Stories for November 2001

Monday, November 26

GAMES---Insiders Cash in As Video Game Market Climbs

Taking advantage of record-high stock prices and a booming video game market, insiders at L.A.'s two leading video game makers have been cashing in a substantial number of shares in some cases liquidating as much as half of their personal holdings.

GLENDALE---Big Office Project In Glendale To Be Marketed for Sale

Glendale City Center, a major office high-rise and adjacent vacant parcel entitled for a twin tower to be built, is being put up for sale by its owner, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.

My Favorite Sites

For anybody who writes this is a site to look at. It allows you to look up everything that's in development and who's involved in it. This is more inside than You can see what a project is about and what the story is.

GIVING---L.A. Donors Play Role in N.Y. Giving

Over half of L.A. County residents donated money to help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks amid mixed signals about how overall giving in 2001 compares with years past, according to a survey to be released this week.

L.A. Donors Play Role in N.Y. Giving

An outpouring of charitable giving flowed out of Los Angeles following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Korean Groceries Targeted by Immigrant Labor Organization

Workers at four supermarkets in Koreatown are trying to unionize.

PROMENADE---Santa Monica Seeks to Freeze Third Street Restaurant Exodus

Looking to stem the steady departures of eateries along Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade because of sharply escalating rents, the Santa Monica City Council is scheduled to vote Nov. 27 on a 45-day moratorium for restaurant-to-retail conversions at th

Investments and Finance: Focus on Lower-End Helps Shares of Toy Maker Climb

While many retailers anticipate a lackluster holiday season, Jakks Pacific Inc. projects a strong end to what's been a banner year.

Chet Currier---Keeping Some Detachment Advisable in Erratic Market

The stock market's propensity for sudden changes of character is nothing short of amazing.

Weekly Briefing

Theron Marino earned a bachelor's degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of Connecticut in 1994, intent on becoming a gynecologist. But the pull of computer graphics, which he had been teaching himself since age 8, got the best of him. F

Language Barrier.

After publishing for nearly 100 years, the leading newspaper catering to the Japanese-American market is battling declining readership and revenues.

Media Column:

New Daily Paper Being Launched in Santa Monica

ARCHITECTURE---Lobbying for Space

Renovated and revived office building lobbies seek to make the segue from garages and the street inviting to office workers and pedestrians alike

Media---New Daily Paper Being Launched in Santa Monica

An economic downturn, soft ad market and already crowded marketplace were not enough to keep David Danforth and partners from starting up the Santa Monica Daily Press.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Focus on Lower-End Helps Shares of Toy Maker Climb

While many retailers anticipate a lackluster holiday season, Jakks Pacific Inc. projects a strong end to what's been a banner year.

Stop-Gap Measure to Fund Trauma Centers Proposed

County and hospital industry officials weigh their response to Gov. Davis' decision to freeze $25 million in funding for statewide trauma care network.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Balancing Operations With Broad View Key to Growth

At one time or another, most successful entrepreneurs have probably tried and failed to take their business to the next level of profitability. Why is it so difficult to make that leap and what does it take to succeed?

Mitch Albom---Uncles: Just Like a Parent, Only More Fun

This week, my nephews arrive from overseas. I will greet them with presents. I will whisk them to the new Harry Potter movie. I will take them shopping for books and will ask, as we ride in the car, if they want to stop for ice cream. The world will be th

POLITICS---Proof of City's Commitment Will Be in Timely Payments

During the L.A. mayoral campaign, local businesses aired two major complaints about doing business in the city: developers bemoaned interminable delays in the permitting process, and small minority business owners didn't want to do business with the city

FEUD---She Said, He Said, They Said

Prominent law firm rocked as charges fly after relationship between partners sours

Ports' Cargo Flow Slows After October Spike

Cargo container volume hits record levels in October.

Management Shift May Lead to Cuts In Associate Jobs

New chairman of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison says layoffs may be necessary if the firm's incentive package doesn't alleviate financial strain.

Westside Firm Targeting New Fields With Al Gore Hire

Low-profile Westside financial services firm draws national attention after hiring Al Gore to accelerate its growth.

RETAIL---Galaxy Missing Hollywood Revival

A mere city block separates the retail center everybody is talking about from the one nobody talks about.


Goals: To increase circulation from 16,000 to at least 25,000 within three years.

INTERNET---Balance Sheet Ills Dog Internet Ad Firm

Internet advertising firm L90 Inc. isn't facing a cash crunch yet, but its balance sheet shows signs of strain.

Commentary: The Good, The Awful

It's a standard Saturday at my neighborhood Borders bookstore, which means a line of customers waiting to check out a handful at first, then eight, then a dozen.

INTERVIEW---Keeping the Fun Alive

Frederick's of Hollywood's chief works to get aging lingerie retailer out of bankruptcy as it readies for fight with intimate apparel queen Victoria's Secret

AIRPORT---LAX Emerges as Worst in U.S.

Nicholas Hess was one frustrated traveler. Standing in his second hour-long line of the morning this one stretching more than 100 yards from the Southwest Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Hess said he had had enough.

Insiders Cash in As Video Game Market Climbs

Insiders at two major video game makers are cashing in substantial portions of their stock holdings

Ahead of the Curve

Nutty Holiday: No season would be complete without a performance of "The Nutcracker." The American Ballet Theatre is doing 13 performances of Tschaikovsky's work from Dec. 14 to Dec. 23 at the recently opened Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland. The ABT

LAW---Management Shift May Lead to Cuts In Associate Jobs

Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP's new chairman, L.A. partner Richard Odom, said if the San Francisco-based firm's latest incentive package doesn't ease its financial situation, layoffs may be necessary.

