Stories for February 2000

Monday, February 21

CONTEST--Nation Watches Valley Congressional

The final showdown over President Clinton's impeachment probably won't be fought in Washington, but in Glendale and the eastern San Fernando Valley during the coming race to represent the 27th Congressional district.

EYE CANDY--Does the job of much larger editing houses by taking

Ogden Bass was a freelance editor working on a project for an ad agency when he happened to see an invoice from an outside editing house.

PROP. 25--Anti-Contribution Measure Panned by Business, Labor

It's not often that state business and labor interests agree to oppose something, but both are against Proposition 25, the latest campaign finance reform initiative.

When is an Expense not an Expense?

As a general rule, it is usually in the tax payers disadvantage when the Government gets involved in what is a valid business expense and what is not a valid business expense. For example, club dues are no longer deductible thanks to the 1993 Tax Reform b

Valley Talk

While many people see the San Fernando Valley as one giant strip mall, there are others who perceive culture and history in that suburban landscape.

UPSCALE--High-End Homes in Valencia? Newhall Takes Plunge

When people think about $700,000 homes, Valencia is seldom the first location that comes to mind. But Newhall Land Co. is aiming to change that.

CARTOONS--Animation Post-Production Firm Bucks Overseas Trend

Post-production work for animated programming has virtually disappeared from the United States, with low-cost companies overseas now handling most of that time-intensive work. Also, an increasing number of animators have themselves bought digital equipmen

Personal Finance--'Couch Potato Fund' Didn't Perform Too Badly in 1999

It's that time again. Time to overcome sloth and indolence for a few moments and see how our Couch Potato portfolios did in 1999.

The Briefing

Kathy Levyn has been dancing since childhood. She was a professional jazz dancer for many years, and even traveled with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. About four years ago, Levyn decided to seek advice from a small-business consultant. With th

UNION--Huge Spate of Union Contracts Up for Renewal in 2000

Brace yourself: the largest number of L.A.-area union contracts in at least 30 years is going to be renegotiated this year, covering over 300,000 workers in L.A. County.

Bankruptcies

Chapter 7: a "straight" liquidation bankruptcy involving an appointed trustee to sell all assets by auction or other means to pay creditors and trustee fees.

The Planner

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Service Corps of Retired Executives host a two-hour seminar on starting a retail business, with tips on marketing, merchandise planning and purchasing. The workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. in the SCORE conference roo

SECEDE--Polls Show Valley Residents Support Secession Plan

A common thread running through much of the "Summit 2000" conference was disenchantment with the city of Los Angeles and the sense that maybe the San Fernando Valley would be better off breaking away from L.A.

CARS--Car Dealers Strike Gold

When Gary Hartunian opened his Nissan dealership in Mission Hills last September, prognosticators at the factory expected him to sell 70 to 80 vehicles a month.

RED LINE--Subway's Parking Snafu

The $1.3 billion extension of the Red Line subway into the San Fernando Valley has been in construction for several years and on the drawing board for more than a decade before that. So how could the new Universal City station be left with less than half

CYBERSENSE--'Big Hack Attack' Could Force Needed Net Changes

Don't worry that the "cyber-terrorists" who recently shut down sites like Yahoo, eBay and Amazon.com will come after your personal home page. There's no need to unplug your PC from the wall for fear that one of those pimple-faced assassins will turn yo

The New Way of Banking: Online

Banks use a variety of names for online banking services, such as PC banking, home banking, electronic banking or Internet banking. Regardless of the name, these systems offer certain advantages over traditional banking methods.

Newsmakers

Selena Birk was appointed acting airport manager of Van Nuys Airport. She will oversee operations, administration and noise-reduction programs. Birk was previously chief management analyst and leader of LAX's Airfield Permits Bureau.

The Digest

Walt Disney Co.'s Go.com announced a four-year agreement with eBay to develop and market online trading sites and auctions on two new Web sites. Under the agreement, eBay will ultimately become the online trading service across all of Disney's Internet pr

SUMMIT--Traffic, Available Land Seen as Key Issues in Valley

The San Fernando Valley's economy is strong and increasingly diversified, but business and political leaders must redouble their efforts to promote the region's economic development and stem the flight of businesses.

