Stories for December 2000

Wednesday, December 27

BIOTECH---Industry Maintaining Its Growth but Economic Slowdown May Prevent Tech Transfer From Reaching Full Potential

Two new biotech institutes are getting ready to open their doors, while another is set to kick into high gear. Meanwhile, third-phase trials for a promising melanoma vaccine is due to begin, and the first product from a Caltech spinoff that hopes to revol

COSTS---From Workers' Comp to Minimum Wage Hikes,Businesses Will Get Slammed on Several Fronts

One of the hallmarks of the last several boom years has been the ability of L.A.-area businesses to keep costs down.

Chet Currier---This Year's Reality Check Produces Cautious Outlook

It has been a while since mutual fund investors looked ahead to a new year with such subdued expectations.

WIRELESS---L.A. Companies Get Into Act on Latest Technological Trend By Bringing Software and Dozens of Services to Market

You've heard the hype, which runs along the lines of "wireless will make you rich" or "wireless will spike the Nasdaq." And indeed, over the past two years, money has been pouring into just about every company with "wireless" mentioned in its business mod

MORTON'S---Restaurant Dynasty

The Morton family started out in the food business by opening a saloon in Chicago before Prohibition. Now, their star-studded L.A. eatery is a local landmark.

POLITICS---City Hall Awaits Massive Change Of Power at Top

With the 2000 presidential election ordeal finally out of the way, Angelenos may be tempted to put away all thoughts of polls and ballots. But elections will once again dominate the local headlines in 2001, as the city of L.A. prepares for one of its most

MUSIC---Rising Media Star


PARTY---Publicity-Shy Firm to Make Big Splash With Pricey Party

For a company that seems to shun publicity, Znetix Corp. has an interesting way of showing it.

PROJECTS---Large Local Developments Near Completion

What's in the works for next year? TrizecHahn Development Corp.'s vaunted Hollywood & Highland will come online. Caruso Affiliated Holdings' Grove at Farmers Market will near completion.

B2B---Business to Business

Call it the Internet's serious side. It's B2B. Neither sexy nor glamorous, B2B is about as interesting to the average Web surfer as a computer screen full of HTML script.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Fiber-Optic Future Seen as Good Strategy for Teledyne

A year of independence seems to have done Teledyne Technologies Inc. a world of good.

Roving Eye

You can run from advertising, but it's becoming tougher to get away, especially now that there's a billboard that can follow you.

HEALTH---New Year Promises to Bring a Slew of Initiatives Aimed at Financial Relief for Medical Groups, Trauma Centers

With Los Angeles County at the center of a state health care crisis that has physician groups failing as most hospitals operate in the red, the coming year promises a host of initiatives aimed at providing financial relief for medical care providers.

REALITY---Programmers Will Attempt to Outdo Each Other As They Keep Popular Voyeuristic Shows Alive

Outfoxing saboteurs, dodging advances from g-strung beauties and performing physical feats of daring and endurance may bear little resemblance to real life for most, but then most don't have to sell millions of dollars in advertising each week.

NORTHROP---Litton Merger Seen as Boost For Northrop

With its planned acquisition of Litton Industries Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp. is poised to retake its place as one of the top-ranking defense contractors in the U.S.

EDUCATION---LAUSD Faces Tough Negotiations With Teachers, Search For New Classroom Space as Belmont Decisions Remain

When it comes to making the massive improvements needed at the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent Roy Romer will enter 2001 pressed up against a wall.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Firms Must Think of Real Estate Needs in New Ways

Despite the recent dot-com slowdown, companies will continue to move from bricks and mortar to Internet commerce in coming years.

HOLLYWOOD---After Record Growth, Entertainment Industry, Local Economy Could Be Hit Hard If Actors, Writers Stage Threatened Strikes

If the year ahead was a movie, it might be called "Perfect Storm II." As Hollywood coasts into 2001 on the momentum of consecutive record-breaking years, a number of circumstances will soon converge that could take the wind out of the entertainment indust

COMPLEX---Sale of Water Garden II Complex Falls Apart

In what may be the most high-profile real estate deal to unravel amid the uncertainty caused by insolvent dot-com tenants, the $260 million sale of J.H. Snyder Co.'s Water Garden II in Santa Monica has fallen through, real estate sources said.

