The Mayor’s Race

The L.A. Times Poll shows L.A. mayoral candidate Tom Hayden trailing incumbent Richard Riordan by a 22-point margin and the challenger fares even worse in the Town Hall attendance sweepstakes. When Riordan appeared before Town Hall Los Angeles at a luncheon March 5, 348 people attended the event in a Hyatt Regency banquet room. But when Hayden spoke at a Town Hall luncheon in the same banquet room last week, only 65 people showed up and 24 of them were high school students, according to Town Hall. Hayden, however, might be more popular among high school students than Riordan, who drew only 20 high schoolers to his lunch.

Wasting No Time

You knew it would happen. Just eight days after 39 members of the bizarre Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide, a Westside production company announced a deal to turn their story into a TV movie-of-the-week. Kushner-Locke Co. has an unusual connection to the strange affair: Rio D’Angelo (a.k.a. Richard Ford), a former member of Heaven’s Gate who left the cult just four weeks before the mass suicide, helped design Kushner-Locke’s Web site while working for a company called InterAct. Kushner-Locke has signed a deal with ABC to tell D’Angelo’s story in a film tentatively titled “Heaven’s Gate.”

Jeweler Takes Up Smoking

Evidently, the techniques used to manufacture gold jewelry are transferable to making stogies. Burbank-based OroAmerica Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of gold jewelry, announced last week that it has leased a 26,000-square-foot cigar manufacturing facility in Indonesia. The company had already leased a cigar manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic and plans to begin cigar production there in the fall of 1997. “It’s a good business, a profitable business,” said Shiu Shao, OroAmerica’s chief financial officer. “We already have contacts in the Dominican Republic and Indonesia because of the jewelry business. So it was easier for us to gain entry into the cigar business.”

He’s No Ovitz

It looks like there won’t be a Michael Ovitz-style severance package for Police Chief Willie L. Williams. The City Council last week rejected a proposal to pay off Williams to get him to leave early, instead deciding that he should stay on the job until his contract expires this summer. In this case at least, life (public, that is) is not imitating art (as in Hollywood).

…Speaking of Ovitz, scuttlebutt is building that the former super agent who left Walt Disney Co. after just 14 months on the job is planning to launch his own multimedia company. The Hollywood trade papers reported that Ovitz has hired David Maisel, former director of strategic planning and development at Disney, to act as his investment advisor. Ovitz, of course, was the recipient of a severance package of cash and Disney stock options worth an estimated $90 million or more.

How ‘Bout Them Chicks?

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

That was the feeling of L.A. City Councilwoman Laura Chick, who last week announced her intention to lead a team of investors to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

An earlier proposal to sell shares in the team to fans didn’t go far Major League Baseball doesn’t allow it so Chick said she would buy the team along with former baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and real estate magnate Eli Broad.

“I’ve learned a great deal in recent months about how the almighty dollar rules,” Chick said in a press release. “I’ve therefore decided, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ and worked hard to put together the best possible group of really wealthy investors.”

The councilwoman, who represents a portion of the southwest San Fernando Valley, also proposed changing the baseball team’s name to “the Chicks.”

The date of Chick’s announcement? April 1.

Raising a Squawk

In its ongoing war against noise, the L.A. City Council is turning its attention from leaf-blowers to livestock. Councilman Richard Alarcon is pushing legislation aimed at regulating the squawks and bleats of “farm animals, livestock and poultry.” Apparently, his office gets about 12 calls a month from residents of the northeast San Fernando Valley district, griping about animal noise. Roosters and turkeys are the biggest culprits. L.A. being L.A., opposition to Alarcon’s efforts has sprung up in the form of a group calling itself Stop Nasty Animal Regulation Laws, or SNARL.

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