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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #441
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More than half of all the engineers in Silicon Valley were foreign-born.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:09 AM   #442
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.. and probably went to our universities.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #443
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.. and probably went to our universities.
yes. and with scholarships
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Old May 20th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #444
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LA has a solid base in tech but could do better.

Weather and cultural amenities are not critical for these industries (basically, these guys prefer to sit in front of their screens even at home) but quality education if absolutely critical. Between San Mateo and SJ every third store is computer gear or supplemental education (mostly math and science) and the locals carefully read the local school’s rankings before buying or renting.

LA has to have this to create a substantial techie family population (single techies are somewhat more flexible). The same applies for most industries, people want good schools, safe neighborhoods, room to recreate. But the schools are dominant for techies.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #445
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Authors & Ideas: Speaking volumes on black L.A.

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When Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramón tell people that Los Angeles has the second largest black population of any U.S. county, the usual response is raised eyebrows and blank stares.

"They're shocked," says Hunt, a sociology professor and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. "Most people say, 'No, you're making that up, that can't be true.'" In fact, Hunt says, only Cook County in Illinois, which takes in a large swath of metropolitan Chicago, is home to more black Americans.

The list of things that most people, including many Angelenos, don't know about black L.A. could fill a book. So Hunt and Ramón, the Bunche Center's assistant director, decided to put one together: "Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities," just published by New York University Press.

The book brings together the research interests of what Hunt describes as an "all-star team" of contributors, most but not all of them academics with strong California connections. Comprising 17 short to medium-length essays, it pivots from data-rich analyses of how the black community's 20th century demographic center gradually has shifted from Central Avenue to Leimert Park, to interview-driven, anecdotal accounts of the rise and decline of Venice's Oakwood neighborhood and a revealing chronicle of the black-owned SOLAR (Sounds of Los Angeles Records), a late '70s-early '80s R&B hit-making machine for groups including the Whispers, Shalamar and Klymaxx.

It also includes multidisciplinary, L.A.-centric essays on incarceration's impact on black families, the relationships between gay African Americans and their religious communities, and the ethnic-minority admissions policies of UCLA, among other thorny topics.

More than half a dozen years in the making, the roughly 430-page volume is believed to be the first such project of its kind. Despite its formidable size, the authors say, L.A.'s black population has been relatively under-analyzed in comparison with New York, Chicago and other northeastern and Midwestern centers of black population..

Part of the reason, Hunt and Ramón say, is that Los Angeles in certain key respects doesn't fit the nation's dominant "race" narrative. To begin with, L.A.'s founders were mixed-ethnic Spanish colonial settlers, not white New England Puritans or Southern slaves and slave-holders, so the city's ethno-demographic profile differed sharply from that of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Just as significantly, the city's major growth spurts occurred decades after the Civil War. The large numbers of blacks who migrated to Los Angeles after World War II arrived in a city whose ethnic contours were in some ways already well-defined.

"Black people never really threatened to be like a majority or a plurality of the population here, in the same way they do in some of these other American cities that have been studied," Hunt says.

To some observers, L.A.'s singularity offered blacks a plausible chance at a better life. When the legendary author and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois visited the city in the early 1900s, he recommended it to black migrants precisely because he saw it as an anomaly, a rare enclave where African Americans might be relatively free of the economic constraints and racist violence of the Jim Crow South.

"There was always this perception that L.A. was kind of like the oddball," Hunt says.

Yet "Black Los Angeles" makes the case that, today, L.A.'s black population offers many crucial insights into the lives of African Americans in general.

"Everyone talks about Harlem of course because of the Harlem Renaissance and what was happening during the period," Hunt says. "But we argue that as the 20th century progressed, L.A. really becomes like the new Harlem in terms of setting the terms on which people talk about black America."

Gerald Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, said in an interview that the new book advances an evolving understanding of L.A. "as the northern-most capital of Latin America," a metropolis whose identity owes a great deal to its ethnically and culturally hybrid origins. Horne, the author of a book about the 1965 Watts riots and a participant in a May 25 UCLA symposium tied to the publication of "Black Los Angeles," says that the new book points to the need for more works that "give Southern California its due" in the nation's historical narrative.