Tech Talk---E-Commerce Companies Party On Despite Tight Times

An Internet shakeout and choppy economic market don't necessarily spoil holiday cheer. Despite a new emphasis on tightening their budget belts, some Los Angeles Internet companies still managed to party in style this month.

MARKETING---Industry Officials Optimistic Despite Expected Slower Economy, More Choices for Consumers

The Los Angeles advertising and marketing community faces a hit or miss 2001, when a cooling economy may tighten up clients' budgets. But industry officials expect to forge ahead by creating better promotional campaigns and clinging to lucrative accounts

Backlot Buzz---Small Movies Getting Huge Oscar Push

A horde of films is being rushed into release by year-end to ensure eligibility for Oscar consideration.

My Favorite Sites

I have been portrayed in the press, and with good reason, as intensely focused on the constant improvement of police service to the people of Los Angeles. Because of my nature and the nature of this commitment, I rarely have much spare time to engage in m

Ahead of the Curve

Cover-Up: Two of the art world's most avid and unrepentant art collectors painter Stephen Keene and Sundance Institute Director Ken Brecher discuss their compulsion to fill every inch of wall space with works of art. The discussion will be held on Jan

Cybersense---AOL-Time Warner Pact Puts Squeeze on Small ISPs

The Federal Trade Commission asserted its ideas about competition in approving the AOL-Time Warner merger earlier this month. Commissioners drafted a plan to require the corporate giant to open Time Warner's cable network to other Internet service provide


Jim DiBiasi has been appointed to the newly created position of chief operations officer/chief financial officer at Jeff McClusky & Associates, an entertainment promotion company in Los Angeles. He will oversee the financial matters of the core business a

MOCA---Marketing MOCA

Contemporary art is a hard sell. That may explain why the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will soon be launching the most expensive advertising campaign in its 21-year history. Created by powerhouse advertising agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day/Los Angeles

INTERVIEW---Taking Care

Physician Keith Richman closes down his practice to confront the HMOs and the troubled health-care system in new position as California Assemblyman

HOTELS---Hospitality Industry

Even Without Democratic Convention, L.A. Attractions Will Draw Increasing Number of Visitors

Jane Applegate---Trade Association Providing Opportunities for Angels

Entrepreneurs may not all believe in heaven, but hundreds descended on the Javits Center last week in hopes of meeting a real angel early-stage equity investors with an appetite for investment in entrepreneurial companies.

RETAIL---Shopping Frenzy of Recent Years Expected To Cool as Consumers Tighten Spending

The retail industry in Los Angeles has been chugging along at a fairly fast clip for the past several years, but in 2001 it should run into a detour.

REAL ESTATE---Industry Remains in Good Shape Although Office Tenants May Have Room to Bargain

The L.A. real estate landscape at the end of 2000 is substantially different than the frenzy that characterized the market at this time last year. And it won't be just because two of the city's most anticipated projects, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the A

Personal Finance---Police, Teachers Left Out of Push for Help With Housing

Congress passed its major housing bill for the year 2000 this month, loaded with mortgage and financial assistance for select beneficiaries from Native-American and Native-Hawaiian home buyers to the elderly and disabled. It even provided generous end-o

Deals & Dealmakers

The county's surprisingly big decline in joblessness, down from 5.5 percent in October, came despite increasing signs of a national economic slowdown. It is the county's lowest unemployment rate in at least 18 years.

CHANGES---We Could Be Losing Our Place in the Sun

Two decades ago to the horror of the liberal establishment in L.A. and elsewhere a conservative administration took command as the nation headed into recession.

PROCESSORS---Investors Keen on High-Flying Chip Firm

Even as Internet content companies drop like flies, the race to deliver data, voice and video traffic ever faster is spurring investments in new firms convinced they can do just that.

Wall Street West---Investors Point Fingers, Eye Options as Economy Cools

The crystal balls seem particularly cloudy as this year ends. Some money managers say the investment scene is the worst since the Persian Gulf War in 1990, while others say there will be no recession, so no worries.

Weekly Briefing

The Beverly Laurel Hotel has been a fixture on Beverly Boulevard for nearly 40 years. But the family-owned business didn't really start coming into its own until a decade ago, when the popular Swingers diner opened in the adjacent coffee shop. Staff repor

PORT---Boosting Technology Becomes Focus of Labor Discussions As Companies Seek Modernization, Unions Look for Security

The coming year could bring a historic labor agreement to the L.A. waterfront, where employers and dockworkers are in the early stages of developing a compromise solution to modernize the ports.

