Stories for July 2009

Friday, July 31

Interim President Appointed at Pierce College

Joy McCaslin to Replace Robert Garber who is retiring August 1.

Wednesday, July 29

College plans for green courses

NORTHEAST GLENDALE , Glendale Community College officials are gearing up to offer a new training program in green technology education after receiving a $100,000 state grant to develop an online curriculum.

Schwarzenegger cuts $500 million more as he signs budget

Reporting from Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed a budget plan sent to him by lawmakers to close the state's monumental deficit, using his veto pen to impose nearly $500 million in additional cuts.

Palmdale charter status worth exploring

Palmdale officials are considering rewriting the rules under which the city government operates.

Council is anti-tunnel

CITY HALL , A proposed completion of the 710 Freeway is the wrong solution for the region's traffic issues, City Council members said Tuesday.

City of San Fernando Hurting From State Budget Cuts

The approved State Budget has left the already strained City of San Fernando facing revenue losses of approximately $2.9 million, directly impacting the City's General Fund and Redevelopment Agency's revitalization efforts in six project areas.

CSUCI, other colleges phasing out private loans

WASHINGTON , The financial aid office at CSU Channel Islands is moving forward on switching student loan providers, but uncertainty remains about whether the change from private to government-controlled lending will be seamless.

Local officials say budget cuts devastating to healthcare, seniors' programs

Blue described the governor's cuts, the mood and some of the language as local healthcare leaders assessed the impact of a state budget that seriously wounds programs for low-income insurance, AIDS prevention, senior care and community clinics.

THQ Posts Profit

Agoura Hills-based video game publisher, THQ Inc., posted a profit for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2009, a marked turnaround from a $27.2 million loss for the same period last year.

Tuesday, July 28

Burbank Business Community to Support Blood Drive

Patients in hospitals throughout the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys will benefit from what is gearing up to be the largest blood drive in Burbank.

CrowdGather Acquires Two Internet Properties

Woodland Hills-based CrowdGather acquired two Internet properties: webmaster and forum owner community AdminFusion (www.adminfusion.com) and Michael Jackson fan-site MJHQ (www.mjhq.com).

Monday, July 27

City may move to Stage 2 rationing

It would limit the irrigation of landscaped areas in Burbank to three days a week.

June new home sales rise 11 percent

WASHINGTON -- New U.S. home sales rose by the largest amount in more than eight years last month, in another sign the housing market is finally bouncing back from the worst downturn in decades.

Arbitrator Lowers Return Rate on Wrestling Video Games

An arbitrator has sided with video game publisher THQ Inc. in its dispute with JAKKS Pacific Inc. over royalties from WWE video games.

PWD to discuss city lawsuits in closed session

PALMDALE - Directors of the Palmdale Water District expect to discuss existing and potential lawsuits during the closed session portion of a special meeting today.

Friday, July 24

Westlake reaffirms anti-pot stance as shuttered shop takes legal action

The Westlake Village City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to extend the city's temporary moratorium on marijuana distribution facilities.

Weak Sales Hurts Power-One

A weakening demand for power conversion products contributed to Power-One Inc. posting a net loss for the second quarter.

New Vehicle Sales Still Sluggish

For the second quarter in a row, new vehicle sales in California fell below 250,000, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

Second Quartz Hill center OK'd

Developers nab 40 acres for Target, shopping outlets

Thursday, July 23

Wal-Mart approved

3-2 votes OK Quartz Hill retail center

Location Filming Down Across the Board

On-location television filming posted the least amount of reduction in the first six months when compared to a year ago, according to statistics released by FilmL.A.

Weak Sales Hurts Power-One

A weakening demand for power conversion products contributed to Power-One Inc. posting a net loss for the second quarter.

Accountants Loyal to Firms as Layoffs Fail to Materialize

Accountants, largely spared from the waves of layoffs that have hit other professionals such as lawyers, expressed a high level of loyalty to the companies for which they currently work, according to a recent survey.

June existing home sales rise by 3.6 percent

WASHINGTON -- Signaling a housing recovery is under way in much of the country, sales of previously occupied homes rose for the third month in a row in June.

