Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Category: May 31, 2009 - June 6, 2009
Passing the WritAs every sane motorist knows, the best thing is to obey the law. Don't run any red lights. Stop for pedestrians. Don't go too fast or too slow. Make boulevard stops. Especially now. The law is bearing down from all sides.
But some people are bad drivers or careless or inconsiderate or unlucky and they get jammed up.
Consider the case of a man, one of 4,700, who recently received notice from the Motor Vehicle Department that his driving license has been suspended for 90 days.
He drives 28,000 miles a year on his job. In the last 18 years of driving in California he has had no 502s, no reckless-driving charges and only one speeding ticket in the last three years (60 in a 40 mph zone in Claremont, which he says was a speed trap).
HE HAS NEVER had his insurance canceled. He has always been covered under the financial responsibility law.
He believes the MVD's widely publicized campaign to revoke licenses is a good one. However, he considers his punishment unduly harsh and he had a writ of mandate drawn up to file in Superior Court.
Before filing it, he is required by law to serve Robert McCarthy, MVD director in Sacramento. This he did according to legal procedure by sending a copy of the writ to the sheriff with a blank signed check to cover costs.
The writ was returned to him a few days ago and he dutifully took it to the county clerk's office to file. He was not allowed to file it because it had not been served personally on McCarthy but on his secretary. Now he must make out a new writ and start over.
Somehow he has the feeling that he is getting the runaround.
NOT LONG AGO Ed Dowd innocently asked his class at Montebello High to use the words synonymous" and "bemoaning" in sentences. Among the examples were these headshakers:
"The lady gave birth to synonymous twins."
"The man looked out of the window, and, although it was still dark, he knew it would soon bemoaning."
Don't look now!
(It's too much fun"
We're up in orbit
'Found the sun!
- RAY SOUTHWORTH
FARMERS HAVE long debated whether hogs fatten better when kept in enclosures or when allowed to browse at will on the greensward. At last an animal husbandry study group, after comparing weights achieved by the two methods over a period of years, has come up with the answer. "The pen," states the report received by Maurice Ogden of Garden Grove, "is meatier than the sward."
AS REPORTED here, a lady shopping for a new phonograph became so confused by the hi-fi talk that she described her old machine to the salesman as "an old lo-fi." Comes now another lady who became so distraught because her daughter kept the volume so high on their set that she disconnected the ply. Now she proudly boasts of a "no-fi" set.
A BIG CRISIS is reported in the Toastmasters International monthly publication which has headquarters in Santa Ana. The Warren (0.) club president inquired if it is acceptable parliamentary procedure to turn off his hearing aid when he is subjected to unwarranted or undesirable debate. No immediate decision.
AT RANDOM -- A short snorter $1 bill on which was written "Dr. W. W. Kamerer July 17, 1943" was handed in on a purchase in a San Fernando Valley store the other day. If the doc is around and wants the bill as a keepsake it's being held for a few days ... Only in Disneyland: By the touch of a button, the four waterfalls on the new Matterhorn there will be set in motion June 14. Yep, push-button waterfalls. Not all the magic is taking place in outer space ... Bob Ferris remarked onKABC yesterday that it will only be a matter of time until the Russians send up a cat-bearing satellite to hunt down the missing mice ... Pat Buttram said it: "The only person who ever got the week's work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe."
We're not used to seeing issues like this in the "legacy" version of "Peanuts." The strip had much more of an edge in its early days.
Reading Big Words Was Miracle to MikeThirty-three days ago Mike's miracle began.
Around dusk, he was walking home past San Bernardino's St. Anne School when he met two friends. They were headed into the school to set up some chairs in a lecture room, and although Mike didn't attend there, he decided to help them.
And he met Sister Mary Caroline. She came into the room where they were working, carrying some cards with words on them. She mentioned to the three boys that her first-grade pupils were going to give a demonstration at her lecture: reading by phonetic analysis.
That's when Mike joined the conversation. "C'mon," he said, "no first-graders can read those big words."
In the next few minutes, Sister Mary Caroline learned a lot about Mike. He was 16, in junior high school. But he didn't have the faintest idea how to read.
"Maybe 15, 20 words," he told the Sister. "Mostly two-letter ones."
The other boys laughed, but it wasn't funny. Mike couldn't read. His background was a jumble of report card "F's," fruitless private tutoring and special counseling, useless expensive remedial reading phonograph courses and futile attempts by our public school to teach him the bare fundamentals of the subject.
Sister Mary Caroline has a technique of her own for teaching students how to read. It's not a popular technique now, but she's very proud of it, and its results.
By shifting the emphasis from sightword, or memory reading, to phonetic analysis, and by adding a few techniques of her own which enable a student to understand what he's doing, she has been amazing educators and parents alike with her results.
Yesterday I talked to Mike about what's been happening since he met Sister Mary Caroline.
"When I was in there that night," he started, "she showed me a sentence that said, "Sandy ran down the street." I knew the words 'down' and 'the,' so she started talking to me about the other words I didn't know.
"She showed me some cards and had the other two guys hold them up, and the way she put it about reading -- by sound -- was a lot different than I'd ever heard it before. A word -- well, it says what it says."
Before Mike left the school that night he and Sister Mary Caroline "both kind of asked each other" to get together again. For the past month he's been stopping by three or four times a week for an hour's personal tutoring.
He told his regular remedial reading teacher nothing about his extra instruction. "But one day a couple weeks ago, I went and read to her and she was so surprised that she had me go from class to class," he told me. "Naturally, then, I let her know.
"I just finished a book with 250 different words in it," he added. "Now there's a lot of words I can figure out that are pretty long -- playhouse, children, something -- words like that."
Mike brought a third-grade reader to my office with him. He read from it. At one point the word "game" stopped him.
"I used to just guess," he said, "but now I know how to analyze it. What does it start with? 'G' like go. What are the vowels in it? 'A' and 'e.' E's on the back door knocking, so you can't hear it, so the 'a' is long. The 'm' --mmm. Game.
The kid looked up and smiled. "There's a couple other guys in my class who are real interested in how I'm learning. Maybe next year, if I can read good enough, I'll teach them how to read, too."
Young Old Hermit Retires
After Mike left, I talked a few minutes with his mother.
"You know," she told me, "a month ago, my boy's big ambition was to be a hermit. 'An old hermit,' he called it. He said he was going to dig a cave and stay there.
"Now," she added, "he wants to be a rocket engineer."
The miracle of Mike could be just beginning.
Here's the breaking story by Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin: |
A well-regarded, veteran Los Angeles Police Department detective was arrested today in connection with the 1986 slaying of her ex-boyfriend's wife, marking one of the few times in the department's history that one of its own officers has been accused of murder.
And our previous stories:
February 27, 1986
An official at Glendale Adventist Medical Center said "an important part of the team" was lost when a key nursing director was shot and killed this week in her Van Nuys apartment.
October 23, 1986
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers of a prominent hospital nurse shot to death in her Van Nuys condominium earlier this year, police said.