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Month-to-Month Miscalculation

April 10, 1989|ANTHONY PERRY

It seemed like a sure-fire sale to the high school market: a calendar marking school holidays and featuring (modest) photos of bare-muscled male students.

So the Rancho Buena Vista High School chapter of the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) decided to produce and sell the flashy/fleshy calendar as an experiment in learning the ways of the free market. Those ways proved unpredictable.

The pictures were shot in color. But a color calendar would have cost $10. So the shots were converted to black and white, resulting in a loss in clarity.

Three hundred of the calendars (sale price: $3.50 each) were ordered. The faculty adviser got so excited she ordered another 200, and then found out the student sales staff had yet to sell the first batch.

The DECA students thought they had rounded up a fair cross-section of the Vista school's male student body as models. Wrong. Latinos on campus protested that not enough Latino youths were featured. Its members refused to buy or sell the calendar. A controversy swept campus.

The adviser figured that family members of each model would be so pleased they would buy a dozen or more calendars. Wrong. Most of the models had been too shy to tell their parents of their involvement.

"We did more learning than earning," says Sharla Kennington, 16, a junior. Slightly less than half the calendars were sold, and a slim $194 profit was realized.

Still, Kennington's 39-page analysis of the ups and downs of the project won second place in a statewide DECA contest, and now she and other calendar moguls are off to a nationwide competition later this month in Orlando, Fla., if they can raise the money for travel expenses.

And they're already dreaming of next year's calendar: more advertising, more advance sales, models chosen by committee and female as well as male models.

Let's Have a Parody

The announcement was clear and definite, like a freshly killed rabbit. It hit me like a bucket of lead thrown by a killer with a nervous tic. I studied the news with a hard-eyed glint:

The La Jolla Festival 1989, sponsored by the Friends of the La Jolla Library, will include a Raymond Chandler parody contest. Entries of approximately 250 words are due June 15, and winners will be announced July 20.

The top winner gets $500, second place is $250, third place $150. Everyone else has to learn to live with disappointment or go to bed angry.

Where's George?

The news from downtown San Diego:

- The Bush Administration is said to have started sluggishly, and among the many things that are yet to be accomplished is providing official pictures of President Bush to hang in post offices and city halls throughout the land.

At San Diego City Hall, the Reagan portrait has been removed from the council chambers and the frame sits empty. Jokers are saying it's an original Garry Trudeau portrait of Bush.

- By mid-May, the public will be able to listen to council meetings by phone, nine lines, no waiting.

The city clerk is looking for a snappy dial-a-council number: 533-BORE has been rejected.

- Former Councilman Bill Mitchell made a splash last week with an op-ed piece in the San Diego Tribune headlined "Let Freedom Ring: Armed Citizenry Is a Free Citizenry."

To Mitchell, the best response is an armed response. Some years back he offered a solution to the seemingly unrelated problems of weeds and hooliganism at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mitchell unsuccessfully proposed that the city hire new gardeners and equip them with guns. - The high school students enrolled in the mayor's Government in Motion program are getting a lesson in how city government really works--although not the lesson the program organizers intended.

The council's meeting tonight with the students, for which the students have been preparing for months, has been canceled for lack of a quorum. The mayor is ready to go, but too many of her council colleagues have scheduling conflicts: political events, the Padres game, etceteras.

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