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AROUND THE SOUTH BAY

It's crazy, but it's 'Hermosa Beach, 90210'--unless Donna's mom objects.

September 12, 1993

STRANDED ON SCREEN: It's pricey, it's away from campus, and "it's crazy, but I'll do it!"

And with those words, spoken during last week's season premiere of "Beverly Hills, 90210," characters Donna, David, and Kelly agreed to move into a beachfront apartment--in reality, spacious digs on The Strand at Hermosa Beach.

"All the rooms are freshly painted, there's plenty of parking in the rear and the view is worth a million bucks," the apartment landlord tells the group.

It was an offer they couldn't turn down, even if, in real life, a Superior Court commissioner may throw them out.

The commissioner is expected to decide Sept. 21 whether to allow filming at the Hermosa Beach house after neighbors filed a complaint contending that the set violated zoning laws.

Nevertheless, it seems the show's writers left a hole in their story just in case the real world clashes with fiction. Donna's strict mother doesn't know her daughter has moved in with a guy.

We wonder if the writers should have just sent the Beach Bums to the University of Minnesota, where series star Brenda could have kept them company.

*

TIME FOR A BREAK? Assemblywoman Juanita M. McDonald (D-Carson) will host a series of hearings by the Assembly Subcommittee on Urban Education Quality that will study the merits of breaking up the Los Angeles Unified School District.

But it appears that people in the former Carson councilwoman's hometown have made up their minds.

In a non-binding referendum last June, 64% of Carson voters said the city should seek secession from the mammoth Los Angeles school system, which is mired in fiscal problems and has been criticized by parents as inattentive to their concerns.

Secession leaders have taken solace in efforts to break up the district, which they see as proof of widespread discontent.

Residents plan to begin gathering signatures on a petition asking county education officials to hear the case for a separate Carson district.

But McDonald says the issue must be studied further before it can be said that breaking up the district is the way to go. The hearings begin Monday in Los Angeles.

Although in interviews she has leaned toward opposing a breakup, she has yet to take a firm stand a la her colleague Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco), who strongly opposes breaking up the district.

*

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES: "Dr. Ruth" is how El Segundo firefighters refer to their newest "marriage" counselor.

Ruth Alatorre is the third consultant or "team builder" hired by the city to mend relations between Chief David Sloan and his crew. So far, she has made little progress.

At last week's City Council meeting, firefighters aired their family squabble, delivering a vote of no-confidence in the chief. They say Sloan's management style is dictatorial and ineffective.

City Manager James W. Morrison has declined to comment. Sloan, attending a chief's conference, could not be reached for comment.

It remains to be seen if Dr. Ruth, hired a few months ago, can save this marriage.

*

TRIPPIN': It's hardly a return to the good old days of pricey junkets to faraway places, but the Los Angeles City Council has eased up a bit on its tough travel policy.

Six months ago the council had cracked down on travel after the Harbor Department proposed a 10-nation, $270,000 tour of Asia, a trip some council members criticized as a way for soon-to-retire Bradley Administration officials to squeeze in one last feeding at the public trough.

The trip was scaled back and a new policy restricting overseas travel by more than one elected or appointed official was adopted.

But after months of commissioners repeatedly making travel requests, the council has loosened the policy.

The revisions include requiring elected and appointed officials to get their travel approved in advance only if more than one goes on any overseas trip. Travelers must prepare a report describing the benefits to the city.

By the way, the council acted in time for John Cushing, the Harbor Department's marketing manager for Europe, to embark Saturday on a 20-day, $14,800 trip to visit businesses and ports in Scandinavia, Germany, France and England.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"We bring black, white, yellow, and brown together. And we do have the extremist groups in our membership; we do have the skinheads and members of the Nazi party and Ku Klux Klan. But they all love wheels."

--Willie (Big Willie) Robinson urging the Los Angeles Harbor Commission to allow motorcycle drag racing at a track on Terminal Island as a way to help heal racial and ethnic divisions in the region.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Los Angeles: Harbor-area Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. called on the council to formally oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement, contending that it would displace countless American workers and decimate the nation's already struggling economy. "NAFTA will be the death of the middle class in our country," Svorinich said in a motion that will soon come before the full council.

San Pedro: Peter Mathews, a community college professor, has announced his 1994 candidacy for the seat held by Rep. Steve Horn (R-Long Beach), who represents San Pedro and parts of Wilmington. Mathews, who finished second in last year's Democratic primary in the district, plans to emphasize his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Inglewood: The city will host its 10th annual Community Unity Celebration on Saturday at Hollywood Park race track from 1 to 6 p.m. The event will feature banda, the music and dance craze. There will also be jazz and reggae bands, games and other entertainment. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12, but the concession food--hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, churros, nachos--is free.

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