daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Continental Forums > North American Skyscrapers Forum > Metropolis & States > Los Angeles

Los Angeles » Development News | Transportation | Greater L.A. Area



Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old May 31st, 2008, 09:01 AM   #241
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

And how do they sell it?
We know it's commercial television (which is basically what we're talking about) but you can't have NOTHING but television commercials. There has to be a reason for New York advertising to exist. I'm going to assume that most of the film or tape being run for commercial advertising is being produced in Los Angeles, 'cause that's what we specialize in. I'm sure they produce in other places around the world too, but commercial television, other than the broadcast news, is entertainment television.
Madison Avenue bids for time within the broadcast 'show', looking for the broadest possible audience for their product. They pay the networks for that time. The networks pay network or independent studios for artistic content for their respective time slots.
Los Angeles has the overwhelming bulk of the artistic content. The networks, from NBC to MTV have gotten to where they are today, from L. A. based content. They don't make their money from New York based broadcast news.
Publishing that uses advertisement is usually of the sports or entertainment variety. The 'entertainment' is ours. So you can safely say that New York's Madison Avenue is indebted to our entertainment content and culture.
Where would they be without it? The 1950's
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
 
Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:25 AM   #242
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Gay marriage may be a gift to California's economy

Susan Goldman / Biggayweddings.com

Heidi Post, left, and Stacy Lacaillade pose with their dog Sampson in preparation for their wedding in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. By some estimates, weddings and commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples generate $1 billion a year in revenue.

Business is up for hotels, bakers and photographers as same-sex couples prepare to wed.

By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 2, 2008
Forget economic stimulus checks. Same-sex marriages may give California just the financial boost it needs.

Wedding planners, bakers and hotels began booking more business almost immediately after the state Supreme Court's May 15 decision overturning a ban on gay marriage. Citing pent-up demand, one UCLA study projects that same-sex unions could provide a $370-million shot in the arm to the state economy over the next three years.

"Being in West Hollywood, we've been inundated," said Tom Rosa, owner of the Cake and Art bakery on Santa Monica Boulevard. "After the ruling, the phone really picked up."

Rosa said couples who had waited for decades to legally marry were splurging on 5-foot-tall confections shaped like carousels and cakes featuring handcrafted birds of paradise.

Mike Standifer and Marc Hammer were already planning a commitment ceremony for October, but when the court ruling came out, they decided to throw an even bigger bash and get married.

They plan on spending about $25,000, which includes renovations on their Hollywood home so they can have the party in their backyard. The new price tag includes rings, their suits and those of their wedding party, and the cost of flying in Standifer's priest from Tennessee -- all costs they wouldn't have incurred if they were just having a party.

"The wedding dynamic in the last two weeks changed everything," Standifer said. The wedding businesses he's worked with so far seem thrilled. "I think it's because the economy's not so great, but the vendors have been treating us like royalty," he said.

By some estimates, weddings and commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples generate $1 billion a year in revenue.

PlanetOut, a media and entertainment company that conducts surveys about gay and lesbian consumers, says gay consumers earn 20% more than their straight counterparts, on average, and spend about 10% more on nuptials.

The court ruling comes at a good time for many small wedding-related businesses, which are finding that their traditional customers are spending less on weddings because of the economy.

"Brides are being more frugal with things they don't see as a priority," said Richard Markel, president and director of the Assn. for Wedding Professionals International.

Things really slowed down in February, said Michael Willms, owner of Entertainment Design Events, an event planning company that's done big bashes such as a wedding for actress Lindsay Price, who stars in the NBC show "Lipstick Jungle."

But they've picked up now. The day after the ruling, Willms booked a $55,000 same-sex wedding.

"These weddings will be much more lavish," he said. "Everybody's been waiting for it to be legal to throw the big party."

California counties can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning June 17.

M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law, estimates that gay weddings could provide a $370-million boost to the state economy.

That estimate presumes that about half of California's 92,000 same-sex couples will tie the knot, multiplied by $8,040, the amount of money from savings accounts that Badgett figures same-sex couples will use on their weddings.

Event planners, restaurants, tent and chair rental companies, florists, caterers and hotels should all get a piece of that pie, she said.

"There's an opportunity to get a big wedding windfall," she said.

There are, of course, some caveats. No one can accurately project how many gay couples will spend thousands on weddings. And the legality of gay weddings is potentially short-lived, as officials verify petition signatures for a proposed Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would prohibit same-sex marriage.
Still, wedding-related companies that traditionally market to the gay and lesbian community are finding business is picking up.

Mitch Goldstone, president of Irvine-based photo service ScanMyPhotos.com, said he had gotten more than 300 requests for wedding invitations with photos on them since the court ruling.

"I guess people are still concerned about dealing with unsympathetic local photo labs," he said.

Rosa, the baker, said a lesbian couple came to him for their cake after a bakery in San Bernardino said it was booked for the summer and couldn't make their wedding cake when a clerk saw the two women together.

Other businesses are trying to capture the attention of gay and lesbian couples.

Susan Goldman, a wedding photographer, registered the domain name biggayweddings.com a month ago so she could market her services to same-sex couples. The Ramada hotel in West Hollywood is promoting a honeymoon special, and the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau is launching an ad in a magazine for the gay community, selling West Hollywood as a good place for weddings and honeymoons.

The bump in advertising targeted at same-sex couples is good for publications. Bill LaPointe, publisher of the Orange County and Long Beach Blade, anticipates a 10% to 15% increase in advertising from wedding vendors. The Blade caters to gay, lesbian and transgender readers.

Macy's published a full-page ad for its wedding and gift registry in the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, captioned "First comes love. Then comes marriage. And now it's a milestone every couple in California can celebrate."

Same-sex couples can obtain a marriage license in California whether or not they live in the state. That means hotels and airlines might see business from same-sex couples and their guests flying to California to marry.

"It will be the only place where couples from any state can be married legally," said Michael C. Green, president of the Palm Springs Hospitality Assn. and owner of the Triangle Inn, a Palm Springs hotel catering to gay men. That's a boon to places like Palm Springs, which is a popular gay resort destination.

"Our city has been barraged with phone calls from folks who want to come visit and find out how quickly we'll be able to issue licenses," he said.

