Thursday was the day drivers in the state were supposed to car-pool--The Great California Exhaust-Out as ordained by Gov. George Deukmejian and transportation officials.
But the freeways seemed as clogged as ever with the usual “Baby on Board” signs, “How Am I Driving?” stickers and truck names rejiggered to read “YO” and “TOY.”
“Unfortunately, things ran pretty much the same as always,” said Jill Angel, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
Deukmejian held a press conference in downtown Los Angeles to reaffirm his support for car-pooling. Some reporters apologized for arriving late. They explained they’d been caught in traffic.
Not only were the roadways as jammed as ever, but free cups of coffee at red lights were curtailed in Marina del Rey.
One day after The Times wrote about the service, Los Angeles police officers warned workers for three businesses that they were breaking the law by wading into the stalled traffic on Culver Boulevard to offer the java and free laundry bags.
“We were dressed in tuxedos, too,” laundry owner Barry Moschel said ruefully.
Moschel noted that before the police arrived, he was getting plenty of takers.
One woman even drove up with a bagful of dirty laundry and tried to hand it to him out her car window.
“I told her I couldn’t take it because I was carrying coffee,” Moschel said.
“A lot of people bought new dresses,” disclosed Karen Thompson, a receptionist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District office in El Monte.
The reason? A visit by Republican vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle--oops, excuse us, Robert Redford. The actor/environmentalist held a press conference there on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis.
The office was so overrun by workers, worker relatives and reporters that the Hazardous Material Coordinating Committee had to move its meeting down the street to an adjacent building.
At one point, Redford asked for a pollution reading for Van Nuys, his boyhood home. It turned out to be 138 (unhealthful for everyone).
His mission ended, the cowboy-booted actor climbed into a helicopter at El Monte Airport and rode off . . . into the smog-set.
An Oct. 19 court date has been set for David Spellerberg, who may own the first $200,000 automobile ever accused of being a public nuisance.
The city of Beverly Hills will ask for a
restraining order to keep him from parking his shiny 1954 Rolls-Royce in front of his Rodeo Drive art gallery.
Spellerberg has been docking there seven hours each day since March to give the street “some glitter and glamour.” Unfortunately, it’s a one-hour zone. And though his chauffeur faithfully feeds the meter $15 a day, the city says it’s illegal to tie up a parking space that way. He’s received about 1,000 parking tickets and forked over $13,000 or so in fines.
Spellerberg said that he’s looking forward to his legal battle. “I may have my chauffeur park in front of the courthouse,” he added.
Then there’s Andrew Burg, who receives parking tickets from exotic places he hasn’t visited: Napa, San Diego, Oakland.
It’s because the license plate on his more modest Honda says: MISSING.
In each case, an officer cited a car without plates and wrote “MISSING” in the license-number box. A computer paired it up with Burg’s car.
Letters to Napa and San Diego cleared up those misunderstandings, but Burg says Oakland wants the $19 fine up front before negotiations commence.
In the meantime, he’s shopping around for a new personalized license plate. Don’t suggest FOUND because it’s taken.
“My wife tried to get that one,” he said.