Welfare team

California Gov. Pete Wilson last week announced the creation of a “Job Action Team” to develop ways the state can help create jobs for the estimated 600,000 people leaving public assistance over the next three years.

The team will be co-chaired by Atlantic Richfield Co. chairman Mike Bowlin, Pacific Telesis Co. chairman Phil Quigley and Maryles Casto, chairman of Sunnyvale-based Casto Travel.

“I’m pleased to announce the formation of a ‘Job Action Team’ leaders from a broad cross-section of California businesses, both large and small, who will take a hard look at the challenges presented by welfare reform,” Wilson said in a statement.

The team will address the issues of creating more job opportunities for welfare recipients, identifying ways to prepare welfare recipients for the workplace and developing ways to improve job placement.

The team is expect to present recommendations to Wilson in early May.

Other members of the team include Tom McKernan, president and chief executive officer of the Auto Club of Southern California; Jamesina (Jai) Henderson, executive director of the California African-American Museum; and Beny Alagem, chairman, president and CEO of Packard Bell NEC Inc.

Cosco defense

After months of silence, the highly secretive China Ocean Shipping Co., or Cosco, finally spoke up last week. In a rare public statement, the Chinese government-owned shipping company defended plans by the Port of Long Beach to build the company a new container terminal on the site of the former Long Beach Naval Station.

Those plans have been mired in controversy, with opponents including a pair of U.S. congressmen arguing that the Chinese government could use the facility for espionage or smuggling.

“Cosco is a business group that engages in justified international activities and has been involved in shipping between China and the United States since 1979, acting in accordance with international practices,” the statement said.

Cosco went on to accuse opponents of the facility of harboring “ulterior motives,” and said the allegations “have gravely injured the reputation” of the company.

Cosco is the port’s fastest-growing tenant, reponsible for transporting 25 percent of the goods traded between the U.S. and China.

No deal

Santa Anita Cos., parent of the companies that own and operate the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia and other real estate, confirmed last week that it has terminated its tentative agreement with prospective buyer Colony Capital Inc.

With the termination, Santa Anita paid Colony, a Century City-based real estate investment firm, a $4 million break-up fee and $500,000 in related expenses.

Colony and Santa Anita had come to terms last August on a deal that would have given Colony control of Santa Anita Operating Co. and Santa Anita Realty Enterprises, which trade in tandem on the New York Stock Exchange.

Then in October, a group called Koll Arcadia Investors made a rival bid, claiming Colony’s proposal was inadequate.

Colony and Santa Anita revised their agreement in January after the bidding increased the stock price beyond the value of the original Colony proposal.

Then last month, the Colony and Koll Arcadia groups collectively proposed a new recapitalization plan that would distribute $230 million to Santa Anita shareholders while leaving the bidders with a collective 70 percent stake and a majority of seats on the board of directors.

However, Santa Anita management had not accepted the Colony offer before Colony’s unilateral deadline the close of business on Friday, March 28. The Colony/Koll Arcadia group withdrew from the bidding at that time.

The previous day, Santa Anita announced it was reviewing offers from other bidders, which it declined to identify.

Santa Anita said it would charge the break-up fee against its earnings for the quarter ended March 31, which amounted to $8.1 million (72 cents a share).

Animator shortage

A severe shortage of skilled workers in the animation and digital special effects industries was confirmed by a study released last week by the Public Affairs Coalition of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which predicts that demand for these employees will continue to grow.

The study identified a single skill common to nearly every job in the exploding animation field: the ability to draw.

The purpose of the AMPTP study was to focus on 30 animation occupations and identify their specific demands and shared skills. It was commissioned by an organization called SkillsNet, a public-private partnership created in 1996 by business leaders in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley to address the continuing need for skilled workers in the multimedia industry.

“The bad news is that right now, many companies especially those in film and television are going overseas to fill (animation and digital effects positions) because they can’t find enough talented artists here,” said AMPTP Vice President Kathleen Milnes. “Why? One of the reasons is that 20 years ago we cut art classes from the K-12 academic curriculum.”


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors postponed a hearing April 1 to consider plans to redevelop portions of Marina del Rey.

The issue was rescheduled for April 15 because a consultant for the Dept. of Beaches and Harbors could not attend the public hearing. The “asset management strategy plan” will provide a blueprint to spruce up the marina, including new museums and redevelopment projects.

By Brad Berton, Larry Kanter, Daniel Taub, Douglas Young and Joe Bel Bruno

No posts to display