Stories for November 2008

Friday, November 28

Galleria, Americana make up

Despite previous battles, shopping centers are teaming up to attract more business to stores.

Camarillo business markets coating that repels graffiti

Defense against taggers

CB Richard Ellis feels industry's pain

The world's largest commercial real estate services company has seen its profit and stock price drop as it suffers along with property owners and landlords.

Lancaster assesses 20-year growth plan

Public offered three options; review, comment requested

Wednesday, November 26

Pratt & Whitney Acquires Rocket Parts Manufacturer

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne completed its purchase of a supplier of propellant tanks and pressure vessels for the space and missile industry.

Home prices keep plunging; L.A. sees some of the sharpest declines

Third-quarter figures show a 27.6% drop compared with a year earlier. Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco are also hit hard.

Planning panel recommends OK of Costco in Newbury Park

Plan will now go before the City Council

Labor: Doctor-excused Absences may Equal Protected Leave Request

A ruling by the California Court of Appeal has employers looking at terminations based on unexcused leaves of absence.

3 new reports reveal battered economy

Consumer spending falls, orders to U.S. factories plummet and jobless claims remain at recessionary levels.

Valley Home Sales Doubled, Median Price Increased in October

The number of homes sold in the San Fernando Valley in October was twice that of October 2007, according to the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University Northridge.

Residents oppose cellular antenna

They approach City Council with their concerns and feel it doesn't belong in their neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 25

Poizner Speaking at VICA Event

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner will give the keynote address at the 59th annual meeting of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association.

New water rates aim to promote conservation

PALMDALE - A new rate structure could influence Palmdale Water District customers to cut back on their water use: At least that's what agency board members hope.

Power-One in Licensing Deal

Power conversion supplier Power-One Inc. has licensed its digital power technology patents to a manufacturer of integrated circuits.

AIG adopts exec compensation, bonus restrictions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ American International Group is limiting how much it pays its executives, including granting a $1 annual salary for this year and next year to its Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy.

Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Van Nuys

A runway at Van Nuys Airport is re-opened after an emergency landing of a Cessna 310 prop plane experiencing a nose gear problem.

Auto industry slowdown creates vehicle backup at port

Delivery of new cars stalled

Monday, November 24

CPAs Facing New Tax Policy

Obama Election Will Result in Big Changes

Something Good Will Come Out of This

Editor Jason Schaff finds a silver lining to this economic downturn

CSUN Economic Research Center Chief Retiring

CSUN Economic Research Center Economist Dan Blake is retiring.

VEDC Seeing More Loan Requests

The VEDC is dealing with a big jump in loan applications.

Website Duo Want to Know: What's in Your Head?

Reporter Mark R. Madler writes about what's bubbling at Sodahead.com

Economist Gives Optimistic Report For Santa Clarita

The Santa Clarita Valley will avoid a severe recession and see stabilization in its real estate market next year

Burbank Developer Not Wasting Time on Sale of Condos

Reporter Linda Coburn on a major builder auction

The News Business

Daily News Editor Carolina Garcia

Newhall Land Bankruptcy Impact Still Unknown

Newhall Land and Farming bankruptcy has people on edge.

Meal and Rest Period Obligations in a State of Flux

Guest columnist Richard Rosenberg on wage-hour regulations

Instead of Taking Antacids, Now He's Making Them

An antacid user turns into an antacid maker

VALLEY, L.A. COUNTY ECONOWATCH

Charts of Economic Indicators, Real Estate, Tourism...

Santa Clarita Named Top City for Business by LAEDC

Santa Clarita named Most Business Friendly City by the LAEDC

Ixia Expands into Latin American Market

Performance test systems provider Ixia has expanded into the Latin American market by signing a distribution agreement with a Brazilian company.

NoHo 14 Starts Leasing but Another JSM Project Falters

JSM begins leasing its apartment tower but faces other challenges

A November Ritual We Can Do Without

Marty Cooper writes about the impact fires have on the Southland

Opportunity in Adversity

Guest columnist Larry Cohen advises on seizing opportunities in a faltering economy

Still a Lot of Fight Left in THQ

THQ sales have dropped when the industry overall is up.

Actors Edging Closer to Strike?

