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Planting Flag in Pacific Palisades

Soon after businessman Jake Steinfeld became honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades, friends at a party joked that one of his first acts should be to invade Malibu.

He immediately replied, “If we’re going to invade Malibu, we have to have a flag.”

While the invasion never happened, he liked the idea of a flag and so commissioned a contest for residents to design one.

Now as his three-year term winds to a close Dec. 31 he looks back on the creation of the flag as one of his proudest achievements.

Steinfeld, who is chairman of the Body by Jake brand, founder of Major League Lacrosse and also an actor with a string of film and TV credits, said, “I always believed if you want to bring people together for a common cause you should do it in a fun way.”

The idea attracted 250 entries and the winning design, voted for by residents, was of a blue, leaping dolphin. The flag can be now be seen all over Pacific Palisades.

Other highlights of his years in office include choosing the neighborhood’s scariest house on Halloween, riding in the Fourth of July parade and crowning Mr. and Mrs. Pacific Palisades.

Voltage Shocker

Orthopedic surgeon Leonel Hunt learned the hard way that when conducting business from afar, details can get lost in translation.

Hunt, 43, and brother neurosurgeon Gabriel, 44, both doctors at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, have been upgrading a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – adding an emergency room, intensive care unit and operating rooms – for the past couple of years. That means periodic trips to Africa and weekly phone calls to discuss loads of supplies being shipped there.

The Hunts recently sent the hospital about 50 intravenous pumps but later got an email saying none of them worked.

“What do you mean? They’re practically brand-new,” Leonel Hunt said he wrote back, confused and flustered.

But when his brother made a trip to the hospital last month, Gabriel Hunt discovered that the pumps just needed to be converted to a different voltage.

“We were about to throw away 50 pumps and thousands of dollars because they weren’t using a converter,” said Leonel Hunt, laughing.

In the end, he was happy there was a simple fix. And the Hunts learned they have to be explicit about things that might seem intuitive.

“It’s frustrating at times, but you can’t get upset,” Leonel Hunt said. “It’s the first (hospital) of its kind in the country. We take things for granted.”

Staff reporters Carol Lawrence and Marni Usheroff contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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