OVERSIZE LOAD: That rocket-shaped behemoth planted smack in the middle of Sepulveda Boulevard on Tuesday probably made some think the Hubble telescope finally seized up and came crashing to Earth in Torrance.
Not quite. The heavy metal in question is a 32-ton, 194-foot distillation column that started at the Port of Los Angeles Monday night and will arrive at Chevron's El Segundo refinery this morning. And it's having an understandably miserable trip.
The size of the column forced its movers, Contractors Cargo of Compton, to take it slow, flanked by a brigade of 15 to 20 lift trucks moving power lines, traffic lights and other overhanging obstacles. This, coupled with a restriction to travel only from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., translated into a three-day trip and fewer open lanes on Sepulveda.
The column was scheduled to spend Wednesday on Aviation Boulevard at Marine Avenue. The movers, after coordinating the trip with about every utility and regulatory agency in sight, saw street parking as the only option, said President Gerald Wheeler.
"We spent about the whole last year planning this thing, and that was really the only place to put it," Wheeler said. "We can't exactly pull into a parking place somewhere. We felt it was the least inconvenient to traffic there."
With construction on Sepulveda already steering commuters to alternate routes, the impact is minimal, Wheeler said. "The guys paving are taking up more lanes than we are."
PEACOCK POLITICS: You've heard of books on how to attract the opposite sex. Now, the city of Rolling Hills is weighing in with a flyer on how to attract peacocks. Or, alternatively, repel them.
Peacocks, virtually a matter of national security on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, have divided residents for years. While some praise the peacocks' beauty, others decry their noisy and destructive ways.
Councilwoman Jody Murdock said the flyer is a response to a steady stream of comments.
According to a one-page draft of the flyer, the birds will eat birdseed, pet food and bread. They also enjoy munching on gardens sprouting tomatoes, broccoli and begonias.
The birds do not have a taste for plants such as camellia, bougainvillea and ivy. Also, peafowl tend to steer clear of homes with dogs.
Residents unwilling to buy a Rottweiler or replant the yard in ivy can call the humane society to have a peacock trapped and relocated, according to the flyer. The charge is $40.
The draft flyer, approved by the City Council on Monday night, will be available at City Hall by next week, Murdock said.
MAYBE PARKING: You can play parking roulette with Carson's parking restrictions, but you'd better bring a sizable stack of chips.
The city started the game when it cut its street-sweeping schedule--from four times a month to twice--noting that other cities have saved piles of money that way.
And city officials reasoned that changing street parking signs to reflect the new sweeping schedule would cost them a chunk of their savings and cause "confusion for residents and businesses," according to a city bulletin. Besides, the signs might come in handy again if the city decided to scrap the new schedule when the trial period ends in June.
So residents were sent revised schedules and told to do the unthinkable: Disregard the signs on the sweeper's off days.
The word didn't get to the ticket writers, however. At least six people followed the new schedule, ignored the "No Parking" signs, and got nailed with $28 tickets anyway, said Carson Public Safety head Allen Mitchell.
Parking enforcement officers have since been told to follow sweepers on the scheduled rounds and ticket only the cars blocking the way. And the tickets have been voided. "We are going to make amends to straighten out what seemed to be a snafu on our end," Mitchell said.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"They have cappuccino at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier. At the end of \o7 our \f7 pier we have fish guts."
--Mary Rooney, assistant city manager of Hermosa Beach, on the differences between the adjacent beach communities and their piers. J12
--Compiled by DAVE GRIMM