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Burbank’s Parking Wars The upcoming release of the much-hyped “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace” has the city of Burbank preparing for an anticipated galactic battle of its own: the parking wars. If the AMC Burbank 14 Theatres wins the right to screen the George Lucas film, as City Manager Bud Ovrom anticipates, downtown Burbank will be jammed by moviegoers fighting to see the science-fiction epic. “We expect the crowds to be huge, to the point that we may have to close some streets,” said Ovrom. The city manager has already begun meeting with the police chief to talk about putting up signs to guide moviegoers to the city’s free parking lots and using police officers to direct traffic. While some city managers might look at “Star Wars” as a costly imposition, Ovrom sees it as a way to lure shoppers to downtown stores and restaurants. “This is a movie town,” said Ovrom. “We want people to know not only that they can come here, but the parking is free.” Going That Extra Mile Matt Plaskoff, owner of Sherman Oaks-based Matt Plaskoff Construction, came up with a novel approach to show his workers he cares. Plaskoff recently joined one of his first employees, Rafael “Raffa” Castellano, on a trip to Colima, Mexico to learn first-hand about the worker’s roots. The boss ended up staying with the Castellano family for four days, an experience that allowed Plaskoff to see a side of “Raffa few other employers will ever experience with their own employees,” according to a public relations firm that sent out a release touting the trip. So the next time you hear an employee talking about heading home for Hoboken, Tampa, Pittsburgh or whereever, why don’t you jump on a plane and come along? Of course, depending on your relationship with your employees, you might really show you care by just staying home. Move Over Cindy Crawford. How many city officials does it take to run a fashion show? For the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, the answer is five and counting. The homeowners are planning their second annual fund-raising event at Bloomingdale’s, and this year, they decided to add a fashion show to the gala dinner event. But models are expensive, and the association wanted to keep all the proceeds for their intended purpose planting trees in the neighborhood. The solution: Invite city officials to do the modeling. So far, state Assembly members Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Wally Knox, D-Los Angeles, have volunteered, as has Herzberg’s chief of staff, Miriam Jaffee. Also prepared to strut their stuff are Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Feuer and his Field Deputy Sharon Mayer. Richard Close, president of the association, said it hasn’t been too difficult to persuade the would-be models. “Their major concern is, they wanted assurances there will be no cross-dressing,” he quipped. Indeed, some, like Feuer, who was the first to volunteer, are even enthusiastic about what the venture can do for their image. “Mike Feuer and ‘hunk’ may not be an obvious association for most people right now,” said Daniel S. Hinerfeld, deputy for policy and communication at the councilman’s office. “In fact, informal polling shows Mike Feuer and ‘reed-thin’ are much more commonly linked. But perceptions can change. We think Mike’s going to prove there’s a physique under that loose, dark suit.” Dueling Deans The phrase “cross-town rivalry” might as well have been invented for USC and UCLA especially during the football season. But it apparently hasn’t established much of a foothold in their respective business schools. Consider that Randolph W. Westerfield, who has been dean of USC’s Marshall School for more than five years, is a graduate of UCLA. And Bruce G. Willison, the just-appointed dean of UCLA’s Anderson School has an MBA from you guessed it, USC. Willison said that while his MBA may be from USC, his undergraduate degree in economics is from UCLA. Deep down, he says, he’s a Bruin. “My kids don’t believe I ever actually went to USC because I’m such a Bruin fan football, basketball, everything,” he said. What about UCLA grad Westerfield? “I’m a Trojan fan no doubt about that,” he said. “I’ll be sitting on the Trojan side of the stadium for sure.” ‘Jeopardy’ It Ain’t Leave it to cable TV to push the envelope. The Game Show Network, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, recently debuted “Burt Luddin’s Love Buffet,” a risqu & #233; version of more traditional dating shows. Real couples, whether dating, married or partners of the same sex, compete by trying to guess how their significant other would answer questions like, “If your partner had an affair with some member of your family other than you, who would it be?” Other shows have explored such explicit territory, but not to the point of having contestants hold up boxer shorts or panties to signal answers to a round of questions. Producers say the show is still evolving. “We’re always trying to figure out how far we can go and where we want to draw the line,” said John Cervenka, “We have a lot of latitude with the network, but just because you have it, you don’t exercise it all the time.” Image Makeover For years, Los Angeles has played third fiddle behind New York and Paris in the world of fashion. But a recent salute to Beverly Hills shops and merchants by Vogue magazine suggests that L.A. is finally a major fashion stop not just a way station. “L.A. has never been on the second rung in terms of style,” said Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s editor-at-large. “Style always comes from the movies, although it is questionable at times.” Talley says he is bemused by Los Angeles, with its neatly manicured lawns outside those faux Tudor mansions in Hancock Park and Beverly Hills. “I think of L.A. as a kind of prop city,” he said.

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