Stories for July 2001

Monday, July 30

VENTURE---VC Firm to Target Poorer Areas With Aid for Businesses

Despite the soft economy, a venture capital firm is being formed locally targeting women-owned and minority-owned businesses in low-income areas a group long ignored by the VC community.

WALK---Changing Face of Area Drives Families Away

Shaul Kuba couldn't begin to compete with the music blaring out of the Gitano's store on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade. He sees it as a pathetic attempt to lure customers into the boutique. What it really does, he says, is cause shoppers to quickl

Game Action---Bracing for Big Battles

Two L.A. game makers are placing their bets on which video console manufacturer will emerge victorious this fall Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo

Real Estate Column---Tenants Sign as Sherman Oaks Galleria Opening Nears

The roster at Sherman Oaks Galleria continues to fill up in anticipation of the center's reopening.

SPACE---Vacant Spec Buildings Mount

Several months ago El Segundo was reaping the benefits of a tight Westside office market, with developers barnstorming the South Bay city because it was a proximate if downscale representation of bustling Santa Monica.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Regulations Abound in Offering Online Sweepstakes

"Free Stuff! Over 500 Prizes Awarded Enter Now!" trumpets one site on the Internet. "Hot Prize Giveaway!" and "Hello My Name is RICH!" proclaim still other Web sites. There are literally thousands of online promotions running on the Internet at any gi

Cybersense---Surprises in Internet Pornography Survey

If your husband, son or boyfriend is spending several hours a night locked away with his computer, at least you know he's probably not looking at porn.

VACATION---How I'm spending my summer vacation

Some are sticking close to home this year, but other prominent L.A. executives need to go far, far away from the hassles of the city to find true relaxation

Top Colleges & Universities

Top Colleges & Universities

Newsmakers---New Acorn Head Out Shopping for Ideas

After spending his career working for large corporations, Joseph J. Daniele has jumped into the start-up pool.

Jane Applegate---Know Right Way to Interest Media in Your Company

Publicity can be elusive for the small-business owner, but nothing can be more instrumental for long-term recognition and success.

Mitch Albom---'Fear Factor,' No, It's a Gullibility Factor

"Well, I keep hearing about these TV and radio networks, how they only really measure the ratings of people aged 25-54. Now that I'm 55, they don't care what I think."

L.A. Stories

Along with Edison International Chairman John Bryson and Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch, the folks at Town Hall Los Angeles signed up Reliant Energy President Steve Letbetter and Enron Corp. Chairman Kenneth Lay for a series of forums

POLITICS---Hahn Seeks More Resumes To Fill Out Economic Team

When James Hahn was campaigning for the job of L.A. mayor, he said business concerns and economic development would be among his top priorities. Two weeks into his administration, Hahn delivered on a promise for business tax reform by signing a passel of

QUIET---With Losses, All is Quiet on VC Front

In an about-face from the gold rush mentality of a year ago when investors stood willingly in the limelight and chatted up their portfolios, L.A.'s venture capital business has gone behind closed doors.

JET---Hard Landing for 717

Stiff competition in the 80- to 106-seat commercial jet market has sent Boeing Co.'s 717 operation into a tail spin, forcing it to cut production and raising the specter of prematurely shutting down the program, which is based in Long Beach.

BANKING---In Close-Knit Koreatown, Aborted Deal Creates Stir

Amid the buzz in Koreatown's banking community over last month's failed acquisition of California Center Bank by Hanmi Financial Corp. Benjamin Hong's presence looms large.

OLYMPICS---Civic Leaders Push Cultural Attractions in Olympics Bid

Local sports and business leaders hope to bolster their bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to Los Angeles by placing a greater emphasis on the city's cultural venues when U.S. Olympic Committee members arrive in three weeks.

SPINOFF---Software Outfit Cuts Ties With Sinking Parent

One of the few remaining divisions of troubled Woodland Hills-based El Camino Resources International is cutting ties to its parent and setting up shop on its own.

Roving Eye

You could go by Rudy's Barbershop on Sunset Boulevard and be tempted to stop for a tune-up on your car.

CABLE---L.A. Cable Battle A Ways Off

On its face, the franchise agreement reached last week between the Los Angeles City Council and fiber-optic company Western Integrated Communications sounds grand.

Tech Talk---Intertainer Riding High on Wings of Fiber-Optic Firm

Amid all the mudslinging and doubts cast over the Los Angeles City Council's approval of Western Integrated Networks (WINfirst) plan to build a big fiber-optic network in the city's 14 franchise areas, one local technology company is celebrating.

STARS---A Luxury Gap

L.A. is the nation's only major city that does not have a five-star or a four-star hotel in its downtown area. Nor does any hotel receive a Five Diamond Award, the highest rating given by AAA.

ECONOMY---Forecast Says Area To Avoid Recession But Growth Lean

Southern California will stave off recession in the final half of the year, but not without running into some lean times, according to a mid-year forecast by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Work Force Reality---Getting Back to Reality

There's still high demand for some tech professionals, but gone are stock options, company cars and other cushy perks

CONSTRUCTION---Promenade Potholes

Summertime is always crunch time around the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, as tourists and locals flock to the trendy outdoor mall. But this summer the congestion is worse than ever, thanks to a 14-month-long road construction project now making

POWER---LA DWP at Top of State Refund Hit List

Pressure is building in both Sacramento and Washington for the state's municipal utilities, chiefly the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, to refund hundreds of millions of dollars to the state for alleged overcharges last winter.

