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Valley Talk

At the Grownups’ Table When about 40 members of the San Fernando Valley CEO Roundtable sat down last week with LAUSD Supt. Roy Romer, the table wasn’t round at all. It was square and big. So big, in fact, that meeting participants could barely read the name plates in front of those who sat directly, if about 50 feet, in front of them. The meeting took place in the Ray Kroc Board Room of the Los Angeles McDonald Corp. headquarters in Woodland Hills. About 380 McDonald’s Southern California restaurants and about 80 franchisees report to the office on Victory Boulevard, so it makes sense that a big conference room would be necessary. The massive wooden table takes up almost the entire room however. Jeff Schwartz, McDonald’s regional vice president, explained that the table had to be built before the room had been constructed. The table is as big as it is, he said, as a way to make sure total capacity in the eyes of fire marshals, anyway is never exceeded. “At least that’s what I told my boss,” Schwartz said. Outta Here Let’s all remind ourselves that the next time around we want to be chief financial officers for the Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, Van Nuys, Ontario International and Palmdale Regional airports. When the Business Journal called last Thursday afternoon to confirm (or deny) that the Van Nuys Airport loses roughly $4 million a year, LAWA spokeswoman Gail Gaddi said there was no one to ask. “The chief financial officers have already left for the long Memorial Day weekend,” she said. Did the airports recently adopt a four-day workweek and forget to send out a memo? Gaddi did not have an answer for that question either. Just One More Thing Wearing a suit but not his trademark rumpled raincoat, actor and Valley resident Peter Falk couldn’t help but laugh when he was presented earlier this month by Universal Studios executives with an original copy of the first “Columbo” script ever shot. Marking 30 years since the character hit the small screen, Falk and fellow actors and members of the show gathered to mark the occasion at a downtown Los Angeles hotel. “It’s a great character that everyone loves,” said Universal spokeswoman Terry Curtin of the fictional, but tireless, Lt. Columbo. The event also honored veteran TV producer Steven Bochco, who wrote that first episode, and Steven Spielberg, who directed it. Both were on hand. The episode was titled “Murder by the Book” and aired on NBC on Sept. 15, 1971. Jack Cassidy, who is now dead, played a murderous mystery novelist. Plenty of Hunt and Peck Martin M. Cooper, owner of Cooper Communications in Woodland Hills, says he is considering putting his collection of historic typewriters on display. “I always wanted to put them somewhere where the public could see them,” said Cooper. Today, the collection, which numbers more than 100, features an 1881 Hall typewriter, one of only 1,000 built and one of which is on display in the Science Museum of London. It features a pointer used to tap letters one at a time. Others include a 1912 portable named “The Fox,” made by the Fox Typewriter Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich. The oldest is the 1897 Blickensderfer, the first machine with a removable type wheel, made by the same company to produce the first electric typewriter in 1902. Some of the machines are in Cooper’s office, but most are at home, he admitted. He’s still looking for the right spot. Freeing the Felines Cats may soon be free to roam the streets of Glendale. The Glendale City Council has asked for a revised version of an ordinance that would exempt felines from a local leash law. The current ordinance states that any animal found at large on public property is a nuisance and its owner is subject to a fine of up to $100 for the first violation. “I know people have been given warnings, but we have never prosecuted anyone,” said City Attorney Scott Howard. At a council meeting last week, speakers came out on both sides of the issue of exempting cats from the leash law, including one woman who spoke about her personal experience in trying to get a leash on a cat. “I think this woman was correct when she said, ‘If I tried to put a leash on that cat, it would hurt me bad,'” Howard recounted.

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