LOS ANGELES: Citing recent violence and the likelihood of large summer crowds, the City Council has authorized additional traffic control officers to be deployed at Venice Beach on Sundays to free up police for other duties.

The 10-0 vote Friday means the city's Department of Transportation can dispatch whatever number of civilian officers it needs to handle the crush of traffic expected at the beach--one of Southern California's biggest summer tourist attractions, with crowds of 200,000 people some Sundays.

The deployment will begin Sunday and will run through Sept. 25.


WEST HOLLYWOOD: The City Council got its first look Monday at a proposed $39-million budget for next year that cuts spending in most departments but includes no new taxes.

The council took no action on the plan but scheduled the first public hearing on it for June 6.

City Manager Paul Brotzman cautioned that the proposed budget includes no provisions for cutbacks in state funding expected to come late this year--after the June 30 deadline for adoption of the city budget.

The budget includes $37.1 million in operating expenses and $1.9 million for capital projects, including repairs to streets and city-owned buildings, and several lighting and sewer projects. The city would dip into reserves to cover about $450,000 of expenses.

Although spending would be reduced in most departments, cost-of-living increases are proposed for city employees and as part of the patrol contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The city plans to borrow about $28 million to pay for a flurry of public projects: renovations to a new City Hall, fire station and post office complex, and three parking structures. But payments do not start until after next year.


BEVERLY HILLS: They still are not bargain-basement prices, but Rodeo Drive merchants can now "buy" a parking space from the City of Beverly Hills for a mere $25,000--less than half of the cost of parking spaces in the past.

The City Council on Tuesday revised its "in-lieu" parking program, in which property owners may pay into a parking fund instead of providing on-site parking. The money is used by the city to build parking structures in other locations.

The council voted to lower the price per space to $25,000 on Rodeo Drive, $20,000 on Beverly Drive and $15,000 on other streets in the city's business district. The city had calculated the fees based on the appraised value of the property, but with rising land prices, the in-lieu parking program became too expensive for many businesses.

In 1992, after he expanded his building by 700 square feet, one Rodeo Drive property owner paid about $106,000 to the fund for the two parking spaces required by the municipal code.

The City Council has approved a $472,438 contract for the drilling and construction of a well to test ground water in the aquifer under the Burton Way median. Construction is expected to begin within the next 45 days.

The 600-foot-deep well will be the first step in the city's proposed $12-million project to build seven wells and a water treatment plant. The plan calls for the wells to provide about 25% of the city's water, thus decreasing dependence on the Metropolitan Water District, the city's sole water provider.



* Culver City: 7 p.m. Monday, Interim City Hall, Trailer No. 1, 4095 Overland Ave., (310) 202-5851.

* Los Angeles: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 200 N. Spring St., (213) 485-3126.

* Santa Monica: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1685 Main St., (310) 393-9975.

* Malibu: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Hughes Laboratory, 3011 Malibu Canyon Road, (310) 456-2489.

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