Drizzle made fizzle of family's moving experience

On moving day, it's not surprising if a few friends who promised to help don't show up.

But when it's the house that you're moving and the no-shows are the movers, all you can do is wait. Just ask Tom Kenerson of Redondo Beach, who with his wife and two sons a couple weeks ago readied themselves to watch a house they own be moved about 1 1/2 miles from its former site on the Esplanade to its new home on Camino Real.

They waited from midnight until 4 a.m., going into the garage--which was not being moved--or their car when it drizzled. About 10 other people showed up at the Esplanade site that night, wanting to see the move. Even Mayor Barbara J. Doerr, who will be the Kenersons' neighbor on Camino Real, waited.

The Kenersons, who have been living in another Redondo Beach house, said nobody called before they left home to say the movers wouldn't be coming. "They didn't call so we just kind of waited for them," Kenerson said.

They didn't show up because it was raining too hard in South Gate, where the company is based, and in Torrance, where the truck driver lives, said Joe Hetherington, president of Seay Industrial Inc., the house movers.

The movers didn't call because families don't usually wait up all night to see a house moved, he said.

The 2,500-square-foot house, which weighs 60 to 70 tons, was being moved off one hill and onto another, and the truck needed all the traction it could get, Hetherington explained.

The five-hour move finally took place early last Monday. But despite the delays and other inconveniences--the 5.9 earthquake Oct. 1 hit the day after the house went up on blocks, but there was no damage--Kenerson said he had fun.

"It's enjoyable to do a project like this. I'm enjoying every step of it."

--KAREN ROEBUCK

Phylis and Paul Bratti have lived in Hermosa Beach for about 15 years. For just as long, the elderly couple has been feeding pigeons and other birds. After all, the City Council long ago designated Hermosa Beach as a wild bird sanctuary.

"I think, thank God, that all of Hermosa Beach loves birds and pigeons, because we're a bird sanctuary and we've been feeding the dear birds for years," said Phylis Bratti, 68.

But the Brattis' habit of feeding pigeons in a park across from their home has ruffled feathers among their Prospect Heights neighbors, "who are up to here with bird excrement and would like to see a little relief," according to one letter to City Hall.

So after spending more than 30 minutes of its four-hour meeting last week discussing the problem, the City Council decided to send the Brattis a letter asking them to stop feeding the pigeons--or else.

If they don't, the council will probably pass a law against feeding pigeons, judging by discussion at the meeting.

Bratti, who watched the council meeting on cable television, was indignant. "Pigeons should have rights too. They can't go to the store and buy food," she said.

The Brattis have always gone grocery shopping for the pigeons, buying 60 pounds of grain at a time, she said.

She said the council made an uninformed decision and she has not decided what she and her husband will do. Perhaps they can feed the birds on their own property, she wondered.

"If I don't, I surely hope that some other loving person will," she said.

But she is glad for the children in the city that the council has so far not passed a law prohibiting pigeon feeding, she added.

James Y. Reynolds asked the council in August for such a law, which, he suggested, could be similar to the "dog pooper-scooper law" that requires pet owners to clean up after their animals. Reynolds, who has an unlisted number, could not be reached for comment. In his letter, he complained that feeding the pigeons on public property is unhealthy and a nuisance.

Bratti said: "The droppings are fertilizer for the ground, so what is the problem?. . . .I can't believe that someone would begrudge the pigeons to be fed. This is very hard to believe."

--KAREN ROEBUCK

Gardena may or may not have more than 50,000 residents, but nobody will know for sure until 1991.

According to the 1980 U.S. Census, the city's population is 49,441, but officials at the state Department of Finance who took a count earlier this year put the population at 50,218, said Assistant City Manager Mitchell Lansdell.

It's more than a question of civic pride. Cities with a population greater than 50,000 are categorized as Community Development Block Grant entitlement cities, and as such deal directly with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, rather than working through an additional agency such as Los Angeles County, Lansdell said.

To resolve the issue, City Councilman James Cragin proposed that the city conduct its own census. But the city staff recommended against it, noting that a survey would cost $100,000 and take a year.

The city has a binding three-year agreement with Los Angeles County to receive federal block grant funds. The contract ends in 1990, the year of the next U.S. Census, although final numbers will not be available until April, 1991, Lansdell said.

Until then, the city will continue to get about $450,000 annually in block grant funds, to be used for projects such as the revitalization of Gardena Boulevard and Western Avenue and the Handyman Fix-It program to aid senior citizens in making minor home repairs.

If Gardena's population breaks the 50,000 mark, "it would not necessarily mean that we would be in line for more money," Lansdell said. "But after 1991 we may become an entitlement city and that may change the amount."

--ADRIANNE GOODMAN

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