One particular focus of "Black Los Angeles" is how Hollywood and the area's major news media have constructed images and ideas of black Los Angeles that have reverberated around the world. Hunt acknowledges that his own views of black L.A. were heavily molded by Hollywood until he moved here to attend USC as a student in the early 1980s.

One essay, titled "Playing 'Ghetto,'" by Nancy Wang Yuen, an assistant professor of sociology at Biola University, examines African American actors whose real-life experience as L.A. residents sometimes bears little or no resemblance to Hollywood caricatures of black L.A.

A number of essays also take up, or at least touch on, the role of the Los Angeles Times in perpetrating stereotypical views of the region's African American populace, culture and institutions. Because of its size and the virtual daily print monopoly it enjoyed for many years, The Times disproportionately swayed the way that black L.A. was depicted and perceived, particularly through such watershed events as the 1992 civil disturbance.

"It [The Times] becomes an actor in the story," Ramón observes, "so instead of it just reporting, it actually becomes part of the story in a way."

Ramón and Hunt hope that the book will appeal to general readers as well as scholars. To that end, they solicited input from a wide cross-section of individuals and community groups during the book's planning stages. They also encouraged non-academics to attend and participate in the May symposium, intending to help foster an ongoing community dialogue.

"Black Los Angeles" ultimately raises the question of what the term "black" will mean in Los Angeles in 20 or 30 years from now, as new waves of Caribbean, African and multiethnic Latino immigrants continue to reshape the region's ethnic profile.

"We wanted [the book] to be a picture that wasn't so much about sort of glamorizing black L.A. as much as looking at the faults, as well as the beautiful and wonderful things in black L.A.," Hunt says, "and to present a realistic portrait that may provide some lessons about where we go next."
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Old August 8th, 2010, 04:24 AM   #446
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Fascinating and interesting. From Motown eventually moving to LA from Detroit on to the rise of Gangsta Rap and Rodney King, LA is certainly a significant part of the ongoing story of Africans in America.
As the article referred to the original settlers of Los Angeles this information is shown as a relief at the Universal City Metro stop both in English and Spanish:

The Pobladores ("townspeople") of Los Angeles refers to the 44 original settlers who founded city of Los Angeles, California in 1781.


The castas of the 22 adult pobladores, according to the 1781 census, were:

1 Peninsular (Spaniard born in Spain)
1 Criollo (Spaniard born in New Spain)
1 Mestizo (mixed Spanish and Indian)
2 Negros (blacks of full African ancestry)
8 Mulattos (mixed Spanish and black)
9 Indios (American Indians)
Of the 22 children who contributed to the settlement, 16 were of African ancestry and would be considered "black" by present-day American standards of racial classification.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Pobladores
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Old August 20th, 2010, 12:03 AM   #447
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woow...L.A!
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Old October 31st, 2010, 01:03 AM   #448
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THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!
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Old November 1st, 2010, 06:01 AM   #449
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AGREED!!
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Old November 14th, 2010, 01:10 AM   #450
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Downtown Feeling Lucky

Jeans Maker to leave Vernon for Arts District, Open $15 Million Facility

November 9, 2010

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Vernon based Lucky Brand Jeans will be moving its headquarters to Downtown Los Angeles, company and city officials announced this afternoon.

Construction of a $15 million facility being built by CEG Construction is set to begin Dec. 10 for the new headquarters on Santa Fe Avenue. No timeline has been provided on how long the project will take or the scope of the construction.

A statement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office said that various business incentives are being offered to Lucky Brand, including Department of Water and Power rate discounts and State Enterprise Zone tax credits.

“Los Angeles offers access to a strong labor force, world class design talent, and cutting edge technology, as well as a thriving entrepreneurial culture,” said Lucky Brand CEO Dave Demattei in a statement. “Making the decision to move our headquarters to the City of L.A. [is] a natural fit.”