Backlot Buzz---Soderbergh Star Shines, But Indie Films are Fading

Twelve years after "sex, lies and videotape" revolutionized the independent side of the American movie industry, Hollywood is buzzing with news that director Steven Soderbergh may be contemplating a follow-up although sources say his new movie would be

CAMERA---Wireless Camera Puts Fans in the Action

When Warner Bros. releases "Collateral Damage" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger later this summer, moviegoers will see people falling through an elevator shaft almost as if they were taking the fall themselves.

Unlikely Entrepreneur---Engineered for Success

An array of high-profile leadership positions, from the Pentagon to Teledyne, have led Donald Rice to his smallest big role yet running a fledgling Santa Monica biotech firm

CORPORATE FOCUS---Pared-Down Software Firm Banking on Stock Rebound

The El Segundo-based distributor of computer hardware and software, battered by the declining market for its core products and services, has taken drastic measures to resurrect itself and pull its stock price up from just above a dollar.

MEDIA---Resisting Media Recession

Latino media companies are resisting current industry woes as ad revenues continue to grow substantially at many outlets.

SOFAS---Seat of Power

Goal: Increase sales at the 500 plus retail outlets where its furniture is sold, while maintaining cutting-edge designs

My Favorite Sites is producing some of the most original content on the Web. They have both video and animation, as well as some really good music to listen to. It has a real distinct point of view. It's funny and outrageous. They really do some brilliant parodie

SUIT---DrKoop.Com Gets Caught Up in New Lawsuit

After finally settling lawsuits accusing insiders of dumping stocks following an undisclosed auditor's warning, has found itself embroiled in one of the many IPO-allocation lawsuits sweeping Wall Street.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Long-Distance Providers to Clarify Rate Plans for Users

People hate being nickled and dimed to death, even when they can afford to pay. That's probably what ticks them off when they read their long-distance telephone bills.

Weekly Briefing

While growing up, Bill Fimpler would sometimes help out in his father's furniture-making shop by taking chairs down to Cane and Basket Supply Co. in Los Angeles for repairs. Years later, after serving in the armed forces and taking a variety of jobs, he r

INTERVIEW---Learning Lessons

Education: Bachelor's degree in history from Yale University and a master's degree in public administration from USC.

Ahead of the Curve

Shaker Gifts: The UCLA Hammer Museum brings together a collection of rare Shaker art in its newest exhibition, "Heavenly Visions: Shaker Drawings and Gifts." Shaker gift drawings and songs, which portray images of heaven inspired by visionary experiences,

Deals & Dealmakers

In a move that will enhance its already formidable cable operations, Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Fox Family Worldwide Inc. for $3 billion in cash and $2.3 billion in debt.

Wall Street West---Invigorated Amgen Ready For Investors to Take Notice

There's a new buzz in local biotech circles about Amgen Inc., the granddaddy of West Coast biotech outfits. The shoptalk: New management and a maturing emphasis on the bottom line are setting the stage for another sustained upward run on Wall Street.

ADS---L.A. Times' Advertising Slump May Have Bottomed

Advertising woes continue to buffet the Los Angeles Times, but there are signs that the months-long slump could be flattening.

Monday, July 23

Deals & Dealmakers

Hughes Electronics Corp. said its net loss doubled in the second quarter due to lagging subscription growth at DirecTV, a sluggish economy and poor performance by its satellite subsidiary.

TECH---Networking Firm Hit Hard as Tech Sector Flounders

The ailing telecommunications sector has finally caught up with once highflying Ixia.

TRANSIT---Surging Ridership Prompts MTA to Beef up Blue Line

A surge in ridership on the Metro Blue Line between Los Angeles and Long Beach has prompted transit officials to embark on a rail reconstruction project that includes adding a third car to trains.

HOLLYWOOD---Hollywood Glitter Expected To Return With Mega-Project

Four years and $615 million after getting the green light from the city, a massive Hollywood project mixing retail, entertainment and dining is nearing completion and other projects waiting in the wings rest on its fate.

HMO---HMO Regulator Getting High Marks After First Year

When the state Department of Managed Health Care began operations a year ago as the first HMO regulatory body in the nation, it was given what many believed was a nearly impossible and contradictory task.

LL International Shoe Co. Inc.---Just for Kicks

Core Business: Manufacture and distribution of athletic and fashion sneakers

Real Estate Column---Spate of Dealmaking Buoys Hopes for Market Recovery

Reason for optimism? With all the talk of a slowdown in the economy and a flagging real estate market, there have been a spate of transactions lately that indicate there's still quite a pulse in the business.

IMMIGRANT---Support for Immigration Amnesty Growing

Ask Robert Mundhenk what it's like trying to find workers for his landscaping business, and he puts it plainly: The last time he hired an Anglo field worker was maybe five years ago.

RETAIL---Communities Count on Success of Major Retail Projects

Pasadena, Hollywood, Long Beach, Fairfax, Sherman Oaks they each are counting on a major commercial/retail development to open in the coming months that could dramatically reshape their communities.

