At work. That big temblor in Southern...


February 05, 1994

YOUR TAX DOLLARS at work. That big temblor in Southern California has created a rush of damage claims for federal taxpayers to pay. But should federal disaster relief really go toward fixing up a sports stadium?

Yes, indeed, says Gov. Pete Wilson, who just happens to be running for re-election. Any funding request he can pass on to Washington is a political feather in his cap.

So along come officials from Orange County, home of Anaheim Stadium, which plays host to the California Angels baseball team and the Los Angeles Rams football team. The quake sent the stadium scoreboard toppling into the upper deck of the Big A, as it is called.

This calamity was declared an emergency by the guv, in part to make it eligible for federal tax dollars. The bill: $4 million.

So Anaheim will get its new, improved scoreboard and its new, improved upper deck -- even though the stadium is some 40 miles south of the epicenter of the quake, where damage was really severe. And the nation's taxpayers get the privilege of paying for these stadium fix-ups.

Now the governor is adding the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to his federal disaster aid list: that fix-up could cost $35 million -- or more than $100 million if the entire structure is condemned as unsafe. Let Uncle Sam pay for that one, too!

This is beginning to sound like a scandal. Call it Quakegate.

* * *

FLASH FROM the American Political Network's Hotline: There will be a Senate race this year between a former college cheerleader and a former college football player. It's a story with a twist, Hotline continued:

The cheerleader is Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, formerly of Mississippi State University. The football player is Jorja Turnipseed, identified as a former "football letterwoman" at Blue Mountain College.

A colleague called Blue Mountain College, in Blue Mountain, Miss., to ask about this and was told BMC has no football team at all, women's or men's. He was informed the candidate must have attended some other Blue Mountain College. And then came a chilling comment: "This is the white Blue Mountain College."

* * *

WAKE-UP CALL for our journalistic colleagues near Disney World. A friend from a quaint town called Lady Lake sent along a clipping from the Orlando Sentinel to prove that even some newspaper editors don't bother to keep up with the latest news.

The Florida paper chronicled what's happened around the National Football League recently, noting that "Tackle Will Wolford, who underwent surgery on his left shoulder last winter, will have a similar operation on his right shoulder. . ." And who does Tackle Wolford play for? According to the Sentinel headline, the Baltimore Colts.

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