Stories for October 2000

Monday, October 30

WILSHIRE---Struggling Tech Firms Turn To Area to Save on Leases

The dot-com downturn seems to be benefiting the Wilshire Corridor. As lots of Internet startups move to cut costs, the area's relatively affordable office rents are looking increasingly attractive to companies that are being priced out of the Westside.

ADVERTISING---Popular 'Baby Bob' Campaign Reflects Pitfalls of Internet Ads

The contrasts were striking, which was the point: the imposing but smiling bulk of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Shaquille O'Neal seated next to a tiny but gruff-speaking baby, who was spouting off about the virtues of Internet service provider FreeInterne

MID-CITIES---Sale of Property Is Among Most Expensive in the Area

Strong demand for top-of-the-line industrial space in the Mid-Cities market has not escaped the notice of institutional investors and real estate investment trusts, which became active buyers of such properties during the third quarter.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Dick Clark Productions Inc

Dick Clark Productions Inc., the entertainment and restaurant chain mini-conglomerate, has the same challenge faced by literally thousands of small- and mid-cap companies: On Wall Street today, bigger is better, as in market capitalization. Mid-caps witho

ENTERTAINMENT---Investors Cool to Vivendi Tech Dreams

Vivendi SA missed its chance for easy romance with Wall Street analysts in the weeks following its June 20 merger agreement with Seagram Co. and Canal Plus SA.

INTERNET---Shaq's Web Play Falters

Shaquille O'Neal is finding the Internet anything but a slam dunk. Forsaking the traditional path to promotional riches traveled by Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and other mega-star athletes who pitch soft drinks, cars and other Old Economy products, O'Neal

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY---Tech Wreck Brings Abrupt Halt to Declining Vacancies

The technology meltdown on Wall Street has helped cool much of the San Fernando Valley office market.

Mitch Albom---The Scariest Costumes Are Homemade

Around Halloween, many of you face a difficult decision: Do I buy a costume for my child, or do I make one?

CASE STUDY---Mall Is Giving Way to New Vision After Losing Appeal

On a Thursday morning in Pasadena in mid-May, about 200 city residents turned out for a groundbreaking ceremony that was hardly routine.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Make Good Use of the End-of-Year Holiday Season

By this time of year, you've probably already started to hear many professionals say, "We'd better hurry up and finish our marketing campaign for the year 2000, since everything stops after Thanksgiving."

RETAIL---Midwestern Department Store Chain Ready to Enter L.A. Area

The highly successful Midwestern department store chain is not well known in Los Angeles, even to those who follow the retail industry, but that will soon change.

HOLLYWOOD---Comeback Suffers Setback With Demise of Dot-Coms

The Hollywood office market, whose star had been steadily rising, suffered a setback in the third quarter as a direct result of the dot-com fallout.

MELROSE---Melrose Adept at Reinventing Street Retail

Economic cycles come and go, and so do the retailers along Melrose Avenue. Few shopping districts are as volatile as the mile-long stretch of Melrose between Fairfax and La Brea avenues in Hollywood. When economic times are rockin', Melrose retailers are

DOT-KIDS---Company Seeks Kid-Friendly Domains

If finding a way to control what kids see on television and movies, hear on CDs and play on video games seems daunting, try controlling what they access over the Internet.

Real Estate Column---MaguirePartners Breaking Ground on Office Projects

MaguirePartners is moving forward with its first groundbreakings since it built The Gas Company tower in 1991. Three office projects in Pasadena, Glendale and Santa Monica are in the works, developments that MaguirePartners started moving on before th

DOWNTOWN---Law Firms Gobble Up Space but Vacancies Stay High

Law firms continued to drive activity in downtown's Central Business District, as the third quarter sluggishly came to a close.

YOUTH---Retailers Retooling to Draw Big-Spending Generation Y

In retail these days, it's not power to all the people. It's power to the teens, "tweens" and even younger kids.

TAXES---Officials Try to Alleviate Cities' Reliance on Sales Tax

Municipal governments have for years chased down every retail project in sight, even going so far as to poach big-box retailers and auto dealers from neighboring cities. As a result, many parts of L.A. now have strip malls and big-box discount retailers o

BIG BOX---Public Outcry, Cooling Economy Hit Value Retailers

They may not be going the way of the dinosaurs anytime soon, but big-box and superstore retail outlets will have to adapt and find ways to survive in a changing economic climate.

LABOR---Port Union May Be Ready to Deal Over Automation

With mountains of cargo landing every day at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, terminal operators are getting increasingly desperate to install new technologies to speed the cargo-handling process.

THEATERS---Empty Theaters Stand as Latest Challenge to Malls

That's the problem facing many L.A. malls now that a number of theater chains are battling bankruptcy and shutting down screens.

INTERVIEW---Back at the Epicenter

On top of everything else, 21st Century's Bruce Marlow must deal with Northridge earthquake claims once more

OVERVIEW---Old Economy Firms Keep Market Healthy in County

The L.A.-area commercial real estate market bullied its way forward in the third quarter, shrugging off the effects of dot-com meltdown, soaring rental rates, steep hikes in energy prices and other factors that should have crippled growth.

SIGNAGE---Signs of the Times

the press at colby poster printing runs day and night during election campaign season, just as it has since it opened its doors decades ago


Jay Siegel has joined the accounting firm of RBZ LLP as a principal in the auditing and consulting department. Joining him at the firm will be Michael W. Cantrill, who has been added as a manager in the auditing department.

