Stories for February 2000

Monday, February 28

SOUVENIRS Hollywood Boulevard offers more 'Friends' mugs than you can shake a stick at

For those of us old enough to remember, a souvenir from "Hollywood" (which to out-of-towners is all of L.A.) used to mean one of those mini-orange crates. It didn't mean wooden plaque clocks laminated with portraits of Dodger pitcher Chan Ho Park, or for

Get The Most Out Of Seminars And Meetings

You won't be distracted by the people in front of you and will pay more attention to the speaker. You will also have a better chance to talk to the speaker afterwards and have your question answered.

INTERVIEW Costume designer Colleen Atwood is nominated for her third Academy Award

Colleen Atwood woke up before dawn on Tuesday, Feb. 15 to her phone ringing off the hook. She had just received her third nomination for an Academy Award this time for her work as costume designer on the Tim Burton film, "Sleepy Hollow."

Women Owned Businesses

Women Owned Businesseswomen, owned business

VERTEL The company went from penny stock to powerhouse in three months

With shares of Vertel Corp. languishing below $3 for much of 1999, investors complained bitterly on Internet message boards about the company's performance.


Jennifer Burns was named vice president of strategy and planning for Pittard Sullivan, an entertainment marketing firm in Culver City. She will be responsible for developing clients' strategic direction and advertising and promotions. Burns was most recen

Show Biz

"The Promotion," a dark comedy about the corporate rat race, will have its West Coast premiere March 3 at the Century Club in the heart of the Century City business community.

FISH Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific is facing some growing pains

Less than two years after its lavish opening, Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific is in the midst of a sophomore slump.

The Newsmaker

Philip Nasser, head of production at Allied Television, announced the purchase of new technology making it possible to photograph and project movies over a 360-degree viewing angle. The company saw a market for the so-called Project X system in exhibits a

Create The Positioning Needed For Successful Meetings

When was the last time you contributed to a discussion or meeting and just weren't heard? How many times have you noticed people talking 'at' each other without ever really hearing one other?

Is There Enough 'Business' in Your Business Casual?

The very definition of the word "casual" seems contradictory to the whole image of business: casual (kazh'oo wel) adj. 1. happening by chance; not planned; incidental 2. occasional 3. careless or cursory 4. non-chalant 5. for informal use.

E-Planning Reaps Big Rewards For Event Planners

Perpetual phone tag, endless paper trails, piles of "to-do" lists , part and parcel of planning an event, right? Wrong - at least not if youu're one of the many planners using the Internet. "Faster, leaner, smarter," the mantra of the 21st Century, is be

How To Get Your Board To Show Up

Apart from hiring board members and paying them an annual salary, there are no guaranteed ways to assure volunteer board members will regularly attend their scheduled meetings. However, to increase your chances for a quorum at future meetings, there are a

Make The Overhead Projecter Work For You

Have you seen some awful presentations and sworn you don't want yours to be the same? Do you want your presentations to look, sound and feel better? In this column, I will write about the accumulated impact of the poor use of slide projectors.

GAMES The 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' wannabes are struggling

Back in the Paleolithic days of network television, CBS's "The $64,000 Question" was the hottest game show in prime time, climbing to the No. 1 spot during the 1955-56 season. So staggering was the success that from 1956 through 1958, there were 26 game s

Plan to Build More Theaters Signals Industry Desperation

When is an industry really in trouble? When its most frugal company not to mention the largest commits to spending more money than it can readily borrow.

Ten Tips on How To Sell A Seminar

Seminars have become one of the most popular means for high-technology companies to generate new business. If you're a manager, work in a large metropolitan area and subscribe to one or two computer publications, chances are you receive invitations to pro

VIRTUAL Small post-production houses are getting competitive thanks to a new generation of affordable technology

Ogden Bass was a freelance editor working on a project for an ad agency when he happened to see an invoice from an outside editing house.

Use Information to Negotiate a Successful Conference

Every meeting planner, regardless of his or her level of experience in setting up a conference, aims at getting the best deal from a venue. As most people know, the best deal isn't just price, amenities and accommodations. It extends to pre-conference s

How to Sidestep Pre-Presentation Jitters

Stage fright symptoms seem more severe to the speaker. Start by taking a positive and aggressive attitude about speaking. The first moment that you are asked to give a presentation, respond with, "I'd be honored." Keep in mind that a confident, aggressive

Tech Talk

The Federal Communications Commission has squashed a creative compromise in the ongoing fight for open cable access as a way for high-speed Internet providers to deliver services via cable television broadband lines.

Roving Eye

Now that everything from sports to cuisine has gone "extreme," it was only a matter of time before Israeli anti-terrorist fighting techniques became a fitness craze in Los Angeles.

PICTURE Guess what does?

The owner of the successful Marco Fine Arts publishing company in El Segundo doesn't just want to take his business online, he wants to create the definitive Web portal for the art community.

Tricks for Avoiding Overtime in Home Office

This past year, I've cut down on the number of nights that I work late. My old schedule was to get to my office at 8 a.m. and work straight through until 9 p.m. Now, I leave the office no later than 7 in the evening and shoot for getting out by 6.

ROUNDTABLE--Latina Experience in L.A.


Eight Tips For A Successful Convention

Looking for a way to shake up those snoozy office meetings? Trying to find a refreshing alternative to host the company party? Tired of entertaining clients at the same old restaurant? There's a new trend afloat in California business that you may want

UP AND COMING--Women in the Latino Community

Background: Born in Sun Valley, parents immigrants from Mexico Attended San Fernando High School Received bachelor's degree from Loyola Marymount University In 1984, after brief stint in corporate sales, started Pueblo Contracting Services with husband

GOP-- Donors Eye McCain After Upsets

Just three months ago, Texas Gov. George W. Bush appeared to have a lock on Los Angeles, with virtually every prominent Republican on his side.

ESTABLISHED-- Latina Powerhouses in Los Angeles

While the accelerating influence of Latinas on local politics and business has been relatively recent, a number of L.A. Latinas have been part of the established power base for years. Their backgrounds and professions are widely diverse, but they share a

The LABJ's

This may have been the first year that music from video games could be nominated for a Grammy Award, but it could take a few more years to hear, "The winner is Mortal Kombat!"


