The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on August 5, 1979 · 41
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 41

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 5, 1979
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LABOR WAR OVER BUT SUPERVISORS ARE STILL FIGHTING BY BRUCE KEPPEL and HARRY BERNSTEIN TIimi Staff Writer Labor peace came to Los Angeles County last week only after a $10 million sweetening of the pot, a bit of apparently extralegal maneuvering by the Board of Supervisors' chairman, Kenneth Hahn, and adroit use of his close relationship with the local AFL-CIO chief, William Robertson. Nonetheless, Supervisor Pete Schabarum, Hahn's most bitter critic on the board, still questioned whether the threatened strike Wednesday by 60,000 county employes would have materialized. And he remained critical of Hahn for "blowing" the county's bargaining position to the unions. Hahn disclosed some of the crucial behind-the-scenes moves made by the supervisors and key union leaders to avert the strike, which was set to start last Wednesday. Schabarum continued to argue that Hahn wrecked the county management's bargaining position by not waiting to see if the unions "would have called our bluff and hit the streets" without getting more concessions. But Hahn gave this account of the hectic few days before agreement was reached with the unions, ending the strike threat: A week or so before the deadline, the negotiations had reached a deadlock. Management negotiators had offered the unions just about everything the supervisors had authorized. Hahn, after talking to Robertson, the Los Angeles County Labor Federation executive secretary, and some other supervisors, became convinced that a strike was a good probability, not just a possibility, because workers were angered by the cost of living soaring much faster than their wages. A special executive session of the supervisors was hurriedly called July 26 to hear a report from Herb Kaplan, management's chief negotiator, who said he thought he could get a settlement if the county would boost its last offer by about $10 million over a two-year period. Out of a $4 billion-a-year budget, the money seemed a relatively small amount to pay for labor peace. And it actually added only about 1 to the county's previous offer. Schabarum voted against the increase, saying he did not want the concession to be made then. But Kaplan got the authority he wanted when three of the five supervisors voted their approval of the increase: Hahn, Yvonne Burke and Ed Edelman. Burke and Edelman warned Kaplan that the extra $10 million was as far as they would go, however, even, presumably, if it meant that the county would have to take a strike. Hahn then met privately with Robertson, the AFL-CIO executive, and warned the unions that if they did call a strike, despite the added money, they would also lose his support. Robertson apparently believed that was, indeed, the absolute final county offer, and he conveyed his feelings to other union leaders. But there was still a lot of hard bargaining to do over the detail of the contract, not all of which involved money. And not all the union negotiators wanted to settle for the final offer, which has been calculated to mean a total hike in wages and fringe benefits of nearly 20 over two years. Worried about the outcome of the negotiations, even with the extra $10 million added to the package, the county's chief negotiator, Kaplan, called Hahn at home early in the morning after the executive session approved the increase. Kaplan had just received a telephone call from Schabarum, and Kaplan, unhappy, was not sure what to do about it. Schabarum, who had voted against the increase, had clearly signaled that he wanted to play a much harder game of brinksmanship in dealing with the unions. And Kaplan told Hahn that Schabarum was asking for all the details the management, committee had worked out for the last-minute bargaining talks with the union. Worried that Schabarum might use the information to scuttle the negotiations and provoke a strike by making a public fight over it, Hahn ordered Kaplan not to give Schabarum the information he sought. Kaplan could not withhold the information from Schabarum on his own authority. So, Hahn said, "I had to decide," based on the threat of a general strike against the county, if "the delicate negotiations might be destroyed" by a detailed, premature public disclosure of management's last offer. With no apparent legal authority, Hahn then put a cloak of confidentiality around the offer, and told Kaplan not to give the information to Schabarum or the other supervisors. "I acted with the innate authority of the chairman of the board," Hahn said. But even without that vague, assumed power as chair-Please Turn to Page 3, Col. 1 LOCAL NEWS PART II SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 1979 NOSTALGIA FLEET Shy Smith, one of the operators of Santa Ynez Airport, smiles as she leans on one of the fleet of 38 Chevy rental cars