Stories for July 2000

Monday, July 31


Fourteen years ago, David Melechin bought himself a new canoe. Little did he know that boating would soon become more than a hobby it would be his sideline business.

SALE---Downey Has Big Plan for Land Left Vacant by Boeing

Few things scream for more attention in the bustling L.A. economy than an idle 160 acres of commercial property.

REAL ESTATE COLUMN---Northrop Snubs Majestic in Deal to Sell Pico Rivera Site

Northrop Grumman Corp. has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Irvine-based developer Sares-Regis Group for 157 acres in Pico Rivera that Majestic Realty Corp. had been vying to develop.


Chinatown in San Pedro: L.A.'s Cultural Affairs Department is showing a series of old movies at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, a theater with an Art Deco interior that was recently restored. The first film in the series is "Chinatown," s

CHINATOWN---Likely Passage of Bid Could Bring Benefits to Chinatown

As the Aug. 15 deadline for voting draws near, proponents of a plan to create a business improvement district in Chinatown believe the measure is increasingly likely to pass.

WORKING AT HOME---Things You Should Know When Eyeing Incorporation

Lately I've received a lot of questions from entrepreneurs about incorporation. This may be a reflection of the large number of businesses in start-up mode, or it could be a sign that the sole proprietorships formed a few years ago are ready to take the n

FREEMAN---Local Financier Is Key Player in Bush Fund-Raising Effort

Chief among the L.A. Republicans who took off last week for the party's convention in Philadelphia is the man in charge of raising money for George W. Bush's California campaign: Brad Freeman, a founding partner at L.A. private equity firm Freeman Spogli

CYBERSENSE---Bill Aims to Uncover Firms That Snoop on Workers

The media, members of Congress and civil libertarians alike seem to have developed an overly voracious appetite for Carnivore.

INTERNET---Laundromat Ventures Into Cyberspace to Build Loyalty

If the owners of Lucy's LaundryMart have their way, customers like Rene Lozada and his family will never want to go home.

RETAIL---Growth of Sales at Boutiques Belies Retail Slowdown

Los Angeles-area retail sales are projected to grow less this year than last, though boutique stores seemed to fare better than larger retailers in the first half of 2000.

TECH TALK---Study Aims to Get Clearer Picture of Television's Future

The entire media and advertising industry is very curious about how the future of television is going to work. Televisual research and consulting firm ASI Entertainment in Glendale has partnered with TiVo and Nielsen Media Research to find out.

ECONOMY---Trade Boom Fuels Strong Economic Forecast for L.A.

The Los Angeles economy is chalking up a year of exceptionally strong growth, according to the latest forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

AIRPORT---Unions Grow Organizing Push at LAX

After scoring a coup by organizing the biggest subcontractor at Los Angeles International Airport last month, labor leaders are now expanding their quest to unionize security workers, skycaps and other service providers throughout LAX.

BUTLERS---Boot Camp for Butlers

Patience is more than a virtue, it's an absolute necessity for those who want to serve the wealthy guests at the St. Regis

DINING---Restaurants Serve Up Net Reservations

Thanks to a sudden push of online reservation services in L.A., Angelenos will find it much easier to make restaurant reservations by computer, and restaurants will be able to keep much better track of their customers.



PERSONAL FINANCE---Prosperity Lets Women Exit Workforce to Care for Kids

Here's one of prosperity's interesting side effects. A higher proportion of young women especially higher-earning women appear to be choosing motherhood over career.

NEWSMAKER---Lombard Elected President of L.A. Utility Commission

Doug Beach and Jeff Ong-Siong were named partners at RBZ in Los Angeles. Beach focuses on the manufacturing, high technology, real estate and construction industries. Ong-Siong specializes in the hospitality, manufacturing and distribution industries. Bot

ENTREPRENEUR'S NOTEBOOK---How Do You Spell Success When Giving Presentations?

You've been making presentations inside and outside your company. People have started to say you're getting pretty good at this public speaking thing.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Under Media Radar, Diodes Achieves Impressive Growth

The Westlake Village-based company reported record earnings and revenues last week, and over the past year has seen its stock price triple amid otherwise turbulent market conditions but Diodes has received relatively little media attention and only o

PROMOTION---Staples Boss Will Run Sports Unit

Tim Leiweke has been promoted to overseer of Philip Anschutz's entire billion-dollar sports empire, which stretches from L.A. to Europe.

JANE APPLEGATE---Firm Enlists Army of Students to Tackle Youth Market

Everyone in business is anxious to reach the free-spending youth market, but how do you hit a moving target?


Considering some of the high-tech Mercedes-Benz models selling out at local showrooms, a Jetsons-style flying car doesn't seem like such a fanciful notion anymore.

HOTELS---Swank Hotels

As the local hotel industry posts another record year, the biggest increase in occupancy is being seen at luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, where business executives from Europe, Asia and Silicon Valley are checking in while searching for o

PETS---Spoiling the Pooch

If you ever wondered whether society is going to the dogs, or the cats, wonder no more. It is.

REAL ESTATE---Property Values Hit Pre-Recession Level

The total assessed value of real estate in L.A. County rose by 6.7 percent last year, according to a report to be released this week meaning local real estate values have finally recovered all of the ground lost in the recession and surpassed their 1991

PHOTOS---High-Fashion Focus

Digital photography may be the way of the future, but for some of the most discerning photographers, nothing beats film and the old-fashioned developing and printing process to achieve the highest quality images.

SPORTS---L.A.'s Other Cagers Get Little Respect

Just weeks after throngs of delirious purple-and-gold-draped fans packed downtown streets to cheer their World Champion Lakers, across town at the Great Western Forum, the Sparks are putting on an equally impressive on-court performance in a near-empty ar

JOBS---Playa Vista Jobs Effort May Be Model for More Projects

An unusual jobs program at the giant Playa Vista project, focused on putting "at-risk" people to work, may hold out hope that social ills and labor shortages could be alleviated simultaneously.