With its investments and loans in the high-tech industry paying off handsomely, GBC Bancorp, the parent company of General Bank, has posted record earnings.

POLITICS--Latinas Making Great Strides in Elected Positions

Four now head committees in the state Senate, including L.A.-area Democrats Hilda Solis and Martha Escutia.

How to Benefit From Insurance Stock Plan

They own insurance policies or annuities from mutual insurance companies and many of these companies are going public and offering customers some stock.

MITCH ALBOM Perusing the personal ads

Cruel, nasty, neurotic, paranoid, antisocial but basically happy SWGF, 31, seeks same between 18-40 for miserable relationship.

New High-Tech Business Center To Debut In Los Angeles

The City Club on Bunker Hill, which first occupied the Penthouse Floor of the Wells Fargo Tower in 1985, has announced plans to open a unique Business Center this March in an effort to enhance members' professional service and networking privileges.

Site of the Week

Clearly aspiring to be an online Consumer Reports for the Internet set, the folks at have developed a downright nifty site from which most consumers will walk away more enlightened.

SCHOOLS Looking for a major school district that works?

Superintendent Ramon Cortines last week announced a dramatic plan to overhaul the massive Los Angeles Unified School District: Cut half the 2,000 central office staffers and shift the focus to the schools themselves.

Tight Labor Market Means More Openings for Latinas

What are the best entry points for Latinas looking to break into the ranks of business and industry?

Weekly Briefing

David Alan Pursley began boarding up broken windows as a sideline to his nighttime repair work for a glass shop. Thirteen years ago he and wife Brenda started their own mobile auto glass repair and board-up service, servicing customers all over Los Angele

Stage Special Events at the Intersection of Sea & Sky

Here are several tips and suggestions that will help make your next convention presence a success.

COMICS Online animation is booming, thanks to a ubiquitous software product

This week, Encino-based Stan Lee Media will premiere "The 7th Portal," an animated short about six game testers from around the globe who get sucked into an evil dimension via the Internet.

Effective Talks Target What Audience Needs to Hear

Before you go out and make your next funding pitch to investors, or meet with your managers, coaching experts have some advice on how to better prepare yourself and your business for success.


"Your wait will be more than 15 minutes," it said, and my heart sank a little. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay on hold that long, particularly since I'd be tying up the only phone line at my office desk.

Dwindling Cash Reserves Reflect Realities of Funds

If the U.S. stock market ever drops out of the sky, most mutual fund managers won't be packing parachutes.

AWARDS Dot-com reporters are getting short shrift during awards season

Being a journalist can bring lots of perks, from access to high-ranking officials to invitations to swank parties and events.

AGENCY Ad shop Fallon McElligott opens a branch in Los Angeles

Fallon McElligott, widely considered among the nation's most creative advertising agencies, is opening an office in Los Angeles in the hopes of attracting talent the firm can't lure to Minneapolis.

Working at Home

A letter recently arrived from a reader who lost a large contract. The potential client thought this reader's home-based business was too small to handle the job. Losing out to larger competitor was a huge blow because the work fit this home-based worker'

Message to Make Your Messages Last

At the completion of a presentation, the conventional behavior is to wrap it up with a recap of the major points and a question-and-answer period. Although these conventions have merit and should not be over- looked in your planning, there are some more

RAMPART--Final Cost of Rampart: $1 Billion?

The mushrooming Rampart scandal the largest in LAPD history will end up costing from $400 million to nearly $1 billion, or more, according to City Hall sources and others.

SUCCESS--LA's Latinas

Patricia Perez is a nameplate partner in one of the largest Latino-owned public relations firms in the United States.

TEXAS A new steakhouse on Rodeo Drive tries to attract a buzz

Chicken-fried steak on in the heart of Gucci-land? A singing cowboy who gets laid-back Angelenos to sing along with "Streets of Laredo"?

Visas Are Critical Asset for Foreign Partners in Ventures

As the world keeps shrinking, partners from different countries are forming lots of companies.

PROP 13 No, not that one. This one is a $2 billion water bond on the March 7 ballot

Some voters might do a double-take next week when they see Proposition 13 on the ballot. But it's not the same one that sparked a nationwide tax revolt in 1978.

For the Record

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

HSX Think 'Gladiator' is going to be the best movie ever?

Even with two movies coming out this month alone, Ben Affleck's "star bond" on the Hollywood Stock Exchange is dropping like a stone. Meanwhile, the bond on his girlfriend er, whatever Gwyneth Paltrow, who has appeared only in "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

Don't Ignore Value Funds in Tech Boom

If the powerful pull of the bull market tempts you to stake all your mutual-fund money on the hottest stock funds, resist!


40years ago this week: Homes with three and four bedrooms went on sale in the Sunkist Gardens development in Woodland Hills for prices starting at $15,500 and a down payment of $800 The Glendale-based California defense committee filed a petition to rec

FAMILY--Fathers Turning Reins Over to Daughters, Not Sons

George de la Torre Jr. inherited his father's canning factory more than 30 years ago and transformed it into Juanita's Foods, a multimillion-dollar company that makes canned menudo and other Latino foods.

Manage Your Meeting

The head of the table or the side facing the door are the most desirable locations.

The Pacesetter

For the second year running, Don Kott Auto Center appears at the top of the list with revenues of $231 million for 1999, an increase of 18 percent from 1998.

Patience Required for Small Investors to Cash in on IPOs

In the old days (say, two years ago), stockbrokers joked that IPO meant "it's probably overpriced." Better words today might be, "I'm practically obsessed."

Loft-Style Dwellings Being Built in Santa Monica

A bit of Soho is coming to Santa Monica, in the form of hip, industrial-looking residential lofts going up for sale.

Wall Street West

Lots of local players are involved in the leveraged management buyout of El Segundo-based Wyle Laboratories Inc., one of the leading high-tech testing and technical support companies.