LAWSUIT---Employee Files Toxic Mold Lawsuit Against Amgen

A worker at Thousand Oaks-based biotech giant Amgen Inc. has filed a lawsuit against her employer, claiming she was exposed to toxic mold that made her sick, that the company knew about the mold but covered up its findings and failed to alleviate the haza

INLAND EMPIRE---Industrial Market Leaving Office Leasing in the Dust

In the Inland Empire, it's been a case of the best of times and worst of times for the third-quarter real estate market.

FLIERS---Traffic Change Could Quicken Flyaway Plans

New plans to alleviate traffic congestion on Saticoy Street could speed up a long-awaited expansion of the Flyaway facility near Van Nuys Airport.

HEALTH CARE---Drug Penalty Change May Cost County

Drug rehab is poised to become L.A.'s newest growth industry at the expense of the already cash-strapped county health department, if a state initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot is approved by voters.

Jane Applegate---Reverse Mergers Help Companies Raise Cash Quickly

The joke about the last person left turning off the lights rang true for Richard Berger when Chicago-based Classics International Entertainment Inc. ceased operating in the mid-1990s. At its peak in the late 1980s, the company sold millions of dollars wor

Wall Street West---Stock Traders Are Getting More Selective With Info

As even casual observers have noticed, Wall Street is a more volatile arena than ever. Both the indexes and prices of individual stocks gyrate like never before, says David Leinweber, chief executive and founder of the Pasadena-based Codexa Inc. stock mar

DEALMAKER---Lawyer Brokered Purchase Of TV Guide for Gemstar

In the long shadows of Rupert Murdoch, John Malone and Henry Yuen, David Krinsky had a big hand in bringing TV Guide into the interactive age. Krinsky, a partner with the Newport Beach office of downtown L.A.-based law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP, led a te

Tech Talk---Worker Benefits to Be Delivered With a 'Polite Push'

To the long and growing list of business activities being transformed by the Net, add employee benefits presentations.

NEW---Developers Want to Take New Projects to the Streets

Above anything else, be friendly to surrounding neighborhoods. That's the common theme among three new but very different projects in the works in the L.A. area. Rick Caruso's The Grove at Farmers Market, TrizecHahn Development Corp.'s Hollywood & Highlan

HOMES---Showroom for Homes Lets Buyers Take a Close Look

Like the house but wish the ceiling was higher? The master bedroom was bigger? Need an extra room over the garage?

NORTH COUNTY---Office Vacancy Rate Eases, But Remains on High Side

For almost any other office submarket in Los Angeles County, a 32 percent vacancy rate would be an embarrassment, but in the Santa Clarita Valley, it's a marked improvement from the second quarter, when the area carried a 38 percent office vacancy rate.

Deals & Dealmakers

The bear market in Internet stocks forced once-highflying Internet business incubator Idealab to abandon its plans for an initial public stock offering.

Cybersense---Truth About Content Screening Isn't Filtering Through

Politicians know that if enough people want something to be true, it might as well be.

HALLOWEEN---Hooray for Horror

Halloween is a busy season for L.A.'s theme parks and they go the extra mile to make sure visitors are duly terrified

Ahead of the Curve

California, the Final Chapter: For those who have already checked out the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's sweeping exhibition, "Made in California: Art, Image and Identity 1900-2000," a crucial piece was missing the present. LACMA opens the fifth ins

TOP 100---Silence Is Golden for L.A.'s Largest Private Firms

The rule in the world of Los Angeles' biggest privately owned companies apparently is: If it isn't broken, don't fix it and don't say much about it either.

WESTSIDE---Dot-Com Doldrums Don't Slow the Red-Hot Market

Dozens of dot-coms have hit the skids, but you might never know it by looking at leasing on the Westside, where a continuing flood of tenants with deep pockets has kept it the hottest office market in L.A. County.

HOT SPOTS---Big Field in the Running for Next Mega-Retail District

In the past 10 years, the runaway popularity of Old Pasadena and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica has become the stuff of retailers' dreams.

RETAIl---Buyer Plans Major Renovations At Sherman Oaks Retail Center

Local developers have acquired La Reina Place in Sherman Oaks with plans to pump about $1.5 million to $2 million into a major renovation of the shopping plaza.

TRI-CITIES---Vacancy Rate Shrinks Amid Slew of Small Lease Deals

With slow-growth sentiment rising and strong tenant demand persisting, the Tri-Cities office market is getting tighter.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY---Industrial Market Hits Lull As New Projects Progress

The hot industrial market in the San Gabriel Valley cooled off a bit in the third quarter, with vacancy rates and lease rates staying at mid-year levels despite a scarcity of new space.

Roving Eye

If you must have the hottest Halloween look this year and feel that Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Austin Powers are so over, then try the top costume houses, all of which claim to have the look this year.

VENTURA COUNTY---Retail Market Booming, but Other Sectors Get Sluggish

Retail real estate in Ventura County posted a strong showing in the third quarter, but the industrial market was flat and office absorption dropped sharply, reflecting corporate anxiety over an uncertain economy.

Weekly Briefing

Josette Leblond, whose French accent is as thick as some of the butter she uses to make pastries at her Normandie Country Bakery, first came to the United States on vacation in the late 1980s.

INTERNET---Web Host Success Story Virtualis Sold to Allegiance

The latest L.A. tech entrepreneur to cash out for sudden riches is 26-year-old Chris Lyman, who earlier this month sold his North Hollywood-based business-to-business Internet services company, Virtualis Systems Inc., to Allegiance Telecom Inc., a Dallas-

REAL ESTATE---Shopping Renaissance

What do a ballroom, a stage theater, loft apartments, and a movie theater fitted with dinner tables have in common?


