Stories for May 2001

Monday, May 28

HOTELS---Hotel Operators See Summer Occupancy Rebounding

Inside the glassy towers of the downtown Westin Bonaventure, the management of L.A.'s largest hotel is rolling out the red carpet hoping that this summer delivers a more abundant crop of guests than did the early part of the year.

Political Pulse---Villaraigosa and Feuer Take Endorsement Sweepstakes

With the general election now a week away, former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Mike Feuer appear to have won the endorsement derby in their respective races for mayor and city attorney.

My Favorite Sites

I travel frequently and this site provides great restaurant recommendations in the United States and now in select international cities. They have London, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver. It's a nice simple site, you log on and pick the city, the cuis

L.A. Stories

The two men walking down Hollywood Boulevard last week in skimpy women's underwear, towering high heels and feather boas gave new meaning to the nickname "Hollyweird."

CORPORATE FOCUS---Cash Flow, Stock Price Soar As Tenet Boosts Revenues

Many hospitals have been struggling just to keep their doors open, largely due to low reimbursement rates paid by managed care plans. But Tenet Healthcare Corp., the largest hospital operator in the Los Angeles area, has pushed for and achieved higher

Jane Applegate---National Program Helps Small Manufacturers Contend

The words "just-in-time manufacturing" might evoke images of vast automotive assembly lines, but the principles that revolutionized large-scale American manufacturing in the '70s and '80s are being applied on a smaller scale all over the country.

THRILLS---Local Theme Parks Bracing For Summer of Uncertainty

Long before gasoline jumped above $2 per gallon, owners of L.A.-area theme parks had invested heavily on sprucing up, adding rides and developing new attractions, all with the expectation that the improvements would draw hordes of visitors this summer.

THEATERS---No Escape From Heat

Catching the latest blockbuster at the multiplex may cost film buffs more this summer, as local movie theaters, many already in deep financial trouble, face a double feature of summer woes: rising energy prices and the possibility of rolling blackouts.

INTERVIEW---A Doll's House

Career Turning Point: Starting her own company, January Productions. Through that experience, she realized that a person really is in control of their destiny, and must reach as far as possible.

Backlot Buzz---Oliver Stone Plans Return to Vietnam

Fifteen years after winning the best picture Oscar for "Platoon," Oliver Stone is heading back to Vietnam.

LABOR---Labor Union Setting Its Sights On More Independent Grocers

The United Food and Commercial Workers, emboldened by its victory last month in organizing three Los Angeles-area grocery stores owned by the Mexican giant Grupo Gigante, is preparing to launch similar organizing drives at other fast-growing independent s

MAKEUP---A Touch Of Gloss

Goal: To enter the Latin American market, increasing the number of countries sold into to 45

Mitch Albom---Blake Case Playing Out Like O.J. Sequel

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column extolling the virtue of newspapers. I left out the most important thing. With a newspaper, you can skip over the stories you don't want to know about.

Weekly Briefing

Almost 12 years ago, Don Rubenstein was living out of his car in a parking lot of a Los Angeles country club, where he spent his days working as a caddy. After getting a job in the golf shop at the club, Rubenstein used the experience he had gained while

CITY HALL---Return to Glory

Three years and $300 million since it began, the extensive seismic and architectural restoration of City Hall has restored the polish and pride to a one-of-a-kind civic gem

Tech Talk---Gemstar Stakes Claim on Future of Online Gaming

Investors are suddenly betting on online wagering company Inc. after the Woodland Hills company inked a deal with TVG, a unit of Wall Street darling Gemstar-TV Guide International.

Real Estate Column---Potential Deals Could Break Westside Office Logjam

The Westside office market remains in a state of flux, as tenants and landlords actively try to come to terms with the vast amount of sublease space defining the market. The stalemate has arisen as landlords remain reluctant to drop asking rates and tenan

CHALLENGES---Economy, Gas Prices Cloud Summer Tourism Prospects

The beaches still glisten, the glamour of Hollywood remains, yet L.A.'s tourism officials are wondering whether this will be the summer of their discontent.