OVERVIEW---A Time of Uncertainty

No one disputes the fact that the Los Angeles economy is finishing up a stellar year. The only question is whether the good times will keep rolling.

FINANCE---Finance Crunch

At the end of 1999, as investors looked out from their comfortable chairs and surveyed the coming year, optimism filled the air. Brand-new companies were getting bushels of cash from venture capitalists. Slightly older businesses were preparing for initia

Mitch Albom---Bush, GOP Still Losers Among Blacks

It was, as you might expect, an uphill slog. This was four years ago at a black journalists' convention, and Dole, who seemed a fundamentally decent man, struck an apologetic tone for the party's historic ambivalence toward black people.


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Monday, December 18

Real Estate Column---With New Developments, Telecom Space Could Double

While many observers have their attention riveted on how the shuttering of dot-coms is affecting Westside lease rates and property values, another tech-driven boom is proceeding ahead of pace in downtown L.A.

COMMUNICATIONS---Identity Builder

Gary Baker resorted to an age-old strategy five years ago when many of his major corporate clients were being acquired or leaving town, meaning they no longer needed him to produce annual reports for them.

Ahead of the Curve

Holiday Shindig: For 41 years running, L.A. County has hosted a holiday celebration jam-packed with dance and music. The six-hour event, held on Dec. 24 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, features big band swing, gospel, ballet, salsa dancing, taiko drummi

Wall Street West---Entertainment Industry Not Providing Dramatic Returns

The entertainment industry is probably too sexy for its own good, says Dave Merritt, new managing director with Gerard Klauer Mattison, the New York-based securities firm that is making a big push to establish a presence in Los Angeles.

SOFTWARE---Educational Software Firm Learning to Grow Revenues

It seems that nothing is getting in the way of the rapid growth of Encore Software Inc.

TOYS---EToys Endures Withdrawal of Investors

Struggling online retailer eToys Inc., deep in a make-or-break holiday season, is being abandoned by four institutional shareholders and appears to be readying itself to be acquired, according to several industry analysts.

CINEMA---Art Theater Project Stalled by Chain's,Bankruptcy Filing

Robert Redford's dream of converting the landmark Aero Theater in Santa Monica into a showplace for independent art films has run into a snag.

Weekly Briefing

Given the history of 3225 Helms Ave. in Culver City, it seems fitting that the building be home to an antique store. Built in stages between 1931 and 1947, the structure was the original location of Helms Bakery. From then until the'60s, its door-to-door

Political Pulse---Are Businesses in Danger of Losing Prop. 13 Protection?

Picking up steam is a movement to split off business properties from Proposition 13 protection known as splitting the tax rolls. Such a move would raise property taxes on commercial buildings by at least $1 billion statewide. Understandably, business

Roving Eye

As if Staples Center's stark oval design and spacey purple glow aren't enough to convince visitors that they're having a 21st century experience, attendants at the VIP entrances are sporting green lasers on their index fingers.

INCUBATOR---ECompanies Getting Out of Incubation

It was a simple concept with a simple slogan. Start a business with a lot of money that would hatch ideas for companies to leverage the awesome power of the Internet, attract outside investors, go public and make everyone rich.

Cybersense---Even With Big E-Tailers, Satisfaction Isn't Guaranteed

Some people think they'll be safe shopping on the Web if they stick to the big-time brand-name stores, particularly those they've trusted before.

HOUSING---Pasadena May Require Low-Income Units in Housing

Unhappy with the lack of affordable housing that developers are building in Pasadena, city policymakers are considering an ordinance that would require all new housing developments to include low-income units.

ENERGY---A Black-Out Christmas?

Higher energy prices and power cutbacks are slamming thousands of businesses in Los Angeles, as the state's energy crisis deepens. From huge refineries and aerospace companies to neighborhood restaurants and coin-op laundries, businesses are being hit wit


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Chet Currier---No Need to Panic as Stock Funds Fall on Hard Times

Unhappy over the end of a long winning streak with your mutual funds in the 2000 bear market? Despair not, you're in distinguished company.