The Screen Actors Guild will ask its membership for a strike authorization after a round of mediated negotiations with the Hollywood studios failed to break the deadlock over a new contract.

Palmdale Takes Over LAWA Airport Lease

The City of Palmdale will take over the lease of the terminal, parking lot and taxiways at Palmdale Airport.

VALLEY BIZ SEEN

A reader-driven feature: photographs of Valley business people being feted, awarded, commended or just taking part in interesting regional events.

Piracy on Agenda When Mainstream, Adult Industries Meet

Free Speech Coalition event on piracy including mainstream studio execs

Hip Hop Beverage Corp. Honored at Chamber Gala

The Regional Black Chamber holds its annual gala.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

A look at the people, places and things that make our valleys tick.

Food Group Helps Vendors Learn to Market Products

A vendor networking group.

Printing in Green

Green Print Alliance is Chromatic's new venture

Friday, November 21

SAG, Studios Back to Talking

Talks were expected to resume Nov. 21 between the Screen Actors Guild and the major Hollywood studios over a new contract.

Walgreens construction begins

Project has been delayed since 2002. Official hope it will be done by the end of July.

U.S. has 'big job ahead'

900 in audience; several protesters stand outside at Paulson appearance

Bailout door for automakers still open

Leaders in Congress agree to revisit the matter next month but want detailed plans on how the aid would be used.

Alpert Named as DWP Board President

Lee Kanon Alpert, a San Fernando Valley attorney, has been appointed as the president of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners.

Ixia Buying Back Stock

The Ixia board of directors approved a stock repurchase program of up to $25 million, the company announced.

Thursday, November 20

Schwarzenegger Among Signees of Climate Action Agreement

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined 26 leaders from six countries in signing a declaration acknowledging the threats of global warming on natural resources and economic prosperity.

Image Sold in $100 Million Deal

Image Entertainment Inc. has been acquired by a new media and investment group in a deal worth $100 million.

Wednesday, November 19

City: Complex would boost funds

But Atwater Village residents say the mixed-use facility would make traffic in the area worse.

Price of Southern California homes falls 41% from peak

The median sales price in the region drops to $300,000 in October, dragged down by the large number of foreclosed homes on the market.

Prop. 8 foes aim their ire at Lassen's stores

Owner backed ballot measure

Quarry gets expansion approval

PALMDALE - The city's Planning Commission has voted unanimously to allow the Vulcan Materials Co. to operate around the clock, expand its mining area and make other changes at its gravel quarry and concrete mixing facility at 70th Street East and Avenue T

Governors' Global Climate Summit Held

What actions can be taken to combat climate change was on the agenda at the Governors' Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles.

Revenue Rises, Income Dips for Semtech

Net income dropped by 28 percent in the third quarter for semiconductor supplier Semtech Corp. when compared to a year ago.

Monday, November 17

Stonefire Grill serves a need

The fast-casual chain is doing steady business even as other restaurants struggle.

Ant Farm firm's area headquarters grows to fill toy niche

A giant remote-controlled ant is crawling across the conference table at Uncle Milton Industries Inc. in Westlake Village.

Sales Helps Aspyra Narrow Loss

Improved sales and marketing contributed to Aspyra Inc. narrowing its net loss for the third quarter when compared with the previous year.

MRV Still Late with Earnings Reports

MRV Communications Inc. missed filing a required earnings report for the second quarter in a row putting the company out of compliance with Nasdaq.

Consulting firm approved 4-0 by Water District

PALMDALE - Palmdale Water District directors, in a 4-0 vote Wednesday night, approved a consultant contract for up to $72,000 with a Sacramento-based firm that deals in governmental affairs and public relations.

Friday, November 14

Home & #155; News & #155; Conejo Valley

City responding to complaints about possible safety hazards

T-Mobile antenna hits snag

Neighborhood's opposition to the project encourages company to listen to area's concerns.

Retail sales drop in October by most on record

Retail sales plunged by the largest amount on record in October as the financial crisis and the slumping economy caused consumers to sharply cut back on their spending.

Net Loss in Q1 for Trio-Tech

Pricing and volume pressures in Southeast Asia made for a tough first quarter for semiconductor testing firm Trio-Tech International.

Peter Chernin ponders leaving News Corp.

