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89 FOR 1989 : Meet Southern California's Rising Stars

January 01, 1989

Martinez, a former Miami Herald senior editor, is one of a growing cadre of Latino journalists who, after making it in mainstream media, have crossed over to Spanish-language TV. And, since becoming vice president /news director of Univision--the largest such network in the country--last March, he has set his compass by these basic tenets: Explain the nation's political system to Latinos; explain Latinos to Latinos, and keep everyone abreast of Latin American events. This spring, the 47-year-old Martinez also plans to launch a weekly, prime-time TV news magazine that focusing on the Western hemisphere.

ADOLFO V. NODAL, arts administrator

As the new head of the city's Cultural Affairs Department, Nodal is not expected to spend much time behind a desk shuffling papers. That has never been the style of the 38-year-old Cuban-born arts advocate, as evidenced by the way he revitalized a downtrodden MacArthur Park with public art. Now, with the city as his canvas, look for Nodal to be on the street to celebrate Los Angeles' burgeoning multicultural and avant-garde arts communities with exhibits and commissions, and in City Hall to fight for a more preservation-minded and design-conscious administration.

JOHN OCHOA, homeless advocate

Of the estimated 55,000 homeless in L.A. County, approximately 10,000 are children. John Ochoa, since June the executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Partnership for the Homeless, sees helping these kids as his biggest challenge this year. One of 15 children, Ochoa, 41, knows the importance of home life to a child. And his experience as a congressional aide and with the Southern California Assn. of Governments taught him the legislative process. "Building more shelters isn't the solution, " he says. "There is good will, but the will is not enough. Developing a coordinated public plan is what will get these families into homes and these kids back to school."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday January 1, 1989 Home Edition Part 1 Page 3 Column 5 Advance Desk 9 inches; 307 words Type of Material: Correction
Because of a mistake by a pre-print production house supplying The Times, three photographs in today's Los Angeles Times Magazine were incorrectly paired with profiles in the "89 for '89" special issue. The correct versions: STEVEN CORBIN, Novelist When Corbin, 35, was growing up, his grandmother captivated him with stories about Harlem of the 1920s--the glamour, the elegance, the clubs. His first novel, "No Easy Place to Be," pays tribute to the Harlem Renaissance era. Simon & Schuster will publish the historical epic next month. A selection of the Literary Guild, the book also seems a likely prospect for the movies. Corbin, who teaches fiction writing at UCLA, did a reading in New York six weeks ago with Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. In the audience was E.L. Doctorow--with whom Corbin has been critically compared.
HUGH M. DAVIES, museum director When Davies became director of the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art five years ago, it was, in his words, "insular and doctrinaire" with "the appearance of elitism." But Davies, 40, buried that image with a far-ranging exhibit schedule and a downtown exhibition annex that plopped the museum in the midst of San Diego's gritty arts district--and the museum's annual attendance rate tripled. Now on his second five-year contract, Davies is about to oversee an expansion program that will include an $11-million Robert Venturi-designed overhaul of the bluff-side La Jolla facility and the addition of several thousand square feet to the downtown space. STEVEN EHRLICH, architect Ehrlich can stand in the middle of Windward Circle in Venice with a sense of accomplishment. Soon to be completed there is the last of three exuberantly high-tech buildings that he designed to energize the historic traffic circle. In addition to this ambitious mix of shops, offices and studios, Ehrlich's flashy design for a deli is taking form in downtown Santa Monica and, later this year, the construction of a fanciful gymnasium and community center in the Mid-Wilshire District's Shatto Park is scheduled to begin. Throw in commissions for residences, and it's easy to see why this 42-year-old architect's career has moved into high gear.

LEIF OURSTON, traffic engineer

Ourston is on a crusade to ease congestion on California's thoroughfares. His controversial remedy: the doughnut-shaped rotaries, or traffic circles, that spin merging cars around a central island. Ourston, a 48-year-old Santa Barbara traffic engineering consultant, says that such intersections have been fine-tuned in Britain, where, known as "roundabouts," they are being hailed for saving lives and reducing traffic delays. And although some engineers think that American drivers will have difficulty adjusting to the new rotaries, Ourston has sold the idea to the Los Angeles Caltrans office, which plans to build the first one in the state this year in Los Angeles County or Ventura County.

SHERRY PASSMORE-CURTIS, community organizer

For 15 years, Passmore-Curtis, an Arcadia land-use consultant to neighborhood slow-growth groups, has helped fire up opposition to big projects that step on little toes and worked with developers to scale down those projects. She especially targets cities that use powers of eminent domain to knock down homes and businesses so developers can build shopping centers or hotels--and she expects the slow-growth wars to intensify in 1989. Developers are often scathing in their off-the-record condemnation of Passmore-Curtis, 47, but she has legions of admirers. Says a lawyer who has worked with her: "In the pure sense of the word, she's a reformer."

THAN POK, social services administrator

Pok, 45, is a founder and executive director of the Long Beach-based United Cambodian Community, an agency that provides employment referral, job training, child care, mental health counseling, health education, English language instruction and other services for thousands of Southeast Asian refugees in addition to blacks, Latinos and other minorities. In 10 years under Pok's leadership, the agency has grown from one small office to seven, in Los Angeles and Orange counties, with 60 full-time staffers. This year, Pok expects the agency to expand its presence in the fast-growing Southern California Cambodian community by building its first all-purpose meeting and conference facility in Long Beach.



In his 1986 book, "Trouble in Paradise,"UC Irvine social ecology professor Mark Baldassare marked the gap between the quiet, tree-lined suburbia of people's dreams and the reality of high-rises and traffic jams. Now Baldassare, 37, and his wife, free-lance journalist Cheryl Katz, 34, are compiling their latest research for a new book, "Private Destinies," about the intersection of politics and life styles are in the nation's suburbs. The couple's "Orange County Annual Survey" of more than 1,000 adult residents, a report that was first published in 1982 to provide information on social, economic and political trends, is being used increasingly by government offices, leaders of consumer-oriented industries, and others those who base decisions on public opinion.


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