Judge Proves Post-Quake Humor Can Fit You to a T


First-year law students, find the legal precedent for this: a judge who draws cartoons for T-shirts.

People at the Santa Monica courthouse may be surprised to see a five-color T-shirt commemorating the January earthquake for sale in the halls of justice, whose walls are still badly cracked in some places. They may be even more surprised when they learn the artist is none other than the presiding judge, David Rothman.

“What is it about a T-shirt that makes people happy?” Rothman asked rhetorically, adding that he has done about 30 other T-shirt designs, mostly for friends and judicial fund-raisers.


Rothman’s latest creation, however, was designed not only to relieve tedium in the chambers but to raise the spirits of the staff. Rothman’s new shirt recalls the quake with a caricature of the building and the legend “The Rockin’ and Rollin’ Santa Monica Court.”

The court’s staff and judge have sold about 150 of the shirts at $10 apiece in six weeks, Rothman said.

Wait a minute. . . . Does this mean the judge might be doodling during oral arguments?

“It depends on how long the argument is, I confess,” he said.


SORRY, WRONG NUMBER: Maybe you can fight City Hall, but it’s a lot harder to do it all by yourself.

Just ask John Rizzo. Worried that a proposed cellular phone transmitter near his apartment might increase cancer risks, the Marina del Rey resident launched a one-man battle to block its installation at 330 Washington Blvd. in nearby Venice.

On Wednesday, Rizzo lost the fight when the Los Angeles City Council unanimously rejected his appeal. But what really vexed Rizzo--the president of the Marina Tenants Assn.--is that minutes later the council heeded residents’ health concerns and blocked a similar transmitter at 7700 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose district includes Venice, added insult to Rizzo’s injury by voting for the Venice site but against the Hollywood site.

Galanter said that the Venice site was in a more commercial part of town and posed less of a health risk than the Hollywood site. Besides, she said, “Mr. Rizzo is the only person who expressed concern about this.”

Galanter, by the way, spoke to us via cellular phone.


‘DEAR LANDLORD’: So goes a song by Robert Zimmerman, a Jewish boy from Minnesota who went on to do great things in the music business under the nom de guitare Bob Dylan.

Dylan has explored various religions, including fundamentalist Christianity and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. His current state of belief is not widely known.

But we recently learned that some time ago he did buy a synagogue: Sha'arei Am: The Santa Monica Synagogue.

“Dylan has always gone through phases of investigating his Jewish roots, but he probably did it for investment reasons,” said Rabbi Jeffrey A. Marx of the 18th Street synagogue.

“We are sort of tickled by it because the congregation is young and a lot of the people grew up with this music,” he said.

Marx’s congregation has rented the building for six years. Four years remain on the lease, but Marx said he is hoping to renew it for another decade.

“Maybe he’ll have a little bit of rachmonis (Yiddish for pity),” he said.