The media conglomerate's president is in contract talks but is unsure whether to remain or embark on something new.

Thursday, November 13

Image Narrows Loss in Q2

Image Entertainment narrowed its net loss for the second quarter when compared with the same period a year ago.

CalPERS' housing portfolio loses 35% in a year

The country's largest public pension fund suffers a paper loss of $3.3 billion for the year ended June 30. An analysis says the loss was amplified by loans taken to ramp up the investments.

Digital Services Firm Open New Call Center in Philippines

Digital media company arvato digital services opened a new customer care facility in the Philippines.

AV Hospital seeks to expand services

LANCASTER - Antelope Valley Hospital is working to add new services and improve existing ones as it shifts into a state of financial profitability, its top administrator said.

Mall merchants to miss Mervyns

Like a gigantic police tape, the black on yellow banner across the front of the Mervyns store in Oxnard says it all: "going out of business."

Wednesday, November 12

Housing market jumps up

Report shows buyers are again plentiful, but bank loans remain more difficult to secure.

Kelso: Prison care plan will boost economy

Federal receiver calls inmate facilities a faster stimulus

AVC trustees vote to build theater on Lancaster campus

LANCASTER - Despite Palmdale officials' opposition, Antelope Valley College trustees voted 3-1 to authorize more than $16.9 million in contracts for a new theater arts building project on the college's Lancaster campus.

Anheuser-Busch shareholders approve $52 billion sale to InBev

SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) _ Shareholders of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. have approved the sale of the nation's largest brewer to Belgium-based InBev SA.

Interlink Income Drops in Q3

Net income for Interlink Electronics Inc. dropped 92 percent in the third quarter when compared with the previous year.

Palmdale Taking Over Airport Lease

The City of Palmdale will take over the lease of the terminal, parking lot and taxiways at Palmdale Airport.

Tuesday, November 11

General Motors shares driven down on forecast they could soon be worthless

The automaker's stock declines to a 59-year-low after an analyst cuts price target to zero.

Mattel Seeks to Stop MGA From Making Bratz Dolls

Mattel Inc. has asked a federal judge to order MGA Entertainment Inc. to stop making its popular Bratz doll line and to impound and destroy all Bratz products.

Burbank Extends Natural Gas Agreement

The City of Burbank has extended for an additional 14 years a partnership for compressed natural gas from Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

Energy Supply Sales Help Qualstar in Q1

Sales of high efficiency power supplies to gaming manufacturers contributed to Qualstar Corp. narrowing its net loss for the first quarter when compared with the previous year.

Americana might hold a holiday advantage

Economist says the mall's newness may help pull it through a likely difficult season for retailers.

Holy Cross Urges City to Make Decision on Expansion Plan

Providence Holy Cross officials urged the Los Angeles City Council to expedite the process of determining whether or not the hospital needs an environmental impact report for its multimillion dollar expansion project.

Simi Valley Hospital's doctors voting on chief of staff recall

Doctors at Simi Valley Hospital are deciding whether to recall the hospital's medical chief of staff.

Judge rules entire AV aquifer linked

LOS ANGELES - Antelope Valley water officials welcomed a judge's ruling that "hydrologic connectivity" exists in the Antelope Valley's underground aquifer, which they said will make it easier for the court to decide how much water can be pulled annually f

Monday, November 10

But Wait, There's More After 40 Years of Fulfillment

COMPANIES TO WATCH - Moulton Logistics

Survival Techniques Similar to Those For Growth

Survival tactics from guest columnist Ben Tenn

Kinetic Energy Growth On the Fly(wheel)

PENTADYNE, Chatsworth

90 Years Ago this Month, But Only a Fleeting Memory

Guest columnist Martin Cooper on Veteran's Day

Firms facing tougher climate

Entrepreneurs see falling employment and tighter credit standards, reports show.

Fastest Growing Firms Face Challenges These Days

Jason Schaff writes on fastest-growing companies and the economy

VALLEY STOCK WATCH

Stock activity for 50 selected greater San Fernando Valley-based public companies: Bi-Weekly Top Gainers, Losers; The Valley 50 Stock Index; 52-week Performance; Market Summary / Indexes

THE CHAMBER REPORT

Woodland Hills-Tarzana Gets Executive Director

Travelers enjoying lower airfares

Airlines and hotels are cutting prices and offering bargains to lure strapped consumers in a sluggish economy.

