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San Fernando
Saturday, Dec 9, 2023


One Bad Apple Psst. Got a friend from New York? Time was expatriate New Yorkers liked nothing better than to get together to share a dropped “r” or two and gloat over missing another New York winter. Those were the days when membership at the San Fernando Valley’s own Big Apple Networking Group swelled to 40. But in recent months, the group’s membership has dwindled to less than a dozen, and it’s looking like being an ex-New Yorker just doesn’t have the appeal it once did. “Either they don’t want to acknowledge that they’re from New York or they’ve been gone too long,” said David B. Newman, a Woodland Hills-based CPA who recently took over chairing the group. Indeed, the Big Apple has lost so much cachet, the group has changed its name to BANG (though closet ex-New Yorkers are still welcome to join). Newman, himself an ex-New Yorker who left 25 years ago and never looked back, said the networking group for San Fernando Valley businessmen and women originally made sense because “New Yorkers are different from L.A. people. That’s as nicely as I can put it.” But most are not celebrating that difference anymore. “I don’t think ex-New Yorkers want to associate with ex-New Yorkers,” Newman said. “They want to assimilate more.” BANG meets every Thursday morning at Coco’s Restaurant in Woodland Hills. Market Dynamic After a rocky start and a number of delays, the Studio City Farmers Market has taken off big time. In its first day of operation, the market drew an estimated 4,000 people, about four times the average attendance recorded by most markets, and rang up $28,000 in sales, nearly twice the average $15,000 purse. By the second week of operation, attendance had trailed off to 2,500 people, but that still put the market well above the average, especially when you consider that sales remained at the $28,000 level. “Gross revenues would have been much higher the first week if we had product,” said Tony Lucente, president of the Studio City Residents Association. Indeed, business was so brisk on opening day that by 11 a.m. more than half the booths were bare. Many put up signs that read, “Sold out. We’ll have more next week.” About the only products still available more than one hour before the closing of the day’s business were flowers and canned olives, a combination that could supply little more than a martini reception. “Well, we do have the demographics for that,” Lucente quipped. Mike vs. Mike The latest newsletter put out by New Coliseum Partners features a front-page article praising the group’s proposal for a rebuilt Coliseum to lure an NFL team to L.A. The author of that article is Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner, who first publicly supported the project earlier this year. Eisner likens the rebuilding of the Coliseum to Disney’s restoration and refurbishing of the New Amsterdam Theater in New York and Edison Field in Anaheim. The newsletter, which is mailed to prominent business leaders and media outlets around town, attempts to drum up support for the New Coliseum proposal in advance of a crucial Oct. 27 presentation to NFL owners. What the newsletter doesn’t mention is that Eisner’s estranged former partner at Disney, Michael Ovitz, is preparing to present a competing proposal for a football stadium in Carson at that same Oct. 27 meeting. Earth Ravagers, Unite! DreamWorks SKG and the developers of Playa Vista have found a new friend. The Ayn Rand Institute, which has a history of taking a contrarian view of events, announced that it has formed an “Ad Hoc Committee for Exploiting the Earth” to lend support to Playa Capital Co. LLC, and to advocate on behalf of capitalist developers everywhere. “It’s not that I’m particularly in favor of (Steven) Spielberg. He could be an environmentalist, for all I know,” said Michael Berliner, the institute’s executive director. “It’s just the principle. Whenever anyone wants to develop anything, environmentalists put up as many roadblocks as they can. They drag it out and they drag it out until the builder gets frustrated and quits. We find that really reprehensible.” To date, ARI has held one protest, complete with placards, on the corner of Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards in Marina del Rey. “We had seen the environmentalist protesters and thought it would be nice to see people demonstrating in favor of development, instead of against it, for a change,” said Berliner.

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