Weekly Briefing

Mark Schoem was set to become a psychologist when a class in stained-glass art changed his life. On his way to a doctorate from USC, Schoem left his studies and went to work for a stained-glass studio in 1976. Today, he owns his own studio, Ancient Arts,

Wall Street West---Going it Alone on Research Exposes Investors to Perils

One of the new mantras floating above Wall Street these days is, "Don't just rely on what some analyst said. Do your own research."

FAIRFAX ---Neighbors Await Changes at Venerable Slice of L.A. Retail

Once a quaint slice of Americana, the Farmers Market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue soon will have the bigger, more modern feel of its retailing contemporaries.

STRIKE---Hollywood Illusion: StrikeVanishing Act

Michael Mahern was giving the performance of a lifetime. Standing in front of reporters and photographers on May 4, the secretary-treasurer of the Writers Guild of America put the best face possible on a deal just reached with the studios and networks a

BROADBAND---Telecom Troubles Force Broadband Layoffs

Malibu Networks, one of the more promising wireless broadband startups in Los Angeles, is laying off staff after being stung by troubles in the faltering telecommunications sector.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Guitar Center Warnings on Earnings Not Playing Well

Guitar Center Inc. has hit the wrong chords with investors in the last couple of weeks by its disclosure that second quarter earnings would be lower than expected. But analysts expect a fall in the stock to be short-lived because same-store sales growth r

RELOCATION---Computer Firm Moves Headquarters to Industry

A $2.3 billion division of Acer Group of Cos. of Taiwan is moving its U.S. headquarters from San Jose to City of Industry to pare costs and be nearer distribution companies and the Port of Long Beach.

SCHOOLS---LAUSD's Lesson in Action

While the L.A. mayoral and city council candidates were promising to help the Los Angeles Unified School District find new school sites, the district itself quietly identified 82 of the 85 sites it needs for the first round of new schools.

Roving Eye

Sideburns have never gone completely out of style, but the facial hair is today cutting a swath into mainstream culture that has not been seen for decades.

Ahead of the Curve

Wild Man Blues: Woody Allen makes a rare appearance as a solo clarinetist in Los Angeles at the Jazz Bakery on August 7. The Wood man jams with his Manhattan band mates Eddie Davis and his New Orleans Jazz Band. Allen and his authentic and accomplished ba

Cybersense---Daycare Webcams May Not Be Showing Whole Story

As Internet content struggles to attract a paying audience, there's at least one multimedia package that busy parents will surely consider buying.

LONG BEACH---Outdoor Mall is Latest Move Toward Long Beach Revival

Over the past three decades, Long Beach has been on an economic roller coaster ride as city officials have tried to devise various strategies to revitalize downtown.

PORT---Desperate Merchants Want Quick Fix at Ports O' Call

Frustrated by redevelopment delays that threaten to put them out of business, a coalition of Ports O' Call merchants has proposed its own plan to spruce up the struggling waterfront shopping district.

DEFENSE---L.A. Aerospace Firms Coming Down to Earth

When President Bush took office in January, L.A.'s defense industry was licking its fiscal chops.

Tech Talk---Strategy Shift is Paying Off For Web Network Company

EUniverse Inc., which ditched compact disc sales last year for advertising-supported online entertainment pursuits, continues its whirlwind dealmaking.

CRUISE---After Year's Absence, Cruise Line Returns to L.A. Port

After bowing out of the local market more than a year ago, Princess Cruises has decided to resume weekly trips again out of the Port of Los Angeles.

BANK---Local Bank Deal Combines Equals

National Mercantile Bancorp, the holding company for Mercantile National Bank, has agreed to acquire Torrance-based South Bay Bank for $29.1 million in cash, roughly two times book value.

INTERVIEW---Crossing Cultures

Education: B.S. in physical education and biology from Springfield College in Massachusetts; M.A. in educational administration from the University of Hawaii.

Newsmakers---Content Chief Swept Up in Site's Drama

That's only part of what the 54-year-old father does in his role as editor-in-chief of, a Culver City-based Web company owned by Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.

Mitch Albom---The Sham of Campaign Finance Reform

You want to know why no one trusts politicians? Take a look at campaign finance reform, which is now, after a year's worth of hype, lying in shreds on the floor of Congress, while lawmakers point fingers at each other and yell, "Your fault! Your fault!"

DEVELOPMENT---Businesses Spearhead Drive To Block New Home Depot

A feud over a proposed shopping center in Agoura Hills is taking some unusual twists.

My Favorite Sites

I recently did a pitch to design a new Madison Square Garden, and as part of our interview I wallpapered the conference room with original programs from events, ticket stubs from concerts and boxing matches, postcards that people had sent people collect

Private Sector Employers

Private Sector Employers

PASADENA ---Generation-Old Indoor Mall Reshaped as 'Urban Village'

For two decades, the Plaza Pasadena mall stood fortress-like on Colorado Boulevard, a monument to good architectural intentions gone awry.

SECURITY---Local Decoder Teams Up With Napster

Napster Inc., fighting for life in its battle with the angry giants of the recording industry, has turned to a small Los Angeles technology company to help build its new membership service.

