Stories for March 2001

Monday, March 26

Chet Currier---Stay Invested in the Market, but Rein in Expectations

It's shoulda, coulda, woulda time in the stock market. "I should have listened to reason a year ago, when I could have sold my Janus Mercury Fund shares for almost twice what they're worth today," a voice in your head declares. "I would have done that, to

Backlot Buzz---Belts Tighten at Sony, Artisan Pulls IPO

Changes are afoot behind the scenes at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the parent company of Columbia Pictures.

John Dorfman---Slimmed-Down Market Holds Some Attractive Stocks

A friend of mine once contracted encephalitis, sometimes known as brain fever. The disease gave him a devil of a time. But when his ordeal was over he had lost 20 pounds and was at his ideal weight.

MONEY---Seller of 'Bowie Bonds' Battles Insurance Giant in Suit

The man who packaged and sold securities based on the future royalties of rock star David Bowie has taken another step in his multibillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit against Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Weekly Briefing

It's entirely possible that you've seen the Hill family, owners of Hill's Backyard BBQ, in a recent drive around town. After retiring from a career in engineering, Lawrence Hill has taken his family and their long tradition of cooking from the kitchen of


The 350,000-square-foot LNR Warner Center that began construction in January 2000 was the largest office project to break ground in Los Angeles County last year and it is only a fraction of what Irvine-based developer Lennar Partners has planned for the

Mitch Albom---Commercial Interests Make March Mad

My freshman year at college I lived in a dorm, next to a guy on the basketball team. His last name was Carrington. He was funny. He kept bragging to everyone about how good he was, how the Celtics were going to give him a tryout, but when we went to the c

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Giving a Successful Speech Is Dependent on the Details

By now you've made enough presentations to know that it pays to take the time to design before you deliver.

OVERVIEW---Top Performers Outpace the Market, Top Previous Year

Although by some accounts the volume of commercial development in Los Angeles County dropped more than 10 percent in 2000, you wouldn't get that sense by looking at the performance of the region's top real estate brokers, developers and investors.

OUTAGES---Besides Blackouts, Other Power Outages Hitting

Unexpected rolling blackouts like those that swept through Southern California last week are not the only power outage threats faced by L.A.-area businesses.

L.A. Stories

The roar emanating from the northeast San Fernando Valley last week was the collective glee of a community responding to the induction of favorite son Ritchie Valens into the Rock and Hall of Fame.

Roving Eye

The Hydrant Cafe has become a popular singles hangout for canine-loving java-lovers and their dogs.

DISPUTES---Patient Advocates Seek State Support for HMO Lawsuits

Consumer advocates are calling on the state Department of Managed Health Care to co-sponsor a bill that would give patients the right to sue their HMOs in court rather than be forced to go to binding arbitration.

Deals & Dealmakers---Cities Sue Gas Companies

The cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach filed separate lawsuits accusing a coalition of gas companies of conspiring to eliminate competition, drive up natural gas prices and discourage the construction of electricity generating plants in California.

Newsmakers---Credit Counselor Expects Business Boost

The volatile mix of a slowing economy and greater restrictions on bankruptcy filings is likely to keep Peter F. Lake, the new president and CEO of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles, very busy in the coming months.

Cybersense---An Island of Opportunity for Seekers of Free Web Speech

It's cold, cramped and utterly devoid of natural resources. In fact, the entire nation state is confined to a 6,000-square-foot steel deck and a pair of hollow concrete towers that anchor it to the floor of the North Sea, six miles off the coast of Engl

Retained Executive Search Firms

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Jane Bryant Quinn---Rebalancing Portfolio May Cushion Market Downturn

So you thought stocks were safe? So did everyone who studied the long-term history of Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. That's the basis of most stock-market price studies and most investor myths. True, over five-year periods, S & P; stocks lose value just

ACTIVIST---Activist Rosenfield's Charges Go Unchallenged

As people's frustration rose during last week's rolling blackouts, there was consumer activist Harvey Rosenfield on the airwaves, blaming a "greedy cartel" of electric utilities and power generators for the mess and warning that the utilities, Gov. Gray D

Real Estate Column---City Agency to Play Landlord in New Theater Project

An unusual deal is in the process of being struck between developer Oliver McMillan, the Culver City Redevelopment Agency and Pacific Theatres Corp.

