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Around the South Bay

Elms are at the root of the problem.

March 03, 1994

CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG? Once again, tension between classes has spilled into the streets for all to see--and this time it's in Palos Verdes Estates.

It's a case of the very rich versus the sort-of rich.

The root of the problem is the pruning of city-owned trees. The elms are on Via Media, and the folks there love them. But the elms are about to be shorn to satisfy the even richer residents on Via Almar, who say the elms block their views of the ocean.

The Via Almar folks pay the city $65 to trim each tree.

Both sides say their property values depend upon proper management of the elms. The Via Almar residents say their property is worth less if the elms get too tall. Via Media residents say they will suffer financial loss if the elms, which once met in a leafy canopy over their street, get shorn to nubs and eventually die. How to solve the matter? Committees have met and guidelines have been developed, but to no avail.

The sort-of-rich folks who love the elms still think they are getting the short end of the stick again this year, since the city's annual tree-trimming project begins next week.

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SMALL WORLD: In the Chadwick School's Good Neighbor Series, the neighbor this time is not just down the block. In fact, it's across the sea.

The school on South Academy Drive on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is presenting an evening of Indian cinema with a special emphasis on the films of Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray. Cinema is the most popular form of mass entertainment in India, which is the largest producer of films in the world.

Ray, who died in 1992, apparently did everything but sell theater tickets. He not only produced 30 films and 10 documentaries, but wrote the screenplays, composed the music, ran the camera and often edited the film.

The cost of the evening is $6 per person and will include a sampling of Indian food.

For more information or to make reservations, call (310) 377-1543.

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DOWN TO THE WIRE: Torrance's City Council candidates have been cordial on the campaign trail so far, but behind the scenes, they have a few gripes.

Candidate Jack Messerlian put out a mailer that features a photo of him with Torrance Mayor Katy Geissert when she presented him with a Community Service Award. Some candidates, however, say it implies he got her endorsement.

"It was not a proprietary picture," Messerlian said. "It was taken at a public meeting. And in no way does it say that she gave me her endorsement. I don't know why people are so uptight about it."

Geissert, who endorsed Marcia Cribbs and Steve Whitehead, said that she would "have preferred to have been asked" about the photo. But her feathers weren't too ruffled: "It's hard to get mad at Jack Messerlian."

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IN PRINT: Candidate Steve Whitehead, meanwhile, has become the envy of some of the candidates. Since the beginning of the year, he has had more than $7,000 worth of printing and graphic design donated. Such work is in high demand: Signs and brochures are the costliest part of a campaign.

"Companies usually don't contribute printing," said Candidate Joe Martinez. "So, clearly, it's a terrific thing to have someone do it."

American Speedy Printing Center in Torrance chipped in $4,014 in note pads and door hangers, and Rachel Joy Graphics in Torrance contributed $3,125 worth of design work and campaign literature.

Connections help. Steve Brittain, owner of Rachel Joy Graphics, worked with Whitehead on volunteer projects in Torrance, said Brittain's brother, Dave, who also works at the shop.

"This is the first time we have ever (contributed work)," Dave Brittain said. "It's a good way of doing it."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"How could he do this?" "I can't believe it!" "Can you believe it?" "God, I hope my parents never hear about this!"

--Wood elementary students, protesting the Telecommander, a device invented by Joseph Jackson that allows parents to restrict the programs their children watch on television.

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