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Framing the Debate on Public Art

To inject some much-needed culture into this column, I begin with a sighting from Lillian Raffel in Beverly Hills. Only thing is, I’m afraid it may start up the controversy over whether modern art is really junk (see photo).

Caution -- lawyers at work! Annette Whipple of Ventura noticed that a cat scratching post she bought had come with some legal mumbo jumbo (see accompanying). “Supervise” a cat. Right.

More cattiness: I see where the 909 area code is going to be split and I’m not surprised, after learning how far east it extended. Just the other day, a snooty Newport Beach character on Fox TV’s “The O.C.” remarked that a young lady from Pittsburgh was from “909 east.”

Don’t rile up those Pittsburghers: After arriving at Pittsburgh International Airport, Keri Comer of Irvine encountered a warning about the local motorists (see photo). Added Comer: “I think we could use some of these signs on freeways in Southern California. What do you think?”

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I agree. In fact, I’d like to see a return of the 1950s notices that greeted visitors to L.A. -- including the one directed toward the wild drivers heading in from South Pasadena (see photo).

Sign recall? On ABC’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast in San Francisco, a fan held up a banner referring to one announcer: John “Madden for Govenor.” Partner Al Michaels quickly caught the misspelling, proving he still has a bit of the editor in him from his days as a colleague of mine on the Federalist newspaper staff at West L.A.'s Hamilton High.

miscelLAny: I mentioned that L.A.'s Charity Street was renamed Grand Avenue in 1877 because the residents didn’t like the jokes about their “living on Charity.” Folks are just as sensitive today. In one Michigan town, citizens are demanding a new address on Crapo Street. It’s supposed to be pronounced KRAY-po (“supposed” is the key word here).

The street actually took the last name of a politician, so now there’s talk of making it Governor Crapo Street. I’m not sure that will really fix the problem, even if “governor” is spelled correctly.

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Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@

latimes.com.


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