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Westside Watch

Roots of Beverly Hills Streets Go Deeper Than Movie Era

February 03, 1994

It's time to lay to rest some myths about the origins of the names of two Beverly Hills streets.

Contrary to the belief of some residents, Arnaz Drive was not named for Desi Arnaz, nor does Peck Drive honor Gregory Peck.

Arnaz Drive owes its name to Don Jose de Arnaz, who purchased the nearby Rancho Rincon de los Bueyes sometime between 1864 and 1875, according to the 1934 "History of Beverly Hills," by Pierce E. Benedict and Don Kennedy. De Arnaz also founded the city of Ventura and opened the first drugstore in San Jose.

Peck Drive was named for C.L. Peck, whose Peck Building, at the corner of present-day Beverly Drive and little Santa Monica Boulevard, was the city's central business structure in the early part of the century.

Some other street facts:

Whittier Drive has no connection to poet John Greenleaf Whittier or former President Richard M. Nixon's hometown, but gets its name from Max Whittier, an early resident and an organizer of the Rodeo Land & Water Co., which developed Beverly Hills.

Spalding Drive is named for the city's first mayor, Silsby M. Spalding, and Clark Drive for Percy Clark, the first agent who sold land in the Beverly Hills tract.

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BE PREPARED: Here's something you probably forgot to include in your earthquake kit. Adam Glickman is introducing the official condom of "The 1994 Great L.A. Quake."

"In this world of AIDS, unwanted pregnancies combined with two-hour lines at the market, no power, no lights and nowhere to go, perhaps a condom in an earthquake kit is not such a crazy idea," said Glickman, president of a nationwide condom boutique based on Melrose.

It's not the first time Glickman has tried to capitalize on a disaster. Glickman's company, Condomania, created the "Official 1992 L.A. Riot Condom" featuring the slogan, "When in L.A. Use Your Protective Gear."

He said sales of the riot condom raised several hundred dollars for local shelters. Proceeds from sales of the quake condom will be donated to the Earthquake Relief Fund.

Glickman said his campaign may be just the antidote for the post-quake blues. "The people of Los Angeles need something to laugh about," he said.

After, maybe. Never during.

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SECOND TRY: Sen. Tom Hayden once tried to require that universities notify students when their buildings do not meet seismic standards, only to have his proposal set aside by the Legislature amid protests by lobbyists for the University of California.

Now in the wake of the Jan. 17 quake that shook much of Southern California and caused significant damage at the campus of Cal State Northridge, he's trying again.

Only this time, not just college deans, but also property owners, hospital administrators and public and private employers would have to notify students, tenants, home buyers, patients and employees that their buildings are not up to current safety codes.

"At a minimum, Californians should be told that the buildings they're in couldn't be built under modern quake standards," Hayden said. "That way, they can make an informed decision whether they want to risk their lives in that building."

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