Sue Jennings and the Rev. Cindi Love, executive director of the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches, live in Texas but will fly to Los Angeles to get married this month. They're planning on spending about $5,000 on a dinner for their guests, flowers, a photographer and clothes for the wedding, even if it means a big credit card bill.

"We've been together 28 years," Love said. "We want to have a ceremony and that acknowledgment of one another."


alana.semuels@latimes.com
LATimes
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2008, 06:07 PM   #243
Westsidelife
LAL | LAD | LAK
 
Westsidelife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,727
Likes (Received): 47

^ It'll be interesting to see if this accounts for any sort of population growth.
__________________
"I'm an LA guy, can't help it." -- Tiger Woods
Westsidelife no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2008, 07:15 PM   #244
LAsam
Endless summer
 
LAsam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: West LA
Posts: 452
Likes (Received): 1

I would imagine so. In addition, it will be drawing a lot of couples with a high level of disposable income... which is good for the economy.
LAsam no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 3rd, 2008, 03:38 AM   #245
Westsidelife
LAL | LAD | LAK
 
Westsidelife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,727
Likes (Received): 47

What Makes an ‘L.A.’ Ad?

By BRETT SPORICH
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
June 2, 2008

When a Chicago ad agency handled the Washington Mutual advertising account, TV spots focused on the competition as portrayed by a group of unhelpful, greedy bankers wearing black suits in wood-paneled offices.

When the account moved to TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles, the noted agency developed the “WooHoo” campaign for WaMu. Ads showed people learning about the bank’s services, which inspired them to fantasize about rolling on the ground with puppies or racing down the road in a high-speed car. All done in bright, bright colors under sunlit skies.

“Once we get a hold of the account, it’s all optimistic,” said Brett Craig, creative director of TBWA\Chiat\Day. “Now, is that because of L.A.? I don’t know, but it’s interesting that we decided to talk about what’s good about the bank versus what’s negative about all the other banks.”

The difference in those ad campaigns shows what makes L.A. ads distinctive from those produced elsewhere. L.A. ads tend to be brighter, bolder, funnier and more optimistic. If Madison Avenue is famous for selling soap, Los Angeles is famous for selling dreams.

The beach, mountains or desert serve as a backdrop, sometimes with a celebrity appearance. But advertising and public relations professionals don’t just use the L.A. look to sell products to the rest of the world. The ads are infused with the city’s dreamy essence, which has seeped into the unconscious of those who create the ads.

“When you’re living in an environment of fantasy like we are here in L.A., you can’t help but draw from it,” said Howie Cohen of the Phelps Group.

Before coming to Los Angeles about 20 years ago, Cohen worked in the advertising business on Madison Avenue, where he coined phrases like “I can’t believe that I ate the whole thing” for Alka-Seltzer.


Liberating Experience

Cohen said that moving to Los Angeles was a liberating experience.

“Out here people say ‘Have a nice day’ and watch the sun go down at the beach,” he said. “It’s just a much more positive environment than New York or Chicago. And that is reflected in the type of messages that are communicated to consumers.”

The environment has also turned Los Angeles into the prime mover in the world of car commercials.

“New Yorkers can’t relate to our lifestyle,” said Russel Wohlwerth, principal at Los Angeles-based marketing consulting firm Ark Advisors. “In New York, you use the car on weekends. Here, it’s your life. We understand what a car means to a person, and the rest of the country looks to Southern California for car culture, whether it’s design, aftermarket parts or advertising.”

L.A. advertising is linked to the city’s longtime reputation as a trend-setting spot.

“You can be cool in New York or Chicago, but L.A. is where cool is created,” said Michael Levine, founder and chief executive of Levine Communications Office, a prominent PR firm.

The L.A. lifestyle and its new-agey ways led to the idea of how consumers “feel” about a product moving into the forefront.

“Marketing is a much more emotional experience than it was when Madison Avenue was the center of the advertising universe,” said Eric Hirshberg, creative director at Deutsch LA.

Ad campaigns for packed goods such as detergent, toothpaste and toilet paper have traditionally been very rational, selling the benefits of the product rather than trying to make an emotional connection, said Hirshberg, who has worked on accounts for GM, Expedia and Old Navy, among others.

“Los Angeles and, to a greater extent Hollywood, have changed all of that,” he said. “Now you see even the packaged goods business making emotional connections in order to get the attention of consumers.”

Deutsch LA was responsible for making the “Happy Cow” television spots that feature cow conversations, ending with the tagline: “Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.”

Hirshberg said that the ads were originally designed to run only in California, but several years into the campaign, the ads began to slowly make their way into other Western states.

The Happy Cows were introduced nationally, when the spots aired on leading cable stations, including A&E, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, USA, Lifetime and HGTV. The ads have appeared on network TV, as well, including a CBS Super Bowl spot.

The ads are so distinctive that 80 percent of American women recognize the cows, according to the client, the California Milk Advisory Board.


Show Biz Scene

Because the city is the stage for the entertainment world, the media carries the message more often than it might elsewhere. That’s where public relations agencies cash in.

Los Angeles also has a distinct niche in the public relations industry.

“If you’re going to be in the PR business in Los Angeles, you have to be a part of the entertainment industry,” said Jerry Swerling, professor and director of PR studies at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Agencies that focus on entertainment usually specialize in one of three main areas: events, press coverage or crisis management. There are a few PR agencies that are multifaceted.

MPRM Public Relations is one of the most notable local firms in the L.A.-centric domain of film promotions.

The agency frequently handles the flow and pacing of foot traffic along red carpets at numerous film festivals throughout the world. As celebrities arrive in their limos, a small cadre of MPRM handlers wearing headsets chatter in whispered tones, orchestrating the interaction between stars and the media.

The agency also manage press events for new movie releases, inviting television, radio and print reporters to meet with a film’s lead actors, the director and producers for a day of rapid-fire interviews, usually in several rooms of a swank hotel or resort.

And sometimes the companies have to manage the “buzz” or gossip that can make or break a film or a celebrity. That can be a daunting task when news of a starlet’s breakdown appears around the world, on cable TV and the Internet within minutes.

“Celebrity has gone global,” said Rachel McCallister, co-founder and president of MPRM. “We are in the throes of a major sea change and Los Angeles is at the center of it all. The digital age has changed everything. The audience has moved online.”

Beyond the obvious connection with the entertainment industry, Los Angeles public relations firms work to keep a company’s message on target across several media, from radio to TV and from print to the Internet.

