Stories for February 2002
Monday, February 25
LAW: plus Sun Setting Aside Managing Duties For Lawsuit Work
Real Estate Column by Danny King
M.D. Sweeney has turned a bug for comedy from his college days into a theater where aspiring comics hone their skills preparing for bigger stages
Weekly Column by David Greenberg
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HMO Backlash Seeking Alternatives: When it came time a year ago to renew their health insurance with Kaiser Permanente, executives at Matteo LLC, a small downtown Los Angeles manufacturer of luxury linens, had second thoughts.
HMO Backlash Seeking Alternatives: As employers scramble to find ways to cut health care costs by trying new plans offered by insurers, there's a little-known state effort that could lead to far more radical change.
Entrepreneur's Notebook by Stephen Xavier
Two of the area's largest advertising agencies are gambling that the lottery can help pull them though an industry-wide slump that has forced others to lay off workers or close up shop.
Apple Computer Inc. is forbidden fruit on the Westside at least for now.
Consolidation among foreign distributors and the sluggish international economy have thinned the crowds at the world's largest film market ending this week in Santa Monica.
Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo
Back in 1997, the heyday of dot-coms, Joe Shapira was one of those lonely Internet entrepreneurs whose ideas could not lure the scads of available venture capital.
If it's do or die time for producer Jorge Saralegui, you wouldn't know it from his body language. His legs are draped over the arm of a green leather chair in his modest office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank
The first significant moves in the complicated dance over insurance claims resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be made in the next few weeks as depositions are taken in Westfield Corp.'s suit against World Trade Center insurers.
Media News by Claudia Peschiutta
Andy Schuon heads a record industry-backed effort to head off peer-to-peer Internet music swapping
It's been an interesting time for news lately. From Enron to the Olympics, not to mention the war on terrorism, most Americans have been paying close attention to current events. But here in California, and Los Angeles in particular, several political rac
Primary 2002: Backers of a bond measure to upgrade and expand police and fire facilities hope that increased public concern for safety prompted by Sept. 11 will boost their campaign despite the failure of similar such measures twice before.
Summary of this Week's List
The Church of Scientology is behind in real estate tax payments and faces the forced sale of two Hollywood properties.
Primary 2002: Republican Battle for Gubernatorial Nomination Tightens as Vote Nears; A tight Republican gubernatorial primary election heats up in advance of the March 5 vote.
Another local fiber optic cable business is up and running, but Altrio Communications is banking on slow growth to avoid pitfalls.
Summary of this week's List.
The Palmdale plant of SR Technics, a commercial airline maintenance facility that just last year had lofty expansion goals, will shut down if a buyer isn't found by March 15, company officials said.
Technology Column by Christopher Keough
People in the News
Idealab, badly battered after the Internet crash, is now setting its sights on what some consider a similarly challenging sector: robotics.
Azusa, long a working-class community with older, inexpensive housing stock, is trying to change its image. And with $1 million homes currently under construction in one section of the city, it may just succeed.
A booming aerospace market and an influx of upwardly mobile Latino families are driving up home prices along the fringe of South Central Los Angeles and in the Antelope Valley at a pace greater than gains seen in the rest of the county.
Comment by Mark Lacter
The City of Los Angeles took in $14.7 million from its most recent business tax amnesty initiative, well short of the $20 million goal city officials had set.
Primary 2002: The Business Journal interviewed the three Republican candidates for governor last week to get their views about the waning days of the campaign and their stands on business and economic issues. The interviews, which were conducted by staff
Daily Journal Corp. is known for its legal newspapers and magazines. But a good part of the L.A. company's efforts are now being focused on software development and that's resulting in the loss of millions of dollars.
Primary 2002: Two years after California voters approved a $2 billion bond measure for parks and open space acquisition, voters are being asked to approve another $2.6 billion bond measure on the March 5 ballot Proposition 40 for much the same thing.
Monday, February 18
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: The Players; a look at those with key roles at Global Crossing.