all 1958 vintage. Times photo by Cl Montney 38 COUGHING CARS ARE AIRPORT'S DRAWING CARD Santa Ynez Car Rental a Rut of 58 Chevies BT JOHN HURST Tlmtt Santa Barbara Burtau SANTA YNEZ Shy and Dave Smith are not No. 1, but they probably try harder. After all, when your rental fleet is made up of 1958 Chev-rolets, you've got to try harder if only to get the cars started. The Smiths, a friendly diminutive couple, operate the friendly diminutive Santa Ynez Airport at the southern edge of this community of 500 mostly down-home-style folks 25 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. The single-runway, towerless airport can handle anything from a Cessna 150 to a Lear jet. But jets are not encouraged. "They're too noisy," Mrs. Smith said. "The valley people don't appreciate noise." The relatively low noise level of a coughing 1958 Chevy, however, is acceptable to the community and to most of the pilots, including celebrities, who land at the airport and need ground transportation. If a 1958 Chevy is not acceptable to a visitor, well, that's too bad, because the 38 old blue, gray and white cars are all that are available. "One thing about the Chevies," said Maya Orgo, who stands behind the airport counter talking to incoming pilots on a microphone when she is not renting out cars, "you can tell about people's values. "There are people who come in flying nice shiny new planes and they come in just to rent one of the cars," she continued. "And there are others who come in and say, 'Oo-ooo, don't you have anything else?' " Regular renters of the cars include Jimmy Stewart, Cliff Robertson, James Arness and Bruce Jenner, according to Mrs. Smith. Flyers aren't the only Chevy customers, Dian Morton, a secretary at the airport, said. "We had one couple," Ms. Morton said, "that came in on their wedding anniversary. And they wanted to rent one because that was the kind of car they used to neck in when they were going together." The fleet of Chevies grew out of the small airport custom of keeping a "courtesy" car available for visiting pilots, explained Mrs. Smith, a trim woman with short strawberry blonde hair and an open sunny face. The custom allowed a visiting pilot to borrow the car, which was left with the keys in it. It called for the flyer to leave $5 in the glove compartment when the vehicle was returned. A previous Santa Ynez Airport operator began collecting 1958 Chevies in 1961, cannibalizing some cars to keep others running, Mrs. Smith said. "He liked the '58 Chevy," she explained. "These are six-cylinder cars and mostly automatic, so they're easy to drive. They're the heaviest Chevy." The Smiths obtained the fleet of Chevies in 1976 after they took over operation of the airport. They have had to raise the rental price in order to meet insurance costs and make a "small profit" on the operation. It has become so popular that pilots who want cars are put on waiting lists on busy weekends. "It's $14 a day," Mrs. Smith said. "And $16 overnight. And $18 if it goes cross-country. Cross-country is Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Santa Maria." Other than the "cross-country" fee, there is no charge for mileage. "Gas used to be included," she said, "but now that gasoline is so high, you put in your own gas." Nobody checks the gas gauges. But renters are expected to put back approximately what they use. "When they fly in," Mrs. Smith said, "I don't even check for a driver's license. I just take the aircraft N (registration) number." It is also possible to rent a car from the Smiths with cash rather than a credit card, something that is virtually impossible at most rental agencies. Unless the renter flies in, the Smiths ask for local references or a cash deposit. Even so, the roofs of the cars are numbered so they can be spotted from the air if they should be abandoned by renters who have imbibed a bit and can't remember where they left them, as sometimes happens. The cars themselves are sometimes erratic and cranky. "We had one that was stuck in reverse," Mrs. Smith recalled, "and the guy tried to back home." And once 10 people piled into a car and drove away as Mrs. Smith helplessly cried, "Oh my gosh, it doesn't have a radiator in it." A Times reporter rented one of the Chevies, a white Bel Air with forward and reverse gears and a radiator. It started on the first attempt as a pilot from El Monte, Kurt Potter, his wife and two nurse friends pulled out of the lot in a blue Del Rey four-door. Potter had needed three attempts to start the Del Rey, which was named "Amos." But he and his passengers were soon happily on their way to the tourist-oriented town of Solvang about five miles away. CC Please Turn to Page 3, Col. 4 Fees to Hike Taxes Despite Prop. 13 Curbs Levies Approved by Supervisors Make Up for Some Lost Revenue BY BRUCE KEPPEL Tlnws Staff Writer Although Proposition 13 strictly limited property taxes, this year's Los Angeles County tax bills will grow at a pace property owners may find surprising. The reason: New benefit assessments