Yaroslavsky of Two Minds on TV Coverage of Trial, Meetings

ON CAMERA: Citing cost factors, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted at the behest of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky this week to request that court officials ban television cameras from any retrial of O.J. Simpson.

Yaroslavsky said the cameras were the "single biggest factor in elongating the trial." Furthermore, he said "the continuous televising of the proceedings clearly has shed more heat than light on the proceedings."

But that's not what Yaroslavsky said when he fought some of his board colleagues earlier this year to televise the supervisors' meetings at a cost of some $300,000 per year.

In April, when the first supervisors' meetings were televised, he said: "Most people don't know what county government is, and ignorance breeds suspicion and suspicion breeds a lack of support for county operations. . . . This is a good day for the county."

Is there an inconsistency in Yaroslavsky's thinking?

No, said his spokesman Joel Bellman.

Yaroslavsky, Bellman said, thinks that the supervisors meetings should be televised because they are proceedings conducted by elected representatives whose decisions directly affect the public.

In the case of the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, it is a proceeding where the outcome directly impacts only a few people, namely Simpson and the families of the two victims, according to Bellman.

In general, he said, Yaroslavsky believes in media access to all court proceedings. But in the case of the O.J. Simpson trial, Bellman said, Yaroslavsky thinks that the cameras have only lengthened the trial by prompting lawyers to posture and pontificate for the millions of television viewers.

Oddly enough, opponents of Yaroslavsky's proposal to televise the supervisors' meetings had the same fear: that the supervisors and other county officials would posture and pontificate for the cameras.

According to county officials and regular board watchers, the cameras at the board meetings have caused little, if any, changes in the way the meetings are run. The meetings don't go any longer due to the cameras, and, for the most part, the supervisors do not play to the cameras.

So, how does Yaroslavsky know that lawyers in the O.J. Simpson case are playing to the camera? He frequently watches the trial on television, said Bellman. "Zev knows of what he speaks regarding the O.J. trial," he said.

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RING, RRRIIING: Calling collect from federal prison in Spokane, Wash., it's...Pat Nolan! Again.

Like a moth to a flame, the former assemblyman is drawn time and again to the swirl of drama and political intrigue surrounding Sacramento. And the phone bills in the Capitol prove it, as the Glendale Republican calls Assembly pals and staffers, some of whom are still so loyal they are known in the vernacular as the Nolanistas .

Staff members in one Assembly office said they had taken nearly a dozen calls from Nolan in the past week.

Even as he serves out a federal prison sentence on political corruption charges, Nolan is reportedly fuming over how Assembly Republican leader Jim Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga) blew the opportunity to seize the speakership--not once but twice.

This latest botched episode, in which Speaker Emeritus Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) plucked GOP rebel Doris Allen (R-Cypress) from obscurity to the speaker's dais in a deal favorable to Democrats, did not come as a surprise to Nolan.

A former GOP Assembly leader and strategist who lusted after the speakership himself, Nolan reportedly predicted Brown's move weeks ago in warning calls placed to his former colleagues.

Now he can say, I told you so.

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TOMMY KNOCKERS: Conservative Orange County, as big on home rule and intolerant of interference from Angelenos as ever, has hit the Richter scale in its reaction to state Sen. Tom Hayden's involvement in its latest scandal.

Hayden, a self-styled watchdog of higher education, sought information about evidence of possible improprieties at UC Irvine's Center for Reproductive Health, where eggs were said to have been used without consent of the donors.

So in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Higher Education, the Santa Monica Democrat convened a hearing this week into charges of abuse and misconduct at the once-prestigious fertility center.

The effect of Hayden's subpoena was to lift a gag order on whistle-blowers whose settlement with the university required their silence about the clinic's problems.

This was apparently too much for Orange County boosters to bear, coming as it did after Hayden's active role in criticizing the county's disastrous bankruptcy.

Former Assemblyman Gil Ferguson contends Hayden ranks right up there with Speaker Emeritus Willie Brown as a stick-in-your-eye nemesis to Orange County's Statehouse delegation.

But Hayden, Ferguson says, may actually be the area's leading political tormentor.

"Willie loves capitalists, and, he's gotten a lot of money out of Orange County," Ferguson said. "He actually likes successful businessmen.

"Whereas," he continued, "Hayden assumes they probably cheated on their income tax, cheated consumers through faulty products and probably dumped pollution into the nearest bay. When Willie sees a businessman, he sees a source of potential income. When Tom sees a businessman, he sees an enemy. It's as simple as that."

So, is Hayden's involvement in Orange County affairs motivated by a lust for revenge against conservatives, as Ferguson would have locals believe?

Nonsense, the senator said.

"Revenge is not an emotion I particularly like to see cultivated, so that would be the last thing on my mind. My appearing [to be out for revenge] is purely an accident," Hayden said. "It certainly has nothing to do with reality."

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IN PRAISE OF MOM AND POP: There were 1,790 small-business owners in Washington this week for the White House Conference on Small Business and among them was C.K. Tseng.

The longtime owner of Northridge Travel made the trek to let government policy-makers know just how critical mom and pop businesses are to the country's economic vitality. He has a sense that they heard the message.

"I think the government is attaching great importance to this," Tseng said of the third congressionally sponsored small-business convention since 1980. "The President and vice president have both shown up. Today, we have the Secretary of Treasury. Yesterday, we had the Secretary of Commerce. We think it's important that they realize that small business is the engine of the economy of the future."

The delegates--167 of them from California--brought with them more than 600 suggestions, which by week's end will have been boiled down to 60 policy proposals. In past years, many of the recommendations have become law.

This year, two items were on Tseng's mind: He wants the federal government to be more diligent about paying its bills when it contracts with small businesses, and he wants to protect the affirmative action programs that now assist minority businesses in gaining entree into federal contracting.

This column was written by Times staff writers Hugo Martin in Los Angeles, Cynthia H. Craft in Sacramento, Mike Granberry in Orange County and Marc Lacey in Washington, D.C.

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