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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

July 21, 1993

SMOKE CLEARS: Hey buddy, gotta light? If so, you may be alone. A Times Poll found Los Angeles residents overwhelmingly support the ordinance banning smoking in restaurants, which takes effect Monday . . . Other cities, perhaps encouraged by Los Angeles' example, are now considering restrictive smoking ordinances or outright bans as well. See Valley Briefing (B5).

ATM UPDATE: A parolee accused of murdering a Toluca Lake woman and her fetus during a robbery at a Sherman Oaks ATM first said he did it . . . then said he was joking . . . then admitted he was the killer. That's what his girlfriend is testifying in a Van Nuys court. As she put it: "He said he didn't mean to do it, she just ran into the knife." (B1).

TRASH CHAMPS: West Valley residents are champs at recycling. They put 35% of their trash into the city's new curbside recycling program, far more than any other area or the 9% city average (B1). . . . Credit for much of that goes to a recycling program for yard trimmings . . . and well, yes, the West Valley has bigger yards.

POLICE MORALE: The LAPD surveyed officers and civilian employees after the 1992 riots and the results reflect rank-and-file complaints of low morale, such as the outpouring that greeted Mayor Richard Riordan when he visited a Van Nuys station recently (B11). The survey found officers believe their leaders are incompetent . . . that the media and politicians attack them unfairly . . . and minority personnel policies have increased racial tensions.

A STAR IS BORN: Fantasia Johnson went off to summer camp and discovered he's a star. The 6-foot senior guard from North Hollywood High School found kids asking for his autograph at basketball camp in Indiana . . . Word is, he better get used to it. Recruiters see him as one of the top college prospects in the state--an all-star combination of talent and personality (C6).

Butting Out

Nearly two-thirds of Los Angeles residents support the idea of a smoking ban in restaurants, according to a recent Times poll. Support: 64% Oppose: 33% Don't know: 3% The survey of 1,506 adults was conducted May 27 to 30. The margin of error is +3 percentage points.

Source: Times Poll

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