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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

Valley Talk

valleytalk/22″/mike1st/jc2nd Merger Munchies Shareholders of Great Western Bank were celebrating big-time on June 13, when they overwhelmingly approved a friendly merger with Washington Mutual Inc. that awarded them a hefty premium for their stock. But one company that was probably less than thrilled with the development was Abe’s Deli of Northridge, a favorite watering hole for Great Western employees. The deli made a bundle from the army of accountants, lawyers and bankers who descended on the Great Western headquarters during merger talks. “This was the biggest windfall for the owner of the local delicatessen in Chatsworth Abe’s Deli in the history of Chatsworth,” said Great Western CEO John Maher in a recent interview. “The business he got was phenomenal.” Indeed, the Great Western merger provided Abe’s with one of its most profitable periods in recent months, said deli General Manager Jane Brayton. “We were preparing lunches and dinners for over 100 people at a time on an hour’s notice,” she said. “We were also throwing cookies into the oven for them as fast as we could at 200 a shot.” But alas, business has returned to normal, following consummation of the merger. The chance of similar booms in the future is slim, because layoffs are likely to follow at the Chatsworth campus in the months ahead as the two merger partners combine. Chillin’ Out It’s hot in the San Fernando Valley in the summertime, and that means it’s busy at the Iceoplex in North Hills. There are two ice skating rinks at the Iceoplex and air tempetautures on the ice run from 40 to 50 degrees. Perhaps not surprisingly, the rink is a hotspot. “We have leagues booked from 5 in the morning to midnight or 1 a.m.,” says Lisa Sakata, Iceoplex general manager. “We’re turning them away.” During the day, the ice is open for “public session,” and the general public, as well as children’s camps, use the rinks heavily, says Sakata. “We could use another rink,” she says. Airing Differences The South Coast Air Quality Management District can take all the time it needs to become more commerce friendly, as far as Antelope Valley business leaders are concerned. Antelope Valley’s secession from the AQMD becomes effective this month, when it will launch its own agency to monitor air quality. And the new Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District isn’t wasting any time in touting itself as being good for business, while getting in a dig at the AQMD. A brochure distributed by Palmdale and Lancaster touting the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone boasts: “We’re also the only place in L.A. County not a part of the South Coast AQMD. You’ll find we can be a bit more flexible, so your business can breathe a little easier while staying in Southern California.” Police Riot Call him a cut-up copper, or a laughable lawman. But call him early, if you want LAPD Capt. Alan Kerstein to speak at your next social function or community gathering. A 29-year veteran of the force, Kerstein is commanding officer of the Valley Traffic Division by day, and stand-up comedian at night. He was also recently identified as the “most wanted” public speaker from within L.A.’s police ranks. Kernstein will speak before the Studio City Residents Association July 8 on “How to Avoid a Ticket.” (Our guess: Donuts, donuts, donuts.) A Finn in City Hall Again A familiar face from the San Fernando Valley returned to City Hall last week, when Anne Finn, widow of former L.A. City Councilman Howard Finn, was sworn in as a member of the newly elected Charter Reform Commission. Finn’s election to the commission is somewhat poignant. It was the elimination of her husband’s East Valley district after his death a decade ago that helped sow the seeds for the Valley independence movement which, in turn, led to the recent charter reform drive. Nonetheless, Finn stressed that she is not a secessionist. “The Valley is part of the city,” she said. “I’m a one-world person let alone dividing the city into smaller pieces.” The return to politics does have the 81-year-old Sunland resident thinking wistfully of her late husband. “I wish he were here,” she said. “We could use him now. He was a real creative thinker. I’m not an innovative thinker. I just listen and when things make sense to me, that’s when I act.” Hush-Hush Talks The expansion of Burbank Airport has become such a contentious issue that Burbank and Airport Authority officials have cloaked the whereabouts of their negotiating sessions in secrecy. Burbank, which has been fighting to limit the expansion, held out an olive branch last month when it approached the Airport Authority about negotiating a settlement. That move infuriated some of Burbank’s most vehement anti-expansionists, leading to numerous threats against both sides and the decision to keep negotiating venues anonymous, said Burbank City Manager Bud Ovrom. “We’re not disclosing locations to avoid bomb threats,” joked Ovrom, adding that other less-menacing threats have indeed been received. Airport Commissioner Carl Raggio reported getting several ominous phone calls since negotiations reopened. “I do get the strange calls people telling you what they think of you and then hanging up,” Raggio said.

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