WINNICK---Mogul Targets Hollywood for Digital Pipeline

With his 101,000-mile undersea fiber optic network nearly complete, local telecom billionaire Gary Winnick is launching an all-out offensive to become the global digital pipeline for Hollywood. The outcome of his ambitious effort could well determine whet

Deals & Dealmakers---Santa Monica Approves Minimum Wage

Following months of debate, the Santa Monica City Council passed a tough coastal living wage that requires employers in the city's tourism zone to pay their workers at least $10.50 an hour.

Roving Eye

So the people over at the extension center at California State University, Northridge decided to take a different approach in trying to attract new students.

RIORDAN---Riordan Candidacy Considered Strong

If L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan follows through on his intention to explore running for governor, his high name recognition, deep pocketbook and moderate political stance should immediately vault him to the front of the short list of Republican candidates t

Largest Hospitals

Largest Hospitals

EISNER---Eisner Web Venture Sinks, Heads Offline, the bawdy Web brainchild of Michael Eisner's son, Eric, has effectively shut down, its founders choosing to focus instead on traditional media projects, including developing an animated feature film and magazine.

Cybersense---With PlayStation 2, Sony Plans Assault on PC Market

How about a pair of shoes that open up into a book, or a shirt that can be used as an oven mitt? Or are you waiting for the first-ever combination cappuccino maker-cordless drill?

Wall Street West---Wesco's Munger Warns on Upbeat Stock Assessments

He may not be the "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett, of course but our own Charles Munger, chairman of Pasadena-based conglomerate and insurer Wesco Financial Inc., is a veteran and well-regarded investor in his own right.

TARGET---Startup Is Making Name in Data Storage

In the burgeoning and competitive data storage business, where heavyweights like IBM Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., EMC Corp. and Network Appliance are vying for domination, little-known Troika Networks is turning heads.

MILITARY---Northrop Takeover Bid Key to Research Funds

The stakes involved in Century City-based Northrop Grumman Corp.'s hostile $2.6 billion takeover bid for Newport News Shipbuilding Inc., formally tendered last week, are bigger than previously reported.

STATIONS---News Corp. Deal For L.A. Stations May Force Shifts

A shake-up in local television news operations could be in the offing if News Corp.'s $5.3 billion purchase of 10 Chris-Craft Industries Inc. television receives final approval from the Federal Communications Commission, as expected.

BANKS---Foreign Banking Flight

The presence of foreign-owned banks in California, and Los Angeles in particular, has faded dramatically over the past decade, reflecting the local impact of global banking consolidations and financial turmoil, particularly in Japan, according to a new re

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Staying Current on Billing Means Stronger Cash Flow

Once upon a time (and not that long ago), it took many years to build a business from scratch. First you had to set up shop, invest a little money in advertising, build a client base, and eventually word of mouth would either make or break your business.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Declining Retirement Funds Require Strategy Overhaul

For the past few years, everything seemed easy. Most stocks rose. Every time you opened your 401(k) statement, it was worth more. Growth mutual funds soared. Some of your stock picks reached the moon. You thought investing was easy.

Newsmakers---Health Care Lobbyist Takes on Congress

Though employed by a Woodland Hills company, Pat Clarey will be focusing most of her efforts on Capitol Hill, as she undertakes her new position as vice president of government relations for Health Net Inc.

CULTURE---Los Angeles Exhibiting Traits of Leading Museum City

Hollywood, Disneyland and beaches may top the to-do list of many tourists, but hoards of them will end up seeing everything from African dancers to Dutch tulips to wooly mammoths.

RETAIL---Stronger Dollar Not Expected to Slow Tourist Spending

The U.S. dollar is plenty powerful on international currency markets, which means that foreign shoppers in Los Angeles will at somewhat of a disadvantage this summer, with their native currencies having less buying power.

DRAFTING---Technology Emerging to Save Billions in Air-Fuel Costs

Within the next few weeks, advanced-stage testing is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles on a new technology that will enable groups of jets to fly long distances in near-perfect alignment, with their wings almost touching, thereby saving the airline indust

BOEING---Boeing Shifts Could Bring More Jobs

Buried in the hoopla of Boeing Co.'s decision to move its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago are the plans to relocate its Phantom Works advanced research and development unit to Seal Beach.