Mall enjoys strong start

The Americana's revenue may be a cushion beneath falling economy, report suggests.

Grobstein to Join Chicago Firm Crowe Horwath

Top 10 accounting firm, Crowe Horwath, LLP, headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill, is joining forces with local cousin Grobstein, Horwath

CRA Purchases Reseda Shopping Center, Has No Plans Yet

Reporter Linda Coburn reports on West Valley CRA activity

Educating Business on Energy Efficiency is Bright Idea

COMPANIES TO WATCH - Regency Lighting

Galleria Gala Raises $30,000 for Glendale Adventist

Galleria gala raises $30,000 for Glendale Adventist

Beauty Direct

A talk with direct sales company Jafra Cosmetics new president

Experienced Builders Plus Start-Up Equals Fast Growth

C.A. O'REILLY & ASSOCIATES BUILDERS INC., Chatsworth

Supporting Entertainment Industry Proves Profitable

FILMTOOLS, Burbank. No. 13 Fastest Growing Company - $5 Million to $9.9 Million

Sweet Start

Chocolatier takes Conejo Valley by storm

DTS Looks to Blu-Ray

Audio technology company DTS Inc. remains optimistic that growing sales of Blu-ray discs will help its business.

What a Difference a Year Makes on the Fastest Growing Company Lists

More than half the firms from last year didn't make this list

AROUND THE VALLEYS

A look at the people, places and things that make our valleys tick.

Focus on Entertainment Gives PR Firm a Strong Edge

MAYO COMMUNICATIONS, West Hills

How to Develop a Strategic Marketing Plan, Part I

Strategic Plan, Part 1, by guest columnist Scott Harris

VALLEY BIZ SEEN

A reader-driven feature: photographs of Valley business people being feted, awarded, commended or just taking part in interesting regional events.

VICA Forecast Conference Tackles Local, State Issues

Report on theVICA economic forecast conference

Production and Net Loss Up for Capstone

Capstone Turbine Corp. widened its net loss in the second quarter when compared with the previous year.

Easton-Bell Sports Reports Drop in Income

Technology investments and reorganization costs contributed to sports equipment maker Easton-Bell Sports Inc. to posting a 7 percent drop in net income for third quarter.

Which Will Be Fastest in 2009?

A look at what next year's list might look like

Filling a Niche Gives Software Developer a Competitive Edge

COMPANIES TO WATCH - Blackline Systems

Retailers hurt despite price cutting to pull in shoppers

Retailers suffered through the weakest October in at least 39 years despite frenzied price cutting as they desperately try to pull in consumers who are too worried about their finances to shop.

Vox Amplifier History Tome Hits 10, Pounds That Is

Reporter Mark Madler visits the past and future of Vox and vinyl

Vietnam-Valley Trade Partnership Possible

A local businessman promotes Vietnam as Valley trading partner

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

Who's in, who's out at Valley

IT Industry Shows Most Growth

A look at why tech companies dominate this year's winner's circle

Staying in the Fast Lane

Staying in the Fast Lane - 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies

Glendale Healthcare Provider is Region Leader

LAKESIDE SYSTEMS INC., Glendale.

VALLEY, L.A. COUNTY ECONOWATCH

Charts of Economic Indicators, Real Estate, Tourism...

Rough Road for Wheel Maker

Shipments of aluminum wheels from Superior Industries International Inc. hit a 10-year low for the third quarter.

Digitally Printed Wallcoverings Fulfill Designer Needs

COMPANIES TO WATCH - Astek WallCoverings

Friday, November 7

CPA Lobbying Day at State Capitol

The California Society of Certified Public Accountants is organizing a legislative junket to Sacramento in January.

Thursday, November 6

Governor Makes Budgetary Proposals

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to temporarily raise the state sales tax as part of a plan to raise more money to solve California's budget shortfall, which has now reached $11.2 billion.

Schwarzenegger proposes 90-day freeze on pending home foreclosures

The plan is part of an economic stimulus package the governor expects to put before lawmakers to spur loan workouts.

