Santa Monica has a message for its good neighbor, L.A.: We don't want your old toilets.
Both cities offer $100 rebates to residents who purchase low-flow potties and discard their old water-guzzlers. Santa Monica has a plan for recycling the used fixtures. L.A., with no such plan, has deposited 17,000 used toilets with the rest of its trash in rapidly vanishing landfills.
But, after The Times reported that Santa Monica was considering shipping its toilets to a milling company, ecologically minded L.A. residents began phoning Santa Monica.
"They ask us if we can take their toilets," said Atossa Soltani, Santa Monica's conservation coordinator. "They don't want them to wind up in landfills. We apologize and tell them we can't afford to take theirs, too."
Admitted one L.A. City Council aide: "I guess we haven't thought of what to do."
Santa Monica, meanwhile, has since reached agreement to truck about 5,000 used fixtures to the S.P. Milling Co. of Oxnard, which will grind them up and use them as base paving for asphalt roads. Workers have even come up with a special term for the new blend:
Actually, L.A. is focusing attention on two buried toilets. Archeologists at a Metro Rail site near Union Station found a couple of 6-foot-deep, redwood-lined privies that date back about 110 years to the area's original Chinatown.
"They contain old ceramic jugs, bottles and food containers," said spokesman Robert Tinajero.
"When they (the privies) wore out, the Chinese would use them as trash containers."
The recovered items, offering insights into the daily life of Chinatown, will be displayed at Metro Rail sites. Hard to imagine that L.A.'s more recently buried toilets will ever be of such interest to archeologists.
Turning our gaze skyward . . .
Foes of high-rise logos might take heart from the malfunctioning lighted sign on the face of one downtown bank. It now reads WE LS FARGO. (One letter down, nine to go.)
At the same time, another partially burned-out nameplate on an Arcadia S&L seemed to be offering an odd invitation:
EAT WESTERN BANK.
Why is this inflatable smiling?
Clancy the Leprechaun was supposed to be launched by Mayor Tom Bradley on Friday to kick off St. Patrick's Day festivities. Alas, high winds convinced officials that the 35-foot-high chap should stay rooted during the City Hall press conference.
So much for the airin' of the green.
Barbie will choose her own friends, thank you.
A federal judge in L.A. temporarily barred a Swedish doll maker from airing a TV commercial that describes its new "Petra" doll as a friend of Mattel's Barbie.
Mattel has filed a lawsuit, alleging trademark violations as well as other charges.
Ken couldn't be reached for comment.
Phone callers in Southern California can find out the correct time by dialing U-K-E-L-E-L-E. Actually, all you have to dial is 8-5-3 and any four numbers. So this is the one time when ukulele isn't the preferred spelling.