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WESTSIDE WATCH

Riordan Takes a Tour of Hollywood and Slime

August 29, 1993

Hooray for Hollywood:

A lot of people may have thought Richard Riordan did not really mean all those nasty things he said about Hollywood during the spring mayoral campaign. After all, depicting your opponent's City Council district as a blighted, stinking, graffiti- and crime-infested hellhole is what politics is all about, right?

Guess what? He did mean it.

Mayor Riordan visited Hollywood last week, and he did not change his description of the place all that much.

"It's terrible--but it's improving," he said Wednesday after stops at the Hollywood Division police station, the Max Factor Museum and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

"It's an example of a community where things get so bad that people finally rise up and say, 'We aren't going to take it any more,' " Riordan said.

But even if the words stung a bit, Riordan did not leave Hollywood without making some points. In fact, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented him with a key to Hollywood after he pledged to add police officers to the streets and improve the business climate.

Breaking camp:

A group of homeless folk have declared victory and withdrawn from their almost three-month sleep-in protest on the Santa Monica City Hall lawn.

They set up camp there June 6, when the City Council started talking about an ordinance that would close the city's parks after midnight. Such a law was approved despite the protest, and it went into effect two weeks ago.

A leader of the homeless group, Len Doucette, said the protest is ending because they are satisfied--at least for now--that police are not going to use the new law to roust sleeping homeless people.

(Actually, it's too soon to tell. For the first month, police say they are only issuing warnings.)

Doucette said another reason the protest was called off is because of a favorable deal his group, We The People, struck with City Hall, during negotiation sessions. The problem is figuring out what the deal is.

The protesters say the city agreed to set up a new way for them to complain about police treatment in which their gripes will be evaluated by the city attorney's office before being turned over to the Police Department.

City Manager John Jalili has a somewhat more limited take on the deal. He said the city agreed to make complaint forms more easily available at City Hall. Moreover, they can now be turned in at any city department, so homeless people won't have to face the police when they complain about them.

Both sides agree that the city will begin consulting representatives of the homeless group before making homeless policy.

Where will the homeless protesters spend the night from now on? Doucette said some of them are moving over to the city's Memorial Park to take advantage of what may be the most critical aspect of their deal--a bathroom there will now be open 24 hours a day.

And in a totally unrelated pitch for harmony, the Police Department has agreed to play a homeless team in a softball game this week.

Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh . . . !

An item in this space Aug. 15 tweaked West Hollywood regarding the penchant of its citizens and politicians for debating national and international affairs at City Council meetings and generating politically correct resolutions on such matters. The behavior was contrasted with the stick-to-city-business approach generally followed by West Hollywood's neighbor, Beverly Hills.

Further research, however, shows that Beverly Hills has not always been so restrained. On April 9, 1968, the voters in that hotbed of radicalism passed an initiative calling for an immediate cease-fire in Vietnam, "steps toward rapid de-escalation of the war" and the commencement of negotiations with all parties.

The measure split the City Council and candidates seeking the three City Council seats in that election.

About 10 members of All Saints Episcopal Church, for example, walked out while the Rev. Tim G. Taylor Jr. delivered a sermon backing the measure. C.M. Sanders, a marketing and management consultant who was a spokesman for those opposed to the measure, said supporters were "dupes to communist-inspired propaganda techniques" who gave "aid and comfort to the enemy."

The vote, nine days after President Lyndon B. Johnson announced a unilateral halt to bombing over 90% of North Vietnam, was 56% to 44% in favor. The turnout was 48%, among the highest ever for a Beverly Hills municipal election.

Thus did Beverly Hills and Mill Valley in Marin County become the first cities in the nation to pass anti-Vietnam War measures. Similar anti-war measures were rejected that year by voters in San Francisco, Dearborn, Mich., and two Massachusetts cities, Concord and Cambridge.

Campaign calls:

Richard Sybert, Gov. Pete Wilson's state director of planning and research who is seriously considering a bid for the Republican nomination in the 24th Congressional District, pointedly says he's not "a professional politician."

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