Executive Summary

While many of the companies represented were on the list last year, four of the top 10 are newcomers. One is California Fashion Industries, an apparel manufacturer co-chaired by fashion designer Carole Little. It debuts at No. 2 with revenues of $175 mill

Ahead of the Curve

Lounge Act: Tony-award winning crooner James Naughton stars in "Street of Dreams," a one-man cabaret revue directed by Mike Nichols. Featuring songs from Cole Porter to Randy Newman, and fresh from a successful run in New York, the show comes to the Cerri

Saturday, February 26

BANKING---Credit Union Rule Change Facing Fight

If the region's federal credit unions have their way, amendments to legislation expected to be considered this week by the House Committee on Financial Services could vastly broaden their reach heating up their competition with banks.

Deals & Dealmakers---Supreme Court Sides With Unocal

Rejecting appeals by five major oil companies, the Supreme Court upheld a disputed patent for clean-burning gasoline that could add several cents per gallon to the price at the pump in California.

Monday, February 21

Columns & Features - Show Biz

David Letterman returns to his desk on CBS' "The Late Show" this Monday (Feb. 21), six weeks after he underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery. But is Dave crazy to get back into the ratings race so quickly?

Make Lighting a Priority in Your Office

A factor often overlooked in eyestrain problems is lighting and glare. Studies have shown that workers rate good lighting as the single most important aspect of the office environment. This is followed by air quality and comfortable chairs. Improper light

COMMENT - Sweet Old Love Songs Tell It Like It Was

I'm going to sing a song now, and I'm not going to say the name. I'm just going to sing it.


All individuals concerned about the future of Wilshire-area communities should be aware of an important transportation decision that will be made in the coming weeks. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the process of studyi

Are Dividends a Thing of the Past in Roaring Market?

In all the talk about mutual funds nowadays, it's remarkable how seldom you hear the word "dividends."

Preparing a Growth-Minded Import-Export Venture

Every business, whether a large commercial venture or a small home-based enterprise, needs to analyze its potential, examine its strengths and weaknesses, and determine the future of the organization. It works for the major corporations and it will work f

BEACHES - Perenchio Nears End of Long War with Malibu

Media mogul Jerry Perenchio and his family apparently have resolved their 10-year feud with the city of Malibu after agreeing to vastly scale back their ambitious development efforts.

DELIVERY - Overnight Mania: The Last-Minute Shuffle at UPS's Distribution Center

It's the same scene every night. Cars and vans pull up and double park in the small parking lot. People frantically step out of their vehicles with a mountain load of cardboard boxes swaddled in packing tape, being sent to destinations near and far.

How Newsletters Can Help a Business Grow

Tired of paying big bucks for ads that don't generate enough responses? Need to turbocharge your company's sales? Then you may want to consider using a very effective but often-overlooked sales tool: a customer newsletter.

Weider Magazines Bulking Up Circulation Quickly

Sure, New York is awash in pencil-necked magazines like Cosmo, Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair. But when it comes to bullets, Buicks and brawn, L.A. rules.

LABOR - L.A. Facing Union Talks For 300,000

Brace yourself: the largest number of L.A.-area union contracts in at least 30 years is going to be renegotiated this year, covering over 300,000 workers in L.A. County.

OSCARS - Oscars Helping Many Web Sites Lure Movie Fans

So say the minds behind the Hollywood Stock Exchange, the Santa Monica-based entertainment site that runs a virtual stock market where people can use $2 million in funny money to buy and sell shares of their favorite stars.

Henson Moving to Historical Charlie Chaplin Studios

Jim Henson Co. made lots of news last week, with reports that the family entertainment business may be sold to a German company and an announcement that it plans to move to a new Hollywood home.

Developer Rick Caruso Is Turning Malls Into Community Centers Neo-Downtowns

Rick Caruso is building a future for nowhere and making a lot of money doing it. The L.A.-based developer has gone into some of the region's most center-less suburbs, places like Westlake Village and Calabasas, and helped create the sense of community w

Strong Numbers Spotlight Ontario

Each year, the City of Ontario looks for new superlatives to describe the phenomenal growth and development occurring in the city. But sometimes, cold, hard numbers best express Ontario's surging growth. Since 1997, building permit valuations have totale

CORPORATE FOCUS - Wall Street Slaps Occidental Over Reported Merger Plan

Fourth-quarter earnings that handily beat Wall Street estimates couldn't prevent Occidental Petroleum Corp. stock from stumbling after recent news reports that the oil-and-gas company would buy Altura Energy Ltd. in a $3.5 billion deal.

DINING - Banquet's Backstage

It's a little before noon in the California Foyer of the Century Plaza Hotel as lawyers in dark gray suits mingle, back-slap and check their phone messages. They're waiting for the double doors to the ballroom to open, at which point they will file in, ea

Columns & Features - Newsmakers

Michael P. Amerio and Ariel E. Drachenberg were promoted to partners at Lucas, Horsfall, Murphy & Pindroh, an accounting and consulting firm in Pasadena. Amerio concentrates on construction and manufacturing clients and was previously senior accounting ma

CLOTHES - Going Casual

A few years ago, law firms around town instituted Casual Friday as a concession to associates and partners working with more laid-back clients like entertainment and dot-com executives. It also proved to be a good way to keep and attract young associates

Is Anyone Outraged?

Let's just say you're a well-to-do doctor living in Brentwood. It's Saturday morning and you're out jogging along the tree-lined San Vicente Boulevard. All of a sudden a police car pulls over, two cops race out with their pistols drawn and order you to as

Santa Monica: Hot Spot for Luxury Rental Living

Whether it's a long-term lease or a six-month corporate rental you're looking for, there's a whole new world of luxury apartment options available in Southern California today. Once considered primarily housing for the young and those in transition, apar

AIRPORTS - Regional Airports Loom in Importance

With air cargo in the L.A. area expected to triple in the next 20 years, the big question is what happens to the overload?

Capitalize on a Growth Trend

Growth trends occur when increasing numbers of people indicate an interest in certain industries or activities. You can capitalize on such growth trends by offering a product or service related to the growing industry or activity.

Air Quality Makes a Difference in Offices

Office air quality can be a major contributor in lost time and increased sick days. Indoor air affects the body in several ways:

ONLINE - Want Tunes on Your Site? Try

Imagine Latin music playing over a Mexican-food catering company's Web site, or animal-themed tunes on a site selling personalized pet gifts.