SPORTS---Long Beach Eyes Potential Windfall With Swim Meets

The city of Long Beach is in hot pursuit of a pair of world-class swim meets that together could generate an estimated $75 million in economic activity for the region and serve as a showcase for Los Angeles' bid to host an unprecedented third Olympic Game

Tech Talk---Departing Yahoo CEO Wows Crowd at Milken Event

You'd think Timothy Koogle was a Backstreet Boy with all the attention lavished on him by adoring fans at the Milken Institute's "Global Conference" last week.

Ahead of the Curve

Saluting Salamunovich: To honor maestro Paul Salamunovich before his well-deserved retirement, singers from the L.A. Master Chorale and the St. Borromeo Choir, which Salamunovich has led since 1949, present his favorite works: Verdi's "Stabat Mater," Niel

COMEDY---Putting Big Mouths Where the Money Is

If a new Los Angeles-based radio syndicator and programmer has its way, Stern-like programming targeting the same audience with the same raunchy outlook on life will be a growing, nonstop part of the radio landscape.

POLITICAL PULSE---Lobbying Firms Take In Record Sums for City Efforts

Firms lobbying L.A. City Hall took in $15.25 million in client fees last year, up $2 million from 1999 and more than double their take five years ago. Lobbyists spent $10.3 million pushing their various causes at City Hall, also up $2 million from 1999.

PARKING---Where Will Hollywood Visitors Park?

With Hollywood in the midst of an extensive makeover that could reestablish its place as a major consumer and tourist destination, the biggest single obstacle standing in its way is inadequate parking. That's the conclusion of a team of experts from the U

Jane Applegate---Buying a Franchise Takes Careful Study, Commitment

Todd Blanchard, 35, of Shreveport, La., was earning more than $100,000 a year as vice president of operations for a trucking academy, but he thought he could do better.

My Favorite Sites

This is a Web site, but it's more of a downloadable tool that you plug-in to your browser. I'm not entirely sure how it works, but it's very cool. What Gator does is it hides in your system tray, and when a form comes up on the Internet, it'll pop up on y

BROADWAY---City Hoping Faster Permitting Will Return Broadway Lights

In an effort to change the image of downtown Los Angeles as a place from which workers flee once the whistle blows, a plan is in the works for the creation of a special entertainment district that would revive nighttime streets and long-dormant movie thea

CANDIDATES---Not Business as Usual

Los Angeles' City Attorney Candidates Discuss What They'd Do for the Local Economy

INTERVIEW---Convergent Interests

Former Universal Studios head Frank Biondi Jr. has settled into the role of venture capitalist, funding a variety of firms aimed at shaping the way entertainment is produced and delivered

NURSES---Deal Advances Union Organization at Local Hospitals

After cutting a deal for greater access to try to unionize nurses in the Catholic Healthcare West system, the California Nurses Association is making headway in its organizing efforts at four county hospitals.

ENTERTAINMENT---Producer's Suit Against Fox Brings Studio 'Self-Dealing' Into Spotlight

A distributor (20th Century Fox) syndicates the reruns for a hit show ("NYPD Blue") to a cable company (FX) with which it shares a common owner (News Corp.). The distributor allegedly undervalues the distribution rights to give its cable cousin a sweethea

CHARITY---New Charity Event Already a Top Draw

With an A-list guest roll that includes Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg and Sylvester Stallone, an annual charity fund-raiser that quietly began only last year has already emerged as one of L.A.'s hot-ticket philanthropic galas.

BOEING---Officials Shunned in Attempt to Attract Boeing to L.A.

Los Angeles city officials last week began hastily devising an incentive-laden plan in the hopes of enticing Boeing Co. to move its headquarters to the city, but the aviation giant has already torpedoed the proposal.

ABC---ABC Cites Cost Cutting in Move of Affiliate Meetings

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network following similar moves by rivals NBC, UPN and Fox has scrapped plans for its usually lavish summer affiliates' meeting in favor of a series of regional meetings.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Apparel Company Succeeds By Shunning Mainstream

If Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys are wearing it, then it's passe to youth apparel retailer Hot Topic Inc.

ACQUISITION---Firms Nearing Purchase Deal for Bank Plaza

A Dallas-based real estate investment group is nearing a deal to buy the downtown Union Bank Plaza building for $89 million, according to local real estate sources familiar with the deal.

APPAREl---Having Fun With Fashion

Charlie Rocket weaves a niche in children's apparel industry with hip, modern look for its boys' wear line

Wall Street West---Financial Veteran Returning To Tight Acquisition Scene

The familiar figure of Hal Harrigian has been banging around Southern California corporate finance circles since the 1960s, long associated with the old accounting outfit Arthur Young, and then brokerage Crowell Weedon & Co.