Tech Talk---For This E-Tailer, Online Success Has Been Fine Art

It's no secret that forming a brand-new company to sell products like kitty litter, carburetors and stuffed animals isn't lighting up the bottom line of many Internet firms.

Backlot Buzz---'Unbreakable' Director Parts With Willis

Is director/screenwriter M. Night Shamalyan upset over the box-office performance of "Unbreakable" ($77.4 million in its first three weeks) lagging his last year's "The Sixth Sense" ($107.5 million in its first three weeks and $293.5 million to date)?

CORPORATE FOCUS---Investors Have Hard Time Taking Toy Firm Seriously

Despite a string of popular products and continuing good earnings, Jakks Pacific Inc. is still trying to get off the mat after being body slammed by Wall Street.

INTERVIEW---James Hankla, chief executive of the Alameda Corridor Authority

As head of the massive Alameda Corridor rail project, James Hankla is breaking new ground by being within budget and on schedule to deliver the critical cargo link

TRADE---L.A. Trade Sector Vulnerable To U.S. Economic Recession

If the nationwide downturn has some bite to it, the international trade industry in Los Angeles could be one of the first sectors to feel the impact, according to local economists.

Working at Home---Selecting Client Gifts an Important Part of Doing Business

Each year my staff looks forward to a holiday package from our company travel agent. The reason is simple she always sends the perfect gift. Last year she sent a basket of treats with something for everyone. It included both sweet and savory items, and

Jane Bryant Quinn---Refunds Are in the Works For Bad Investment Advice

If you're one of an estimated 50,000 trusting investors misled by the get-rich-quick guru, Wade Cook, you might be able to get some money back.

TELEVISION---Sale of Stations Signals End to Diller's Local Dream

Five years ago, Barry Diller vowed to build a media company on the foundation of 12 television stations that aired home-shopping programs.

BIOTECH---Cedars-Sinai to Create Gene Technology for Licensing

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has decided to establish a Gene Therapeutics Institute and next year will import a husband-and-wife medical team from England to get it off the ground.

APPAREL---Study Reveals Severe Training Gap in Garment Industry

Teacher Heather Preimesberger is at a loss when it comes to talking with most of the students enrolled in her class on garment work.

Mitch Albom---Lennon Is Sad Image of Our Mortality

What do we mourn when we mourn John Lennon? He was, after all, only one-fourth of a famous band. The Beatles might have been to rock 'n' roll what Michael Jordan was to the NBA, but excellence alone would not explain the emotional eruption that occurs eve

PUBLIC RELATIONS---Public Relations Firms Revel in a Boffo Year

Los Angeles P.R. firms raked in the dough this year, thanks to booming business from dot-coms, tech firms and a slew of other new clients. But what may be even more surprising are their predictions of similar gains next year, despite signs of an economic

Deals & Dealmakers

U.S. antitrust enforcers have approved America Online Inc.'s $126 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. after the companies agreed to let AOL's online rivals reach their customers over Time Warner's cable TV lines.

Jane Applegate---Mother-Daughter Partnership Benefits From Differences

Martina Arfwidson and Gun Nowak were sharing a private joke when they arrived at their FACE Stockholm boutique on a recent day. A staff member quickly handed them copies of the company's new mail order catalog, delivered a few hours before the owners walk

My Favorite Sites

I visit here often because I like Latin music. The site is based out of Washington, D.C., and they track the latest artists and their music. It's not so much a radio station as a collection of music. There's Brazilian music, Latin music, you name it.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---All Firms Need to Be Managed Like Public Companies

Whether entrepreneurs intend to undertake a public offering, pursue a strategy of being acquired or simply try to maintain and grow a successful private company, they should make efforts to manage their companies as though they were public entities.


Steve Doyle has been appointed director of the Pacific Southwest business development center at Deloitte & Touche. He is based in Los Angeles and will lead the efforts of a 30-plus member marketing and sales team that supports client service professionals

INTERNET---Taking a Good Look Around

A gorgeous model stands inches in front of you, wearing only a bright orange sarong and bikini top. Suddenly, she begins slowly spinning, showing you the outfit from every angle, as if she were a high-priced supermodel on a Paris catwalk.

