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Lastories

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Oscar Party Crashers

Party crashers are hardly unusual at Tinseltown’s most exclusive post-Oscar bashes. But the crashers at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala at Spago in Beverly Hills last week were not the usual variety.

Party organizers didn’t plan on the star-studded affair being so hot, literally. As a result, a giant ice sculpture holding more than a dozen bottles of bubbly began to melt and the bottles came crashing to the floor.

“It was a mess,” said guest Ryan Cooper. “There was glass and champagne everywhere.”

Elsewhere on Oscar Night

Anticipating a boffo night at the Oscars for “Titanic,” 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Paramount Pictures, the film’s co-producers, tented over a parking lot in Beverly Hills and invited scores of VIPs.

Among those on hand was Gov. Pete Wilson, who was seen chatting intently with Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, prompting one attendee to quip, “Do you think Rupert is trying to buy California?”

DWP’s Award

The Academy wasn’t the only one handing out awards last week. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association also held its annual awards event, handing out its Robert E. Gibson Corporate Award for Excellence to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

That’s right, the same DWP that recently “found” several billion dollars in debts on its books and was so bloated in recent years that it had to eliminate 2,000 positions through attrition, severance packages and layoffs to survive under deregulation.

VICA President Bonnie Herman said there was no mistake in naming the DWP as the recipient of its corporate excellence award, which is named after a prominent San Fernando Valley banker.

“This award is first and foremost a recognition for contributions to the community,” Herman said. “The DWP was a founding member of VICA in 1949 and has served the residents and businesses in the San Fernando Valley well through the years.”

Besides, Herman said, many of the problems now facing the DWP come from conflicting directives over the years from politicians and regulators, not the DWP’s management.

Football Returns to L.A.

Professional football may have deserted L.A., but that doesn’t mean you can’t see a live pro contest here. The catch is, it won’t be professional football players on the gridiron it will be professional firefighters.

On Saturday April 4, the L.A. Heat takes on the New York Bravest in a game of tackle football at Santa Monica City College.

The Heat and Bravest are among the 12 teams that comprise the National Public Safety Football League, with some teams made up of firefighters and other teams made up of police officers.

Two of the Heat’s players are former NFL players Mark Tolbert, who played for the San Diego Chargers, and Randy Austin, who played for the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

“It’s by no means bush league,” said Ron Harmon, an apparatus operator with the L.A. Fire Department and the Heat’s head coach.

The April 4 game is actually a charity event to honor Capt. Joseph Dupee, who died March 8 after safely evacuating the rest of his crew from a burning industrial building in South Central L.A., and paramedics Eric Reiner and Michael Butler and apparatus operator Michael McComb, who died in a helicopter crash in Griffith Park last week.

Tickets are $5.

Lawyers on Trial

Rocky Delgadillo, L.A.’s deputy mayor for economic development, is out on jury duty. But he never expected to be selected, seeing as he’s a lawyer. So he had resigned himself to long, dull days in the jury waiting room.

As expected, Delgadillo was kicked off the first three cases he was interviewed for, all criminal matters. But last week he was selected for a civil trial. “There’s three lawyers on my panel, and one’s a public defender,” he said.

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