RECORDINGS---Underground Music

Tucked into the basement of the Sunset Marquis Hotel, Jed Leiber's recording studio is where musicians head when the muse strikes

DIRECTOR---Boarding Disaster

The director of the county's $2.6 billion Department of Health Services heads a bureaucratic mess of an agency about to lose a massive amount of funding. Giant cuts need to be made, but at the same time, patient access to care must be dramatically increas

Monday, March 19

Chet Currier---Conservative Investors Find Strategy Remains Effective

No matter what you might have heard in the last five or 10 years, conservative investing still works.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Rejuvenated MGM Retains Luster Despite Fall in Stock

After enjoying nearly a 50 percent run-up early this year, Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer Inc.'s stock had given back almost all of that gain as of last week.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---ESOPs Helping Families Hand Down Their Businesses

Only one in 20 family corporations survive as family-owned companies past the first generation.

TOP PICK---VCs Name Firms They Think Will Be Next Microsoft

Plenty of venture and angel deals have turned sour in recent months, which is testing the fortitude of even the heartiest investors. But despite the uncertainties, several entrepreneurial ventures hold tremendous potential for growth. So the Business Jour

LAW---Court Ruling Shifts Brunt Of Cleanups

That will likely be the urgent plea of countless businesses throughout California, following a recent state Supreme Court decision that shifts billions of dollars in potential environmental cleanup costs off the shoulders of insurers and onto the shoulder

L.A. stories

Dodger slugger Gary Sheffield, who spent the first part of spring training sniveling about his $10 million-a-year salary before his recent apology, was in a nostalgic mood when he passed by the clubhouse of his former team, the Florida Marlins, during a p

Jane Bryant Quinn---One-Year Treasuries Cease, Short-Term Options Persist

You've seen your last one-year Treasury bill. The government isn't selling them anymore. One-year bills won't come back as long as the national debt keeps going down.

ROCK---Singing the Praises

Throngs of adrenaline-rushing, rhythm-craving, guitar-loving young people will travel from near and far to descend on Universal Studios on Friday and Saturday (March 23-24) for "Rock the Universe," a musical event featuring a slate of emerging bands with

Newsmakers---Investment Banker Targets Smaller Firms

As national director of the newly formed corporate alliances division at investment banking firm Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, Peter Pekar Jr. is in charge of helping the little guys make friends.

SCENE---Venture Spigot Tightens as Values Fall

Looking for money to launch that great entrepreneurial idea of yours?Good luck you'll need it. Venture capitalists and angel investors who less than a year ago were throwing money at even harebrained ideas have almost completely shut off their cash

MAYOR---Bringing Government Back to Neighborhoods

Becerra Says Citizens Need to Know That Their Mayor, Other Officials Will Get Little Things Right

Ahead of the Curve

Forming the Female Form: The UCLA Fowler Museum explores the female form in a new exhibition, "Body Politics: The Female Image in Luba Art and the Sculpture of Alison Saar." The exhibition juxtaposes the works of contemporary L.A.-based artist Saar with L

Jane Applegate---Family Problems Can Be Impediment to Good Business

Fretful family-business owners spend millions of dollars on books, seminars and outside consultants, but it's impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution to deal with problems that arise between family members.

COMEDY---Investor Group Buying Lampoon Aims to Revive Brand

An Indianapolis investor group has struck a deal to buy control of humor publisher National Lampoon, which for a decade has been languishing under the auspices of a Westwood Web syndication and entertainment marketing company.

Real Estate Column---Caruso Tapped for Glendale Town Center Development

Coming one step closer to filling in the final piece of its downtown development, Glendale's Redevelopment Agency voted 4-0 last week to enter into negotiations with Caruso Affiliated Holdings for the coveted Glendale Town Center, shutting out the other r

LAW---Republican Lawyers Jockey to Replace U.S. Attorney

If history is any indication, and it usually is, Alejandro N. Mayorkas will soon be replaced as the top federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

Backlot Buzz---Hayek's 'Kahlo' Set to Start Production

The brow-to-brow duel between Latin divas Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez to develop a film based on the life of Kahlo has been highly publicized, and it will be Hayek's "Frida" that is going forward, with her production company, Ventana Rose, making the f

ANGELS---Private Funders Take Flight As Tech Investments Falter

"Two or three years ago, you couldn't not be an angel investor," asserts Marshall Geller, founder of merchant banker shop Geller and Friend Capital Partners in Beverly Hills.