The company, a subsidiary of Liz Claiborne Inc., designs and produces denim, sportswear, T-shirts and active wear. Its goods are sold at more than 110 company-owned stores nationwide and three international locations.

In addition to the thriving Fashion District, Downtown is home to numerous jeans and denim companies, with several headquartered in the Arts District. This summer, San Francisco-based The Gap announced that it would open a 5,400-square-foot creative design office in a building at Olive Street and Pico Boulevard.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #451
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Very interesting; the logic of it escaped me entirely until in happened. This is the Arts District, not the Fashion District, which makes sense if you are marketing or creative (as opposed to production). This area would be a much easier sell for fashion design or Hq's, given the arts and architecture environment already there.

But the key was the tax waivers, which Vernon has had for a long time.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:22 AM   #452
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ROBOTIC MINI SHUTTLE EXPECTED TO LAND AT VANDENBERG
.
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The X-37, an unmanned spacecraft that resembles a miniature version of the space shuttle, is set to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base as early as this week -- more than seven months after it was launched into orbit.

The Air Force, which has been developing the X-37 pilotless space plane, has kept the ultimate purpose of the program hush-hush. It was launched April 22 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The covert nature of the program -- coupled with the fact it was funded by the Pentagon -- fueled speculation it was being used for military purposes, such as an "orbital bomber."

What we do know is that the X-37 was built by Boeing Co.'s advanced research lab, Phantom Works, in Huntington Beach. It's about 29 feet long, or about the size of a small school bus, with stubby wings that stretch out about 15 feet. It is one-fifth the size of the space shuttle and can draw on the sun for electricity using unfolding solar panels.

Officials at Vandenberg said in a statement Tuesday that preparations were underway for the X-37 to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and land on the base's 15,000-foot landing strip.

“The exact landing date and time will depend on technical and weather considerations," the statement said, adding that it was expected to occur sometime from Friday to Monday.


W.J. HENNIGAN
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 03:50 PM   #453
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Street Smart

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The Abbot Kinney neighborhood in Venice has long been known for its laid-back atmosphere, distinctive shops and antique stores. But a spate of startups has found a home in the area, and now it’s becoming a center of tech and media.

At least five startups have launched there in the past few years, drawn by the neighborhood’s charms – and low rents. The miniboom has created a synergy of sorts: As the number of companies and their workers increase, several restaurants have opened to cater to them. That in turn draws more businesses.

“It’s a relaxed environment with amazing amenities within 100 feet,” said Todd Collins, vice president of sales and marketing of software company First Freight. “The restaurants and coffee shops make it a really dynamic, true community vibe down here that’s really attractive.”

Collins’ company, which provides management software to the freight and logistics industry, found a home in a colorful office at 1350 Abbot Kinney. The four-story white building, which tenants call 1350 AK, is also the site of three other tech startups and two business consulting companies that signed leases in the last year.

Santa Monica may be the center of the L.A. tech world, but the people who run the startups at 1350 AK said they’d rather be in Venice than among corporate high-rises and business parks.

“There’s a type of person who’s going to go to Third Street Promenade and a type of person who’s going to go to Abbot Kinney,” said Mark DiPaola, co-founder and chief executive of CheckPoints, a location-based iPhone app company that has a modern two-floor office at 1350 AK. “I’m more interested in that funky, eccentric person who will like Abbot Kinney. It fosters more creativity.”

But startups in Santa Monica say the area is a popular tech hub for a reason. Its central location makes it easy for employees and customers to access and the close proximity of so many companies fosters a close community of entrepreneurs.

“It’s all about location,” said Jason Nazar, co-founder and chief executive of Internet startup Docstoc. “When you’re looking to hire employees and bring people to the office, Santa Monica’s got prestige.”

Nevertheless, R Blank, chief technical offer at Almer/Blank, an interactive media company, said Venice’s location also helps build customer relations.

“It’s easy to get people out here,” Blank said of his warehouse office just off Abbot Kinney on Venezia Avenue. “We have a lot of clients who want to come to us because they want to visit Venice.”