LISTel listo

COMPARISON---Tale of Two Malls Provides Insight About Retail Tactics

In the Verdugo foothills east of the San Fernando Valley, a tale of two malls offers an illustrative lesson about the slim margin between success and struggle in the L.A. retail arena.

NURSES---Critical Condition

With 4,500 nurses among the last holdouts to a comprehensive labor settlement between L.A. County and its workers last week, the county finds itself in a bind.

SOUTH BAY---Demand by Diverse Tenants Sends Vacancies Lower

Call it the incredible shrinking South Bay real estate market. Office and industrial vacancy rates in the South Bay are nearing 20-year lows, and real estate brokers are wondering how much longer the boom will last and where future office space will come

RENT---Retailers Doing Lease Buyouts to Get Into Hot Districts

As retail rents skyrocket, some mom-and-pop operations are taking the money and running before conditions get any worse.

RENOVATIONS---Renovation Projects Transforming Old Malls to New

For the last 30 years, mall makeovers have meant replacing some carpet, slapping on a coat of paint and changing a few light bulbs. Not any more.

Monday, October 23

Tech Talk---Location Is Everything for Developing Tech Hot Spots

In L.A., we're lucky to have several torrid territories, from Silicon Beach to the 101 Corridor, with Hollywood, Burbank and Pasadena simmering on the not-so-back burner. A recent report released by the UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project documents

BASKETBALL---Minor League Basketball Team Plans Forum Season

The Los Angeles Stars of the ABA 2000 will start playing basketball in December at the Great Western Forum, a venture its owners think can be financially successful in a city that already has the Lakers, Clippers and Sparks, not to mention the UCLA Bruins

SYNERGY---Actors' Venture Tests Tough Net Sector

Hollywood and Silicon Valley sound like impossible bedfellows. Witness, Oxygen, Scour and the long list of other struggling, or already dead, convergence efforts.

ENTREPRENEURS---Program Turns Welfare Recipients Into Entrepreneurs

Carl Jones applied for publicity jobs at most of the major film studios and entertainment companies when he got out of prison, but prospective employers never called back.

NAMES---Experts Adopt New Rules for Choosing Startup Names

Internet entrepreneurship used to be so simple: Just drop a little "i" or an "e" in front of a company name and wait for the venture funding to roll in.

REAL ESTATE---Growth Issues Spark a Call For Plan at Warner Center

A business group has charged that the restrictions on development at the Warner Center are outdated and threaten to turn the premier business community into an abandoned graveyard of offices and stores.

MUSIC---Purchase of Apartments Has Sweet Sound for Performers

Tata Vega wants to walk through her Sherman Oaks apartment complex and hear music pouring from every door and every window. An opera singer warming up on the left. Piano notes floating in from the right.

COPYING---Taking On Giants

Xerox Corp. may be the Goliath of the copy machine business, but Docusource Inc. has found that, with the right attitude and ammunition, you can take on the giants.

RECRUITING---Traditional Recruiter Tries New Scouting Techniques

One of Los Angeles' most venerated, old-school companies, Korn/Ferry International, has embraced the new economy with a vengeance. The executive recruiting firm has expanded its scope and incorporated the Internet in its scouting operations with remarkabl


DaVita Inc., the country's second-largest provider of kidney dialysis services, has been picking up some steam of late, and Wall Street is taking notice. The Torrance-based company has seen its stock rebound from a 52-week low of $2.06 a share in Marc

MAGIC---'Magic' Is Taking Another Shot at Inner-City Project

Earvin "Magic" Johnson has once again joined the team negotiating to redevelop Santa Barbara Plaza in the Crenshaw District.

Weekly Briefing

Steve Bicksler opened Penny Lane Records 15 years ago after a major chain record store fired him. It was his first step toward being his own boss.

WIRED---The PR Moms

Every Wednesday morning, eight women who live in various spots across the 3,000-mile expanse of the United States log on to their computers and hold a business meeting in an online chat room, where they plan the day-to-day actions of their public relation


David Nobs has been named executive vice president of Shandwick International, a reputation management firm. He is based in Los Angeles and will assist with the management of the agency's growing consumer and "lifestages" business. Most recently, he was e

Scott Burns---Home Ownership Carries Greater Risk Than Before

Homeownership is a "sure thing," perhaps the last one. Whatever we do, whatever our income, whatever our family circumstances, we all need to live somewhere.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Help Your Business-Plan Writers Do the Right Thing

Good ideas need good business plans to raise money, but also to determine the feasibility of the concept. If entrepreneurs don't have the time or the knowledge to develop a business plan that will fund a multimillion-dollar idea, they turn to professional

SEARS---Sears Will Supply Anchor for Giant Retail Development

When Zelman Cos. acquired 103 acres in Burbank last year, the company was a new player on the San Fernando Valley real estate scene.

SHOES---Upscale Shoe Retailer Entering L.A. Market

In the latest wrinkle on the ever-changing local retail scene, the discount warehouse concept is being applied to designer shoes in Los Angeles.

Working at Home---Get Away From the 'Work 'Til You Drop'Syndrome

I'm often asked how home-based business owners can repair damage caused by overworking. My answer is always the same: Recovering from overwork requires a commitment to reintroducing balance into your life and lightening a heavy schedule.

BIOTECH---Developer of Cancer Drug Sues the FDA

Santa Monica-based American BioScience Inc., owner of a patent on Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s cancer-treatment drug Taxol, has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the second time over its approval of Ivax Corp.'s generic version of the drug.