Wall Street West---Not All Energy Companies Find Quick Profits in Crisis

Given recent power crunches, one might think a promising energy company could "go public" complete an initial public offering of stock even in this choppy market. But not so, if the fortunes of Rancho Dominguez-based HBT Technologies Inc. are any indi

Political Pulse---Student Protest Doesn't Silence Mayoral Candidates

They originally intended to debate citywide issues before an urbane Westside audience, but three of the mayoral candidates ended up participating in a raucous student protest instead.

DIVERSITY---Broad Economic Base Creates Options, Cushions Drop

Right up until the recent gyrations of the stock market and the broad plummeting of valuations in the technology sector, when one thought of venture capital investment, it was reasonable to focus on Silicon Valley as the hotbed of activity.

LEADERSHIP---Management Shortage Hinders Startups' Prospects

Los Angeles County is home to more high-tech companies and workers than Silicon Valley, or any other region in the country. But L.A. remains sorely lacking in its number of experienced managers and executives to lead those tech outfits. That's the assessm

ELECTRIC---Getting Plugged in

charlotte seitz's C & H; Electrical co. lands big clients as it sticks to strategy of diversification with focus on being responsive to customers

Roving Eye

You never know what kind of atmosphere people will want to do their drinking in next. A bedroom, for instance, isn't the first place that comes to mind. But consider the latest nightclub flavor of the month, The Firm, on Wilshire Boulevard:

Weekly Briefing

The truth may set you free, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy to come by. In an effort to help ferret out the truth, Joseph Paolella, owner of Dr. Chris Gugas and Associates, has been polygraph testing Angelenos for 21 years, a business he learned

AREAS---Lack of Core Industry in L.A. May Be Area's Blessing

Critics say L.A. has trouble competing with other venture capital destinations because the region is too spread out and lacks critical mass in any specific technology.

PROPERTY---Weyerhaueser Set to Unload Landmark Westside Complex

Weyerhaueser Financial Investments is preparing to sell its landmark Atria West office buildings on Santa Monica Boulevard in West L.A., confirmed Joe Hemmens, an official at Weyerhaueser's Oxnard office.

POWER---Bill Offers Credits To Firms Buying Power Generators

As California and L.A.-area businesses grapple with the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer, a local state legislator has proposed making it easier for businesses to place generators on-site and thereby free themselves from dependence on the regi

FIRMS---Number of VC Firms Soars But Shakeout Expected

The number of venture capital firms operating in Los Angeles has exploded in recent years, but out-of-towners have a history of rushing in when times are good, only to pull up stakes at the first signs of an economic slowdown.

COLLEGES---Venture Groups Giving Tech Transfer a Closer Look

Local tech-transfer programs, which facilitate the development of university research into commercial products and services, have been notoriously troublesome for venture capitalists to deal with. But that appears to finally be changing.

Mitch Albom---Gun Violence Ends When Guns Are Gone

Take a kid. A skinny, mixed-up kid. A kid who feels picked on, persecuted, bullied a kid who vows revenge.

My Favorite Sites

This is one I've had a lot of fun with lately. This takes the saying, "one person's trash is another person's treasure" to an extreme. It says on the site, "sometimes trash is trash." The site basically celebrates all the horrible stuff that people actual

INSURANCE---Name Dropper

Joseph Barth can still clearly remember the day nearly 20 years ago when he flew to England to the offices of Lloyd's of London, the world-famous insurer perhaps best known for its willingness to insure just about any risk.

INTERVIEW---Bird's-eye view on aerospace

Jon Kutler, president of aerospace/defense investment banking firm Quarterdeck Investment Partners, assesses the industry under Bush Administration

COFFEE---Bean Brokers

For nearly four decades, F. Gavina & Sons has been roasting coffee in Vernon, growing steadily and creating special blends to suit L.A.'s varied ethnic tastes

INTERVIEW---Taking a Longer View Mitigates Venture Firms' Losses

Paul Nadel, managing partner for East West Venture Group, believes that if local venture firms concentrate on adequately funding their existing portfolios they'll be in a stronger position to weather the dot-com storm that has left a number of casualties

DEEP POCKETS---Corporate Venture Funds Focus on Core Technologies

There was a time, as recently as last summer, when becoming a venture capitalist was little more than a matter of calling yourself one and quickly raising $50 million to $100 million from institutional investors eager to ride the dot-com wave.

DEFENSE---Plane Contract Lifts Defense Job Hopes

Northrop Grumman Corp. is on final approach toward landing what is expected to be the first new military airplane production contract in Los Angeles County in more than a decade.

