As we were doing some late-night data base prowling, we came across this little tidbit from a Los Angeles Times May 30, 1991, article on a North Hollywood publicity appearance by Days of Our Lives star Matthew Ashford. “The Best Days of Their Lives,” ran the headline. “Hundreds of Soap Fans Work Up a Lather Over Chance To Meet Their Idols.”
“. . . Monica Lewinsky, 18, of West Los Angeles said that she doesn’t really identify with obsessed soap opera fans, but believes watching daytime dramas can be therapeutic.
“‘People who are always saying daytime TV is something that is not to be credited are wrong,’ she said. ‘Days of Our Lives adds spice to a life, rather than being the essence of life.’
“As she spoke, dozens of women crowded around a seated Ashford, who signed autographs and put his arm around their shoulders as their friends snapped photos.
“It was after midnight, and he would stay until everyone got the autograph and snapshot they wanted.
“‘I really think there is magic,’ Lewinsky said. ‘Daytime really wants to give something to the audience, and I think that in nighttime they want to take something.’”
Can you say conflict of interest?
If you have followed accounts of the $260-million-plus Belmont Learning Complex, California’s largest and most-expensive-ever high school, you may remember consultant Wayne Wedin, the Orange County biz-whiz who carved a niche selling school districts statewide on development schemes. Wedin earned more than $1 million while leading L.A. Unified down the garden path into ever more grandiose developments for the district’s downtown property.
As it happens, Wedin’s pricy financing advice proved somewhat less than sound, and his plans for an attached retail development have fallen flat.
A reconstituted school board showed Wedin the door late last year, but not before the Brea resident had cemented a valuable professional contact with Belmont lead architect Ernie Vasquez, a principal in McLarand, Vasquez & Partners. Part of Wedin’s job in L.A. was evaluating Vasquez’s work. But at the same time, according to a recent published report, the two men and their firms were partners in a separate venture in Orange County. They both belonged to a consortium that recently landed a $31 million contract from the Panamanian government to construct new legislative offices as well as the chamber for the country’s national assembly.
This is by no means the first time Wedin has found himself in such cozy arrangements. Another Wedin partner in the Panamanian venture is longtime business pal Larry Mandell. It was Wedin’s ties to a Mandell company in 1992 that led to criminal conflict-of-interest charges against Wedin, who was a Brea city councilman at the time. Wedin was acquitted, which we are certain will reassure all doubting Panamanians.
With Friends Like These
Just when it looked like our scandal- wracked President Clinton’s support among his fellow Democrat politicians was slipping painfully, there came some welcome reassurance. Tenth District Los Angeles Councilman Nate Holden, who has weathered his own troubles on the sexual-dalliance front, told the world he was standing by Mr. Bill 110 percent.
According to a press release of last Monday, Holden took the somewhat offbeat occasion of the re-dedication of a WWI veteran’s public monument to declare spiritual kinship with the embattled chief executive. The surrounding “dozen representatives from two American Legion posts” must have been at least a little dumbfounded as Holden orated:
“I have seen my people lynched, and I have screamed out for justice and fairness. I never believed I’d live to see a white man electronically lynched in this country.”
Holden, whose successful defenses against actions brought by women in his office were largely funded by the city, said he understood Clinton’s predicament “because I am a victim. My one bid to be mayor . . . was tainted when I was tried in the press . . . [and] my leadership was damaged by the sensational reporting which left scars of doubt.”
For the record, the monument was being dedicated to World War I U.S. Army Air Service flier Greyer Clover. Clover died in action without, apparently, leaving to posterity his own thoughts about sexual harassment in the offices of elected officials.
Bulldozers Stall in Ballona
For four days last week, bulldozers were churning through the Ballona Wetlands in Playa Vista, the future home of Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studio.
On Monday, the site preparation and bulldozers were stalled, temporarily at least, when the small band of environmentalists opposed to the project won a temporary restraining order in federal court blocking development. Judge Ronald S.W. Lew granted the request, which was filed in conjunction with a suit alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for February 4.
The current action represents the last line of defense for opponents to the project, who lost a similar challenge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal last year alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.
But justice doesn’t come cheap, and in this case the price tag is $50,000, money Lew ordered environmental groups to post as a bond. The money is intended to protect the defendant should the work stoppage result in financial loss. Attorney’s for the environmentalists — who are pretty much broke — are currently reviewing the judge’s request.
-Edited by Sam Gideon Anson