CITY HALL ROUNDUP : OK, so it's the Gardena Freeway--it's still a parking lot at rush hour.

ROAD HOGS: To commuters, it may only be a six-mile stretch of asphalt, but to Gardena officials, it's a freeway they can call their own.

The city announced this week that the name of the Redondo Beach Freeway, which is a small section of Highway 91 before it becomes the Artesia Freeway, has been changed to the Gardena Freeway with the blessing of Caltrans. Officials say they hope it will end years of confusion over where the highway is located.

Although commuters may not care much which city claims the freeway, Gardena officials have taken the highway to heart. They say the renaming will bring a new sense of identity to Gardena, which was often mistaken for nearby Redondo Beach and a host of other hard-to-place South Bay cities.

"I think many motorists might have been misinformed and thought they were getting off in Redondo," said Michael Wapner, senior administrative assistant at the city manager's office. "We wanted them to know that they were getting off in Gardena."

Built in 1970, the freeway was originally designed to continue to Redondo Beach, but budget cuts forced it to end in Gardena.

Not everyone in Redondo Beach is happy about the name change. Resident Rene J. Burke wrote a letter to the Redondo Beach City Council blasting members for sleeping through the freeway changeover. "I had such pride in seeing the Redondo Beach Freeway (sign) as I drove homeward," Burke wrote.

But Gardena officials were unyielding.

"The Long Beach Freeway ends at Long Beach and the Harbor Freeway ends at the harbor," said Wapner. "The mayor and the City Council felt that any freeway that ends in Gardena should be called the Gardena Freeway."

GRAY WATER, GREENBACKS: For Wayne Stanton, the gray water issue is very clear. Gray water is good. Good for plants. Good for the drought. And, quite possibly, good for Wayne Stanton.

Stanton, a Hermosa Beach resident, has been chosen by the Los Angeles City Council to participate in a pilot project to test the viability of recycling gray water.

Gray water is waste water from the home, excluding toilet and garbage waste. Environmentalists see gray water as a good source of irrigation for some plants. However, health department officials consider gray water possibly harmful, and recycling waste water at home is currently illegal within the city of Los Angeles.

A recycling system devised by Stanton will be one of several installed in homes by the office of water reclamation during a yearlong test to determine whether the city should make it legal for residents to use gray water.

"It's a great way to protect a precious water source," said Stanton, president of Watersave, his business that sells water recycling systems. "We have to get beyond temporary water conservation issue and come up with some permanent solutions."

Although Stanton considers himself an environmentalist, he admits that the gray water proposal was spurred by the economic interests.

"I'm banking on it, actually," he said. "I see it as a great business opportunity."

TOBACCO ROW: Manhattan Beach Mayor Bob Holmes does not allow smoking in his car or home. And if he has his way this week, he'd like to add City Hall, all other city facilities and all of the city's restaurants to the list of no-puff places.

"I think Manhattan Beach is an upscale, ecologically and environmentally attuned city," Holmes said. "I think it's time to ban smoking. I think if you want to smoke, smoke outside."

Holmes, who will propose the public ban on smoking at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, is not acting alone: 14 California cities and two counties have bans on smoking in restaurants; still more ban smoking in their city halls.

But his proposal hasn't exactly thrilled either of the council's two smokers, and the fate of the proposal is very much up in the air.

Fumed Councilwoman Connie Sieber: "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard."

FLOAT-A-THON: The Carson Rose Float Assn. is in, uh, a thorny situation. The group needs to raise about $60,000 to have an entry in January's Tournament of Roses Parade. But so far, a "Save Our Float!" community raffle, along with bake sales, have netted only $10,000.

That leaves quite a few cupcakes to be sold. And although the city will pay the difference if the association falls short of its fund-raising goal, City Council members have said they prefer that the float be self-supporting.

If the city has to fork over the money for the float, Carson officials say it is highly unlikely that the city will subsidize an entry for the 1993 parade.

So, the city, the association and cable Channel 26 television officials will meet Monday to discuss whether they should hold a telethon to raise money over the airwaves. Stay tuned.

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Hawthorne: The City Council gave preliminary approval to a set of density-cutting development standards expected to bring apartment construction to a standstill. The new standards cut density from 35 units an acre to 17 units an acre and increased open space requirements.

Rancho Palos Verdes: The City Council directed staff to prepare a resolution amending the Conceptual Trails Plan to reflect the deletion of several controversial equestrian trails. The plan, which was drafted by the city's Trails Advisory Committee, sets guidelines to preserve long-existing trails from being bulldozed by development. The plan will be considered again by the council on Tuesday.

THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

Carson: The City Council, meeting as the Redevelopment Agency, is scheduled to consider a $30-million renovation of Carson Mall. Under the latest proposal, as much as $10 million for the project will come from the agency. 6 p.m. Tuesday, 701 E. Carson St. 830-7600. Televised at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 26 (Continental Cablevision) and repeated the next Wednesday.

Redondo Beach: The City Council is scheduled to order a special election for Feb. 4 to replace 5th District Councilman Joe White, who died Oct. 21. White's widow, Marilyn, announced last week that she plans to enter the race. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 415 Diamond St. 372-1171. Televised live on Channel 8 (Century); repeated at 3 p.m. Wednesday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

OTHER COUNCIL MEETINGS THIS WEEK

Avalon: 7 p.m. Tuesday, 209 Metropole. 510-0220. Televised live on Channel 3 (Catalina Cable) and repeated Saturday morning.

El Segundo: 7 p.m. Tuesday, 350 Main St. 322-4670. Televised live on Channel 22 (Paragon) and repeated at noon Wednesday.

Inglewood: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1 Manchester Blvd. 412-5280. No cable telecast.

Lawndale: 7 p.m. Thursday, 14717 Burin Ave. 973-4321. Televised live on Channel 60 and repeated several times during the week.

Lomita: 7 p.m. Monday, 24300 Narbonne Ave. 325-7110. No cable telecasts.

Los Angeles: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. In San Pedro, 548-7637; in Wilmington, 548-7586; in Harbor City/Harbor Gateway, 548-7664; in Westchester, 641-4717. Televised live on Channel 35; meetings repeated individually at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and collectively on Sunday starting at 10 a.m.

Manhattan Beach: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1400 Highland Ave. 545-5621. Televised on Channel 3 (MultiVision) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Rancho Palos Verdes: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Hesse Park, 29201 Hawthorne Blvd. 377-0360. Televised live on Channel 3; repeated at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

Torrance: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, 3031 Torrance Blvd. 618-5880. Televised live on Channel 22 (Paragon), and replayed at 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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