Not too long ago, Redondo Beach City Atty. Gordon Phillips got one of those invitations promoting a two-day conference that city officials regularly receive, this one to be held in March in Ojai. But the topic didn't much interest him then, and he thought the trip would be too expensive.
He changed his mind, however--despite the $175 conference fee and $100 per day in hotel expenses--when he received another flyer for the same conference on Jan. 18, the last day of the big storm whose crushing surf left the city's harbor with $17 million in damage.
"I'm going to go," he said this time. "You know why? Because the topic is the role of the city attorney during a disaster. . . . I couldn't believe the timing of that sucker."