Real Estate---Affordable Housing Gets Priority in Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica is pumping a record amount of money into helping nonprofit developers to maintain the supply of affordable housing. The one-time infusion, $25 million this year and $17 million last year, is a response to changes in state law that

Cybersense---Do Not Give Up on Online Advertising Quite Yet

When you read a newspaper ad, do you find yourself yearning for more before you move on to the next story? And if you see an ad roll by on the side of a bus, do you chase after it in hopes of finding more information on the other side?

Ahead of the Curve

Day of the Dead: Southern California-based newspaper Boca hosts the nation's largest Dia de los Muertos party, "Day of the Dead: 2nd Annual Art and Music Festival," at East L.A. College at 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. The party features artist-made altars and bands

Wall Street West---Judging From Short Traders, Imperial in for Longer Fall

With the benefit of hindsight, the key clue turned out to be the huge short position in the stock of Torrance-based Imperial Credit Industries Inc., the diversified business lender.

Chet Currier---Focused Funds Favored Over Stock Index Funds

If mutual fund investing were a spectator sport, you'd find me rooting for focused stock funds.

John Dorfman---Watch Out for 'Value Traps' While Seeking Treasures

Time and again, I've championed the idea that investors do better with cheap, unpopular stocks than with expensive and popular ones.

LAWSUIT---Dental-Services Outfits Battling Over Acquisition Deal

El Segundo-based InterDent Inc. has fudged the books to avoid paying the full purchase price for dental-practice assets it bought last July, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week.

Roving Eye

Diamonds are forever, as the saying goes, but right now, it's the pink diamonds that are all the rage.

Jane Applegate---Get a Strategy Now for Business Holiday Gift Giving

holiday business gifts can be a perilous, expensive and time-consuming process. These difficulties are amplified for small-business owners, who are eager to make a good impression but are usually short on money and time. But giving gifts is extremely impo

EDUCATION---Learning Their Lessons

The inadequate K-12 public school system in California may be responsible in part for the sorry state of the local workforce, but it is only part of the problem. A new study points out that the economic future of Los Angeles will be determined in large pa

ONLINE---Broadcom Founder Invests in Smart Cards

Henry Samueli has bought many technology companies for Broadcom Corp., the high-flying chipmaker he co-founded. Now he's acquired a personal stake in a bank with big ambitions for electronic transactions.

LOANS---Bank of America Slashes SBA Loans

Bank of America, long characterized as a leader in SBA loans, has suddenly and dramatically curtailed its lending to that crucial small-business sector of the Los Angeles and California economies.

UNIONS---Untouchable Unions

Public-sector workers have been striking everywhere throughout Los Angeles thousands of them, seemingly on every street corner.

TOWER---Record Sales Price Paid for Glendale Office Building

The first speculative office building built in L.A. County coming out of the recession of the early '90s has been sold for what is believed to be a record per-square-foot price in Glendale, a strong submarket that has continued to see its vacancy rate dro

HEALTH---WellPoint Out To Buy Online Drug Provider

WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the state's second largest health care company and parent of Blue Cross of California, is getting into the mail-order and online pharmacy business.

COMPLEX---Buyer Scoops Up Buildings On Wilshire

The 1 million-square-foot Wilshire Courtyard complex that has led the pack in the rising office markets in the Miracle Mile and Mid-Wilshire has been sold.

INTERVIEW-- Bank of America's Liam McGee

In August, Liam McGee was promoted to president of Bank of America, California, a new position that consolidated under one person the operations of what is the state's largest bank. It also effectively moved the California headquarters of Charlotte, N.C.-

Mitch Albom---Misplacing Our Presidential Priorities

You don't normally get to pick your boss. And that's the problem with this presidential election.

JETS---Feds to Study Whether Building Fighter in Palmdale Is Cheaper

There's a chance that new federal legislation could bring Los Angeles one step closer to landing the largest defense contract in history.

Monday, October 16

KATHRYN HARRIS---Disney Going to Mat With AOL for Media Supremacy

Parents, shield the youngsters' eyes. You may find disturbing images of the nation's biggest media companies in the newspapers and on television.

MITCH ALBOM---Losing Man's Best Friend Really Hurts

Thirteen years ago, I plucked him from a litter of golden retriever puppies, tumbling over each other in a box.

HOLIDAYS---Hiring Crunch Is Hurting Holiday Spirit of Retailers

There are less than 70 shopping days left before Christmas, and Los Angeles retailers are not in a merry mood.

INCUBATORS---A look at some of the hottest hatchlings at local incubators

Back when entrepreneurs with any half-baked business model could secure millions of dollars in backing as long as the company name ended in "dot-com" incubators were the hottest game in town. Led by Bill Gross' Idealab, which produced a number of comp

INTERVIEW---Legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin

More than 30 years after he first set foot on the moon, Buzz Aldrin is working on a plan that would allow 'citizens' the opportunity for space travel on their own

CHET CURRIER---Fund Investors Need Not Suffer Any Election Fever

Whatever you do with your mutual fund investments in the next few months, don't let the U.S. election mess up your plans.

REAL ESTATE---Rapid Leasing Has Hughes Center Speeding Up Work

With its Howard Hughes Center pulling in tenants at strong Westside rents, Arden Realty Inc. is picking up the pace of new construction to meet the demand.

RECRUITING---IBM is resorting to 'viral marketing' tactics to entice job candidates to an L.A. job fair this month

It's a testament to just how hard it's become for high-tech companies to entice qualified workers: Industry heavyweight IBM is dispatching its own employees to hand out a new breed of business card aimed at recruiting talent.

JANE BRYANT QUINN---A Modest Proposal to Stop Budget Surplus Bickering

So you want a big tax cut, because the government surplus is ours and we should get it back?

