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Angry San Francisco parents protested to public library officials in January after learning that among the local groups allowed to use the library for their meetings was the North American Man-Boy Love Association, an "educational" group that promotes sex between men and boys. NAMBLA had held its meetings at the library, while children played and browsed downstairs, for the last two years.

Government in Action

Last spring some residents of Sepulveda, in suburban Los Angeles, broke away from what they considered their seedier neighbors and formed the new community of North Hills. Six months later the rest of Sepulveda, resisting the desertion, voted to change its name to North Hills too.

Armed-robbery suspect Anthony Garcia, hospitalized in October with multiple injuries sustained during a getaway crash, simply walked out of the hospital in Mission Viejo, California, as soon as he got back on his feet. He was able to leave because sheriff's officials never bothered to arrest him after the crash, fearing the government would be stuck with his substantial medical bill, and local police relaxed their round-the-clock watch of his room because they believed he was sedated and immobile.

In October the New York Division of Parole proposed new regulations that would remove penalties for parolees who associate with known criminals, lie to parole officers, or leave the state without permission (first offense). Two months later, a storm of criticism forced the division to suspend consideration of the proposal.

Last December 17, the Communist Party in Beijing issued a proclamation against excessive holiday cheer during the new year's season. Included were admonitions against "spending" and other wastefulness (subject to fines) and against any consumption of more than "a cup of tea" at year-end parties.

Smooth Reactions

In September, after a stormy child custody hearing between mother, father, and surrogate mother in Santa Ana, California, 51-year-old Cynthia Moschetta walked over to her estranged husband, who was meeting photographers and reporters, ripped off his toupee, and fled.

In November Keovan Thompson, a black dinner guest at the home of two white women in Canoga Park, California, flew into a rage, slashing one and trying to choke the other, upon learning in casual dinner conversation that the women's cat is named "Nigger."

In November at Conner's Place topless nightclub in San Antonio, Texas, 36-year-old Louis Cox got into a spat with a waitress, left, and returned a short time later brandishing a portable chain saw. By the time customers stopped him, Cox had sliced through a wooden partition and made a gash in a table. One dancer hit Cox with a chair, and a waitress hit him with a wine cooler bottle.

James Patrick Summerville, 33, was arrested in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, early one November morning after he chased and rammed a garbage truck with his car and fired two shots at it. The truck's driver had declined to wait for Summerville, who was carrying trash that he had forgotten to put out that morning.

In December comedian Michael Dugan suffered a broken nose in a bloody brawl outside the Improv nightclub in Santa Monica, California, after a customer took exception to part of Dugan's routine--a comment about the alleged airheadedness of surfers.

Least Competent People

Police lieutenant Patrick Gildea of Huntington Beach, California, reported in November that officers conducting an undercover drug-purchase sting continued to make arrests of eager would-be customers even after the sting was over and large orange "police" signs were placed in the area. Said Gildea, "We actually had people coming up and getting in line [to buy cocaine] when we had people [under arrest and handcuffed lying] on the ground."

Creme de la Weird

Jack and Donna Wright of Kingston, Ontario, were on the verge of losing their house to creditors in January because they have taken in about 500 cats to save them from being put to sleep. They are about $7,000 behind in mortgage payments because their cat food bill is $306 a day ($111,000 a year). Said Jack Wright, "We didn't want to have so many cats. But what choice do we have?" They claim to be able to identify each cat.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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