POLITICS---Committee Posts Up in Air As Padilla Pursues Changes

When Alex Padilla took the helm as president of the L.A. City Council on July 3, word was he would move quickly to make committee assignments.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Durable Power of Attorney Provides Security for Elderly

If your aging parent isn't firing on all cylinders, find out fast who is managing the money. It becomes all too easy for crooks to pick the pockets of people who aren't thinking clearly any more.

BIOTECH---Acacia Ups Stake In Company That Controls V-Chip

Acacia Research Corp. increased its stake in a company that owns the patent on the lucrative V-chip in an effort to boost its cash positions for its core biotechnology business.


The Web sites of the region's pro sports teams in many ways reflect the franchises themselves some are great, while others fail to live up to expectations

SHERMAN OAKS---Once a'Valley Girl' Shrine, Tired Mall Gets a Makeover

The Valley Girl haunt is making a comeback. At one time the quintessential hangout for vacuous, gum-chewing teenage girls, the Sherman Oaks Galleria is being transformed into a contemporary, open-air retail center that could revitalize a run-down stretch

Jane Applegate---Identifying Market Niche Gives Small Business Entree

But two Los Angeles entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the popularity of strong, trendy mints, with their "Hint Mint," sold in a sleek, curved tin resembling an elegant cigarette case.

MOVING---Southward Migration

Kellyn Brannon was perfectly happy living in San Francisco, where she had been chief financial officer of Fort Point Partners, a technology consulting firm.

L.A. Stories

With the help of Recovrx an Agoura Hills-based company that uses the "Gumbusters" system to clean up the sticky substance the Fashion District Business Improvement District hopes to finally rid the area's sidewalks of a persistent nemesis, gum spots.

MARKETING---Beverly Hills Auto Dealership Reserving Lot for Gay Clients

A Beverly Hills automobile dealership is setting aside one of its five sales lots to cater specifically to the gay community, believed one of the first such marketing efforts in the country.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Smooth Severing of Banking Ties is Painful but Valuable

Sometimes bankers find themselves in the position where they have business clients that no longer meets the bank's qualifications or requirements. When this occurs, bankers are in a situation where they must think about asking these clients to leave the b

Backlot Buzz---Box Office Hits Provide MGM With New Life

In the ritualistic jockeying for power that is something of a blood sport within Hollywood, the buzz is about the return to grandeur of that oldest and greatest of the major studios, MGM.

Monday, July 16

COLLAPSE---Computer Equipment Company On the Ropes After Fast Decline

When Linda Terjesen left Atlanta in late 1999 to join Woodland Hills-based El Camino Resources International, she was joining a company with a promising future.

Jane Applegate---Inventory-Based Credit Can Help Ease Cash Crunch

Jeffrey Martinez-Malo, president of Ocean World Fisheries USA, a Miami-based importer of shrimp and crab from Latin America to the United States, had a problem but it was a good one to have.

PROJECT---Troubled Project May Get Rebirth At Hollywest Site

Developer Ira Smedra is out and MacFarlane Partners is in at Hollywood's on again, off again mixed-use Hollywest project.

DISABILITY---New Disability Definition Has Business Wary

If an employee wears glasses, has high blood pressure or was once diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, is he or she disabled?


Goal: To convince hospitals to install its water-saving add-on device to X-rays processors

AIRPORT---Runway Surfing

Your flight is delayed and you're stuck with no e-mail voila, a business is born

PORTS---Crime on the Waterfront

Cargo container theft has skyrocketed at local ports, rail lines and Los Angeles International Airport bringing with it a sharp rise in violence as a new breed of criminal gets into the act.

STAR MAPS---Star-Crossed

Those ubiquitous 'Star Maps' have been around since the 1920s, but outdated listings and a lack of fresh faces mean that tourists looking to meet up with celebrities often wind up getting the runaround

POLITICS---Padilla Tabs Respected Insider As Committee Selections Loom

As he assumed his new post this month at age 28, some might have said that L.A. City Council President Alex Padilla is young and relatively inexperienced in the ways of City Hall.

Wall Street West---Fund's Focus on Small Cap Investing Outpaces Indexes

It's small, small world according to GARP. That's an investing stratagem followed by Jay Wong, senior equity strategist with Payden & Rygel's Payden Small Cap Leaders fund, part of Payden's $35 billion in assets money management empire downtown.

BASEBALL---Firms Face Off in Sports Broadcast Duel

As a feud between Fox Sports Net and Time Warner Cable over the blackout of Los Angeles Dodgers games intensifies, a similar cutoff involving Anaheim Angels telecasts is looming.

Leonard Pitts---Learning History's Discriminating Facts

I no longer have the letter, so I can't quote verbatim. But I can tell you what it said.

Ahead of the Curve

Rat Fink Tribute: Ed Roth, the Beverly Hills-born artist and innovator of the popular Rat Fink animated character, will be honored at the 2nd annual Rat Fink Party on July 21 at the Disabled American Veterans Park in Woodland Hills. Roth, the influential

Deals & Dealmakers

An Alameda County Superior Court jury has ordered Los Angeles insurance giant Farmers Insurance Exchange to pay $90 million to claims adjusters who consistently worked overtime hours without receiving additional pay.

SLOWDOWN---Mergers Slow From Stricter Bank Lending

Mergers-and-acquisitions activity slowed in Los Angeles County during the second quarter, reflecting an ongoing national slump and a corresponding reluctance on the part of bankers to finance buyouts.