Cybersense---Domain Registry Group Lacks Authority, Leadership

There's a scene in the movie "The Paper" where Michael Keaton, playing an editor for a New York City tabloid, manages to stroll past a desk sergeant and into a police station without even identifying himself.



Deals & Dealmakers---Muppets Back on Block?

The Germany media company that acquired the Jim Henson Co., creator of the Muppets, for $680 million last year, may put the Los Angeles company up for sale.

SEED---Investors Still Doing Early-Stage Deals

For months, venture capitalists have been saying they are avoiding new investments and instead focusing on companies already in their portfolios.

WORKERS---Nursing Home Workers Gaining in Unionization Efforts

A campaign to organize low-wage workers at Los Angeles County nursing homes has begun to show results, with workers at eight homes voting to organize since November and four elections set for later this month.

MACHINES---Startup Has Big Plans For Micro-Devices

They're the devices developed using Memgen Corp.'s electromechanical fabrication or EFAB.

REALITY---Threat of Big Penalties Keeps Reality Contestants Quiet

Well into the second season of "Survivor," the reality TV show taped months before its airing, nothing has been leaked about who will win the contest in the Australian Outback. Furthermore, the contestants who survived the first show filmed last year on a

Tech Talk---Ailing Wellness Site is Seeking a Cure in Partnerships

The battered health and wellness Web site has been one of the busiest dot-coms in the last few weeks, as its new management from Prime Ventures LLC struggles to boost revenues and raise investor confidence.

INTERNET---Dot-Com Sublet Space Floods Westside Market

The dot-com meltdown has left as much as 2 million square feet of office space available on the Westside and the only buildings escaping the carnage are the ones that avoided Internet tenants.

JOBS---Pride of Longtime Employees Keeps Jobs Meaningful

Every day for the past 43 years, Ginette Nicolle has risen before the sun, donned her crisp white uniform with the black-and-white checked apron and reported to work at Du-Par's Restaurant & Bakery.

TRAFFIC---Labor Union Offers Plans to Cut Congestion at Ports

Responding to increased congestion and claims by local seaport operators and shippers that labor is to blame, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has put forward new proposals for operational changes at the ports.

Monday, March 12

HEALTH---Aging Gracefully

Livhome has pursued a dual approach to home health care, hoping to gain a toehold in the $100 billion market for care of the aged

SPENDING---Sports Bucks Find Their Way Through Whole Economy

L.A.'s top-paid athletes are livin' large as they spread their fabulous fortunes around, and they're making plenty of others rich in the process.

Mitch Albom---Sometimes Saying 'Sorry' Isn't Enough

The Japanese apologized to me once. Not the whole country. But one man, on behalf of the whole country.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Online Security Concerns Drive Credit Card Changes

Can the Web be made safe for credit cards? Online merchants say it's safe enough, but plenty of shoppers disagree.

Ahead of the Curve

Choral Days: Opera star Marilyn Horne, film and stage diva Marni Nixon and film, television and stage veteran Harve Presnell join the L.A. Master Chorale to explore "The Golden Age of Choral Music" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 24. As children

My Favorites Sites

I travel a lot and it's really helpful for me to have a sense for: One, am I going to get where I'm going? And two, what do I need to pack? So, has become an indispensable part of my life. For instance, if there are big storms brewing on the E

Cybersense---Alternatives to Napster May Be Impossible to Regulate

Napster is a dinosaur, stuck in a legal bog and facing extinction from a cataclysmic event of courtroom proportions.

CONTENT---Studio Ties Bolster Web's Content Sites

When it comes to the Great Tech Wreck of 2000, Hollywood will long be remembered for the incredible carnage caused when it tried to take its content online. Amid the flop of Pop and the end of DEN, some content-oriented startups like and Medi

WATER---Local Governments Seeking To Halt L.A. River Litter Law

Los Angeles County and a host of local cities have launched a legal blitzkrieg against a new regulation that would force local governments to institute costly cleanup measures to keep all litter out of the Los Angeles River.

Weekly Briefing

Legal secretary or chocolate sculptor? After spending 25 years in the legal field and baking chocolate in her kitchen, filling orders for friends, family and co-workers, Jean Girard asked herself that question. The answer? Chocolate Creations in Eagle Roc


After 26 years in the Navy, Capt. James A. McConnell Jr. is heading into a political war zone. As the Los Angeles Unified School District's new chief facilities executive, Capt. McConnell will be responsible for managing district efforts to build new scho

Architectural Firms

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MUSIC---Love Lawsuit Elicits Shrugs From Labels

Recording artist Courtney Love's widely publicized lawsuit against Universal Music Group, despite breathless media accounts about it being a landmark case, is drawing shrugs from music industry insiders who predict the record label will win handily and th

RETIREES---Retired Stars Leverage Names, Skills After Games End

Although salaries of today's professional athletes ought to be enough for them to live on long after they stop playing the game, it has not always been so.