United Online Shares Up on Good News in Q3

Shares in United Online Inc. were up the day after the company reported a 16 increase in net income when compared with the previous year.

THQ Cuts Staff, Studios

Video game publisher THQ Inc. will layoff 17 percent of its workforce and close five studios as part of a restructuring in the face of dropping income.

Permit deadlines extended to 2009

Extension prevents developers from having to spend millions more or abandon projects.

Stub out that cigarette, city says

Ban on smoking in public takes effect in Glendale. Repeat offenders could get citation, analyst says.

Jersey Mike's franchisees will open one in Moorpark

Call them what you will.

Profits Drop for Disney

The Walt Disney Co. ended its fiscal year with a 2 percent decrease in its box office draw, the only business segment of the media and entertainment conglomerate to see a drop in revenue.

Wednesday, November 5

Simi Valley votes for status quo

Voters in Simi Valley chose to keep the city's current mayor and two City Councilmembers in Tuesday's election.

National Technical Sells IT Contracts

National Technical Systems Inc. sold the information technology services and contracts business to a Florida company as part of a strategy to focus on engineering services.

K-Swiss Nearly Squeaks Out a Gain

Athletic footwear marketer K-Swiss just missed a profitable third quarter, posting a $100,000 loss on revenues of $95,817,000.

Redevelopment group targets cuts

Association may file lawsuit against state to prevent $350 million from being taken away from California cities.

Service sector shrinks as new orders drop

NEW YORK -- Hotels, construction firms and retailers saw business shrink in October as slower spending and declining employment sent the service sector into contraction, another gloomy sign for the economy.

No Grubb & Ellis Layoffs for L.A. North

None of the 100 brokers laid off by Grubb & Ellis were located in the L.A. North region which includes offices in Sherman Oaks and Santa Clarita, according to Don Hudson, senior vice president and managing director of the region.

City to pay $18,500 in diesel crackdown

PALMDALE - The California Air Resources Board announced Tuesday it fined the city $18,500 for failing to conduct annual smoke emissions tests on the city's heavy-duty diesel trucks in 2006 and 2007.

Tuesday, November 4

AV Hospital works to close its deficit

LANCASTER - Antelope Valley Hospital, drawing closer to breaking even, is still registering seven-figure annual financial losses, closing its 2007-08 fiscal year with a loss of nearly $2 million.

Western Commercial Bank Takes a Loss

Despite greater than 30 percent growth in total assets, loans and deposits, Woodland Hills-based Western Commercial Bank reported its first loss attributed to nonaccrual loans in the third quarter of 2008.

Factory orders drop more than expected

WASHINGTON -- Factory orders dropped for the second straight month in September as businesses cut back on purchases of steel, computers and other equipment amid the economic downturn, the government said.

Airport Authority Questions Van Nuys Jet Ban

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has opposed a proposed ban of certain jet aircraft at Van Nuys Airport that will result in more private jets using Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Precision Dynamics Expands Hospital Wristband Line

Precision Dynamics Corp. has expanded its hospital wristband product line with the acquisition of an Illinois company.

T.O. store among 155 Circuit City closings

Liquidation sale will start Nov. 5

Treasurer: Glendale's investments 'safe, sound'

Despite $29M drop including $22M lump sum to PERS, he says the city's portfolio is fine.

Monday, November 3

Chicago-Area Firm Buys Grobstein, Horwath & Co.

One of the largest accounting firms in the country expands to the West Coast with its acquisition of Grobstein, Horwath & Company LLP.

Manufacturing sector contracts in October

NEW YORK -- A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity plummeted to its lowest level in 26 years in October as the credit crisis and Hurricane Ike disrupted businesses from plastics companies to lumberyards.

Pawn Brokers Seeing More Business

Pawning off one's problems

Defense Sales Boosts AML in Q2

Increased sales in its defense business contributed to AML Communications Inc. to post a 66 percent increase in net income for the second quarter.

Council votes no to adoption of sales tax increase

LANCASTER - The City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday in the absence of Mayor R. Rex Parris to oppose adoption of Measure R, a proposal to increase Los Angeles County's sales tax by one half of 1% for 30 years.

Circuit City closing 155 stores

Thousand Oaks location among the Southern California closures