Real Estate Column---Downtown Land Swap Key to New Caltrans Building

The state of California and city of Los Angeles are mulling a land swap that would pave the way for the California Department of Transportation to build a new headquarters in Downtown L.A.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Web Content Sites Turning To Donations to Stay Afloat

The joys of the Web are its offbeat "content" sites. You've almost certainly fallen in love with some of them the edgy political commentary, film reviews, gossip, recipes, math problems, animations and jokes.

INTERVIEW---Mega Landlord

Holocaust survivor Jona Goldrich built a window cleaning firm into a real estate empire that ranges from public housing projects to Marina del Rey developments



ENERGY---Study Confirms L.A.'s Energy Costs Holding Steady

It's no secret that Los Angeles has weathered the energy crisis better than neighboring cities by staying out of the deregulated electricity market, but a survey released last week of six California cities reveals how much ratepayers in Los Angeles benefi

WAGES---Santa Monica Hotels May Prefer Unions to Living Wage

As the Santa Monica City Council prepares to finalize the city's living wage ordinance next week, most of the scores of impacted businesses in the coastal zone are girding for a two-front battle to overturn it, at the ballot box and in the courts.

WHO'S WHO---Local Forces Playing Key Roles in Patient Rights Issue

Background: Started law career in general practice Emphasis on personal injury/insurance Started partnership in 1986 Practice focused on insurance bad faith Growing popularity of Health Maintenance Organizations led firm to extend law of insurance bad

DEBATE---HMO: Breast Cancer Case Sparked U.S. Debate

Background: Born in Newark, N.J., and educated in his home state at Rutgers University and at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia Served as Lt. Commander in U.S. Public Health Service's Heart Disease and Stroke Control program before moving to West

DOCTORS---Medical Association Reports Rise in Physician Discontent

The pediatric neurology department at Children's Hospital came dangerously close to shutting down last year because the staff went from seven to three physicians.

Tech Talk---NetZero's Platinum Play, Merger Fail to Draw Investors

On the eve of Independence Day, free Internet Service Provider NetZero Inc. became one of the latest local Internet companies to be flagged by the Nasdaq National Market for failing to meet the minimum $1 bid price requirement.

MTA---Subway Stops Prove Alluring To Developers

After years of talk and several false starts, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority appears to be picking up steam in its efforts to develop the property around its subway stations.

Roving Eye

West Hollywood began experimenting recently with a different kind of pedestrian crosswalk device at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

HMO---Making Medical History

It wasn't but a decade ago that a new concept called "managed care" entered the nation's vocabulary with a promise to provide for every health care need while holding the line on spiraling costs.

L.A. Stories

State Republicans may have little power inside the Capitol in Sacramento, but they still demonstrated plenty of punch last week.

JOBS---Search Firm Makes Brave Move to Internet

Brad Marks has figured out a way to stand out from the crowd: he's launching an Internet site.

Newsmakers---Credit Card Executive Charges Into Post

Recently named senior vice president of development and systems at Oberthur Card Systems of America, Grenoble will help the international credit-card giant manage data-processing services, smart-card software engineering and develop e-business infrastruct

LAWYERS---Buried by Bankruptcy

For the Los Angeles-based attorneys working on the mammoth Pacific Gas & Electric Co. filing, it's meant long work weeks, extra travel and a crash course in the electricity industry.

BATTLE---Investor Revolt Clouds Picture for Software Company

A fashion company called Mirage Holdings Inc. that transformed itself into a software company when it acquired a Pakistani software development firm in 1996 and changed its name, NetSol has rarely reported a profit. In the four quarters dating back to Mar

CORPORATE FOCUS---Casino Company Struggles Amid Long Losing Streak

Though investors have punished Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. after a second quarter earnings warning last month plus other bad news including a freakish ship wreck the dust finally could be settling for the Glendale-based gaming company.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Devise Plan to Offer Workers Good Benefits Package

In competing for the best employees, many small business owners are under the misconception that while they may be able to match salary offers with their counterparts at larger firms, they cannot compete when it comes to benefit packages, especially emplo

STREETS---Long West Hollywood Road Project Nears End

The two-year Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction project through West Hollywood is due to wrap up this month, with a street festival dedication set for Aug. 19 to mark the event.

Backlot Buzz---Box Office is Up, But Films Show Rapid Drop-offs

Take a look at this summer's movie box office, and it seems as if things have never been better.

Weekly Briefing

The gold rush isn't over. Today, local prospectors, or hobbyists, in need of anything from a pan to a pick often go to Keene Engineering Co. in Chatsworth. Started 50 years ago, the family-owned business is run by Wayne Keene and his sons, Mark and Patric

Monday, July 9

ZELL---Zell Embraces New Approach In Acquisitions

Real estate mogul Sam Zell is on a multibillion-dollar buying spree in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, and he's paying market prices, an uncharacteristic practice for someone nicknamed "the grave dancer" for his proclivity to buy distressed asset

WILSHIRE---L.A.'s Clogged Artery

Travel along the Westside's main business corridor, Wilshire Boulevard, can be dreadful, testing the patience of drivers. That's been especially true the last six months, as crews laying down telecommunications gear have been repeatedly digging up the Mir

RESTAURANTS---Tapping Market

The yard house restaurant and its 180 kinds of beer quench a thirst for new Dining experiences

PORTS---Test Program Planned to Extend Hours at Local Ports

After years of feuding over how to relieve the worsening truck gridlock at local seaports, various entities in the cargo-handling chain are on the verge of agreeing to a test program under which gate hours at certain terminals would be extended. If the te

TRANSIT---New MTA Chief Wants 'Seamless' Transit

Incoming Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief executive Roger Snoble, in a phone interview last week from his current job in Dallas, said one of his goals upon arriving in L.A. will be to coordinate the transit schedules of the various local agenci

L.A. Stories

It didn't take long for LAX officials to remove the smiling countenance of Richard Riordan that had greeted arriving passengers at several airport terminals during his tenure.