She Said, He Said, They Said

Behind the scenes of a tempestuous management battle with romantic overtones at the L.A. office of one of the nation's fastest growing law firms.

Newsmakers---Launch Near, Broadband Firm Taps Chief

Gearing up for its 2002 launch, iBlast, a Los Angeles-based data broadcast network, has named former EarthLink CFO Grayson Hoberg chief operating and chief financial officer.

Cybersense---Internet Puts All Countries In First Amendment's Reach

Back when I first learned there was something called a Constitution, the United States was the only country in the world with a First Amendment.

Low Oil Prices Don't Always Aid Economy

Everywhere you turn, there's another article touting the boost lower oil prices are giving to the U.S. economy.

Mutual Funds: Keeping Some Detachment

Expecting a straight-up recovery may be asking too much.

L.A. Stories

The Beverly Hills mansion where entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shotgunned to death in 1989 by their two sons has been sold by television producer William Link and his wife, Marjorie, for $3.7 million, according to informed

LAX Emerges as Worst in U.S.

Frustration has been widespread at airports nationwide since the Sept. 11 attacks, but LAX has emerged as among the most infuriating.

Commentary: World Still Turning Despite So-Called Smart People

Like every other parent in America, I was at the movie theater last weekend, kids in tow or rather, towed by kids to see "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

Proof of City's Commitment Will Be in Timely Payments

L.A. Mayor James Hahn has acted to speed-up the city's permitting and payment processes.

HOTELS---Downtown Donnybrook

The gloves have been flying between general managers of L.A.'s two largest downtown hotels.

PORTS---Ports' Cargo Flow Slows After October Spike

Both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had record-breaking cargo movement last month, the result of early holiday optimism by retailers long before the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Weekly Briefing


TRAUMA---Stop-Gap Measure to Fund Trauma Centers Proposed

With the governor freezing $25 million in funding for the state's trauma network, L.A. County officials have slapped together a plan to keep the local system afloat, pending a lobbying effort to get the money back.



Six "Sky-High" Stocks Have Limited Upside Potential

Here's a list of the priciest stocks in the market. I call it the Sky-High Six.

Balance Sheet Ills Dog Internet Ad Firm

Online advertising firm L90 could find itself on the hook for paid spots from now defunct customers.

LABJ Forum---Uh-Oh, a Month Before Christmas

It's official time to start holiday shopping. There is much speculation as to how consumers will feel this season, given the recession and the war. So the Business Journal asks:

LOBBYISTS---Cellular Groups Lead Lobbying

For the third time in the last four quarters, the battle over where to place those unsightly cellular phone antennae has been the most lobbied issue at L.A. City Hall.

STYLE: Lobbying for Space

Given its wide-open sprawl, L.A. is notoriously bereft of public spaces.

Galaxy Missing Hollywood Revival

An overhaul of the struggling Hollywood Galaxy complex is being delayed due to the bankruptcy of General Cinema.

TOYS---Mattel Shifts Into Holiday Gear With Newest Hot Wheels Track

George Reynoso was shopping with his wife and 1-year-old son at the Toys R Us store in Atwater Village when he came across Mattel Inc.'s new Hot Wheels racetrack, the Fireball.

World Still Turning Despite So-Called Smart People

Like every other parent in America, I was at the movie theater last weekend, kids in tow or rather, towed by kids to see "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I had done due diligence, as good consumers should, reading several reviews in various ne

The Good, The Awful

It's a standard Saturday at my neighborhood Borders bookstore, which means a line of customers waiting to check out a handful at first, then eight, then a dozen. Two clerks man the counter, but it's a lost cause. One of them finally gets on the P.A. to

Wall Street West---Small-Cap Bargain Hunter Buys Stake in Vitamin Firm

When a private investor plunks down a large wad of cash on a public company, some call it a "PIPE" (Private Investment in Public Equity). But Dan Rubin, of Century City-based Rubin Investment Group investment banking shop, has coined his own word: "SIPO"

Hotel GMs Hurl Bitter Missives in Fight for Tourists

The general managers of two prominent downtown hotels go toe to toe over convention business in the area.

MUSICIANS---Musicians Institute Instructors Sign First Union Contract

Ending one acrimonious battle and possibly setting the stage for another, instructors at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, represented by the American Federation of Musicians, have signed their first one-year labor agreement.

Big Office Project In Glendale To Be Marketed for Sale

An Ohio pension fund is looking to unload its Glendale Plaza office high-rise and the adjacent development parcel.

Santa Monica Seeks to Freeze Third Street Restaurant Exodus

Santa Monica City Council grapples with how to keep restaurants operating on Third Street Promenade.

Commentary: Uncles: Just Like a Parent, Only More Fun

This week, my nephews arrive from overseas. I will greet them with presents. I will whisk them to the new Harry Potter movie. I will take them shopping for books and will ask, as we ride in the car, if they want to stop for ice cream.

PEOPLE Interview: Keeping the Fun Alive

Frederick's of Hollywood's chief works to get aging lingerie retailer out of bankruptcy as it readies for fight with intimate apparel queen Victoria's Secret.

Cellular Groups Lead Lobbying

New filings show which development projects and issues generated the most lobbying fees at L.A. City Hall.