Deals & Dealmakers

In a victory for opponents of expansion at Los Angeles International Airport, local government officials from six Southern California counties voted to adopt a regional aviation plan pushing future airport growth to outer suburbs in neighboring counties.

Roving Eye

Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills recently installed 14 color TVs around the perimeter of its full-service Italian marble bar on the fourth floor.

INTERVIEW---Wooing Hollywood Home

The CEO of Raleigh Enterprises, Mark Rosenthal, has diversified his real estate investment company and in the process become a leading advocate for keeping film production centered in Los Angeles

Tech Talk---Free Internet Service Provider Installs Links to Cut Loss

According to its ad campaign, NetZero Inc. is one of the "defenders of the free world," but getting a free lunch at the ISP is becoming increasingly tricky.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Know Your Needs Before Picking Computer Services

Small businesses are continually bombarded with advertisements and mailers to sign up for the "fastest, cheapest and most reliable" way to connect to the Internet. For many businesses, it is not as simple as a one-computer, one dial-up system. A company's

Wall Street West---Projected Gains in Nasdaq May Drive Hot IPO Market

A couple months back in this space, Dan Rubin of the Rubin Investment Group in Century City's Fox Plaza, made the call that the Nasdaq tech wreck wasn't over. He was right. As of early last week, the Nasdaq had slumped by about another 25 percent.

FREDERICK'S---Cloaked in Debt

Frederick's of Hollywood, the famed purveyor of skimpy lingerie that has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last July, is looking to be sold again, either in part or in its entirety, the company's bankruptcy attorney Michael Tuchi

Chet Currier---Tech Fund Declines Fail to Send Investors for the Exits

I'm talking about the mounting losses suffered by investors in "technology" and other aggressive mutual funds since the stock market's Internet bubble blew out.

POWER---Blackouts May Yet Hit Cities With Municipal Power

Not long ago, the half-dozen Los Angeles-area cities with their own power utilities were counting their blessings, believing they would escape the impacts of the state's deepening power crisis.

POLITICAL PULSE---Riordan's Silence in City Attorney Race May Be at End

One of the most curious features of the close race for L.A. City Attorney has been Mayor Richard Riordan's unwillingness to endorse his own deputy mayor for economic development, Rocky Delgadillo. The Harvard-educated attorney is facing off against termed

HOLLYWOOD---Playing to Hollywood, Athletes Try to Expand the Brand

Playing in Los Angeles brings top-tier athletes paychecks that are as fat as those offered anywhere else in the country, but L.A. has something no other market can offer Hollywood.

RADIO---Radio Syndicator Cuts Back Staff in Consolidation Step

Westwood One is cutting back at its local offices, including some layoffs last week at its Culver City headquarters and Valencia site, as well as at its Metro Network facility in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.

Backlot Buzz---'Memento' Financiers to Play Distributor

"Memento" starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano is a movie that people discuss and dissect frame by frame after seeing. The convoluted thriller about a man who witnesses his wife's murder and suffers an ensuing bout of severe shor

PHOTOBIT---Digital Imaging Firm Battles Industry Giants

Photobit Corp., leveraging patents it has licensed from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is booming.

L.A. stories

Where do you turn when you need to stop a 7.5-ton truck rigged with explosives from barreling into a federal courthouse?

Real Estate Column---Sea Dwelling Creatures Joins School of Fish Near LAX

While one might expect fishy conditions to be more likely near seaports than airports, a stretch of 104th Street near Los Angeles International Airport is emerging as an exception.

ENTERTAINMENT---Digital Film Magazine Debuts With Theater, Ad Deals

With an aggressive plan to mine Hollywood gold in a largely ignored medium, a Santa Monica company is preparing to launch a nationally distributed interactive CD-ROM magazine that will be handed out free to moviegoers as they walk into theaters, beginning

John Dorfman---Stocks Languishing Near Lows May Yield Great Upside

One way to find bargain-priced stocks is to keep your eye on the list of shares making new 52-week lows.