Valley Forum

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is testing subway cars in preparation for a summer opening of the Red Line extension to Universal City and North Hollywood. MTA officials expect 15,000 riders a day on the new segment. So the San Fernando Valley B

Delving Into the Small Business Financial Arena

Small businesses are getting harder to define. Annual gross sales and number of employees are no longer in lock-step. One company with six computers and eight employees can generate $50M annually, while another may need 80 employees and thousands of squ

Credit Union Adds Internet Banking to List of Services

Chatsworth-based Telesis Credit Union has announced that its members can do their banking and bill-paying via the Internet. With a new product called "e-branch," members have the ability to access all of their accounts, pay bills to virtually anyone, tra

SCHOOL REFORMER--Paula Boland

HER LONG QUEST TO FIX L.A.'S PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IS FINALLY GAINING WIDESPREAD SUPPORT, RECENTLY FORCING A STUDY OF AN LAUSD BREAKUP

Vertel Stock Jumps 800% As Its Software Takes Off

With shares of Vertel Corp. languishing below $3 for much of 1999, investors complained bitterly on Internet message boards about the company's performance.

Smaller Businesses Can Raise Capital In The Public Sector

The SEC, apparently realizing that a gap existed in the financing opportunities for smaller businesses, undertook major new initiatives to zero in on the capital needs of smaller businesses. The efforts of the SEC culminated in final rules adopted in Apri

John Laing Plans Two Housing Projects in Simi Valley

It's taken two years, but a homebuilder has finally consolidated some 32 acres of land and plans to build two residential communities.

ELECTION--A Look at Most Important Valley Races in Primary

At a recent debate of the two candidates for the 23rd state Senate district nomination from the eastern San Fernando Valley, Democratic Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl said she believes education is a top issue, but doesn't support breaking up the L.A. Unified

An Ill-Advised Decision in Time Warner-AOL Merger

That's because, in a stunningly stupid move, every last employee stock option at Time Warner Inc. became instantly exercisable the minute the board approved the media company's $153 billion acquisition by America Online Inc.

The Pacesetter--CB Richard Ellis

Skyrocketing to the top of the heap on this year's list of the top property management firms in the San Fernando Valley is CB Richard Ellis. Firms' rankings are based on the total square footage of office and retail properties they manage in the greater S

Monday, February 7

Valley Talk

Mayoral hopeful Antonio Villaraigosa was no doubt hoping for a three-peat when he arrived at Dr. Gary Gitnick's annual Super Bowl party in Encino.

Retail--Flavor of the Philippines ENTREPRENEUR HOPES TO CREATE A MAGNET RETAIL CENTER FOR FILIPINOS

Having lived in L.A. since high school, Nino Jefferson Lim speaks fluent English and feels quite at home here. But his roots are never far away. "My day is not complete without a dish of rice," said the USC graduate.

Resisting Temptation Is Only Way to Rid Web of Spam

Who doesn't want to "Earn Big $$$$$$$$$ at Home"? Or take advantage of an "AMAZING ONE TIME OFFER"? And on those dark, lonely nights when it's just you and your mouse, who wouldn't be seduced by a subtle invitation like "Get Raunchy SeXXX Now"?

Briefing

Winter can be a downer for Jerry Gonzalez, president of Valencia-based Tropical Ice Inc., a company geared to the tourist crowd and beach weather. Gonzalez's 3-year-old business sells shaved ice for $3 a pop from carts at Southern California tourist spots

Unification--Many Challenges in Uniting Municipal, Superior Courts

It's been a long time coming, but L.A.'s trial court system is about to undergo the most extensive restructuring in its 150-year history: a revamping that will be felt most by judges, but also by attorneys and hundreds of thousands of citizens.