Column: The Roving Eye

Remember clip-on roller skates? They're back, 21st century style.

KOREAN---Korean Groceries Targeted by Immigrant Labor Organization

In another effort by unions to organize immigrant workers, employees at four Koreatown supermarket chains are trying to unionize as many as 700 employees.

John Dorfman---Six 'Sky-High' Stocks Have Limited Upside Potential

Here's a list of the priciest stocks in the market. I call it the Sky-High Six. Quite simply, the ranking features the six stocks that sell for the highest multiple of earnings per share. One purpose of the list is to generate ideas for short selling, whi

Mattel Shifts Into Holiday Gear With Newest Hot Wheels Track

Big stakes are riding on how well Mattel's new Hot Wheels Fireball racetrack sells this holiday season.

PUBLISHING---Three Decades After Launch, Ms. Seeks Revival in L.A.

Years of lobbying for women's rights in Afghanistan and fighting anti-abortion activists in the United States has done little to prepare the Feminist Majority Foundation for its latest challenge magazine publishing.

Balancing Operations With Broad View Key to Growth

At one time or another, most successful entrepreneurs have probably tried and failed to take their business to the next level of profitability. Why is it so difficult to make that leap and what does it take to succeed?

Cybersense: Internet Puts All Countries

Back when I first learned there was something called a Constitution, the United States was the only country in the world with a First Amendment.


Launch Near, Broadband Firm Taps Chief. MORE...

Three Decades After Launch, Ms. Seeks Revival in L.A.

Feminist Majority Foundation looks to take over and reinvigorate Ms. magazine at a time when shrinking ad revenues have shuttered many publications.

Commentary: Low Oil Prices Don't Always Aid Economy

Everywhere you turn, there's another article touting the boost lower oil prices are giving to the U.S. economy. What about Japan?

PROPERTY---Tax-Driven Deals Fuel Real Estate Investment Market

Reason: Was a reaction to outraged farmers who were forced to pay 2 percent income tax on sale of farm property to G.I.s returning from World War I.

Real Estate---Cohen's 'Sweat-Free' Apparel Firm Heads Downtown

Ben Cohen, founder of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., has found a home for his new apparel venture, signing a five-year lease for a downtown industrial building.

FINANCE---Westside Firm Targeting New Fields With Al Gore Hire

Flying below the radar while accumulating a management portfolio of more than $50 billion is no easy feat. But West L.A.-based Metropolitan West Financial Inc. managed to do it pretty well until last week, when it named former Vice President Al Gore to be

Musicians Institute Instructors Sign First Union Contract

After an acrimonious bargaining process, instructors at the Musicians Institute sign their first contract with the school as a union shop.

Tax-Driven Deals Fuel Real Estate Investment Market

With institutional investors on the sidelines, owners of smaller properties cashing out and reinvesting are accounting for a big portion of the action.

Roving Eye

Manhattan Beach-based Skechers is aggressively marketing a four-wheeled roller skate that uses the design of some of its sneakers.

Monday, November 19

L.A. Stories

Anyone who knows William Fain, nameplate partner of downtown architectural firm Johnson Fain Partners, knows he's fond of bow ties. What most folks don't know is that he makes the ties himself.

INTERVIEW---Ready to Rebuild

Education: B.S. political science, University of Santa Clara; Master of arts in public administration, San Jose State University.

Mitch Albom---Truth-Telling Becomes a Patriotic Duty

As reporters go, Seymour Hersh is not only famous, he's pretty darn reliable. He won a Pulitzer Prize during the Vietnam War. He broke the story of the My Lai massacre. When he writes, people listen.

POLITICS---Hahn Is More Than Fashionably Late at Hollywood Extravaganza

With dozens of television cameras present, it was no surprise that politicians aplenty showed up at the glitzy opening ceremony for the $615 million Hollywood & Highland project.

Media---Melodrama Pulls In the Viewers at ABC's SoapNet

ABC Cable Network Group's SoapNet has expanded its management team to help oversee the soap-opera channel's rapid growth.

SHOPPING---Still in Progress, Hollywood Site Lures Shoppers

Days after the long-awaited opening of Hollywood & Highland, hammering could be heard outside the Me Gusta Mexican Caf & #233;, boxes sat on the display floor of Aveda, and construction workers labored at the Green Earth Caf & #233;.

TELEVISION---After Huge Loss, Production Outfit Tries to Rebound

Beleaguered Team Communications Group Inc., a producer of cable television fare, is trying to reestablish itself as a viable public company.


A mini-explosion in the number of L.A. guide books is providing locals and tourists alike with almost as many options for advice as they have for dining, drinking and entertainment

It's Time to Shut the L.A. Community Development Bank

The Los Angeles Times recently ran yet another article about the failure of the L.A. Community Development Bank to meet its goal of creating a viable financial institution that could help fuel job creation in the inner-city south of the downtown central b

PLASTICS---Plan to Sell Plastics Firm Dashed By Terrorist Attacks

Plans changed drastically after Sept. 11 for Summa Industries, the Torrance-based plastics manufacturer that's been in business since 1942.

Chet Currier---Take Advantage of Decline To Shed Weakest Holdings

Wondering what to do next with your mutual-fund investments? Now might be a good time to take out the trash.

