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Sunday, May 28, 2023


Who’s Counting? Sherman Oaks homeowners, who for years fought to keep developers from expanding the movie theaters and restaurants at the Sherman Oaks Galleria and ultimately lost the battle, are still pretty touchy about plans to refurbish the mall. So recently, when staff from Douglas, Emmett & Co., the Galleria’s newest owner, made a long-awaited presentation to the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association showing how they will redesign the mall’s entrance, they understandably wanted to downplay their intention to convert the movie theater from its current five screens to 18. Beginning the presentation to the group, Mee H. Lee, a consultant working with Douglas, Emmett, said she wanted to clarify an item that had appeared in the association’s newsletter publicizing the meeting. The developers had no plans to expand the number of movie theaters at the Galleria, she said. Technically, her statement is true: the previous owners received entitlements to increase the number of screens and Emmett has not applied for any entitlements that would change that. But Lee was splitting hairs. The previous owners did not do any renovating before selling the Galleria, and the mall still has only five screens, which Emmett will, indeed, increase to 18 when the rebuilding is complete. The distinction was not lost on Richard Close, president of the association and an attorney by trade. Following Lee’s presentation, he took the microphone and, in a tone worthy of a cross-examination, asked, “So that means there will be five theaters, right?” Food for Thought Each year, Boeing Co.’s Rocketdyne division holds an event called Space Week to give the area’s youngsters a first-hand look at some of the fundamentals of space exploration and to encourage them to study math and science. The event, which draws 2,200 students from 21 San Fernando Valley elementary and high schools, includes classroom instruction, a tour of the Rocketdyne facilities and the chance to build and test model rockets. Sometimes the weighty subject matter goes over the heads of the young audience, as Linda St. Cyr, a Rocketdyne engineer, recalls. She was explaining to a group of students the difference between liquid and solid rocket fuels and decided to use as an example the barbeque, which uses liquid fuel (lighter fluid) along with solid fuel (charcoal). St. Cyr told her class that an example of liquid fuel would be lighter fluid, and she then asked whether anyone could think of an example for solid fuel. “The meat,” came the answer from one of her students. Have You Driven a Ford Lately? Ever wonder what’s behind the garage door of a guy who makes his living promoting cars? Joseph Molina, president of JMPR, a Woodland Hills-based public relations firm that specializes in automobile accounts, has collected over 50 cars during the course of his 20 years with the agency. But while the company has worked on campaigns for the introduction of the Lamborghini Countach and the U.S. introduction of the Ferrari 348 Spyder, Molina’s personal collection is a mix of utilitarian, luxury and just plain interesting specimens. His garage houses a 525 BMW, a 1995 Range Rover, a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, a 1956 Bentley S-1 Continental Park Ward Coupe and a 1996 Chevy Impala SS. New-Business Strategy The news that a Sparkletts deliveryman helped L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs and the LAPD chase down a would-be burglar in Studio City has given Sparkletts deliverymen all over the Valley something to talk to their customers about. The deliveryman, Mohsen Lavizani, was delivering water in the area when he encountered Wachs, kitchen knife in hand, chasing a man who had attempted to break into his Studio City home one morning last month. Lavizani jumped into his truck, urging Wachs to ride shotgun. The two chased the man through the neighborhood, ultimately cornering him on a dead-end street. By then the police had joined the chase and apprehended the burglar. Since the incident, Sparkletts says that many of its customers have been chatting up other deliverymen to learn more about the story. And the story is getting bigger. “It’s been embellished a little bit every time it’s told,” said Dave Bryant, Sparkletts district manager. Bryant said he thinks the exposure from the media has helped business, but he can’t be certain. The company has a number of codes to help track how new customers learned about the water and the service. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a code for hero yet,” said Bryant.

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