In the battle with L.A. for business, El Segundo fills the bill(board).
SELLING EL SEGUNDO: El Segundo’s economy has suffered from defense cutbacks, but the scrappy city is anything but defensive when it comes to attracting new firms. Indeed, tiny El Segundo (population: 15,223) is taking on behemoth Los Angeles in a no-holds-barred battle for business.
Starting Monday, billboards and posters will go up portraying El Segundo as a perfectly logical alternative to the City of Angels. Among the planned slogans: “From El Segundo you have a perfectly clear view of the smog that hangs over L.A.” Also: “One mile from the beach. One mile from LAX. A million miles from L.A.”
The city plans to spend about $170,000 this year to splash the slogans on eight billboards, 55 posters and the pages of area business journals. City officials hope business owners will take notice and call the phone number for El Segundo City Hall listed in each ad.
Over the past decade, the number of workers flooding into El Segundo on weekdays has shrunk by the thousands, and officials hope a new crew of workers will fill the buildings left vacant by departing aerospace companies.
The billboards will go up throughout the Southland, including Glendale, the Westside and Downtown Los Angeles.
Despite the campaign’s negative approach toward its neighboring city, El Segundo officials say they hope the ads won’t offend Angelenos. Says Jim Hansen, the city’s economic development director: “One needs to have a sense of humor.”
O.J. ON THE MENU: If you needed an O.J. fix while his trial was on a lunch break, the South Bay was the place to be this week.
Depot, the high-class restaurant in downtown Torrance, has been offering an O.J.-themed lunch menu called The Trial.
The selections have ranged from the “O.J. Jail House Bean Bisque” ($3.95) to the “Defense Seared Ahi” ($12.95) and the “Judge Ito New York Moo Shoo Platter” ($12.95).
The menu is just a parody, said Michael S. Shafer, general manager and executive chef. “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s poking more fun at the media circus and the sign of the times rather than actual events.”
Indeed, he added another item called “Media Goulash” (actually a Hungarian goulash) after seeing the swarm of media outside the courthouse.
Shafer also said “Marsha’s Steamer"--a collection of salmon, sea bass, shrimp, dumplings and dips--was a homage, with its wrong spelling, to the time prosecutor Marcia Clark worked in a restaurant to get herself through college.
His first batch of menus will continue through Friday. But he doesn’t rule out more special dishes, “depending on what happens at the trial.”
HIP-HOP HIDEAWAY: Nothing about the Top Line Nails salon in Lawndale indicates that it is a magnet for rap stars and hip-hop artists. But it is.
The salon is a standard manicure shop, with lots of employees who will cement acrylic nails of any length on top of the real thing, apply a thick paste to cover the nails and then paint them one of a hundred shades of red (or a variety of other colors).
Nonetheless, according to a recent edition of Vibe magazine, the salon caters to several hip-hop stars who apparently do not want to be recognized while fake nails are being applied. And what better place to hide than a salon in Lawndale?
No one there, they figure, will recognize them. And they’re right.
“Who?” asked manager Paul Nguyen, when questioned about a reported clientele that includes members of the group Salt ‘n Pepa and hip-hop queen Mary J. Blige.
Indeed, a mention of the raps “Shoop” and “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt ‘n Pepa, and the songs “Real Love” and “Reminisce” by Blige rang no bells with Nguyen.
“I guess they’re like all the other women who come in here,” he said. “They come and then they’re in and out. How would we know who they were?”
Compiled by DAVE GRIMM