Search for Creative Space Leads to Out-of-Way Sites

My partners and I have been looking for creative office space in Los Angeles. It's getting almost impossible to find. Can you point us in the right direction?

The Business Digest

Demonstrating his determination to take over the much-maligned planning for this summer's Democratic National Convention, Mayor Richard Riordan pushed aside the head of the event's host committee and replaced her with one of his most trusted aides.

Site Aims to Link Valley Schools and Businesses

With all the talk of job-shadowing programs, and the need for donations of paper and pencils, schools and businesses have had a frustrating time trying to link up.

MUSIC - Universal Label Helps Unsigned Bands Win an Online Audience

Musicians looking for a recording deal long have been at the mercy of artist-and-repertoire executives, who send a clear message to rock-star wannabes: Don't call us, we'll call you.

Columns & Features - The weekly Briefing

Ed Monahan took his first karate lesson back when he was a 12-year-old Kentucky kid looking for a way to "kick ass." Years of martial arts discipline gave him a more spiritual focus before he began to teach others in 1982. He eventually opened Combative A

GOSSIP E! Online's Ted Casablanca talks the talk.

There's so much to keep track of in Hollywood and we're not talking about the latest wheeling and dealing. We're talking about the real skinny over Ben and Gwyneth, Matt and Winona, Julia Roberts and whoever.

L.A. stories

Public radio listeners may be wondering about KCRW-FM 89.9's nonprofit status after the station changed its Web site designation from dot-org to dot-com.

E-COMMERCE - Ovitz's Web Firm Retools to Add Entertainment Info

A harsh truth has come home at, the online venture funded by Yucaipa Cos. and super-agent Michael Ovitz: Being a pure e-commerce play doesn't have much potential to bring in the bucks.

Tax Tips to Help Startups Come Out Ahead of the IRS

Many entrepreneurs do not consider taxes when they set up a business until they owe a big tax bill.

PLAYERS - The Players in Air Cargo

With international air cargo expected to grow 7 percent a year, a number of players are scrambling for a piece of the action.

INTERVIEW - Nitin Bhatt, training director at USC Business Expansion Network.

Nitin Bhatt set out to become an investment banker, but the L.A. riots led him to join the Business Expansion Network at USC and help inner-city firms rebuild and multiply instead

ONLINE - New Internet Services Help Ease Process for Customers

Tracking shipping information used to be a major pain in the neck. For parcels, a shipper would fax an inquiry to the freight forwarder, who would have to call the airline to obtain the whereabouts of the package. Then, hours later, the forwarder would fa

Preparing a Growth-Oriented Business Plan

Why Prepare a Plan? The Business Plan is a written summary of what you hope to accomplish by being in business and how you intend to organize your resources to meet your goals. It is the road map for operating your business and measuring progress along th

ELECTION - Anti-Contribution Measure Panned by Business, Labor

It's not often that state business and labor interests agree to oppose something, but both are against Proposition 25, the latest campaign finance reform initiative.

The Roving Eye

The fate of the landmark Dos Burritos stand on Hollywood Boulevard seemed to hang in the balance as Tom Gilmore's Hollywood Equitable Building on the corner of Hollywood and Vine started undergoing renovations in January.

Columns & Features - High-Profile Lawyer to Run Local Branch of Brokerage

New York-based institutional brokerage Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. Inc. is coming to town and has hired Ron Silverman, nameplate partner at Beverly Hills-based entertainment-media law firm Weissman Wolf Bergman Coleman & Silverman, to head up the new off

Too Much Time on Net?

A recent study on Internet use concluded that the increasing amount of time that Americans spend online is resulting in less interaction with their fellow human beings. So the Business Journal asks:

No Jacket, No Service

Even if you dress down for work, don't expect those swank private clubs to let you through the door.

SUBWAY - Inside Red Line Subway's Parking Snafu

The $1.3 billion extension of the Red Line subway into the San Fernando Valley has been in construction for several years and on the drawing board for more than a decade before that. So how could the new Universal City station be left with less than half

'Big Hack Attack' Could Force Needed Net Changes

Don't worry that the "cyber-terrorists" who recently shut down sites like Yahoo, eBay and will come after your personal home page. There's no need to unplug your PC from the wall for fear that one of those pimple-faced assassins will turn yo

Internet Sales Taxes Again a Hot Topic in Washington

President Clinton surprised the beltway crowd last week during a CNN online interview by opposing certain taxes being imposed on Internet consumers.

Columns & Features - Ahead of the curve

Hit makers: The stars and creators of shows like "South Park," "MASH" and "Dharma & Greg" will talk about how the hit shows are made at The Museum of Television & Radio's 17th annual William S. Paley Television Festival. From Feb. 29 to March 14 at the Di

FOOD - The Long Journey to L.A. for Fresh Chilean Sea Bass

At Crustacean, the Vietnamese seafood restaurant in Beverly Hills, owner and executive chef Helene An carefully presses a latex-gloved finger on a large cut of Chilean sea bass.

Switch to Decimals Could Change Ways of Wall Street

Quick, if your stock just reached 38 5/16, what's the going price, in real money? The answer $38.31 probably didn't flash right into your head, and no wonder. Only stock junkies think in sixteenths.

UPN Is One of Many Battlegrounds for Media Moguls

What happens when a media mogul stubborn, shrewd and litigious takes on a business partner? They often duel, from the boardroom to the courthouse.

DEVELOPMENT- Developers Give Up on Major Retail Project in Beverly Hills

After a chilly reception by the city of Beverly Hills, developers have dropped plans for a retail-movie theater complex in the Golden Triangle area.

Understanding Commercial Real Estate Leases

For most businesses, large and small, a real estate lease represents a major commitment. It is a commitment that goes beyond the financial outlay: it circumscribes the location of the business, the expansion opportunities, the operating environment, and o

OVERVIEW - Get It Here Quick!

Globalization is driving air cargo volume to record heights, turning Los Angeles International Airport into an economic juggernaut. But it's also raising concerns that the airport may soon be overwhelmed by growth.

The Agenda

Banks, schools, the stock market and many businesses around town will be closed for President's Day, making for a smooth commute for those who still have to trudge to the office.

