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AROUND THE SOUTH BAY

An Inglewood councilman, pulled over by deputies, says racism fueled search.

September 26, 1993|TED JOHNSON, with staff reports

DISPUTED STOP: Inglewood City Councilman Garland Hardeman said he was stopped, searched and humiliated by two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies last Sunday night--shortly after getting off a plane from Washington, D.C., where he and other black leaders met with President Clinton.

"I had two offenses," said a bitter Hardeman. "I was a black man and I was driving a new car."

The deputies, however, say Hardeman was speeding and changed lanes improperly as he drove north on Prairie Avenue near the Inglewood-Lennox border in his 1993 Mustang convertible, said Capt. Jack Scully of the Lennox sheriff's station. The car also had no license plates, he said.

Hardeman says he was not speeding. He says he changed lanes only after the deputies drove up alongside him, looked to see who was driving, dropped back behind his car and, with their lights, signaled him to steer to the curb.

Then, Hardeman said, he told the deputies that because the car was new, a temporary registration was pasted on the window. He said he also informed them that he was a councilman and former police officer.

The deputies, Hardeman said, ordered him out of the car and told him to pull up his shirt so they could see if he had a gun. They then searched the car and his wallet, and made his girlfriend get out of the car and asked her what she had in her pockets, he said.

"These are illegal searches," Hardeman said. "They are just for humiliation, degradation."

Hardeman said he demanded that both Inglewood and the Sheriff's Department send supervisors to the scene. Both departments did so. Ultimately, no citation was issued.

Scully says it "appears that (the deputies) did nothing wrong." He said, however, that the department's internal affairs unit will investigate the incident.

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LABOR LINEAGE: He may be a registered Republican and his politics are often conservative, but don't think that means Los Angeles City Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. is a foe of organized labor.

The Harbor area lawmaker has made his union allegiances known, most recently by proposing that the city oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement.

And on Wednesday, the council's Transportation Committee voted to support Svorinich's motion to rename C Street Harry Bridges Boulevard in honor of the late founder of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. The mile-long street in Wilmington includes the union's memorial building, located at 231 C St.

In seeking the name change, Svorinich pointed out that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all were in the Longshoremen's Union--membership that makes him "very proud."

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SUPE SUPPORT: Prominent African-American leaders are demanding that the Inglewood School Board explain why it voted not to renew Supt. George McKenna's contract when it expires in June.

Among those calling for an explanation at a school board meeting Wednesday were Danny Bakewell, who heads the Brotherhood Crusade; Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, former local director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and John Mack, president of the local Urban League.

McKenna was the subject of a TV movie that chronicled his days as principal at Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles and since then he has enjoyed a national reputation as an advocate for urban schools.

But the three board members who voted to oust the superintendent--Lois Hill Hale, Thomasina Reed and Loystene Irvin--appeared unmoved. They kept mum at the school board meeting. McKenna was cut loose last month after county officials revealed that they were assigning a fiscal adviser to the deficit-ridden district.

"They came up and gave impassioned speeches," Hale said, "but most of those people were from L.A. and educational associations in which the superintendent had participated. They had no knowledge of the inner workings of the school district."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I called the water department and told them I had done had my worms for the day. I knew I didn't want to eat 'em."

--Hawthorne resident Grace LaForce, on a minor infestation of bloodworms in the city's water supply.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Redondo Beach: The City Council made it a misdemeanor for juveniles to carry cans of spray paint, paint sticks or felt-tip markers wider than one-eighth inch. The new provision was passed to crack down on graffiti.

Lawndale: Centinela Valley Union High School District Supt. Joseph M. Carrillo said the use of hand-held metal detectors is being considered in high schools in the wake of a shooting last week at Leuzinger High School. At a joint meeting with the Lawndale City Council, school officials also said they have started a rumor-control hot line, staffed by volunteers who will answer questions about the incident as well as school security.

THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Rancho Palos Verdes: The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday to decide how it will ensure that more affordable housing be included in a proposed coastal development and golf course. Torrance Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien said that the Ocean Trails project must submit a plan for low- and moderate-income units by Oct. 11. The project is being jointly developed by Barry Hon of Orange County and the Zuckerman Building Co.

Inglewood: City Councilman Curren D. Price will hold a town meeting, his first since he was elected in April to represent District 1. The meeting is scheduled for 9 p.m. Wednesday in Community Room A of City Hall. Those who need a ride can call (310) 412-5320 or (213) 778-5504.

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