REDEVELOP---Long Beach Ready to Pick Finalists for Promenade Project

The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency will take a major step toward filling a void in the city's downtown this week when it narrows the list of bidders for development of the Promenade, a strategically located property running adjacent to the city's trendy

STAPLES---Staples Developer Seeks Quick Approval of Next Phase

The developer of Staples Center is rushing to get final approval of its massive second phase entertainment/retail /hotel project before outgoing Los Angeles City Council members and Mayor Richard Riordan leave office on June 30.

Ahead of the Curve

Cars and Stars: The combination is quintessentially L.A. The Petersen Automotive Museum opens its 4th annual "Cars & Guitars of Rock 'n' Roll" exhibition with a star-studded, high-speed party and auction. Janis Joplin's psychedelic Porsche, Jeff Beck's 19

Monday, May 21

KERKORIAN---Kerkorian Continues to Cash in on His Hollywood Ties

Keeping in silent tune with his image as the J.D. Salinger of the business world, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has quietly completed building a plush new home in Beverly Hills, where he will reside as the wealthiest Angeleno.

ACQUISITION---Motion Picture Academy Strikes Deal for Archive Site

Further solidifying its commitment to Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has agreed to buy a 120,000-square-foot building on Vine Street to house its artifacts and archives.

OUTLOOK---Victims of Tech Wreck May End Up Tomorrow's Richest

For the past two decades, the list of richest people in Los Angeles has been as kaleidoscopic as the local economy. A mix of well-established media content owners, real estate developers and financiers with their money in a multitude of local and national

CLASH---When Titans Clash, Private Disputes Get Public Airing

High-priced and highly publicized divorces have for years been part and parcel of being a member of the financial elite. Most of the time, they involve the division of husband and wife.

Roving Eye

Some might describe it as a godsend, making elevator rides no longer the most boring, sometimes uncomfortable moments of the day. Others might curse it as destruction of what traditionally has been among the few remaining sanctuaries where one could escap

BELMONT---Golf Course Proposal One of Several for Belmont Location

Here's a novel way to end the debate over what to do with the mostly built Belmont Learning Center: Tear it down and build a golf course.

INSTITUTE---Mann Nears Deal With UCLA to Fund Biomed Center

Entrepreneur Alfred Mann is close to reaching a final agreement with UCLA over his proposed $100 million donation for a new biomedical institute, after years of delay that had threatened to scuttle the project.

RETAIL---Children's Retailer Begins Aggressive Push Into L.A.

Despite soft consumer demand and first-quarter earnings shortfalls by national retailers, an East Coast children's clothing chain is plunging headlong into Los Angeles.

HOLLYWOOD---Writers' Deal In Place, Film Action Restarts

With the Writers Guild of America's threatened strike effectively a thing of the past, there are strong indications that Hollywood is gearing up for a new round of production activity and at a faster pace than most insiders had expected.

Ahead of the Curve

Tupa's Missions: Mission lovers will not want to miss the L.A. Central Library's exhibition of paintings of regional missions by Benedictine monk Father Jerome Tupa. The prolific painter brings a bold and contemporary aesthetic to his interpretations of t

MOVERS---Financial Empires of Richest Residents Keep Getting Bigger

While L.A. moguls are obviously mere mortals they go through divorces (personal and business), back losing political candidates and sometimes say stupid or regrettable things their investment portfolios are churning out otherworldly returns.

MANAGERS---Low-Profile Managers Keep Watch on Mega-Fortunes

From Kirk Kerkorian to David Geffen to Marvin Davis, the wealthiest people in Los Angeles are a pretty well known bunch. Not so the money managers who handle all those mega-fortunes.

Wall Street West---Realtor Fred Sands Setting Up Distressed-Firms Fund

Fred Sands, the distressed bond maven? The corporate turnaround master? The vulture after the big vigorish?

CORPORATE FOCUS---Broad Product Line Shields Chip Maker from Tech Ills

Even as other U.S. semiconductor companies continue to falter as the demand for personal computers slows, International Rectifier Corp.'s diversification into broader applications has helped push its stock price up nearly 100 percent in the past six month

SITE---Big Commerce Industrial Sites Put Up for Sale

One of the largest industrial parcels to hit the L.A. market in 20 years a 47-acre site just north of The Citadel retail outlet in Commerce has been put up for sale by the Pacific Tube Co.