MOVIES - Imperial Bank Starting to Make Blockbuster Loans

Moviegoers watching "The Whole Nine Yards" probably won't notice, but the new Bruce Willis comedy marks a milestone for Imperial Bancorp's Imperial Entertainment Group, a leading player in the art of loaning cash to Hollywood.

MAIL - Delivering the Mail

The growth of overnight delivery services, coupled with the growing acceptance of e-commerce and e-mail, are having their predictable effects, although Postal Service officials insist that there will always be a place for first-class mail.


When Lauralee Bell was growing up in Chicago, she liked to rearrange her closet, mixing and matching clothes.

Thirst for Success Driving Drink Firms to Get Creative

While it may seem impossible for a small company to compete against the beverage giants like Snapple, Nantucket Nectars or Coca-Cola, entrepreneurs are finding ways to get their new drinks on store shelves.

Property Management firms

Last year's No. 1 property manager, CB Richard Ellis, dropped to second after one of its biggest clients, Bank of America, merged with NationsBank. A number of BofA offices were subsequently managed in-house.

Saturday, February 19

Jane Bryant Quinn---Selling Financial Advice to Women Plays to Stereotypes

What do investing women want? If you read the investment books aimed at women and follow the brokers' girly ads, it would seem that we want to be treated as a breed apart.

ENERGY---Plant Builders Profiting From Power Crunch

The state's power crisis is bringing a jolt of new business to local engineering and construction contractors, as they mobilize to cash in on the pressing need for new generating plants.

POLITICAL PULSE---Four-Year Search for Federal Court Site Nears an End

It's been four years in coming and, while not official yet, it looks like a downtown site has finally been selected for the proposed $300 million federal courthouse: the parcel at 107 S. Broadway, which now is home to the earthquake-damaged Junipero Serra

Monday, February 14

How to Market Your Business Online

"I'm at a loss on how we can properly market our business on the Net," Karen explained. "We've established an impressive marketing presence in print media and I don't want our home page to look shabby or sit there with no response."

Stay in the Information Highway Fast Lane

Anyone who watched the recent Super Bowl can easily answer the following question (no, not who was the MVP) but, what is the focus of businesses today?

High-Touch Strategies for the High-Tech Environment

The more "high-tech" systems we use, the more of a "high-touch" balance we are going to need in order to avoid the danger of eliminating the important element of "human reasonableness." A healthy, "high-tech" "high-touch" balance equals money in the bank,

Ranked by total U.S., Canada box-office receipts for 1999

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Inc., an arm of Walt Disney Co., once again tops the list of motion picture distribution companies for 1999, narrowly edging out Warner Bros. Domestic Theatrical Distribution.

Getting the Right Price for Your Computer System

The system goes down, business comes to a halt. The complexity and rapid development of computer technology frequently causes systems not to perform as the business - or computer consultant - expects. Accordingly, for the benefit of both the buyer and

Brick and Mortar to Click and Mortar

Making the transition from a Brick and Mortar business to a "Click and Mortar" requires the investigation of all companies, regardless of size. Every business magazine devotes considerable attention to "dotCom" companies. This term is generally used to de

Seeking the Perfect Host

On the Web, the winds of change blow, shift direction and scatter companies across the landscape like specks of dust. This web windstorm won't stop anytime soon. It just keeps blowing and blowing...

Creative Computers Scraps Stores in Favor of Internet

Like lots of established companies revising their long-term strategies because of the Internet, Creative Computers Inc. is switching gears.

The Downside of High Technology

Computers are the ubiquitous, silent servants of the modern office. I should know; I've spent years "teaching" silicon chips to do routine work so that employees can be free to be creative. With people and computers working in tandem, the office is a more

How to Evaluate the Software Your Company Will Purchase

More often than not, buyers in the purchasing department are told specifically what software users want. Users often balk if buyers try to dictate what is best. Actually, this is no different than many other products, except that it is so time-consuming t

How the Right P.R. Gets

Despite all the hype about Internet start-ups and dot-com companies in the media, launching a start-up company to the news media today presents a number of tough public relations challenges. The noise level has never been higher. The fact that there are t

For the Record

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

Tuesday, February 8

PHILIPPE--The original in downtown l.a. has achieved icon status after serving up classic french-dip sandwiches for the past 92 years

It's the peak of lunch hour at the venerable Philippe The Original in downtown L.A., with the usual lineup of Angelenos eager to get their hands on the signature dish a juicy French-dip sandwich.

WEB--Site Aims to Be an 'Incubator' for Animation Talent

The stampede of top Hollywood talent to the Internet in the last several weeks has been a jaw-dropping event, considering the wide berth most industry stars have given the Web.


Stephen Rizzone may not yet be a household name like Michael Eisner or Eli Broad, but he has suddenly emerged as the mastermind behind one of the biggest and quickest L.A. business transformations in recent history.

PENSIONS--Pension Funds Get More Active in Real Estate Investment

As real estate investment trusts have stepped back from their aggressive acquisition activity of a few years ago, another player is becoming more visible.

Suddenly, a Truckload of Awards for Trailer Makers

There are awards for the people who write movies, for the people who handle makeup for movies, who sew costumes for movies, and who sit in dark rooms for countless hours snipping out scenes for movies.

CORPORATE FOCUS--Creative Computers Scraps Stores in Favor of Internet

Like lots of established companies revising their long-term strategies because of the Internet, Creative Computers Inc. is switching gears.

Watson's Carson Industrial Park Already Pre-Leased

New space seems to be getting gobbled up as soon as it's built. In fact, every square foot of the second, and latest, phase of Watson Land Co.'s Dominguez Technology Center in Carson has been preleased.

Old Investing Rules Giving Way to Blind Faith in Stocks

Everybody who invests in mutual funds for the 21st century has cause to wonder whether the rules learned in the 20th still apply.

MATTEL--How the Giant Toy Maker Fell So Far So Fast

When trying to determine how Mattel Inc. could fall so far so fast, all roads point to the deal with the Learning Co., creator of titles like "Reader Rabbit" and "Carmen Sandiego."

Mastering the Art of E-Mail Helps Get Message Across

e other day I received an e-mail peppered with phrases such as "as you stated in December" and "according to our agreement." The salutation was "please respond."

