Only in L.A. / Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey,

Hollywood must be feeling proud that the Soviet Embassy requested seven films for visiting Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, including "Driving Miss Daisy," "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Gremlins 2, the New Batch."

"Gremlins"?

Perhaps the embassy thought the title was, "Kremlins."

It's one of those little bureaucratic mysteries that pop up from time to time:

For several weeks, a temporary sign has perched on Spring Street, across from City Hall, claiming to mark the site of "another improvement for your convenience and safety."

What improvement?

None is in sight, from the nearby graffiti-marred tree to the trash-strewn area inside the fence on the old State Building's grounds. A broken parking-ticket machine at a boarded-up entrance is something less than picturesque, too.

Asked about the phantom marker, a city Public Works spokesman said that the "improvement" will involve narrowing the sidewalk at the corner of 1st and Spring to give buses more room when turning.

As for the old State Building, a developer hopes to begin construction within two years on a 21-story skyscraper there. Until then, however, it remains one of the prime attractions on our Ancient Ruins of L.A. tour.

No sooner did we publish a National Weather Service statistic that the rainiest 24-hour period in L.A. (6.11 inches) occurred in January, 1956, than readers Edward Conklin and Robert Armstrong raised a small storm.

They pointed out that the L.A. Times reported on Jan. 2, 1934, that 7.25 inches of the wet stuff had fallen the previous day.

If we were the bitter type, we might say that we thought the weather service only made bum forecasts . . . .

I n that same edition of the 1934 Times, by the way, Will Rogers quipped that the big storm had enabled Southern Californians to find out, finally, what all their dry "rocky sandy . . . river beds . . . are for."

Now, of course, we're trying to figure out what all our dry concrete river beds are for.

Kids, don't let this happen to you:

Rick LeBeau, who'll be defending his U.S. Open Flying Disc title in La Mirada June 25-July 1, says his career nearly ended prematurely. "I simply overtrained," he explained. "I wanted to practice every day, so I did. By the time I got to the event, my arm was burned out."

Fortunately, he wised up in time and cut back on his workouts. Otherwise, he might have been the first victim of . . .

Frisbee frazzle.

miscelLAny:

The Auto Club posted signs on Washington Boulevard near Culver City in the early 1920s advising motorists "to take an alternate route." The reason: Drivers passing through that city were regularly fined heavily for such offenses as driving with broken taillights or riding in a bathing suit. The practice stopped after a local judge was sent to prison for pocketing some of the fine money.

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