T.O. approves new limits on water use

Consumption must be cut 15%

Commentary: Public Employee Retirement Benefits Threaten California's Future

In 1999 and 2002, respectively, the California Legislature passed (and Governor Davis signed into law) Senate Bills 400 (SB 400) and 183 (SB 183) placing a burden on the state's financial condition that would (except in years of unusually high revenue gro

Wednesday, July 22

AV cities aghast at state plan to take local funds

PALMDALE - The city may be forced to cut more programs and possibly lay off more employees if California's Legislature adopts the state budget scheduled for a vote Thursday.

After passing a budget, California will turn to Wall Street

If the budget deal reached in Sacramento on Monday is more than smoke and mirrors, California should soon be able to stop issuing IOUs and turn back to Wall Street for short-term financing.

TO council approves changes to film permits

New rules governing filming permits were unanimously approved by the Thousand Oaks City Council Tuesday evening.

L.A. County Economy Will Continue Struggling Through 2010

The U.S. economy could be nearing its bottom this summer, but economists predict unemployment rates could continue to rise in California and Los Angeles County well into 2010.

Tuesday, July 21

Panavision Making Move to Burbank

Camera system manufacturer Panavision Inc. will consolidate its two facilities into a single site in Burbank.

Senate Cuts F-22 Raptor Funding

The Senate voted to cut funding for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, a victory for efforts by President Barack Obama to reduce military spending.

Sketches excite downtown businesses

LANCASTER - They are still only pictures, but city planners say sketches of a refurbished downtown are a reason for excitement, not only for business owners, but residents of the Antelope Valley and beyond.

Simi Valley council rejects increased density request

The Simi Valley City Council rejected processing an application Monday night that would have brought twice as many homes than are currently allowed on the corner of Avenida Simi and Reservoir Drive.

Lennar buys back 15% stake in Newhall Ranch development at big discount

The home builder had sold its controlling interest in the project to CalPERS in 2007. The giant pension fund loses its nearly $1-billion stake.

Local Students Among Winners Amgen's Research Scholarship Program

Global biotechnology firm Amgen awarded research scholarships to more than 260 students nationwide, including three from the San Fernando and Conejo valleys.

Monday, July 20

Kohl's Announces Two Valley Openings at Shuttered Mervyn's Locations

Kohl's Announces Two Valley Openings at Shuttered Mervyn's Locations

Healthcare IT

Providence Health Systems hires its first Chief Medical Information Officer, a position that will take greater importance as technology improves at hospitals.

Marketing Managers Need to Show Creative Side

Marketing Managers Need to Show Creative Side

Banks Under-Performing in Home Loan Modifications

Big banks under-performing when it comes to helping homeowners modify mortgages

Economic indicators up more than expected in June

NEW YORK -- More plans to build homes, higher stock prices and fewer people filing first-time claims jobless aid sent a private-sector forecast of U.S. economic activity higher than expected in June.

Health Net Selling Northeast Operations

UnitedHealthcare will acquire Health Net's licensed subsidiaries in the Northeast less than a week after the insurer lost a lucrative military contract with the U.S. Department of Defense's TRICARE program.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS HONOREES

Profiles of the WIB Award Winners

Investigation by FTC Results in Fraud Case Against Van Nuys Co.

Investigation by FTC Results in Fraud Case Against Van Nuys Co.

Simulations Plus Net Income Drops in Q3

Pharmaceutical software developer Simulations Plus had a drop in its net income for the third quarter when compared with a year ago.

Sending Man to the Moon Giant Leap for Valley Too

July 20 marks 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. There's a big Valley connection

Low DVD Sales And Cash Flow Plague Image

Home entertainment programming distributor, Image Entertainment, faces increased debts and slow sales.

Banking Pros Impart Lessons From the Financial Crisis

Banking professionals share insights about lessons being learned in the down economy

Incentives, Location Bring Battery Maker to Palmdale

Battery manufacturer applies for stimulus funds for new plant in Palmdale

Business Incubator to Open At Santa Clarita Company. Local Entrepreneur Wants to Help Others Reach Success

Patricia Gracia of PowerMedia Group is starting a support center for women business owners.

"Made in the Valley" a Moniker for Local Venture

Gail Lara is helping women entrepreneurs launch their own business, by providing support and online products and services.

Hospital adds Internet access

Glendale Adventist is offering PCs to patients so they can communicate with family, friends.

