As if things aren't tough enough already, imagine some wise guy giving you a "ticket" for driving a gas guzzler.
That was the fate of several dozen motorists who found bogus citations on their windshields when environmental activists in Santa Monica dramatized their gripe against cars that get less than 27.5 miles to the gallon--the average fuel efficiency of American cars.
"It's a fun way to raise awareness of people that the type of car they drive has an impact on air quality," said Abby Graf of the California Public Interest Research Group.
The response was generally good-natured, she said. "A lot of people didn't know their cars were that gas guzzling."
Every extra gallon of gasoline burned releases an extra 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a major reason for the worrisome phenomenon of global warming.
MUSICAL CHAIRS: The runoff battle to succeed Zev Yaroslavsky on the Los Angeles City Council is heating up, but the fight for his office space has already been won and not by candidates Michael Feuer or Barbara Yaroslavsky.
When Zev left the post in December to become a county supervisor, he took with him 120 boxes of records collected, written, compiled and possessed by his office. Although a city historian has argued that the documents belong to the city, Yaroslavsky continues to hold on to the records.
What's more, Yaroslavsky apparently liked the desk he used in City Hall so much that he bought it from the city and took it with him to his new office at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration.
With Yaroslavsky gone, a scramble ensued among other council members anxious to take over his former digs. Mike Hernandez came out on top, thanks to his seniority, while Richard Alarcon moved into Hernandez's office. The winner of the 5th District runoff gets leftovers--Alarcon's old space.
During the game of "musical offices," some of Zev's best furniture also was relocated, said Avak Keotahian, the administrator assigned to baby-sit the 5th District until a new representative is elected.
Alarcon made off with the couches from Zev's old reception area, and he also took his own desk when he moved to Hernandez's old space because Hernandez needed his to take the place of Yaroslavsky's.
Keotahian has been making do with an old fold-out table and a worn greenish-yellow chair. The large table that once adorned the conference room also is missing, replaced by yet another folding table.
Welcome to City Hall. Take a seat.
SWEAT UPDATE: Readers will remember the five fitness fanatics who put themselves through extremes of exertion to prepare for a week of hiking, biking, canoeing, horseback riding and rock-climbing in the wilds of Utah. And all for what? A shot at glory and maybe a $10,000 first prize that wouldn't cover half of their expenses.
With the Eco-Challenge race half run, organizers report that the Westside's own ex-officio team--made up of Michael Carson, Charles C. Adams IV, Laurie Ward, Andy Petranek and Michael Lowe--is in 14th place. Fifty teams are participating.
That's about all that can be said at this point, although we can add that Team Swiss Army Brands, led by fashion model Sarah Odell of Redondo Beach, is also hanging in there.
"(A New York-based fashion magazine) wanted 400 words about how Sarah is feeling right now," a race spokesman complained. "How do I know? It's hard to contact them because they're out in the middle of nowhere."