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Desert Paper Likes Making Waves : Antelope Valley’s monthly Anti-Press generates rage and praise for unorthodox viewpoints.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

“If I haven’t offended you yet,” said Sandra Kramer, publisher and editor of the Anti- Press, the Antelope Val ley’s controversial underground paper, “it just means I haven’t gotten around to it.”

Kramer, 30, of Desert Buttes (formerly known as Lake Los Angeles) also takes photographs, sells advertising and distributes the 5,000-circulation monthly publication. She started the newspaper to give her life new meaning after her 40-year-old husband committed suicide in December, 1992.

“Suddenly I had a little money and a lot of time,” she said. “I really needed a project, and there wasn’t anything in the Antelope Valley that was fun and entertaining and full of commentary. I print what nobody else will touch. Controversy is good.”

Kramer launched the Anti-Press in May with a scant 250 copies, which were immediately snapped up, generating letters and phone calls of praise and rage. “I thought, ‘Let’s see how people feel about this,’ ” she said. “And people ended up like junkies. People need it; they want it; they love it.”

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Kramer and her cadre of unpaid writers take jabs at area politicians, make fun of local happenings, and spout off about regional and national issues. Recent issues included a photo of Barney the dinosaur in drag, a list of people the Antelope Valley would be better off without (laden with local politicians), the Top 10 adult video rentals, a few dark and erotic poems, and several outspoken--and sometimes outrageous--editorials.

“People with all these weird opinions can say whatever they want in the Anti-Press, as long as they don’t cuss,” Kramer said. “Our point of view is all over the place. My writers include extreme conservatives, screaming liberals and artistic people. I figure if we express all viewpoints, somewhere in there is a moderate ground.”

The publication--which, according to Kramer, is “politically acorrect"--attracts its share of enemies. It is banned from several stores, restaurants and businesses, including Antelope Valley College. A minister urged a boycott of the newspaper’s advertisers and distributors. Kramer’s printer arrived at work one day to find three bullets shot through his window, the day after he got a threatening phone call relating to printing the paper. Kramer says she receives so many obscene and threatening phone calls that her answering machine refers would-be harassers to another number--that of the county sheriff.

Local politicians are among Kramer’s biggest opponents. Lancaster City Councilman George Runner, a Republican, disdainfully describes the Anti-Press as an “inconsequential flashback to the ‘60s that takes an anti-Establishment, anti-value view of everything.”

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Kramer laughs off such criticism. “City Council members don’t like me much at all,” she said. “They whine and complain about me, but they all have copies of the Anti-Press under their arms.”

Runner confesses that he does read the newspaper. “But only because it gets delivered to me,” he said.

Lancaster Mayor Arnie Rodio, a Democrat, takes a more philosophical stand. “Some people in town don’t like it because it pokes fun at them or covers them in an unflattering way, but that’s part of being a politician,” he said.

The Anti-Press won’t make Kramer rich; in fact, the advertising barely pays for printing costs. But she says she garners more important, non-monetary rewards.

“I realize I have a lot more guts than I thought I had. I found my sense of humor. I have more confidence. I got to know my community. And--I was forced to finally get call waiting.”

Maryann Hammers is a regular contributor to The Times.

Where to Go

What: Anti-Press, P.O. Box 500067, Palmdale 93591.

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Call: (805) 723-1689.


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