MAYOR---Reforming LAPD at Top of Controller's List

Investment banker, Sacramento veteran Kathleen Connell also wants more charter schools and buses

FUN FACTS---Know Your L.A. Sports Mogul Trivia

Facts and figures about local pro team personalities today and down through the ages

Working At Home---Incremental Changes Can Help Keep Office in Order

"Organically" is a kind word to describe the way my office has evolved over the last few years, as my business has grown. Other words that come to mind are unplanned and without structure.

RAIL---Revived Eastside Rail Project Drawing Mixed Reviews

Three years after an Eastside subway plan was killed, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board is expected next month to approve a less-ambitious rail system for the Eastside.

AWARDS---Hollywood Awards Almost Never Stop

If you missed last week's TV Guide Awards or last month's Grammys, don't worry. Chances are there's a new celebrity-packed awards show kicking off momentarily.

Monday, March 5

CORPORATE FOCUS---Tech Firm Looks to V-Chip, Biochip to Reverse Fortunes

You'd think that a firm named after the Amazonian vine that boosts the immune system might be somewhat immune to market conditions.

WEB---Museum Forms a Web Site Presence During Rebuilding

The Children's Museum of Los Angeles in downtown has been closed since last August, and the two locations where it will reopen are not going to be ready until 2003 and 2005, respectively. But parents and kids won't have to wait nearly that long to access

MADNESS---Money Madness

It's that time of year again, baby! March Madness tips off on March 15, which means tens of thousands of otherwise diligent, hardworking and law-abiding Angenelos will forget about their jobs for a while to concentrate on the more exciting and possibly

Jane Applegate---Virtual Offices Lend Big Feel to Home-Based Business

Tony Todaro had 20 subcontractors and an impressive roster of high-tech and financial services-industry clients, but he was still working out of his home in Redondo Beach. He was hesitant to lease office space again. Five years earlier, he moved his marke

FOOD---Numero Uno Joins Steakhouse Craze

Numero Uno Pizzeria, struggling to survive in the pizza business, is diversifying into the steakhouse and coffeehouse sectors.

MARKETING---Celebrity Exchange To Begin Selling Data

The 450,000 Hollywood Stock Exchange Web site subscribers who have been "buying" and "selling" fantasy stocks and bonds tied to the popularity of specific movies and celebrities will themselves be put up for sale this week.

XFL---XFL Introducing Changes As Viewers Head for Exits

Scrambling to reverse the disastrous ratings slide of its XFL football broadcasts, NBC is tinkering with the league's rules and format of its broadcasts. The XFL has eliminated on-field player introductions, shortened the length of halftimes and played wi

Entrepreneur's Notebook---When Lender Relationship Turns Sour, It's Time to Go

Sometimes bankers find themselves in the position where they have business clients that no longer meet the bank's qualifications or requirements.

Ahead of the Curve

All-Tchai: Internationally renowned violinist Julian Rachlin will be the guest soloist with the American Youth Symphony for the orchestra's 36th annual benefit concert on March 11 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The Lithuanian-born child prot & #233;g & #233;, who be

DIABETES---MiniMed Investments Strengthen Market Advantage

Following a strategy that has been successfully employed by such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Intel and Cisco Systems, Northridge-based MiniMed Inc. is solidifying its dominance in the field of diabetes-related technologies by making judicious investmen

Venture Capital Firms

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DINING---Crossing Cultures

Choosing the perfect restaurant in which to entertain Asian business visitors means having to be mindful of cultural differences as well as varied culinary tastes

Real Estate Column---Building Is Again Focus of Battle Over Big Billboards

It appears Jon Mueller is at it again. Los Angeles city officials confirmed that they were investigating the appearance of a new supergraphic on the surface of Mueller's Westwood Medical Plaza. The building has been ground zero for the city's battle over

Personal Finance---Attention to Fine Print May Help Reduce Loan Ordeals

Do you remember the story of the lady whose mortgage ate her house? She borrowed $30,000 and ended up owing her lender an astounding $127,000 just five years later. The payout represented 55 percent of the entire sales price of her home. Loan nightmares l

SHIPPING---China Shipper Nears L.A. Deal

The Port of Los Angeles is in final negotiations to build a major cargo terminal for a fledgling Chinese shipping line that has vowed to become one of the top five shipping companies in the world.

My Favorite Sites

I happen to be a big Coach (John) Wooden fan. This guy's got an unbelievable record, but more importantly he developed this thing called the pyramid of success. The Web site has the pyramid, and it kind of shows you what he was thinking when he developed

LEGISLATION---Swarm of Health Legislation Facing California Lawmakers

The state's power crisis will not be the only cause of sparks this year in Sacramento, as doctors, hospitals and HMOs go toe-to-toe over health care-related legislation.