DWP---Jump in Power Bills May Lead DWP to Unplug Deregulation

For much of the past three years, it was pretty much a given that L.A. city officials would deregulate the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power by the year 2003 or risk losing major commercial customers to competitors willing to offer cheaper electric

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY---Waiting for Zev

County Supervisor Yaroslavsky is still on the fence over whether to run for L.A. mayor. But he's keeping plenty busy with everything from health care reform to pro football to the Democratic National Convention.

CONVENTION---Downtown Workers Nervous About Convention

Many major employers in downtown Los Angeles, concerned about gridlock and possible violence during the impending Democratic National Convention, are considering shutting down during the four-day event. In addition, they are encouraging their workers to t

EXODUS---Defection of the Docs

Some of the world's most respected medical specialists work at the UCLA Medical Center. Or at least they used to.

Wall Street West---Funding of Net Startup May Signal Investment Rebound

It may be tougher to raise money for dot-com ventures than it was in the heyday of 1999 and early 2000, but investment money seems to be slowly returning to the sector, according to Davis Blaine, chairman and founder of Westlake Village-based The Mentor G

FINANCE---Angel Investors Adjust to Change In Tech Outlook

The Tech Coast Angels, one of Southern California's most prominent angel investor groups, is raising the bar to adapt to the changed investment landscape. Gone are the days of easy-to-understand dot-com pitches. Today's angel investment plays are more com

MITCH ALBOM---'Wounded' Ellen Ain't So Bad After All

She was everywhere you looked. Television. Newspapers. Magazine covers all because she was about to declare her homosexuality.

Monday, July 24

Efforts to Fix Up Skid Row

In regard to your story, "City Rules May Shutter Hotels For Homeless" (July 10): It is unfortunate that following several recent zoning cases in the Skid Row area, several business owners decided to attack the city instead of spending their combined energ

ART --- Art Appreciation

"All art is completely useless," Oscar Wilde wrote in his introduction to "The Portrait of Dorian Gray." And although it became a catch-phrase, the sentiment apparently leaves Angelenos unmoved as they increase their presence in the big-buyers' art market

Real Estate Column --- L.A. County Inks Deal for Huge Space in Chatsworth

One of the biggest blocks of space in the Chatsworth market was snatched up last week by the County of Los Angeles in a 10-year, $34 million lease deal.

Jane Bryant Quinn --- Exposing the Truth About Learning Secrets Via Web

You've probably read that you can be tracked like an animal through the Internet. Wherever you go, you leave a trail that clever cybersleuths can follow.

Domain-Name Registries Show Local Internet Community Is Enormous Virtual L.A.

Perhaps nothing is more difficult to categorize or quantify than that which takes place in cyberspace. To a large extent, the clout of a region or city in the virtual world depends on public relations.


Residential (May)8 1,206.0 1,202.3 +0.3 1,194.3 +1.0 Commercial (May) 178.0 189.6 -6.1 174.9 +1.8

Mitch Albom

A few weeks ago, I got a call saying John Vitale was sick; cancer had him in its grasp.

Chet Currier --- Major Fund Players Getting Back on Web Bandwagon

Here's heartening news for New Age investors who've been worrying about whether and when the great boom in Internet stocks might revive.

COPORATE FOCUS --- Univision Splits Stock Amid Strong Growth in Earnings

Univision Communications Inc. last week proved once again that it's a money-making machine, reporting another quarter of impressive earnings.

Ahead of the Curve

Irish tales: James Joyce's short story "The Dead" is the basis of a musical with the same name set at the Christmas party of Gabriel Conroy's music-loving aunts, where three generations celebrate with a holiday feast. Runs through Sept. 3 at the Ahmanson

Roving Eye

Sandy Koufax's perfect game. Fernandomania. Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey. Kirk Gibson's ninth-inning, two-out home run to win the first game of the 1988 World Series. Tommy Lasorda yelling at umpires. Vin Scully calling the game.

OFFICES --- Cost-Conscious Tenants Scooping Up Class-B Offices

Over the past two years, as the office real estate market recovered from the recession of the 1990s, many second-tier buildings in the San Fernando Valley lagged behind.


Over the past two years, as the office real estate market recovered from the recession of the 1990s, many second-tier buildings in the San Fernando Valley lagged behind.

Hollywood Can't Be Bothered

As Los Angeles primps itself for the international spotlight when the Democratic National Convention comes to town in three weeks, it faces a crippling disadvantage compared to past host cities: Its highest-profile and arguably most important industry doe

Wall Street West --- Firm Adds New Dimension To Raising Venture Money

The Newport Beach securities brokerage and investment bank Roth Capital Partners recently raised $33 million for El Segundo-based Supply Access Inc., and the way they did it may be instructive on the present and future of venture capital raising in Southe



Concerned About Convention Protests?

News reports about protests during the upcoming Democratic National Convention are growing increasingly worrisome. Last week, a federal judge voided the city's proposed buffer zone around Staples Center that was intended to enhance security; meanwhile, ac

Monday, July 17

POLITICS --- Neighborhood Council Delays Irk Residents

The effort to create neighborhood councils, the single most important charter reform for those seeking to prevent the San Fernando Valley from seceding, has become mired in political bickering and confusion. The result: The very grassroots activists who w

Real Estate Quarterly --- Reading Between Lines Belies Cleanup Success Stories

The recent history of cleaning up and redeveloping contaminated sites might lure the casual observer into thinking that the dark days of the past are dead and gone. Sadly, such reports are premature.

Jane Bryant Quinn --- Case Pushes Limit of Law in Tax Battles by Ex-Spouses

What's fair when ex-spouses battle over whom owes an unpaid income tax? How expensive did Congress intend that battle to be?

AWARDS --- Business Journal Wins Top Award From Colleagues

The Los Angeles Business Journal was named "best newspaper" by the Association of Area Business Publications, for the second consecutive year.

Commercial & Industrial contractors

Commercial and industrial builders continue their comeback from the industry doldrums of the mid-'90s. The total value of commercial projects in L.A. County jumped by nearly 20 percent in 1999, over the previous year, while the total local value of indust

The Weekly Briefing --- There's No Right Answer for Inspiring Office Creativity

For nearly 20 years, Susan Lieberman has been the owner and sole employee of Paris 1900, a vintage bridal shop in Santa Monica specializing in antique lace and garment restorations.