An end appears to have come to the months of legal squabbles over control of J2 Communications, owner of the National Lampoon brand.
Lower interest rates and a surprisingly buoyant housing market got many troubled homeowners off the hook in 2001, driving loan defaults in L.A. County to a 10-year low.
Architectural firm builds a reputation as it supports health care facilities faced with seismic upgrades, planning tasks
The Los Angeles Newspaper Group has eliminated entertainment sections for individual papers.
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: Focus on the wrong set of numbers helped lead many an investor astray.
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: At an asking price of $1.4 billion, Global Crossing's 100,000-mile fiber-optic network is either the bargain of the century or the most rapidly devalued product since the Pony Express.
After a six-month wait, L.A. Mayor James Hahn is close to announcing Jonathan Kevles as his selection for the administration's top business post, knowledgeable sources told the Business Journal.
Less than two months after taking over operations of Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center, the Daughters of Charity Health System is signaling that it's not afraid to take on Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Now that Viacom Inc. has snapped up L.A.'s last independent VHF station and created yet another local television duopoly the waiting game begins.
Opinion by GORDON BAVA, chairman of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
Searching for ways to close the gap on an estimated $100 billion backlog of transportation projects throughout the state, legislative leaders earlier this year got a little creative.
A big-box store might be a threat to some communities, but to the southwest section of Paramount, it's the best thing that's happened in years.
The Milken Institute and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. will team up to study and then offer recommendations on the Los Angeles County economy.
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: Insiders at Global Crossing Ltd. sold billions of dollars worth of shares over the course of the company's three-and-a-half year run, from public offering to last month's Chapter 11 filing.
In jittery markets, investors shoot first and ask questions later. This appears to be the case with Overture Services Inc., the paid-search service whose stock fell into a tailspin two weeks ago, but somehow fired back.
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: In 1996, AT & T; Corp. decided to dump some dud assets, including a unit that laid telecom cables under the ocean. Financier Gary Winnick and partners at his Beverly Hills investment firm, Pacific Capital Group, decided to
Dodger President Bob Graziano, a 17-year team veteran, faces pressure from all sides as he seeks to build a winner on both the field and at the bottom line
Despite all the talk about a new economy and technology changing the world, there's one old-fashioned marketing tool that's still around Yellow Page advertising.
Latest news in Real Estate; Weekly Column
Just in time for this spring's World Cup in Japan and Korea, JAMDAT Mobile Inc. has inked a deal with software publishing giant Electronic Arts Inc. to deliver a World Cup 2002 game for mobile phones.
Bisou Bisou, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer and retailer of trend-setting clothing, has decided to close eight of its 19 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.
In the wake of poor early test results, the Air Force has pulled the plug on Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Miniature Air-Launched Decoy program, dealing a blow to the company's status as the industry leader in unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: Winnick, now under fire for his role in the collapse of Global Crossing Ltd. is a man who has amply demonstrated both his generosity in giving away millions of dollars and his ego in making sure he is recognized for d
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: Many smaller investors lost life savings when the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
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My Favorite Web sites - Steve Nissen, Partner, Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP
The Rise & Fall of Global Crossing: Nell Minow, editor of watchdog Web site The Corporate Library, says Global Crossing was plagued by "chaos at the top."
Post-production services company Moviola Inc. has purchased a competitor.
Televangelist Pat Robertson has struck a deal to sell a portion of the Powerine Refinery site in Santa Fe Springs to an Irvine-based developer.
The landmark workers' compensation package just signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis does more than raise benefits for injured workers. It makes sweeping changes to the workers' compensation system, reforms intended to offset the rise in benefits costs for
Opinion by author and columnist, EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON
Oscar nominations are out and the entertainment press hasn't wasted any time playing up the competition between the various nominees. After Sept. 11, though, some folks might have lost their appetites for what could, under normal circumstances, be deemed
When a Nebraska judge one Friday last December declared that all bail bonds from Amwest Insurance Group Inc. would be insolvent in two days, 100,000 criminal defendants nationwide suddenly faced the prospect of being hauled back to jail.
