Stories for April 2002

Monday, April 29

Small Business Profile: More Muscle

Powerhouse owner Derek Scharlin designs expansion plan to attract wider group of members

Long Days Are Part of a High Profile Practice

The year was 1985. James E. Blatt had roughly a decade of experience as a criminal defense attorney under his belt. But the Valley lawyer had yet to take on a particularly high-profile case. There had been few appearances on the courthouse steps be

Dudovitz Finds "Work for the People" Is Fine

The Valley's Top Lawyers

25 Attorneys at the Top of the Valley Legal Community

The Valley's Top Lawyers

Banks, Large & Small, Line Up for Latino Customers

Tiny Woodland Hills-based First Bank & Trust, like its larger banking brethren, is targeting the Latino business owner.

VALLEY FORUM: What Makes a Good Lawyer?

In this issue of the Business Journal, we recognize the top lawyers in the Valley. At the same time, it is clear that there are many different kinds of people practicing law for very different constituencies. So, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal a

Market Slowdown Delays Product Release at Vitesse

Camarillo-based semiconductor maker Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. has decided to delay release of its 10 gigabit-per-second network processor, claiming the market is too weak for the device right now.

LAFCO's Calemine to World: "No More Meetings"

Politics by Jacqueline Fox

Retail Developers Discover Santa Clarita Valley

A few years ago, you couldn't give away land for retail development north of Valencia. Today, at least 10 retail shopping centers in the Santa Clarita Valley are in some stage of development, many stretching farther and farther from the Valencia commerc

Corporate Focus: RV Hit Hard by Telecom Fallout, Luminent Buyback

Officials at struggling computer networking equipment maker MRV Communications Inc. must feel like its deja vu all over again. Declining market share and a stock price that is falling like a rock have the first quarter of 2002 looking a lot like 2001 as t

OJ Verdict Was Watershed for Justice System

The Valley's Top Lawyers

Warner Music May Consolidate Operations in Burbank

Real Estate by Shelly Garcia

Water Torture, Valley-Style, Repeats Itself 87 Years Later

COMMENTARY - From The Newsroom by Michael Hart

The Valley's Longest Practicing Attorney

The Valley's Top Lawyers


As manager of the Van Nuys Airport, Selena Birk faces challenges every day, everything from tenant needs for more space to complaints of neighbors about the noise created by early morning TV and radio helicopters trying to get commuters the latest updates

The Digest


Public Defender Works Her Way Into Interesting Cases

Rose Reglos' alarm clock goes off at 4 a.m. every morning. By 7:30 a.m. she's well into another day on the job as one of 30 Los Angeles County public defenders at the Van Nuys Superior courthouse.

One Los Angeles Questions Secession Election Plan

The panel expected to craft a resolution for a ballot initiative on secession in roughly two weeks is being pressured to delay a vote for mayor and city council of a new Valley city until after a breakup vote either passes or fails at the polls Nov. 5.

Valley Talk

The Valley's Top Lawyers

Pacific US Sells Neighborhood On Residential With Shopping

In most instances, efforts to build large commercial developments meet with cries of "too much traffic" from neighboring residents. But a proposed development in Santa Clarita passed muster, not in spite of its commercial component, but because of it.

INTERVIEW: A Fringe Decision

Mark Kernes of the Free Speech Coalition says recent Supreme Court ruling will help Hollywood, not the adult entertainment industry.

Optical Network Equipper Meets Latest Funding Target

Telecom giants are bleeding and optical networking equipment suppliers are struggling to stay afloat amidst a severe sales downturn.

Runaway Production Condundrum Only Gets Worse

Guest Column by Gregory N. Lippe, managing partner of the Woodland Hills-based firm of Lever, Lippe, Hellie & Russell LLP and chairman of the VICA Subcommittee on Runaway Film Production.

Monday, April 15

Fine Art Takes A Long Holiday

Gino: Business at his 45-year-old Tarzana art gallery is off 40 percent this year.

Phobics Face Virtual Reality to Overcome Their Fears

Therapy: Curing fears of flying, crowds and heights in a psychologist's office.

On Assignment Buys Firm, Cuts Earnings Expectations


Panavision Struggles With $300M Debt Load

Troubled movie camera-maker Panavision Inc. hopes to sell $200 million in secured notes to pay off a growing debt that has become difficult to manage.

SPOTLIGHT: Yes, They Can Hear You Now

Small Business Spotlight: Oak Park Dialect Coach builds business by helping actors and non-native English speakers communicate clearly.

Hopeful Politicians Get Serious About a New City

Politics by Jacqueline Fox

Valley Talk

While few may consider it the top contender on the list of five potential names for a new Valley city, Camelot is apparently the choice of radio disk jockeys Kevin and Bean, co-hosts of a morning show on Los Angeles-based KROQ 106.7 FM.

INTERVIEW: Business Finds a Friend in San Fernando

New San Fernando City Administrator Jose Pulido puts streamlining development process at the top of his to-do list.