HOMES---Hanging on to History

With thousands of vintage homes and other structures, Highland Park stands as one of L.A.'s best-kept historic secrets. But preserving that legacy isn't easy

L.A. Stories

The toast of Mayor Richard Riordan's annual holiday media reception was not the mayor himself but L.A. Department of Water & Power General Manager S. David Freeman. That's no surprise, considering that DWP customers are among the few in the state not bein

FILM---Studios Shifting Risks, Costs of Live-Action Film

The Walt Disney Co. looks like it will be the box-office champ for 2000, with a 14.6 percent market share heading into the final days of the year. But rather than touting that achievement, media reports and even Disney officials themselves have been talki

Monday, December 11

MOTHERLAND---Overseas Ties Are Valuable Asset for Attracting Clients

The international ties that bind are a major asset for the Chinese- and Korean-American banks in Los Angeles.

OUTREACH---Asian Banks Target Other Ethnicities to Broaden Base

In 1995, with the recession still gripping Los Angeles and real estate values in a deep trough, General Bank was among the local institutions struggling. Its earnings were down and its loan losses were skyrocketing.

CHINESE---Onslaught of Small Banks Fighting for Piece of Market

Even casual observers of the banking industry are familiar with major Asian-American institutions such as Cathay Bank, East West Bank and GBC Bancorp.

Weekly Briefing

Aaardvark's Odd Ark has been providing Angelenos with quality used clothing for almost 29 years. It started as one man's effort to finance his education by selling clothes at a flea market and has grown into a successful retail chain.

POPULATIONS---Shifting Demographics Prompting Changes in Strategy

In the years ahead, demographic changes in the Asian population in Los Angeles will pose new challenges to Chinese and Korean community banks that have built their business on serving their own ethnic communities.

LINGERIE---Lingerie Heating Up Online Sales

While online ventures are notorious money-losers and long-established brick-and-mortar operations are solid, the Internet site for Frederick's of Hollywood has been profitable since its first day, even as the retailer is struggling to emerge from Chapt

LAW---Hurt by Competition, Tuttle & Taylor Law Firm Folds

The old-line Los Angeles law firm of Tuttle & Taylor, which just last year had received the Constitutional Rights Foundation's "Firm of the Year" Award, has closed its doors a victim of increasing competition and rising tension among its partners.

COMPARE---Chinese, Korean Banks Each Have Distinctive Styles

The ultimate in community banking. Both Chinese and Korean banks in L.A. are devoted to and dependent upon their respective ethnic bases, and both emphasize personal relationships when it comes to their customers.

Jane Applegate---Business Travel Can Be Fun If You Negotiate Good Deals

In this super high-tech world, a face-to-face meeting is still the best way to begin a business relationship, or close a major deal. But small-business owners pressed for time, working without a travel department and on a budget find business travel e

HIRING---Hiring Outlook Is Unclear as L.A. Firms Eye Key Factors

Los Angeles-based employers are getting more cautious when it comes to hiring new workers, according to new survey results and regional economists.

PROFILES---Top Banks Cash In on Community Roots

United Commercial Bank hasn't opened a new retail branch office in Southern California since 1996, but make no mistake about it, the San Francisco-based bank has its sights set on Los Angeles.

INTERVIEW---Calling His Own Plays

After toiling in the shadow of Disney's Michael Eisner, Richard Nanula is now charting his own course as head of a firm specializing in Internet sports site

TOYS---Learning to Have Fun

After encountering stumbling blocks, NEUROSMITH FOUNDERS are enjoying TAKING THEIR educational products to a new level

Backlot Buzz---Finally, a Movie Comes in Under Budget

Michael Douglas, who stars in USA Films' current release "Traffic," has high praise for director Steven Soderbergh, who shot the film himself with a hand-held 35-mm camera, garnering an additional paycheck as cameraman.

MAINSTREAM---U.S. Bank Giants Moving to Make Inroads on Asian Turf

As the Asian-American community grows in Southern California, and Chinese and Korean banks gain assets and recognition, traditional U.S. banks are increasingly trying to snag a piece of their market.


Randy Brewer has been promoted to senior vice president at The Grizzard Agency, a marketing services group. He will be based out of the firm's Los Angeles office and will be providing strategic counsel and marketing direction for fund-raising and new busi

SENIORS---New Alzheimer's Residences Offer Upscale Amenities

A few companies in Los Angeles are trying to carve out a niche in the growing yet competitive senior-care business by opening upscale residences for Alzheimer's patients.