Real Estate Quarterly --- In Role Reversal, Glendale Lags Behind Hotter Cities

The Tri-Cities office market experienced an unusual reversal during the second quarter, with long-struggling Glendale experiencing a dramatic drop in its vacancy rate while once-smoking Burbank and Pasadena suffered a net loss in tenancy.

Tech Talk --- Marvel Legend Teams Up With Rotor for Programming

Interactive webcast software provider Rotor Inc. and online entertainment company Stan Lee Media have signed a one-year deal to jointly develop interactive programming.

ALAMEDA --- Alameda Corridor Project Boosts Minority Contractors

The multibillion-dollar Alameda Corridor project has been a windfall for minority contractors, making it a national model for public projects.

PROBLEMS --- Eclectic Crew Starts a Web Site for Folks With Troubles

Seated on a couch in his Sherman Oaks office on a recent morning, Henry Dahut talked about the genesis of his Internet startup as his three-man documentary crew recorded the event for prosperity's sake.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Contents

MAIN Booming infill development is pushing private industry and government agencies to overcome toxic challenges and resurrect previously polluted sites. 1

Real Estate Quarterly --- Mix of Cutting-Edge, Basic Methods Produces Results

Environmental engineers have come a long way since the days when contaminated sites were cleaned up simply by scooping out the toxic waste and hauling it away.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Five Key Parcels That Are Ripe for Redevelopment

Of the countless polluted sites throughout Los Angeles, here are five that arguably hold the most promise for being cleaned up, redeveloped and redeployed to accommodate future economic growth.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Signs of Slowdown Arrive In L.A. Real Estate Market

No one's predicting a downturn anytime soon, but the Los Angeles County real estate market's furious "bubble" runup of earlier this year is downshifting to a more balanced, moderate pace.

The LABJ's L.A. stories

Big StoryWeary workers leaving their Wilshire Boulevard offices last week were probably wondering whether they were hallucinating.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Five Key Sites That Have Found New Life After Cleanup Efforts

The following once-polluted sites represent some of L.A.'s greatest turnaround stories. Many of these parcels sat unused for years, but now are either home to major existing redevelopment projects or are the sites of proposed improvements.

Chet Currier --- Theme Funds Attract Cash, But Returns Can Be Mixed

Bob Hope has "Thanks for the Memories." Andy Williams sings "Moon River." Lately some stock mutual funds have sought to win fans among investors with themes of their own.

SCULPTURE --- Angels Land in L.A.

Last year, an exhibit of wacky cow sculptures strewn in public places throughout Chicago drew thousands of tourists to that city and pumped hundreds of millions into its economy.

TECHNOLOGY --- Tech Corridor Is Growing but Still Faces Roadblocks

The Los Angeles tech corridor, concentrated along the Ventura (101) Freeway from the West San Fernando Valley to eastern Ventura County, is one of the 50 fastest-growing technology regions in the nation. But few people know it, according to a study to be


Advertising & P.R.George Minter became principal at the newly named public affairs consulting firm of Greer/Dailey/Minter in Los Angeles. He will oversee all client services. Minter was previously director of public affairs at Southern California Gas.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Leasing Rate Cools as New Projects Near Completion

Even as more new developments pour into the heated Mid-Cities industrial market, brokers report that buying and leasing activity is starting to slow.

OVER VIEW--Fox Scares the Chicken Littles

While Vicente Fox's recent election as Mexico's new president was largely hailed in the United States as a step in the right direction, it also produced the usual backlash from organized labor, economic protectionists and xenophobes.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Cleanup Specialists Finding No Shortage of Jobs in L.A.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has two good reasons for cleaning up the toxic materials that pollute its 100-acre site near Burbank Airport.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Santa Clarita Office Market Tanks, but Industrial Strong

An odd dichotomy is taking place in the Santa Clarita Valley: Even as its industrial market continues to tighten, its office market is having serious problems.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Cleanup Took Twists, Turns During Struggle to Succeed

The history of the former Franciscan Ceramics site in the Atwater Village section of Los Angeles has all the makings of a Hollywood movie.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Dot-Com Pullback, Nasdaq Decline Slow Momentum

Earlier this year, downtown boosters were crowing about the telco insurgence into downtown. Last year, it was the promise of Staples Center.

Entrepreneur's Notebook --- Success Can Hide Between Lines When Naming a Firm

You have devised the perfect business plan for your new venture, and now all you need is the perfect name to go with it. Before you get too financially or emotionally invested in a particular name, though, you'll need to confirm that it is available for u

POLLUTION --- Toxic Turnaround Key to L.A.'s Future Growth

Interest in putting L.A. infill sites back into productive use is ramping up like never before, as developers and elected officials turn their attention back to the urban core.

The Roving Eye

The landmark statue of a 10-foot-tall horse and its human companion alongside an old bank building at Manchester Avenue and South Sepulveda Boulevard has a new lease on life.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Vacancy Rate Sinks Even as New Buildings Hit Market

Inland Empire's huge and growing hub of warehousing/distribution facilities is mushrooming, spurred on by the area's broad expanses of developable land, relatively affordable rents and robust foreign trade activity through local ports.

CORPORATE --- Strouds Making an Upscale Move to Aid Performance

It looks like someone has thrown a wet blanket over the stock price of Strouds Inc., but the company hopes to remedy that by repositioning itself.

APARTMENTS --- L.A.'s Apartment Boom

Apartment construction in L.A. County remains steady at the highest levels since 1990, according to the most recent statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board. Much of the activity is taking place near the urban core of Los Angeles, w

TRIBUNE --- With L.A. Times in Tow, Tribune Co.'s Profits Jump

Tribune Co., in its first earnings report since buying Times Mirror Co. for $8 billion, said second-quarter profit rose 14 percent on the popularity of its WB network-affiliated television stations.