TALENT---Cast of Characters

When filmmakers and advertisers need role players who tend toward the extreme, they call Dragon Talent, which has made its mark by casting punkers, bikers, piercing buffs and others outside of the Hollywood mainstream

RED CAR---San Pedro Revitalization Hopes Are Riding on Vintage Red Cars Trolleys

Nearly four decades after being mothballed, the Red Car trolley system is about to begin rolling again.

PARK---Stuck in the Middle

Juvenile delinquents may end up spoiling plans to build a major biotech park next to County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights.

Largest Public Companies

Largest Public Companies

POLITICS---Wachs Casts Key Vote in Padilla Victory

Although Councilman Alex Padilla won the Los Angeles City Council presidency last week on a 9-to-5 vote over sitting council president Ruth Galanter, the contest apparently was closer than it seemed. That's because going in to the vote at 10 a.m. last Tue

Weekly Briefing

Before wines from around the world could be found at any neighborhood supermarket and microbreweries began popping up like mushrooms in a wet field, John Daume provided a solution for wine and beer lovers hankering for distinctive libations. In 1972, he o

Roving Eye

For shopaholics who watch the bottom line, the Beverly Center's Web site has a special service that will e-mail you weekly reports about upcoming sales at the mall's shops.

Backlot Buzz---Gloom Descends On Hollywood, As Cuts Abound

Walk onto any studio lot, stroll into any of the industry's favorite restaurants, and you'll find a strange pall has fallen over the executives and producers who congregate there and it's more than just the summer doldrums.

DEFENSE---Strike Fighter Likely to Lift Subcontractors

With the Pentagon expecting to choose a contractor this fall for the Joint Strike Fighter, the largest military program in history, Los Angeles County is poised to get more than $100 billion in subcontract work, regardless of which of the two teams is awa

INTERVIEW---Tracking the Tech Tumult

Education: B.A. in business administration from California State University, Fullerton

Deals & Dealmakers

Ending the threat of a Hollywood shutdown, negotiators for studios and actors have agreed on a new three-year contract that will hike performers' pay, bring pay for Fox TV programs up to scale with the other major networks and improve pension benefits.

BABBITT---Babbitt Role in Ahmanson Development Project Derided

Opponents of the planned 3,000-home development known as Ahmanson Ranch claim that the hiring of former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt as a consultant for the controversial project is an effort by the developers to deflect criticism.

Real Estate Column---Development Site for Sale in Tough Westside Market

The Westside office market, already jam-packed with office space and sporting a 9.5 percent vacancy rate, is about to see a 10.4-acre development site come on the market.

Ahead of the Curve

Photo Opportunity: A major photo exhibit is coming to the Getty Center from July 10 to Sept. 16. The exhibit, called "Walker Evans & Company: Works from The Museum of Modern Art," explores the impact of Walker Evans' work on other artists. It features 55

Jane Applegate---Business Books Worth Reading on Summer Vacation

Even if you are one of the lucky business owners taking a vacation this summer, you never really stop thinking about your business. So, you might as well take along a business-related book to hide behind when your kids ask you to play with them in the mot

Mitch Albom---Schemer Finds Opportunity in Tragedy

Like many of you, I was disturbed by the story of Andrea Yates, the Houston mother who drowned her children, one by one, in her bathtub.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Employee Burnout Taking Major Toll on Productivity

Today's uneven economy has been the cause of added stress, as companies make greater demands of their employees. The fast pace of high-tech companies has caused employees to put in odd hours, extended hours and weekend hours. Many companies have been forc

VOICES---Silence Isn't Golden for Voiceover Actors in L.A.

The once-blossoming voiceover industry in Los Angeles has weakened, having never quite recovered from the commercial actors' strike of 2000 and subsequently hit by a softening ad market. Advertisers drawn to the area's large pool of actors in years past

Wall Street West---Window Shopping Will End This Fall for Venture Firms

Joe Doloboff, former Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom deal jockey, now hangs his hat with Ernst & Young in downtown Los Angeles, which he says has created a "miniature law firm" within the CPA giant to help handle mergers. But last week Doloboff was loaf

CHRISTOPHER---Christopher High on New Leadership, Consent Decree

Few Angelenos can claim a more remarkable career than Warren Christopher. He has served as Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General under Presidents Clinton, Carter and Johnson.

Cybersense---Microsoft Resuming Tactics to Crush All Competition

Can Microsoft stock its operating system with software designed to undercut its competitors' most popular programs?