INTERNET---Fandom Builds Science Fiction Empire

At the tender age of 16 months, Santa Monica-based Fandom Inc. has purchased Glendale fan club and convention company Creation Entertainment. The move completes a trifecta of acquisitions in 2000 that officials of the fledgling multimedia business say wil

POWER---Industrial Firms Work Behind Scenes on Deregulation

Amid all the screaming and finger-pointing over California's power crisis, major industrial companies, the original force behind deregulation of the electricity market, have remained strangely silent.

My Favorite Sites

Here's how my day starts: I go to my personalized Yahoo page, which I've set up so that I first look at the financial markets. I like to be sure that I understand what's happening in Asia, so I watch the Nikkei and the yen. They tell me things about where

Tech Talk---College Computer Lines Clogged by Music Swapping

An epidemic of music-file swapping on local college campuses is overwhelming universities' computer networks, prompting school officials to take actions aimed at curtailing students' use of such file-sharing programs as those popularized by Napster Inc. a

CORPORATE FOCUS---Engineering Firm Benefits From Stream of Big Deals

Getting to know its major customers has resulted in a big payoff for Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Chet Currier---Funds That Bank on Foreign Stocks Keep Struggling

It's been a year to forget at U.S. mutual funds specializing in stocks of foreign origin.

CABLE---Cable Monopolies May Be Toppled By Installation of New Fiber-Optic Systems

The cable TV monopolies that have existed in Los Angeles for decades, and that have been the bane of countless TV viewers, appear headed for extinction.

STRIKE---Hollywood Turmoil Already Taking Toll

With a Hollywood shutdown appearing increasingly likely, a number of local businesses are already bracing for the fallout.

Cybersense---For Net Shoppers, Holiday Ordering Deadline Is Here

Like everything else online, last-minute Christmas shopping runs on Internet time.

FAME---Raising the Rookie

Like many NBA rookies, the Lakers' Mark Madsen has had a sudden introduction to fortune and fame that the league and his teammates are helping him deal with

Deals & Dealmakers

Unocal Corp. announced a power shift in its executive suite as well as an enhanced severance package for U.S. employees if the El Segundo company were to be acquired.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Options Available for Those Who Start Saving at Age 50

My mailboxes, both e- and snail, bring me every turn of the demographic wheel. These days, I'm hearing from those of you who woke up at 50 and said, "Wow, I'm not 30 anymore."

OVERVIEW---Asian Powerhouses of Banking

Their customer base is affluent and well educated. Their earnings are climbing in many cases, soaring. They're the Chinese and Korean banking institutions of Los Angeles, dozens of them. And despite their enviable niches, these institutions remain auton

VIDEO---Studios, Blockbuster Entering Into Test Of Video-on-Demand, Interactive TV

The curtain is going up on video-on-demand, the long-awaited technology that lets users stream movies and other programming to their television sets or personal computers via cable and DSL lines.

Roving Eye

Every holiday season, it's the same problem: What to wear to the big office party held right after work.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Starting a Private Foundation Can Be a Taxing Matter

Charitable giving can be motivated by any number of forces: religious convictions, social aspirations, or even fashion sense. What is certain is that big charitable giving has become the ultimate sign of success.

Mitch Albom---Bringing Peaceful End to Pain, Suffering

In recent weeks, as Americans fought over ballots as if they were life and death, the Dutch passed a law that really was about life and death: Namely, when is it acceptable to end one and welcome the other?


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Wall Street West---Employee Stock Plans See Rebirth as Market Stumbles

The employee stock ownership plan was something of a hit a generation ago. And even today there are certain giants, such as rental car giant Avis, that employees own under an ESOP.

Real Estate Column---New Developer Heads Project at Former Site of Cop Shop

Legacy Partners is out and a local developer is in to develop the site of a former police station in Burbank.

FAMILY---Korean Business Owners Want to Call It Quits

The ubiquitous Korean grocery and liquor marts that have become a fixture of the L.A. landscape may soon become a thing of the past. A recent report shows that a large percentage of those small-business owners are thinking about calling it quits and closi

VARIETY---Variety Expands Its Offices to Handle Growing Staff

The Hollywood trade paper Variety and its corporate parent, Cahners Business Publications, are expanding into additional space at their Miracle Mile location.