“Public relations is much less corporate and tends to be handled by smaller agencies or even individuals,” said Swerling of USC. “That makes them better able to adapt to changing technologies.”


Environmental Issue

It’s no question that the environment defines the style of public relations and advertising in Los Angeles. The same goes for other cities.

“Look at the comedy that comes out of New York,” said Craig of TBWA/Chiat/Day. “It has an abrupt, grating, dark humor. I don’t see that humor on the West Coast.”

“The stuff in New York is edgy, but dark,” said Russel Wohlwerth of Ark Advisors. “They’re into their urban environment. We have sunshine and palm trees; they have concrete.”

The creative people in the world of advertising bring the sights and sounds of their environment into work every day, said David Smith, executive director at RPA Inc., the largest independent ad agency in Los Angeles.

“I think a lot of advertising is driven by the city and the environment, from the weather to the traffic to home prices,” Smith said. “Minneapolis, for example, still has a style of advertising. And it’s very thoughtful, very intelligent. They craft their print to an amazing degree, every word is chosen carefully and the designs are worked over. Why? Because it’s cold outside. So they stay in and focus. L.A. guys look for a colorful visual. And it shows.

“We encourage all our folks to get out of the shop,” Smith continued. “Ideas come from the life you live, the world you explore and the activities you pursue on weekends and after hours. So there’s an obvious reason why L.A. has a sunnier, more optimistic attitude in the work.”


Staff reporter Joel Russell contributed to this article.
__________________
"I'm an LA guy, can't help it." -- Tiger Woods

Last edited by Westsidelife; June 3rd, 2008 at 03:46 AM.
Westsidelife no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:38 AM   #246
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

I CRY. I CRY, I DO!!
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 4th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #247
Westsidelife
LAL | LAD | LAK
 
Westsidelife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,727
Likes (Received): 47

California's Overseas Tourism Returns to Pre-9/11 Levels

By Mark Anderson of the Sacramento Business Journal
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
June 3, 2008

For the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, California attracted more than 5 million overseas travelers, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries released Tuesday.

About 5.2 million overseas travelers visited the state in 2007, a 12.4 percent increase from 4.6 million in 2006.

California's market share of the total U.S. overseas travel inched up from 21.3 percent to 21.7 percent.

All of California's top overseas markets increased.

German travelers to the Golden State saw the largest gain, up 33.6 percent, from 241,000 to 322,000. French visitors to California rose 27.4 percent, from 186,000 to 237,000. Travel from Italy was 124,000, up 19.2 percent from 104,000 in 2006. Visitors from Australia increased 16.4 percent, from 286,000 to 333,000. Visits from China improved 15.2 percent, from 197,000 to 227,000. Japanese tourism increased 4.5 percent to 675,000 in 2007, up from 646,000 the year earlier.

Visits from the United Kingdom were up only 1.7 percent, but they started from a much higher basis. About 765,000 visitors came from the UK, up from 752,000 visits in 2006.

The incoming travel was helped by favorable exchange rates and increasing airline capacity, said Caroline Beteta, chief executive officer of the California Travel and Tourism Commission. The commission estimates the economic impact of international tourism to the state at $16.7 billion.

The California Travel & Tourism spent more than $20 million last year to attract international travelers.
__________________
"I'm an LA guy, can't help it." -- Tiger Woods
Westsidelife no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 13th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #248
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

BrightSource's novel solar thermal power concept for California heats up
evhotspot
The company's plan for what it calls the world's 'highest-performing, lowest-cost' sun-energy system is being tested in Israel.

By Richard Boudreaux, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 13, 2008
DIMONA, ISRAEL -- On the scorched floor of Israel's Negev Desert blooms a field of 1,640 robotic mirrors that behave like sunflowers.

Slightly larger than pingpong tables and guided by a computer, they turn imperceptibly to follow the sun and focus its rays on the pinnacle of a 200-foot tower, where a water boiler will soon start producing high-pressure steam.

This futuristic assembly is Arnold Goldman's scale model and testing ground for five larger solar fields his company plans to build in the Mojave Desert to supply up to 900 megawatts of clean energy to California in the next decade.

Goldman is a UCLA- and USC-schooled Israeli entrepreneur who built the world's leading solar thermal power company, Luz International, in the 1980s, then watched it go bankrupt in 1991 as oil prices dropped and California decided not to renew property tax credits for solar producers.

Now he's a player again, and his comeback illustrates the extent to which solar thermal power is regaining favor with policymakers and investors.

His new company, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Inc., signed a power-buying agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric in April; it is believed to be the largest in the history of solar power and would produce enough electricity to power 540,000 homes each year.

In May, the company raised $115 million from a high-profile group of investors including Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google Inc., and BP Alternative Energy.

Like other clean-energy entrepreneurs, Goldman has benefited from rising oil prices and an array of government policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel consumption and staving off global warming.

But the 65-year-old engineer and his Israel-based design team have a unique selling point: a technology radically different from what he developed in the 1980s and other solar power producers imitated.

"This is the highest-performing, lowest-cost solar thermal energy system in the world today," Goldman told 550 guests, including investors and potential suppliers, at Thursday's inauguration of his pilot solar field in Dimona, Israel.

The 1980s system used long troughs of curved mirrors, guided by computers, to heat synthetic oil passing through vacuum-sealed tubes to 735 degrees. The oil heated water to produce steam and run an electric turbine. Goldman's company built nine solar power stations using that system in the Mojave Desert from 1984 to 1990. They still operate, producing 350 megawatts of power.

The new technology will employ several "power towers" at each commercial plant, starting with a 100-megawatt plant the company expects to start building next year on the Ivanpah dry-lake bed. An array of hundreds of mirrors known as heliostats will reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop each tower, and the resulting steam will power a turbine.

BrightSource executives say the power-tower technology is more efficient in several ways: The heliostats are cheaper to build and operate. They heat water directly, with no need for oil. And they achieve a higher concentration of sunlight, higher temperatures (up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and higher steam pressure.

That should make solar electricity competitive in price with that produced by gas-powered turbines as long as Congress prolongs the tax breaks for solar producers, said John Woolard, president of BrightSource.

The new technology, however, has yet to be tested on a large scale. The pilot field here is expected to start producing steam next month, serving as a proving ground for BrightSource as it tries to lure investors in the California plants.

