a vice president of investment banking with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette's Century City offices, has no doubt that technology is changing the way he works and he loves it.

Small Business

Staying ahead of the technological curve can be tough for a small business. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that Crest National Digital Media Complex, a family-owned post-production company in Hollywood, plunked down several million dollars


After years of proclamations that downtown is about to emerge as a 24-hour destination, the first true test comes with this week's opening of the Staples Center.


When radio reporter Randy Riddle prepared a story at WBBM in Chicago during the '70s, he rummaged through rolls of pale-white teletype paper, literally cutting and pasting wire-service stories.


As America's aging population and the medical community at large search for less-invasive ways of combating illnesses, treatments are coming in ever-smaller packages.


Are people more productive today, with their cell phones and videoconferences and Internet connections, than they were a decade or two ago?


Sharon Allen was promoted to managing partner of Deloitte & Touche in Los Angeles. She will be responsible for overseeing Southern California and Nevada markets. Allen was most recently managing partner for the firm's Portland/Boise practice.


The global labor shortage, especially for high-level corporate talent, has been a source of major headaches for countless businesses. But it is fueling great times at Century City-based Korn/Ferry International.


Just two or three years ago, I thought I'd never buy anything online. In fact, the whole idea seemed faintly ridiculous, as if the pounds of mail-order catalogs arriving each week and the veritable monuments to retail built throughout every city in the co


One group insists on protecting state laws against the destabilizing effects of the Internet.


There is for those dying to hear cutting-edge music that usually isn't played on the radio. There's, which allows listeners to customize their own compact discs. There's also for rabid fans who want to get news updates on


A few years back, when an investment banker defected from a premier shop like Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp., it was usually to take a position in a client company, enticed by a compensation package heavily larded with stock warrants.


Entrepreneurs have a tough time setting their egos aside to ask for help, especially when the helpers are graduate students. But thousands of savvy business owners around the country are relying on student brainpower to overcome serious financial and mark


The innovative companies like Malibu Research ("Ship to Satellite," Sept. 27) can also be very helpful in improving science education in the California public schools. For example, a portable satellite antenna might be used for radio astronomy observation


Demand for upscale housing is driving a land rush in ritzy neighborhoods across the San Fernando Valley, but a push by developers to build several homes on large lots in high-end neighborhoods has the city of Los Angeles cracking down.


Too bad Jenisa Washington's "overnight success" was so quick it left no time to learn a little manners ("Leather-Wear: Designer Has Become Overnight Success With Lambskin Fashions," Sept. 20). Gee, did she ever think keeping other people waiting an hour m


When Business Week did a profile of Mattel Inc. Chief Executive Jill Barad last year, she was shown on the cover wearing a baby-pink suit and tie.

Real Estate Column

Is the Miracle Mile feeling the effects of high rents and low vacancies on the Westside?


As the National Football League moves closer to deciding where to locate its next new franchise, the key questions facing league officials and existing owners are which venue will draw the most fan support for a new team and which one offers the best busi


When Peter Shea bought a 62.5 percent stake in Entrepreneur magazine 12 years ago for $3.5 million, one of his first decisions was to move the company's headquarters from L.A. to Irvine. Now, the 54-year-old CEO is preparing to relocate again.

Monday, October 4


Picture this: you can now take digital photos and transfer them directly to your computer, to post them on the company Web site or include them in catalogs, brochures and other documents headed for print.


With the baseball season winding down, the Los Angeles Dodgers have to be considered one of the most disappointing teams of the 1999 season, on the field and at the bottom line.


Gov. Gray Davis approved one of the most ambitious health care reform packages in the nation, granting more than 20 million Californians the right to sue their HMOs, obtain second medical opinions and appeal their health plans' decisions to independent ex


With millions of dollars at stake and policy-makers in other cities watching closely, the L.A. City Council is still refusing to take a stand on the controversial issue of high-speed Internet access.


Bill Gross was one of the first to do it. Then came Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton. And now David Bohnett, founder of GeoCities, is doing it too.


The number of California homeowners with earthquake insurance coverage which has plummeted from an estimated 2.4 million before the 1994 Northridge quake to less than 1 million today is about to skyrocket, according to the California Earthquake Author


Sherry Heitz says she can't keep her earthquake disaster kits on the shelves these days.


L.A. County is the most expensive place in the United States to operate a manufacturing plant, according to a new study, but that doesn't seem to bother a lot of local industrial real estate developers at least not yet.

Company Index



A new breed of tenant has been moving into downtown class-A office towers in recent months: the dot-coms.


The rash of disastrous earthquakes in Turkey, Greece, Taiwan and just last week in Mexico has brought back some scary memories for countless Angelenos but more important, it's prompting the inevitable questions about the inevitable day when L.A., too, w


In regard to the Advertising & P.R. column ("Underachieving Spanish Daily Paper to Get a Boost," Sept. 20): When I was growing up, I used to read La Opinion to know about current events in Mexico. It seemed exciting to be in touch with my "Mexican side."