WATTS---Watts Group Sues LAUSD

As plans progress to build a combined first-run cinema and entertainment industry training facility in Watts, the Los Angeles Unified School District is being sued over its involvement in the early days of the project.

PUBLIC---Blue-Chip Giants Slump, as Smaller Companies Gain

Most of L.A.'s few remaining blue chips are stumbling on Wall Street, even as the mid-caps and small-caps that now dominate the local public company population are appreciating nicely, despite a slowing economy.

AIRLINES---U.S. Carrier to Launch Nonstops to Cancun

Alaska Airlines has applied for authority to provide the first daily nonstop service from Los Angeles to the resort of Cancun, Mexico, by an American carrier.

CHILDREN---TV Producer Targets Younger Audience

DIC Entertainment may have Inspector Gadget and Carmen Sandiego. But it wanted Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Dumbo.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Focus on Mid-Cap Business Pushes Investment Firm Up

Wall Street giants like Merrill Lynch & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group are being squeezed by investor wariness and a dearth of mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings. But Jefferies Group Inc., a middle-market equities brokerage and investment ban

IMMIGRANTS---Organized Labor Changes Stance on Immigration Rules

Taking advantage of labor's about-face stance on illegal immigrants, Los Angeles unions are pushing to obtain legal status and citizenship for foreign laborers living here.

ANTEX---Firm Pins Hopes on In-Theater Video Ads

A small Gardena outfit is preparing to launch a programmable electronic device that will enable theater owners to replace the traditional one-sheet movie posters with audio/video digital displays.

Newsmakers---Executive to Oversee ABC Radio Stations

When asked to become president and general manager of ABC's four Los Angeles-area radio stations, Davison decided to leave his post as sales director at the company's San Francisco stations and come south to the much larger L.A. market.

Monday, July 2

Newsmakers---Executive Plans Kids' Program Growth

After helping DIC Entertainment Corp. break off from Walt Disney Co., Brad Brooks hopes to make DIC the world's largest producer of independent children's programming.

FORECASTS---L.A. forecasting isn't so easy

Tune into one local newscast and you will find the day's temperature expected to hit 82. If that's too hot, just change the channel, where the forecast high is 81. Keep going and you'll hit a third insisting that it won't get out of the 70s.

Wall Street West---New Appeal of Index Funds May Give Mutuals a Scare

Hardly a week goes by without a new "exchange-traded fund," or index stock, getting introduced on Wall Street. Back in June, the index stock with the symbol "VTF" became listed on the American Stock Exchange. The stock VTF is based upon the stocks found i

LATINO ---Hispanic Insurer Set to Go Public In Reverse Merger

Rapidly growing Latino Health Care is going public in a complicated financing scheme that will make it the largest Latino public health care company in the nation.

WEATHER---Energy crisis hinges on climate

Most summers, Angelenos give little thought to the weather. And why should they? The sun comes up, thermometers rise, air conditioners go on and people flock to the beach or to air-conditioned malls. A real yawner.

Mitch Albom---Archie's Mean Streak Was Good for Us

Archie Bunker died. That's what people said. "Archie Bunker died." It didn't matter that the man's real name was Carroll O'Connor, that he was a trained actor, a veteran of Broadway and the European stage. To most Americans, he was, and always will be, th

Chet Currier---Mutual Fund Investors Must Have Long-Term Outlook

Very little has happened in the first half of 2001 to put the fun back into mutual funds.

SANWA---Sanwa Bank Undergoing Name Change

In handing over his business card, Sanwa Bank California Chief Executive Ryosuke Tamakoshi quips, "Here you go; this will be good for about a week."

Jane Applegate---Government Work Abounds for Well-Informed Firms

As this summer's forest fire season begins with a vengeance in California, forestry experts are still recovering from last year, which was considered one of the worst in almost a century. Blazes raged from California to Utah, Idaho and beyond.

UCLA---Economists Forecast Lean Years For Home Builders Despite High Demand

A run of good fortune by local homebuilders is likely to come to an end over the next three years, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast.

UNION---Labor Department Files Suit Over Union Election

To help settle a squabble between rival factions, the U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against a union representing 5,000 Boeing Co. engineers and technical workers for allegedly violating union election rules.

RESTAURANT---Popular Palm Chain Planning 2002 Debut Next to Staples Center

In another step toward remaking downtown L.A. into a vibrant nightspot, the Palm restaurant chain has announced plans to open a high-end eatery across from Staples Center.

Cybersense---Pop-Under Ads Keep Online Annoyances to Minimum

Some of you out there and you know who you are have been complaining about pop-under ads, the latest step in the evolution of Web advertising. These ads, which load behind the current browser window as you're surfing the Web, have been embraced in

100 Highest Paid Execs

100 Highest Paid Execs

TRANSIT---Dodger Line Would Link to Rail System

It's another missing link in the region's transit system: hooking up Dodger Stadium with the growing regional rail network.

Tech Talk---Big-Budget Ad Firm Puts Hopes on Cross-Platforming

HSI Productions Inc. knows that national advertisers are serious about pumping money online. The Culver City-based television and video production company makes big-budget commercials and music videos for Pepsi Co., Nike, Miller Brewing Co., Gap Co. and A

INSURANCE---Hollywood's Liability Tab Skyrocketing

In "The Perfect Storm," sex symbol George Clooney portrays brave Captain Billy Tyne who goes down with his ship, The Andrea Gail, only after failing to anticipate the storm of the century.