The Digest

Woodland Hills-based 21st Century Insurance announced that its president and chief executive, William L. Mellick, resigned after 20 years with the company. Mellick said through a statement only that he planned to pursue other business and personal interes

Rebound--Lockheed Pull-Out Not Expected to Hurt Antelope Valley

Perhaps the biggest sign that the Antelope Valley is no longer completely dependent on aerospace jobs was its reaction to Lockheed Martin Corp.'s recent announcement that it would cut 800 jobs at its Palmdale plant.

California All Stars--Salsa shows produce hybrid infomercial/entertainment

Long before Ricky Martin became mainstream, Mike Rojas was selling salsa dance contests and Central American sounds to corporate America.

Firms Have No Time to Waste in Joining E-Commerce

The online newsletter, Iconocast, recently highlighted the awesome statistics that are now being projected for the online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace.

The Pacesetter

Wasserman Comden & Casselman LLP The San Fernando Valley's largest law firm, Wasserman Comden & Casselman LLP, has seen its government business increase thanks in large part to the L.A. subway.

Romance on the Road

This month's Los Angeles magazine features "A Guide to Love in Los Angeles" with 10 hot date suggestions for Valentine's Day.

Hurt

Workers' compensation insurance has always been pretty expensive. As it is, you have to pay a lot of payroll taxes and business taxes, and workers' comp adds onto that considerably. In the last six months, I've noticed it increase drastically and it does

Assist--Web Site Aims to Link Up Schools With Businesses

If there's been one major push in public schools for the last few years, it's been for more business involvement.

Offices--Tenants Flee Rundown Areas

Burdened by aging buildings, perceived high crime rates and dowdy images, a number of San Fernando Valley sites are increasingly getting left behind in the office real estate boom.

Long-Vacant Building Reanimated by Cartoon Maker

Turner Cartoon Network has leased a long-vacant building in the city for a new animation studio. The building, at Third Street and Palm Avenue, has been vacant for more than three years, since Pacific Bell consolidated its operations at another nearby f

Corporate Focus--Wellpoint Looking Healthier After September Stock Drop

News that a group of prominent attorneys planned to go after the HMO industry with class-action lawsuits caused shares of Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. to plummet at the end of September.

Hayden Eaves III--Real Estate Rebirth

Bailed out of the business during the tough times of the mid-1990s, but now the managing director of investment development services is happy to be back in the game of building office properties

Prop. 26--Measure Aims to Make It Easier to Pass School Bonds

It's no secret that California has a shortage of classroom space for its burgeoning school-age population. Add to that the overwhelming desire among politicians, parents and teachers for smaller class sizes and you have a school building shortage that has

Economy--Data to Help Plan Future Of the Valley

The Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley is unveiling what officials say is a warts-and-all look at the Valley that businesses can use to explore market trends and elected leaders can use to set public policy.

Survey--Business Owners See Rosy Future

San Fernando Valley business owners are optimistic about their prospects for growth, with about half of those responding to a new survey saying they plan to increase jobs over the next two years.

Disney--Troubled Disney Stores Unit Said to Be on the Rebound

Executives at Walt Disney Co. aren't thanking Santa Claus for their happy holidays. Instead, they're grateful to Regis Philbin and Buzz Lightyear.

California Should Revive the Apprenticeship System

Policy analysts have rushed to embrace the high-tech future for California employment. Yet, in this rush, our state's need for quality work in low-tech jobs often has been overlooked.

Internet--Internet Pioneer Kleinrock Sets Sights on DSL Service

Leonard Kleinrock, credited as being one of the founders of the Internet, is now on a mission to bring high-speed Internet access to hotel rooms and apartments.

Most Americans Not Seeing The Benefits of Stock Boom

Television news thought it was a big deal: We're all richer, newscasters said, citing the newly released findings from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances.

The Planner NEWS, NOTES & EVENTS IN THE VALLEY

The Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley holds its annual economic summit, with this year's theme "Harnessing the Power of Information." The summit runs from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Universal Hotel & Towers, 555 Universal Terrace Parkway, Unive