The Agenda

Tuesday, July 25Tech StudyLARTA will present the results of its study of the Ventura (101) Freeway tech corridor (see page 7) at a panel discussion titled, "How Green Is Our Valley?" The event starts at 6 p.m. at the GTE/Verizon regional headquarters in T

Real Estate Quarterly --- Comeback Produces Higher Rents, Falling Vacancy Rate

Little by little, the shabby fa & #231;ades of Hollywood Entertainment District commercial buildings are being returned to their former glory, while their interiors are being upgraded to state-of-the-art standards. The result is low vacancy and rising asking ren


Residential (May)8 1,206.0 1,202.3 +0.3 1,194.3 +1.0 Commercial (May) 178.0 189.6 -6.1 174.9 +1.8

Real Estate Quarterly --- Toxic: Rush to Inner-City Development Spurs Cleanups

Interest in putting L.A. infill sites back into productive use is ramping up like never before, as developers and elected officials turn their attention back to the urban core.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Office Buildings Filling Up As Media Firms Move East

The eastward migration of media and Internet companies continued in the second quarter, with businesses moving from the pricey Westside to cheaper digs closer to the central city along Wilshire Boulevard.

INSIDE VIEW--Minority-Owned Firms Must Dispel Myths to Win Convention Business A Fair Share

With the Democratic convention only days away, many minority business owners and community activists are still grumbling loudly that convention delegates and sponsors will rely mainly on major corporations to provide most of the goods and services for the

LAX --- Psychedelic Stonehedge

A string of translucent monoliths is emerging along the center median of Century Boulevard, culminating in a huge ring of more monoliths at the threshold of Los Angeles International Airport.

LABOR --- Strong Job Figures Suggest L.A. Is Dodging Slowdown

In what could be a sign that the local economy is growing stronger while the rest of the state slows down, unemployment in L.A. County dropped to a seasonally adjusted 5.4 percent in June.

VALENCIA --- Golf Course Dispute Shows Growing Pains of Valencia

A festering dispute between residents and a developer over a proposed apartment complex illustrates the growing pains being experienced in Valencia, which is rapidly changing from a sleepy suburb into a major residential and business community.

SUBWAY --- Subway Terminal Building Eyed for Apartment Project

While other downtown redevelopment projects may be getting a lot more attention, one of the most ambitious of them all is taking shape far out of the spotlight.

DENTISTS --- Switch to Cosmetic Work Has Dentists Smiling

A few years ago, Dr. Bernie Villadiego saw 15 to 20 patients a day, made treatment decisions based on what insurance companies would reimburse, and, ultimately, grew cranky and bored.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Office Market Stays Solid, Especially Along Freeway

Much like the nation's economy, Ventura County's commercial real estate market is showing some signs of slowing, but real estate professionals say the overall market conditions remain robust.

Goldstein Searching for Next Mega-Game

When it comes to product shelf life, even cutting-edge video games have an expiration date.


18 Record Keeping for Small Businesses 9:00 a.m. Small Business Development Center 3600 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. L100, L.A. Free (213) 251-7253

Largest private employers Ranked by number of employees in L.A. County

After two years as the largest private-sector employer in Los Angeles County, Boeing Co. drops to No. 2, behind Kaiser Permanente. Last year, Boeing began phasing out production of three of its jetliner lines due to reduced market demand, resulting in the

SNOWBOARDS --- Snowboards for Grown-ups

It's early on a summer morning, which means Bob Carlson can be found surfing a passion he indulges in daily, before heading off to his Santa Monica office.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Slowing of Dot-Com Deals Spurs Uptick in Vacancies

San Fernando Valley office leasing activity slowed considerably in the second quarter, as cash-strapped Internet companies pulled back or out of the market, and the onset of summer's seasonal slowdown kept other businesses from completing expansion/reloca

CONTRACTORS --- City Bid to Weed Out Poor Contractors Irks Some Shops

Spurred by reports that L.A. city departments have been hiring contractors with problem histories, city officials are setting up a program to weed out these poorly performing businesses.

LABJ Forum--Rating of Chief Parks?

Police Chief Bernard Parks took a beating last week after all five candidates for L.A. mayor criticized at least some of his policies during a debate sponsored by the police union. With the Rampart scandal and complaints over police handling of illegal ac

INTERVIEW --- Dean of Design

Samuel Hoi, the new president of Otis College of Art and Design, started out as a lawyer who dabbled in art. But his hobby ultimately became his passion, and now it's his life's work.

BANKS --- Banks Doing Better Than Street Thinks

Wall Street is worried that banks have forgotten the lessons of the 1980s, when a booming economy led to a lot of bad loans. But for local financial institutions, those fears look to be unfounded, even with interest rates creeping up and economic growth s

ATTORNEYS --- Net Service Lets Lawyers Bill for Hours Worked at Home

Many associates at law firms complain that their bosses expect them to bill practically around the clock, forcing them to all but live at the office. So a number of local law firms are undergoing a technological transformation allowing them to take the of

The Business Digest

In the largest sale of naming rights outside of sports, Eastman Kodak Co. agreed to pay $75 million over 20 years to put its name on a new Hollywood Boulevard theater that will permanently house the Academy Awards starting in 2002.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Can Government Really Get Results Sitting on Sideline?

When it comes to cleaning up highly polluted sites, the common perception is that the government comes in, knocks heads together and forces the property owners to clean up, or cleans up the property itself.

U.S. Must Reduce Its Dependence on Oil

The sharp leap in the price of oil should be a wakeup call, warning Americans that dependence on imported oil and the politics of OPEC is a failed policy.

Real Estate Column --- Purchase of Prized Westside Tower Makes It Into Escrow

Fox Plaza, arguably the Westside's most prized trophy building, is in escrow, and several sources familiar with the deal say the buyer is Donald Bren's Irvine Co.

Mitch Albom --- This Fan Can't Keep Up With the Music

Well, I lost them. All 60 songs. I don't know where I put them. They could be under a sock. They could be behind a credit card in my wallet.

Cybersense --- With Tech Upgrades, Car Stereos Will Sing New Song

It's easy to take for granted the riches that have been delivered to our doorsteps by improvements in entertainment technology.

Wall Street West --- Investment Banker Works Variety of Financial Fronts

Time was when venture capitalists and investment bankers represented different hues of the money spectrum. But investment bankers are now "getting in" earlier and earlier in the life cycle of a company.

DENNIS TITO --- First Tourist in Space

The world is not enough for some people. Take Dennis Tito founder, president and chief executive of Wilshire Associates.

