The war escalated in Anaheim between City Hall and Angelo's '50s-style drive-in restaurant. Angelo's owners lost a battle before the Planning Commission but promised to step up the war on the State College Boulevard front.
That is where the tradition of "cruising" on the first Friday of each month has become so firmly entrenched that a new law against it and increased police enforcement have yet to make a significant dent.
Cruising is getting into your restored classic car, preferably a '50s model, and driving along the boulevard in front of Angelo's or parking nearby to show the car off. The resulting traffic and crowds at Angelo's on cruising nights have some neighbors up in arms.
Although the City Council passed an ordinance against cruising last February, and though police have set up a checkpoint and used a computer to keep track of the cars, not one ticket has been issued against cruising. Hundreds, however, have been issued for other vehicle violations, such as broken lights.
Opinions differ on whether the enforcement campaign actually has reduced the cruising crowds. There is no doubt, however, about the mood at City Hall.
Besides passing new ordinances and increasing police enforcement, the city is prosecuting the restaurant's owners on criminal charges stemming from their installation of outdoor tables, umbrellas and chairs.
When the owners went to the Planning Commission last week seeking permission to sell beer and wine at their newly acquired location on Beach Boulevard, the commission angrily refused. "I think they're being lousy neighbors out there," Commissioner Glenn Fry said. "There's no way, no way, I'm going to vote for that."
After the vote, Anthony Strammiello, co-owner of Angelo's, countered. He said Angelo's has been turning down requests to stage special events at the State College Boulevard location in deference to City Hall, but perhaps it was time to rethink that policy.
"Being that we're not getting any cooperation" from the city, he said, "maybe now we're going to have to consider promoting the business. . . . They're offended anyways, so maybe we should just grow."