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Westside Watch

Farhat Gives New Meaning to 'Campaign War Chest'

November 06, 1994

Eager to win tough-on-crime votes in an uphill race against U.S. Rep. Julian C. Dixon (D-Los Angeles), Ernie Farhat isn't settling for speeches or commercials to grab voters' attention. He's using pepper spray.

Farhat, a businessman, sponsored a crime-prevention workshop at a USC campaign rally Wednesday night. About 20 residents came to get training on using pepper spray for protection against assailants, said Farhat spokesman Ross Hawkins.

Farhat dropped one demonstration from the program. At a crime-prevention workshop during the primaries, he played the role of a robber and pointed an unloaded gun at a police officer taking part in the demonstration.

"People got kind of frightened by it," said Farhat, who is challenging Dixon in the 32nd Congressional District, which includes Crenshaw, Culver City, Exposition Park, Mar Vista and Palms. "The security guys at the hotel got nervous."

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OVERBOARD SIGN ON BOARD: Longtime radio reporter Pete Demetriou takes great pride in his KFWB news vehicle.

It carries hardware ranging from scanners to cassette recorders to cellular telephones and has been used to cover all manner of stories, including the Nicole Brown Simpson-Ronald Lyle Goldman murder case.

The vehicle happens to be a white Ford Bronco. Which helps explain why Demetriou has gotten such an enthusiastic response to the "O.J. on Board" sign he has placed in the vehicle's rear window.

"While I'm driving, people will look at it, do a double take and just start laughing," Demetriou said.

There's one thing the O.J.-labeled Bronco has so far not attracted. Said Demetriou: "I haven't had any California Highway Patrol escorts."

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UNPOPULAR PROP.: Proposition 187, the ballot measure that would deny health and education services to illegal immigrants, is not faring well among Westside city councils. Nor is Proposition 188, the tobacco industry-backed measure that would repeal local anti-smoking ordinances and permit limited smoking in restaurants and workplaces.

The city councils of Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Culver City and Los Angeles have all expressed opposition to the two measures. Malibu's council has not taken a position on either.

The Culver City council has circulated letters to local newspapers stating its opposition to the two ballot questions, reserving its strongest language for Proposition 187.

"Proposition 187 does not address the question of how to control or end illegal immigration," the council's letter says. "(It) is a mean-spirited attack aimed at children, who are not responsible for their parents' status, and others who are in need of help due to illness or other problems."

On Thursday, several hundred Santa Monica High School students staged a peaceful protest against Proposition 187 under the supervision of school administrators. They marched to City Hall during their lunch hour and were met there by Santa Monica Mayor Judy Abdo.

"I'm here to tell you that all the members of the City Council agree with you," Abdo said. "We all have to work together to stop this horrible proposition."

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