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Westside Watch

Senate Rivals Blow Their Own Horns in Billboards

August 28, 1994

During his primary campaign, State Sen. Ralph C. Dills (D-El Segundo) deployed billboards that showed him tooting a saxophone with the slogan "Too Old to Quit."

Now his Republican challenger in the 28th Senate District, which stretches from the South Bay to Venice, has a billboard of his own--saxophone and all. Redondo Beach attorney David Barrett Cohen's dueling billboard reads: "Time to Change the Tune."

"It captures the people's desire for change," Cohen said. "It's the best way to answer Ralph's campaign in kind."

The Cohen campaign so far plans to put up one billboard, at Western Avenue and 240th Street in Harbor City. Dills' campaign, which plans to place more than 40 billboards, calls the move a ploy.

"(Cohen) is trying to capitalize on 'Too Old to Quit,' " campaign coordinator Tim Mock said. "He's trying to turn it around and make it disadvantageous to us."

Still, don't expect the two candidates to turn a political debate into a musical matchup. Concedes Cohen: "I don't really play the sax. That's the one thing he has over me."

*

ON THE BRANDO FRONT: Thanks largely to the O. J. Simpson case, the rumor mill these days has been spinning out of control. Try, for instance, finding out what drew a swirl of journalists, photographers and rubberneckers to Marlon Brando's Mulholland Drive home Wednesday afternoon.

We tried, and here are some of the reasons they offered:

He's dead; a low-flying helicopter pilot saw a body on the estate.

It was a false leak from a New York publisher seeking publicity for a new Brando bio.

It was a prank called in to a news station by a visiting paparazzo.

And so on.

Finally, two sergeants arrived from the Bel Air Patrol, the community's private security service.

"Is anyone dead inside the house?" asked a reporter. "Actually, no," said a patrolman. "A woman called from the residence asking that we move everyone off the driveway."

A UPS delivery truck was granted entry. Ten minutes later, the vehicle tried to exit.

A momentary swarm. "What's in the truck?" "Is there a body in there?" a few intrepid reporters yelled to the harried driver. A denial.

Fifteen more minutes under the hot sun. Reporters interviewing reporters.

"All Brando needs to do is walk up to the gate and show he's not dead," grumbled a TV cameraman.

Mercifully, a Los Angeles Police Department squad car pulled up. Finally, a definitive answer.

"Who told you to come out here?" a reporter asked an LAPD sergeant.

"The Bel Air Patrol," says the sergeant. "I'm out here because you're out here. Now please get off and stay off the property."

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