Justin Adams, venture business unit leader at BP Alternative Energy, says BrightSource faces several hurdles in making its technology work.

"They have to show they can manage steam at such high pressure 60 meters above the ground," Adams said. "They have to make sure everything is minutely controlled in terms of focusing all those mirrors, and they have to do this over a period of years without major outages."

Thursday's ceremony was sweet vindication for Goldman, a slight, bearded man who said he was personally shattered by the failure of his first solar venture. He had started Luz as an Israeli firm after moving to Jerusalem from Los Angeles in 1977 and saw solar power as a way of saving the world.

The bankruptcy of Luz International, the L.A.-based company he set up to build the early California plants, destroyed the Israeli subsidiary. Goldman drifted into other ventures. In an interview this week, he said the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change let him dream again that solar power could produce most of America's electricity.

The protocol, which requires a drop in greenhouse gas emissions, took effect in 2005. Although the United States has not ratified it, Goldman said the push for clean energy elsewhere, especially in Europe, had an influence in California; the state now requires that publicly owned utilities get 20% of their power from renewable sources by 2013.

Goldman began reassembling his best Israeli engineers in 2004. Like a Hollywood sequel, he named the new venture Luz II and founded BrightSource as its parent company to seek California contracts.

The company secured its first major infusion of venture capital in 2006 from VantagePoint Venture Partners, which remains BrightSource's largest equity holder.

"The idea of coming back together to finish what we started was electrifying," Goldman said.


boudreaux@latimes.com
LATimes
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 13th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #249
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Survey Reveals Los Angeles and San Diego Commercial Real Estate Markets Are Moving Past the Credit Crisis

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Some office space markets in California are holding their own, according to the latest Allen Matkins / UCLA Commercial Real Estate Survey. The survey, conducted for the third time over the past two years, polled panelists in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, and for the first time, San Francisco. Results of the survey reveal that in Los Angeles and San Diego, there was a sense that while credit conditions were going to remain tight for the near term, the credit crunch was starting to lessen. In Orange County and San Francisco, the panels believed the opposite it true.

“The Allen Matkins / UCLA Forecast Survey looks forward to market conditions in 2011 and asks the regional panels for their views of changes in supply and market conditions. What is interesting about this survey is that by looking beyond the near term it picks up the impact of today’s economic conditions on longer run market conditions,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, economist, UCLA Anderson Forecast and author of the survey results summary. “In the case of San Francisco there appears to be a difference of opinion between the panel’s view and the economic fundamentals from our forecasting models. As this unfolds, some interesting investment opportunities could develop.”


Los Angeles


The panel does not believe the Los Angeles market will tighten between today and 2011. The survey results imply an average vacancy rate in Los Angeles at levels lower than experienced in the last 20 years, and rental rates consistent with a stable future evolution of market fundamentals. Today’s market represents a healthy office space market and with new supply expected to come on the market over the next three years at a rate just about equal to the expected increase in demand - the market will remain healthy.

Business Wire
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 14th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #250
Westsidelife
LAL | LAD | LAK
 
Westsidelife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,727
Likes (Received): 47

Zurich Expands Los Angeles Presence with Downtown Office

Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
June 12, 2008

Financial services giant Zurich has opened a new office in downtown Los Angeles for its its North American commercial business divisions.

The office is located at 700 South Flower Street. The company also has an office in Glendale.

According to a statement from the company, the office was opened in order to give customers better access to agents and brokers.

"Our goal is that the companies we do business with always feel we value and respect their needs. If that means putting our people closer to where they operate, we are committed to serving our industry in the manner that best suits our distributors and customers," Bob Rheel, Zurich's head of field operations, said in the statement.

Zurich is an insurance-based financial services provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices. In North America, Zurich is a leading commercial property-casualty insurance provider.
__________________
"I'm an LA guy, can't help it." -- Tiger Woods
Westsidelife no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 14th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #251
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Thanks, Zurich
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #252
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

New Chinatown grows in far east San Gabriel Valley

Wealthy ethnic Chinese immigrants are fashioning their own enclave in the cities of Rowland Heights, Diamond Bar, Walnut and Hacienda Heights.
By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 19, 2008
The celery and squid sizzle in Suipao Tsai's blackened wok as she prepares lunch for up to six dozen employees of the family's multimillion-dollar lingerie business in the city of Industry.

It's a scene repeated every weekday morning at her palatial family compound in the hills of Rowland Heights.

A Mercedes-Benz SUV parked next to an 18-foot koi pond is lined in the back with old Chinese newspapers and loaded with a steaming pot of beef brisket and turnip stew.

After the Mercedes arrives, the employees -- most of them Asian -- pile heaps of food on plates, then sit quietly eating and watching a Mandarin-language talk show on a flat-screen TV.

"It's a cultural thing," said Mike Tsai, 38, Suipao Tsai's second son and chief operating officer of the family's company, Leg Avenue. "My father used to be responsible for providing lunch for 200 employees" in Taiwan. "We brought that tradition here to America."

In fact, much of the eastern San Gabriel Valley has more in common with Taipei, Beijing or Shanghai than it does with neighboring Los Angeles. Here, Asian-immigrant entrepreneurs have transformed once-sleepy suburbia into a Chinatown like no other.

They are far from struggling newcomers trying to achieve the American Dream in other Chinese enclaves such as Monterey Park and San Gabriel farther to the west.

Here, the power of Chinese culture and its economy is on display, said Joel Kotkin, an expert in urban affairs and ethnic economies.

"It's so overwhelming," he said. "It's a suburb anchored to the tribal economy of the Chinese and China. They have an ideal life with a spacious backyard and institutions and amenities close by. You have a 15-minute commute to work rooted in city of Industry. You don't have to step out."

And many don't.

Since the family moved its offices to the city of Industry two decades ago, Mike Tsai says he's visited China and Taiwan more frequently than he's been to downtown L.A.

Tsai and other Asian entrepreneurs have created office parks where most of the signs are in Chinese. At the trendy shopping arcades one is more likely to hear Mandarin than English.

At Life Plaza off Fullerton Road, Tony Liu works at a high-end sneaker store. The 24-year-old from northern China has been in the U.S. for two years and said it often feels as if he never left home.

"I never get to practice my English," said Liu, who's been west of downtown L.A. only twice. "Sometimes it feels like I'm still in China."

