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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023


Star Troopers Bill Allen, president and chief executive of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, has some pretty strong opinions about what the group should and should not do to help promote tourism. The alliance has kicked off an image campaign to develop a marketable brand identity to help the Valley promote tourism and business. The group has talked about creating maps that would pinpoint the areas throughout the Valley that have been used as locations for film and television. “Bonanza,” for instance, was shot in the northwest Valley and the final scene in “Casablanca” was shot at the Van Nuys Airport. But the one thing Allen won’t do is create maps to the homes of stars who reside in the Valley. The son of famed entertainers Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, who grew up in Encino, Allen said many celebrities sought refuge in the Valley to get away from fans who scoured Beverly Hills and Malibu for autographs. Many fans found their way to the Valley anyway. Allen said that for years his family would leave the gates leading to their house open. He can remember playing ball with his dad in the front yard, “and the next thing we knew, a happy family would drive up,” he said. Generation Gap Mayor Richard Riordan paid a visit to Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment recently to convey his thoughts about San Fernando Valley cityhood and other community matters. The mayor’s adamant stance against cityhood has, at times, drawn fire from Valley folks, and VOTE President Jeff Brain thought it would be a good idea to avoid confrontation at the meeting. So he gathered the VOTE board members the night before and asked them to keep an open mind and listen to what the mayor had to say. The mayor’s presentation came off without incident. That is, until Jason Brain, the VOTE president’s son, raised his hand to ask a question about the Valley’s share of services. The teen pointed out that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spends millions on transportation improvements of which the Valley sees only a small share. “How is that a fair share?,” the teen asked the mayor. Obviously the youth has been hanging out at his dad’s VOTE office this summer. Don’t Leave Home Without It Forget American Express. Now alumni from Cal State Northridge can apply for their own Platinum Visa card featuring a choice of two designs, the university’s logo or a photo of the Oviatt Library. A pitch that went out to former students promises a 9.99 percent variable annual rate and credit lines of $5,000 to $100,000. By simply using the card, alumni can benefit the Cal State Northridge Alumni Association, which receives a contribution with each purchase. And if they act now, students can receive a cool shirt embroidered with the university’s logo. Now there’s an idea for paying off those student loans. Rescuing General Motors General Motors Corp., which is having a tough time in the San Fernando Valley, recently recruited the management of Rydell Co., a North Dakota-based auto dealer, to try and turn around lagging sales. Apparently, the outlook is pretty bleak. “If Mr. Rydell wanted more money, we wouldn’t be involved in this project,” said Jim Lynch, San Fernando Valley project manager for Rydell. Lynch said the Rydell Co. came to GM’s rescue not for money, but to help out. He then likened GM to a child who runs into trouble. “Your walking over a bridge and you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and down on a riverbank a little girl slides into the water,” he said. “You save that kid and you feel wonderful. That’s how Wes (Rydell) feels about helping anybody his employees, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, or anybody else.” No Window of Opportunity Here Hollywood has long been accustomed to the unpredictability of sequels. Now Microsoft Corp. may be getting a taste of the problems firsthand. When Microsoft introduced its Windows 98 software recently, CompUSA, decided to cash in on the debut with a “midnight madness” sale. For one day, the retailer opened at midnight offering the software along with promotions that included a $98 computer and 98-cent accessories and software. But consumer apathy was overwhelming. “We sold maybe 10 copies (of Windows 98) total that night,” said the manager at CompUSA’s Woodland Hills store. “When we did this for Windows 95, we sold 1,600 copies in the first day, and people were mobbed outside the store before we opened our doors at midnight.” Initial reaction to the much ballyhooed introduction wasn’t much better at other retailers. “It’s sitting like a dog down here,” said one employee at an independent computer store in Glendale. She put some of the blame on Southern California, where Hollywood tends to elicit more enthusiasm than high-tech. “Maybe Windows 98 is selling better up in Northern California where people care more about those things.”

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