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THE BOTTOM LINE /Bill Ritter

Teleguide Checks Out

July 01, 1986

San Diego Teleguide, only 11 months after its highly touted entrance here, will fold its tent by the end of the month, taking the 126 videotext terminals it has scattered throughout the county back to corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

The operation here underwent a much-publicized shake-up in January, during which San Diego Teleguide's general manager was fired and the staff reduced to 22 from 37. At the time, Teleguide officials promised that the "company is committed to San Diego and plans no reduction in community services."

Teleguide--a division of Chronicle Videotex, which is a subsidiary of a firm owned by the Chronicle Publishing Co. in San Francisco--is changing its focus from marketing tourist information to marketing data to residents, according to Tom Morgan, executive vice president of Chronicle Videotex. Officials determined to test the new strategy "in one market area," he said, focusing more on office buildings than hotels in San Francisco.

After that, Morgan said, Teleguide might return here.

Teleguide apparently never got off the ground financially in San Diego, according to tourist industry sources, who point to the general failure of the interactive video industry for the firm's problems.

More Loral Moves

Fresh from last week's announcement that its sister division here would lay off about 16% of its work force, Loral Terracom has ordered a work-week reduction for its 400 San Diego employees. Blaming a slowdown in commercial product orders, the company has ordered workers to take off eight days between July 4 and Labor Day--either by using sick or vacation by, or by taking days off without pay.

Last week, Loral Instrumentation--like Terracom a subsidiary of New York-based Loral Corp.--said it would lay off 50 of its 320 workers because of a drop in military orders.

Sun's New Shop

Sun Savings & Loan has moved into spanking new corporate headquarters--contemporary but hardly lavish--across the street from its former digs. But the problems facing the thrift--negative net worth and millions in bad loans--remain woefully the same.

And President and Chief Executive John McEwan acknowledges that finding suitors willing to invest the $15 million needed to bring Sun's net worth to regulatory minimum is no easy task.

"It's difficult to assess the downside of the loan portfolio," he said in an interview last week.

These days, much of McEwan's and other executives' work involves "workout and recovery" of Sun's bad loans. As a result, some Sun officials are now as much landlords as they are loan lords.

Last week, for instance, McEwan spent 45 minutes dressing down a property manager of a condo project Sun took over for spending too much money.

Because of soured loans, McEwan said, Sun "now owns those properties, and we're running them to help maximize our income."

Zoo News

Unionized workers at the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park on Monday voted 456-157 to accept a new three-year contract that calls for a salary freeze, an increase in pension fund contributions, no random drug testing and full payment of health benefits by management.

Zoological Society officials were reportedly preparing a hard-line stance had workers rejected the pact. Preparing for the busy July 4 weekend, they had vowed to keep the facilities open if employees went on strike.

Bold Move

John Bold retired Friday after 31 years with what was once known as The Signal Cos.--the past 14 years as chief executive Forrest Shumway's vice president of public relations.

Bold has remained in La Jolla with Shumway, helping in the transition with last year's merger between Signal and Allied. He chose not to remain with combined Allied-Signal.

But Bold will not disappear from Signal's old digs on Torrey Pines Mesa: He'll likely stay with Henley Group--the spin off from Allied-Signal--as a public relations consultant.

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