Stories for September 2013

Monday, September 30

Sylmar Chiropractor Pleads Guilty in Medicare Fraud

A Sylmar chiropractor who ranked as the second-highest Medicare biller in California for chiropractic services pled guilty last week to healthcare fraud.

Gelson’s to Open Store in La Cañada Flintridge

Gelson’s Markets will open a store in La Cañada-Flintridge, parent company Arden Group announced Monday.

Woodland Hills Apartments Sell for $88 Million

The Mercer at Warner Center, a massive 477-unit apartment building in Woodland Hills, has sold for $88 million.

Wal-Mart Means Value and Good Jobs

Retailer says its stores are welcomed by residents and opposed by special interests with their own agenda.

Despite a recent court ruling delaying our proposed store in Burbank, Wal-Mart remains dedicated to providing Los Angeles County residents with convenient access to affordable goods, fresh groceries and quality jobs with meaningful career opportunities.  

Tease photo

Going Vertical in L.A.

Editor: Singular view of multifamily projects.


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

The Valley 50 significantly outperformed the broader market during the two-week period ended Sept. 25.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Solar technology firm eSolar Inc. raised $22 million in additional funding from existing investors.

Tease photo

Santa Clarita Builder Gets Inside Track on Funds

Development: Fillmore tract scores $4.1 million personal investment.

A Santa Clarita builder has received an investment for its next project, a $20 million residential development in Fillmore.

Tease photo

Crafty Attorney Targeting New Brewery Clients

Speciality: Woodland Hills lawyer sees opportunities in beverage industry.

Franchise attorney Barry Kurtz has developed a sudden attraction to alcohol.

Tease photo

Power Play

J.D. Power built up his auto industry consultancy into a worldwide brand that defied his more modest expectations.

Profile: J.D. Power looks back on how he revamped the auto industry.

Tease photo

Northridge Hospital Laying Off 138 Employees

Health Care: Experts say layoffs at Catholic facility spurred by ObamaCare.

Health Care: Northridge Hospital lays off 138 employees.

Tease photo

Getting Artsy

Hospitality: Planned Ikon Hotel would be first boutique for NoHo.

Hospitality: NoHo Arts District gets its first boutique hotel.

Tease photo

Still Cranking After 60

Galpin Motors owner marks six decades at Valley dealership.

Automotive: Bert Boeckmann celebrates 60 years of selling cars.

Tease photo

When It All Adds Up to Too Much

Westlake Village agent takes financial stress out of island getaways.

Travel: Hawaii Connection is keeping tabs on hotel room fees.

Tease photo

Online Shoe Site Steps Into Galleria

Glendale mall gets pumped up with first JustFab retail store.

Retail: When JustFab decided to open its first store, it came to the Glendale Galleria.

Tease photo

Making History in The Valley

Chatsworth museum rescues ‘relics’ from premature oblivion.

Non-Profit: New museum will display artifacts of Valley history.

Tease photo

The Real J.D. power

Profile: J.D. Power looks back on how he revamped the auto industry. (See page 7)

Tease photo

Hundreds of Apartments Eyed for Glendale Block

Development: Citigroup selling large downtown site to builder.

Development: An entire block in Glendale could become apartments.

Tease photo

‘Kill Bill’Is More Than a Movie

If we were to sum up our mission, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s (VICA) staff and members work year-round to support business-friendly policy and to prevent bad-for-business legislation from passing.

Lawyers Lean On Lien Outfit

Legal: Sherman Oaks company provides doctors for injury cases.

Law: A Sherman Oaks company connects lawyers and doctors on personal injury cases.

Jet Orders Lift Insulation Firm

Aviation: Product flying out of Hi-Temp plant in Camarillo.

Aviation: Insulation maker Hi-Temp benefits from a boom in jet production.

Tease photo

Hollywood Sets Up in Antelope Valley Locales

Production: High desert sees rise in filming days from smaller projects.

The Antelope Valley is coming off a strong fiscal year in television, feature film and commercial production.

Tease photo

Upscale Prop House Decks Itself Out in Sun Valley

Entertainment: Ob-jects Fine Set Decorations moves from Culver City.

Entertainment: A furniture shop for film decorators moves to Sun Valley.

Tease photo

Latest Burbank Hotel Clicks With City’s Roots

Development: Grandview hotel on San Fernando recalls film history.

The Grandview Suites hotel will bring a concrete version of the entertainment industry to the area south of downtown in Burbank.

