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Local rents climb quickly

October 19, 2006|Andrew Malcolm and Brian Hanrahan | Times Staff Writers

Forget buyer's market and seller's market. In California residential property these days, it's a landlord's market.

The slowdown in real estate sales, rising mortgage rates and an expanding job market drawing more people to the state are pushing many into rentals.

"If I lose one tenant," one commercial property broker says, "there are three more behind them."

One result: Higher rents.

The average rent in Los Angeles and Orange counties climbs 7.4% to $1,546. Ventura County's climbs 7.6% to $1,452.

Southern California, you won't be surprised to learn, remains the most expensive rental housing market in the entire West. Page C1


Neck stents found to pose stroke risk

Using wire mesh stents to prop open neck arteries and prevent strokes is an increasingly common medical practice.

But a new French study suggests the procedure is much riskier than simply removing artery-clogging plaque.

The study's data, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that patients with stents are nearly 2 1/2 times as likely to have a stroke or die. A recent German study came to the same conclusion.

Some American researchers say the findings directly conflict with U.S. studies. A definitive conclusion awaits further research, including a project undertaken by the National Institutes of Health. Page A14


Rep. Lewis tops in lobbyist donations

Public Citizen, a political watchdog group in Washington, has been tracking the cash lobbyists give to members of Congress.

And the winner -- or loser -- is a California congressman, Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands). He received the most money from special interests. Lewis, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, received more than $700,000. His office declined comment. Page A22


Israel finds nine Gaza tunnels

Israel's army says its incursion into the Gaza Strip this week has led to the discovery of nine tunnels connecting the area with Egypt.

Seven of the tunnels were complete, including one 60 feet deep, and two were in the early stages of construction.

Israeli authorities say the tunnels could be used by Palestinians to smuggle tons of sophisticated arms into Gaza, including rockets with longer ranges than the familiar Kassams. Page A5


Beam it up, Scottie

NASA runs a $200,000 contest to start development of a space elevator, a system to get into space without bulky rockets. The bizarre idea came from writer Arthur C. Clarke in 1979. Now, teams are building working models. Page A12



Alive in Long Beach

Long Beach, known decades ago as Iowa by the Sea, is now trending more toward part Hollywood, part port of call. Downtown comes alive after dark, and nightlife seekers can start their visit at a new waterfront mall, then trek up the hill and join the crowds on Pine Avenue, above -- the epicenter of galleries, clubs and restaurants. Downtown is undergoing a transformation, but everyone's still welcome to the join the scene. "It's not too full of itself, because it's used to being a bit of an underdog," one regular says. Page E26


Phillippe prefers body language

Actor Ryan Phillippe has made 26 films in about 13 years, and he might make a name for himself in his newest, "Flags of Our Fathers." It won't be on account of gabbiness, though. Here's his theory of acting:

"I am always looking to cut dialogue in movies. You have more of an open connection with the audience if you are allowing them to put the words in your head based on what your eyes and your body are telling them." Page E8


Comedy clinic

Although it's been on network TV for 12 seasons, "MADtv" still flies somewhat under the radar. "We're the quietest hit in show business," executive producer David Salzman says, a status that irks cast members. Still, they're spirited enough to take on an extra job: performing every Tuesday night at the Improv Olympic West in Hollywood.

"It's fun for us, but it also has its benefits for the show," cast member Nicole Parker says. "And it's hard to just sit at home and try to come up with stuff." Page E14


Eyes on Africa

The 10th annual Hollywood Film Festival opens today, and this year it's placing special emphasis on Africa and African American actors. Three documentaries about the continent are among the 80 features, docs and shorts to be screened, and actors Derek Luke and Forest Whitaker will be honored.

Whitaker, who played Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," says Ugandans are still conflicted about his regime. "When you talk to Ugandans, they have mixed views about Amin," Whitaker says. "On one hand, he killed hundreds of thousands of people. On the other hand, he liberated them." Page E4



Six Flags' new theme: Behave!

Continuing its efforts to polish the image of Magic Mountain and its other theme parks, Six Flags Inc. will begin asking its guests to act and dress in a more civilized manner.

No more T-shirts with profane slogans. No more bikini tops, no more bad language, no more jumping lines. And yes, those shoes had better be sensible.

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