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CALIFORNIA DATELINE / PATT MORRISON

Snapshots of life in the Golden State. : The Antifreeze Cocktail--With a Sarcasm Twist

September 17, 1993|PATT MORRISON

Shades--or rather, the shade--of B.T. Collins, the late, lamented, flamboyant legislator who headed the California Conservation Corps under Gov. Jerry Brown. As CCC head, Collins, thoroughly peeved about the outcry over the safety of malathion spraying, drank off a tumbler of the pesticide--diluted to the strength of the spray--on camera at a press conference. Now the "California Toast" has made a reappearance, on the floor of the Senate: Two GOP senators opposed a bill requiring that bitter flavoring be added to antifreeze and windshield washer fluid to keep pets and kids from drinking the stuff. So Democrat Tom Hayden hoisted a cupful of ethylene glycol and challenged them to drink, if they thought it wasn't so dangerous. They declined. Noting that such containers have childproof caps, Sen. Tim Leslie (R-Carnelian Bay), marveled sarcastically, "I don't know how he (Hayden) got hold of it." (The malathion seemed not to have hurt Collins. He died two governors later, of a heart attack.)

Hidden Weapons

In settling a lawsuit by gun advocates, Los Angeles city officials last week agreed to abandon a decades-old policy of refusing to give private citizens permits to carry concealed weapons. County sheriffs and city police chiefs may grant permits to individuals who are of good moral character and can demonstrate that a good cause exists for the permit. Here are the five counties granting the most and the fewest concealed-weapons permits in 1992.

TOP 5 COUNTIES BOTTOM 5 COUNTIES COUNTY PERMITS COUNTY PERMITS Kern 3,690 San Francisco 8 Shasta 2,917 San Benito 16 Fresno 2,470 Alpine 28 San Diego 2,324 Santa Cruz 29 Sacramento 1,433 Marin 35

Source: State Department of Justice Compiled by Times researcher TRACY THOMAS

Color John green: Inspired, perhaps, by the crime-solving success of those exploding dye packets hidden in cash stolen from banks, the city of Avalon has begun greening its own harbor. Weekend sailors were emptying their boat toilets into the ocean on the sly, raising the levels of fecal bacteria as well as the stench. So Avalon began dropping dye tablets into the toilets, showing a flush of verdant dye where heads were being illicitly pumped out. City Manager Chuck Prince told E: The Environmental Magazine, "We have the cleanest harbor in California." Now . . . if it isn't in the water off Avalon, where is it going?

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Snakes on the grass, alas: The civic powers of Burlingame vote Monday on whether to ban from city parks all animals but dogs. Snake owners, this means you. The city has gotten complaints about men who stroll across its public greenswards with pet boa constrictors slung around their necks like feather boas, most recently at a crowded art festival. Snakes under six feet are otherwise legal pets in Burlingame, but "I'm just waiting for a couple of people with these snakes to come to the council meeting" with their her-pets on Monday, said city attorney Jerry Coleman with relish. "Then they'll be banned all over the city."

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When you're not with the one you voted for . . . It took only one visit from the First Jogger last Thanksgiving to turn Summerland into Clintonia. The coastal town hung a banner over the main drag--"Unofficial Western White House"--and a saxophone over the presidential booth at the Nugget Saloon, where Clinton had a burger and a beer. But Clinton hasn't returned since he got burned by bad press for staying at his rich Hollywood friends' rented beachfront home. Now Ronald Reagan, who rode to Errol Flynn's rescue as young George Armstrong Custer in "Santa Fe Trail," has done it again, redeeming Summerland's presidential claims by strolling into the Nugget Saloon recently and settling into the now-generic presidential booth. "This was a dream come true," trilled owner Doug Taylor. Bet he says that to all the Presidents.

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Peace, land, bread: Even at 2 a.m., CNN's viewer comment line was constantly busy. Israeli-born Haya Mizrachi hung up and devised another way to welcome the Mideast peace accord: She offered free falafel-on-pita sandwiches to every Palestinian who came into "The Holy Land," her Oakland kosher restaurant. More than 50 took her up on the offer; the password was "peace" in Arabic. One woman--neither Palestinian nor Jewish--brought flowers by and told Mizrachi she was doing a nice thing. "I almost cried, I tell you . . . I'm so happy! Also," she said more practically, "they like my falafel." It's true, then: The way to a man's heartland is through his stomach.

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