When Fernando Valenzuela's fastball is humming, he leaves fans singing in the aisles at Dodger Stadium--or if he doesn't, he may, thanks to Alma Pedroza.
Pedroza, mother of KABC-TV reporter Inez Pedroza and former KFWB reporter Cecilia Pedroza, has released what she hopes will become the star pitcher's theme song, "Fernando! You Are the One!" She co-wrote the music with a third daughter, Adelina Pedroza, who is a flamenco dancer.
Pedroza, an opera singer and artistic director of Los Angeles-based California Town Meetings, a public affairs organization, said Valenzuela deserves the song--which has lyrics in both English and Spanish by Monte Randall--because "He has had a lot of pressure on him. When he came here, he couldn't speak the language."
The song was written last year, but with Valenzuela struggling to an eventual 12-17 record in 1984, she feared it might strike out with the public. Now, with Valenzuela back among the leading pitchers in the National League, Pedroza is thinking of recording it as a single.
Apparently, Valenzuela likes the song. "The first time he heard it, he asked me to sing it five times," Pedroza said.
Free copies of the song are available by writing to Pedroza at California Town Meetings, 523 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles, Calif. 90036.
The New 'Women's Work'
In less enlightened days, certain jobs were dubbed "women's work": housework, clerical work and teaching school, to name a few. Now a new occupation can be added to the list: diesel bus mechanic.
The Rapid Transit District is hiring 22 women as entry-level mechanics, increasing the number of women among its 1,100 mechanics from 23 to 45. The women, who were selected from 400 applicants, recently graduated from a 10-month training program designed to increase the number of women mechanics servicing the RTD's fleet of 3,000 buses. The program was funded by the state, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the RTD.
"I laughed when I first heard about it," said one of those hired, Sondra Schumacher, 38, of La Crescenta. But Schumacher, a divorced mother of two who never finished high school, decided the $1,000-monthly stipend during the training period and starting salary of $12.57 per hour were too good to pass up.
Before entering the training program, Long Beach resident Patricia Meza, 27, had been a clerical worker. "I hated it," she said. "I always wanted to work on cars." She said the training, which began at the Harbor Occupational Center in San Pedro and is now being completed at the RTD's El Monte facility, has been "fun, but hard."
Dyana Elorriaga-Neal, 25, of South Gate, said several men in her family are mechanics. "They all think it's great," she said. Formerly a bus driver with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Elorriaga-Neal said her non-traditional career path will also "set a good example" for her 19-month-old daughter, Chanel.
Illuminating One's Career
Sukey Smith and her husband Burton Collins recently had 2,100 books of matches delivered to producers, directors and casting agents.
This wasn't done to make sure everyone could light candles rather than curse the darkness. Instead, it was to display the photos of Smith and Collins--each on a separate cover--along with their acting credits. Smith said she has appeared in more than 200 national television commercials and on such shows as "Knots Landing," and that her husband has been in such movies as "Prince of the City."
They hope their names will be mentioned in more than one smoke-filled room and that their careers will catch fire as a result.
"We chose matches because we thought if we sent something useful, we would be less likely to end up in the trash," Smith said with matchless logic.
City Without a Mascot
Name that tuna.
Or, actually, as far as San Francisco is concerned, just come up with some creature that the city can call its official mascot.
The city already has a song ("San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate") and flower (dahlia). Now a competition being sponsored by the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is seeking to determine which creature typifies and best represents the city.
"The creature can be furred, finned, feathered or even fictional," SPCA spokesperson Lynn Spivak said. Prizes include non-leather shoes, non-feather dusters and a meal at a vegetarian restaurant.
The Rite of Passage
It is often difficult for young adults to venture into the world on their own, but the rite of passage can be especially difficult for the developmentally disabled.
Last Saturday, the Exceptional Children's Foundation graduated three such persons--Jerry Key, 35; Mark Mantoura, 31, and Julia Flowers, 34--who completed a year early the foundation's two-year program to teach developmentally disabled persons how to live on their own.
"We aren't just placing them and praying," said Timothy Rich, foundation spokesman. The foundation helps its graduates find a place to live and schedules weekly meetings with them for the first six months.
One of the graduates, Key, has already landed a part-time job in food preparation at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City. Like the other graduates, he has lived in apartments operated by the foundation for the past year.
Key said the prospect of living on his own does not frighten him and that his first priority will be "finding a good girlfriend and settling down."