Only in L.A. / People and Events

September 29, 1987|TED THACKREY Jr. | From Staff and Wire Reports

British philosopher Henry Herbert Hobbes was an apt hand with an epigram.

"Rumor," he said, in a 19th-Century monograph, "is the lifeblood of politics--and the poison of politicians."

To which supporters of former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Pat Russell say, "Amen."

For several days, the City Hall rumor mill had insisted that Mayor Tom Bradley was about to appoint her to the Board of Public Works seat that will be vacated when board president Maureen Kindel steps down.

But such an appointment (said the rumor's circulators, who clearly hoped to hurt her chances for the job) would surely leave the mayor open to charges that he had given an influential full-time job to an old friend . . . who had just been repudiated by voters.

And the whispering campaign did its work.

The rumor--and Russell's chance for the appointment--died when Bradley aides told reporters that "under no circumstances" would she be nominated to the post.

But the rumor mill wasn't done. This week it was grinding out speculation that the mayor's new candidate for the post may be former state Air Quality Board chief Mary Nichols, who served for a time as campaign manager for Bradley's gubernatorial campaign.

Some of the carefully dressed, perfectly coiffed young women who turned out for the first day of Rose Queen competition in Pasadena may have been a bit surprised to hear it, but Bill Flinn, assistant director of the Tournament of Roses Assn., was sure of his ground.

The nine judges would make their selection on the basis of inner qualities--not glamour.

"This is no beauty pageant," he said. "We're looking for a girl who represents Pasadena."

Anyone can have a ceremony after a road-building project is completed. But Caltrans officials thought it fitting to gather at the corner of Isis Avenue and 116th Street in El Segundo Monday to celebrate arrival at the halfway-point on the long-awaited Century Freeway project.

State Transportation Director Leo J. Trombatore called the 17-mile project--plagued by controversy over housing relocation, employment, transit integration and environmental impact since it was approved by Congress in 1957--a "textbook case" in modern civil engineering.

"We call it the 'Century,' " he said, "because it is costing more than $100 million per mile. The environmental impact report is seven feet thick!"

Nonetheless, he congratulated the engineers, builders and all others involved in the project for bringing it to the halfway-mark "on time . . . and on target!"

After thirty years.

Ever wonder what becomes of all the young men and women graduated from law school each spring?

Well, a lot of them come to Los Angeles, and the annual Western Insurance Service report on motor vehicle accident litigation may explain why. Contra Costa County, the report said, had only 220 such cases per 100,000 people in 1985-85, Orange County had 354 and San Francisco 406--while Los Angeles led the state with a docket-boggling 466 per 100,000.

(And that was before the national speed limit was lifted.)

Most Southern California trees--like the people who shelter under them--are immigrants.

Palms come from Florida and the South Seas; eucalyptus are late arrivals from Australia. But Live Oaks are native, and the one next to the Los Angeles County Fire Station on Soledad Canyon Road has been there for at least 300 years, give or take a decade.

All of which will be taken into consideration today when the Department of Regional Planning holds a public hearing on Beverly Hills-based developer Joseph Cashani's desire to cut the old tree down in order to build a shopping mall on the property.

Regional Planning Assistant John Shea, who has seen the proposals, said the only feasible plan is one that would involve cutting a "notch" in one of Cashani's buildings--and even then, there would be some question of whether the tree could survive.

Still, he said, it might be worth trying.

For a real native. . . .

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