Ahead of the Curve

Italian offerings: Instituto Italiano di Cultura presents "Life, Italian Style: The Films of Pietro Germi." The series kicks off at the L.A. County Museum of Art on Feb. 16 with an overview of Germi's work and concludes on Feb. 26 with the racy 1963 comed

Venture Capital: L.A. Flaunts It, but Who Doesn't?

If venture capital investment were Major League Baseball, Silicon Valley would be the New York Yankees. But there's a lot of competition for the title of runner-up, which is one reason why interest over the data on venture money has never been higher.


Panpipes Magickal Marketplace began as a Hollywood tearoom opened by practitioners of the occult in 1961. Surviving four moves and a 1984 firebombing, the store now offers books, classes, and various items for virtually all occult practices. Jennifer Smit

POLITICS--Propositions 30, 31 Examine Right to Sue Insurers

The issue behind propositions 30 and 31 is deceptively simple: Should people have the right to sue someone else's insurer if that insurer is not paying up?

HOLLYWOOD--New Film Commission Chief Lacks Hollywood Experience

Gov. Gray Davis' appointment of Karen R. Constine as director of the California Film Commission has raised a few eyebrows within L.A. entertainment circles.

Internet Fund-Raising Makes Primaries a Fair Fight

Those familiar with the Internet's history know the network was built with redundant connections that allow data to "route around" trouble spots and glitches.

Wrestling With a Very Perplexing Reality

I don't want to say that wrestling has taken over this country, but pretty soon, I expect my accountant to be wearing a diaper and boots.

Sizing Up Prospects of Yet Another Television Gadget

In these flush times, it doesn't take long for a new product to find underwriters and offer stock to the public.

PRINTERS--Web Firms Eyeing Market for Print-at-Home Tickets

As e-commerce, e-mail and e-zines keep pushing consumers toward a paperless world, several L.A. companies are betting their future on the humble printer.

Show Biz

Metro-Goldwyn Mayer is ramping up for the 10th installment of its highly successful Pink Panther series, and one of the top contenders to play bumbling Inspector Clouseau is Kevin Spacey.


Ten years ago, the greatest hockey player ever switched hockey sticks, and Easton Sports Inc. no longer would be known only for making aluminum baseball bats.

UNIVERSAL--Plot Thickens In Possible Sale Of Universal

Despite second-quarter earnings that handily beat Wall Street estimates, Seagram Co. Ltd. can't shake the flurry of rumors concerning the future of its Universal Studios operation.

Hard to Lure Funding When Tech Pros Don't Like L.A.

How can Los Angeles wrest the title of venture capital center away from Palo Alto?

CONVENTION--Announcement Set on Democratic Convention Hotels

The Democratic National Convention Committee is set to announce this week agreements with more than 80 hotels in L.A. County a record number of hotels for a political convention to house the nearly 5,000 delegates.

Tea and Sympathy

Into his teahouse sweeps Edmund Fry, garbed in a flowing white robe and stole and fresh from his stint as an Anglican minister on a local movie shoot.

FEDS--Local Fed Board Helps Set National Monetary Policy

The national economy grew at a torrid annual rate of 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999 and unemployment fell to a low of 4.0 percent in January, causing the Federal Reserve chairman to raise benchmark interest rates in order to slow down growth an

Roving Eye

The night belongs to dozens of one-night-only clubs and parties, like "Hip-Hop" at the club Blue on Las Palmas and "Straight-Up" at 360 & #176; on Sunset. With three dance floors, a velvet lounge, and a "helter-skelter" room, "Perversion" on Hollywood Boulevard

Doctors Can Practice P.R. to Survive Ills of Profession

One of the criticisms of the film "Eyes Wide Shut" was its depiction of Tom Cruise as a young, extremely wealthy physician.


Despite the hoopla generated at Sundance and other film festivals, most independent films still have trouble getting into movie houses around the world.

INTERVIEW--Bob Annunziata, Global Mogul

Bob Annunziata runs one of the biggest, not to mention most ambitious, telecommunications companies in the world, whose goal is to lay the fiber-optic cable to connect the whole planet

WB--Warts Beginning to Show for Frog Network

The WB had been soaring on its formula of teen shows like "Dawson's Creek" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," along with the acclaimed family drama "7th Heaven." It became the darling of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. It was leaving archrival weblet UPN in

Advice on Managing Stocks In Ever-Expanding Market

It ain't over yet. At least, that's what I heard from a pride of economists I called last week.


Karyn Baylis was promoted to senior vice president for the Americas at Qantas Airways in Los Angeles. She will be responsible for sales and marketing. Baylis was previously general manager of customer and marketing services for the airline.

Web Firm Lures L.A. Bureau Chief Of Wall St. Journal

During his years as a foreign correspondent, one of Peter Gumbel's assignments as a Wall Street Journal reporter was to cover a revolution in Russia. Now he wants to be part of one.

Trade Shows Shun Internet in Giving Feel of Products

The Internet may be the fastest way for a company to pitch its products or services to customers worldwide, but sometimes, your customers need to feel, touch, watch or taste your product before they actually cut that check.

OLD--Office Tenants Flee Rundown Valley Neighborhoods

Burdened by aging buildings, perceived high crime rates and a dowdy image, several San Fernando Valley sites are getting left behind in the office real estate boom.


Latin music has become so hot that the Grammy Awards aren't big enough to contain it.

HOTEL--New Luxury Hotel Proposed in Beverly Hills

The former owners of the Bel Air Hotel plan to return to the local luxury market this time with a new, super-upscale hotel in Beverly Hills.

Developers Build Condos Again as Market Resurges

Darin Davis' favorite book is titled "Only the Paranoid Survive." In his business, it's pretty good advice.

Monday, February 7


The Internet was supposed to be the most measurable medium, with each user leaving an electronic fingerprint on every visited page.

Once-Successful Small Stock Fund Falls on Hard Times

Times have gotten so tough at the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund that even manager Joel Tillinghast's brother bailed out.