Real Estate Column---Century City Office Tower Deal May Be First of Several

The investment arm of Insignia/ESG Inc. is in escrow on a $124 million deal to buy the 486,000-square-foot office tower at 1888 Century Park East in Century City.

POLITICS---Wealthiest Protect Interests, Boost Egos With Donations

The super rich have always been politically active, and the current crop of the wealthiest Angelenos is no exception.

APPAREL---Invincible Sweatshops

Attempts to stop or even curtail the ongoing, flagrant violations of federal labor codes by L.A. garment makers are proving largely futile, and labor officials are openly conceding that they have no effective strategies for dealing with the situation.

STUMBLE---High-Profile Failures Often Impede Road to Success

And while the fall of some of L.A.'s richest, most powerful and most talented business leaders may not have reached tragic proportions, several individuals have nevertheless descended from once-lofty perches in remarkable ways.

UCLA---UCLA Looks For Ways to Alleviate Crowded Campus

As enrollment at the Westwood campus explodes, UCLA officials are scrambling for ways to further improve and expand their facilities to accommodate the influx of students.

DIVORCE---Failed Marriages Often Cost More Than Failed Deals

At least that may be the understandable assertion of the numerous L.A. moguls who have seen their empires seriously diminished by gargantuan divorce settlements.

Mitch Albom---A Child's Murder Charge Indicts Us All

It reads like any murder trial, any prosecutor vs. killer. Only this suspected "killer" was 14 years old. And at one point, the veil slipped.

Political Pulse---Riordan Action May Make Villaraigosa Unstoppable

L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan's endorsement last week of mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa could very well give the former Assembly Speaker the boost he needs to come out on top in the close June 5 runoff election.

L.A. Stories

In accepting L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan's endorsement last Wednesday, former state Assembly Speaker and mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa apparently wasn't looking ahead far enough.

THRILLS---Flesh & Blood; MOGULS

Hard-driving achievers take everything to the limit around the globe, and beyond

PROFILES---Background and Latest Buzz on L.A.'s Richest People

Background: Fresno-born son of Armenian immigrants Self-made multibillionaire Began amassing fortune at age of nine by selling newspapers and hustling odd jobs Dropped out of eighth grade to become amateur boxer Nicknamed "Rifle Right Kerkorian" Even



COMPANIES---Great Business Minds Take Different Roads to Riches

Most of L.A.'s wealthiest businesspeople fall into one of two broad categories builders or investors.


The team that started the popular club Fuel is planning a makeover for the nigthspot, capitalizing on Hollywood's increasing cache and making it the 'hardest door in L.A.'

BIOMED---Biomed Center Plan Sets Off Bitter Turf War

Hoping to accelerate the growth of the region's sluggish biomedical technology industry, USC and Los Angeles County are exploring the joint development of a biomedical industrial park in the Boyle Heights area.

PALS---Rich and Powerful Find Friends in Own Neighborhood

Birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes, and that's certainly true of the L.A. flock that holds the most golden eggs.

MISSING---Absence From List Need Not Mean Lack of Activity

In looking over this year's list of the 50 wealthiest Angelenos, there are a number of well-known names missing, many of whom have been included on the list in years past. Below are status reports on a few such people.

PLANES---Aerospace Firms Push the Envelope

With the initial contract for production of C-17 cargo planes set to expire, the Air Force and Boeing Co. are lobbying hard for an extension of the program, including offering incentives to the nation's commercial airlines and cargo handlers to buy the pl

HOUSEHOLDS---L.A. Area's Wealth Migrating Away From Outlying Communities

An analysis by the Business Journal of all 270 Zip codes in the county shows that wealth over the past decade has been shifting into more centrally located areas of the Westside like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.

BOUTIQUES---Executives Cash Out, Opting for Smaller Private Firms

Los Angeles' richest are managing some of the largest amounts of wealth in the country, yet many choose to do so in an office no bigger than that of a startup.

ROCKET---Air Force Considers Lockheed Rocket as NASA Ends Program

Gravely disappointed in NASA's decision last March to cancel an experimental reusable rocket program on which $1.3 billion has already been spent, Lockheed Martin Corp. has vowed not to let its next-generation project go gently into that good night.