Commentary by Mark Lacter:
After a record-setting year for container traffic, the Port of Los Angeles is going ahead with a controversial $153 million plan to dredge its main channel in the hopes of attracting oversized container ships that have begun to flood the market.
KCRW-FM (89.9) raised a record $1.8 million during its annual winter subscription drive that ended last week.
As the California and U.S. economies gird for more job losses this year, Orange County is projected to grow its employment base by about 1 percent, an extra 9,000 to 16,000 jobs, depending on who you ask.
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Opinion by KATHLEEN PARKER, columnist with the Orlando Sentinel
The stairway leading up to the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland complex is called Awards Walk. But merchants whose stores line that area have their own name for it: the "Corridor of Death."
The Historic Core Business Improvement District has become the second downtown BID to settle a complaint that it violated the civil rights of area homeless.
The tussle between L.A. City Councilmembers Nick Pacheco and Jan Perry over the redistricting of downtown council seats has been depicted by some as a referendum about which ethnic community has the strongest ties to downtown.
Monday, February 11
These past two years have seen the fall of the New Economy and a return to traditional business fundamentals. The buzz words have changed: No longer is B-to-B, B-to-C or P-to-P guaranteed to secure funding or company valuation. The dot-com hype is gone, a
Euniverse Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Brad Greenspan said he isn't walking away from L90 Inc., even as he watches eUniverse shares take a beating as a result of its deal to acquire a business under SEC investigation.
Weekly Column: People in the News
Telemundo Communications Group Inc. is quietly making management changes at its local television stations, KVEA-TV (Channel 52) and KWHY-TV (Channel 22) as the network gets a strong early challenge by the TeleFutura network, a product of rival Univision
Motorists who were expecting relief from the worsening traffic congestion on the Long Beach (710) Freeway once the Alameda Corridor opens this April are in for a nasty surprise.
As fire sales go, this one's a scorcher. A letter of intent filed in bankruptcy court last week calling for Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and Singapore Technologies Telemedia to buy a 79 percent equity stake in Global Crossing Ltd. for $750 million translates to
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CORPORATE FOCUS: Its first time up to bat, Chatsworth-based radiopharmaceutical developer North American Scientific Inc. (Nasdaq: NASI) hit a solid single with brachytherapy seeds used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Business taxes in Los Angeles remain the highest in the state, potentially handicapping the city's retention and development efforts, according to an annual tax rate survey released this week by Kosmont Cos., a real estate consulting firm.
After leaving post of speaker, Assemblyman Robert Hertzberg still faces budget, other big battles.
Officials of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences want to host the Emmy Awards at a theater planned to be developed next to the Staples Center downtown but only if a major hotel and ballroom are part of the project
A slumping economy did nothing to squeeze the pocketbooks of partners at L.A.'s largest law firms, which saw both revenues and profits per partner climb in 2001.
Niche: Ariella Lehrer's Legacy Interactive has eschewed shoot 'em up games to pursue a smaller market. After a couple fitful starts, Ariella Lehrer is on a roll with her life-based computer simulation games, including licensing rights to a major TV show.
Overshadowed by Old Pasadena, its neighbor to the west, merchants in this pedestrian-friendly shopping, restaurant district seem content to be second. Mom and pop establishments, not chain stores, give Old Town Monrovia its character and local businessp
Thomas & Betts Corp. will close its South Gate facility this month as part of a company-wide restructuring effort expected to save the electrical components manufacturer $45 million to $50 million annually.
After nearly three decades in its namesake Bay Area town, jazz label Concord Records will move its headquarters this spring to Beverly Hills.
Shares of pay-per-click Internet search engine Overture Services Inc. had a tumultuous two days last week when the loss of Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. as a client apparently spooked investors.
