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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

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Free Advertising Talk about good timing. An Encino law firm kicked off a mailing for a sexual harassment workshop a few weeks before President Clinton’s televised mea culpa speech (the first one). Though Peter Flanderka, senior associate with Walsh & Declues LLP, admits that the firm, which specializes in employment law, decided to hold the seminar well before Clinton faced off with the special prosecutor and the public on his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he isn’t complaining about the coincidence. “It’s a stroke of luck,” Flanderka said. “The fact that the president is having the problems he’s having is an unfortunate coincidence for the president and a fortunate coincidence for us.” What actually prompted the seminar was a pair of Supreme Court decisions that suggest that by setting up proper training and investigation into sexual-harassment complaints, employers may have a better defense against lawsuits. But Flanderka points out that business picked up following the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, when Anita Hill charged Thomas with sexual harassment, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens now that Clinton’s escapades have come into the public eye. Then too, there are a few hopefuls who may attend expecting the subject matter is a little more colorful. “One individual who RSVP’ed asked if we were going to be talking about the president,” Flanderka said. The free seminar takes place Oct. 1 at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys. For information: (818) 986-1776. Cry Mouse If you’re among the many on the chain e-mail circuit, you’ve probably gotten the news that the Walt Disney Co. is offering $5,000 in cash to the first 130 folks who respond to a chain letter by forwarding it to 15 of their closest friends. And everyone who passes the e-mail on as requested, the message goes, will receive a free one-week vacation to Disney World. And if you’re one of those people who has already started packing for your free trip, well, stop. “It’s a hoax,” says a Disney spokesperson in Burbank. The letter, which purports to come from Walt Disney Jr. and Microsoft chief Bill Gates, also includes various testimonials supposedly written by participants in the chain letter. “Folks, I called Disney my damn self. It’s no lie. GET IT DONE! You all owe me,” one reads. Be assured, the letter has gotten the attention of the folks at Disney. When a reporter asked if they were aware of the chain letter, one exasperated receptionist said, “Oh yeah.” Voluntary Slavery The Ayn Rand Institute, an educational organization, has launched a “volunteerism is immoral” campaign, and it would like you to volunteer to help out. The Los Angeles-based group, which follows the philosophies of the late writer Ayn Rand, has started an internship for students. The “anti-servitude” internships are apparently designed to stop what the group calls “forced volunteerism.” The only problem is that you have to volunteer to stop people from volunteering. “There is a difference between volunteering to pursue your goals and being forced into servitude,” said Scott McConnell, a spokesman for the institute. “There is nothing wrong with volunteering, it is fine when you want to pursue your goals. We are against students being forced to serve others.” McConnell explained that the idea to start the internship came after President Clinton announced a national effort to increase community service. The presidential campaign launched mandatory community service hours for many high school students around the country. Politically Correct Most developers go to great lengths to tout their new buildings as being top-notch, but not the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Aware of the heat the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has received over its new headquarters, which has earned the derisive nickname Taj Mahal, MWD officials are stressing the plain-vanilla nature of their new headquarters. “Precast concrete panels, factory-assembled window frames and limited use of costly construction materials helped the MWD build its new headquarters on time and on budget for an economical square-foot cost,” reads a press release issued by the water agency.

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