ESTATES---Dismantling Empires Can Be as Complex as Forging Them

Building a centimillion- or billion-dollar empire is no easy feat, but dismantling it in a responsible manner can present an even bigger obstacle course.

PROMOTION---Small Ad Shop Opens, Braving Slower Market

Despite the less-than-ideal economic climate, Swiss creative director Liliane Lerch has launched a new boutique advertising agency, Beige Communications, in Venice.

Monday, May 14

CARTEL---Hollywood Cartel

The number and depth of partnerships being struck between the major Hollywood studios is rapidly accelerating, further concentrating the industry's power base to cartel-like levels.

NORTHROP---Northrop Bid Likely to Fail, But So What?

That seems to be the strategy that Northrop Grumman Corp. is pursuing with the hostile $2.1 billion bid it launched last week to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding Inc.

AIRPORT---Outlying Areas Heating Up As LAX Expansion Falters

With support for the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport stalling out, political and business leaders throughout the region are rushing to take advantage of the opportunity to push for expansion of outlying airports.

Cybersense---Funding Follows Guest Appearances at Venture Forum

Bucking national and local trends, several Los Angeles tech startups attracted a flurry of private investors and inked deals as a result of a forum they took part in here on April 17.

LIQUOR---Bid for Liquor Permits Elicits Outcry

The development team aiming to build a major entertainment/retail attraction next to Staples Center in downtown has applied for a permit that would allow 28 liquor licenses at the four-block project site. That move has triggered opposition from a communit

CHANGES---Employers' Rising Tab

When it comes to health care costs in California, it's back to a future that employers would rather not revisit.

BIOTECH---Mann Slates Biotech IPO By Year End

Biotech entrepreneur Alfred Mann is planning to combine three of his private biotech companies and take the combined entity public later this year, he told the Business Journal last week.

INTERVIEW---The Right Prescription?

Career Turning Point: Discovering in 1986 that Blue Cross of California was facing insolvency but deciding to stay with the company and begin the process of restoring financial strength and regaining customers' trust

ART DECO---Deco-rative

The hottest style in L.A. design circles architecture, furnishings and fabrics is Art Deco, the sleekly elegant mode established nearly a century ago

Roving Eye

Fashion is a strange thing. People spend gobs of money to look outrageous, weird or tacky just to be in tune with the latest trend.

PROVIDERS---Gains by Doctors, Hospitals Add to Escalating Costs

Among the various factors responsible for driving up employers' cost of health care is that care providers are finally gaining ground in their long-fought battle for a bigger chunk of the health care dollar.

My Favorites Sites

This site chronicles an expedition where a Slovenian skier climbed up and then skied down Everest, from the summit to base camp. It's got video and photos of him. Just the thought of climbing Everest is a scary enough thought, but to actually ski it from

MBA Programs

MBA Programs

INTERNET---Ailing Drkoop Acquires Revenue Stream, New President

Prime Ventures LLC of Santa Monica significantly upped the ante in its bid to turn its ailing Internet health care company Inc. into a sustainable operation with the April 16 announcement that it would acquire IVonyx Inc. and bring it under the

CORPORATE FOCUS---Marketing Firm's Stock Up In Spite of Mounting Losses

Bloating technology infrastructure. Increasing losses. Unpredictable revenues. GenesisIntermedia Inc. has all the makings of a stock that should be lost in the Dumpster. But it's on a roll.

Jane Bryant Quinn---'Life-Settlement' Deals May Have Personal Implications

If you have a life insurance policy that you don't need or want anymore, you might be thinking of selling it. You were probably attracted by an ad for "life settlements" or "senior settlements." That's cash money for a policy that you'd otherwise let go.

Ahead of the Curve

Searing Blonde: Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh has made a career out of portraying strikingly beautiful and beguiling characters. The Egyptian Theatre's "Hearts on Fire: A Tribute to Jennifer Jason Leigh" festival offers a sweeping look at Leigh's past film

E-POLL---Online Polling Firm Forms Key Alliances

Gerry Philpott is looking to build his fledgling Encino company into the cyber equivalent of Nielsen Media Research, and he has some powerful forces backing him up.

LEATHER---Fashion Victim

The outbreaks of foot-and-mouth and mad cow diseases in Europe are inflicting pain on Los Angeles-area manufacturers and wholesalers that deal in leather, and that pain will likely hit consumers soon.

