valleytalk/24″/mike1st/mark2nd Valley marathon Another year for the L.A. Marathon and another chance for Valley residents to feel slighted. But don’t blame Councilwoman Laura Chick, who wrote a letter urging L.A Marathon Inc. the company that puts on the annual race to re-route the course into the Valley. “Why not run the L.A Marathon in the Valley the Valley is a wonderful place and has the same blue sky that other parts of the city have,” said Chick. She suggested the Valley, with its wide avenues, as a place that could easily accommodate a large number of runners. Chick says she doesn’t remember receiving any response to her request, but promises not to give up. “I plan to put it out there again,” said Chick. “There’s a tradition that big events don’t take place in the Valley. I can’t imagine that there’s one thing about the Valley that would make it any different than any other place in L.A.” Voice mail gatekeeper The days of getting anyone of consequence on the phone on the first try are pretty much gone, thanks to the ubiquity of voice mail. But Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian recently took voice-mail snubbing to a new high (or low). Burbank Mayor Bill Wiggins recently put in a call to Paparian to tell him about a press conference Burbank was holding that day to announce a new compromise proposal for expanding the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport. (Glendale and Pasadena want a much bigger airport expansion, and have been squabbling with Burbank over the issue.) Upon receiving Wiggins’ call, Paparian’s secretary informed him that the Pasadena mayor would be in court all day and would not be back at the office. To this, Wiggins asked to be put into Paparian’s voice mail. The secretary asked what the nature of Wiggins’ message would be. He said his call was about the Burbank Airport. “She said, ‘I’m not sure if that’s enough information to give you his voice mail,'” related Wiggins, who ultimately was refused access to Paparian’s voice mail and only allowed to leave a message with the secretary. Chilly reception The annual shareholders’ meeting of Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. last month was an unusually frosty occasion for more reasons than one. There was a wide variety of questions from the floor for Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner, with many shareholders expressing anger and frustration over the high severence package paid to former President Michael Ovitz and over the lucrative compensation package for Eisner himself. But one shareholder toward the end of the meeting expressed the feelings of many of its 14,000 attendees when she asked Eisner, “Why is it so cold in here?” The meeting was held at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, where a temporary floor was placed over the ice skating rink at the center of the arena (home of the Mighty Ducks hockey franchise). Eisner explained that the ice was causing the cold conditions, to which the shareholder responded that she was sitting in the stands several tiers above the ice. “Well, we also want to get this meeting over with,” joked Eisner, who by that time had been fielding uncomfortable questions for about a half hour. Mayoral courage Mayor Richard Riordan gave his all, or at least an unprotected forearm, last week in his never-ending support of the sciences. Students at Chatsworth High School invited the mayor to help test a robot they had built for a national engineering competition in April. The students directed the electronic critter to place a rubber inner tube over Riordan’s prone arm, which it accomplished with faultless accuracy. Though Riordan was “quite brave,” according to Assistant Principal Donna Wyatt, “the robot was under perfect control at all times. No one was in danger.” The mayor did not offer the students a tax break for developing the robot within city limits. Taking charge California Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Burbank) has purchased (with his own money) a dark green General Motors EV1 electric car, for use in district duties. Wildman will be taking advantage of the public recharging station behind Burbank City Hall, when making the rounds of his district. The city has moved to provide free recharging to all EV drivers within the city. In the future, Wildman predicted, recharging stations will be “as numerous as fire hydrants.” He added that his grandchildren would be “shocked” to learn that people ever drove cars that weren’t electric-powered. Hopefully, Wildman’s grandchildren will find EVs with greater range than the 60 to 80 miles per charge that Wildman will get from his new EV.