INTERNET---NetZero Takes In-Depth User Profiling to New Level

Free Internet service providers have traditionally offered subscriber databases as their most attractive asset to advertisers. But Westlake Village-based NetZero Inc. goes beyond that, trumping its in-depth profiles of subscribers' online behavior to th

As the Tech Wreck Brewed, AllPets Sought Out Merger

In the early spring of this year, Niloo Howe, founder of Internet pet site, sat in a hotel room in San Francisco, took a deep breath, and made a phone call to Steve Dempsey, chief executive of publicly traded Internet pet site PetQuarters Inc.


It's been a little over two months since the "new" Styleclick Inc. was formed through a merger of the original with Internet Shopping Network (ISN), a subsidiary of USA Networks Inc. But there hasn't been much of a honeymoon for the new com


Ever wish that was you gliding gracefully down the boardwalk on skates? Feel a twinge of envy while watching everybody else firming up their inner thighs and saggy butt?

Key Players at Ground Zero of L.A.'s Dot-Com Shakeout

Some people become victimized when businesses turn sour, while others capitalize on those very same scenarios. The following 20 "Roadkill Warriors" are among those resourceful Angelenos who are either already capitalizing or poised to capitalize on the do


Erik Deutsch has been promoted to senior vice president at Tellem Worldwide, a Malibu-based public relations firm. He will manage Tellem's health care and biotechnology practices and supervise the company's health care, high tech and consumer products cli


Russ Wilson bought the 80-year-old Larchmont Hardware store some 15 years ago and, a few years later, he bought Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood. His brother Dean Wilson is the general manager for both stores. Both brothers made life changes to go into t


About My Cow: The California EAR Unit musical group presents "A Little Bit About My Cows," a percussion fest at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The banging begins at 8 p.m. on Oct. 18. The indomitable EAR Unit performs Steven Mackey's "Micro-Concerto" for

ACE ENGINEERING---A Korean immigrant finds success by focusing on winning federal construction contracts


JANE APPLEGATE---Selling Your Business Can Have an Emotional Cost

Howard Sherman, CEO of Roundhouse Inc., was rushing to pick up his daughter, Annabella, from preschool when an e-mail message flashed on his computer screen: "The deal is done the funds are flowing."

CYBERSENSE---E-Tailers Bet on Consumers Defaulting on Privacy Issue

Market leaders can stumble, solid business plans can cave in on themselves, and invincible players can be rendered vincible in the time it once took to make a home-cooked meal.

CLIPPERS---The woeful basketball team is rolling out one of the most expensive marketing blitzes in NBA history

Consequently, his Los Angeles Clippers, deemed the "worst franchise in professional sports" by Sports Illustrated earlier this year, are asking fans to take a leap of faith.

CONDOS---As Housing Gets Scooped Up, Condo Sales Increase

With housing prices on the rise, local developers have started tapping into inventory that until recently was avoided like the plague: condos left over from the last real estate boom that have been living out their lives as apartments.

WALL STREET WEST---Court Victory Hasn't Meant Much to Eclectic Company

When it comes to strange-bird public investment vehicles, Los Angeles has its share.

Players Hustle to Cash In on Dot-Com Meltdown

Last year, Artisan Entertainment released what would become one of the most bizarre film successes of all time. "The Blair Witch Project," shot on a miniscule budget, became not only a huge box office draw, but a cultural phenomenon. The film's success

D.A.---Gil Garcetti may be behind Steve Cooley in the polls, but he's ahead in getting money from blue-chip lawyers

Senior attorneys at many of the county's largest and most prestigious law firms are backing L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti by an overwhelming margin over challenger Steve Cooley in the district attorney's race, third-quarter campaign finance statemen

TECH TALK---In Hollywood, High-Tech Connections Getting Critical

In Hollywood, ya gotta have connections now more than ever. And I don't mean the kind you can make at Spago, or the Peninsula.

FLYING---Getting to work a drag? Some folks with long commutes have started flying to their jobs

A recent report revealed what most local motorists already knew firsthand Angelenos are enduring ever-longer, more expensive and frustrating commutes. But a few executives are managing to rise above it all. Literally.

ENTREPRENEUR'S NOTEBOOK---Onslaught of Dot-Com Ads Makes It Hard to Stand Out

The once-lonesome trails of the information superhighway are now overly congested and traffic is bumper-to-bumper.

LEGAL---Recent California Supreme Court rulings are strengthening employers at the expense of employees

A troika of California Supreme Court rulings over the past year may signify the end of an era in which the state was at the forefront of employee protections. The rulings demonstrate a strong employer bent, strengthening their ability to dismiss employees

HOTELS---The $68-million sale of L'Ermitage Beverly Hills is the highlight of a spree in recent hotel acquisitions

A number of major L.A. hotels have changed hands recently, highlighted by the $68 million sale of the luxurious 124-room L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, which drew what could be a record price for the Los Angeles market.

FAST FOOD---Cappuccinos at McDonald's? What's next?

McDonald's latest foray into trendy entrees is a far cry from burgers. But someone forgot to add the flavor

JOHN DORFMAN---Looking Forward, Backward at a Few Favorite Stocks

The stock market, as defined by either the Standard & Poor's 500 Index or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has fallen for five straight weeks.

RAIL---Trouble on the Tracks

The $950 million Alameda Corridor East extension, considered a key rail link to expedite the flow of imports from downtown L.A. to inland destinations nationwide, could be delayed indefinitely due to Union Pacific Corp.'s lack of support for the project.

Firms That Come Back From Brink Are Tough to Find

Stories of successful turnarounds abound in the business world, but not when it comes to L.A. dot-coms.

