INSIDE SCOOP

Who ever thought padlocks could symbolize undying and everlasting

love?

Apparently they do -- in China. And to some young lovebirds in Costa

Mesa.

On Thursday, Caltrans workers cut off more than 40 padlocks that were

snapped on to the fences on the Bay Street overpass above the Costa Mesa

freeway. Both city and Caltrans officials said they were intrigued by the

practice that has previously happened in Costa Mesa on the Fairview

overpass above the San Diego freeway.

The newsroom received telephone and e-mail responses from two

residents who said they have heard of a practice among "young couples in

love."

Don Jacobson wrote he has heard of such couples putting padlocks "on

the fences at scenic overlooks to ensure the longevity of their love." He

said he saw such locks everywhere when he visited Mt. Huang in China last

October.

"Vendors do a good business selling locks," Jacobson wrote.

"Periodically, they have to cut off the locks to make room for more. . .

. Maybe the custom is coming to America, although the scenic beauty of an

overpass seems questionable."

Another resident, who did not leave her name in a voice mail message,

said she heard about the Chinese custom through a PBS documentary.

"I'm saddened that they cut off the locks," she said. "They don't hurt

anybody."

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