Tease photo

Sunday, September 29

TAKE TWO - Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - September 30, 2013

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Friday, September 27

FDA Approves Medtronic’s Artificial Pancreas

The FDA has approved the first artificial-pancreas system in the United States, a device developed at Medtronic Inc.’s Northridge facility.

TrioTech Reports Improved Quarter

Trio-Tech International Inc. swung to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter even as delays in shipments of semiconductor testing equipment reduced revenue.

Former Vitesse Executives Give Back Illegal Profits

Several former executives of Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. agreed to disgorge millions of dollars in illegal profits in a civil settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency said Friday.

Grandpoint Buys Gilmore Bank

Grandpoint Bank has completed its acquisition of Gilmore Bank in La Canada-Flintridge.

Thursday, September 26

Garcetti Names Film Czar

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday named veteran studio executive Tom Sherak as the city’s first film czar.

Disney Goes Bollywood

Walt Disney Co. is going into India to make three Bollywood films in the next two years, according to media reports Thursday.

Partner Joins Glendale’s Apollo

An Orange County doctors group has signed an agreement to join ApolloMed ACO, a subsidiary of Apollo Medical Holding Inc. in Glendale, the company announced Thursday.

Wednesday, September 25

Amgen to Open Research Facility in China

Amgen Inc. announced plans to open a research and development facility at Shanghai Tech University in China.

DTS Partners with Web Music Firm

DTS Inc. announced Wednesday that it has partnered with an Internet music service to add to its Play-Fi mobile app.

Governor Signs Minimum Wage Increase

At a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles this morning, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will increase California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour over three years.

Tuesday, September 24

Rental Rates, Demand Rising

The USC Casden Multifamily Forecast report released on Tuesday predicts that rents will continue to rise in the area despite new construction, as demand for rental housing continues to increase faster than supply.

Marcus & Millichap to Go Public

The Calabasas real estate brokerage firm plans to raise $103.5 million in its IPO, according to a prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Monday, September 23

DreamWorks Falls on Downgrade

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. fell 5 percent on Monday after an analyst downgraded the stock on concerns about low ticket sales for its recent movies.

Sport Chalet Seeks Strategic Partner

Sport Chalet Inc. announced on Monday that it is exploring a range of options – including a strategic partner or possible joint venture – as it seeks to jump start sales that have lagged since the recession.

Friday, September 20

County Unemployment Returns to Double Digits

Los Angeles County unemployment rate climbed back into the double digits in August, rising two tenths of a point to 10.1 percent, according to state figures released on Friday.

Disney, Bruckheimer Part Ways

Walt Disney Studios and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are going their separate ways after more than 20 years of collaborating on such blockbuster film franchises as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure.”

United Online Breakup Delayed

The spinoff of FTD Companies Inc. from United Online Inc. will take a month longer than anticipated due to a delay in receiving required regulatory approvals, the company said Friday.

Thursday, September 19

Amgen Renews Bicyling Tour Sponsorship

Amgen Inc. announced on Thursday that it has decided to renew its sponsorship of the Tour of California.

FTC OK's Amgen-Onyx Deal

The Federal Trade Commission has moved quickly to allow Amgen Inc. to proceed with its $10.4 billion acquisition of cancer drug maker Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Wednesday, September 18

American Homes Forms Distressed-Asset Venture

Single-family landlord American Homes 4 Rent has established a joint venture to acquire distressed U.S. mortgage assets.

Hulu Signs BBC Content Deal

Video streaming service Hulu announced Wednesday it will offer programming from BBC Worldwide North America after signing a multi-year agreement with the British broadcaster.

IPC Buys Missouri Doctors Group

IPC The Hospitalist Co. Inc. announced Wednesday it has purchased Metropolitan Pulmonary and Hospital Medicine P.C., a doctors group in Kansas City, Mo.

Ryland Opens Indiana Development

Ryland Group Inc. announced Wednesday that it has opened a residential development in Indiana.

Tuesday, September 17

Kythera Shares Spike on Positive Clinical Trial

Shares of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. skyrocketed 25 percent on Tuesday after the Calabasas biotech announced positive clinical trial results for its lead pipeline drug that reduces double chins.

eSolar Raises $22 Million in Funding

Burbank’s eSolar Inc. announced on Tuesday it has raised $22 million in additional funding from its existing investors to develop the next generation of utility-scale solar power plants.