NETZERIO --- Lots of Insider Trading at Free Internet Provider NetZero Inc.

Executives at NetZero Inc., the country's largest free Internet access provider, have been unloading large blocks of stocks in recent weeks, raising concerns about the company's future prospects.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Belmont Stands as a Case Study in Cleanup Hazards

If there is one L.A. site that showed the nation the pitfalls of trying to build on contaminated sites, it's the 35-acre former oilfield just west of downtown known now as Belmont.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Westside Overflow Keeps Fueling Tight Office Market

Office and industrial space in the South Bay is getting steadily scarcer as the Westside fills up and companies turn south in search of new digs.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Dot-Com Doldrums Don't Faze Sizzling Office Market

Despite financial earthquakes in the dot-com world, the Westside office market sustained its hot steak through the second quarter. High demand continued to push rents up and vacancy rates down during the period.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Vacancies Plummet as Firms Snatch Up Available Space

The industrial market in the San Gabriel Valley stayed hot in the second quarter, with the strong economy and a variety of new tenants pushing the vacancy rate from 4.3 percent in the first quarter to a minuscule 3.9 percent in the second.

Real Estate Quarterly --- Opinions Differ on the Health Impacts of Polluted Sites

In 1989, Cynthia Babich moved into a small but neat house near Torrance that had a backyard big enough to raise her chickens. But soon the chickens were laying eggs contaminated by the now-banned pesticide DDT.

Ahead of the curve

Fair contests: Get those recipe cards in order, the deadline is Aug. 1 for a variety of competition entries at this year's Los Angeles County Fair. Contests include best Mexican recipe, best needle art, best table decoration (or "tablescape"), best cocoa

Jane Applegate --- There's No Right Answer for Inspiring Office Creativity

Try passing out Play-Doh at your next brainstorming session, and ask employees to make a shape representing your company.

Lgst Comm. & Ind.l Contractors in LA Cnty

Lgst Comm. & Ind.l Contractors in LA Cnty

Monday, July 10

Cybersense --- It's Doubtful Dot-Coms Can Jazz Up Convention Doings

NBC's hit drama "The West Wing" has convinced millions of people that watching politics can be fun.

APPAREL --- Lax Mexican Quality Control Spurs L.A. Jobs

Ever since NAFTA went into effect, L.A. has been losing a steady stream of apparel jobs to Mexico.

Jane Applegate --- Cradle of Democracy Has Become Land of Opportunity

More than 150 women from around the world gathered in Athens, Greece last month to discuss how to take full advantage of global trade and technology to boost company profits.

PROFILES--Key Movers and Shakers in L.A.'s Public Health System

Mark CasanovaTitle: Executive DirectorOrganization: Homeless Health CareLos AngelesAge: 44

STAFFING--Cuts to Balance Budget Likely to Come From Staffing

At a time when Los Angeles County public health facilities are understaffed and a shortage of nurses appears likely to worsen, the county's health care system is facing continued belt-tightening and a hiring freeze that should last through September.

MILITARY --- Military Magazine Looking for a Few Good Advertisers

Color of Service, an upstart quarterly magazine billing itself as the "60 Minutes" of military magazines, has hit the streets with its first issue. It's geared to the 900,000 minority members of the armed forces, who together spent close to $16 billion in

SUSHI --- An L.A. Fish Story

Chicago and New York might be meat-and-potatoes towns, but the business lunch crowd in L.A. prefers expensive, lean and tasty portions of Japanese sushi

Chet Currier --- It Gets Tough to Beat the Odds With Too Many Funds

If that maxim is true and who would dispute it it also applies to mutual-fund diversification.

Top 100 Public Co. in LA County

Top 100 Public Co. in LA County

The Agenda

Monday, July 10Buyers' BashThe L.A. Mart will hold one of its biggest shows of the year starting today with the kickoff of the Gift, Decorative Accessories and Furniture Festival. Retail buyers are expected to descend on the downtown showroom through July

Ahead of the Curve

Gold rush: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is showing "Gold of the Nomads: Scythian Treasures from Ancient Ukraine" through Sept. 24. The exhibition displays 170 gold and silver works of art that tell the story of a once-feared warrior culture that r


Residential (May)8 1,206.0 1,202.3 +0.3 1,194.3 +1.0 Commercial (May) 178.0 189.6 -6.1 174.9 +1.8

Inside View--Loony Lefties

Rents are up, unemployment is down and the Democrats are coming to town. The city's getting ready for its close-up. Now it's the perfect time for L.A.'s political pyromaniacs to blow everything sky high.

Letters--Half-Truths on Graham

Why is the Los Angeles Business Journal giving space to death penalty deceptions and half-truths about the Graham case? ("Executions: More Murder Than Justice?" July 3). I liked the paper very much because I thought it would print only good, honest writer

Entrepreneurs Notebook --- Database Is Key to Keeping in Touch With Top Clients

I often encounter companies that want more business but don't maintain an up-to-date database of current and former clients, referral sources and prospective clients.

COSMETICS --- Retailers Turn Stores Into Hangouts to Attract Teens

In the old days, retailers discouraged teenagers from hanging out in their stores they were a nuisance and they could scare away potential paying customers.

TRANSIT --- Really Rapid Transit

Rina Maya has a very unusual expression on her face. She's smiling. Not tentatively, but broadly.

AGENCY --- Other Nets Eyeing NBC Ad Experiment

The NBC Agency, a division of the NBC Inc., handles more than $1 billion in promotional airtime for the company's diverse broadcasting, Internet and cable assets.


Doing Business with Mexico 7:30 a.m. IBEAR Program at USC's Marshall School Popovich Hall, USC $1,750 (213) 740-7130

ROADWAYS --- Big Money From State Won't Complete Job on Road Repairs

With the state's coffers filled to the brim, the city of Los Angeles is receiving a massive influx of funding for street repairs this year. However, even with the additional state money, the city will still fall far short of the amount needed to upgrade a

OVERVIEW--Critical Condition

WAIVER KEEPS COUNTY HEALTH SYSTEM AFLOAT, BUT HARD PART LIES AHEADBy noon on a recent morning, some 16 people were patiently sitting in the second-floor waiting room of the Venice Family Clinic, where children squirmed in their strollers and adults watche

MTV --- MTV Eyes Next Move After Its Reality Genre Takes Off

As the reality-based show "Big Brother" on CBS sinks in the ratings, executives at MTV are celebrating blockbuster ratings in the reality-based genre they helped pioneer almost a decade ago.

