PRECIOUS METALS: What's the world coming to...

PRECIOUS METALS: What's the world coming to when a Valley lawmaker declares it's time to lock up our garbage . . . at least that portion of it now known by the politically correct term "recyclables." Such a suggestion came this week from Los Angeles Councilman Mike Feuer. He's not talking about gym locker combination locks, though. Feuer spokesman Howard Gantman said to stop theft, manufacturers are designing cans that can only be unlocked if upended by an automated trash collection truck.

COST-EFFECTIVE: Buying new garbage trucks might seem like an expensive solution to the problem of stolen recyclables, but Gantman said city equipment has to be replaced over time anyway. Besides, constituents are clamoring for relief from trash scavengers. . . . It's a top subject of voter complaints, Gantman said.

SPIDERMAN: Littlerock High football player Joe Ulate is so accident-prone, teammates are afraid to ride home with him. . . . After all, what are the chances of being bitten by two poisonous spiders? Two years ago, it was a black widow. Since August, a bite from a brown recluse spider has sidelined the offensive lineman. He's due back tonight. (C8)

FAT IN FLIGHT: A survey on healthy airport food didn't rank Burbank Airport (too small), but that doesn't mean it didn't pass muster. . . . So, while Burbank can't claim to have the healthiest airport fare--as LAX can--it's not chopped liver, either. "It has some excellent choices," says David Wasser of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "Absolutely better than some of the largest airports."

BREAKUP FEVER: Today the school district. Tomorrow the city? . . . That may be what state Assemblywoman Paula Boland of Granada Hills has in mind. After sponsoring legislation to make it easier to dismantle the Los Angeles school district, Boland is apparently considering a way for the San Fernando Valley to secede from Los Angeles. Details in the Political Briefing. (B5)

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