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In Carson, state inspectors hook a man for some fishy behavior.

<i> with staff reports</i>

LAW HOOKS FISHERMAN: A Carson commercial fisherman faces criminal charges for catching too many undersized red sea urchins.

Raymond Sosa, 42, will be arraigned next month on charges he took hundreds of the spiny creatures that did not meet the state’s minimum 3 1/4-inch diameter requirement.

The urchins, which feed on seaweed roots near shore, are highly prized in Japan and other Asian countries. In the past five years, experts say, California’s sea urchin market has grown from negligible hobby-sized catches to a 30-million-pound industry.

State Fish and Game inspectors searching through Sosa’s 1,600-pound catch late last year found 76 undersized urchins in the first of several bags he had brought in, Deputy Los Angeles City Atty. Don Kass said. The law bars any fisherman from taking more than 30 undersized urchins in any one catch.

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Inspectors seized all of Sosa’s catch and sold it, with proceeds going to the state, Kass said.

This isn’t the first time Sosa has been caught with adolescent urchins. In 1991, he was given two years of probation and ordered to pay $587 after his first conviction on the charge. If convicted again, Kass said, Sosa faces an even stiffer sentence--as much as a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

BAD TIMING: She may be good with numbers but when it comes to timing, Wanda M. Brown is batting zero.

The Inglewood city treasurer wants the City Council to give her a full-time salary of $69,996 a year. Brown now earns only $3,996 in the part-time elective office, which she says ought to be a full-time position.

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But her $66,000 raise request comes at the same time the council is trying to decide whether to borrow $2 million or make drastic budget cuts to get through the remainder of the fiscal year.

In other words, don’t be surprised if she strikes out.

COVETING A CAMPUS: Hidden in Torrance’s inch-thick economic forecast last week was an interesting nugget that has El Camino Community College officials rounding up the wagons.

The report suggests that the city annex the college, which is located in unincorporated Los Angeles County but has a parking lot in Torrance.

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Forecasters said both Torrance and the campus could benefit from the proposal. The college could receive municipal services, and city residents would be able to participate in “quality-of-life” activities provided by the school and the city.

But El Camino College officials contend the city has ulterior motives for wanting to annex the campus.

“They look at the sales tax (generated) in our bookstore and they get greedy,” said a college spokeswoman who did not want to be identified. “This has come up before. Lawndale tried (unsuccessfully) seven or eight years ago.”

She said “one call to the County Board of Supervisors” usually stops annexation efforts in their tracks.

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SIGN OF THE TIMES: Rudy Svorinich Jr., a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council’s 15th district, filed a police report this week claiming that campaign signs and billboards valued at $500 were stolen or destroyed Tuesday at nearly a dozen locations in San Pedro.

In a press release Friday, Svorinich said the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Division is investigating the incident and that “sabotage is not being ruled out, as evidence at the scenes suggest an opponent’s involvement.”

That, however, is news to police detectives. According to the report, no suspects were identified at any of the vandalism sites.

“There would be no follow-up on this kind of case because nobody was seen or heard,” Detective Robert Espinoza said.

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When told of Svorinich’s remark about evidence of an opponent’s involvement, Espinoza chuckled. “That would be a speculation on his part,” he said.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I kind of thought they just sat behind their desks all day."--Anna Birenbaum, a Redondo Union High School junior, said of the city attorney’s office. Birenbaum filled in for the city attorney during the Leader for a Day program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

LAST WEEK’S CITY HALL HIGHLIGHTS

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Hawthorne: An appellate judge has ruled against the city in a dispute over the Glasgow Strip. The city had sought to overturn a federal judge’s finding that the City Council had a conflict of interest when it initiated eminent domain proceedings against the current owner of the property. City officials, who want to turn the 4.6-acre property into a park, intend to proceed with their appeal.

Torrance: The City Council approved contracts with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to set up a pilot project that would establish a citywide commuter van pool and provide child-care facilities for commuters who participate in the program. The contracts allow the city to use $255,000 in federal grants for the project, which involves the leasing of 15 vans for one year.

THIS WEEK’S CITY HALL HIGHLIGHTS

Carson: The City Council on Tuesday will consider spending about $15,000 for a fireworks and circus show commemorating the city’s 25th anniversary. The show would be at the Olympic Velodrome at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The show would be the third and last major event in honor of the anniversary.

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Inglewood: The City Council will discuss the possibility of broadcasting its meetings on cable television and the feasibility of borrowing $2 million from its capital improvement fund to cover a deficit in this year’s operating budget. The loan would be repaid from future card club revenues, if and when the proposed club at Hollywood Park opens.

Redondo Beach: The City Council has canceled its Tuesday meeting, but City Hall will be open that evening while officials tally votes from the municipal election. Voters cast ballots Tuesday for mayor, three council members and a city attorney. They will also decide the fate of five ballot propositions, including a measure that would raise the utility users tax by 1%.


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