The combined populations of Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar have not only doubled in the last two decades but also are now two-thirds Asian.

Close to 40% of the businesses in Industry are ethnic Chinese-owned.

Up the hill from Life Plaza, at Blandford Elementary School, close to 60% of the students are Asian.

Many are the children of wealthy immigrants, dropped off in luxury cars by their mothers. Many fathers are absent, having to work in China.

The school recently had to revamp its lunch policy. The main office was overwhelmed at noon with mothers trying to deliver hot lunches either from home or Chinese restaurants. Now they must leave the meals on a cart outside the school gates at 11 a.m.
Parent volunteer Rosy Chong said she overheard a newly arrived Korean parent's daughter ask her mother, "When are we going to America?"

"She thought Rowland Heights was a stopover" in Asia, Chong said.

The cultural premium parents place on education has helped make Blandford the top-performing elementary school in the district. A waiting list was established to handle the high demand for enrollment.

Blandford Principal Jo Ann Lawrence said some parents told her they were reluctant to send their children to another school in the district because there were too many Latino students there.

"I'm not one to feel you have to be a melting pot; I value what each group brings," she said. "But the isolation concerns me."

Teacher Cindy Kim sees it firsthand in her classroom. In an environment so dominated by Chinese and Koreans, it's difficult to teach lessons about other cultures.

"We had Cesar Chavez assemblies, and it was difficult for them to comprehend," Kim said. "I'd ask for background information, and I wouldn't get a lot of input. They'd ask, 'Who is that?' Our big holiday is Chinese New Year."

The school usually holds its book sale after the New Year's celebration, knowing the students have "lucky money" to spend.

That was the case on a recent afternoon when Janelle Book, a Taiwanese native, was helping run the cash register surrounded by dozens of schoolchildren.

When Book immigrated to the U.S. 11 years ago, she and her husband chose to live in Rowland Heights over the western San Gabriel Valley because they considered Monterey Park and its neighboring cities the domain of working-class mainland Chinese immigrants.

Adjusting to the new country was easy at first because of where she lived. She could use Mandarin almost anywhere and could find most of the food she ate in Taiwan.

She got a job working at the cosmetics counter at a nearby Macy's. Half her customers also spoke to her in Mandarin.

The difficulty arose when she wanted to learn English. She had no one to practice with.

So Book signed up for an English-as-a-second-language class and began regularly watching "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

She grew confident enough in her English to volunteer at Blandford when her 7-year-old-daughter enrolled in first grade. It made her feel part of a larger community for the first time.

Now she hopes that her daughter will grow up able to traverse both American and Chinese cultures. It's why she's being taught to speak both English and Mandarin.

"I'll take her to see our family in Seattle," Book said. "Show her another side of America."

The Tsai family immigrated to Southern California in 1984, fearing the political instability in Taiwan. They started modestly by selling cheap toys at a flea market in Redondo Beach. They then moved to downtown L.A., where they sold hosiery.

Early success allowed them to buy a 3,000-square-foot home in Rowland Heights in 1989.

Like many middle-class Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants, the Tsais opted for the area over more established enclaves like Monterey Park and Alhambra, partly because the homes were newer and larger.

The Tsais' fortunes increased dramatically in 2000 when Leg Avenue began making and designing sexy Halloween costumes for women.

They used old connections to secure factories outside Taipei and in Guangzhou and Shanghai to manufacture the designs affordably.

The racy nurse and pirate outfits became so popular the company went from $1 million in sales in 2000 to recording $87 million last year.

Their original Rowland Heights property has grown to become a 1.5-acre plot featuring three houses shared by more than 20 family members and a fleet of luxury cars.

The family imported ancient wood chairs and stone from Taiwan to form a table under the gazebo in the courtyard. Their annual Chinese New Year's parties have become affairs for 400. This year's party featured Peking duck, rowdy Taiwanese dice games and the doling of $30,000 in red "lucky money" envelopes to visitors.

"Even though we've gone corporate, the Taiwanese family structure is always there," Mike Tsai said.

It's a lifestyle that requires few jaunts outside their "new Chinatown" enclave, save for shopping runs to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa or a chance to race Mike Tsai's Lamborghini, Porsche or Ferrari at Crystal Cove.
"We never have to leave," Mike Tsai said. "Everything we need is here."

photos by Francine Orr/LATimes
david.pierson@latimes.com
LATimes
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #253
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Gay marriages contribute to a June boom
Barbara Davidson/LATimes
More than 2,700 wedding licenses are issued in California in the first two days of legal same-sex unions, exceeding the total for a whole typical week.

By Jean-Paul Renaud, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:06 PM PDT, June 18, 2008

In the two days since same-sex couples have been allowed to wed in California, the number of marriage licenses issued statewide has surpassed that of an entire typical June week, according to a Times survey of the state’s 58 county clerks.
Mark Boster/LATimes

Just over 2,700 marriage licenses were issued in the state between 5:01 p.m. on Monday -- when the state Supreme Court's ruling lifted the ban on gay marriage -- and the end of business on Tuesday. The statewide average for a whole week in June is about 2,460.

Topping the list is Los Angeles County, the state's largest with a population of about 9.9 million, which issued one license on Monday evening in Beverly Hills and 648 Tuesday. San Diego County, population about 3 million, was second with 230. San Francisco County, population 765,000 was third with 212. Officials in Sacramento County, which usually issues about 25 licenses a day, issued 134 by closing time at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The county has 1.4 million residents.

Among the most dramatic increases in business Tuesday were Ventura County, which with 798,000 residents saw more than 20 times the normal traffic -- from two to 45 -- and Riverside County, population 2 million, which saw an increase from an average of nine applicants on a weekday in June to 133.

The marriage licenses were issued to both same-sex and heterosexual couples, although county clerks in many locations indicated that the vast majority handed out Tuesday were to gay couples. The new marriage application replaces the terms "bride" and "groom" with "Party A" and "Party B" and does not indicate whether the people marrying are of the same sex.

Clerks expect their offices to remain busy this week, with another wave of higher-than-normal traffic on Friday.

For an interactive map showing county-by-county totals, as well as additional information about procedures for obtaining a license and vignettes from more than dozen counties around the state, go to latimes.com/marriagemap.


jp.renaud@latimes.com
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #254
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

inside american apparel: 4,000 downtown employees and counting
alossix on Flickr


by Rich Alossi on June 19, 2008

With over 1.4 million garments produced per week, American Apparel is the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States.