The LABJ L.A. stories

There Goes the NeighborhoodThe Studio City Residents Association got some new neighbors a few weeks ago, but no one's baking them any cookies or rushing out to welcome them.

STRIKE --- Ad Producers Flee L.A. for Orange County

In the battle between striking actors and ad producers in Los Angeles, ad agencies and their clients are fleeing to the other side of the proverbial Orange Curtain to find a haven.

MUSIC --- Latin Grammys Posing Some Logistical Challenges

After successfully pulling off the first awards show ever held at Staples Center earlier this year, executives at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are facing a whole new set of challenges with the first-ever Latin Grammys not the leas

COUNTY-USC--Embattled Plan to Replace Hospital Is Inching Ahead

When it comes to the local public health system, there is no single institution more crucial than L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

Jane Bryant Quinn --- Credit Card Firms Socking Users With Painful Penalties

Next time you get a credit-card bill, take a look at the interest rate charged on your unpaid balances. I'll wager it's higher than you thought.

INTERNET --- Tracking Web Traffic

For most of the life of the Web, Media Metrix Inc., a New York Internet measurement firm that dispenses data on which sites are most visited, has become the online equivalent of the Nielsen television ratings.


Banking & FinanceGary Meek has been appointed chief financial officer at the Los Angeles headquarters of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin. He will be responsible for financial oversight of the firm, its subsidiaries and affiliated entities. Previously, Meek

COMPUTERS --- Inner-City Cyber Cafes Out To Narrow Digital Divide

Can cappuccinos, cinnamon buns and computers with high-speed Internet access make a dent in the digital divide?

LABJ forum--Most Memorable Summer Job?

It's summertime, and the living is easy at least for American students. After years of economic expansion, vacationing students are flush, so they're unwilling to take summer jobs. As a result, seasonal businesses that typically rely on high school and

FOOTBALL --- Roski's NFL Dreams on A Slow Fade

Despite sounding as determined as ever to bring an NFL football team back to Los Angeles, Ed Roski Jr. no longer dreams of owning one. And now, even his chances of brokering an L.A. football deal are looking more remote.

CORPORATE FOCUS --- New Chips Power a Major Surge in Stock of Tech Firm

After a brief spell of relative quiet, International Rectifier Corp. is again setting the stock market on fire.

Entrepreneur's Notebook --- Professionals Can Help Hedge Bets in 'Audit Roulette'

Chances are, if you've ever itemized deductions on your income tax returns, you may have already played a small-stakes version of "audit roulette," in which you consider the likelihood of being audited against the value of the deduction.

Comment --- Unlocking Genetics Won't End Racism

In the same week that scientists announced they had unlocked the secrets of the human genetic code, I tried and failed to hail a cab in New York City.

Working at Home --- Taking Steps to Unplug Is Critical to Enjoying Vacation

Each spring when I plan my summer vacation, I fantasize about two weeks away without work worries. As my departure approaches, I inevitably face scenarios that could make me anxious about going away.


NBC, which flubbed developing hit game shows like ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and reality shows like CBS's "Survivor," could have the magic touch when it tries to revive the prime-time soap genre with a new fall series, "Titans."

Tech Talk --- Boosts Offerings With Guitar Center Deal

Universal Music Group's groundbreaking online record label Jimmy and Doug's has taken the next step in penetrating the Internet, as the first client to sign up for a new e-commerce service offered by music retailer Guitar Center Inc.

FORTUNE 500 --- L.A. Giants: Who'll Stay, Who'll Go?

Every year, the Business Journal compiles a list of L.A. County's 100 largest public companies. And every year, there are fewer Fortune 500 companies on it.

CARE --- Northridge Hospital Tries Experiment to Free Up ER

Northridge Hospital Medical Center is trying a novel experiment that is being closely watched by other hospitals trying to ease conditions for thin-stretched emergency room staff.

Weekly Briefing

Summer is one of the most popular times of the year for single men and women to enter holy matrimony. For the makers of wedding dresses, that means a rush to put the finishing touches on gowns for summer ceremonies.

FILMING --- Sound Stages Seen as Sanctuary From Strikers

It's commercial producers' latest tactic in their ongoing quest to avoid being hassled by protestors in the 11-week-old strike by actors against the advertising industry: Shoot commercials in the sanctuary of private sound stages, rather than on city stre

Wall Street West --- Wedbush Adding Analysts To Track Firms on the Rise

Michael Pachter, new director of research for downtown Los Angeles-based Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc., is ramping up in a bid to grab more investment banking business.

GEFFEN --- Geffen's Vanishing Act Irks Confab Planners

When organizers of the effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to L.A. chose to bring billionaire music mogul and DreamWorks SKG principal David Geffen on board as a co-chair more than two years ago, they seemed to hit upon the perfect bridge b

Real Estate Column --- Penthouse With Bulletproof Doors Going on the Market

There's no shortage of office space available in downtown Los Angeles, where the vacancy rate edged up to 22.5 percent in the second quarter, according to just-released stats from Grubb & Ellis Co.

CELEBRETIES --- 'Vanity' Production Deals Hit Skids in Hollywood

Five years ago, fresh off the success of her hit movie "Clueless," Alicia Silverstone signed a $10 million deal with Columbia Pictures to start her own production company and make two films to be distributed by Columbia.

HOMELESS --- City Rules May Shutter Hotels For Homeless

The Simone Hotel is, by most measures, a key part of the solution to downtown L.A.'s homelessness problem. Yet the city has ordered changes that may well put the Skid Row facility out of business.

MOTOROLA --- Getting Hollywood's Ear

In the cutthroat world of selling cell phones, Motorola Inc.'s secret weapon is David Pinsky.