Cheaper rent has also been a draw for some companies. The average price for office space in the West L.A. market, including Venice, is $3.72 per square foot, compared with $4.21 per square foot in Santa Monica, according to third quarter data compiled by Grubb & Ellis Co.

“Everybody’s thought about locating in Santa Monica, but the prices are so high,” said Collins, who moved into the building on Abbot Kinney about three years ago. “For startups, Venice is the ideal place.”

Restaurant revival

Many of the business owners live in Abbot Kinney and point out that it wasn’t always so attractive. Because of high crime rates in Venice’s rougher areas, there was some wariness attached to the neighborhood.

“When I first moved to Venice, it had a lot of crime and gang issues that were nationally known,” said John Plesnicar, who runs neighborhood blog AbbotKinneyOnline.com and moved to the area in 1989.

As crime concerns eased, entertainment companies began moving to the area, drawn by Venice’s reputation as an artists’ community. Blur Studio, a visual effects and animation company, set up shop on Electric Avenue in 1995 and many other companies followed. Psyop, a digital advertising company with headquarters in New York, opened its L.A. office near Abbot Kinney in 2008.

“In the 1990s, a lot of media companies moved from Hollywood to Santa Monica,” said Colleen O’Mara, chairwoman of the Venice Media District, which promotes the industry’s interests in the area. “But now we’ve seen them move south. They’ve been pushed out of Santa Monica because of the cost of rent and real estate.”

And where businesses go, restaurants follow.

Mediterranean restaurant Gjelina opened on the east end of the street in 2008 and high-concept Tasting Kitchen, which features a new menu every night, arrived in July last year. Chicago-based coffee bar Intelligentsia also opened a location on Abbot Kinney last summer.

Longstanding restaurants have also benefited. Hal’s, which opened in 1987, has become a popular takeout option.

“I joke with them that sometimes at lunchtime it looks like Burger King because they get all these to-go orders for people working in their offices,” said Carol Tantau, chairwoman of the Abbot Kinney Merchants Committee for the Venice Chamber of Commerce and owner of boutique Just Tantau.

Another element of Abbot Kinney’s revival is the arrival of high-end shops such as Jack Spade. The New York menswear designer opened a store in one of the street’s 1960s Craftsman bungalows in May.

DiPaola of CheckPoints said the new restaurants and shops have transformed the once-quiet street. He founded his first startup in 1350 Abbot Kinney in 2003 but outgrew the space in 2007, moved out and sold the company. When he returned to the same office to start CheckPoints, he noticed how much the area had changed.

“It’s gotten a little more fancy,” he said. “Abbot Kinney is starting to get to a critical mass where it can support more restaurants and shops.”

First Fridays


Most shop owners attribute the recent popularity of Abbot Kinney to its monthly event, First Fridays, which started in 2008 with a handful of shops. The first Friday of each month, store owners stay open late and give out wine or hors d’oeuvres to customers.

First Fridays got off to a slow start, but recently grew popular – perhaps too popular. As attendance has grown, so have the crowds. Some businesses are complaining.

“We were trying to bring more business to the street,” Tantau said. “Now it has a reputation as a party night. We’d like it to go back.”

With more visitors to the street, Abbot Kinney has faced a number of other problems, among them parking.

“It’s gotten really bad in the past two years. I have customers who drive around for 20 minutes looking for parking,” said Blank of Almer/Blank.

Area rents have also begun to rise, especially on Abbot Kinney. Blank said the parking problems and rising rents eventually could even drive him to move his company out of Venice.

But for many other companies, Abbot Kinney is just starting to have the growth they’ve been waiting for. With so many technology and media companies moving into the area, they’ve formed their own small startup community.

Matthew Burgess, founder of Formation Solutions, which helps startup businesses incorporate and is also housed at 1350 AK, has started a blog to engage this community of entrepreneurs. Through VeniceEntrepreneur.com he organizes dinners and get-togethers for them.