LABJ Forum---The Year to Really Give Thanks

Though the circumstances are unfortunate, many of us will spend a little more time thinking about what we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. After Sept. 11, the priorities of many Angelenos have changed. So the Business Journal asks:

FITNESS---Riding on Success

Goals: To add to the sales staff in order to double revenues in the next three to four years

V.A.---Biomedical Campus Proposed for Westside VA Parcel

A new plan has emerged to build a 300,000-square-foot biomedical campus on 25 acres of the West L.A. Veterans Administration complex, where community leaders and area elected officials are in a long-running battle to limit any development.

LAW---Feuer Goes Back to Roots to Grow His New Practice

Former L.A. City Councilman Mike Feuer's decision to join Morrison & Foerster LLP may at first appear as though he's going back to where he started.

LAYOFFS---Red Carpet Pulled at E!

Life behind the scenes at E! Entertainment Networks is less light-hearted these days than what's seen on the celebrity profiles, entertainment gossip and red-carpet award show specials for which it is known.

DEVELOPMENT---Riordan-Backed Redevelopment Fund Starts Weakly

Projects: SunQuest Industrial Park, Sun Valley; Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Hollywood; Artists-in-Residence Project, Venice

HEALTH CARE---Audit Finds Poor Fiscal Oversight at Medicaid Program

A management audit of L.A. Care, the country's largest Medicaid managed care program, found a host of loose internal administrative and financial practices, including some that exposed the agency to fraud.

TICKETS---Ticketmaster to Close L.A. Phone Center

Ticketmaster Inc. will lay off 208 people by Jan. 7 at its Los Angeles headquarters, more than one-third of its local employment, according to filings submitted to the state's Employment Development Department.

Weekly Briefing

Edward Borovay worked at his father's fur business, Borovay & Son Furs, for only two years before he set out to become his own boss.

HOTEL---City Concerned as Developer Reconsiders Hotel Project

Stung by the prospect of lingering weakness in the hotel market, Maefield Development has floated the prospect of shelving plans for a 370-room, five-star hotel at its $341 million Sunset Millennium project in West Hollywood.

Most Popular T.V. & Radio Stations

Most Popular T.V. & Radio Stations

Ahead of the Curve

Holiday Music: The Grammy-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, featuring acclaimed countertenor Andreas Scholl, performs works by Albinoni, Scarlatti, Telemann, Bach and traditional Irish, English, Welsh and American songs at UCLA's Royce Hall on Nov. 30. O

INTERNET---Shares Plummet as Cash Runs Low at

The Westlake Village-based network of online real estate sites was sitting pretty with cash and equivalents of $284 million at the end of the first quarter. But it has burned through $213 million by Sept. 30, leaving $71 million in its coffers.

HMO---Bankrupt Tower Health Leaves Widespread Trail of Debt

The bankruptcy last month of Tower Health the third local HMO to be seized by the state this year is shaping up to be the toughest one yet for the area's doctors, hospitals and other medical care providers.

PARKING---Santa Monica to Consider Huge Parking Expansion, Renovation

Santa Monica city officials will consider a 10-year, $92 million plan to add as many as 1,900 city center parking spaces and shore up existing downtown parking structures.

RESTAURANTS---Undaunted, National Chains Eye L.A.

Volume, as they say in the restaurant business, cures all evils. In Los Angeles, those evils include higher wage rates, fluctuating energy costs, and real estate prices that appear to have remained immune (for the time being) to the national economic slow

Real Estate---Purchase of Vacant El Segundo Office Building Pending

Opus West Corp. and Infonet Services Corp. are believed to be hammering out the final details of an estimated $27 million deal for the vacant Grand Avenue Corporate Center at 2151 E. Grand Ave. in El Segundo.

Roving Eye

The Bridge, the 17-screen megaplex at the Howard Hughes Center and to feature an IMAX theater beginning in January includes a full-service bar and restaurant dubbed Lounge 12.

Working at Home---Maintain Business With Adept Handling of Complaints

During our recent office relocation, we consulted with a technical expert on a variety of tools to help us communicate between our remote offices. The tools he recommended were just what we needed, and we bought several for company-wide use.

MALL---Climbing the Wall Over Mall Design

In the shopping center world, it makes for unhappy neighbors, such as those who are staring at a nearly 50-foot wall at The Grove at Farmers Market, scheduled to open March 15.

Wall Street West---Investors Hanker for Gold as Uncertainty Clouds Events

When news broke of another New York air tragedy Nov. 12, Kevin DeMeritt could detect an instant pick-up in the number of phone calls he was getting.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Taking Steps to Ensure Effective Professional Marketing

It used to be sacrilege to use the words "professionals" and "marketing" in the same sentence. Professionals "marketing" their services was inconceivable, if not disreputable. Marketing was only for marketing people and for soap. Today, most professionals

STUDIO---Paramount Stops Rental of Backlot

Holiday parties are grinding into high gear, but they won't be happening on Paramount Pictures' back lots.

COURTS---Vacancies in Court Posts Bury Judges

An unprecedented number of unfilled U.S. District Court judge vacancies in Los Angeles is inundating the remaining 21 judges here, causing severe case backlogs, trial delays and burnout.

The Riordan Candidacy

There was a cute shot in the Times last week of now-gubernatorial candidate Dick Riordan doing a Chaplinesque shuffle in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Earlier in the day, he had stopped at a Krispy Kreme near Santa Barbara Plaza where, according to

Newsmakers---Development Head Cultivating CalMart

As new director of retail development at the California Market Center, or CalMart, Riggs will be responsible for cultivating buyer attendance at the gift and home accessories mart, slated to open in July.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Losses Cut, Stock Buyback Aids Internet Firm's Shares

Scrambling to maintain a foothold in the nascent Internet messaging business, Hollywood-based J2 Global Communications (Nasdaq: JCOM) has been taking steps to support its shares.

