By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
For years "computer glitch" has served as a catch-all excuse for bureaucrats, who understand that anything more technical than tapping a keg is as incomprehensible to most reporters as the Rosetta stone. OffBeat defies any reader to slog through the Timesand Daily Newsaccounts of the spill and come out with a lucid explanation of what happened. All we learned was that, in addition to Y2K, we now have Y2K readiness drills to worry about. If they can't get through a test, what's going to happen when the clock strikes 12:00:00 New Year's Day? So we decided to go to the scene of the crime and find out what the people made of the clamity in the soon-to-be metropolis.
Arriving at Woodley Avenue Park, we found yellow police tape with neatly lettered signs in English and Spanish saying, "Sewage Spill Keep Out." Problem was, almost no one we tried to talk to spoke either language: not the Asian tourists (Korean), not the Filipino birthday revelers (Tagalog), and not the parents watching the outdoor karate class (Chinese). It wasn't until we got to the karate kids that we were able to have a decent conversation. "Good Lord!" said Andrew Chung, a precocious fifth-grader from Balboa Gifted Magnet. "So that's what we were stepping in -- we thought it was just some rain." But Andrew wasn't really worried; authorities had reopened the park (assuring all that the sun would burn off any remaining bacteria).
The truth is that little of the bosky glory of summer is to be had at Woodley Avenue Park under the best of circumstances. A ragged stretch of grass, choking on white heat and smog, it is hemmed in by not only the sewage plant, but a National Guard installation and the Van Nuys Airport. Most of the people we managed to talk to said it was the only open space in the neighborhood safe from gangs. As long as L.A. relegates much of its park land to the edges of the industrial wasteland, a little sewage spill isn't going to scare anybody off. Ironically, Woodley was among the sites considered for the city's official millennium celebration on New Year's Eve.
Fireworks, champagne and sewage, anyone?
YOU REMEMBER JIM ROGAN. ONE OF THE HOUSE PROSECUTORS. ONE OF THE FEW WHO actually seemed to know how to prosecute a case. Who endeavored to convince his countrymen, and most certainly his constituents in his Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena district, that the impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn't about private morals, wasn't even about Ken Starr's theocratic yearnings, but was really, truly about upholding the law, and the oath, and the Constitution. That Jim Rogan.
Last week, after mulling over the proper response to the Columbine tragedy, that Jim Rogan voted to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in the nation's public school classrooms. The correlation was fuzzy: The U.S. has one of the highest rates of religious belief, and one of the highest rates of gun violence, of any advanced industrial nation. But this was of little matter to Glendale's Protector of the Faith, who apparently thinks that the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" must mean that Congress can't establish a new religion of its own -- the Church of the Holy-Owned Solon, or some such.
When Rogan's constituents oust him next year, maybe he and Ken Starr can team-teach constitutional law. Or how about Bible studies?
EDITED BY GALE HOLLAND