Remember the stories about government waste--you know, the ones about the Department of Defense spending $471 for a hammer or $7,000 for a coffee pot?
George Goldberger, assistant to the chairman of W. R. Grace & Co. of New York City and project director for the 1984 Grace Commission Report on Government Waste and Mismanagement, detailed these and other practices when he spoke at the first of two conferences planned by the Southern California chapter, Society of Industrial Realtors.
Titled "Real Estate '86 Strategies for Moving Ahead After the Smoke Clears" (from tax reforms, environmental and other regulatory guidelines), the first conference drew more than 200 people to the Irvine Hilton Hotel. The conference will be repeated on Friday and Saturday at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.
Goldberger is the keynote speaker. Tying in with the conference title, his talk is called "Clearing the Smoke from Big Government Waste and Mismanagement." He and other business representatives are working to "clear the smoke," he said, by circulating a petition. "We figure we need 50 million signatures before Congress will pay attention to us," he said. The petition calls on Congress to cut expenses. "We have about 9 million signatures," he told The Times.
He is working on what is called the Grace Caucus--"to develop legislative strategy," he continued. The caucus represents several Fortune 500 companies, along with 300 to 400 smaller firms, he said. The study that revealed the wasteful practices was conducted by a 161-member executive committee, a 36-member task force committee and 2,000 volunteers, he added. The study involved an estimated $76 million in donated time and resources.
"In essence, what the federal government needs to do is what we do in the private sector. For example, the federal government should have competitive bidding," he told The Times.
He likened the federal government to a 45-year-old man who has a two-martini lunch and two packs of cigarettes. "He feels good, but suddenly he has a heart attack," he said. "As a country, we cannot afford to have this federal deficit go on." The answer is not in raising taxes but in cutting costs, he told conference attendees.
Other speakers and their topics include Christy C. Walter, director, state Department of Commerce, "Win in the 1986 Real Estate Market: Capitalize on the Evolving Business Environment;" Hank Adler, tax partner, Touche Ross, Newport Beach, "Tax Reforms: What's Really in Store for Real Estate?;" Stephen D. Ramsey, of Counsel, Sidley & Austin in Washington and former chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U. S. Department of Justice, and Charles S. Vogel, managing partner, Sidley & Austin, Century City, and president of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., "The Environmental/Regulatory Impact on Real Estate Development and Sales: What It All Really Means;" Erik M. Hansen, partner, Lincoln Property Co., Irvine, "Master the Challenge of Adaptive Reuse," and Ted B. Howard, president, Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles County, "Industrial Revenue Bond Financing."
An afternoon panel on "The '86 Markets--As the Users See It" features Alfred J. Gobar, president of Alfred Gobar Associates of Brea, as moderator of a panel including Glenn S. Hunter Jr., director of real estate, Hughes Aircraft Co., El Segundo; Charles S. Shuken, chairman of the board, Metropolitan Distribution Centers Inc., Los Angeles; Andy Karlsbergs, regional manager, Real Estate & Construction, IBM Corp., Los Angeles, and Richard C. King, principal, Richard King International, Los Angeles, who predicted another wave of Asian real estate investment in the United States, particularly in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia.
"This time the wave will include more small- and medium-sized Japanese companies," he said. However, he also expects "a dramatic increase in investment" by other Asian countries, especially Korea.
"Between now and 1990, Pacific-Basin investment in Southern California will triple," he emphasized.
Their interests will continue to focus on high-tech, research-and-development joint ventures and automobile facilities, he added.
Referring to research-and-development facilities, Gobar said, "R&D is not necessarily a guy in a smock with a test tube. R&D space is basically an industrial building upgraded to office space." However, that space is often occupied by individuals and companies interested in things other than research and development, he stressed.
"The Society of Industrial Realtors is probably misnamed because of the office and industrial market seem to be melding with each other. The industrial market decided to compete just when the office market in some areas is overbuilt. In those areas, it will get a little worse before it gets better." Even so, the society is about to change its name to include its new interest in offices. The name change is expected to be approved at a national convention in October.
The Saturday agenda includes David C. Grant, Sr., partner, Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble & Mallory, Newport Beach attorneys, who speaks on "Avoiding Malpractice and Keeping Your Client Out of Court," and a panel focusing on "Ethics in Today's Real Estate Arena." Among the panelists are Mervyn Kirshner, associate vice president, The Seeley Co., Torrance; Stuart Klabin, president, The Klabin Co., Inglewood, and Ben Reiling, president, Zelman Development Co., Los Angeles.