For the Record Bankruptcy

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

the numbers

JANUARY 31, 1980

Econowatch L.A. County

Sources: California State Employment Development Department (employment figures); The Conference Board, N.Y. (help-wanted ad index); Entertainment Industry Development Corporation Los Angeles Film Office (film permits); U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central Dist

Show Biz

"They love it," said David Proval, the newest cast member of the award-winning drama about a mobster and his two "families" the Mafia and his wife and two children. "All (Mafia) business stops Sunday night. There is no action going on."

University Spin-Offs Look Like Hot Funding Prospects

It's long been said that Southern California's greatest barrier to becoming the next Silicon Valley is that it lacks major university centers dedicated to spinning off new technologies, like Stanford University and UC Berkeley to the north. But if the pre

The Business Digest

Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner named ABC chief Robert Iger as president and chief operating officer, but got unexpected bad news with the resignation of Rob Moore, the well-regarded top financial executive at Walt Disney Studios.

Ahead of The Curve

Sexual cinema: Film director Pedro Almodovar has entertained and even enraged people for years with his depiction of modern morality and confused sexual roles, from the seminal "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" to this year's hit, "All About My

Once-Controversial Parcel in Inner City Getting New Action

A 16-acre site southeast of downtown L.A. that once was the subject of protest marches now stands to be redeveloped as an industrial park.

Sam Zell Speaks Out

Sam Zell knows a thing or two about Los Angeles real estate, as head of the nation's largest office real estate investment trust, Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust.

Moments in History

20years ago this week: Raiders executives rejected a new offer from the city of Oakland designed to keep the pro football team from moving to Los Angeles The L.A. City Council gave preliminary approval to a law requiring grocery stores to place prices o

A World in Constant Flux

If you're having trouble figuring out who owns what in the Internet world, just wait 15 minutes. It's likely to change.

DLJ Closes a $1.2 Billion Global Real Estate Fund

DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners Inc.'s second fund to invest in real estate globally, now in the process of being closed, is even larger than the first at $1.2 billion.

Finding the Right Search Firm

When you utilize the services of an executive search firm, you put a tremendous amount of trust in the capabilities of that firm, especially in the HR field. The firm you select will bring employees to your company that will quickly be involved in staffi

L.A. stories

Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and real estate broker Steve Soboroff may be fighting to become the next mayor of L.A., but a recent public encounter seemed more like a lovefest than a contest for votes.

Who's Really Crazy in Rocker Uproar?

This actually makes sense. In a world where a magazine interview is your sin, why shouldn't your confessional be a TV studio?


Twenty-seven-year-old Thomas Wilhite, the newly appointed director of creativity for Walt Disney Productions, said the studio needed to improve its storytelling, animation and special effects the company's traditional hallmark as it moved to expand th

Attractive Supplemental Benefits for Valued Executives

One of the often-overlooked ways employers can reward key executives is through the creation of a nonqualified deferred compensation plan. "While traditional retirement plans such as 401(k) and pension plans remain extremely attractive ways to benefit se

Life Event Communications

In a competitive labor market, employers must implement innovative and cost-effective methods if they are to attract and retain qualified people who will have a positive impact on their bottom line.

Treating Kids Equally Can Help Keep Firm in Family

Despite all the books, publicity and warnings from experts, most family business owners still don't have a clear, written succession strategy.

Eateries Hope V-Day Romance Prevails Over Calendar

Valentine's Day falls on a Monday, not exactly the most romantic of nights to wine and dine your amour. In fact, it's normally the slowest traffic day of the week, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The Labj Stock Index Tracking 100 Selected Los Angeles County-based companies

Last week's broad sell-off hit the LABJ 100 as well as the major indexes, with the local slate falling 2.9 percent. Several of L.A.'s biggest companies were among the hardest hit, including Unocal Corp. (down 12.5 percent), Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. (als

CalPERS Puts $100 Million Into Kline's Venture Fund

Money is pouring into venture capital markets, and directing a major sluice into his fund last week was Frank Kline, founder of Kline Hawkes & Co., the West Los Angeles venture capital outfit. Kline has just won a $100 million commitment from the $170 bil

Fashioning Forms

A decade or more ago, determining how a computer would be designed was very much an afterthought, secondary to the function of the machine.

Trouble-Shooting the Problem E-Mails

News stories abound. There's one about UPS catching an employee running a personal business on a company computer. There's another about IBM employees trashing the company pension plan in an Internet chat room. And, there's plenty more like them.

At Roots of Convention Squabbling

The 2000 Democratic National Convention is L.A.'s biggest opportunity to shine on the world stage or be humiliated since the triumphant 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

Our View

With several new board members elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District and a no-nonsense operating team starting to take stock, hopes have been raised, at last, about overhauling the schools. But just when it appeared that logic and reason were

Plan Earns High Medicare Marks

Outscoring all other local health plans, including much larger HMOs in Southern California, Pomona-based non-profit HMO Inter Valley Health Plan recently received the highest marks overall in a member satisfaction survey conducted by Medicare.

Law Could Make CPA an Even Better Friend of Firms

Some business people see their CPA as a most trusted advisor. And empowered by recently enacted legislation, CPAs may soon take on an even broader role in business finances.

Huttas Making High-Tech Plans at Printing Company

Harold Huttas wants to turn Insync.Media into a one-stop print shop for the electronic age.

Written Plan With Deadlines Key to Your Success Story

Every January, my husband and I set goals for the year. We each create personal and professional lists and set deadlines. Neither of us ever achieves all of our goals, but we do fairly well because of the way we use our lists.

Personnel Crisis Forces LAPD to Broaden Search

The Los Angeles Police Department is desperate for new recruits and is looking to Seattle, Chicago and other cities to find them.

Dot-Coms Fuel Huge Growth for Local P.R. Agencies

It used to be that public relations agencies put on elaborate dog-and-pony shows in reviews as clients sought out the best agency to suit their needs. Now it's the agencies that are interviewing the clients.

You've Got Dangerous Mail: Problem E-Mails Defined

Being a part of the new electronic media era in today's business world has provided advances in technology in the way in which employees communicate.

Site of the Week

Overwhelmed by political rhetoric, feeling intellectually lazy or looking for a new Net novelty? Try, which recommends the best-fit presidential candidate for voters based on shared ideology.

California Must Revive the Apprenticeship System

Policy analysts have rushed to embrace the high-tech future for California employment. Yet, in this rush, our state's need for quality work in low-tech jobs often has been overlooked.

