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WESTSIDE WATCH

The (Continuing?) Case of the Pricey Civic Center

August 01, 1993

Old news, cold trail: Residents still suffering from buyer's remorse over the high cost of the Beverly Hills Civic Center may have been heartened to read in this month's Esquire magazine that police are hot on the trail of financial misdeeds in connection with that nine-figure project.

But no. Technically, the case is still open, but it has "petered out" after a year and a half of investigation, according to Lt. Frank Salcido, a member of the five-person team that once worked on the case full time.

But what about the Esquire article, which quotes Chief Marvin Iannone as saying that crime in Beverly Hills is well in hand except for the probe of the $120-million Civic Center project?

"My guess is it was an old interview," Salcido said.

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The charm?: State Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) will marry next Saturday for the third time. His bride will be actress Barbara Williams, a Canadian whose roles have included that of a cop's former wife in the movie "City of Hope." Hayden's first spouse was a community activist; his second, of course, was Jane Fonda. Hayden refuses to discuss the upcoming nuptials, but he has told fellow senators, and knowledgeable sources confirm his plans to tie the knot.

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Protest on the lawn: The marathon homeless protest on the Santa Monica City Hall lawn turned ugly one afternoon last week.

When a fight between a pair of transients got out of hand, one of them was stabbed by a "throwing star"--a sharp, five-pointed martial arts tool--and the other was arrested and later charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.

According to the police report, the brawl grew out of an argument over whether or not the victim and a friend were getting ready to steal items from plastic trash bags filled with assorted belongings that had been stacked next to the front door of City Hall.

The occupation of the City Hall lawn has been going on for nearly two months now, as homeless people and their allies protest the City Council's recent vote to close city parks after midnight. At first, the protest was supposed to last a month, until the final vote on the measure. But that was almost three weeks ago, and what amounts to a homeless encampment continues on the lawn, amid complaints from city workers and others.

City Manager John Jalili said that on the advice of attorneys, the homeless have been allowed to stay to exercise their 1st Amendment rights.

The question now is whether those rights mean they can stay put forever. The group insists it was invited to the City Hall lawn by Councilman Kelly Olsen, who sponsored the park closure measure.

Olsen got himself in hot water when he was confronted by homeless people who demanded to know where they could sleep if the parks were closed. He mentioned there were other public areas available, listing City Hall among them.

Naturally, Olsen does not deem that an "invitation," but the homeless protesters took him up on it anyway and have been living there ever since.

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We stand by our product: The press release from the U.S. Postal Service was straightforward enough, and in fact the news it contained was welcome: 14 Westside post offices have extended their window and lobby hours.

A bit unsettling, however, was that the press release, a revision of an earlier one, arrived at The Times last week by fax, with a cover letter that said: "Please disregard the one you will receive in the mail."

Oh well. In any event, the schedule changes are as follows:

These offices will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays: Preuss, 1270 S. Alfred St.; West Los Angeles, 11420 Santa Monica Blvd.; Sunset, 1425 N. Cherokee Ave.; Bicentennial, 7610 Beverly Blvd.; Barrington, 200 S. Barrington Ave.; Rancho Park, 11270 Exposition Blvd.; Mar Vista, 3865 Grandview Blvd., and West Branch, 820 N. San Vicente Blvd.

Other offices: Palms, 3751 Motor Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; Village, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays; Miracle Mile, 5350 Wilshire Blvd., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; Cole, 1125 N. Fairfax Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; Century City, 9911 Pico Blvd., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; Veterans Administration Branch in Sawtelle, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

The lobby at the Barrington Station is now open around the clock.

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Champing at the bit: Sensing vulnerability, Republicans are already jockeying for the chance to take on Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills) in 1994.

A longtime Westside legislator, Beilenson was forced by redistricting to seek reelection last year in a Republican-leaning Valley district, but won a surprisingly decisive victory in November nonetheless. He said last week he intends to seek a 10th term next year.

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