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Wednesday, Nov 11 1998
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Photo: AP/Wide WorldOh the horror! Spouses in 90210 may soon come face to face with the dressings, stitches and bruising of their surgically enhanced loved ones, if the Beverly Hills city attorney has his way. Inspired by L.A. Times reporter Chuck Philips' exposé on hotel detoxes of the rich and famous, the city attorney asked hostelries, including the tony Peninsula, to quit allowing substance-abuse treatment and tummy-tuck and face-lift convalescences on-site. Coming on the heels of the Halloween closure of Chantique, a cosmetic-surgery recovery facility at the Century Plaza Hotel, the notice appeared to be the death knell of a venerable Beverly Hills tradition. Chantique and Hidden Garden, another well-known post-op "hideaway," for years had offered limousine service, fresh flowers and Ralph Lauren linen to help residents recuperate from those pesky trips under the knife. Plastic surgeon Norman Leaf said he also referred patients to the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Beverly Hilton and the Beverly Wilshire. "Chantique had 20-plus beds, and many times it was difficult to get patients in there," Leaf said. "Many patients don't like the idea of going home and having the spouse or children see them with bandages in the first few days."

But are the après-op suites really on their way out? A spokeswoman for the Beverly Hills Hotel confirmed that managers had received the city attorney's notice, but said they would have "no comment." Several other hotels said they don't take doctor referrals, but can't stop cosmetic-surgery patients from booking rooms privately. "There certainly are people who come to hotels to recover on their own, and that's certainly none of our business," said Bill Doak, director of marketing at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Phew. We're relieved that those Brazil film fantasies of melting faces remain safely in the future - or at least in the hallways of swanky hotels where OffBeat rarely travels.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

The stifling calm of the L.A. Times newsroom was broken Election Day morning by a rare outbreak of temper when Metro headliner Jim Newton blew a fuse over placement of one of his Charter Commission reports, gathered his files and quit on the spot. As Newton acknowledged in an interview, "I did in the moment quit and leave" - but not before flipping the bird at news honchos Bill Boyarsky, Leo Wolinsky and Roxanne Arnold.

Newton was back at work several days later, after a lunch with Times editor Michael Parks. It wasn't just the single story at issue, according to city-county bureau chief Tim Rutten, but the increasingly poor play Metro writers have received. The bureau was opened last year to much fanfare, but, Rutten said, "It's harder to get these stories on Page 1 than it was initially for us."

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