It's Blockbuster vs. Studios for Online Film Franchise

Feel the pain. Blockbuster Inc. is the world's No. 1 renter of videos, but its stock is trading 25 percent below its price in August, when parent Viacom Inc. sold an 18 percent stake to the public.

Inland Empire No Longer Cheap Alternative for Homes

The Inland Empire has been a relative bargain in recent years for home shoppers from other parts of Southern California.

Online Sales, Where Rules Don't Apply

What names pop to mind when you think of the top e-commerce companies in Los Angeles?


At a time when these financial havens for high-tech startups have become all the rage, it's an important question. Trouble is, there is no easy answer.

LABJ Forum

From the Oscars to the People's Choice Awards, it seems like the entertainment business just can't get enough strokes. On the civilian side, some love the glitz while others think it's just all hype. So the Business Journal asks:

Political Football

When Health Net announced it was exploring a possible headquarters move, the city of Burbank got to work.

Health Care Costs Dominate Concerns for 2000

After falling off the radar screen in last year's survey, rising health care costs are once again the dominant concern of employee benefit professionals for 2000, according to a nationwide survey recently released by the International Society of Certified

CBS News Isn't That Worried About Virtual Images

Every modern media consumer of post-Pokeman age knows you can't believe everything you see on a screen.

Public Radio Raking in Bucks From Dot-Coms, Too

Like virtually all Internet companies, U.S. Interactive Inc. is spending serious bucks on marketing itself to potential customers and employees. But unlike most of its dot-com brethren, its L.A. radio ad campaign bypasses Howard Stern, classic rock, hip-h

Bank Is Latest to Mandate Arbitration of Complaints

A peeved reader, James Genden, in Evanston, Ill., sent me a notice he got from his credit card bank, MBNA. Many of you have had similar notices, probably without reading them.


The honest answer is, nobody knows. Most of them aren't public and not obligated to disclose financials.

The Roving Eye

Take Centropolis Effects, which created the special effects for "Independence Day" and "Godzilla."

Stars Battle Cybersquatters for Rights to Names

The glare of the flashbulbs is irritating. There's always the chance of tripping and looking like an idiot on the red carpet. And your mansion only has so much room for all those freebies.

The Weekly Briefing

In 1992, former shipyard worker Chris Allen began managing the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica as a favor to his stepmother, who owned the Montana Avenue property. When she sold the land four years later, Allen took over the independent movie house. Since he

Warner-EMI Fallout

The planned merger of Time Warner's Warner Music Group and British record company EMI Group could land hundreds of local music-industry employees on the unemployment line, because lagging labels and other operations targeted for downsizing are based here.

The Life

Mike Peterson might look like he's goofing off, as he casually putts golf balls around his Woodland Hills office. But he's actually hard at work.

Wall Street Not Hungry for IHOP, Stock Underperforms

Through its International House of Pancakes chain, IHOP Corp. has been dishing out steadily increasing earnings to investors.

Accommodating Alternative


The Lure of Fast Riches Has Tainted The 'Incorruptible' of Yesterday Selling Out

Few of us are immune to the allure of a bribe. We might say we are, or think we are, but usually it is just a matter of price, or the fear that we'll get in trouble if we take it. Offer a human being enough money, and enough security that he won't pay a p


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


I was pleased to read the L.A. Business Journal's extensive three-part series on why the number of poor in Los Angeles is increasing and what it means for the economy at large (Dec. 6, 13, 20). At a time when we are preoccupied with celebrating and toasti

Measure Aims to Ease Approval of School Bonds

It's no secret that California has a shortage of classroom space for its burgeoning school-age population. Add to that the overwhelming desire among politicians, parents and teachers for smaller class sizes and you have a school building shortage that has

With Sports Teams Gone, Inglewood Reinvents Itself

On game nights, the Forum used to ripple with activity. These days, fans outside the arena line up to see "The Little Mermaid on Ice" or the Harlem Globetrotters, not Wayne Gretzky or Shaquille O'Neal.

The Agenda

Want to know if your property values are going to head north or south? The 2000 Real Estate Forecast sponsored by UCLA Extension and the L.A. Times might have the answer. Besides presentation of this year's forecast, the event includes an awards ceremony

List Updates

The Los Angeles Business Journal is compiling information for the following lists:


Michael D. Cohen was named partner at Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein in Los Angeles. He will provide counsel on mergers, acquisitions and sales. Cohen previously had his own practice.

Businesses Accuse Environmental Group of Blackmail

When representatives of the Santa Monica environmental group BayKeeper showed up at Jay Lite's scrap-metal business in South Central Los Angeles last year, he had no inkling that there would be trouble. But there was, and the trouble has gotten worse.


Chris Lyman thinks of himself as both chief executive and janitor of Virtualis, a Web hosting and software startup he founded three years ago.

Rebirth of a Scandalous Quiz Show on NBC

The first thing you notice when producer Phil Gurin arrives at NBC's Studio 1 in Burbank for the taping of "Twenty One" is the troop of Pinkerton guards surrounding him.

Interview - Music Mann

As an executive at House of Blues Inc., it's Lou Mann's job to create outlets for tunes recorded at the clubs such as radio, CDs and the Internet

What to Ask Your HMO

The world of managed care, and HMOs specifically, has evolved quickly and as a result, each HMO offers different services and benefits. Even the operating procedures and management models differ from HMO to HMO sometimes dramatically. For consumers, i

Saturday, February 5

TRIAL---Good Times Go Bust

A former machine shop repairman is scheduled to stand trial this month on charges that he orchestrated a stock fraud scam that defrauded 400 investors, most of them from Los Angeles and Ventura counties, out of $18.5 million, which he used to buy houses,

SERVICE---Managers Adding Tenant Services to Boost Contracts

In a push to develop new sources of revenue, big property management companies in Los Angeles are diversifying into all kinds of tenant services from Internet access to cable TV and laundry services.

MEDICINE---Cultural Insights Propelling Latino HealthCare's Growth

Various businesses across Los Angeles from radio stations to grocers and apparel stores have tapped into eye-popping growth in recent years by orienting themselves to appeal to the swelling Latino population.