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Westside Watch

They Glide on a Wing, a Prayer--and Skates

January 13, 1994

Nearly 15 years ago, Santa Monica resident Jamie Budge sailed from Seattle to San Diego . . . on the ground.

With a pair of roller skates, a hand-held sail, and a back-up van to speed him through the doldrums, Budge navigated the West Coast's windiest canyons and open roads in 17 days.

After seeing the sport he says he invented on a Santa Monica Pier parking lot attract a small but steadily growing following, Budge is about to hit the big time. The 49-year-old photographer and video producer recently negotiated a deal with ESPN to broadcast a wind-skating contest this spring on the dry lake beds of El Mirage, near Palmdale.

Dozens of "blade-sailors" will participate in a two-mile triangle regatta, speed sprints, slalom courses, ramp-jumping and a "freestyle wind-blown ballet."

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NOT THE GREATEST TIMING: For a community struggling to snuff out a real gang war, the last thing anyone needs is an unannounced, make-believe gun battle.

But that's what happened in the violence-plagued Oakwood neighborhood of Venice this week, where a four-month gang war has left 11 dead and nearly 30 wounded.

A film company began filming a scene Tuesday that involved fake gunfire. Jittery locals could hardly be blamed for thinking it was the real thing. Some phoned 911.

City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter's office was flooded with angry phone calls, and by day's end, the film permit, issued to a West Los Angeles production company called Concorde/New Horizon, had been pulled. But the incident was not necessarily the fault of the company, which was required to warn only police--not residents--of the simulated shooting.

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STREET FIGHT: The messy business of multiculturalism has finally come to Culver City, about as mainstream a place as they come.

The question of what to name a new connector road at the site of the old Studio Drive-in, a seemingly simple task, has become bogged down in political correctness.

One constituency is lobbying for Machado Road, in honor of the family that received a Spanish land grant for the Ballona Valley in 1819. Another group wants it named Perkins Way, after a former city councilman who proposed the road, now under construction.

And a third proposal--Senior Citizen's Way--is drawing support from current Councilman Albert Vera, who said: "We're all going to be senior citizens soon."

The council deadlocked on the issue Monday but is scheduled to take it up again Jan. 24.

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