Vivendi Deal Is Latest Glitch in Diller's Empire-Building

Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive of USA Networks Inc., has acquired more than 20 businesses since 1995 in his quest to build a third-rate TV-station group into a media powerhouse. But with a total stock market value in the $17 billion range, Dil

The Weekly Briefing

With America's favorite pastime in full swing on both Little League and big league fields, L.A.-area batting cages are hopping.

LATINOS --- Businessmen Aim to Aid Latinos in Landing Franchises

Two wealthy Latino leaders who have worked their way up from the bottom are launching a program in Los Angeles to help other Latinos start their own franchises.

Our View--Don't Reopen Old Wounds

It's amazing how expensive our scandals can be. As the city of Los Angeles faces lawsuits that could cost hundreds of millions before the Rampart police scandal is cleared up, the state is dealing with a multimillion-dollar crisis of its own: fixing the d

Jane Applegate --- Business in Britain Could Benefit From U.S. Know-How

More than 300 British and American business owners, investors, government officials and journalists convened in London recently to exchange ideas and strategies aimed at encouraging entrepreneurial ventures on both sides of the Atlantic.

APARTMENTS --- Moving In Downtown

The answer to that age-old question Can white-collar workers be enticed to live downtown? appears to be yes. Two developers who took the plunge into downtown housing are starting to see their high-stakes gamble pay off.

The Roving Eye

Call it the L.A. Summer Uniform, the standard outfit for male Angelenos between the ages of 30 and 45 when off work: khaki shorts and a plain white T-shirt.

THREATS--Controlling Illness Is One Way to Ease Strain on System

As L.A. County struggles to reinvent the way it provides services to the uninsured, a key factor is preventing illness and accidents to begin with.

PROJECT --- CRA Enters Parking Business With Cinerama Dome Project

As developers scurry to cash in on the renaissance taking place in Hollywood, the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency is looking for a piece of the action.

MARK FINUCANE --- Curing Health

Mark Finucane, head of the county health department, was the point man in securing a federal waiver to keep the system going. Does he have a long-range remedy?

CLASSROOMS --- Firm Poised to Cash In on Boom in School Spending

With school spending high on the agenda in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington, D.C., few companies stand to benefit from the coming construction boom more than Virco Manufacturing Corp.

PHOTOS --- L.A. Sees a Huge Jump in Still-Photo Shoots

A robust economy, smoother permitting process, and the perpetual search for new and interesting locations have brought about a huge increase in the number of still-photo shoots in L.A. County involving advertising, fashion, marketing and other materials.

MEXICO --- Fox's Victory a Win for L.A. Economy

As Mexico revels in its biggest political overhaul in more than 70 years, it's looking like the Los Angeles economy could also become a big winner as a result of the landmark election.

PROJECT --- Merchant Concerns Fade as Boulevard Work Shapes Up

While business owners' complaints can still be heard along the torn up stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, they are now being accompanied by sounds of excited anticipation as tangible results of the project begin to surface.

FITNESS --- Selling Inner Peace

Nancy Corcoran remembers when the only people who practiced yoga were, in her words, "weirdos."

RADIO --- Hip-Hop Station Takes Tumble After Altering Playlist

At precisely 5 p.m. on a Friday several weeks ago, listeners who were tuned in to radio station KKBT-FM 92.3 heard a low buzzing sound that lasted about five seconds.

KAL-PLASTICS --- Molding a Future


Cybersense --- Cross-Platform Spamming Is Latest Scourge of Media

For some reason, the appearance of junk e-mail in our computers' in boxes inspires anger much greater than our annoyance at junk mail, telephone salesmen or any other real-world equivalent.

Monday, July 3

Cybersense --- More Than Just Money Is at Stake on This B2B Site

As dot-coms struggle to attract customers and cash, investors have fallen in love with another bit of digital-age jargon: b2b.

SPEAKERS --- Motivation and Money

Hey Phil Jackson! You've just won your seventh NBA championship! Where are you going?

REALITY --- L.A. Profits From Big Dose of Reality TV

The sudden and surprising success of CBS's new reality-based show "Survivor" has created a stampede to develop a slate of Peeping Tom TV clones and Los Angeles-based production companies, talent agencies and even post-production firms are riding the tre

Chet Currier --- Funds Get Low Grades at Mid-Year but Show Promise

To the casual eye, the first half of 2000 in mutual funds hasn't amounted to much.

The Agenda

Most businesses and all government offices will be closed today. Considering this year's holiday falls on a Tuesday, a lot of L.A. offices will be closed on Monday, too, as Angelenos enjoy a four-day weekend. Don't get burned.

Wall Street West --- Life After Global Crossing: Players Launch Huge Fund

David Lee and Barry Porter, the two senior-level managers who helped Gary Winnick build Global Crossing Ltd. into a telecom powerhouse, aren't wasting any time getting their new venture capital firm off the ground.


On the surface, Los Angeles is bright, breezy and filled with glamorous locales. But that's not the world writer-director Isaac Eaton explores in his new film "Shadow Hours," starring Peter Weller and Balthazar Getty. He plumbs the city's nightlife and th

Reall Estate Column

Maple Associates Ltd., a joint venture between the music-industry mogul and Dr. Bernard Salick, will soon break ground on a $60 million, four-story office building in Beverly Hills. Located at 407 N. Maple Drive, the 160,000-square-foot building will

FOREIGNERS --- Foreigners Making More Venture Investments in L.A.

Local startups are finding that overseas investors can be a much more agreeable source of funding than U.S.-based venture capital firms or angel investors.

LABJ forum

Two teams of scientists, one public and one private, made history last week by announcing that they have finally completed a draft map of the human genetic code. The knowledge is expected to help cure some of humanity's most deadly diseases, but it also s


Residential (May)8 1,206.0 1,202.3 +0.3 1,194.3 +1.0 Commercial (May) 178.0 189.6 -6.1 174.9 +1.8

Working at Home --- Don't Let Fear of Change Cripple Growth of Business

Yesterday, in a meeting with the senior managers of my business, I rejected a new marketing idea.

Ahead of the Curve

Theater moment: The Watts Village Theater Company is presenting the premiere of "The Last Outpost," a two-act play written by Lynn Manning and directed by Roxanne Rogers. The play is set in a Mid-Wilshire district cocktail lounge and takes a look at post-

DREAMWORKS --- Struggling Record Label at DreamWorks Turns to Net

Despite the slate of industry heavy-hitters at the helm, the music division of DreamWorks SKG has not translated considerable critical acclaim into blowout record sales.