He said he’s excited by the number of startups that have moved to the area in the last two years. He expects that number to grow.

“Santa Monica gets a lot of attention because there’s a lot of great activity going on for startups,” Burgess said. “But I’m starting to see that kind of energy right here in Venice. It’s building momentum. It feels great.”
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 03:57 PM   #454
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Culture Clash Not a Concern

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Grandpoint Bank, downtown L.A.’s newest banking outfit, made yet another acquisition this month to bolster its rapidly expanding franchise that, by any measure, is unusual.

After the closure Nov. 5 of First Vietnamese American Bank in Westminster, Grandpoint scooped up the assets of the failed ethnic institution in a move observers called rare and potentially risky.

Since it launched its banking operations in June, holding company Grandpoint Capital Inc. has acquired five small but diverse community banks in two states, including Santa Ana Business Bank, which catered to a largely Latino population.

Grandpoint executives said they intend to broaden the businesses of the Vietnamese and Latino banks by incorporating them into the five-month-old Grandpoint franchise.

But analysts question whether the management team can integrate culturally and geographically disparate institutions under one umbrella without alienating existing customers.

“(This) poses a much higher level of challenge and a much higher level of risk,” said John Carusone, president of Bank Analysis Center Inc. in Hartford, Conn. “The challenge is going to be to stitch together a management team that recognizes the uniqueness of the various ethnic customer constituencies but also has the ability to operate a multibank holding company in a safe and sound – and profitable – manner.”

Ethnic banks, of course, thrive in Los Angeles, which is home to large Korean, Chinese and Hispanic populations, among others. But crossover between ethnic and mainstream banks is rare. When an ethnic bank is close to failing, for instance, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. gives preference to similarly chartered banks as potential acquirers over mainstream institutions.

Customers in ethnic communities are often drawn to banks that are owned by members of their community, ones that offer services in multiple languages and that are trusted in the community.

Bert Ely, a bank consultant in Alexandria, Va., said customers are even swayed by the name of a bank, which could present “a real management challenge” when the First Vietnamese signs come down.

Don Griffith, Grandpoint’s founder and chief executive, said he is not worried. He sees ethnic banks as fundamentally the same as mainstream institutions, with minimal challenges integrating and operating them.

“The fact that it’s Vietnamese or otherwise is irrelevant to us,” said Griffith, a veteran Southern California banker who raised more than $300 million from industry connections to start Grandpoint this year. “Whether it’s Vietnamese or Hispanic or the various ethnic groups we’ve got in Southern California, it makes little difference to us (as long as) we’ve got talented people or a platform in a market where there’s growth opportunities.”

Consider his strategy with Santa Ana Business Bank, which had been founded in late 2007 to lend to Hispanic entrepreneurs. The bank, which struggled to grow during the recession, had just $26 million in assets when Griffith bought the bank for just over $7 million, replaced management and invested $67 million to support growth in the new bank.

Griffith said he sees the value in maintaining relationships, particularly in an area as culturally diverse as Los Angeles. To that end, the former Santa Ana Business Bank retained tellers who speak Spanish, and continues to display signs and advertisements in multiple languages.

“We have many, many different ethnic groups in Southern California,” he said. “We’ll have a staff that’ll be very diverse and have people who can do well in those communities.”

Additionally, many of the loan officers and other employees will remain in place at the acquired institutions in order to maintain existing community relationships.

Griffith said he will play it by ear, to an extent, with the new acquisitions, and allow employees to appeal to the community in ways they see fit.

Acquisition hunt


Still, Grandpoint’s ambitions are larger than any particular ethnic niche. In addition to opening a downtown L.A. location, the bank is planning to open a branch in the South Bay in coming months.

After the Santa Ana bank, Griffith bought First Commerce Bank in Encino. The holding company also acquired two one-branch mainstream institutions in Arizona, which will remain separate from Grandpoint Bank.

The holding company has deployed less than half of its capital, and Griffith said he continues to hunt for attractive acquisition opportunities. In the case of First Vietnamese, which represented Grandpoint’s first failed-bank deal, Griffith said it was simply an opportunity to grow its footprint.