Real Estate Column---Live-Work Plan Fits With Push for Downtown Housing

Downtown Los Angeles is quickly is becoming the hottest real estate submarket in the county.

Backlot Buzz---Suspense Builds As Eisner Looks For Studio Chief

Being a top-level executive is no fun these days especially if you're Michael Eisner.

REAL ESTATE--- The Space Race

Goal: To increase revenues by 10 to 15 percent and expand the company's community-service efforts

ANGELIDES---State Treasurer Selling Proposal For State Bonds

State Treasurer Phil Angelides has emerged as one of the key players in the state's ongoing power crisis. Earlier this year, he stepped outside the traditional bounds of a state treasurer's role and proposed a statewide power authority that would build an

INTERNET---Clear Channel Deal Gives Hiwire an Edge

Fresh off its landmark deal with radio giant Clear Channel Communications Inc., Los Angeles-based streaming company Hiwire Inc. gains instant market dominance.

PAY---Boards Tighten Reins on Executive Pay

L.A.'s 100 best-paid corporate executives saw their total compensation jump 34 percent in 2000 to an average $8.3 million from $6.2 million in 1999, according to Joint Information Inc., a compensation consulting and research firm that compiled the list fo

INTERVIEW---Battling the Big Boys

Education: Bachelor of Science, George Washington University; Law degree, George Washington University

CRUISE---L.A. Wooing Carnival Cruise Lines With Promise of Renovations

Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles are in engaged in a tug of war over Carnival Cruise Lines, which announced last year it was leaving Los Angeles to build its own terminal next to the Queen Mary.

L.A. Stories

The mention of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory usually brings to mind images of rovers and satellites not hunks.

PLAYA---Maguire Nears Sale of Entire Portfolio

Developer Robert Maguire is in final negotiations to sell virtually his entire portfolio of properties to Sam Zell's Equity Office Properties Trust for slightly more than $1.6 billion, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Employee Retirement Planning Need Not Be Difficult

So, you have worked hard, invested your money in your own business, and now your employees want a retirement plan. Or maybe you find that the old retirement plan provisions have not kept pace with the growth of your company. Where do you turn for help wit

Ahead of the Curve

Celebrating Clay: Potters from the Mexican village of Mata Ortiz descend on Pasadena with their renowned pottery, which is coil-built and pit-fired in the ancient Pueblo tradition. The artists do some firing and sell pots at Pasadena's Southwest Museum Ju

Weekly Briefing

It's been almost 30 years since Paul and Yaffa Stark had a baby, but nursing is still a huge part of their lives. The Starks run Breast Pump Express, which rents and sells breast pumps and offers related products and services. The couple started the busin

Deals & Dealmakers---Nickelodeon and JAKKS Expand Deal

Malibu toy maker JAKKS Pacific Inc. and Nickelodeon have signed a long-term alliance to develop crafts, activity toys and stationery based on the programmers' characters and brands.

With Top-Paid Executive, Infonet Searches for Buyer

Among Los Angeles-based public companies, Infonet Services Corp. has as many names on the Business Journal's list of the 100 highest paid executive as any other company. And while its stock, at about $8.50 a share as of late last week, remains far below i

RETAIL---Pocket of Small-Town Shops Stays Alive in Beverly Hills

The mom-and-pop block includes a hardware store, a corner grocery, an old-fashioned barbershop, a shoe repair shop and a European bakery. Its clientele includes former First Lady Nancy Reagan and actor Charlton Heston.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Public Storage Locking Into Business Due to Downturn

The wavering economy may be working in Public Storage Inc.'s favor. In downturns, people tend to be more mobile, prompting a greater need for storage facilities.

BILLBOARDS---Sign Language

From the flashy to the far out, 75 entrants have been whittled down to 30 finalists in West Hollywood's second annual Sunset Strip Billboard Awards program

WARNER ---Owners Might Sell Valley's Biggest Office Complex

Warner Center Properties, the largest office complex in San Fernando Valley, could soon be on the block.

POLITICS---Galanter and Padilla Face Off For Presidency of City Council

That's the magic number of votes needed to elect a president of the Los Angeles City Council. The vote takes place on Tuesday, which is the first meeting of the newly-constituted council.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Returns on Social Security Aren't as Bad as You Think

Critics who want to junk the system keep up a drumbeat of complaint. They say that you're getting a return of only 2 percent and could do better even in a lowly bank account. They cite official Social Security reports to "prove" their story.

Roving Eye

Cast your eyes downward and you are bound to see someone wearing leather, bowling-shoe inspired footwear. The lace-ups come in solid colors or two-tones and sometimes feature contrasting stitching.

STREETS---Battle Looming Over Massive City 'Street Furniture' Contract

A city contract of up to $1 billion to upgrade seemingly mundane items such as bus shelters, public toilets and other street "furniture" is proving to be one of the largest in L.A. history.

VANS---Blue-Collar Workers Targeted With Curbside Bank Service

Popular Cash Express Inc., a subsidiary of Puerto Rico-based Banco Popular Inc., is operating a fleet of 52 vans that stop at L.A. work sites to cash payroll checks and sell phone cards and bus passes.