In this era of outsourcing and profits above all else, the company has made waves because of its high quality-control standards and efficiency, not to mention generous employee wages and benefits.

Sweeter still is that it’s based right here in Downtown Los Angeles, employing over 4,000 at its factory headquarters at 7th and Alameda streets and nearly 7,000 worldwide.

Angelenic was offered an insider tour of the manufacturing center this week, and new contributor Bryan Higgins and I jumped at the chance to introduce a prominent Downtown industrial leader to our readers.

Many may be familiar with the slogan “Made Sweatshop-Free in Downtown LA” — not to mention their provocative billboard ads — but may not know what it takes to produce those soft cotton-blend hoodies, t-shirts and undies that populate the wardrobes of so many throughout the nation.

One thing’s for certain: I’ll never look at a t-shirt the same way again.
angelenic
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2008, 12:36 AM   #255
Westsidelife
LAL | LAD | LAK
 
Westsidelife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,727
Likes (Received): 47

California Enlists Schwarzenegger in Japan Tourism Marketing

By Mark Anderson of the Sacramento Business Journal
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals
June 20, 2008

The California Travel & Tourism Commission is expanding its marketing efforts to Japan with a $5.1 million campaign featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on television, newspapers and billboards.

The campaign uses the slogan "Nandemo Alifornia," with the governor intoning (or, in one case, lip-synching) "nandemo alifornia California" at the end of each 15-second video spot, meaning "California has it all."

Schwarzenegger, an international movie star before becoming governor, for many years was a pitchman for Japanese products on television and billboards.

The ads showcase California's scenery and attractions and are meant to encourage tourists to visit while currency exchange rates favor the Japanese.

Japanese tourists are usually among the top 10 groups of foreign visitors to California. Japanese visits rose 4.5 percent to 675,000 in 2007, from 646,000 the year earlier.

Last year was the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that overseas travel to California exceeded 5 million visits, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries this month. Overseas visits to the Golden State hit 5.2 million in 2007, a 12.4 percent increase from 4.6 million in 2006.

California's market share of the total U.S. tourism from overseas rose from 21.3 percent to 21.7 percent.

All of California's top overseas markets saw gains. German travelers to the state saw the largest gain, up 33.6 percent from 241,000 to 322,000. French visitors to California rose 27.4 percent from 186,000 to 237,000. Travel from Italy was 124,000, up 19.2 percent from 104,000 in 2006. Visitors from Australia increased visits 16.4 percent from 286,000 to 333,000. Visits from China rose 15.2 percent, from 197,000 to 227,000.

Visits from the United Kingdom were up only 1.7 percent, but they started from a much higher basis. Some 765,000 visitors came from the U.K., up from 752,000 in 2006. The incoming travel was helped by favorable exchange rates and increasing airline capacity, said Caroline Beteta, chief executive officer of the commission. The commission estimates the economic impact of international tourism to the state at $16.7 billion.

California Travel & Tourism spent more than $20 million last year to attract international travelers.
__________________
"I'm an LA guy, can't help it." -- Tiger Woods
Westsidelife no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2008, 05:44 AM   #256
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Oh yeah! They love him over there.
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #257
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Posh hotels bloom under dark economic clouds

Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

Animal prints are a running theme at Hotel Palomar. “ Los Angeles is one of the best areas in the entire country to build a hotel,” says Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group. “It’s that strong.”
Four new lodging choices await travelers for whom the price of gas is not an issue.

By Kimi Yoshino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 25, 2008
This tourism season's buzzword may be "staycation" -- as in, it's too expensive to drive or fly anywhere -- but neither analysts nor hoteliers expect soaring gas prices and the struggling economy to spoil the debuts of a rash of new Los Angeles hotels.
The London, West Hollywood

Kimpton's trendy Hotel Palomar and the London West Hollywood, which boasts Gordon Ramsay's first West Coast restaurant, both recently opened. Later this year, guests are slated to start checking in at the Montage Beverly Hills, sister of the luxurious resort in Laguna Beach, and the SLS at Beverly Hills, formerly Le Meridien and the first hotel venture for L.A. night-life king Sam Nazarian.

In total, the hotels contain about 960 rooms, though only the Montage is considered new construction. The others are renovated and rebranded hotels that had pulled rooms off line for several months during their overhauls.
The Beverly Hilton

The projects, either boutique or luxury offerings, were all planned and funded when the economy was booming, only to reach completion now, when nervous consumers are reluctant to spend money and travel.

But analysts and hoteliers said demand has far outstripped development. Room rates are still rising and the customers keep coming.
Huntley Hotel, Santa Monica

"Los Angeles is one of the best areas in the entire country to build a hotel," said Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group. "It's that strong. These hotels will open extremely well and be very profitable. People paying $300, $400, $500 a night are really not worried about gas prices."

All four properties are in the West Los Angeles market, which is "historically healthy" with a track record of customers willing to pay for quality, said Bruce Baltin, senior vice president of PKF Consulting in Los Angeles.

Hotels in that part of town had occupancy rates of about 75% last year with an average daily room rate of $298.50, Baltin said. Although occupancy is projected to slip a hair to 74% this year, average room rates are predicted to rise to $315, proof that the market remains strong, Baltin said.

Last year, Los Angeles County had occupancy levels at 77%, an all-time high, Baltin said. Occupancy remains strong but is down a couple points this year.

"The challenge with building a hotel is that it takes years and years and the exact environment you're going to open up in, you don't really know," said Mike Depatie, chief executive of San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels. "In the short term, it's a bit of a rough sea. But everybody's investing in the hotel business for the longer term."

Depatie said Los Angeles was a difficult city to build in -- particularly in markets like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and other pockets of West L.A. -- because the approval process was long and tedious. Once open, though, the market is favorable.

"I think we've got a bit of a tiger by the tail with this hotel," Depatie said, noting that Hotel Palomar was helped by its visible location on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, a mile east of the 405 Freeway.

The hotel has about 260 rooms, with an introductory rate of $249. It is a former Doubletree Hotel, but the rooms were largely gutted and redesigned. Aimed at customers from the entertainment industry, the property is getting much of its clientele from New York, with a lot of business travelers. Splashes of turquoise and red enliven the modern rooms; and animal prints run throughout the hotel, including Kimpton's signature animal-print, Turkish cotton robes.