Ahead of the Curve

Utopian Ideals at MOCA: The Museum of Contemporary Art presents cutting-edge works by tech maven Stan Douglas. The Vancouver-based artist displays works in film, video and color photographs that explore themes of colonization, urban development and mass m

POLITICAL PULSE---City Hall Upgrade to Greet New Mayor, Council in July

For all those who've been wondering when all that retrofitting work at City Hall will be done and the old building reopened, there's now a target date: July 1, right when the new mayor and six new council members take office.

BUILDINGS---City Sees Progress In Retrofitting of Critical Structures

Of the 8,268 unreinforced masonry buildings in L.A. the ones considered most unsafe in an earthquake all but 13 have been either retrofited or razed, said Andrew Adelman, general manager of the city's Building & Safety Department.

Monday, December 4

My Favorite Sites

James V. De Sarno Jr., assistant director in charge, los angeles field office, federal bureau of investigation

Comment---Going Home Can Be a Very Good Trip

So this guy named Ed left home to seek his fortune in the big city, where he married a wonderful woman, got a job at a high-powered law firm and lived a generally charmed life. Except that his wife was cheating on him, a discovery the poor schnook made on

TELEVISION---Weblets Put a Big Dent in the Ratings of Major Networks

Results of the television industry's November sweeps period were released last week, and the weblets turned in a stunning performance.

Ahead of the Curve

The Los Angeles Master Chorale presents its 20th annual "Messiah" sing-along, featuring guest conductor Martin Neary, on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Four singers from the chorale's ranks perform the legendary solos. They'll be back

HEALTH---Clinic Failures Put Physicians In Major Jam

It's been a strange two weeks for Dr. Reza Danesh. The former medical director at a Long Beach clinic owned by KPC Medical Management suddenly found himself out of a job Nov. 20 when KPC abruptly closed all of its 38 clinics.

LAND---Feud Erupts Over Huge Land Deal for Reservoir

The city of Industry's acquisition two weeks ago of a 2,500-acre Boy Scouts campground in the San Gabriel Valley has unleashed a wave of fury from environmentalists, as well as open skepticism from water industry officials.

John Dorfman---Results in Picking Growth Stocks Haven't Been Half Bad

With my own money and with that of clients, I tend to invest like Scrooge McDuck. The stocks I buy are usually, in a word, cheap.

Tech Talk---Intellectual Property Auction Site Draws Heavy Action

Patent & License Exchange Inc. of Pasadena is hosting online auctions on its Web site that are attracting heavy hitters in the world's bustling intellectual property sector.

FOOD---Bristol Farms Chain Shuffles Its Upscale Store Locations

Bristol Farms, the posh purveyor of exotic foods, fine wines and gourmet groceries, is playing a game of musical stores as it jockeys for prime locations in town.

CANDLES---Business Scents


BANKING---Family Ties May Keep Bank From Going Merger Route

With the recent announcement that Detroit's Comerica Bank is buying Imperial Bancorp, all eyes turn to City National Corp., essentially the last L.A.-based banking survivor of significant size.

INTERVIEW---Nailing Down a Fortune

Alan I. Casden has become one of the richest people in Los Angeles by building a wide range of housing projects that run the gamut from luxury to low-income

COMMUTING---Gridlock Drives Launch of E-Business

Bumper-to-bumper traffic and scarce parking are grim facts of life for Los Angeles motorists. And that has one dot-com entrepreneur convinced that there's money to be made by aiding frazzled commuters.

DEVELOPMENT---Clock Ticking in Search for Theater Tenant

The 250,000-square-foot retail and entertainment center in Westchester is scheduled to open in February, but the developer has yet to land the anchor tenant, a movie multiplex operator.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Move Away From Defense Work Aids Firm's Fortunes

With its stock back on the rise and a team of new managers assigned to key positions, company officials say Litton is laying the groundwork for growth and higher profits by turning away from military electronics to focus on information technology and

PUBLISHING---Cross-Cultural Comics

Forget Batman, Spiderman, Superman. There's a new breed of action heroes out there in the brightly hued land of comic books.