DINING---Beverly Hills Dining Institution Shuts Down

Nibbler's Restaurant, the diner in Beverly Hills known for its flannel cakes and tuna melts and a Westside institution for 45 years, has closed its doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

MANUFACTURING---Pasadena Prosthetic Maker Will Set Up New Headquarters in Washington State

Having completed a $19 million cash deal for Seattle Orthopedic Group Inc., Pasadena-based United States Manufacturing Co. will relocate its headquarters and the bulk of its operations to the Poulsbo, Wash. offices of its new subsidiary.

SECURITY---Airport Security Scanner Could Give Boost to Firm

A fledgling security systems manufacturer owned by Hawthorne-based OSI Systems Inc. could hit the jackpot if the Federal Aviation Administration approves its body scanner product for widespread use in airports.

Off With Slap on the Wrist, Gates Promises to Play Nice

Maybe the U.S. Congress should just declare Microsoft Corp. a legal monopoly. Microsoft, which Chairman Bill Gates co-founded in 1975, always has acted as if it were immune to the law and the last decade has proved it was.

REAL ESTATE---Project Hits Market in Meltdown

The block-long Westside Media Center on Olympic Boulevard is a fitting symbol of an economy in retreat thanks in part to the lingering effects of the dot-com implosion.

Monday, November 12

CAPITAL---Investors Turn Into Skeptics As Firms Look for Funding

It's never easy for private companies to raise money, but seldom in recent years has it been so difficult.

Roving Eye

The ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14th for the new downtown Gold's Gym may be a little out of the ordinary but this is no ordinary gym.

FARM---Steep Job Cuts for Struggling Farm

In a struggle to stay in business, 86-year-old Boskovich Farms Inc. has been forced to lay off 150 people with up to 250 more expected to be let go in the coming months in a new round of cutbacks, company officials said.

RETAIL---Pharmacist's Downtown Foray Yields Surprisingly Strong Sales

The nation's third-largest drugstore company, which has been cautiously expanding with 25 new or relocated stores a year, made a bold move last May by opening a 17,000-square-foot store in downtown L.A.'s financial core.

SWEEPS---Sweeps Without Sensation

This is the time of year when local television news usually turns to stories about dirty restaurant kitchens, cosmetic surgery gone awry, and the hidden dangers of hair dye to lure viewers and boost ratings.

Ahead of the Curve

Pop Art: Back to the '60s. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is opening a new exhibit called "Pop Culture!" about the Pop Art movement that started in England in the 1950s and moved across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S. in the 1960s. The exhibition, whi

EARNINGS---Fallout Hits Third-Quarter Results

While the brunt of the recession is still to hit many parts of the economy, third-quarter results from local public companies showed that the effects of the downturn already are being felt.

AIRPORT---Pulled Marketing Campaign Adds to Ontario Airport Ills

With all the chaos at Los Angeles International Airport in recent weeks, Ontario Airport would seem to be poised to benefit as a backup facility.

REGROUPING---Firm Finds Tighter Focus After Internet Slump

Inside the offices of Guidance Solutions are remnants of the anything-goes Internet days. A surfboard hangs over the receptionist's desk. Silly pictures adorn workers' cubicles. There's a "hang-out lounge" of comfy couches and beanbag chairs.

THREADS---Hollywood Rethreads

Actress Debbie Reynolds has been collecting costumes from notable films and stars for more than 30 years. Now her collection will be on permanent display at the Hollywood & Highland shopping and entertainment complex.

Kathryn Harris---Smaller Exhibitors Seeking Foothold as Chains Retrench

Workmen were putting the final touches on an L.A. movie theater the other night and it wasn't a 20-screen megaplex. The three-screen Fairfax is reopening under new ownership, like hundreds of other U.S. theaters that were shuttered or sold during a wave

NORTHROP---Unions Plan New Effort At Northrop

With Northrop Grumman Corp. poised to grow substantially amid a defense industry build-up, local labor leaders are quietly stepping up efforts to unionize the defense company's 10,000 workers in Los Angeles County.

RESTAURANT---Buyback Nearly Done, Jerry's Returns to Private Hands

Sporting a stock that's 80 percent below its levels of the mid-1990s, Jerry's Famous Deli is nearing the end of a buyback aimed at taking the company private.

My Favorite Sites

This is the gateway into Ziff Davis Publishing and CNet. They give continuous news feeds on the computer and software industry. There's so much news right now that it's critical for anyone in the software business to keep up. The depth and the speed of c

Media---Times Launches Efforts to Reduce Fears of Anthrax

Following the appearance of anthrax-tainted letters at media outlets on the East Coast, the paper has taken several steps to ensure the safety of its employees. This includes X-raying mail, hiring a security consultant, and constructing a new mailroom wit

PROMOTION---Visitors Bureau to Promote Deals at L.A. Area Hotels

Such a deal. Stay in some of L.A.'s fanciest hotels and get two nights for the price of one.

L.A. Stories

Rudy Giuliani has nothing on Jim Hahn. At least he won't if a few local businessmen have their way.