Newsmakers---New CEO Aims to Animate Media Firm

Drawing on his experience in entertainment, David Forbes is aiming to put Global Animation Holdings on the cutting edge.

Chet Currier---In Financial Planning, Assume Stocks Won't Cooperate

Individual investors have been scoring poorly of late in a game that purports to test their stock market savvy.

ATTRACTION---Backed by City, Aquarium in Long Beach Seeks Expansion

Buoyed by a city-backed refinancing plan that will help keep it above water, Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific is seeking federal funds to study the possibility of an expansion.

Deals & Dealmakers---Universal Reassesses Theme Parks

Once one of the leading spenders in the international theme park business, Universal Studios has put a halt to further expansion as it reviews the cost of keeping up with rival Walt Disney Co. in the resort business.

DEVELOPMENT---Large Mixed-Use Project Planned for Hollywood Site

While downtown Los Angeles has been generating the most buzz when it comes to loft housing emerging in an urban setting, a Brentwood investor is planning a $30 million loft and retail project in Hollywood.

Tech Talk---Media Reaction to Hack Attacks Outweighs Real Threat

Earlier this month, groups of Chinese hackers were supposed to be launching an all-out attack against American Web sites to protest the April 1 collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. spy plane. Some media reports made it sound like the Red Arm

LABOR---Struggling Hospitals Hit With Aggressive Union Drives

Local hospitals already facing a shrinking pool of qualified workers, growing numbers of patients and reimbursement delays are now being subjected to some of the most aggressive union organizing drives in recent history.

Mitch Albom---Generations Are Connected by Newsprint

The Detroit Free Press, the newspaper for which I work, celebrated a birthday this weekend. It is 170 years old.

Wall Street West---Profit Expectations May Set Investors Up for a Letdown

There is a "perfect storm" brewing for many Southland public companies, and investors better be thinking about battening down the hatches, said Russ Hagey, partner in the downtown Los Angeles offices of Bain & Co., the business consulting firm.

ALLIANCE---Employers, Care Providers Join Forces to Fight Insurers

Realizing there is strength in numbers, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is attempting to build a coalition of medical professionals and business leaders to wrest a bigger piece of the health care pie away from the giant health maintenance

SIGNS---Signs of the Times

Core Business: Environmental graphic design for buildings, places and spaces

Political Pulse---Candidates Split On Picking Up Affordable Housing Tab

While the headline-grabbers at last week's mayoral debate may have been all about law enforcement, the forum did provide a rare opportunity to hear the candidates' views on business-related issues.

JETS---Design Approval Holds Key to Aerospace Firm's Future

After years of false starts, questionable alliances, tens of millions of dollars in R & D; expenditures and no revenues, a small Long Beach company appears to poised to obtain preliminary approval for what would be the region's first new business jet manufac

Working at Home---Inexpensive Research Tools Can Yield Valuable Results

A new restaurant opened recently in my neighborhood and tried to use a unique concept to separate itself from competitors. It offered a variety of fish and meat along with a selection of preparation methods and sauces that diners could pair as they please

L.A. Stories

The longtime safe of legendary studio mogul Jack Warner is proving so tough to open, the Army might be called in to crack it.

Weekly Briefing

When Emilie Davidson Hoyt started Lather Inc., she was the company's sole employee, working out of her apartment. Three years later, Davidson Hoyt, 27, is selling her line of bath and beauty products on the Internet, by mail and out of a Lather store on C

ENERGY---Fleet Owners Feel Gas Price Squeeze

Rising fuel costs, both gasoline and diesel, are putting the squeeze on L.A.'s fleet operators.

Real Estate Column---Former Department Store Revived as Multi-Tenant Site

The pace of leasing at the former Macy's department store building in Westwood Village, which has been closed during renovations that have lasted more than two years, has picked up.

APPAREL---Swimwear Maker Lands in Hot Water

A dark cloud is hanging over Authentic Fitness Corp., the L.A.-based manufacturer of several major swimsuit lines synonymous with sun and fun in California, as its parent company Warnaco Group Inc. struggles to stay out of bankruptcy.

