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Forget the earthquake and aftershocks. What about the Lakers?

Around the South Bay

January 20, 1994

QUAKE QUERIES: Once Angelenos recovered somewhat from the shock and aftershocks of Monday's earthquake, residents immediately began calling their local police departments.

Some wanted to know where to find help or where to offer it. Others had matters of a different nature on their mind.

"We've simply been flooded with calls about the (Great Western) Forum," said Inglewood Police Sgt. John Bell. "People have been calling to find out why no one is answering the telephone."

The Forum, by the way, suffered no major damage.

"I tell them I don't know why the Forum isn't answering their phone, and then they want to know why I don't know," Bell said with a sigh. "It's kind of tough to be patient."

One reason it's hard for Bell to make Forum chit-chat: He lost his Simi Valley home in the quake.

*

CALLER KINDNESS: Southern California Edison in Torrance has good things to say about the callers on the line.

With 30,000 residents lacking power at least until midafternoon Monday, spokesman Ted Porter was expecting the usual complaints following an outage. An outcry along the lines of "I know the CEO, and he's going to hear about this" is common, he said.

"We didn't get that in this case," he said. "No one really demanded service immediately. They would just say: 'Fine, thank you, keep up the good work.' "

The quake, he added, "really brought out the best in people."

REEL LIFE: Like many other San Pedro residents, Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. and his wife, Deann, found themselves airborne in bed Monday morning when the earthquake hit.

"I grabbed Deann and I grabbed a flashlight from the night stand and we ran to the doorway," Svorinich said.

What he saw in the living room, however, was scarier than being jolted awake. Bookshelf doors were swinging open, books were hurtling out and objects were flying around the room.

"It looked like a scene from 'The Exorcist,' " he said.

*

PENINSULA POLITICOS: Until now, Palos Verdes Peninsula politics have been humdrum.

Vocal? Yes. Of interest off the hill? Probably not.

Since September, there's been a spurt of interest in sending a peninsula resident to Washington by unseating Rep. Jane Harman (D-Marina del Rey), whose district stretches from Marina del Rey to San Pedro.

Last week, former Palos Verdes Estates Councilman Ron Florance said that he will enter the Republican primary in June.

So will Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks and physician Irwin Savodnik. Savodnik works in Torrance but lives in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Not quite a coincidence, political observers say. The peninsula is heavily Republican in the 36th District, which is split almost equally between the two parties in voter registration.

"Usually, the incumbent (in the district) is a Republican," said Adrian Tatum, a spokesman for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Democratic Club. "Not too many Republicans would challenge the incumbent. Jane is the first Democrat in a long, long time. So there's a feeling that they need to get the seat back."

The peninsula may yet get another resident candidate, but she's not a Republican. Harman is negotiating to buy a house in Rolling Hills.

*

BILLIARD BLUES: Pool halls may once have been havens for sharks, but now owners are pitching their places to upscale professionals, families and the MTV set.

In Torrance, for example, plans are afoot to convert the Velvet Turtle into a National Sports Grill & Bar, which in other locations attracts a yuppie crowd to its pool tables.

That may be the trend, but not in Manhattan Beach. City planners still think that booze and billiards don't mix near residential neighborhoods.

Last month, the Planning Commission turned down plans to convert a former liquor store at 4005 Highland Ave. into Manhattan Beach Breakers, which would feature 14 pool tables, two game areas and one big-screen TV, plus an adjoining restaurant.

Commissioners objected to plans to serve liquor and keep the pool hall open until 2 a.m.

Owners of the pool hall, however, deny their establishment will attract the wrong element. They plan to appeal to the City Council.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I didn't have any drugs whatsoever. I wish I did."

Wendy Gonzales of Torrance, on giving birth to her second child during the earthquake Monday.

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