Matt Weinstock, March 29, 1960
March 29, 2010 | 4:08 pm
Here's Unsqueezed Juice
The moans are low and constant from the civic Center. Our leaders have squeezed every drop of juice out of the turnips, oops, I mean taxpayers, and still there isn't enough. Unless new sources of revenue are found, the city could go broke -- that is, operate under a deficit. This would be awful, I'm told, although it's doubtful if most people could tell the difference. They're broke too.
Well, let us give our leaders another chance to face reality and not try to tax parked cars, the beds of innocently sleeping apartment dwellers, or the clear blue sky. It happens there's a red hot revenue-producing idea kicking around.
Why not, some people are asking, use some or all of the closed or rarely used movie theaters as an extension of the racetrack setup? The actual running of the races can be shown over TV with Joe Hernandez calling them. There could be pari-mutuel machines in the lobby and track odds could be paid. Admission $1.
Not only would such an enterprise bring in money, it would discourage those terrible bookies who are always giving everyone trouble by dunning and shooting each other. Furthermore, it would remove temptation from those who have been known to fail to detect these illicit operations.
Sound weird? Well, the Racing Form yesterday had an account of a similar plan in New York. After a 17-month survey a Citizens Committee for Offtrack Betting, appointed by Mayor Wagner, has estimated that legalized wagering in designated spots -- Times Square, Rockefeller Center and so on -- would bring in $100 million a year. Bets would be transmitted by wire to the tracks, and the money would be added to the mutual pool, so the odds would be authentic. So far, the legislature there has refused to consider the plan, but it is evidently gathering steam.
Sure it's gambling. So is what happens at the race tracks, no matter what it's called. And people are going to gamble, regardless of whether the budget is balanced. Try to guess how many Irish sweepstakes tickets were sold in the L.A. area.
All the plan takes is for a few people to come down off their hypocrisy.
THIS ONE comes under the general heading of ahem. It has to do with a lady who plays cards on a designated night each month with a group of women friends.
It has always bothered her that on her return home around 11:30 p.m. she always wakes her husband. The other night she decided to try not to rouse him. She undressed in the living room and, purse over arm, tip-toed nude into the bedroom -- only to find her husband sitting up in bed, reading. "Migosh!" he exclaimed. "Did you lose everything?"
AS IF THE world isn't gimmicked up enough already, writer Tod Ballard has just learned that his publisher, Monarch, henceforth will bring out books that smell. Three on the next list, "The Enemy General" by Dan Pepper and Max Gareth, "The Stranglers of Bombay" by Stewart James and "The Brides of Dracula" by Dean Owen, will be sprayed unaccountably with a well-known perfume in the color run of the paperback covers.
Tod is happy to know that forthcoming westerns may have a saddle-leather scent and cookbooks may smell like hot bread, but he can't help wondering what odor they'll put on his next novel. It includes a chase through a sewer, a gun fight in a brewery and a sexy interlude in a Chinese laundry.
MISCELLANY -- H.M. Draughn, who has really seen the landscape change, was greeted by a welcoming committee of friends when he stepped off old 52, Southern Pacific's Daylight from S.F. It was his last run after 40 years of conductoring . . . Tagline for an all-out nuclear war, relayed by Bill Graydon, "Small world, wasn't it?"