CINEMA---Stealing The Show


Entrepreneur's Notebook---Building Relationship Capital Can Pay Big Dividends

These days, many businesspeople constantly have one eye focused on the stock market. They know exactly how much is in their brokerage account at all times. That's fine, but there is another kind of valuable capital many of them overlook their relationsh

Chet Currier---Year-End Capital Gains Need Not Be All Bad News

Should your favorite mutual fund hit you with a hefty capital gains distribution in the next few weeks, don't whine or worry. Turn it to some positive use.


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TRANSPORTATION---Plan Designates Airport as a Destination for Light Rail

It's that stretch separating the western terminus of the Metro Rail Green Line from what would seem to be its true, logical terminus, the Los Angeles International Airport.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Warm, Fuzzy Web Charity Malls Facing Tough Issues

Is the Web the gift that keeps on giving, or are you kidding yourself when you Christmas shop on a "charity mall"? There's no clear answer, but I can think of some hard questions you should ask.

ADVERTISING---New Ad Agency Comes Out of Gate With Major Account

Greg Hill and Steve Levit swear they haven't opened just another advertising shop in Los Angeles.


Michael Hogan has been hired as senior vice president and managing director of the new West Coast service office for Rapp Collins, a marketing services firm. Hogan is based in Long Beach and oversees the company's growth for existing accounts and is respo

Cybersense---Web Site Gets Fat by Steering Clear of Same Old Content

Times are tough in the online content racket, and a number of prominent Web sites have cut back their staffs in hopes they can profit from getting lean.

Backlot Buzz---Might Oscar Frown on Downey's Arrest?

The town is abuzz over Robert Downey Jr.'s latest arrest and has many wondering what will happen if he is nominated for an Oscar for his role in the re-released "Wonder Boys."

Deals & Dealmakers

ArtistDirect Inc., the financially struggling Los Angeles dot-com music firm, said it would buy back more than 7.5 million shares of its common stock and unexercised options to satisfy regulatory requirements.

Weekly Briefing

W acko has been serving customers with a diverse selection of products for nearly 30 years. From hard-to-find toys to rare books and soaps, the Los Feliz novelty shop caters to everyone from collectors looking for the next big thing to adults searching f

POLITICAL PULSE---City Hall Standoff Putting Official's Future in Doubt

It's no secret that there's been considerable bad blood between L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan and City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka. But the simmering tensions over the scope of Fujioka's powers may be entering a new phase. Word around City Hall last

Roving Eye

While the world waits, however cynically, for Big Tobacco to make a "safe cigarette," an interim solution might be found in a water pipe at the Gypsy Caf & #233; in Westwood Village.

Real Estate Column---Playa Vista Stuck in Limbo With Reviews Dragging On

Officials at Playa Capital Co. say they're hoping the company will be able to move forward with construction at their massive Playa Vista project in the first months of next year.

MAYOR---L.A. Mayoral Hopefuls Back Tax Reforms

It appears the drive to reform the city of L.A.'s business tax code won't fade once Mayor Richard Riordan leaves office in July. All six of the major candidates seeking to replace him say that implementing the reform proposals unveiled last week would be

Wall Street West---Westside Junk Bond Shop Eyes Big Deals in Merger

Larry Post, founder of the Post Advisory Group, the Westside junk bond shop, confirmed last week that his firm is merging with Metropolitan West Financial LP, a big local money management outfit.

TOYS---Mechanical Marvels

The next generation of electronic toys comes in all shapes and sizes, but the price tags are seldom very small

Working at Home---Beware of Home Opportunities That Sound Too Good

In the last two weeks I have received several e-mails and one phone call from people looking for ways to make money working from home. Unfortunately, a couple of people had lost money on illegitimate work-at-home opportunities.

ENTERTAINMENT---Theme Parks Prepare for New Challenge From Disney

The theory behind California Adventure, Walt Disney Co.'s new $1.4 billion Anaheim theme park, is simple:

Jane Applegate---Entrepreneurs Should Keep The Faith in Angel Investors

When the dot-com boom went bust last spring, venture capitalists lost some of their bravura along with a few billion dollars. But, there are still investors out there looking for strong businesses with solid management experience and potential for growth.

BASKETBALL---Clippers' Ad Blitz Failing To Bring Attendance Boost

Last week, the Los Angeles Clippers hosted their in-house rivals the Lakers at the Staples Center, and 20,039 fans came out to cheer in a game that the world champion "visitors" won comfortably, 98-83. Two nights later, the Clippers played in the same are