The union representing workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is signaling that it will agree to early negotiations on a new three-year contract as a July 1 deadline looms.
Now that L.A. Mayor James Hahn has announced he will not support the reappointment of Police Chief Bernard Parks to another five-year term, the city is in for an extended period of political wrangling involving factions within and outside City Hall.
Alfred Mann had to have seen this coming. Mann is co-chief executive and chairman of Valencia-based Advanced Bionics Inc., which has sued Medical Research Group for reneging on a contract to develop a neural pump.
Letters to the Editor
POLITICS: With the registration deadline for the March 5 primary next Tuesday, (Feb. 19), there's still confusion about cross-over voting in partisan primary races.
Comment by Mark Lacter: "As expected, all hell has broken loose among African American activists, who called it a betrayal to the black voters who got Hahn elected just a few months back."
Awards Event Announcements
Weekly Column - Past Week Summary and Upcoming News. Register or Sign On to view now. It's FREE!
Citing higher crime rates and slipping morale, Mayor James Hahn last week said he would not support the bid by L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks for a second five-year term. The move sparked outrage from some in the African-American community, which had sta
Pueblo Corp., a Century City-based company that was selling an affinity card to Latino consumers in Southern California, last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A wireless communications company spun off from Raytheon Co. has raised $22.5 million, demonstrating that substantial pots of venture capital are available for certain types of projects.
The athletes in Salt Lake City aren't the only ones going for the gold. KNBC-TV (Channel 4) has a major head start in the February sweeps as the local television station for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Craig Realty Group has entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement to purchase the Citadel Factory Stores and adjoining office buildings from City of Commerce for about $50 million.
Real Estate: TrizecHahn Corp., which has announced a years-long plan to exit the retail property business, is looking at a faster exit for one of its local developments.
Favorite Websites of Rob Eshman, Editor-in-chief, The Jewish Journal. Register or Sign On to view. It's FREE!
For the first time in its five years of operation, L.A. Care Health Plan has fined a subcontractor for allegedly violating its regulations.
Calendar of Convention dates, Feb 11 - March 10
Ever since California voters enacted term-limits in 1990, there have been periodic attempts to modify them, to no avail. Now, a coalition of elected officials and business, labor and civic leaders is trying again, with a measure on the March 5 primary bal
The campus of St. Francis Career College is not much to look at. Stuffed into the fifth floor of a medical office building in Lynwood, the school for nurses and health care technicians has desks crammed in odd spots, paint chipping off the wall, and plain
Accounting has always been an obtuse art and in the case of Global Crossing Ltd., a seemingly simple determination in how to measure cash flows can be interpreted in any number of ways.
In order to attract more business and conventions to L.A., the city may end up owning a new hotel.
MEDIA NEWS; The nation's largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster is searching for someone to oversee its L.A. operation following the recent departure of veteran Bob Visotcky. ... and More
As the push for San Fernando Valley secession started to heat up last summer, L.A. Mayor James Hahn announced his own plans for keeping the city together. His strategy was highlighted in November with the formation of his political action committee, L.A.
Monday, February 4
Business and construction industry groups have joined local governments in seeking to overturn new storm water runoff regulations that they contend would unnecessarily stifle the region's development including a possible ban on grading during the rainy
With a federal judge about to name a lead plaintiff in the numerous class action suits against Enron Corp., the University of California system, out $145 million in the massive collapse, finds itself at a crossroads.
The longtime director of KPFK-FM (90.7) was placed on administrative leave by the Pacifica Foundation following a month of changes at the troubled radio network.
Yes, Global Crossing Ltd. used some questionable accounting tactics. And its founders cashed in on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock when the company still looked like a new-economy powerhouse.
While President Bush's approval rating still looks cushy, the continuing saga of Enron must be causing some unease. Polls show that many Americans, even Republicans, believe that the White House is not disclosing some of its dealings with the energy compa
Two-year-old ForSight Creations has boosted its profile by landing some of the premier signage assignments in L.A.
