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South Bay Digest


April 04, 1985

The City Council extended the moratorium on "touch-and-go" flight training at Torrance Municipal Airport to May 31 to allow completion of a study of the matter.

This is the third extension of the moratorium that was established in December, 1983. It was extended for an additional six months in June, 1984, and expanded to include Saturdays in addition to Sundays and holidays.

Last December, Wyle Laboratories was hired to conduct a study of the effect of the moratorium on pilots and residents, and the moratorium was again extended, to April 4.

In a related matter, the City Council gloated Tuesday night about its courtroom victory over pilot-attorney Clark Garen's lawsuits against noise regulations at the airport.

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed two separate suits filed by Garen against the city and homeowners living near the airport and imposed a $250,000 sanction against Garen for "harassing" the residents.

The money is supposed to go to residents, but they may never see any of it because Garen said he has filed for bankruptcy and has no money to pay the sanction. The judge said he will find Garen in contempt of court if the money is not paid by April 19.

At the urging of Mayor Jim Armstrong, City Atty. Stanley Remelmeyer gave a detailed account of the city's battles with Garen. Council members then took turns congratulating Remelmeyer, who was celebrating 30 years of working for the city.

It was a day late, but Mayor Jim Armstrong pulled off a classic April Fool's Day joke on his colleagues at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Armstrong unexpectedly announced that he was considering running for a seat on the City Council in next year's municipal election.

Armstrong is in his second term as mayor and is prohibited by the City Charter from seeking a third term. Political observers have speculated that Armstrong will seek higher office, probably a congressional seat.

And if the announcement was not shocking enough, Armstrong then asked each council member to say publicly--and in front of voters watching the meeting on cable television--what they thought of his idea.

Red-faced and flustered, each council member poured it on:

"You have served the city well, and it would be a great loss if you do not continue in public office," said Councilman George Nakano.

"At this juncture, the action is personally right for you and personally right for the city," said Councilman Dan Walker.

"Just as in the past I have supported you, I would have no problem supporting you again," said Councilman Mark Wirth.

Trying to sound humble and solemn, Armstrong said, "Thank you. You've all put too much jam on the bread.

"But you know, people say there is no fool like an old fool, unless it is an April fool."

Silence fell over the room for a few minutes as his colleagues and the few people remaining in the audience tried to figure out whether it was a joke.

"Got ya," said the mayor, as his colleagues turned even redder than before.

The City Council unanimously overturned Planning Commission approval of a proposed dance lounge/restaurant behind the Del Amo Mall.

The council members said they were opposed to the project because there would be no age restriction on patrons, and they said the lounge would attract teen-agers from the mall because of its proximity.

Councilman Bill Applegate also expressed concern about up to 20 security guards the facility's owners said would normally work weekends.

"What kind of clientele do you expect to attract that you need 20 security guards?" Applegate asked.

A representative of the owners said the guards would be used more for deterring trouble than for actual control.

Councilwoman Katy Geissert said she thought the club would have a negative effect on the image of the mall.

The facility, on Carson Street just west of Madrona Avenue, would have been the largest dance lounge in the city, with 11,500 square feet. The owners had said they would have required patrons to be at least 21, but the facility received its liquor license as an eating establishment and state law prohibits imposing age restrictions for admission.

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