First Vietnamese opened in 2005 to great fanfare as one of the few banks specifically serving the area’s estimated 200,000 Vietnamese-Americans. But the bank struggled to remain profitable and rising loan losses prompted enforcement orders by regulators.

Grandpoint picked up the bank’s $47 million in deposits and $48 million in assets, including its only branch.

Walt Mix, an L.A. bank consultant and the former commissioner of the California Department of Financial Institutions, said it is exceedingly rare for ethnic banks to be bought by institutions outside their market niche, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad move on Grandpoint’s part.

Mix, who has known Griffith and other Grandpoint executives for several years, pointed out that the bank’s leadership has extensive experience in buying, selling and running banks. Griffith, for instance, acquired several banks as head of First Coastal Bank, which he subsequently sold in 2007.

What’s more, Mix added, buying a series of small banks makes it easier to assess the quality of the underlying loan portfolios.

“That’s a good way to minimize risk as opposed to trying to buy a very large institution,” he said. “I think it’s a wise approach.”
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 06:49 PM   #455
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The article paints a very confused picture of Venice, which may be accurate. My own sense has been that it is fairly stagnant but maybe there are new rentals that aren't showing up in the streetscape yet.

It is cheaper than SM but not many other places. You won't go there for rents, but for the local vibe and proximity to SM and the Westside. If you are really looking for lower rents you can move a few miles east or go to most places along the Expo corridor.

As for high tech and SM: if they don't get the Purple Line and an improved 405, they are going to have trouble. A friend recently told me it takes him longer to get from his house in Brentwood to Sunset/405 than to go from there to Reseda, where he has a multi-month project going. I guess this encourages live-local and work-local, but may not be good for larger companies who will have employees from throughout the area. And, like Venice, SM has shown no great desire for greater density (talk, yes, but not much action).
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 06:04 PM   #456
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They would have to increase their density on paper if you they receive new transit infrastructure like Expo and Purple. One of the reasons why Purple is having such a hard time making it the last 3 miles is the arrested development of that area as far as land use. If Steve Lopez really wanted to write an enlightening article about why Purple can't make the last 3 miles he would have pinned the blame on SM and LA as a whole for being resistant to increased density. And I mean REAL density. The kind that can support HRT.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 09:25 PM   #457
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I am in complete agreement with you, which is a bit unusual.

LA hasn't actually done too bad if you look just east of the SM border. In LA you find the WLA high-rises, Westwood and Brentwood (which south of Sunset is largely dense apartments). It is obvious when you cross the border into SM along Wilshire; you go from 10 story to 2, more or less. SM has no excuse not to go higher all along Wilshire and at least 10 stories at projected transit nodes.

As I recall the new SM plan now limits buildings to 60 ft. even along Wilshire; maybe 70 at transit nodes. But I don't see those actually happening in any event.

And I agree that off of Wilshire, residential is pretty much 1-3 strories in both cities.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Los Angeles Times

Exports at L.A. and Long Beach ports are at a near-record pace
Sales growth spurred by demand from a rising middle class in countries including China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia is helping lead the region's rebound, experts say. LAX is on track for an all-time high for outgoing cargo.
By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
3:27 PM PST, December 10, 2010

Southern California's twin ports are on track to post total exports for the year that approach the records set before the global recession, just as the region's preeminent air freight hub — Los Angeles International Airport — is on pace to set an all-time high for outgoing cargo.

Those are good signs for the local economy, despite a less robust showing by imports, which account for the bulk of cargo traffic through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Export-driven sales growth is helping to lead the region's rebound, experts say; overall, international trade provides work for more than 500,000 people in the Southland.

Nationally, the trade deficit narrowed more than anticipated in October, with exports jumping 3.2% and imports declining 0.5%, the Commerce Department said Friday. The trade gap fell to $38.7 billion from a revised $44.6 billion for September, well below analyst estimates for October of $43.6 billion, which suggests stronger U.S. economic growth. California exporters racked up their best October ever, according to Beacon Economics, shipping $12.91 billion in goods abroad during the month, up 16.5% from October 2009 and 1.1% better than the previous high for the month in October 2007.

