Was Michael Eisner testy during last week’s contentious annual shareholder’s meeting for the Walt Disney Co.?
You be the judge:
Eisner was verbally flayed by shareholders for several hours during the commentary portion of the meeting. Speakers expressed outrage at his enormous compensation package, which will award him stock options and bonuses worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the next decade.
They also were none too forgiving for his decision to hire Michael Ovitz as Disney president; Ovitz lasted only 14 months on the job before leaving with a severence package valued at over $90 million.
After nearly five hours, perhaps the longest shareholder meeting in Disney history, Eisner was trying to break off a question-and-answer session and end the meeting. Hecklers booed when he announced adjournment.
“What do you need a bonus to stay at the meeting?” shouted one heckler.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” Eisner snapped before walking away from the podium.
Political scientist Raphael J. Sonenshein, a well-known observer of L.A.’s social fabric, has been named as executive director of the Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission the group formed by the L.A. City Council to review the city’s 71-year-old charter.
Sonenshein was praised by interim director Linda Griego for “his obvious expertise, his visionary qualities, his down-to-earth practical approach and his ability to work with diverse groups in the city.”
But there is one area where Sonenshein falls short: He neither lives nor works in the City of Los Angeles.
The 47-year-old resident of Santa Monica has taught at Cal State Fullerton since 1982.
In his defense, Sonenshein said he lived within L.A. city limits for years before moving to Santa Monica, wrote a book on L.A. politics and even played third base on a City Hall softball team, the “City Haulers.”
“I feel very much like an honorary L.A. resident,” he said.
But then, perhaps being an L.A. resident isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When former Mayor Tom Bradley’s final term expired in 1993, he promptly moved to the unicorporated View Park area outside the L.A. city limits.
It was enough to make an aging rocker smile.
To celebrate the grand re-opening of the West Hollywood Hyatt on Sunset Boulevard, management last week turned the infamous building’s 10th floor into a mock time machine, styling various rooms to represent past decades in the hotel’s history.
In Room 1001, a curtain of plastic beads spread out to reveal a woman portraying very convincingly a spaced-out hippie chick in headband, bikini-top and bellbottoms admonishing “Peace!”
Across the hall in the 1980s’ suite, two leather-clad women straddled a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a room where the beds had been upturned, a charcoal barbecue glowed ominously on the floor and posters of heavy metal bands adorned the walls. A few doors down, a Diana Ross-type crooned soul and torch songs next to a Martini bar.
The Halloween-like atmosphere was the Hyatt’s attempt to remind patrons about the rock ‘n’ roll history of what was once known as the “Riot Hyatt.”
Though the hotel hopes to attract guests by promoting its history, management says rocker guests had better think twice about trashing the $3.5 million in room renovations. “They’re welcome to stay here, but they’d better behave,” warned one sales manager.
At a press conference in Santa Monica last week, Gov. Pete Wilson said his trip to China last month provided him a first-hand look at the problem of enforcing U.S. intellectual property rights in Asia.
During a stop in Beijing, China’s deputy minister for trade guaranteed Wilson that the Chinese government is making valiant efforts at cracking down on piracy, including shutting down several pirating factories in the Guangdong province. But the minister also told Wilson that enforcement is difficult.
“He’s right, that’s perfectly true,” Wilson said. “And to make the point, as we walked back to our hotel, I was swarmed by people trying to sell me hot CD-ROMs.” (“Hot” as in illegal, not as in really fun.)
Wilson’s proposed solution: “I think perhaps what we need is to have some Blockbuster franchises in the Guangdong province,” he said.