COMMUNITY---A neighborhood in East Hollywood gets designated 'Little Armenia.'

Inside Zeytun Grocery & Deli in Hollywood, the heavily laden shelves are crammed with every type of Armenian delicacy and food item imaginable.

Lawyer Says Action Hot, Heavy in Dot-Com Meltdown

These days, Larry Braun, managing director at Barrington Associates, finds himself smack in the middle of the dot-com meltdown, working on telecom restructurings, mergers and acquisitions.

MOVIES---There's nothing grassroots about the online marketing campaign for the sequel to the Blair Witch Project

Last year, Artisan Entertainment released what would become one of the most bizarre film successes of all time.

PUBLISHING---Hollywood Reporter Plans Net Edition for East Coast

The Hollywood Reporter has fired another shot across the bow of arch rival Variety in the ongoing battle for circulation supremacy among entertainment industry readers.

Dwindling Crews Try to Keep Dot-Com Visions Alive

These days, the term "dot-com" often turns up in the same sentence with "out of cash," "layoffs" and that blunt four-letter "bust." But in recent weeks, a number of dot-coms have entered another realm, far from boomland but not quite bust. It's a kind of

Sunday, October 15



Monday, October 9

HYBRIDS---Going half green

Cars that run on mix of electricity and gas are so popular in L.A. that buyers must wait months to get their own


Why would a man plunk down big bucks for a pair of briefs? The answer is simple, to please a woman.

MALONE---The former cable guy has become a hyperactive financier and investor after selling out to AT & T; last year

No more. He has become an unbridled financier since selling Tele-Communications Inc., the nation's largest cable-television operator, to AT & T; Corp. last year. The transaction left him with a $5 billion war chest and control of the Liberty Media Corp.

JOHN DORFMAN---Bank of America Is One of Few Big Stock Values

Most of my columns are about small and medium-size stocks because I think those stocks are more likely than their bigger brethren to be undiscovered and underpriced.

INTERVIEW---King of the Cars

After half a century, Bert Boeckmann still rules the largest automobile dealership in the world

CONDOS---Los Angeles is once again starting to see an increasing number of apartment complexes converted into condominiums

With housing prices on the rise, local developers have started tapping into inventory that until recently was avoided like the plague: condos left over from the last real estate boom that have been living out their lives as apartments.

CARS---Car Dealers Scramble for More Space

With automobile sales up more than 20 percent in some categories, car dealers are scrambling for more space, but they're hitting a dead end.

HOTELS---Airport Hotels Profit From Summer Airline Problems

The epidemic of flight cancellations and delays at Los Angeles International Airport this year has infuriated untold numbers of air travelers, but the owner/operators of nearby hotels couldn't be happier.

CHET CURRIER---It's Time to Look Ahead to the Pitfalls of Capital Gains

You see this, for instance, when a strategy to avoid an income tax bill for capital gains from a fund investment prevents you from making those gains in the first place.

CRA---Staples Land to Cost Developer Millions More

The L.A. Arena Co. will have to pay as much as $30 million more than originally anticipated to acquire land surrounding Staples Center, where it hopes to build a major entertainment complex, according to sources familiar with the situation.


Al Mileto opened the Hogie Hut on Third Street near La Cienega Boulevard 26 years ago. While the neighborhood changed with the arrival of the nearby Beverly Center and every kind of restaurant imaginable, Mileto has been true to his roots. He's serving th

ENTREPRENEUR'S NOTEBOOK---Acquisitions Require an Investment of Time, Energy

Acquisitions can be seductive due to their attractive tax advantages, market share growth, increase in profitability and heightened public awareness of market dominance.


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MONITORS---Garment Industry Mired in Conflict

Federal survey results released a few weeks ago, finding that rampant labor law violations persist in L.A.'s garment district, have touched off a flurry of finger-pointing over who's to blame and what should be done. The U.S. Department of Labor report de

CORPORATE FOCUS---Diagnostic Products Corp. gets an unusual endorsement

For small- and mid-cap companies that have only a few analysts following their stock, an unequivocal endorsement by a major brokerage can make a huge difference.

MTV---MTV Slows Down Its Internet Unit and Cuts Payroll

MTV Networks is pulling out all the stops to reorganize its money-losing Internet unit, MTVi, and bring its content more in line with the company's basic TV programming.

JANE BRYANT QUINN---Health of Medicare Might Hinge on Election Outcome

You've read plenty about the dueling Bush and Gore plans for adding prescription drugs to Medicare. What you've heard less about is the candidates' view of Medicare itself, and how they'd want the program run in the years ahead.

CHRISTOPHER BYRON---Much Ado About Almost Meaningless Intel Shifts

What a mess the stock market has become. On Sept. 28, as the market closed, a single company Intel Corp. announced that its revenue would be up by "only" 3 percent to 5 percent in the third quarter over the previous quarter, and in a flash the entire

REAL ESTATE---Escrow Closes on Trophy Fox Plaza Office Building

A new high water mark for L.A. office space is official. Fox Plaza closed escrow last week, cementing a deal in which Donald Bren's Irvine Co. bought the trophy building for about $350 million, or almost $500 per square foot, a per-square-foot high, sour


Dinner With Friends: "Dinner with Friends," the Pulitzer prize-winning play by Donald Margulies, continues its run this week at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse. Daniel Sullivan directs Keven Kilner, Daniel Stern and Rita Wilson in the play about friendship in the

CARGO---As Cargo Volume Skyrockets, Shippers Eye Increase in Rates

With the volume of Asian imports into L.A.-area ports booming, local importers will likely soon be hit with shipping rate hikes of at least 13 percent.

