B y J e f f S m i t h
ISN'T THAT JUST awful about Fife Symington going broke? I mean gee whiz, a guy with a nice job like governor ought to be able to pay the rent and have a little left over to rent a video for the wife and kids Friday night. Wives like to watch a movie with a little dancing and kissing and a happy ending, after cooking and cleaning all week.
I guess I really feel saddest for Ann: the run-down of debts and assets they ran in the Star last week showed Fife still owes 17 grand to Jim Click for a leased Datsun. That's history for sure, and I wonder where that leaves the wife. Fife probably can ride to work with the boys in his $800,000-a-year safety patrol, but Ann is most likely going to have to take the bus.
And what about clothes? I wept bitter tears when I read about Pat Nixon's cloth coat, but the news from the Symington closet takes coping in the face of adversity to new levels. Can you believe that J. Fife Symington III owns just $1,500 worth of personal apparel? Can you believe that?
Really, I mean can you believe our poor governor has just a grand and a half worth of suits and shoes and socks and ties and stuff? Can you actually believe it? I'd have guessed those black, elevator cowboy boots he wears set him back half-a-yard a pair.
Maybe he doesn't wear drawers.
ALL RIGHT, so if you can dry your eyes and bestir yourself to get outdoors and do something constructive for anybody who isn't governor of a sunbelt state and undergoing financial reverses, rise with the roosters and be on the UA mall in front of the Ina Gittings Building around 7 a.m. Saturday for the first annual, ahem, DICK TOMEY PONY EXPRESS!
Which is what's become of the yearly Push 'n' Plod fundraising wheelchair race I've been shilling for these past 10 or 15 years.
The reason for the change of name is a somewhat serious change of venue and of cast. Instead of being a purely local, purely amateur, pretty much low-key roll and run to generate operating capital for the Center for Disability Related Resources (largely comprising traveling money for the UA Wildchairs wheelchair basketball team), the event this year and into the foreseeable has become a heart-attack serious race for world-class wheelchair athletes.
We're talking boys and girls with arms as big around as your waist. Faster than a rabbit full of Ex-Lax. National and world record holders.
Seriously, the entry list includes a whole bunch of racers who at one time or another have held the world wheelchair marathon and 10K records, folks who crank out mile after mile of sub-fours. Of course Brian Corrigan, our very own winner/record-setter at last year's Push 'n' Plod, will be out there contesting the outcome with them. Poor lad.
Bob Molinatti, Craig Blanchette and Scott Hollenbeck, among others, will be in the men's 10K. Sherry Becerra and Candace Cable are entered in the women's class. You and I couldn't beat these guys at 10 kilometers with the Mustang convertible Jim Click has donated for grand prize. Yup. A year's free lease in the Wilson Pickettmobile, leather slipcovers and all.
And everybody gets a crack at it. Finish in the top three in your division, raise a bunch of money, get lucky enough to have your name drawn...all these go into the final drawing for the year-long free ride.
Or you could just do like I plan to do and come out for the 5K fun run and then watch with your jaw hanging at your knees while these insanely quick gimps on wheels disappear over the horizon.
Trust me: You will be amazed.
OKAY, NOW what I really wanted to burden you with this week is my take on this whole sordid mess about O.J. Simpson.
Did you know O.J. knifed his ex-wife and this waiter to death a little over a year ago? Really.
So they arrest him and bring him to trial and he takes all that's left of the millions he made carrying leather for the Buffalo Bills and Hertz and hires a bunch of slick lawyers and it looks like he might beat the rap. Even though he's guilty as sin and everybody knows it.
So of course Los Angeles County, faced with this determined defense team with Johnnie Cochrane and Flea Bailey and Dewey, Screwem and Howe, diverts the entire prosecutorial budget for the late-20th and early-21st centuries, including $2.1 million alone for Marcia Clark's hairstylists, and says by Jesus that justice will be done.
Even if every other murderer from Echo Park to Santa Monica for the next 55 years gets a Get Out of Jail Free card.
Which is about what's going to happen, considering the fact that the Simpson trial has thus far cost L.A. County just shy of $12 billion cash and as-yet-uncalculated amounts in parking validations.
I jest. But I do not jest when I say what I would have done were I Gil Garcetti. I'd have held one of those press conferences that show my terrific jaw line to such marvelous advantage, and I'd have told the world:
"Hey. We all know that sonofabitch sliced up Nicole and Ron like sushi and we all know he's going to spend sums on his defense matched only by the book and made-for-TV movie deals he's going to get for being America's favorite murderer. What we, as elected public servants and guardians of the commonweal, are not going to do is squander money that could be put to constructive use, by conducting a carnival trial that makes a mockery of too many important institutions to mention, and at ruinous expense.
"Face it, O.J. Simpson is not likely to murder again. No more likely than he is to be transformed into a decent human being by incarceration or execution. In the real world of Los Angeles, murderers go free every day, simply because we lack the budget and the time to press every case to a conclusion of perfect justice. So why jack-off in front of the TV cameras for a year and still face the chance he out-lawyers us? And then not have the cash to prosecute an army of lesser-known criminals who present a more real and serious threat to our safety?
"So we're putting Bob the law clerk up against the Simpson defense team. Bob is doing real well in school and will give the old college try. This is the way business is done, day in and day out.
"Besides which, I wouldn't be surprised if within a year Orenthal James Simpson isn't street-adjudicated and buried."
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