Loading...

DOG GONE IT ALL 

Wednesday, Aug 4 1999
Comments

The L.A. Times last year wrote a front-page story about a $750,000 educational-video series shepherded by the L.A. school district that was deemed so bad it was never shown to a single local schoolchild. Example: a segment called "Dog-Gone" featuring a talking canine who persuades pets to flee their environment-fouling owners. The seven-part, federally funded project became an instant symbol of waste and mismanagement in the school district.

Well, guess what? Theeeeey’re back. A Kentucky-based school-supply distributor has the tapes on sale for $89.95 apiece ($579 for the series). Some U.S. school districts have actually purchased sets, generating $10,000 in sales and counting.

Now, you might think the school district is getting the money. Or perhaps the National Guard, which funded the project as a "public service." Not at all. According to lawyer David Eisen, who was hired by the district to investigate, the money is going to series producer Lesa Walden-Young. The problem is, Department of Defense regulations prohibit her from profiting from the project.

The Guard is looking into whether Walden-Young violated federal rules and, if so, what to do about it — but only because the agency was tipped off to the situation by OffBeat. Eisen buried the fact of the video sales in a footnote to his report, which, no big surprise, exonerated L.A. Unified in the affair. And district officials apparently saw no reason to risk another round of bad publicity by alerting the National Guard. (Walden-Young would not comment for this article. In past interviews, she defended her integrity and the quality of her work.)

The real losers in the whole mess are the children at Youth Education Town (YET), a National Football League–sponsored group in Compton and the supposed recipient of the original federal grant. Other than appearing in some of the videos (Walden-Young had volunteered at YET), the kids got nada. "The lady that made the tapes," said center director Shirley Allen, "used some of my students as volunteers to appear in the tapes. She never got back to me after taping the kids. We haven’t benefited at all."

—Jennifer Smith

HOOKER HAVEN

 

Ever notice that bottom-feeding celebrities, after dropping below the radar, tend to resurface in unlikely pairings? Think big-box store openings and aging baseball players. Think The Joey Bishop Show. The latest celebrity odd couple is Norma Jean Almodovar, the L.A. cop turned call girl, and former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, the maven of masturbation. They’re back, amidst a bevy of bikers and prostitutes, in, of all places, Butte, Montana.

Almodovar, you may remember, is the Daryl Gates–era civilian traffic officer who enraged the then-vindictive and unfettered LAPD by turning prostitute and announcing her plans to write a book about her conversion. Unsurprisingly, she was soon arrested for pandering and ultimately packed off to the state pen for most of 1988. Almodovar’s latest brainchild is transforming a former brothel in downtown Butte into a museum celebrating the world’s oldest profession. The museum will exhibit such artifacts as vintage whips, corsets and a metal vibrator, as well as prostitutes’ art, including Almodovar’s ceramic figures. "It will be a place where ordinary people can see our lives, and the art we make, so that they realize we’re human beings," explains Almodovar over the phone from her new Butte home.

More than 100 sex-industry workers, including several from L.A., have come to Butte so far this summer to donate volunteer labor — of the legal kind, Almodovar assured OffBeat. But that’s not enough to meet the estimated $500,000 price tag for buying and restoring the old brothel. (A fund-raiser last fall at L.A.’s Improv club, featuring performances by porn icons such as Xaviera Hollander, raised only enough to cover part of the $25,000 down payment.) That’s where former Surgeon General Elders and the bikers come in.

Jeff Matney, president of the Agoura-based Harley-Davidson Riders Group of Southern California, expects to rally as many as 10,000 hog jockeys in Butte August 6 through 8 to help raise dollars for the museum. On the fund-raising menu: coed mud wrestling and a "best breasts" contest.

Elders arrives August 9 for a ceremony adding a condom-promoting post card from the 1930s to the museum’s collection. The card shows a woman sitting on a fence, watching a man reach toward his car; where the spare tire should be is a giant condom emblazoned "Safety First — Carry a Spare." What’s Elders’ interest in the museum? "Sex workers have been and are safe-sex educators," she explained.

Since her 1994 book, Cop to Call Girl, Almodovar has been a full-time sex-worker advocate, running the L.A. branch of the prostitutes-rights group COYOTE, hitting the international conference circuit and organizing a 1997 symposium on prostitution at California State University, Northridge. To her regret, she no longer practices her craft, she says. Her bills are covered by a personal benefactor she won’t name.

Related Stories

  • Are You Ready to Vote on Weed Shop Policing?

    A proposed law that would have established policing of marijuana dispensaries statewide was essentially killed in the California legislature last week. Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, says it's now time to take the matter directly to voters. He envisions the possibility, in 2016, of an initiative that would...
  • Porn's Condom Law Goes Down

    A proposal, dreaded by the porn industry, that would have mandated condom use for adult performers on-set throughout the state of California, was essentially defeated in the legislature today. The bill by L.A. state Assemblyman Isadore Hall would have expanded L.A. County's own mandatory condom rules to reach across the...
  • Porn Company Kink.com Says Oral Sex Doesn't Require Condoms

    Last week the AIDS Healthcare Foundation told the world that it has filed a complaint with Nevada's Division of Occupational Safety and Health over a Kink.com adult video shoot in Las Vegas where condoms were not used. The group argues that federal law, which seeks to protect workers from on-the-job...
  • Cali Lives Strong

    Californians spend more in federal taxes than they receive back in services. And the same can be said for healthcare. According to an analysis by personal finance site WalletHub, California barely makes the top 20 (number 19) among states when it comes to "return on investment" (ROI) for healthcare costs...
  • We Wish We All Could Be Caprice's Kind of California Girl

    “This is myself with my best friend at the time, frying my skin," says the across-the-pond celebrity Caprice Bourret while looking at old photos, nibbling a scone at high tea at the Culver Hotel. "I used to be such a California girl. I used to fry. Hawaiian Tropic, no sunscreen at all."...

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Skid Row Gets City Recognition Through Murals (PHOTOS)

    Skid Row might not exist to City Hall, where the area is officially known as Central City East, but residents this week are celebrating their community and its 19th century name with a pair of murals, the second of which was recently completed. Interestingly, despite reports that getting murals registered...
  • Justin Bieber Takes Over Notorious L.A. Party House

    This party house has already been the target of neighbors' complaints, so we wonder how things will go with Justin Bieber reportedly renting the place. See also: Weidlake Party House Gets MTV Show Despite Neighbors' Complaints The Weidlake residence in the Hollywood Hills has been the site of parties, porn shoots...
  • Young Man Killed Over His Skateboard in Echo Park

    The streets just northwest of downtown were busy with club-goers attending the Echo Park Rising music festival over the weekend, but that didn't stop three suspects from attacking a skateboarder over his ride, according to police and reports. The skater in his 20s was fatally stabbed, cops said. Family members...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows