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Sunday, May 28, 2023

L.A. stories

Feting Larry Flynt

Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt is reviled by some people as a porn king, but these days he’s an upstanding businessman as far as the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is concerned.

Hustler Hollywood, a shop that sells X-rated and PG-rated merchandise, is among five recipients of small business awards to be given by the chamber in early June.

“(Hustler Hollywood) is a small business and a unique business, and active in the chamber,” said Hillary Selvin, executive director of the chamber. “We have varied businesses in West Hollywood.”

Hustler Hollywood has even hosted a networking mixer, which some members declined to attend.

Different in Des Moines

Think taxes are high in L.A.?

Think again. In the latest nationwide tax survey put out by Runzheimer International, L.A. actually ranks No. 39 among 50 of the largest U.S. cities in total annual taxes paid as a percentage of income.

According to the survey, a typical family of four with a household income of $60,000 in L.A. pays $12,948 a year in taxes $3,500 less than New York City and $1,300 less than Chicago.

Angelenos even pay $1,000 a year less in taxes than comparable residents of Des Moines, Iowa, which was among a slew of cities that sent business recruiters to L.A. in the early 1990s to lure businesses with promises of their low-tax environments.

Still, Susan Ramsay, spokeswoman for the Greater Des Moines Partnership business group, isn’t ready to concede that L.A. is a better place to live. “Our housing costs are one-third of yours, so even at a higher tax rate, the tax bill will still be smaller,” she says.

So there.

Korean Condos

Condo developers in South Korea have found a hot new market for their dwellings L.A.’s Koreatown.

Now that a new law allows foreigners to own property in South Korea, companies like Hyundai have been running full-page ads in the local Korea Times and holding seminars in L.A. hotels to tout 500-square-foot condos in places like Seoul selling for the equivalent of $150,000 to $200,000.

Many Korean Americans who like to return home each year actually find that to be an attractive deal, considering that hotel rooms in their homeland rent for $250 a night and a cup of coffee can set them back as much as $5.

Said George Chey, who has lived in the U.S. since the 1950s and is co-founder of Hanmi Bank: “I think this will be a trend.”

Paradise Lost

In the ’60s, singer Joni Mitchell protested the trend to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. These days some folks want the parking lot back.

That’s the case in Westlake Village, where a couple of neighborhood residents have been ferociously complaining about a farmers market that routinely takes over the parking lot of a nearby strip mall.

Jennifer McColm launched the Westlake Village Farmers Market at Landing in November, to the glee of most nearby residents. But several neighbors who live just behind the strip center have been complaining ever since.

“They think it looks like a circus in their backyard,” McColm said. “My comment was, ‘As opposed to a parking lot?'”

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