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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

Valley Talk

Housing Fever The San Fernando Valley housing market has gotten hot in recent months. The number of homes sold has been rising for four consecutive months and the median price is up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. But home shoppers are finding their options fairly slim the inventory of for-sale Valley homes is down 14 percent from a year ago. “It’s real dry out there,” said Maureen Steinberg, an agent at Re/MAX Realty in Encino. That’s forcing home shoppers to be somewhat wily. Some shoppers are putting bids on multiple homes, expecting most of their offers to be booted by higher bids. Others are arriving at open houses hours before they are scheduled to open for viewing. It appears Valley real estate is once again a competitive sport. ‘Life-Saving’ Proposal Santa Clarita City Councilman Carl Boyer wants the city to change its address system when it gets a new area code, which is likely to happen in 1999. Under the current system, Santa Clarita addresses are based on the distance of properties from downtown Los Angeles. Now that Santa Clarita is its own city, its addresses should be based on their distance from the center of Santa Clarita, Boyer argues. But opponents are saying that the address-change proposal, which is expected to reach the City Council this month, would be expensive. Shipments to businesses could be lost, driver’s licenses would have to be replaced and numbers on curbs would have to be repainted, they say. But Boyer fires back that by changing the addresses, “We could save lives.” That struck Cameron Smyth as odd. Smyth is the son of the Santa Clarita’s mayor and an aide to state Sen. William J. “Pete” Knight, R-Palmdale, who represents the area. “(Boyer) claimed that because the addresses aren’t sequential, people wouldn’t be able to find their way to the hospital,” Smyth said. “And our hospital is freakin’ huge. I don’t know of anybody who would drive by the hospital and say, ‘That’s not it.’ ” Image and Entertainment The Valley stands poised to get its biggest burst of media attention since the Northridge earthquake or at least since the release of the movie “Two Days in the Valley.” The occasion is this month’s release of New Line Cinema’s much-talked-about film, “Boogie Nights.” But it may be the kind of attention many Valley business leaders think the area can do without. The film delves into the sleazy underworld of the Valley’s adult entertainment industry during the drug- and disco-crazed late 1970s and early ’80s. The movie’s “hero” is a Torrance youth played by Mark Wahlberg, who finds both fame and fortune on the mean streets of the San Fernando Valley. The film is scheduled to be playing on some 2,000 screens nationwide by the end of October. So are Valley business-types at all concerned about what it could mean for the region’s image? At least one Chamber of Commerce leader seems to be taking it in stride. “We are the entertainment capital of the world,” shrugged Walter Prince, a longtime leader of the Northridge chamber. “So I suppose it’s only fair that we provide all sorts of entertainment for all sorts of people.” Waiting for El Ni & #324;o What special precautions are being taken by the city of L.A. to prepare the Valley for the arrival of El Ni & #324;o’s fury this winter? Apparently none. “Mother Nature will do whatever she wants and we’ll just have to contend with it,” said Dennis Moorfield, an engineer at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. He adds, however, that the Valley already has the best flood-control system in the nation, and possibly in the world. “We are doing the same things that we have been doing for the last 40 years,” he said. That would primarily involve clearing debris out of flood basins and drainage channels. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for the strategic Sepulveda Flood Basin, has been stocking up on sandbags. “We have around 10,000 sandbags to shore up our core facilities for the first 72 hours of a flood fight,” said a spokesman. While able to provide technical assistance to local governments, the Corps will not be providing bags. “We can give them the numbers of sandbag manufacturers across the country,” he offered. Come On Down! Attention all aspiring game show hosts; here’s your big chance. The Game Show Network is holding an audition for game show hosts on Oct. 22 at the Northridge Fashion Center, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nine finalists will be selected to audition once more at the Los Angeles “Coast-to-Coast Search for a Host,” which will be held Nov. 1 from noon to 4 p.m., also at the Northridge Fashion Center. “Upon review by a celebrity panel of judges, the newly crowned game show host will be presented with a prize package worth more than $30,000, including a brand new 1997 Jeep Cherokee SE, $5,000 in cash, and the ultimate award a game show hosting opportunity on the Game Show Network,” states a press release. The network is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. No Early Retirement Don’t anybody plan on moving into Michael Eisner’s office as the chairman of Walt Disney Co. The 55-year-old boss of the Burbank-based entertainment conglomerate isn’t stepping down anytime soon. Asked how long he plans to stay in the captain’s chair, Eisner said “forever” in an interview with PBS talk show host Charlie Rose last week. Rose persisted, asking Eisner if he planned to step down at age 65 or 70 or even 75. “What would I do?” Eisner said. “I am no good at gardening. If they want to wheel me in and let me look at a pilot, I’m there.”

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