will be charged, depending on the property's location, to help make up revenue lost by scores of special districts. The Board of Supervisors last year approved assessments or user fees of $11 million to run county waterworks and sewer maintenance districts outside city limits. This year, the supervisors so far have approved raising $6.7 million in a new levy against property in county-run street lighting, street landscaping and recreation districts, which cover not only the unincorporated areas but all or parts of 15 cities. Now, thanks to a state law enacted just last month, the supervisors will hear testimony Thursday on the largest new assessment district yet proposed. Designed to finance flood-control operations, it would cover all the county except the northernmost 18 miles of the Antelope Valley amd Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands. Voters would have to approve the proposed flood-control assessment district under terms of the new law, but probably not until it had existed for a year. Thus it could be killed before the second year's fees were levied. The other assessment districts already created by the county came under older legislation and are not subject to voter approval. At an average of $5.25 per home, the flood-control assessment would raise $20 million to help maintain the county's vast system of flood-control reservoirs, basins and channels. Gov. Brown last week signed another bill into law that will enable local governments to levy benefit assessments to pay for police and fire protection services, though the supervisors have yet to raise that prospect in Los Angeles County. The fire protection district will get a $40 million chunk of this year's $53 million state bail-out aid for special districts, and the county library will get most of the balance. Still pending in the Legislature is a bill to allow counties to charge for collecting garbage. (Cities already have that power.) What will all this mean for property owners? Take as an illustration the case of the owner of a $60,000 house built on a 9,600-square-foot lot. Before Proposition 13, the homeowner paid $161 in property taxes just for flood control, street lighting, landscaping and recreation services. (The total bill was, of course, much larger Please Turn to Page 3, Col. 1 MILLIONAIRES MAKE HIS MAGAZINE Publisher Packages Egos and Sells Them BY STEVE HARVEY Tlmtt Staff Writer Ed Kelly publishes his magazine when the mood strikes him four times some years, zero times other years. The issues vary in price from $2 to $5. You can't buy them on the newsstands. One cover story was devoted to a millionaire who offered to buy more than 100,000 copies. Another to an attractive lady that Kelly admittedly was "trying to make points with." Kelly writes several of the stories under pseudonyms "so people will think I have a big staff." His readers are some of the most affluent people in the world. Kelly, 57, owns Millionaire magazine, an Anaheim-based publication that he began in 1963 because "I wanted to have some fun" and "I wanted to find out what those damn millionaires are really like." He didn't really intend to make money off the venture (he was already financially secure through a printing business and various land deals). A husky, roguish chap who laughs easily, Kelly figured that if he wrote each cover story about a millionaire, the grateful subject would then buy thousands of copies for promotional or personal reasons. "What I do, basically, is package someone's ego and sell it back to him," Kelly explained. Florida promoter Glenn ("Dare to Be Great") Turner was so pleased with his cover story that he bought more than 180,000 copies. (Turner's story came out before he pleaded no contest to federal misdemeanor charges of violating Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and paid a $5,000 fine.) Kelly also started a Millionaire's Press Club, entitling the members to receive the magazine (and to submit stories) for $10 per year. "Howard Hughes was a member, I think," Kelly said. "At least his office called and asked for a membership application and it was sent back with the money." (Hughes' byline never appeared in Millionaire, however.) Kelly figured millionaires would subscribe so that they could keep an eye on other millionaires. Still, he admits the average press run has been only about 20,000 copies and "if, anything, I've lost money on this (magazine). But he has interviewed dozens of millionaires most of them unknown to the public and he doesn't seem to suffer from envy. "A lot of them are miserable and unhappy," he said without naming names. "They don't have our little problems, like paying the rent. But they have their own speical problems and hangups. Most of them said it was Please Turn to Pag 5, Col. 1 . 5rp 1 ml muni in nmiimmmwmimiaimmmmLtM ,!-,.,. , i n miT i-- SPORADIC ISSUES Ed Kelly, publisher of Millionaire Magazine, at his home in Anaheim. Times photo by Fitzgerald Whitney t

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