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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

July 18, 1993

FIREFIGHT: Los Angeles County firefighters handle hundreds of brush fires each year, using equipment ranging from helicopters with infrared cameras to the lowly shovel. . . . Brush fires account for not even a fifth of all fires handled by the county, but they can be the most destructive. For a close-up look at firefighting tactics see Valley Briefing (B3).

ABLE ATTORNEY: Ben Reznik has emerged as an influential Valley leader of the 1990s, representing a host of clients and causes. He is an advocate for developers, as well as the downtrodden . . . He is the emissary of Valley business interests and the committed social liberal. Such are the apparent contradictions of the 42-year-old lawyer. Critics say he is an opportunist. (B1)

SELF-DEFENSE DEFENSE: Attorneys for Lyle and Erik Menendez will pursue a legal strategy that justifies killing by abused children in self-defense. They are charged with the shotgun slayings of their parents in the family's Beverly Hills home. Defense attorneys say the brothers were sexually abused. Prosecutors say greed was the motive . . . The pair stood to inherit millions. (B1)

OUT IN THE VALLEY: The Antelope Valley's affordable housing has drawn a broad mix of residents--including a small and mostly hidden gay population. Efforts to build a political gay organization have so far drawn few members . . . "Up here, it's all families. The gay people are mostly closeted," said a lesbian resident. "It's culture shock if you come from Los Angeles." (B1)

LOCAL CHAMP: Sylmar golfer David Berganio made two spectacular shots to reach the final then won the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship at the Riverdale Dunes golf club in Brighton, Colo. . . . Berganio took a big lead after 27 holes in the match-play event, then coasted to victory. The 24-year-old golfer also won the event in 1991. (C14)

Fire Strikes

County firefighters responded to 8,770 non-structure fires in 1991. Less than a fifth of them were brush fires. Brush: 16% Other (Vehicles, rubbish, etc.): 84% Source: L.A. County Fire Department

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