The naysayers who last year predicted that entertainment software company THQ Inc. couldn't keep up its spectacular growth without a key line of wrestling games have been put in a headlock.


After the rubble has been cleared, the rebuilding begins. And for better or worse, natural disasters can provide a powerful boost to a lackluster economy.


The Dow Generation all the do-it-yourself investors will soon turn to financial advisers, big time.


Not long ago, seismologists relied on some pretty low-tech methods to measure activity beneath the Earth's surface.


Much has been written both here in Los Angeles and nationally about the resurgence of organized labor. Yet to a large extent, this "renaissance" has been limited to a few sectors, largely tied to public or non-profit institutions, or to areas like por


While there's no predicting when the next major earthquake will strike, engineers and other risk assessors say there are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize damage.

Real Estate Column

Looking to lease space in Arboretum Courtyard in Santa Monica? Sorry, it's too late.


While Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez top the music charts, Spanish-language television station KMEX-TV Channel 34 has the No. 1-rated newscast, and the circulation of Hispanic publications continues to grow, Spanish-language movie houses are quietly fadi


The Advertising & P.R. column ("Underachieving Spanish Daily Paper to Get a Boost," Sept. 20), which included an item on Ogilvy & Mather, in part is misleading.


E! Entertainment had a big problem: How to hold onto the enormous ratings it had generated by having daily coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial.


FIVE YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: In a sign that the Southern California economy was recovering, loans made by the Small Business Administration increased 23 percent to a record $708 million during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. A home satellite system designed


Earlier this summer, Councilman Alex Padilla, chairman of the council Information Technology Committee, said L.A. has an opportunity to set the tone nationwide on broadband technology and competition.


20th Century Insurance Group, among the hardest hit insurers following the Northridge earthquake, re-entered the home insurance market as of Sept. 15.


With so little land available, the Los Angeles Unified School District has focused its attention on acquiring properties where businesses currently operate, or where commercial redevelopment has been planned.


It's 7 p.m. on Friday. In a crowded, noisy room, a couple of women check their makeup. A thirty-something fellow answers his cell phone, shouting above the din. A group of co-workers raise a toast to celebrate their colleague's birthday.

LA Stories

What perks are most important to executive job seekers a company car, child care, concierge services?


A tarot card reader telling fortunes at the recent Northeast Venture Conference said she was astonished by how many "money" cards were randomly picked by the folks who sat down at her table.


Do you often feel that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, or that if you don't do something yourself, it won't get done right?


After having survived the tornadoes of Kentucky, the hurricanes of Florida and the snowstorms of Boston, Linda Smith Frost feels that natural disasters are a way of life that can't be avoided.


Two months after a contract settlement between shipping companies and longshoremen, more trouble is brewing on L.A.'s docks.


I enjoyed Frank Swertlow's article about the New Year's Eve parties in the "new millennium" ("Some Pricey New Year's Eve Parties Already Sold Out," Sept. 27). While some hotels and restaurants may be excused for calling Jan. 1, 2000 the first day of the n


They're still shaking their heads over the 8,500 attendees expected to turn out at Long Beach Convention Center on Oct. 5 for the annual California Governor's Conference for Women.


Question: I am the second-generation survivor of a family-owned firm. I love the business my family is in, but I hate working so closely with them. It just seems like too much. We're always together and while I love them all, it's starting to have a negat


There's a new message coming out of downtown's Toy district just in time for the holiday shopping season: "Never buy retail."


As if HMOs weren't in enough trouble from new health reform legislation making it easier for them to be sued, they now face a massive lawsuit from the California Medical Association that could cost tens of millions of dollars.


To soothe New York nerves chafed by constant exposure to the securities markets, sit down for a talk with a mutual fund veteran from at least 500 miles out of town.


The Aug. 30 article "School Vote Is First Shot in Fight Over Union Contracts" misses the mark on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).


The name of a partner at the downtown law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy was misspelled in the Sept. 20 Wall Street West column. The partner's name is Neil Wertlieb.


Career Turning Point: Being hired by Jamie Kellner, Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch to start the Fox network


While many developers shun major retail projects in Latino neighborhoods as financially risky, one family-owned firm is thriving in those areas.


The local biotechnology research network envisioned by MiniMed Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Alfred Mann might be expanding nationwide.


I wish any of these business owners Earl Ofari Hutchinson was speaking of who refuse to hire blacks could be black for five minutes! ("Good News, Bad News for Black Businesses," Sept. 27.)

Market Column

Pity John Dreyer. He's the guy who has to take the phone calls every time a scandal involving Walt Disney Co. pops up.