CYBERSENSE---E-Tailers Could Lose Trust of Clients Over Pricing Plan

With millions of online shoppers scouring the Web for the best bargains, it's not surprising if someone finds a better price than you.

TECH TALK---Lack of Networks Leaves L.A. Low in Telecom Ranks

Los Angeles is a communications center, right? Well, it depends on what you mean by "communications" and "center."

COMMUNITY---Canoga Park business leaders launch a drive to spruce up the neighborhood's main drag, Sherman Way

Bud Burgquist's father, now 82, started the Green Thumb garden shop on Sherman Way in 1946.

BUYOUT---Learning Co. Buyer Facing A Challenge

Alec Gores has quietly carved out a very nice living for himself by surgically removing hemorrhaging units from big parent companies, and nurturing those units to profitable health.

INSURANCE---Big Premium Hikes Loom

Despite Gov. Gray Davis' veto late last month of a proposed $1.5-billion increase in workers' comp benefits, L.A.-area businesses are being slammed by sharply rising premium costs. The workers' comp premium crisis, which first hit employers at the beginni

RACING---Brian Skipper has built a thriving business in Chatsworth from his interest in race cars


JANE APPLEGATE---Professionals Can Profit From Taking Stake in Clients

Despite the plunge in the value of high-tech stocks last spring and a continuing chill throughout the dot-com community, two highly paid professionals were so impressed with their client, the founder of, they decided to take equity in h

REVELATIONS---Local tech firm teams up with Intel to make digital movies

Intel Corp. and independent film production company Revelations Entertainment have teamed up for a sally into the future with what could be the first release of a fully digital film.

WALL STREET WEST---Deal Dilutes eCompanies' Stake in Site

The folks behind made quite a splash back in November, when Santa Monica-based incubator eCompanies, which spawned the business Web site, paid a whopping $7.5 million for the sole right to the compelling domain name.

FREMONT---Workers' Comp Crisis Deepening in L.A.

Santa Monica-based insurance carrier Fremont General Corp., teetering dangerously close to insolvency and a state takeover, has signed a critical reinsurance deal that will allow it to keep operating, at least for awhile.

THQ---The Calabasas-based game maker is not deterred by Sony's troubles in bringing its PlayStation 2 to market

Sony Corp.'s announcement that it wouldn't be able to ship as many units of its much-anticipated PlayStation 2 video consoles ahead of the holiday season roiled share prices of video game manufacturers, none more so than THQ Inc.

WORKING AT HOME---Finding Tech Support Can Be Critical to Bottom Line

In today's marketplace, technology is so critical to business success that having good technical support is often as important as having a good attorney and accountant.


Michael Brady has been named co-executive producer at Visitor, a commercial production company located in Santa Monica. He will manage projects and talent. Brady joins the firm from Conspiracy, having opened the company's West Coast office.

DAVID WILSON---PG & E;, Edison and S & Ls; Share a Similar Dilemma

First there was a surge in market rates. Then companies found themselves unable to cover their costs. Billions of dollars in losses quickly followed.

COMMENT---Politicians Unusually Quiet on Abortion

Abortion, remember? It was supposed to dominate the election, according to pundit predictions back in January. And then silence.

TELEVISION---Wiring the Wilderness

The on-screen contestants in last summer's "Survivor" weren't the only ones stymied by their location.

SACRAMENTO---Election Measures Aimed At Easing Business Burden

In this period of unprecedented prosperity, the state's business community has mounted an all-out push to change the state's tax code through its strong support of two measures on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Monday, October 2

CORPORATE FOCUS---Smart & Final's bottom line is improving

Smart & Final Inc.'s bottom line is looking a lot smarter these days, but its stock price is still floundering.

MOVIES---Holiday 'Grinch' Film Gets Fall Promotion

Summer might be barely a memory, but that's not stopping Universal Studios Inc. from running a series of television and billboard promotions for its upcoming "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" feature film.

Mitch Albom---Gagging on the Aftertaste of Australia

I admit it. I ate kangaroo. And I feel terrible. I need to get this off my chest er, stomach. I ate kangaroo. I dipped it in sauce, bit and swallowed.

MINORITIES---Minority Firms Struggle to Secure Funding

The future economic wellbeing of Los Angeles County hinges on the success of the growing number of minority-owned businesses located here. Yet a new study shows that minority-owned businesses are still finding it extremely hard to get access to capital, h

Jane Applegate---Backlash Against Casual Friday Calls for Dressy Day

Has casual Friday gone too far? Absolutely, according to a newly formed association of menswear retailers, who kicked off a campaign on Sept. 28 to promote "Dress Up Thursdays" at big and small businesses.

LEISURE---Making the right picnic basket for an outing at the Hollywood Bowl turns into a thriving business


MEDIA---Dean Singleton's Los Angeles Newspaper Group closes some suburban sections with plans to expand in other areas

Fast on the heels of the Los Angeles Times' closing of 14 community-based outlets two weeks ago, Publisher Dean Singleton's Denver-based MediaNews Group has begun shutting down sections and shuffling personnel in an apparent adjustment to the new ground r

SURVIVORS---Not every store in Old Pasadena is slick and trendy

With enduring appeal, a handful of longtime businesses remain amid the new chain stores and restaurants

WATERFRONT---A proposal to overhaul the San Pedro waterfront has an enthusiastic advocate in John Papadakis

John Papadakis may not be larger than life, but the former USC linebacker is larger than most people. And his vision for the waterfront along San Pedro is quite a bit larger than L.A. port officials want to accommodate.