TERROR---Bioterrorism's Hefty Price tag Before Officials

Faced with preliminary data that area hospitals are unprepared for any large-scale chemical or biological terrorist attack and that the cost of readying them would be sky high local hospital industry and county officials are scrambling to come up with

Wall Street West---Kayne Anderson Said To Be On the Market, Close to Sale

Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC, the mutual fund and money management shop co-founded by local business titan John Anderson in 1984, is rumored to be up for sale.

WINNERS---Maintaining Rapid Growth Rate Proves Elusive for Many

They're fast growers, but with a more subdued approach to growth. Which might not be such a bad idea these days.

MALL---Renovation Planned for Santa Monica Mall

The owner of Santa Monica Place, a retail also-ran with the emergence of Third Street Promenade, proposes a major renovation of the mall that could include opening up what has been an old-fashioned, enclosed shopping center.

Cybersense---Consumers Face Quandary as Microsoft, Sony Square Off

Doing the right thing isn't always easy. Consider the choices that face me and my fellow cash-strapped video game fans as Microsoft plans its much-anticipated Nov. 15 rollout of the Xbox game console.

Weekly Briefing

After working in an assortment of jobs ranging from women's apparel to graphology all while raising four children Victoria Mertes returned to school at the age of 60.

TURKEY---Turkey in the Raw

Core Business: Procuring, processing and selling of "free-range" and organic poultry products.

DEFENSE---Defense Subcontractors Look for Strength in Numbers

Big defense industry mergers have attracted lots of attention lately, including last week's agreement by Northrop Grumman Corp. to buy Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. for $2.6 billion.

Real Estate---Apartment Project to Replace Disputed Seaside Target

With a controversial plan for a Target store off the table, Santa Monica is reviewing plans for two apartment buildings at the site, at Fifth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.

LABJ Forum---Have Any Entrepreneurial Spirit?

As the founders of many of the companies on this week's list of fastest growing private companies can attest, the true strength of the Los Angeles economy rests in the hands of entrepreneurs. Most businesses were, at one time, nothing more than a good ide

Fastest Growing Private Companies

Fastest Growing Private Companies

Leonard Pitts---When Daily Life is the Source of Anxiety

A long time ago by which I mean prior to a certain infamous date in September I used to stand at the salad bar and wonder if I was taking my life in my hands.

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Protect Systems By Knowing Cyber-Terrorist Tactics

The Internet has become a vital element of national infrastructure, connecting tens of millions of individuals and millions of businesses, large and small, to their customers and business partners. Private internal computer networks are increasingly vital

INTERNET---Encino Internet Company Buys Chinese ISP

In the latest move to become a major player in China's burgeoning Internet market, Encino's CBCom Inc. has paid $600,000 for Beijing-based Internet service provider

BUYOUT---Celebrity-Backed Eatery Sold After Filing Chapter 11

The parent of a celebrity-backed restaurant in Orange County, The Clubhouse at South Coast Plaza, has been sold out of bankruptcy for $11.3 million.

TECHNOLOGY---Area's Education Called Tech Industry Drawback

Local government regulations and weak primary and secondary schools are threatening the vitality of Southern California's diverse technology sector, according to a report to be released this week.

Working at Home---Downturn Provides Opportunity for Business Start-Up

Even though we're facing a tight economy, there are compelling reasons to think about starting a business now. Interest rates are down, lots of talented people are looking for work and suppliers are interested in negotiating to win new contracts.

VOLATILITY---Maintaining Rapid Growth Rate Proves Elusive for Many

Achieving the rapid growth necessary to qualify for the Business Journal's list of 100 fastest growing private companies is no easy feat.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Shares Bounce as Tech Firm Turns the Cash-Flow Corner

Fueled by a market that remains largely untapped and an aggressive buying spree that has cut into the ranks of its competitors, shares of Digital Insight Corp. (Nasdaq: DGIN) keep climbing.

POLITICS---Riordan Is Getting Ahead of Himself With Jabs at Davis

In the latest move to become a major player in China's burgeoning Internet market, Encino's CBCom Inc. has paid $600,000 for Beijing-based Internet service provider

NURSES---Nurses' Gain in Hospital Contracts May Push Up Health Group Costs

Key contract agreements reached between the California Nurses Association and Catholic Healthcare West at five Southern California hospitals could end up forcing other hospitals to give costly concessions to unions as nursing professionals gain ground.

DOWNSHIFTING---Service Firms Pace Market as Growth Rate Drops Steeply

The pace of L.A.'s fastest growing private companies is slowing quickly. The No. 1-ranked company on this year's Business Journal list, Santa Monica real estate firm MJW Investments, outdistanced the competition with a 540 percent revenue growth rate in

INTERVIEW---Boosting the Wattage

Education: M.A. in journalism from UC Berkeley; M.A. in business administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

PLAYA---Labor Unions Flex Muscle at Playa Vista Residential Project

Moving to assert its unlikely leverage as an investor in the project, Carpenters Local Union 209 has turned the heat up on contractors at Playa Vista's Phase I in an effort to secure union jobs.

Chet Currier---Resisting Urge to Panic Kept Many From Sept. 11 Fallout

Every once in a while patience is rewarded without the customary long, tedious wait. Look how fast a payoff came for investors in stock mutual funds who resisted the impulse to panic and sell when the terrorists struck on Sept. 11.

NBA Must Cast Wider Net In Bid for Viewing Audience

Sports analysts have been concerned for years that the urbanization of the National Basketball Association would prove costly to the league. It now appears these concerns are well founded. At a time of significant contraction in the advertising market, th

Newsmakers---Academic Approach for Milken Executive

He's had careers in law and investment banking, but Michael Klowden, newly appointed president and chief executive of the Milken Institute, always had a sense he would end up in a more academic setting.