At the all-suite London West Hollywood, on North San Vicente Boulevard near Sunset Boulevard, General Manager Vincent Mercurio said the hotel was seeing "pretty steady demand" headed into its third month of operation. The recent opening of British chef Gordon Ramsay's restaurant -- "Western European with subtle Asian influence" in Mercurio's words -- is likely to boost business.

"It doubles or triples the foot traffic and it's great exposure of our property," Mercurio said.

Most of the guests, he said, were trying to mix business with pleasure. International tourism is also picking up -- and with Web rates starting at $249 a night for at least 750 square feet of space, the hotel is a steal for people used to paying double that for rooms in New York or Paris. The London West Hollywood is the former Bel Age Hotel.

Like at the Palomar, business at the London West Hollywood is being driven by the entertainment industry, Mercurio said. "There was a fall-off earlier with the writers strike, but we have a lot of these entertainment- and film-related production business," he said. "There's a draw here that I think is working in our favor."

The SLS at Beverly Hills, designed by Philippe Starck, is the first in a new chain of luxury hotels imagined by Nazarian, chief executive of SBE Entertainment and best known for Los Angeles hot spots Hyde and S Bar. The hotel, which is to open in August, will be managed by Starwood.

Montage Beverly Hills -- a new property expected to compete in the high-end luxury class along with the Four Seasons and the Peninsula Hotel -- is scheduled to open in November.


kimi.yoshino@latimes.com
LATimes
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #258
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Defense Secretary Robert Gates to oversee Boeing-Northrop tanker dispute

The defense chief's vow follows a GAO report on mistakes.

Wait...


From the Associated Press
June 26, 2008


WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pledged to oversee a disputed $35-billion tanker contract after congressional investigators Wednesday detailed numerous mistakes the Air Force made in awarding the deal to Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner over Boeing Co.

The Government Accountability Office found the Air Force failed to evaluate both refueling tanker proposals based on the same merits and repeatedly offered unfair preference to the team of Northrop and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. The extended report comes a week after the GAO upheld Boeing's contract protest and recommended the Air Force hold a new competition.

The GAO said that although the Air Force's decision was based on the "best value" for the government, its rationale "was undermined by a number of prejudicial errors that call into question" whether Northrop's bid was "technically acceptable."

The government watchdog found that the Air Force offered the Northrop/EADS team extra credit for exceeding a fuel offload requirement when both teams "should have received equal credit."

The GAO also agreed with Boeing that the Air Force did not establish in advance any size requirements for the aircraft. Although a larger tanker like Northrop's could provide greater refueling capabilities, there also could be possible disadvantages with respect to costs and space constraints.

The news did little to bolster Boeing on Wall Street, where the Chicago-based company's shares sank to a two-year low on negative analyst reports before rebounding slightly.

Gates was meeting Wednesday with Air Force and other Defense Department officials to discuss the tanker contract and determine how the GAO's recommendations could affect a decision to award a new deal, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Although the department has 60 days to respond to the GAO report, Gates wants "to make sure that there are no further delays" and will be involved in any subsequent decision on the contract, Morrell said.

In February, the service selected the Northrop/EADS team to replace 179 Eisenhower-era aerial refueling planes. Boeing filed its protest with the GAO in March.

The contract has sparked a fierce backlash among lawmakers from Washington, Kansas and other states that stand to gain jobs if Boeing succeeds in landing the award. The new details from the GAO did little to ease tensions on Capitol Hill.

Boeing shares fell $5.15, or 6.9%, to $69.64 on Wednesday, after earlier hitting a two-year low of $69.16. Shares of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman added $1.12 to $70.37.

Associated Press
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2008, 08:19 AM   #259
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Good news for California tourism:
July 4 travel expected to decline

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Walt Disney Co. executives said the company’s resort business, which includes the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim, was in better shape now than in past economic downturns. Tom Staggs, Disney's chief financial officer, said in a recent conference call with analysts that room reservations for the company’s domestic resorts for the rest of the fiscal year ending in September were slightly ahead of last year.

For the first time this decade, fewer Americans are likely to travel over the holiday weekend. But stay-at-homes, combined with foreign tourists, are a boon to the state.

By Conor L. Sanchez and Dawn Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
July 4, 2008

Faced with sticker shock at airports and gas pumps, fewer Americans are expected to travel over this Fourth of July holiday weekend, marking the first such decline this decade.

But the surge in families deciding to stay closer to home, coupled with bargain-hunting foreign visitors, is translating into a surprising boon for Southern California's tourism industry.

Instead of booking a weeklong getaway to Hawaii, people are loading up the car and driving to regional theme parks and attractions that don't involve costly air travel.

"We're not going anywhere far this summer," said Matt Boland, a San Juan Capistrano resident who was standing in line for tickets Tuesday at Universal Studios Hollywood.

With his termite-extermination business hurting from the housing downturn, Boland has put the family on a tight budget this summer. "Just the local beaches and amusement parks for us," he said.

The Bolands are not alone. Reservations by Southern Californians at local hotels are up 9% compared with last year, according to Expedia Travel Trendwatch, and many popular state beach campsites are booked solid for the remainder of the summer.

"What we are seeing is a revision of travel plans, rather than cutting them out," said Bruce Baltin, senior vice president of PKF Consulting Corp., which monitors the hotel industry.

"Eighty-five percent of travel within California is by Californians, anyway," he said. "Southern California as a whole typically benefits when people are cutting back on what we do."

At the same time, an uptick in foreign visitors is helping to keep tourist-related hotels and restaurants busy. Duty-free shops at Los Angeles International Airport are also doing brisk business as foreign tourists take advantage of the weak dollar.

Visiting from England, Angus MacDonald, his wife, Hester, and their two children are on an expeditious two-week tour of the West Coast. The strong value of the British pound compared with the dollar has made visiting California a bargain this summer, the MacDonalds say.
gamespot.com

In the last week, the MacDonalds have visited the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, Sea World and Universal Studios. On Wednesday they hit the Grand Canyon and Thursday, Las Vegas.

"It's cheap to come here," Angus MacDonald said. "Everything is reasonable."

Theme park officials said they've focused much of their promotions this summer on local residents and international travelers.