Santa Monica independent producer and distributor Regent Entertainment is the latest entertainment company to create a division dedicated solely to gay and lesbian fare.
After more than five years of supporting efforts to reform the city of L.A.'s labyrinthine business tax code, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association has decided it's better to throw out the whole thing and start over.
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Heading down the home stretch of the Republican gubernatorial primary, former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan is way out in front, both in the polls and in fundraising.
Faced with a downturn in convention bookings and a shrinking budget, the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau is an organization with problems.
Commentary by Mark Lacter
Entrepreneur's Notebook by Sharon Berman
Global Crossing Ltd.'s major creditors have hit a long-dreaded crossroads. After last week's announcement of plans to sell a controlling equity stake to two affiliated Asian companies for $750 million made in conjunction with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy fil
Stamps.com Inc., once mentioned in the same breath with eToys Inc. as a prime example of the misplaced enthusiasm for unproven Internet business models, is now promising a profit.
Larry Flynt hasn't turned in his chips yet. The Hustler publisher recently lost his case in San Francisco Superior Court over the right to add slot machines and house gambling games at his two Gardena venues, Hustler Casino and Normandie Casino.
Spotlight on Sherman Oaks
Douglas Furniture of California LLC has notified the state that it will lay off 165 employees and move a large portion of its manufacturing to Tijuana.
TrizecHahn Corp.'s announcement that it was taking a $217 million write-down on its Hollywood & Highland project has some real estate experts suspecting that the developer might want to unload the property sooner than planned.
Weekly Briefing by David Greenberg
Former Assemblyman Martin Gallegos steps into new state position as head of Patient Advocate office.
Corporate Focus by Anthony Palazzo: In declaring bankruptcy, Global Crossing Ltd. left an orphan Asia Global Crossing Ltd., operator of Global Crossing's undersea fiber-optic system to Asia.
Favorite Website by Lee Marc, founder & managing director, resumerabbit.com
While the Department of Justice holds up the major studios' plans to offer video-on-demand, Intertainer Inc. has extended its reach to 300,000 customers and rounded up another $15 million to help foot the bill.
The Port of Los Angeles has been grabbing market share from other West Coast ports as cost pressures force shippers to decrease the amount of cargo going to smaller destinations.
The Northeast San Fernando Valley has one of the highest concentrations of unskilled, low-wage earners in Los Angeles County, many of whom have been affected by the decline in manufacturing jobs over the last few years, as well as more recent cuts by hote
Guest Commentary By LEONARD PITTS
Nimble community newspapers ride out publishing industry woes.
Through his Patina Group, which was acquired three years ago by Restaurant Associates, Splichal is sinking $3.1 million into his newest downtown L.A. restaurant at 801 S. Figueroa St. It's called Zucca, which means "pumpkin" in Italian.
Letters to the Editor
Federal funding for a proposed $400 million federal courthouse in downtown L.A. could be delayed by a year or more due to budget concerns.
Pacific Theatres and developer OliverMcMillan LLC will increase the size of a theater complex at Culver City's Town Center in an effort to pick up more customers from Westwood and Century City where a number of movie houses are closing.
Gov. Gray Davis, state Sen. President John Burton, D-San Francisco, and state labor leaders have agreed to a $2.5 billion hike in workers' compensation benefits paid out by employers to injured workers.
Looking to alleviate the massive gridlock of trucks entering the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a Web-based scheduling system will be installed by terminal operators to spread out container pickup times.
As if it weren't bad enough that Los Angeles County faces a $700 million annual deficit in its health department operations, the cost of seismically retrofitting its hospitals is now coming in.
Real Estate: While it's business as usual at the 700,000-square-foot office project, which is scheduled for completion mid-2003, questions surround the stability of its two anchor tenants Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and International Lease Financing Corp.
The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center put E Team on the map when it thrust Walton and his Canoga Park company's Web-based emergency management software into a must-perform operation.