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Gardena Council to Take Up Slander Charge

In response to demands for the resignation of Gardena Planning Commission Chairman Banks Bowling, the Gardena City Council has voted to discuss whether he slandered an entire section of the city in remarks made at a Planning Commission meeting.

The demand for Bowling’s resignation was made at the Tuesday council meeting by Gardena resident and City Council candidate Ollie Hadley. He alleged that Bowling made derogatory remarks about residents of the mostly black Hollypark section of Gardena at a Feb. 2 Planning Commission meeting.

Hadley, who said he was not at the meeting but later reviewed a tape recording of it, said the remarks were made during a discussion of why a Ralphs market on Rosecrans and Van Ness Avenues was closed.

City Councilwoman Gwen Duffy said in a telephone interview that the Bowling remark was made during a discussion of why a supermarket had left the Hollypark area. Reading from a transcript of the meeting, Duffy quoted Bowling as saying that “the main reason Ralphs moved out is that it was stolen blind.”

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The council agreed to review a tape of the Planning Commission meeting during its discussion March 8.

Duffy, who appointed Bowling to the commission in 1982, said Bowling “did not mean it in the way some interpreted it. To ask for his resignation is out of line.”

In a telephone interview, Bowling said he did not recall making any potentially offensive remarks at the meeting. “I don’t know what went on that (Hadley) was dissatisfied” with, Bowling said. “I see no reason for it to go to the City Council. . . . I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

Gardena resident Cliff Woods also told the council that Bowling should be removed, and resident Duffy Brown said Bowling should make a public apology.


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