ANIMAL FARM: Redondo Beach residents have come to expect contentious City Council meetings. But forgive them if the debate this week over whether to grant Mark Lapotsky a permit for a two-pound hen named Henna seemed, well, chicken-hearted.
Councilwoman Kay Horrell, who has opposed permits for potbellied pigs in the past, nearly flew the coop when one council member characterized Lapotsky's pet poultry as small. "A two-pound chicken is no small hen and is on its way to getting bigger," Horrell said.
Clucked Mayor Brad Parton: "Now let's not get our feathers ruffled." To which Horrell snapped: "And don't you lay an egg here either."
Although Councilwoman Barbara Doerr wanted to postpone a vote on the issue until they could clear up the city's fowl policy, she was overruled.
The council ultimately voted in favor of the permit. But before the matter was put to rest, permit-opponent Horrell offered Lapotsky some food for thought: "While some owners adapt to life with a big pig . . . other pigs are winding up as bacon. Well, a chicken isn't going to be bacon, but . . . it can get roasted."
PLANE CRAZY: The FAA admits it made a tactical error when it made a stealthy decision to swap quiet airplanes for noisy ones over the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
But even now that the agency claims it has swapped them back again, hill residents said the so-called quiet planes are still too loud.
"The bottom line is that they are just flat-out lying," said Palos Verdes Estates resident Lance Rubin, who says he moved to his hilltop home to escape airplane noise at his former Santa Monica residence. "Last year, there were no planes flying over my home. Now there are 102 planes a day flying directly over my roof."
The problem, according to air maps Rubin says he was shown, is that his house, and those of other residents complaining about noise, are near the point where two different air routes from Los Angeles International Airport split from one another.
Why had they not noticed the planes until this month? Rubin says he does not know.
FAA officials suspect that peninsula residents, newly sensitized by a two-week detour of noisier turbo-prop planes over their homes, are simply noticing the quieter general aviation planes that have always been there.
"All I can guess is that they're more aware of what's overhead now," Brekke said. "Basically, things are now as they have been for many, many years."
PUT ON A HAPPY FACE: A private consultant group praised the Manhattan Beach Police Department for delivering a high level of "customer service" in a glowing evaluation discussed at the city's Tuesday night council meeting.
But the consultants found just one problem. Apparently, Manhattan Beach Police Chief Ted Mertens doesn't smile enough.
At least according to one anonymous employee who reported: "Chief Mertens doesn't smile and say hello in the hallways, and he is not open to informal non-business contacts."
"I'll make an effort to do that," the stone-faced chief responded.
BUMPY RIDE: Torrance awarded a $565,000 two-year contract to DAVE Transportation Services for the operation of the city's "Dial-a-Lift" ride service for disabled residents. But not everyone has been pleased with the company's performance.
A city survey of its riders revealed numerous complaints of late pickups, long travel times and discourteous drivers.
The problems could cost the bus company some money in the near future. Under the new contract, the city can fine the company $400 every month that the average trip exceeds 30 minutes and $500 if 15% of the pickups during that month are late.
LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS
Torrance: The City Council approved a ballot measure that will let voters decide whether council members should have term limits. Another ballot measure will determine how the city chooses its clerk and treasurer. Both measures will appear on the November ballot.
Carson: The City Council voted Tuesday to change zoning ordinances to allow plans for a driving skills course and arcade near the intersection of Carson Street and Recreation Road.
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS
Lawndale: The City Council will hold a public hearing at City Hall Thursday on the city's proposed $7.5-million 1992-1993 budget, which includes about $21,000 in cuts from the previous year. The budget proposes reinstating a community safety officer position but eliminating a Sheriff's Department patrol car used to combat truancy.
OTHER MEETINGS THIS WEEK
Gardena: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1700 W. 162nd St., Gardena. (310) 217-9565. Televised live on Channel 22 (Paragon) and repeated 7 p.m. on the next two Sundays.
Hawthorne: 7 p.m. Monday, 4455 W. 126th St., Hawthorne. (310) 970-7902. Televised on Channel 22 (Paragon) at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 6 p.m. Saturday.
Hermosa Beach: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1315 Valley Drive, Hermosa Beach. (310) 318-0239. Televised live on Channel 3 (Multivision).
Inglewood: 7 p.m. Tuesday, 1 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. (310) 412-5280. No cable telecast.
Los Angeles: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. In San Pedro, (310) 548-7637; in Wilmington, (310) 548-7586; in Harbor City/Harbor Gateway, (310) 548-7664; in Westchester, (310) 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.
Palos Verdes Estates: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 340 Palos Verdes Drive West, Palos Verdes Estates. (310) 378-0383. No cable telecast.
Rolling Hills: 7:30 p.m. Monday, 2 Portuguese Bend Road, Rolling Hills. (310) 377-1521. No cable telecast.
Rolling Hills Estates: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 4045 Palos Verdes Drive North, Rolling Hills Estates. (310) 377-1577. Televised live on Channel 3 (Dimension).
Torrance: 7 p.m. Tuesday, 3031 Torrance Blvd., Torrance. (310) 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.