IMPORTS---Customs Agents Uncover Rerouted Chinese Apparel

U.S. customs officials at the Port of Los Angeles are stopping tons of apparel goods marked "Made in Cambodia" or "Made in Hong Kong" because they suspect the goods may have been rerouted illegally from China.

POLITICAL PULSE---Chamber Endorses Council Candidates for First Time

For the first time in modern L.A. history, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is actually endorsing candidates in local city elections.

PRODUCTION---Struggling Kushner-Locke Gets Needed Bank Reprieve

Troubled television producer Kushner-Locke Co. received a one-month reprieve from its leading lender last week, providing it time to sell off its library and to explore other capital-generating options.

Weekly Briefing

Hopefully you'll never need Carlos Sambrano's services, but if you do, you'll be happy to know how serious he takes his job. The owner of Life-Like Prosthetics in Torrance has been making a better life for amputees for 25 years. Sambrano prefers the aesth

HEALTH---Vise Tightens On HMOs as Costs Climb

Health maintenance organizations sandwiched between hospitals demanding higher reimbursement for medical services and employers wanting to hold the line on rate increases are being squeezed like never before. And that squeezing is coming at a time whe


In the world of public relations, firms don't come much bigger than Weber Shandwick Worldwide, which was formed Jan. 1 through the merger of Shandwick International and Weber Public Relations Worldwide. The firm itself a unit of the even more massive In

Deals & Dealmakers

Following the state air resource board's rejection of General Motors' bid to delay implementation of the new rules, the automaker filed suit to overturn California's zero-emission vehicle mandate.

Backlot Buzz---Ricky Martin Pegged for 'Assassination'

Rumors that Ricky Martin is being eyed as a potential cast member for "The Assassination" are now confirmed by Constellation Entertainment, which reports that he is already signed.

TEA---Starbucks-like Chain Of Teahouses Planned

Hoping to match Starbucks Coffee Co.'s success in selling premium priced coffee, teas and blended drinks, an El Segundo firm plans to open a chain of teahouses nationwide.

Roving Eye

Remember those visual gimmicks that just looked like a random design but, if you stared at it long enough, an image would appear (or you'd get a headache trying)?

VIRGIN---Radio Free Virgin Fine Tunes Its Online Radio Station

Promising to deliver its unique brand of programming to a wider audience with a standard of quality that far exceeds traditional radio, Richard Branson's Radio Free Virgin, the online radio station streaming from the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles,

MERGERS---Merger Activity To Slow in 2001

After several years of feverish deal making, local merger and acquisition activity is poised for a substantial drop-off in 2001 as a result of the slowing national economy.

Mitch Albom---Warner Bedevils Young Harry Potter Fans

Sometimes in fairy tales, when the wicked witch wants to be really wicked, she makes her victim huge, monstrously big, banging into everything.

Cybersense---Divine Inspiration is Behind Patron Saint of the Internet

Having trouble finding what you're looking for online? Is your Net connection getting interrupted for no good reason? Does your computer crash every time you download a video clip?

Wall Street West---Equity Line of Credit Gains Favor as Source of Capital

The "equity line of credit" is big business on Wall Street these days, said managing director Rob Deutschman of Cappelo Capital Corp. in Santa Monica.

BANKING---Bankable Name

A year after changing its name and adding a second branch, First commerce bank has moved into the black

DEFENSE---Northrop Mobilizing to Battle Titans

Northrop Grumman Corp., just weeks away from the expected approval of its $5.1 billion acquisition of Litton Industries Inc., is aggressively moving to retake its position as a premier defense contractor.

Chet Currier---Socially Responsible Funds Not a Big Market Segment

Nothing in the big wide world of mutual funds gets more glittering press notices than "socially responsible" funds.

SKATEBOARDERS---Vans Taking Flight

Shopping mall owners have more than a few reasons for concern these days, with department store sales down, movie theatres on the rocks and consumer confidence levels plummeting.

MAYOR---City Hall Veteran Pushes School Partnership

James Hahn Proposes Joint Powers Authority to Build Schools, Seeks Cutting of Business Red Tape

SPORTS---Lakers' Brand Is in Top 10

The Dallas Cowboys hold the world's most valuable sports franchise brand, beating out the L.A. Lakers and Dodgers, which ranked No. 9 and No. 31, respectively, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

INTERVIEW---Lightning Rod

Southern California Edison boss Stephen Frank, at the center of the state's energy problems, defends the utility's handling of the crisis, laments deregulation