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NEIGHBORS : Local Private Eye Favors Long Goodbye for Hollywood Image : Thousand Oaks investigator Simon Cavazos devotes part of his sleuthing class to erasing Hollywood image of his profession.


Things have been slow for private investigator Simon Cavazos.

"Not many people know it, but investigations are seasonal work," said the Thousand Oaks private eye. "During the summer months, lots of people are out on vacation crashing their vehicles or getting hurt. They call me when they get back to investigate their liability."

Cavazos takes advantage of the lull to teach a class in sleuthing at the Learning Tree University. Part of the class is devoted to erasing the Hollywood image of private investigators.

"The French Connection," he said, is the only film that accurately portrays detective work because it shows that investigative work, with all its hardships, is more about a full bladder than a full stomach.

"This guy under surveillance was in a restaurant drinking champagne and eating lobster. The guys outside watching him were dying to go to the bathroom, but couldn't because they had to keep him under surveillance. That's closer to the truth than anything else I've seen."


The frivolous question of the week: Why does the Beethoven mural on Salzer's Records in Ventura have neon green eyeballs?

Nancy Salzer said the exterior of her building was too gray. She wanted something big and colorful, but since the city regulates the type and size of signs that business owners can erect, Salzer chose to make her commercial statement with art.

"I wanted something to make people think of music," Salzer said, "but it couldn't have words on it otherwise it would be considered signage."

She commissioned Venice artist and designer Tony Barone.

Barone (rhymes with Tony) was painting a series based on hypothetical meetings between his flamboyant, emerald-eyed wife, Karen, and historical figures.

"Beethoven's eyes and the frizzy hair were both inspired by her," Barone said. "I can't tell you what Beethoven felt like when he met Karen, I can only depict what he looked like afterward."

Included in the series are portraits of Freud, Einstein and Elvis, all as Karen Barone.


One of California's latter-day real estate moguls recently paid tribute to the state's first developer.

William Hannon, of Marina del Rey, donated 30 bronze statues of Father Junipero Serra to Southern California schools and missions, including St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula.

Hannon, a pioneer developer from the '30s, '40s and '50s, is a longtime admirer of Serra.

"Mr. Hannon considers Father Serra to be California's first subdivider," said a spokesman for the Hannon Foundation.

John Holecek, director of public information at the college, has heard Hannon explain the comparison.

"He admired Serra's unerring capacity to stake out good land, well suited for development," Holecek said. "Hannon's advice to people used to be, buy a house within a few miles of any mission."

As for the placement of Serra's statue on the campus, Holecek said, "It's in a prime location."


Finally, we close on a somber note. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the death of one of Ventura's early congressmen, Gen. William Vandever.

Vandever, a Union general during the Civil War, came to Ventura County in 1884 from Iowa. He was elected to Congress in 1886 and again in 1888. He's buried in Ventura Cemetery.

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