MUSIC---A fast-growing music products company is developing digital technology for guitar amplifiers

Line 6 Inc. has already revolutionized the guitar amplifier industry. Now it's hoping do the same with the way online music is created.

Roving Eye

Los Angeles apartment and condo dwellers with dogs could be in for a little relief with a service called Puppy Park.

RAIL---Blue Line Agency Taps Subway Builder for Contract

When San Gabriel Valley-area lawmakers met back in the mid-1990s to push for construction of a light rail line from downtown L.A. to Pasadena, they were so frustrated by the delays and controversy surrounding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's su

John Dorfman---E-Toys Comes Up a Winner In Short-Selling Competition

Jeffrey Newman, an executive with a mortgage security administration firm in Phoenix, won this column's second annual Short Sellers Don't Have Horns contest as his pick, eToys Inc., plunged 91 percent.


Michael E. Wilford has been named partner at King, King, Alleman & Jensen in Burbank. He specializes in tax, audit and quality control matters. Wilford was previously an associate.

Chet Currier---Disclosing Fund Deals Leaves Firms at Disadvantage

In the great debate over how much information mutual funds should disclose about the stocks they own, Firsthand Capital Management Inc. has been a model of openness.

MAGAZINES---A new Los Angeles-based magazine offering Web resources and tips for small-business owners hits the market

It isn't often that a new magazine is in the black on the day it launches; an industry rule of thumb says it takes about five years, on average, before a new magazine turns a profit.

REAL ESTATE---One of the health care industry's largest employers decides to stay on 'HMO Row' in Woodland Hills

Following a yearlong search that threatened to remove one of the area's largest employers and taxpayers from Los Angeles, Health Net has settled on a new home in Warner Center.

FASHION---Maternity clothing suddenly is fashionable, and big business, in Los Angeles

It has been a long time coming, but pregnant women are finally getting a makeover.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Will the Net Bring Realtors' Big Commissions to End?

Realtors have had amazing success in keeping their commissions up. Whether you sell your house through a chain operation or an independent office, everyone in a given city will probably charge the same. Typically, you pay 6 percent. Now, however, the real

Ahead of the Curve

Opera at the Getty: The Long Beach Opera performs an original interpretation of Jacopo Peri's "Euridice" at the Getty Center this weekend. The Italian opera, a love story about the singer Orpheus, who follows his beloved Euridice to the underworld, will b

TRANSIT---The city of L.A. is about to award new taxicab franchises for the first time in a quarter century

Ever try to catch a cab in L.A.? It can be infuriating, and even more so since local transit workers went out on strike. Sometimes it takes taxis forever to respond to a pickup call, And in some areas of the city, they never show up at all. The city is ou

David DeRosa---China Trade Pact Might Be Terrific News for the Dollar

The Senate's passage of China's most favored nation status gives King Dollar another jewel in its crown.

RESTAURANTS---The owners of Sushi Roku, the popular sushi eatery, embark on a major expansion drive

The owners of Sushi Roku, the popular sushi eatery with West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations, have leased two of the trendiest locations on the Sunset Strip and a third in Pasadena as they embark on a major expansion drive.

SUBURBS---Good Times Don't Flow to North County

When it comes to reaping the benefits of the booming L.A. economy, Antelope Valley is losing out to western San Bernardino County.

INTERVIEW---CNN anchor Willow Bay has relocated to L.A., and her network news show followed

Covering the West for CNN's 'Moneyline News Hour' came as a natural progression for Willow Bay after the network realized it's such a hot spot and her husband became president of Disney

VOTE---Public-sector engineers and private-sector contractors line up on each side of the battle over Proposition 35

Civil engineering companies in L.A. and throughout the state and the union for state engineers are squaring off over Proposition 35, a measure on the Nov. 7 ballot that would make it easier for the state Department of Transportation to contract out en

Weekly Briefing

Furs are for those who want to live in the lap of luxury, whether or not they need to keep warm, which is precisely what's kept Woodland Hills Furriers in business for the past 34 years. Vatche Mekhjian began working for the shop's former owner when he wa

DOWNTOWN---Transformation of Terminal Annex Building Progresses

Infomart, the Dallas-based company that purchased the historical Terminal Annex building adjacent to downtown's Union Station, is beginning to flesh out its plans for assembling a "technology community" on the site.

SPORTS---A new dot-com seeks to revolutionize community sports leagues

Business-to-consumer models in e-commerce are generally considered passe, but that's not stopping financiers from pouring money into a local dot-com that promises to revolutionize community sporting leagues.

Wall Street West---Landmark L.A. Firm Looks Closely at Small-Cap Plays

The name Wedbush, as in Wedbush Morgan Securities, has been a part of the Los Angeles financial scene since 1925.

Real Estate---Flynt Puts Beverly Hills Site Up for Sale for $60 Million

Publishing giant Larry Flynt has put the landmark Flynt Publications building in Beverly Hills up for sale, for an asking price of $60 million.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Devising Overall Strategy Helps Sales Reps Get Results

Take a moment to quickly evaluate your sales staff. Do some people consistently bring in a high volume of good margin sales?

WEB---CitySearch launches its own online guide to Los Angeles

After years of building a network of online guides to cities across the globe, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. last week celebrated its five-year anniversary with the launch of an owned-and-operated online guide to Los Angeles.

ANIMATION---Animated Anchors

Some people think TV newscasters already act like animated talking heads, but one local company is taking that comparison literally.

HOUSING---Law Promises Relief From Housing Crisis

One of the biggest obstacles to L.A.'s continued economic expansion a lack of affordable housing could be on the brink of being at least partially overcome.


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