By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Like so many amenities we long took for granted in this vast western land, the drag strip has become a victim of sprawl and skyrocketing land values. Stickel and representatives of NASCAR, the professional stock-car racing association, have met with Padilla to discuss plans to develop a local strip. So far, no luck; the now-closed Lopez Canyon landfill has been rejected (for drainage reasons) as has the Hansen Dam area itself (out of environmental considerations). Stickel said that it would probably cost $200,000 to set up a new drag strip anyplace in the greater Los Angeles area. Adding, “And that‘s optimistic.”
Even LAPD Officer Ron Walker, one of the force’s more visible community-policing senior lead officers, has been trying to help find young hotshoes a place to race safely. According to the Daily News, Walker, a car buff himself, keeps trying to find that perfect strip. Noise objections seem a key factor in keeping racing out of residential areas, though.
But Stickel noted that noise is overrated as a problem with the hot cars from showrooms. “At Pomona, these cars all run with normal mufflers. The top sound limit at these stock events is 90 decibels,” roughly, a moderately loud backyard party.
Meanwhile, that spectator-arrest provision in Bernson‘s motion could run into trouble as to its constitutionality. USC constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky points out, “It’s really a question of whether there is intent.” And the motion doesn‘t deal with this problem; as written, it would appear to subject anyone who happened to be in the vicinity and looking toward the race to citation.
De facto outlawry is a lowly fate indeed for what was, for half a century (like surfing), the summer activity indelibly associated with California youth. Isn’t it time, perhaps, for some of those irate North Valley homeowners to recall that many of them were out in the same streets 30 or 40 years ago, in their old A-Bones and Lead Sleds, trying for that elusive 15-second quarter-mile to impress their friends and steadies? Kids like that are still out there. On your own streets.
Have a Heart
Just about the fittest, most health-conscious guys you can see around City Hall are the city firefighters who, I‘ve heard, have been ordered to maintain not just the reality but the appearance of fighting trim. So I was a little surprised recently by the widely posted invitation for the department’s American Heart Association benefit lunch -- consisting of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and tamales. Did the AHA provide the menu?
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