TOYS ---Toy Firm Will Appeal 'Pocket Monster' Suit

A small toy developer in Manhattan Beach is appealing a judge's ruling that Nintendo of America Inc.'s Pokemon characters do not infringe on its trademark.

HOTELS---Pasadena Hotels Have Rosy Outlook Amid Industry Slump

While hotels nationwide struggle to survive a severe travel downturn, Pasadena inns are performing quite well, and they're poised to do even better next year.

Government Overbearing in Its Impulse To Be Motherly

At last they've made it official: The federal government has become Mom. And you won't be surprised by what Mom has to say: "Be careful with that thing, you might shoot your eye out."

Hooray For Hollywood

The line stretched well down the street kids and their parents waiting to get into the Crest Theater on Westwood Boulevard to see a Sunday afternoon showing of the new animation hit, "Monsters, Inc." The stragglers were running to buy tickets (another l

INTERNET---Defying the Market, Start-Up Targets Domain Registrations

For David Hernand, co-opting some of the most popular content sites on the Internet seemed like a good way to make his point.

ADVERTISING---Ad Campaigns Sold to the Highest Bidder

What started out as a joke might end up salvaging tens of thousands of dollars worth of work for Mousetrap Advertising.

LAW---Businesses Take Round in Exempt Employee Debate

Los Angeles employment attorney Richard Simmons won his arguments against a recent interpretation of the wage-hour state law that could have cost companies millions of dollars in overtime pay.

Monday, November 5

John Dorfman---Dividends Remain Tangible Sign of Businesses' Success

Dividends aren't dinosaurs. True, many investors think so. And so do many companies. They reason that dividends are subject to double taxation that is, corporations are taxed on their profits and then shareholders are taxed again on their dividends. By

Wall Street West---Investment Banker Hitting Milestone in PG & E; Filing

Though virtually unreported, the vast Pacific Gas & Electric bankruptcy is passing a milestone, said Jonathan Rosenthal, partner with Santa Monica-based Saybrook Capital LLC. Rosenthal is the investment banker for the official committee of unsecured credi

Entrepreneur's Notebook---Desire to Videoconference Means Brushing Up Skills

It is obvious that after the events of Sept. 11, more businesses will consider conducting meetings by videoconferencing rather than flying their executives to distant locations.

LAW---Coca-Cola Overtime Suit Is the Real Thing for Westside Firm

Los Angeles attorney Brian Kabateck won a big overtime employment lawsuit with a $20.2 million settlement against Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Los Angeles.

MTA---MTA Will Pay Consultant $13 Million In Bid to Limit Workers' Comp Costs

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, seeking to cut workers' compensation costs, has signed a 5-year, $13.8 million contract with DuPont Safety Resources.

SATELLITE---Local Fallout Expected From Proposed DirecTV Sale

Los Angeles could take a noticeable economic hit if EchoStar Communications Corp. is allowed to acquire Hughes Electronics Corp. and its satellite television subsidiary, DirecTV.

TAXES---Tax Increases Possible as Revenue Sources Shrink

Proposals for two quarter-cent tax hikes are circulating in Sacramento and could show up on the March ballot, a further reflection of the efforts by the state to search for new revenues in the face of the economic downturn.

Cybersense---Subscription Model Creeps Into More Cash-Needy Sites

Imagine you've found a nice free parking spot within a few blocks of your office or home. You've been using it for years, almost without a thought, and it's become a small but comforting part of your everyday life.

Time Right for Incubator in South Central

Since Sept. 11, the news on the local and state economy has gone from bad to worse. So the last thing anyone would expect to hear these days is good economic news from South Central Los Angeles.

ECONOMY---L.A. Task Force Plan to Boost Economy Faces Hurdles

The centerpiece of Mayor James Hahn's economic recovery task force fast-tracking public works projects valued at $1.2 billion is a lot easier proposed than done.

TENANTS---Skittish Businesses Shop for More Flexible Lease Terms

Demanding flexibility in uncertain times, prospective office tenants are pushing landlords for shorter lease terms and cancellation clauses.

WATER---Thirsty for Profits

Goal: To land the contract to oversee production of the first water bottles with American flag decals to be peeled off designer labels

Leonard Pitts---It's Not the Time for Ironic Detachment

The scene is a Smokey Robinson concert in Washington. The show almost over, he returns to the stage for an encore. But instead of singing "I'll Try Something New" or "Shop Around," the bard of Motown launches into "The Star Spangled Banner." Members of hi

My Favorite Sites

This is the definitive Web site on origami, and it allows someone with no experience to learn the ancient Japanese art form. It takes you from absolute beginner to the most advanced, museum quality paper folder. It teaches you how to fold everything from is Out as Cox Cuts Struggling Units

Cox Interactive Media has decided to shut down, a Web site offering everything from local restaurant reviews to news and traffic information.


Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo doesn't shy away from discussing the facilities' checkered past, but he'd rather talk about what's to come: exhibits for reptiles and sea lions and a new discovery center

25 Largest Cities In LA

25 Largest Cities In LA

Newsmakers---Reshaped Coldwell Gets New L.A. Head

Rough times are nothing new to Scott Gibson, newly named president of Coldwell Banker/NRT's Los Angeles office.

HOLLYWOOD---Hollywood Highwire Act

Kodak Theatre: Nov. 9 with a performance by opera singer Russell Watson. Melissa Etheridge performs on Dec. 7 and 8. The American Ballet Theatre performs "The Nutcracker" from Dec. 14 to Dec. 23. Barry Manilow sings from Dec. 28 to Dec. 31

L.A. Stories

Seems new City Council President Alex Padilla has a penchant for promptness. He showed up 15 minutes early for a Business Journal interview (see page 9), a rare event for a city official.

ADVERTISING---PR Firms Fear Loss of State Campaigns

L.A.'s advertising agencies and public relations firms are nervous about losing a steady source of their revenue public awareness and education campaigns when state officials begin making budget cuts.

GAMES---Game Over for Activision Public Offering

Within a two-day span toward the end of last month, Santa Monica-based Activision pulled its public offering off the table, then initiated a 3-for-2 stock split that will take effect Nov. 20.

ATTORNEY---Race for Federal Attorney Heats Up

Background: Graduated from USC Law Center, 1974 Joined Gibson Dunn out of law school Deputy general counsel for Christopher Commission, 1991-92 Represented former Congressman Jay Kim on violations of federal campaign election laws Represented Hollywoo

AEROSPACE---Fighter Contract Lifts Northrop

For the folks who work at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s El Segundo plant, Oct. 26 was a long time coming.

It's Time to Stop Whining, L.A., and Push Our Assets

In difficult times, which are certainly upon us, people, leaders and regions show the content of their characters. Sadly, it is not certain that Los Angeles' business and political elite possess much.

NEWSPAPERS---Pressure Increases on Small Dailies as Sales Decline

Selling 3,246 fewer copies a week isn't that big a deal for a major newspaper like the Los Angeles Times. But for the Pasadena Star-News, it means an 8.5 percent drop in circulation.

GOVERNMENT---Padilla Faces Trial by Fire in Tough Year

Less than four months after being elected president of the Los Angeles City Council, 28-year-old Alex Padilla was thrust into the national spotlight as the de facto top city official in Los Angeles in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wit

WORKPLACE ---Recruiting Blues

Anderson School's Class of 2002 is finding corporate jobs harder to come by

Strategies---Reassessing Business, Personal Priorities in Downturn

If you are feeling unsettled and nervous about the future of your business, you aren't alone. Many small-business owners were feeling the effects of the slowing economy long before terrorists hijacked four jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center

Photo Ops Don't Work

If George W. Bush had a highlight reel, last week's World Series performance at Yankee Stadium would bear serious consideration. With New York on so many maximum alerts that they're running out of red lights, here's the President of the United States walk

LAYOFFS---Aluminum Plant To Be Scrapped

An aluminum company that sells aircraft components, largely to Boeing Co., is closing its local plant and laying off 163 people.

Real Estate Column---After Years Chasing Deal, Resolution in Down Market

Timing is everything. Mar Canyon Gersten LLC chased a Torrance property so long the market had turned by the time the deal closed. But then again, timing is everything. So by the time the firm is done its renovation, it's banking on the market having rebo

Weekly Briefing

There aren't too many people whose resume includes research chemistry, motorcycle maintenance and firewood retail. But those are the career paths Fred Vanacore has taken.

GIFT---Super Telescope Could Get Lift From Huge Caltech Gift

Peering through the 10-meter Keck telescopes on Hawaii's Mauna Kea is like looking through a time machine: Astronomers can see faint and distant galaxies as they were a billion and a half years after the Big Bang.

ARCHITECTURE---Plans for Huge China Tower Undeterred

As recriminations and fear over the height of the tallest buildings sweep the United States, nary a second thought seems to have been given the latest grandiose plan for downtown Beijing.

Ahead of the Curve

Aerial Art: The Anti-Gravitational Theater will be visiting the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Nov. 6 through Dec. 16 in an out-of-the ordinary show: acting aerialists and vaudevillians who fly. There are also acrobats who dance. All in a program called "Do

VENTURE---Despite Slowing, L.A. Climbs Up Venture Ranks

Venture capitalists invested $187.8 million in Los Angeles-area companies during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, a 21.4 percent decline from the previous quarter, according to Growthink Inc., a Los Angeles-based research firm.

INTERVIEW---Changing The Rules

Eliseo Medina's chance meeting with Cesar Chavez ensured he would avoid a life in the fields and put him on a path organizing workers and becoming a leading national voice

LABJ Forum---A New Hollywood Hangout?

On Nov. 9 the much-anticipated Hollywood & Highland development will be open to the public. Many Angelenos have taken a long look at the work in progress, and curiosity is likely to keep building up in the days leading up to the opening. So the Business J

POLITICS---Riordan to Show Off Latino Support at Olvera Kick-Off

On Nov. 6, after months of speculation and shadow campaigning, former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan officially kicks off his gubernatorial bid with the formal announcement of his candidacy at an Olvera Street press conference.

DOWNTOWN---Arco Towers Could Regain Their Once Proud Status

Arco Plaza, a downtown office colossus in serious decline for years, soon may re-emerge as one of the West's premier projects.

Roving Eye

Call it the 21st century version of the pet rock only you can't hold it in your hand.

CORPORATE FOCUS---Gemstar Taking a Hit From News Corp.'s DirecTV Loss

The selection of EchoStar Communications Corp. as the winning bidder for Hughes Electronics Corp. stunned many on Wall Street, but none were more surprised than shareholders of Pasadena-based Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.