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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH

November 18, 1994|Jerry Hicks and Tom Reinken and Lesley Wright

EARLY WORK: Santa Ana Mayor-elect Miguel A. Pulido Jr. isn't waiting to take office before getting into the job. He spoke up at an evening public forum this week on gang violence and crime. . . . Says Pulido: It can't be just "the city addressing these problems. We have to find ways of working with the school district and the private sector." . . . . Pulido also told the small crowd he plans a bigger push for federal dollars to fight crime.

IT'S REALLY HIM? Roger Williams is hardly a household name, unless you love the piano. Williams charmed the crowd at the annual Buena Park Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Thursday at Knott's Berry Farm with his hit piano renditions of "The Rose" and "Autumn Leaves." . . . Then came the unveiling of his wax likeness at the nearby Movieland Wax Museum--its 487th. Williams' reaction: "Oh, God, it's so real. This is scary. It's like an out-of-body experience."

DOLLAR DAYS? All the signs show more Christmas spending in Orange County this year. State finance experts say the county hit a first-quarter $4-billion mark in retail sales for the first time since 1990. Also: Jeff K. Thredgold, chief business economist for KeyCorp, a major U.S. banking company, predicts Christmas spending in the county at 7% to 10% higher than last year. . . . "For the first time in about four years, the California economy is growing," Thredgold says. "Consequently, consumers are more optimistic, which typically means they'll spend more."

MOVING IN YOUNG: Not only is the economy growing in California, the state is getting a new look, says New West, an Ontario-based policy research institute. Its findings show that for every 10 people over 30 leaving the state, eight people under 30 are coming in. . . . New West says in a study released this week: "This new work force is better educated." In Orange County, for example, the number of workers with college degrees is 28%--well above the 20% national average.

Upward Bound

Orange County first-quarter taxable retail sales this year hit $4 billion for the first time since 1990. Amounts in thousands of dollars:

1990: $4.1

1991: $3.9

1992: $3.9

1993: $3.9

1994: $4.0

Source: State Board of Equalization

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