Monday, September 16

Providence Takes Over Saint John’s Hospital

Providence Health & Services has signed an agreement to take over Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Apollo Signs OC Hospital Deal, Trims Loss

Apollo Medical Holdings Inc. has announced that it will provide doctors and case management services for four hospitals in Orange County.

Airport Owner Seeks to Tie Down Aviation Firms

Services: LAWA sends out requests for two fixed-base operations at Van Nuys.

Los Angeles World Airports has put out a request for qualifications from businesses interested in two fixed-base operations that will become available at Van Nuys Airport.

Tease photo

Honing Leadership in the Valley

Citing a shortage of business and civic leaders, VICA renews a program to build homegrown talent.

Regardless of what the job situation ends up being in the next decade, most sectors are going to face a leadership crisis, if they have not already.

Don’t Cap the Fracking Gusher

Political leaders, environmental activists and other public figures are calling for a ban on “fracking” oil and gas wells, because “it is imperative that all Californians be protected,” as one declared in this publication recently.

Growing Pains?

Crop seed developer Ceres burns through cash.

Biotech: Brazil’s sweet sorghum crop could make or break Ceres.

Tease photo

Questions Fly In Airport Sale

Aviation: Robert Maguire deal could prompt antitrust review.

Aviation: Signature Flight Support is now the biggest player at Van Nuys Airport.

Tease photo

Wal-Mart Plan Marked Down

Development: Retailer’s growth strategy shelved in Burbank case.

Development: Wal-Mart’s strategy of moving into vacant stores backfired in Burbank.

Tease photo

Senior Complex Beyond Assistance

Health Care: In unusual move, operator closing La Crescenta site.

Health Care: An assisted living facility will close, but what will replace it?

Tease photo

Teledyne’s Spending Binge: $400 Million Tab, Still Growing

Acquisitions: Teledyne has bought 43 companies in 13 years.

Tease photo

Victory Is Sweet in Cake War

Mother-daughter duo say show appearance was icing on cupcake.

Retail: Dreamy Creations settled a score on “Cupcake Wars.”

Tease photo

Valley Firm Counting On Vegas Cards

Barcelona Marketing is not bluffing with its hand in poker network.

Media: Alan Semsar wants to make TV poker the next big thing – again.

It’s Hello, Yellow Brick Road

Warner Bros. hopes to follow path to profits with 3-D Wizard.

Entertainment: Warner Bros. prepares for the 3-D version of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Tease photo

Restaurant Breaking All the Eggs

Lancaster institution redefines what it means to be crazy.

Restaurants: A lot of omelets: Crazy Otto’s uses 22,000 eggs a week.

Tease photo

Outside the Lunch Box

Catering: FreshLunches Inc. cooks up gourmet fare for students but its higher cost makes it not affordable for all.

Catering: The school cafeteria has been revamped by FreshLunches Inc.

Tease photo

The CEO of SEO

Bruce Clay has made himself the go-to name in search engine optimization. He also got his sister $1 million with 12 hours work.

Q&A: Bruce Clay pioneered the search engine optimization business.

Tease photo

Medical Trials Firm Finds Friends on Facebook

Research: Sanguine in Valencia uses social media to sign up patients.

When you need to find a rare disease quickly, Sanguine BioSciences can help.

Tease photo

Thousand Oaks Beer Festival Makes Big Splash

Charity: Kiwanis event draws crowd, raises funds for Conejo programs.

The Kiwanis Club of Thousand Oaks Charitable Foundation has a hit on its hands with its annual Kiwanis Brew Fest.

Tease photo

Studio City Makes Move to North Hollywood

Office: Entertainment firm signs lease in NoHo space vacated by Disney.

Studio City, an entertainment marketing firm, has signed a six-year lease valued at roughly $3.4 million in North Hollywood.

Tease photo

Artsy Digs

The NoHo Arts District has a swanky new apartment building, The Hesby, that feels more like a Vegas hotel.

Tease photo

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Southwest Airlines Co. is cutting six flights from Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

Tease photo


Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

Stocks of the Valley 50 index gained 3.1 percent during the two weeks ended Sept. 11.

VALLEY BIZ SEEN - Sept. 16, 2013

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

The Lure of Cheap Razors

Editor: Mixed feelings about a big box in Burbank.

TAKE TWO - Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - September 16, 2013

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Friday, September 13

Salem Communications Increases Dividend

Salem Communications Inc. announced a 5 percent increase in its quarterly dividend on Friday.