"We do think we're seeing more of the local market, and that's the area we're marketing to," said Jennifer Blazey, spokeswoman for Knott's Berry Farm. "With gas prices and the economy, people are opting to do more 'staycations' and "daycations.' " "We're very locally focused this summer," said Eliot Sekuler, spokesman for Universal Studios. He said that the studio also expects a "good summer internationally" and that it recently added a Chinese-language tour guide.

Disneyland officials declined to comment, but the region's marquee theme park has managed to grow despite rising fuel prices and a weak economy.
In a recent earnings report, Walt Disney Co. executives said the company's resort business was in better shape now than in past economic downturns.

"While we won't predict how the remainder of the year will unfold, we're pleased with advance bookings at our resorts so far," said Tom Staggs, Disney's chief financial officer, in a recent conference call with analysts.

He said room reservations for the company's domestic resorts for the rest of the fiscal year ending in September were slightly ahead of last year. Pricing for reservations on the books for the balance of the year is also "trending higher" than in prior years, he said during the conference call.

Sue Pisaturo, owner of Small World Vacations Inc., an online site that exclusively sells Disney vacation packages, said she hadn't noticed any significant change in interest in trips to Disneyland, nor has the agency seen a large number of cancellations. The only subtle shift is in hotel accommodations -- more people are staying at less-expensive hotels outside the resort.

"It can mean the difference between going and not going," Pisaturo said.

Nationally, AAA said the number of Americans traveling 50 miles or more from home during the Fourth of July weekend is expected to drop by about 1.3% to 40.5 million from 41 million.

"Clearly gas prices are continuing to take a toll on the traveler's budget," said Robert L. Darbelnet, president of the automobile and travel services association.

Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said Southern California might have a unique advantage over other major regions of the nation in weathering the downturn in travel.

"You have 21 million people in Southern California, so there is a big market right in your own backyard," Kyser said. At the same time, "there are a lot of things to partake in without going far such as Catalina Island. Our backyard is a pretty exotic and fun place."


conor.sanchez@latimes.com

dawn.chmielewski@

latimes.com

Times staff writer Peter Pae contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old July 17th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #260
milquetoast
L O S A N G E L E S
 
milquetoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Henderson NV
Posts: 6,144
Likes (Received): 322

Last updated: July 16, 2008 07:33am
Report: California Teeters on Edge of Recession

By Don Jergler

LOS ANGELES-On the heels of bad news Tuesday from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who told lawmakers that growth and inflation risks are increasing, comes bad news today from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. in its mid-year 2008-2009 Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook for California and Southern California. The report, released today, depicts California in or near a recession, with some areas and some industries withstanding the downturn better than others.
“California is tip-toeing along the edge of a recession, while some of its larger metropolitan areas have been in one since mid-2007,” the report states. It shows the balance of 2008 and much of 2009 seeing a mixture of good and bad news for California, “with the outcome looking more and more precarious."

Since the Downtown Los Angeles-based LAEDC’s last report in February, the Southern California region, the state and the nation have undergone myriad changes, namely skyrocketing costs of energy and commodities. And “don’t forget, you have the intensification of the financial sector problems,” says Jack Kyser, one of the authors of the report and chief economist for the LAEDC.

“Look at what’s happening at IndyMac; in a way it’s kind of funny to watch these people clamoring to pull their money out of IndyMac, and it’s historically one of the most solid financial institutions around and these people are panicking,” Kyser says. “You have a lot of fear out there among consumers.”
The report, which focuses on California and the Southland region, also offers a glance at the authors’ views of the US economy. The report forecasts modest growth for the US, with the GDP rising 1.7% this year and about the same in 2009, which “is going to be a little bit better than ‘08, but it’s not going to be a wonderful year,” Kyser says. “It’s going to be 2010 before people start being comfortable about what’s going on.”

The forecast offers differing outlooks across the state. “Things look rather good in San Francisco,” Kyser notes, while in Southern California, “of the five metro areas, three are in recession.” The report calls for comparative economic hard times in Ventura, Orange and Riverside-San Bernardino counties based on the magnitude of employment losses, and the relative lack of anticipated personal income growth in those areas.

The report pins the brunt of economic woes in those three counties on the housing slump, which is taking its toll on office space in Orange County as financial firms fold, is hurting retail and industrial space leasing and sales prices in the Riverside-San Bernardino area as jobs dwindle, and has caused job losses and loss of income-growth in Ventura.
The report shows Los Angeles and San Diego counties withstanding the downturn best, Kyser says, adding, “they’re inching along” thanks to continued growth in the health services industry, international tourism bolstered by a weak US dollar and technology. Industries like bio-medicine and technology will be Southern California’s strong suits over the next few years, while financial services, and just about any sector related to residential real estate, will be economic drags, the report shows.


As for housing, the report is bleak: “We’re looking for early 2009 in LA County for signs of stabilization,” Kyser says, adding and “In Riverside-San Bernardino, we think it’s going to be 2010.”

Gas prices may continue to play a role in slowing the Riverside-San Bernardino area, as people begin to factor in the cost of commuting to the relatively cheaper cost to live in those areas, the report shows. “I think in some cases you’re going to see shifts in how people develop out there. It’s going to definitely act as a drag on retail in that area,” Kyser says.

The LAEDC today issued a separate report, “Foreign Direct Investment In Los Angeles County,” which the group has compiled for the first time. The report outlines direct investments from 15 countries and 4,512 separate firms directly generating more than 136,000 direct jobs and $7.6 billion in payroll for L.A. County.

Kyser believes that as the dollar continues to lag, investment by foreign firms will only continue to grow. “We feel that this is an opportunity because the dollar is weak right now and firms can come in and get a lot of benefits,” he says.

The report shows Japan is still the largest foreign direct investor Southern California, followed by the UK, France, Germany and Canada.

Los Angeles, with 1,591 foreign establishments, topped the Southern California list of places with the most foreign investors, followed by Torrance (310), Long Beach (212) Santa Monica (134) and Pasadena (127). The top five industry sectors for foreign-owned and affiliated businesses are: Retail trade, wholesale trade, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and transportation and warehousing.


GlobeSt.com
milquetoast no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



All times are GMT +2. The time now is 04:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like v3.2.5 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

Hosted by Blacksun, dedicated to this site too!
Forum server management by DaiTengu