Public Officials Squandered Chance to Improve State

Jason Schaff's open letter to legislators and governor

EEOC Issues Best Practices Guidance For Employers

EEOC issues best practices guidance

Valley Still Overlooked With Transit Planning

Catching the local business issues that fall through the cracks

Bankers Report Perks and Pitfalls of Stimulus Funds

Local bankers talk about the perks and pitfalls of the Troubled Asset Relief Program

Politics Creeping Into Setting Accounting Standards

Federal Accounting Standards Board Chief Robert Herz said Congress pressured his organization to soften rules at the behest of AIG.

AV Board of Trade Installs New Officers

AV Board of Trade Installs New Officers

Office and Industrial Market Reports Mixed for Q2 2009

Q2 market update, and multi-family and industrial deals

Van Nuys Council Urges Cooperation on Airport Noise

Van Nuys Airport advisory council urges cooperation between L.A. and Burbank over noise issues

Chilly Forecast for Businesses Seeking Loans, Lines of Credit

SBA loans down, but alternatives exist for business financing

Technifex Brings Hollywood to Training Simulations

Technifex turns talents to training simulations

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

New hires and appointments at Valley companies.

No "Thriller" of a Media Event in Encino

Michael Jackson's death and the ensuing media frenzy in Valley

AROUND THE VALLEYS

Gateway arch in NoHo Arts District and other news

Fundraising thrift store to be launched in Simi Valley

It wasn't a day at the beach that occupied Karen Troop's hot Saturday, but the Simi Valley Realtor probably had more fun working in the warehouse sorting goods for a new thrift store than if she'd hit the waves.

When Doctors Don't Want To Be Doctors Anymore

When Doctors Don't Want To Be Doctors Anymore

Charities Dreaming Big in Santa Clarita

Michael Hoefflin Foundation and Economic Development Committee in Santa Clarita creating an "Amazing Race"

Locking Up the Reality Market

Rasha Drachkovitch of reality program production company 44 Blue Productions in Studio City.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

A response to Martin Cooper's editorial and other letters

Thursday, July 16

Southern California median home sales price surges in June

The increase to $265,000 reflects a recent trend of higher-priced properties taking a greater market share. Sales volume reaches a 30-month high.

New Rite Aid opens in Port Hueneme

Rite Aid Corp. today is opening its first Ventura County drug store featuring the company's prototype "Customer World" design in Port Hueneme.

Despite cutbacks, Palmdale still growing, Ledford says

PALMDALE - Mayor Jim Ledford encouraged business owners to be optimistic despite economic conditions that forced the city this year to eliminate public events, decrease services, increase fees and lay off workers.

Wednesday, July 15

New "Economic Engine" Award Will Honor Valley Businesses

The Valley Economic Alliance has created the new "Economic Engine" Award to recognize exceptional Valley-based businesses that have contributed significantly to the regional economy,

TO tightens street parking rules for large trucks, RVs

Recreational vehicle and commercial truck drivers will face tighter street parking restrictions in Thousand Oaks next year, following a decision by the City Council at its meeting Tuesday night.

Slim pickings on home front

The number of sites for sale continues to dwindle along with prices.

Consumer prices jump, industrial production falls

WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices shot up in June by the largest amount in 11 months, reflecting the biggest jump in gasoline prices in nearly five years.

Tuesday, July 14

Wholesale prices, retail sales rise in June

WASHINGTON -- Higher energy prices rippled through the economy in June, helping to drive a bigger-than-expected gain in retail sales.

Crown Media Hires Advisors for Debt Plan

The Crown Media Holdings Inc. board of directors has hired Morgan Stanley & Co. as its independent financial advisor to review an offer to recapitalize the company's debt.

TVN Completes Merger

TVN Entertainment completed a merger with Avail Media to create one of the largest independent distributors of on-demand programming.

Mayor Ledford: The state is our enemy

PALMDALE - Saying they need to protect city finances from future raids by state lawmakers, city officials have taken the first steps toward adopting a city charter, which lets the city set its own municipal operating procedures rather than following state

Economy delays RiverPark retail center in Oxnard

Citing the economic downturn, the developer of The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard has pushed back the opening of the 600,000 square-foot retail center to late 2010.