Backlot Buzz---Hanks Wants 'That Thing' on Broadway

Maybe it's the fear of an actors' strike. Maybe it's the success Matthew Broderick has found on Broadway in "The Producers." Whatever the reason, movie stars are suddenly turning to the theater again though not always to tread the boards.

Monday, May 7

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Hiring Independent Contractors Brings Legal Pitfalls

Recent years have seen employers increasingly use "independent contractors" in lieu of employees, believing that these relationships simplify payroll administration, afford the opportunity to "try" a worker before hiring on a "regular" basis, and provide

L.A. Stories

Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" set extraterrestrial travel to the sounds of Strauss' "The Blue Danube," but now Los Angeles businessman Dennis Tito is singing his own tune in space.

David Wilson---Internet Travel Sites Take Flight Amid Internet Chaos

Companies that provide travel services on the Internet have become this year's version of phoenixes.

DODGERS---Former Owner Vying to Buy Back Team

Might Rupert Murdoch's tumultuous reign over the Los Angeles Dodgers be nearing an end?

Mitch Albom---Use Empathy in Judging Wartime Actions

Where are you reading this? By the kitchen table with a cup of coffee? At the health club on a treadmill?

DEVELOPMENT---In Tune With Revival

Seizing on the hype and momentum of a still-unfolding Hollywood comeback, a Century City musical production company is planning to build a $60 million shopping, dining and entertainment attraction directly across Highland Avenue from TrizecHahn Corp.'s ma

Real Estate Column---Real Estate Investment Firm Decides It Wants Its MTV

After two potential buyers fell out of escrow on the MTV Building, owner M. David Paul & Associates LLP likely will hold on to the Santa Monica asset.

ROASTERS---Bean Brothers

Goal: To maintain a superior quality of coffee and grow the company's customer base of retail chains and office clients

Chet Currier---Biting Into Unappetizing Funds May Prove Profitable

You can study the whole menu of 8,200 U.S. mutual funds right now without working up much of an appetite.

ZONING---New Standards for Hillside Properties May Kill Projects

Builders hoping to develop certain hillside properties in Los Angeles may have to reconsider their plans due to new zoning standards adopted by the city.


The trouble with being a cyber-libertarian is that you spend most of your time slaying hypothetical dragons.

SATELLITES---Doubts Abound on DirecTV Deal

While General Motors Corp. last week confirmed that it has once again entered into talks to sell its Hughes Electronics Corp. unit to News Corp., some industry observers argued that the proposed marriage would be inferior to at least two other outcomes fo

BANKING---Successful L.A. Community Banks Becoming Targets

L.A.'s long history of bank mergers is in a new chapter, as community banks combine and take a foothold in the area by catering to specific ethnicities and small-business interests.

POWER---Incentives to Save Energy May Perplex

While they may be paralyzed in dealing with other parts of the energy crisis, state officials have managed to agree on touting conservation as the key to getting through the summer with minimal disruptions from rolling blackouts.

HEALTH CARE---L.A.'s Biggest Hospital Chain Mulling Bid for Daniel Freeman

Tenet Healthcare Corp., the largest hospital operator in Los Angeles County, is considering buying the financially troubled Daniel Freeman hospitals in Inglewood and Marina del Rey after another potential buyer didn't like what it saw and walked away.

INTERVIEW---Recasting Hollywood

Career Turning Points: Returning to Southern California in 1986 after five years working for McCarthy Construction in St. Louis; joining Walt Disney Co. in 1988; being assigned management of renovation of New Amsterdam Theatre in Time Square in 1993

Roving Eye

What started out as the kind of hobby that could get him arrested has turned into a successful business for the graffiti artist and muralist known as Man One.

Ahead of the Curve

Sing Low: Double bassist Stefano Scodanibbio hits the low notes in a solo performance of his own works at the L.A. County Museum of Art May 21. Scodanibbio, who will release his solo record later this month, also plays with the Arditti String Quartet on M

EMPLOYMENT---Workers Retain Clout Amid Layoffs

With almost daily reports of massive layoffs and warnings of economic softening, L.A. employers who have struggled in recent years to fill their staffing needs might logically conclude that they're back in the catbird seat when it comes to recruiting top

Jane Applegate---Pooled Resources Aid Small Firms With Health Benefits

Finding affordable health insurance benefits for your employees is getting tougher every year, adding one more headache to managing a small business in these challenging times.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Keeping Homes Affordable Pushes Ryland Stock Higher

Sticking with its strategy of building affordable housing and not being tempted to expand into other markets, Ryland Group Inc. has seen its stock climb out of the doldrums to trade near its 52-week high of $51.25 a share.