Canyon Fund Buys Palmdale Property

Canyon Multifamily Impact Fund, a joint venture between Century City’s Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and a unit of Citibank, on Thursday said it has made its first investment, a multifamily complex in Palmdale called the Fountains.

Disney Expands Buyback Program

Walt Disney Co.’s chief financial officer on Thursday said the Burbank entertainment giant plans to buy back between $6 billion to $8 billion of its stock beginning next year in an effort to increase investor returns.

Thursday, September 12

Earnings Roundup: NTS, Point.360

National Technical Systems Inc. and Point.360 reported quarterly earnings on Thursday.

Cherokee Inc. Reports Strong Second Quarter Earnings

Strong U.S. retail sales helped Cherokee Inc. beat analysts’ earnings estimates in fiscal second quarter earnings reported Thursday.

Warner Bros. Opens New Chapter With Rowling

Two years after the last film in the “Harry Potter” franchise was released, the Burbank studio announced on Thursday it was expanding its partnership with author J.K. Rowling with a new film series.

Wednesday, September 11

Dole Shopping Period Ends

Dole Food Co. announced Wednesday that it did not receive any offers higher than the proposal from its 90-year-old chief executive to go private.

LTC Buys Florida Property

LTC Properties Inc. announced Wednesday the purchase of a skilled nursing property in Trinity, Fla. for $14.4 million.

Nomadix Settles Patent Lawsuit

Wireless Internet connectivity provider Nomadix Inc. has settled a patent infringement case against Aruba Networks Inc., a vendor of wireless network equipment.

Woodbury Appoints New Vice President

Woodbury University has named Randall Stauffer the university’s associate vice president for academic affairs.

Tuesday, September 10

Shake Up at NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal has shuffled the executive ranks of its movie studio, naming two new chair people and reassigning its longtime head of studio operations.

Sport Chalet Signs College Deal

Sport Chalet Inc. announced on Tuesday it would be entering a year-long partnership with Sacramento State Athletics.

Burkle Buys Fresh & Easy

An affiliate of Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. announced Tuesday it had agreed to purchase the Fresh & Easy chain from British supermarket firm Tesco.

Monday, September 9

Entertainment Industry Brokerage Acquired

Insurance and wealth-management firm NFP Corp. has expanded its West Coast presence with its acquisition of Insurance West Corp. in Simi Valley.

Capstone Receives Australian Order

Capstone Turbine Corp. has received an additional order for its microturbines from an Australian company that services the coal-seam gas industry.

Disney Signs China Distribution Deal

The Burbank company has signed a deal to make live-action and animated feature films available online through Chinese social-media and entertainment services company Tencent.

TAKE TWO - Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - September 9, 2013

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Friday, September 6

MannKind Falls on Downgrade

Shares of MannKind Corp. fell nearly 7 percent Friday after an analyst at Bank of America downgraded the stock.

Report: Kinkisharyo Moving U.S. Headquarters to L.A. Area

Kinkisharyo International Inc., which plans to open a Palmdale factory to build light rail cars, is moving its U.S. headquarters to El Segundo from Masssachusetts, according to a Friday news report.

Thursday, September 5

Judge Blocks Burbank Wal-Mart

A proposed Burbank Wal-Mart will have to undergo an environmental review before it can move forward following a judge’s decision this week to block the store.

Virgin Spacecraft Completes Second Test Flight

Space vehicle SpaceShipTwo took to the skies above Mojave on Thursday for its second rocket-powered supersonic flight as part of testing prior to taking up paying passengers.

Viking Ups Order

Viking River Cruises announced on Thursday that it is increasing its ship order for next year.

Wednesday, September 4

Southwest Cutting Burbank Flights

Southwest Airlines is eliminating seven daily non-stop flights from Burbank Bob Hope Airport starting this month.

Conejo Parks District Signs Power Deal

The Conejo Recreation and Parks District is constructing four carports with solar panels that are expected to save it $3.4 million in electricity costs over 25 years.

Tuesday, September 3

ReachLocal CEO Resigns

ReachLocal Inc. on Tuesday announced the resignation of Zorik Gordon as chief executive and his replacement by Chairman David Carlick, who will serve as interim chief executive.

Kennedy Wilson Buys NoHo Building for $45 Million

Real Estate Investment Trust Kennedy Wilson announced Tuesday the purchase of a $45 million office building in North Hollywood.

