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Voices of ’97

“He was my hero.”

--Bill Cosby, speaking about his murdered son Ennis.

“The damn thing works!”

--Pathfinder project manager Anthony Spear in a Pasadena auditorium, watching pictures from the Mars exploration.

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“This is not going to be an easy fight. Power is never easily relinquished.”

--Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg, the Sherman Oaks Democrat who was co-author of a law making it easier for the San Fernando Valley to secede from Los Angeles.

“It may seem like a dramatic cut. But we’ve got more layers than any layer cake that’s ever been baked.”

--S. David Freeman, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, on a proposed 2,000 layoffs.

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“We heard maybe 200 or 300 shots. It was horrible. It was like in the movies.”

--North Hollywood homeowner Tagui Guzubashyan, who witnessed a blazing shootout between two bank robbers and police.

“This street has gone to the dogs, and they’re yapping at my heels. This used to be rock ‘n’ roll and happening. Now it’s a street of jeans shops and shoe stores.”

--Billy Shire, referring to Melrose Avenue, where he closed his landmark outlets, Wacko and the Soap Plant.

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“When I sit at home and work, there’s less of a chance of me creating a pothole.”

--West Los Angeles screenwriter Art Eisenson, protesting a city business tax on at-home writers.

“The single most important thing is not to have a single most important thing.”

--New Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks on his priorities for the department.

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“If we undersize it, there’s great human damage. If we oversize it, there’s great financial damage.”

--County health services director Mark Finucane on the debate about the number of beds planned for a new public hospital to replace County-USC Medical Center.

“Guts beats money.”

--State Sen. Tom Hayden in explaining why he thought he had a chance to defeat Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in this year’s election. Guess who won a second term?

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“We’re going to have to come up with a new slogan, I guess.”

--Maria Frisan, assistant general manager of the Original Pantry, after Mayor Riordan’s restaurant was closed briefly by county health authorities. The longtime slogan: ‘Never closed, never without a customer.’

“There’s nothing that protects you from the inevitable. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, no matter what you do.”

--Rapper Notorious B.I.G. just a few days before being shot to death in Los Angeles.

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“I have sperm and I’m going to get preggers now.”

--Deborah Hecht, after winning court decisions that gave her possession of the sperm of her dead lover, Bill Kane. It had sat chilling in a Westwood cryogenics bank. Thus far, she is not pregnant.

“I bet they don’t have this problem in the private schools.”

--Ernest Alexander Hill, a grandfather attending a special meeting about hepatitis-infected strawberries served in Los Angeles public schools.

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“I’d like to have it so I could pound the daylights out of it with a sledgehammer.”

--Fred Goldman, father of murder victim Ronald Goldman, on word that O.J. Simpson’s missing Heisman trophy had been found.

“The real question is: Why would anybody want to jump into that political maelstrom?”

--Robert Paaswell, a transit expert on the search for a new MTA executive. Turned out not many people did.

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“I held out hopes that I would eventually see this day, but I didn’t have any idea that it would be anything like this.”

--Former Black Panther Party leader Elmer ‘Geronimo’ Pratt, referring to the attention he received upon being freed after a judge reversed his 1972 conviction for a murder in Santa Monica.

“It was filmic. It would have taken a great director to have captured that . . . Fellini maybe.”

--Los Angeles Councilman Joel Wachs on colleague Mike Hernandez’s return to work after his drug arrest.

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“I have been a bad example. Now I’m going to be a good example.”

--Mike Hernandez, apologizing for his cocaine abuse.

“Ma-ma-ma-ma-

ma-ma.”

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Los Angeles City Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. demonstrating how the sound of a leaf blower can be reduced by ‘throttling down’ the engine. The council first postponed a ban on gas-powered blowers, then decided to reduce the size of the penalty once the ban takes effect.

“There could be a whole lot of rain.”

--Meteorologist John Sherwin, a forecaster with WeatherData Inc., on the prospect for the first El Nino storm.

Compiled by Times staff writer Larry Gordon

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