Jane Bryant Quinn---Knowing Your Credit Score Puts Debts Into Perspective

You may not know it, but you have a personal "credit score." Your score indicates how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Lenders use it to help decide whether to give you a loan and, if so, at what interest rate.

Wall Street West---L.A. Cast Gets Swept Up in New Round of ICN Turmoil

There's an old-fashioned corporate donnybrook going on down at Milan Panic's always-controversial ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Costa Mesa. And this is a wacky one, even by Southern California standards, with high-profile Angelenos battling for open board s

Newsmakers---Ex-FBI Agent Brings Skills to Deloitte

Being a certified public accountant can be an exciting job. Just ask Thomas Hughes.

WASTE---Looming Rural Waste Crisis, A Boon for Treatment Firm

When it comes to pollution, forget about all the nasty manmade chemicals that have contaminated urban America.

TV---New TV Station Targets Central American Immigrants

Seeking to capitalize on a Central American immigrant population in Los Angeles that by some accounts has exceeded 1 million, a new television station targeting that audience has been launched.

DEALS---Sale of Apparel Firm Marks Debut of Investment Bank

The pending $86 million purchase of Los Angeles-based Earl Jean Inc. by Nautica Enterprises Inc., announced in late April, may mark the end of one local company's independence, but it also establishes a toehold for another seeking a place in the local mer

My Favorite Sites

Artnet is basically a site about collecting art. You can look up information on artists, galleries, exhibitions, auctions, etc. And they also have a search engine, so you can do research. There is also news and reviews.

MARKETING---Dodgers Acting to Draw More Blacks to the Ballpark

The Los Angeles Dodgers have launched a marketing campaign directed at enticing more African Americans to the ballpark.

Deals & Dealmakers---EToys' Assets Sold

KB Toys Inc. has agreed to pay about $5.4 million for most of the inventory of bankrupt Santa Monica Web retailer eToys Inc.

Improvement Districts

Improvement Districts

SPACE---Pasadena Group Teams With Russians on Space Vehicle

The Planetary Society, a Pasadena group co-founded by the late legendary astronomer Carl Sagan, next month will launch into space a test model of its "solar sail vehicle," which navigates space by drawing energy from the sun's rays.

COMPUTERS---Restaurateur Designing Luxury Computer

Having refashioned pool halls to appeal to a broader base of customers, Los Angeles entrepreneur David Houston is now setting his sights on refashioning the dull, beige personal computer.

RESTAURANTS---Hearty Helpings

Serving a stick-to-your-ribs style of cooking, the owner of The Grill has grown his restaurant empire by offering an alternative to trendy L.A. cuisine

Tech Talk---Fandom's Roving CEO Ready for Growth Opportunity

Debra Streicker-Fine is to the Los Angeles Internet sector what an EMT is to accident victims on the freeways.

Weekly Briefing

The history of Hollywood lives at the Larry Edmunds Bookshop. Opened in 1939, the bookstore, at 6644 Hollywood Blvd., has made its home in four different locations over the years, all in Hollywood. The shop, which specializes in movie posters and stills a

Backlot Buzz---MGM Snapping Up High-Profile Projects

Following the blockbuster success of "Hannibal," Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is surging forward with a slate of high-profile projects, put together at almost dizzying speed.

ENERGY---Billionaire Sees Wind Power as Next Big Thing

Bel-Air billionaire Selim Zilkha is among those who have been making a bundle off the state's energy crisis, and now he's positioning himself to make an even bigger bundle on helping to solve it.

FUNDING---L.A. Venture Funding Craters

After steadily heating up as a destination for venture capital investments in recent years, Los Angeles has suddenly cooled dramatically, according to a just-released report by local research firm Growthink Inc.

Political Pulse---Growth in Valley Reshapes City's Redistricting Debate

As the redistricting battle over L.A. City Council seats heats up, one big surprise is dominating the debate: the rapid growth of San Fernando Valley-centered council districts means that boundaries for other districts will be creeping towards the Valley.