The Digest


Technicolor Buys Out Its Videotape-Making Partner

Camarillo-based Technicolor Home Entertainment, a unit of Thomson Multimedia Inc., has agreed to buy out its majority partner in Southern Star Duplitek Pty. Ltd

Please Start the Recovery Without Me

From The Newsroom by Michael Hart

Small Caps Are Paying Big Returns, at Least for Now

By and large, Wall Street's recent enthusiasm for small cap stocks has been good news for the San Fernando Valley's publicly traded companies.

Broadcast News: Any Company Can Run Its Own Show

In coming months, local auto body shops will be able to get video broadcasts of industry news, educational programs and product information transmitted directly to their locations using nothing but a low-cost PC and television monitor.

Breakup Fans, Foes Interpret State Report Differently

The Secession Question: Secessionists say a report by State Controller Kathleen Connell bolsters their case that smaller is cheaper and their breakaway plan is fiscally sound.

Valley Forum: Has Runaway Film Production Hurt You?

According to a recent UCLA forecast on entertainment and the Los Angeles economy, runaway film production cost the industry almost 18,000 jobs in 2001. So, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal asks: How has the runaway film production issue affected y


Countrywide Credit Industries is reaping the benefits of the current and continuing refinancing boom.

Quarter of All Film, TV Now Shot Overseas

The impact of runaway film production on the Valley economy and the region as a whole hit a high mark in 2001, primarily because production houses stockpiled projects in anticipation of Writers and Screen Actors guild strikes that never materialized.

No-Name Center One of the Most Lucrative in Valley

A regional shopping center at Victory Boulevard and Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills is well known to retailers and shoppers alike.

Losing Kmart Is Big Gain for Mall

The decision by Kmart Corp. to close its Fallbrook Center store could be a boon for the West Hills shopping complex.

Monday, April 1

Public Storage Raises Rates And Gets a Stock Price Hike

Corporate Focus: Exceptionally strong financial performance in fiscal 2001, some clever investing strategies and a renewed interest in safe investments has sent the share price for Public Storage Inc. to near record levels.

Market Seen Softening for Warehouse Properties

Real Estate by Shelly Garcia

This Coffee Is Hot!

Small Business Profile:


When Jolene Koester decided almost two years ago that the opportunity to be president of Cal State Northridge might be worth leaving her position as provost at Cal State Sacramento for, she realized this was not the typical state university campus she was

Telecom Firms Seeing Gradual Earnings Improvement

Several local telecom suppliers in the greater San Fernando Valley showed improved results in their most recent quarters, at least compared with the prior consecutive quarter.

INTERVIEW: Taking the Test of Time

Even Errol Ginsberg's Ixia has suffered the travails of a telecom sector that is still a few quarters away from recovery.

Health Care Hikes Hit Valley Businesses Hard

Not surprisingly, most Valley business owners surveyed recently about employee health benefits say the costs of their plans have gone up since the beginning of the year.

L.A., Hahn Try to Make Secession Look Complicated

COMMENTARY: From The Newsroom by Michael Hart

VICA Begins Next Stage of Tax Reform Campaign

Business groups from the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles, along with the city's Business Tax Advisory Committee (BTAC), will huddle this week with members of the LA City Council to formally kick off their campaign to abolish the gross-r

Surgeons Look Beyond Hospital Walls for Profits

Dr. Scott A. Baden, an orthopedic surgeon, has been relatively happy with the 20-year working relationship he's had with Sherman Oaks Hospital.

Airline Antenna Maker Retools to Fit Military Specs

When sales to commercial airlines and private plane builders fell by nearly 20 percent last year, Chatsworth-based aviation antenna-maker Sensor Systems Inc. turned to the military to make up the lost revenue.

MannKind Has Postponed IPO Until Early "03

Entrepreneur and biomed pioneer Alfred E. Mann has decided to wait until early next year to take his biotech conglomerate MannKind Corp. public, despite plans for an initial public offering this summer.

Prop. Q Passage Is Complicated If Secession Succeeds

Secessionists were among the loudest opponents of Proposition Q, the police and fire bond measure narrowly approved by Los Angeles voters last month.

Louise Marquez Turned Mall Into Center of Community

About nine years ago, Diana Villafana, the principal at Chase Elementary School, came to the Panorama Mall to ask the center to adopt her school. Louise Marquez, who had just been named marketing manager, turned her down; one school would not be enough.

Check the Math, Please

Andersen Valley Partner Tony Radaich says indictment doesn't add up.

Furniture Firm Shifts Focus in Slow Economy

When the tech downturn started battering local tech companies, Pacific Office Interiors got battered right along with them.

VALLEY FORUM: What Do Accountants Tell Their Clients?

Since the downfall of Andersen has captured the headlines, the accounting profession itself is under the microscope like never before. So, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal asks local accountants: