Leo & Karen’s California View – April 2012
PAUL WRIGHT has once again taken the helm as President of the BABCLA (British American Business Council Los Angeles) a position he held from 2005-2007. He stepped down after the highly successful BABC Transatlantic Conference in LA featuring 51 leading speakers. Details can be seen at www.babc2007.com
The BABC is a vitally important organization that helps solidify the communication between companies both here and in the UK, which creates the opportunity for many get-togethers which would not normally be available.
Paul is a superb chap, we have known and liked for many years. An English Barrister and California Attorney by profession, that hails from Harrogate, North Yorkshire. He’s dynamic, forward thinking, gets results, down to earth, and a fun bloke to be around. If you think you don’t know him, he’s the one hogging all the national TV spotlight welcoming Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge during last year’s visit to LA.
In February he hosted Lord Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, for a breakfast of 120 business leaders that received extensive publicity. (news clip can be seen at www.babcla.org). Lord Coe, on his return to LA where he won a gold and silver medal in the 1984 Olympics, reported that “preparations for London 2012 are on schedule and on budget.”
Some upcoming BABC events Paul recommends are: April 20 in Malibu is a major music evening featuring leading British musicians, followed June 10 with the Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village hosting the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebration www.babcla.org
The BABCLA has formed a number of new Sectors, including the BABC LA Transatlantic Law Council; the BABC LA Transatlantic Financial Council; and a Young Executives Group this is named Commonwealth House. Other sectors are in the process of being formed.
With growth and the future in mind, Paul has enlisted the help of young, energetic Brits including James Langridge, who set sail with an event held at the totally modern and refurbished, The London West Hollywood, just off the Sunset Strip, and certainly sets precedent for luxury accommodations and service, with a tie-in to Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant and bar, where the event was held. A question we get asked a lot: where can you stay in LA, yet be centrally located? The London is your best answer complete with the night life within walking distance, on Sunset Strip.
James Langridge, who’s now heading the new division of Commonwealth House, welcomed a host of dynamic business leaders from several well-known companies: Matthew Douglas, VP & branch manager of HSBC Santa Monica; Richard Yemm of Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group in Santa Monica; Tony Tarpey, marketing director of SmartSoft; and Daniel Ben-Efraim of The London Hotel, plus JP Morgan; UKTI; Capital Partners; The Financial Times; Ballantine’s PR; Docusource, a leading provider of office equipment, service, and software, just to name a few.
And sorry guys, I’ve been saving the best for last, account manager Debra Dilger of NBC LA who was enthusiastically promoting the UK and London 2012 Games and of course garnering sponsorship. “Will there be anyone left at NBC during the Games,” I asked. “No! We all want to go,” Debra said.
“Can you get me a couple of tickets for the Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. I’ll run the camera while everyone is in the UK.” “For you Leo, anything!” I like that attitude! James, you’re off to a good start. We had a great evening and it accomplished its goal; do business and have fun while doing it!
For hundreds of years High/Main Street was the hub of business, social, eating out. It then became more convenient to shop and park at malls, shopping centers, and eat at franchised food chains. Extending that thought we might as well not talk: but email me, or Facebook and Twitter. We could all live a much faster, better life!
Fortunately, there are a lot of die-hards out there who stubbornly believe that the pubs, shops, and High Street still matter. I called Lynne at The Olde Ship in Santa Ana. How’s the economy treating you? She responded, “We’ve been pleasantly surprised how business picked up last November and has continued steadily since. And with www.BritWeek.org the end of April, The Queens Golden Jubilee Celebration, the Olympics, we’re looking forward to a very good year!”
OK. David Kidd at You Say Tomato in San Francisco. Have you been suffering? “Well, actually no, Leo, we’re not. We’re very lucky. Our customers have been amazingly loyal. You can always do more, but basically no grumbles.”
How about Michael Bennett at The British Connection in Torrance. Are you ready to throw the cat out and run away to sea? “No. Business is steady. Improving in fact. Our problem is getting the goods from the UK. They are sitting on the dock. From what the wholesaler says, the FDA won’t clear it as they’re short of staff, or so we’re told. Which doesn’t make sense, as we’ve had the same problem for years. Oh, and Julie has returned from the UK. She couldn’t resettle after her husband died of cancer. And like the rest of us, has become too American!”
Mac, at Mac’s’s Fish and Chips in Santa Barbara said, “Business has been very good in our first 18 months. But business has been out the door since being on the Food Networks Diner’s Drive-ins, & Dives in January.”
Cameron Palmer from Cameron’s Inn in Half Moon Bay: “A marked improvement from the last three years. More people are out on the road. A lot of foreign visitors and they’re spending. In fact, we’re expanding and opening a new camp ground right next to the Pub.” That’s growth, right?
How about San Diego’s Shakespeare’s Pub? Manager Ruth Thomas said “We’re noticing a definite improvement in the economy, its turning the corner, and we’re really looking forward to the summer.” Just talking to her lifted my spirits, Ruth, you’re delightful. A great way to start my day! I’d be off to Shakey’s for a pint with Ruth if I could just afford the gas, which effects, of course, the whole economy.
It affects everything. The first thing any opposition party or us does is blame the President. Watching the Ed Show on MSNBC in an interview with Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) one of my favorite states, pointed out a couple of facts: “Domestic oil is at its highest level in eight years; there are more oil rigs working in the US than the whole world combined; and that there’s more gas available today than has been over the last three years. Demand is far less today, so there’s no supply problem.
How much would be saved if we stopped the endless speculation? Goldman Sachs estimates 56 cents a gallon, by their figures.
My thoughts: The problem is “Selfishness.” Taxpayers bailed out Wall Street, right? Without oversight they are doing exactly the same thing all over again that got us into this mess! Are we so dumb and such a bunch of lemmings? It’s inevitable that we’ll end up in the same place again. Our wages and profits, or lack of, have stayed the same, while Wall Street’s profits are up 380 percent. This is a recipe for disaster and watch. It will bring down the economy again like a house of cards if something isn’t done. A good start would be to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act of 1929, which was repealed in 1999. Enough is enough is enough. This planet is not about the one percent. It’s about all of us!!
Congratulations to Ron and Jeff Choularton, editor and publishers of the Union Jack, upon celebrating their 30th Anniversary, April. Here’s to many more years of being the conduit to the British Community in the US and Canada!
BritWeek has so many events they’re too numerous to mention: in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco. Please check out www.britweek.org for your local schedule of events.
April Birthdays: Susan Boyle 50; David Frost 72; Julian Lennon 48; Rachael Stevens 33; Liz McClarnon 30; Joss Stone 24; Samuel Beckett 105; Adrien Brody 38; John Gielgud 107; Emma Thompson 52; Dusty Springfield 72; Victoria Beckham 37; Haley Mills 65; Queen Elizabeth 85; Charlotte Bronte 195; Peter Frampton 61; William Shakespeare 447; Daniel Day-Lewis 54; Union Jack 30.