Quayle visit draws a crowd, but it's not Magic.

WAITING FOR QUAYLE: If he runs for president in 1996, former Vice President Dan Quayle probably will carry Torrance--that is, if his opponent is Roseanne Arnold. But he might have a little more trouble beating Magic Johnson.

Of course, that's assuming that book sales have anything to do with votes.

About 1,000 people showed up at Super Crown Books in Torrance Tuesday to have Quayle autograph copies of his book, "Standing Firm." That was several hundred more people than turned out for a Roseanne book-signing in March, said store manager Michele Herron, but about the same as the turnout for a Magic Johnson appearance last year.

The first two people in line, Bret Saxon and Steve Stein, both 28, waited eight hours to see Quayle. Both said it was worth it.

"We're looking forward to him running in 1996," Saxon said.

Quayle wouldn't commit to anything but signing books. "We will make that decision sometime this fall," he said.


WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Say you're drowning. What's the last thing in the world you want to see?

How about an advertisement for Canadian bottled water?

That's exactly what struggling swimmers at Los Angeles County beaches may see this summer, after the County Board of Supervisors' latest beach advertising gimmick takes effect. The supervisors recently gave distributors of Naya bottled water an exclusive contract to put their company logo on county lifeguards' orange rescue floats.

Since the mid-1980s, products have been advertised on beach trash cans, lifeguard towers, benches and phone booths. But putting ads on rescue floats, the two-foot-long orange flotation devices that lifeguards toss to struggling swimmers, is a new facet of beach advertising.

A spokesman for Nora Distributors U.S.A., which distributes the Canadian water, says plastering its logo on rescue floats, as well as on lifeguard towers, will give the company great exposure while helping the financially strapped county.

"We see this as a chance to help out the county," said Stu Levitan, vice president of the distributing company.

But many beach-goers might find the latest sales pitch tough to swallow.

Visitors to the county's beaches have long complained of the advertising planes that fly low along the coast pulling ads for beach pubs and brews.

The Canadian company's logo is due to appear on the beach this summer, and its vending machines will be installed near beach restrooms. In return, the county will get $72,000 a year, plus 35% of the vending machine profits.


LOADS OF LOOT: Crime does pay--that is, if you're the city of Hawthorne.

After more than 2,400 reported thefts there last year, police confiscated enough unclaimed stolen property to load a shipping container two-thirds full. And next month, city officials will auction off the swag along with surplus city equipment and unclaimed items from the lost and found.

Most of the loot is what you might expect: stereos, VCRs, CD players and television sets. Bicycles were also popular with thieves. The city has 66 of them.

But other items up for bid are more unusual. They include a rice cooker, a fireplace set, several bottles of cologne, a money counter, two pairs of skis, a baby bassinet, an array of hubcaps and one tire from a Porsche. Safety-minded folks can pick up a fire extinguisher, motorcycle helmets or a pair of safes.

"People will steal anything, and this proves it," said City Treasurer Edelma Campos, who will serve as auctioneer. Campos will raise the gavel on the proceedings at 9 a.m. June 4 in the parking lot of the Hawthorne Police Department.

The city doesn't know how much the auction will generate, but last year's brought in about $15,000 to the general fund. Bids start at $1, but some bikes and electronic equipment garner more than $100. All items are sold as is.

Unfortunately, if you're in the market for an inexpensive wedding gown, you should have been at the auction a couple of years ago. Then, an unclaimed wedding dress went for a mere $3.

"Some guy ended up buying it as a joke for his girlfriend," Campos said.


"There are crabs down there. When you're doing a bottom search, you can't see very well because the silt gets stirred up. So when you pick up something and it bites you, it's a little surprising."

--Officer Robert Myers, on patrolling the Los Angeles Harbor bottom for the Port Police.

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