50 Years Later, They Get Another Cold Reception

The D-day re-enactment at Santa Monica beach the other night was a bit too much like the real thing for some World War II veterans. Indeed, just like 50 years ago, the erstwhile soldiers didn't know what they were getting into: cold water.

The soggy vets, many of them dressed in street clothes, had apparently been promised a dry landing on the sand this time around. Instead, they emerged from the sea wet up to their skivvies.

Asked why they had agreed to take part in the re-enactment, Los Angeles resident Norman King, who landed at Utah beach on D-day, said: "Because we're stupid, that's why. We weren't supposed to get wet."

Though uniforms were optional for the bona-fide D-day veterans, there were plenty of non-soldiers who were decked out for the occasion in military garb. One Hawthorne architect who collects World War II uniforms even had a rifle strapped to his chest. He stood as a self-appointed sentry near the water's edge waiting for the faux invasion that opened a D-day commemoration put on by the French Consulate.

Even on live-and-let-live Santa Monica beach, the sight of a guy in full military regalia turned heads.

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IN THE MAIL: It may be better than going to Dodger Stadium on Cap Day.

State Sen. Ralph C. Dills (D-El Segundo) has sent out tote bags, refrigerator magnets and other knickknacks along with his political mailers in his quest to win the 28th State Senate District primary on Tuesday. In that race, Dills faces Torrance Councilman George Nak no, attorney Mike Sidley and Manhattan Beach real estate broker Jo Ann Rodda.

The magnets are in the shape of saxophones, which go hand-in-hand with Dills' billboards. They depict the 84-year-old incumbent playing the sax and feature the slogan "Too Old to Quit."

According to his campaign, the freebies are just another way to introduce Dills to a batch of voters unfamiliar with him. He is running in a reapportioned district, where he is largely unknown in the beach cities from Venice to Palos Verdes Estates.

Not everyone appreciated the largess, however. One day after Dills sent a ruler and an empty bullet shell along with a letter that underscored his support of public education and efforts to curb violence, someone called in a bomb threat to his office.

"The person was offended by the bullet shell," said campaign official Shirley Scott, who took the call. "He said it was like an Italian receiving a dead fish."

Scott filed a report with the Torrance Police Department.

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CELEBRITY BACKING: A cornerstone of state Sen. Tom Hayden's unconventional run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is his limit on contributions to no more than $94 apiece--an effort to emphasize his contention that modern-day politics has been corrupted by the influence on big money.

So far, Hayden (D-Santa Monica) has attracted about 1,200 contributions from people backing his alternative message, said campaign manager Duane Peterson. And some of those contributors clearly could have afforded more.

According to Peterson, those sending in checks have included entertainer Chevy Chase and his wife, Jayni Chase ($188), singer Bonnie Raitt ($94) and former basketball star Bill Walton, who saw a Hayden ad in the New York Times, clipped the coupon and attached his $94 check.

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