Monday, July 13

Local farmworker outreach program attracts up to 500

An annual outreach effort intended to assist the 30,000 farmworkers who labor in the fields of Ventura County drew 400 to 500 people to an outdoor event near the Employment Development Department offices in Oxnard on Sunday afternoon.

Camarillo Firm Applying for $2 Million Grant

Mica-Tech Inc. will apply for a $2 million federal grant to develop a next generation satellite-based control systems for electric utility substations.

Earnings prospects for 2009's second half will be scrutinized

Reporting from New York -- With corporate earnings season set to hit full stride this week, the stock market will be paying far more attention to what companies say about the quarters ahead than to the one that just ended.

Friday, July 10

Oxnard bank sued for not paying rent

Banco BuenaVentura, an Oxnard bank in its first year of operation, has been sued for not paying rent and the two buildings it leases are now up for sale.

National Technical Buying Back Stock

National Technical Systems Inc. will repurchase up to 200,000 shares of its common stock through its available cash resources.

California IOUs to be shunned by big banks after today

Bank of America and other big institutions plan to enforce a cutoff, making it harder to cash vouchers. To protect IOU holders from third-party speculators, the SEC defines the vouchers as securities.

Online Exclusive: Valley Education Hit Hard By Budget Cuts

The California budget crisis is having a deep and widespread impact on education.

AV Board of Trade Installs New Officers, Directors

The Antelope Valley Board of Trade installed its new officers and directors at a dinner taking place at the Cascades in Palmdale.

Southwest takes drastic measures

Officials hope sales like the airline's recent promotion bring a boost to Bob Hope Airport.

Thursday, July 9

Retailers report weak June sales

NEW YORK -- Escalating job worries and rainy weather dampened shoppers' appetite for buying summer staples like shorts and dresses, resulting in sharper-than-expected sales declines for many merchants in June and increasing concerns about the back-to-scho

Battery Plant Coming to Palmdale

Quallion LLC will receive financial help from the state and the City of Palmdale to build a new lithium ion battery manufacturing plant in the Antelope Valley.

Water district wins Round 1 of rate battle

Palmdale: Bill spike fight not over, injunction still pursued

Agency rejects "Buy Glendale" commercial

CITY HALL , Redevelopment Agency members got their first look Tuesday at a TV commercial for the city's ambitious $150,000 effort to boost local shopping and revenues for area businesses. They were not impressed.

Physicians Speak Out on Healthcare Reform

Physicians at a recent town hall meeting at Northridge Hospital Medical Center strongly voiced concerns with a system they said is driving them out of practicing medicine, and sent the message that healthcare reform won't work if doctors don't want to be

Westlake rejects pot dispensary appeal

Council, many local residents want medical marijuana facility to close

Cooperation Urged on Addressing Airport Noise

The Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council passed a resolution urging the city governments of Los Angeles and Burbank to work together on noise issues at their respective airports.

Wednesday, July 8

Berman Named Equity Partner

Agoura Hills law firm Bordner Feldman LLP announced that Craig S. Berman has been elected as an equity partner, and will undergo a name change to reflect the addition.

Simulations Plus Makes Fortune List

Lancaster-based Simulations Plus Inc., provider of simulation and modeling software for the pharmaceutical industry, was ranked 53rd on the Fortune Small Business FSB 100 list of the fastest growing small public companies in America.

Technical Difficulties

Due to technical and server difficulties the San Fernando Valley Business Journal website has been down since the evening of July 6.

Monday, July 6

Greuel Takes Control In New Post at City Hall

Q & A; with new City Controller Wendy Greuel

Rise in Social Security Denials Bring Law Business

Social Security Disability Claims are rising in the recession, but opinions vary as to whether this translates into more business for lawyers.

Maverick Angels Spreading Its Wings

Thousand Oaks-based Maverick Angels is opening two new offices, one in Santa Barbara, the other in the South Bay.

Valley Business People Named Entrepreneurs of the Year

Follow up of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Event.

Recessionary Fiscal Readjustment Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Recessionary Fiscal Readjustment Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Attempting to Sort Out Complicated World of Reform

VICA takes look at national healthcare reform proposals

VALLEY BIZ SEEN

Photographs of business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

New hires and appointments at Valley companies.