Through October, the L.A. and Long Beach ports have moved 2.8 million export-carrying cargo containers, up 20% from the same period last year. If that pace continues through the end of the year, the two ports will handle about 3.4 million containers, which would rank second only to the 3.5 million moved in 2008. Imports are growing rapidly too, but both ports will fall well short of their 2007 best.

Air freight exports through LAX peaked at 457,899 U.S. tons in 2007, but the pace this year is running nearly 4% ahead of that, according to Jock O'Connell, international trade advisor for Beacon Economics.

Monetary value of exports was higher in 2007, but "the logistics industry makes money by moving weight and volume," O'Connell said. "They make more if the tonnages are going up."

Exporters are selling to new middle-class consumers in China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries, said Ferdinando Guerra, an associate economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. who focuses on international trade.

"The middle class in these countries have begun to thrive," Guerra said. "Their countries are not really in recovery because they did not suffer as much as we did in the recession and their consumers are in a much better position overall."

One company looking to peddle even more internationally is Diamond Head Global Corp. of Gardena, a five-employee firm that sells reinforced steel framing and related components as a safe, sturdy home-construction alternative to wood, concrete, adobe or brick.

Chief Executive Darrell M. Sabihon said his biggest sales area has been the Philippines, and now he hopes to include other parts of Asia and earthquake-torn Haiti, where poor construction methods contributed to the massive temblor damage. Sabihon said he was looking to exceed his best year of about $6 million in sales in 2008.

"We're hopeful," he said. "Our products are better and they save a lot of time in construction."

Exports that originate in California are mostly high-value items, O'Connell said. In September, the most recent month for which statistics are available, California exported more than $12.3 billion to foreign markets, an increase of 19% over the year before, through its harbors and airports.

According to a UC Center Sacramento analysis of international trade data from the U.S. Commerce Department, the state's top exports were electrical machinery; industrial machinery and computers; optical, photographic and medical equipment; and aircraft and spacecraft components.

"In terms of sheer tonnage, airborne shipments typically account for no more than 1% or 2% of international trade. So there is no question that seaports do the heavy lifting in international trade. It's just that the cool stuff goes by air," O'Connell said.

With the U.S. economy still sluggish and lingering high unemployment still depressing that buying urge among consumers, exports are expected to help drive the recovery among businesses in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to a report released last week by the Institute for Economic and Environmental Studies at Cal State Fullerton.

Co-authors Mira Farka and Adrian R. Fleissig said locally based exports would help lead the economic recovery here as the "rock bottom" levels of 2009 have given way to "record growth rates in 2010." Exports, they said, will be up 17.1% in Orange County and by 16.4% in Los Angeles and Long Beach compared with last year.

Although the amount of cargo sent out of Southern California is rising, local exporters still have a long way to go to regain the dollar volume they had before the recession, Fleissig said. After six straight years of gains in regionally based exports, which reached a value of $60 billion in 2008, exports plummeted by nearly 24% to $45.7 billion in 2009.

"We're definitely seeing good growth this year, but it's going to take some time to get back to where we were," Fleissig said. "We should get there by 2012."

Sabihon at Diamond Head Global is counting on it.

"I've got bids out on $50 million of potential business," he said. "We're hoping to get lucky."
Read More: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,2006125.story
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Old January 5th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #459
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AUSTRALIA BRINGS THE MOST OVERSEAS TOURISTS TO L A IN 2010
SABIAN404/FLICKR
The Aussies were part of a larger rebound of L.A.'s tourist industry.
Last year saw the number of visitors and level of tourism spending
return to pre-recession levels after a significant dip in 2009.
.
MICHAEL ROBINSON CHAVEZ/LATIMES
.
When it comes to Los Angeles tourism, the Land Down Under is showing up on top these days.

