L.A. trial is rain cloud over perfect day at beach 3 large dogs guard laid-back cyclist in Venice Beach

April 11, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES — xTC LOS ANGELES -- It was an L.A. kind of day.

The climate was classic Southern California: a blue, smogless sky, balmy temperatures, perfect beach weather. And that's where many Angelenos were.

Despite the anxiety felt by many residents as a jury began deliberating the fate of four police officers accused of violating Rodney G. King's civil rights, Venice Beach yesterday was what most residents would describe as normal.

And normal means street performers like the man who yodels while standing on his head and playing a guitar.

Numerologist Cortlaand Spring, of Santa Monica, sat at a table behind a sign asking the question, "What's your karma?" Apparently, the impending verdict didn't heighten curiosity in many.

"I haven't had any customers today," said Mr. Spring, as he munched from a bag of nut slivers.

"But I do see greater concern," he said. "People come up to ask me, what do you think will happen? What do you think the verdict will be?"

Alas, he explains that he cannot help them. "I'm not a psychic person," he said. "I'm a numerologist."

Tony Angel was walking his bicycle down Ocean Front Walk, the main drag in Venice.

He was wearing the beach town's basic uniform: tank top, black biking shorts, shades and a personal stereo with headphones.

Mr. Angel said the atmosphere was the same as any other warm weekend, with beach goers strolling down the Promenade, browsing among the wares of merchants as cyclists and skaters wove through the crowd.

"It's Saturday. All Saturdays are like this," Mr. Angel said. "This is it from Friday to Sunday . . . This is why everybody moves to California."

He conceded that despite laid-back appearances, there is concern. "I think all people are anxious to see what's going to happen . . . I know I'll be well protected. I've got a Doberman and two Rottweilers. Just in case."

Farmer's Market in Hollywood was filled with its usual Saturday morning crowd of tourists and local residents who come by for a cup of coffee and a leisurely breakfast over the newspaper.

Mel Bordeaux of Hollywood sat with her friend, Bastiaan Gieben.

She said the trial and the verdict dominated conversation at a dinner party she attended the night before.

"People were joking around about it, but I was going, 'We'll see who's laughing Tuesday,' " Ms. Bordeaux said. "It's kind of at a nervous laughter stage right now."

Her own view of what might happen after the verdict ranges wildly, reflecting the ambivalence many here say they feel.

"If nothing happens, it won't surprise me," she said. On the other hand, she feels great violence is a possibility.

"It's odd, I'm thinking the two extremes," she said. "Nothing [will happen] and sort of a violent takeover."

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