Insurance Broker RGEB Buys ArcherWeiss

RGEB Employee Benefits expects to see a 50 percent increase in revenues following its acquisition of group and individual clients from ArcherWeiss Insurance & Financial Services Inc.

Amgen Drug Study Disappoints

An injectable heart drug licensed to Amgen Inc. failed to perform in a clinical study, but the company plans to await further test results before deciding whether to continue or abandon development of the drug.

Monday, September 2

Closing Environmental Fissures

A bill by a local legislator regulating fracking is far better than a rigid stance for a moratorium.

Much public debate has occurred recently over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a method of oil extraction in which pressurized water, sand and chemicals are injected underground to create fissures in the rock and release petroleum.

Tease photo

The Public, Private Divide


EDITOR: Inside flap over fracking.

Tease photo


Market Watch Summary

Investor worries about the Fed’s bond-buying program inspired six straight days of losses on the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell 3.3 percent during the two-week period ended Aug. 28.


Calendar of Events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

SolarCity Corp. has opened its first San Fernando Valley facility.

Tease photo

Closed Landmark Hits the Block in West Valley

Sale: Sierra’s Mexican Restaurant site seen as prime for multifamily.

A closed Woodland Hills landmark may be the site of the next big multifamily development in the West Valley.

Tease photo

Ventura Government Goes Hollywood With Hire

Rroduction: County names full-time liason to work with producers on shows.

Ventura County now has a full-time film liaison who will work with production companies to generate interest in feature film, television and commercial production in the cities and unincorporated areas.

High-Dollar Health-Care Case Schools Business

Litigation: Northridge firm secures big benefits for son of injured employee.

Kantor & Kantor LLP has won a high-profile health insurance case that provides a lesson for all business owners and employees just as implementation of health reform looms on the horizon.

Branching Out

Different banks and credit unions have opted for various styles as they makeover their brick-and-morter facilities in the era of online banking. Here are three institutions that have taken their own u

Different banks and credit unions have opted for various styles as they makeover their brick-and-morter facilities in the era of online banking.

Tease photo

On the Money

Aaron Birney has made a most unlikely career in architecture: transforming stodgy banks into modern marvels.

Aaron Birney makes his contributions to the banking industry without ever approving a loan or mortgage, cashing a check or counting out $100 in singles.

Tease photo

Banking On It

With customers doing many transactions online, banks are spiffing up branches to lure them back inside.

Been inside your neighborhood bank branch lately?

Tease photo

L.A. Group Engineering to Take NTS Private

Investment: National Technical Systems in $267 million buyout.

Investment: National Technical Systems goes private in $267 million deal.

Tease photo

Singing The Blues

Acquisition: New York private equity firm has overseas plans for growing Blue Microphones.

Acquisition: Blue Microphones feels good vibes after buyout.

Tease photo

The Twists And Turns of Victory

Pacoima man wins contest maneuvering van around tight spots.

Transportation: Jose Lopez is state champ among delivery-van drivers.

Getting Stuck on Caramel

Cronuts beware! Couple hopes custards will be new hot treat.

Restaurants: Can Crème Caramel LA make Filipino custard the next big fad?

Tease photo

Planting a Seed on the Internet

Burbank’s CW tries its hand at shorts made for Web.

Entertainment: The CW launches digital testing ground for new talent.

Tease photo

Not a Chip Off the Old Block

New high-tech vending machines prefer online contact to a good smack.

Technology: Vending machines have become intelligent and health-conscious.

Tease photo

Builder Outlasts Local Opposition

Development: Toscano project gets OK after 10-year struggle.

Development: Toscano, a 325-unit mixed-use project, will target the walk-to-work crowd.

Tease photo

Desert Facility On Hot Seat

Health Care: Financial woes put A.V. hospital on credit watch.

Health Care: A credit review ismotivating change at Antelope Valley Hospital.

Tease photo

Wicked Good

Broadway producer prints profits in the Valley

Manufacturing: “Wicked” merchandise powers expansion at Araca Ink.

Tease photo

Whole Foods Takes Second Bite at Burbank Market

Retail: Upscale grocer teams with local developer on mixed-use plan.

Retail: Whole Foods may have found the right recipe for building a store in Burbank.

Tease photo

Why Pension Reform Matters to Business

very year, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association , or VICA, compiles legislative priorities based on responses from our members.