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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

September 09, 1993

WATER WARS: For Valley residents shocked by soaring water bills, help may be on the way in the form of a review ordered Wednesday by Mayor Richard Riordan (B4). . . . The new rate system was designed to soak residents who use more water on larger yards, but the only relief for the Valley might be to raise prices elsewhere, sure to stir further controversy. "It would tell the inner city, we don't care," said City Councilman Mike Hernandez.

VALLEY DRIFT: Riordan is also making good on his campaign promise to appoint more Valley representatives to boards and commissions (B1). . . . Nearly a third of the mayor's appointments to 13 major commissions have been from the Valley, which contains a third of the city's population. In key areas such as the airport, Police Department and community development, that doubles the rate of Riordan's predecessor.

KEEPS ON TICKING: Sixty pairs of custom-made boots, 20 Stetson hats and about 8 million kids later, cowboy showman Montie Montana is still going strong (B5). . . The roper extraordinaire makes 300 appearances a year, including the Rose Parade. "I've never felt better and had less," says Montana, 83.

GROUND ZERO: To combat a handful of Mediterranean fruit flies found in the San Fernando Valley, millions of the sterile variety will be bred and kept at Van Nuys Airport (B6). . . . During the last outbreak three years ago, helicopters carrying malathion were based at the airport, prompting protests from some Valley politicians. Officials estimate the airport will be used for at least one year.

THUMBS UP BREAKUP: The state Senate approved a bill designed to make it easier for proponents of the breakup of the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District (B1). . . . But as in the case of earlier legislation, prospects in the Assembly are uncertain.

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