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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Digest

CUTLINE:(To Go WITH BLENDA WILSON PIX Parting shot: Outgoing CSUN President Blenda Wilson announced the school will build its new football and soccer stadium on the North Campus despite intense neighborhood opposition. The school’s current football field is being torn down to make way for a new business campus for Sylmar-based insulin pump maker MiniMed Inc. North Hollywood Project Criticized Plans for a film studio and office complex in the North Hollywood redevelopment area should be scaled back, according to a just released study that questions the project’s financing. Developer J. Allen Radford failed to prove the $277 million project is financially feasible, according to the study, which was commissioned by the Community Redevelopment Agency and done by Keyser Marston Associates. The project calls for two phases: 430,000 square feet of film studios on 16 acres, and a second 14-acre phase, consisting of 1.1 million square feet of office and retail space. The consultants, however, recommend that the project should be scaled back to 16 acres because the area has an office vacancy rate of 15 percent and the project lacks financing for later phases. Acting City Administrative Officer Paul Cauley and Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton said the Community Redevelopment Agency should look into bringing in other developers for the second and third phases of the project in case Radford is unable to develop them. Back in Homeowners Business After a five-year halt, Woodland Hills-based 20th Century Insurance will start selling home insurance policies again after reaching agreement with the state insurance commission to establish a $6 million fund for Northridge earthquake victims whose homes still haven’t been repaired. The company left the home insurance market following a loss of $1.1 billion as a result of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Then the eighth biggest insurer in California, 20th Century was nearly bankrupted by quake damage and was fined $100,000 by the state Insurance Commission for problems in handling its 46,000 policyholder claims. The company focused on auto policies following its exit from the home insurance market. American International Insurance Group bought into the company, further boosting it financially. Twentieth Century will offer homeowners policies through the California Earthquake Authority, a state-run insurance pool that seeks to lessen the risk for individual insurance companies. High-Tech Acquisition Calabasas-based Tekelec, a telephone and computer network equipment tester, announced it will buy a Texas telecommunications firm in a $163 million deal. Under the deal, IEX Corp., which produces hardware and software packages for telecom companies, will become a subsidiary of Tekelec. Alleged Rocketdyne Cover-Up The California Department of Health Services announced it will launch an internal investigation over allegations that agency workers joined with Rocketdyne officials to disband a citizens oversight committee and suppress health studies at the company’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley. The citizen committee was investigating possible contamination and illness caused by nuclear and chemical testing by Rocketdyne. The state Environmental Protection Agency announced it will investigate the allegations as well. The Department of Health Services and Rocketdyne deny claims that they buried a 1997 cancer survey they worked on together. Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl, D-Encino, claims to have documents showing the department and company tried to hide a study that showed area residents face a 15 percent higher lung cancer rate than the population at large. Home Sales Keep Rising Los Angeles County home resales surged 7.8 percent in March 1999 over the previous year, thanks to a good economy, low interest rates and a booming stock market, according to the California Association of Realtors and the Transamerica Intellitech real estate information service. The median price climbed 6.3 percent to $191,980 for March 1999 compared to the like period a year ago. Statewide, the median price for a resale home increased 10.1 percent in March 1999. Ventura County resale home prices increased 10.8 percent in March, but sales dropped 14 percent. Hughes Out, Gelson’s In Gelson’s supermarket announced it will move into the former location of a Hughes Family Market in Sherman Oaks after an eight-month battle by residents to force Hughes out. After the parent of Ralphs Grocery Co. bought the Hughes chain, it was ordered to sell 19 of Hughes’ 56 Southern California stores because of antitrust concerns. The Sherman Oaks Hughes, at Van Nuys Boulevard and Milibank Street, was one of six Valley stores that the California Attorney General’s Office ordered to be sold. Gelson’s, an upscale market, is scheduled to open in a couple of months. City Should Pay for Secession Study The city of Los Angeles should pay a portion of a study of San Fernando Valley secession, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan said following a meeting with secession leaders. The study, which is expected to cost up to $2.6 million, will examine the financial repercussions of the Valley breaking away from Los Angeles. Under one proposal, the state would pay for 60 percent of the cost, the county 20 percent, the city 10 percent and secessionists 10 percent. While Riordan supports the city paying part of the cost, he stressed he is opposed to secession.

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