Aftermath of Farrakhan Visit: Blacks, Jews Enter Dialogue

Times Staff Writer

In an apparent attempt to deal with the rift between the black and Jewish communities that followed the appearance of black Muslim Louis Farrakhan here, a group of VIPs from the two communities held an unannounced meeting to “dialogue” Wednesday night.

The meeting was called by the Rev. James Lawson, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter here and pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church. It was “a group of progressively minded people who just thought it was time to start talking to each other and regretted that we haven’t been doing it over the years,” according to UC Regent Stanley Sheinbaum.

Meeting at Lawson’s home were more than a dozen people, including Mark Ridley-Thomas (SCLC Southern California executive director), Alan Katz of the American Jewish Congress, and Sheinbaum.

“It was an attempt on the part of the SCLC to identify progressive Jews with whom we have had pre-existent relations to review what did happen and to be candidly self-critical about what did happen and why it did happen and to go from there,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The agenda was very open-ended. There is no closure on what we are planning to do.”


RETURN ENGAGEMENT--Bruce Springsteen headed away from the bright side of town this week, to Huntington Park, back visiting with the unemployed steelworkers he’d first linked up with last November. (He’s contributed $35,000--$10,000 in ’84 and $25,000 a few weeks ago--to the Steelworkers Oldtimers Food Bank.) This time, even though the gang ended up at the Guadalajara Inn in Bell, dancing and eating chimichanga and quesadilla , they didn’t shake the serious economic problems haunting the 2,000 former employees of the closed Bethlehem Steel Plant down the street. When The Boss was watching a performance of “Lady Beth,” the steelworkers’ play about unemployment earlier in the evening, he sat between the boxes of peanut butter jars and rice that get handed out as food supplements to some 10,000 families every month. George Cole Jr., one of the food bank’s directors, said that Springsteen’s visit--which obviously raises everyone’s morale--was vital because it focuses attention on the “economic straitjacket. . . . The first thing Springsteen makes people aware of is that L.A. is not just Hollywood and palm trees and glitter and the beach. Things aren’t all that well on the other side of town.” The closed steel plant is being dismantled and the machinery sent to Japan where it will be melted down and sold as scrap, Cole said.

AT LONG LAST--The invite we’ve been waiting for. It promises “no speeches!” It’s the “uncommon political event with Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Studio City) and the premiere of the short film from Washington ‘Politigoffs,’ ” the $250-a-dancer “FUN-raiser” set for Nov. 10 at the Sheraton Premiere. Puleeze, let it start a trend.

ONLY IN L.A.--The fellow making the delivery seemed a little vague. The man who sent him explained that he was in a cult, and was “over-meditated.” Look for Meditators Anonymous. . . . Seen near Beverly Hills, a suburban type matron, in Volvo station wagon, complete with two baby car seats. And a bumper strip that read, “I put my other car up my nose.”

TOTALED--Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy finished his three-party fund-raising sweep Wednesday night, raising $125,000 at a Bistro Garden dinner. Two previous $2,500-a-head Northern California fund-raisers brought in $290,000, bringing the total to $415,000, less than the $550,000 McCarthy goal. At the Bistro Garden, “the other lieutenant governor” Robert Guillaume (“Benson”) joined Fred Nicholas, the Pacific Theater’s Michael Forman and the Hotel Del Coronado’s Larry Lawrence (who picked up the dinner tab).


MEXICO--With all attention on disaster-stricken Mexico, there’s little surprise that “Capitol’s” Constance Towers (the wife of U.S Ambassador John Gavin) will be heading down there in November. She’s going to be working, but apparently nothing to do with earthquake relief. In fact, she’s been forced to apply for a visa (her diplomatic passport won’t do) so she can film “On Wings of Eagles,” in which she plays Mrs. Ross Perot. On the D.C. soap, she’s set to get married Nov. 15--so maybe her time off from the daily chores will be scripted in as a honeymoon.

OTHER D.C. DOINGS--"Can you believe it?” one California politico complained loudly. “Walter Mondale is the speaker and we’re trying to project a new image!” It was the Democratic National Committee gala in D.C. Wednesday night, and one rambunctious Californian tried to get a “Forty-nine! Forty-nine!” chant started, referring (we all forget so quickly) to the number of states Mondale lost in last year’s election. . . . Perhaps more lively was the $500-a-head fund-raiser to retire the presidential campaign debt of Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.). Held at the Georgetown home of former Gov. Averell and the all-in-red Pamela Harriman Tuesday night, the buffet (of poached salmon, pasta salad and roast beef) fed such Californians as Jack Nicholson, Orange County’s David Stein, Debbie and Stuart Karl (he created the Jane Fonda Workout videos) and Fonda media maven Stephen Rivers. . . . Monday, the Public Affairs Council will commemorate President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 95th birthday by giving its Eisenhower award to Secretary of Labor William Brock. The council was set up to encourage business types to get active in government and Brock supposedly embodies that goal.