Trends in Small Business: Updating Mid-Year Plan

Trends in Small Business: Updating Mid-Year Plan

The D'Argenzio Family in Burbank Built a Legacy of Craftsmanship

The D'Argenzio family owns and operates a winery and wine tasting room in Burbank..

Filling Up the Big Boxes

An overview of whether commercial realtors are having luck filling vacant big box retail locations.

Congressional Plans Are A Threat to California Businesses at Home, Abroad

Congressional Plans Are A Threat to California Businesses at Home, Abroad.

Using the Spotlight to Advance Social Change

Joy Stephenson started Mojo Marketing & Media to create socially-responsible marketing vehicles to raise awareness for charities.

Cusumano Family Leaves Legacy in Downtown Burbank

Family business, Cusumano Real Estate, has left its mark on the City

Charitable Capitalism: The More Business DriveWise Does, the Higher the Amount of Company Donations

Drive Wise Auto, an auto buying brokerage, gives a percentage of its commissions to charity.

Giddens Still Running on a Strong Current After 60 Years

A. Giddens, has been an electrical contractor based in Burbank since the 1940s.

Investors Filing For IPOs, Hovering Above Mortgage Loans

Real estate investors are filing IPOs. There's business opportunity in distressed assets

Van Nuys Included in New Flight Tracking System

The new Internet tracking system from Los Angeles World Airports.

Fast "Pain Free" Remodeling

Matt Plaskoff started One Week Bath after working with ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Advanced Bionics Consolidates Operations in Santa Clarita

Valencia-based Advanced Bionics leased a five-story 144,000 square foot building in the city of Santa Clarita- one of the biggest real estate deals as of late in the greater San Fernando Valley area,

Federal Rules on Business ID Theft Programs Delayed

New Red Flag Rules require companies dealing in personal information to have demonstrably tough identity-theft prevention programs in place by August 1.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

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

Lean Budget On The Menu

Gary Bric, Burbank restaurant owner and current mayor.

Brothers Making an Impact With Large Format Screens

Jeffrey and Stephen Isenberg run Impact Video, a provider of large screens for outdoor and indoor events.

New Community Operations Try to Fill Void in East Valley

The demise of the Sun Newspaper chain and how other publications have tried to fill the void

Progress and Setbacks for Valley Business Incubators

A round up of business incubators in the Valley region .

Thursday, July 2

Struggling Image Entertainment Receives More Bad News

The accounting firm for Image Entertainment Inc. has raised doubts that the home entertainment programming distributor can continue in business due to debt and lack of money for its operations.

AutoNation car retailer returns to Oxnard

AutoNation, the nation's largest car retailer, has returned to Oxnard, spending $9 million for property it's leasing to an independent operator who has opened two new dealerships , Mercedes-Benz and Smart Car.

AVC: Students should expect higher fall fees

LANCASTER - Antelope Valley College is telling students to expect a 30% increase in enrollment fees for fall semester as the result of action by state legislative leaders, a college spokesman said Wednesday.

Businesses Sought for Ad Makeover

The Business Journal and Glyphix Advertising are looking for a company to take advantage of a free ad makeover that will be reported on in a series of articles

Manufacturing in U.S. shrank at slower pace in June

Stabilization in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, may prompt factories to boost production in the coming months.

FTC Investigation Snares Van Nuys Company

A crackdown by the Federal Trade Commission resulted in fraud charges against a Van Nuys company for bilking an estimated $300 million through get-rich schemes.

Wednesday, July 1

Van Nuys Included in New Flight Tracking System

Tracking of aircraft flying to and from Van Nuys Airport can be more easily followed and noise complaints more easily filed with the a new Internet tracking system from Los Angeles World Airports.

Federal stimulus funds helping teenagers find summer jobs

The summer job market for young people in Ventura County looks more promising with the infusion of $1.75 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

McKeon takes defense act in hand, orders more F-22s

PALMDALE - One of Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon's first actions as ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee was the committee review and eventual passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, the Pentagon's $550.4 bill

Obama sends consumer-protection bill to Congress

The plan would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and make banks and non-banks subject to the same rules. Some Republicans and business groups say it threatens economic freedom.

City in market for a new lobbyist

Council votes to explore other options after denying renewal recommendation.