Australia became the No. 1 feeder market for overseas tourists to Los Angeles in 2010, surpassing Britain and Japan, according to statistics released Tuesday by LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Aussies were part of a larger rebound of L.A.'s tourist industry. Last year saw the number of visitors and level of tourism spending return to pre-recession levels after a significant dip in 2009.

"It really shows that we have turned the corner on the road to recovery after these very difficult economic times," said Mark Liberman, LA Inc. president and chief executive.

The number of overnight visitors to the city last year rose nearly 8% to 25.7 million, approaching the 2007 peak of 25.9 million, according to an analysis by CIC Research, based in San Diego. In 2009, the figure had dropped to 23.8 million. Tourism spending was also up, by 10.4% in 2010 to $13.1 billion, although not back to the peak of $14.2 billion in 2007.

Visitors from abroad were a key part of the uptick. "The international overseas visitors obviously have a tendency of staying longer and spending more," Liberman said.

International visitors accounted for about 21% of the total visits and more than one-third of the tourist spending for the year.

Australia became the top overseas feeder market for Los Angeles, with 339,000 Aussies making the trip. (In terms of overall international visits, Mexico and Canada beat out the overseas markets, with more than 1.5 million visitors coming from Mexico and 561,000 from Canada.)

China and South Korea also saw significant growth in the number of tourists they sent to L.A., with an increase of 80% for China and 54% for South Korea.

There are logistical reasons for the influx of Australians to Los Angeles. A strong Australian dollar brought more Aussies to the states overall, and LAX is the primary point of entry, said Wally Mariani, senior executive vice president for the Americas and Pacific for Australia's Qantas Airways.

The airline is the busiest foreign carrier at LAX, flying at least 1 million passengers between Los Angeles and Australia in 2010.

"I think the primary change this year versus a couple years ago is the strength of the Australian versus the American dollar," Mariani said. Australians "have always wanted to visit America. It's always been one of the primary destinations."

And now there is increased capacity to shuttle Australians to Southern California. Liberman noted that in 2010, airlines added a total of 8,200 weekly seats from Australia to Los Angeles.

Australian visitors said L.A. also has a special pull for a nation where people grew up on Hollywood movies and American television.

Australian Madeline Page, 22, who is spending a year in Bozeman, Mont., working as an au pair, visited California with her brother in December and spent three days in Los Angeles. They walked the Santa Monica Pier, found compatriot Hugh Jackman's footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and took a bus tour of celebrities' houses.

"Living in Australia, we do grow up watching a lot of American television, so you see a lot of TV shows that are from" Los Angeles, said Page, who liked Santa Monica Beach and her glimpse of Michael Jackson's house. "So it's great to see that in real life." She said she was less fond of the gritty atmosphere in Venice, where she stayed on the visit.

Page also noted that the strength of the Australian dollar is a plus. "It's cheaper to buy Australian wines in America than it is in Australia," she said.

For recent Australian visitor Adam Hollingsworth of Melbourne, Los Angeles was not the purpose of his trip to the U.S., but it ended up being his favorite part.

Hollingsworth visited L.A. last month as part of a trip to Las Vegas he gave himself as a 30th birthday present. Like many Australian tourists to the U.S., he flew into and out of LAX and spent several days in L.A. at both ends of the trip.

He checked out Universal Studios, got a picture of the Hollywood sign and drove to Hawkins House of Burgers in Watts to experience authentically hearty American fare. Between the burgers and the people he met, Hollingsworth raved about the city in a phone interview from Melbourne.

"Next time, I'm going to stay in L.A. a lot longer — I'd probably make it the focal point of my trip because I had such a good time," he said. "… I never thought I'd like anywhere more than New York, but I have to say, Los Angeles is somewhere I think I could live."

The cultural exchange goes both ways. This month, Los Angeles will be one of eight U.S. cities hosting G'Day USA, an annual week of events intended to showcase Australian business and culture. In Los Angeles, the events run Jan. 17-22.
.
ABBY SEWELL
LOSANGELESTIMES
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Old January 5th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #460
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That's too bad.
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