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At L.A. City Hall, quake warning goes unheeded

November 13, 2008 | 10:32 am

At Los Angeles City Hall, the earthquake drill coincided with the regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission, which had two high-profile issues on its agenda -– digital billboards and a 49-story tower planned for Century City.

The nine-member panel interrupted its meeting, moved to another room, had difficulty with its microphones and struggled to get its video system up and running. None of those problems had anything to do with the drill, however.

Instead, the disruptions were caused by the huge turnout for the Century City project. When the actual drill occurred, a City Hall security guard told the audience in the packed council chamber -– a room filled with lobbyists, union members and neighborhood activists -- that they were experiencing an earthquake drill and should immediately "duck, cover and hold."

No one did.

-- David Zahniser