The LABJ L.A. stories


There Goes the Neighborhood

The Studio City Residents Association got some new neighbors a few weeks ago, but no one’s baking them any cookies or rushing out to welcome them.

The newcomers are the 10 cast members of the new CBS reality show, “Big Brother,” and they are hunkered down on a sound stage that’s been remodeled to resemble a two-bedroom house, just across from the homeowners’ monthly meeting site on the CBS Studios lot.

The 10 strangers, who must live together under the 24-hour surveillance of video cameras and microphones, are cut off from the outside world and its influences, which leaves them to pursue activities like discussing their innermost feelings.

It’s not exactly the sort of thing that grabs the admiration of the Studio City residents’ group, which takes its mission of maintaining quality of life very seriously.

“As I walked into our meeting, I couldn’t help but think we were going to get about 100 people to listen to the (L.A. city) department head of building and safety, and millions (of viewers) would be watching these people (just across the lot) do very ordinary things,” said Tony Lucente, president of the association. “It kind of says where people’s priorities are these days.”

Creative Politicking

L.A. mayoral candidate Steve Soboroff has been trying to court voters with his list of 10 things he would do on his first day in office if he wins next year’s election.

Among them is designating reversible traffic lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard through the Sepulveda Pass.

That got big cheers at the first mayoral debate in March. But at the second debate, his opponents were prepared and called his bluff. They noted that Sepulveda narrows to three lanes in the tunnel at the top of the pass, and that reversing lanes to accommodate rush-hour traffic had been tried 20 years ago, resulting in so many accidents that the idea was abandoned.

But those objections didn’t deter Soboroff. At the most recent debate last week sponsored by L.A. Police Protective League in Studio City, Soboroff had his rejoinder prepared: “Let’s think creatively here,” he said. “If there are only three lanes in the tunnel, we should widen the tunnel.”

That dropped a few jaws in the audience and sparked lots of talk after the debate about how much the widening would cost and who would do the work.

A Maze-ing Attraction

This summer, Six Flags Magic Mountain unveiled its newest roller coaster, Goliath, an 85-mph ride that shoots up to heights of 255 feet during its three-minute run. But if that’s too much of an adrenaline rush, there’s a new attraction in the San Fernando Valley.

The Lost Adventures Corn Maze opened this month in Van Nuys. The maze provides tourists and residents with miles of corn stalks to roam through on eight acres near Woodley Park.

“We saw one in Central California and thought, ‘Gosh dang, it seems like a good idea,'” said Greg Cole, one of the owners of Lost Adventures. “We leased the land from Parks and Rec and planted the corn and now we’re up and running.”

In case anyone gets lost, the maze includes a 15-foot-tall guard tower and workers stationed throughout the maze with walkie talkies.

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