Denise G. Paully was named partner in the Southern California/Nevada general tax services group at Deloitte & Touche in Los Angeles. She specializes in growth and health-care industry clients. Paully was most recently a partner at McDermott, Will, & Emery

The Business Digest

Ending a cliffhanger debate that has long jeopardized Los Angeles County's overstressed health care system, federal officials cleared the way for the release of more than $1 billion that will keep clinics open and provide medical care to poor people.

CRA --- CRA Looking To Expand Its Powers, Scope

Even as the L.A. City Council temporarily pulled the plug on a huge San Fernando Valley redevelopment project area last week after questioning the ability of the Community Redevelopment Agency to pull it off, the CRA is quietly moving to expand its influe

INTERVIEW --- Centry City Cowboy

Ron Rogers spends his time in L.A. running the county's biggest independent P.R. firm, but on his off hours he likes to punch cattle in Colorado

HUGHES --- Hughes Stock Picture Blurs Amid DirecTV Concerns

Just three months ago, El Segundo-based Hughes Electronics Corp. was riding high.

BILTMORE --- Biltmore Is Jolted by Move to Put Protesters Across the Street

The fight over whether to make Pershing Square a designated protest site during the Democratic National Convention in August could well cost the Biltmore Hotel around $250,000, not to mention a priceless amount of publicity.

Ridiculous Rules

Every now and then, some large American corporation does something so stupid that it reminds you all over again that the people who run them should be regarded as guilty until proven innocent.

Public relations agencies

L.A. public relations firms continue to enjoy an extraordinary growth spurt that began two or three years ago.

NORTHROP --- Northrop Taking Flight?

Northrop Grumman Corp., one of L.A.'s last remaining major corporations, is aggressively reorienting its operational focus to the East Coast, raising questions about whether it might soon abandon L.A. altogether.

Jane Bryant Quinn --- Credit Industry Flip-Flops Over Releasing Its Ratings

One minute they're stonewalling, the next minute they're begging you to listen. I'm speaking of the companies that create consumer credit scores.


5 Publicity, Promotion, Advertising and You 9:30 a.m. Service Corps of Retired Executives 330 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale $20 (818) 552-3206

FUNDING --- CIM Hits a Roadblock on Development Fund

CIM Group, which made its mark by redeveloping the Third Street Promenade and other urban main streets, is discovering that for even the most respected developers, raising an equity fund is no picnic.

25 Lrgst PR & Casualty/Prop.

25 Lrgst PR & Casualty/Prop.

In Business, Don't Confuse Rejection, Failure

One of my senior staffers recently began working on business development for our company, which means he calls potential clients to convince them to learn more about us and hopefully to buy.

BANKRUPTCIES --- Bankruptcy Lawyers Hate Good Times

The condor, the kangaroo rat and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard are just some of the animals considered endangered in this state, but there's another species that could be added to the list: the California bankruptcy attorney.

MUSIC --- Music Maker

When clients like united airlines and sears need tunes for in-flight programming or promotional CDs, they turn to a growing company in pasadena that's hitting lots of high notes

Entrepreneur's Notebook --- Beware of Risks When Playing 'Shell' Merger Game

For many companies entertaining the idea of going public, there may be an alternative to the traditional IPO.

Jane Applegate --- Keeping Innovators on Job Can Take Creative Approach

Everyone knows entrepreneurs are risk-takers and innovators, but it may surprise you to learn that the tendency to start a business is believed by some industrial psychologists to be present at birth.

CORPORATE FOCUS --- Right Start's Fortunes Took Fall Along With Dot-Coms

The company's retooled retail network was pumping up its sales volume, and the Westlake Village-based retailer of children's clothing, toys and accessories was expecting to raise $70 million in the initial public offering it planned for its e-commerce

HELICOPTERS --- Choppers on the Cheap

Hughes, Bell and Sikorsky have better-known names, but Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance beats them all when it comes to making and selling whirlybirds

Tech Talk --- Merger Forces Eclectic Radio Station Into Cyberspace

When Clear Channel and AMFM Inc. announced they would merge last fall, creating the largest radio network in the country, executives at KACD-FM 103.1 knew the station would be among the first to be sold off.

CONSTELLATION --- Green Light for Last Century City Tower

Two years after being approved by City Hall, Century City's last high-rise is finally on the verge of breaking ground.

L.A. stories

When the circus comes to town next month, it may look the same but it sure will sound different.

Roving eye

Having a bad hair day? One hip way around it for women, especially teens, is to wear a kerchief, a cotton headpiece that resembles one of those big bandannas the cowboys wore on the dusty range.

Property/Casualty insurers

Property/casualty insurers offer a diverse line of products, but the most popular are auto, homeowners, business and workers' compensation insurance. Of them all, the most troubled sector is workers' comp; bigger-than-expected payouts have decreased reser

IMPORTS --- Booming Imports Produce Lots of Logistics Work

The enormous growth in Asian imports coming through the ports of L.A. and Long Beach hasn't just meant more business for warehousers and longshoremen; logistics providers are seeing a record year.

The Weekly Briefing

The work of most balloon artists revolves around inflated dogs, giraffes and other animals. But Drake Diamond has taken his art to another level, creating everything from balloon houses to a 40-foot airplane replica.

Longer Terms,Better Legislators

A decade ago, reformers pitched term limits as the solution to most of the major problems besetting California government. Getting rid of the "career politicians," suggested supporters of 1990's Proposition 140, would diffuse the power of special interest

Mitch Albom --- Executions: More Murder Than Justice?

This is how he died. Guards dragged him from his cell. They shackled his hands and feet. They took him by van, escorted by police helicopters, to a facility 40 miles away. He refused to eat. He did not speak. When they came for him Thursday night, he once

NAMES --- P & G; to Sell Valuable Internet Domain Names

Procter & Gamble Co., the largest U.S. maker of household products, plans to sell almost 100 Internet domain names through, a Chatsworth auction site.