The LookOut sm confidential

uncensored account
C. Castle
Clearing the Dirt

Just when we started losing interest in the mystery, when we thought no one would ever claim that free meal at an exclusive Pico German Restaurant for information leading to the identity of the author of "The Dirt," new clues started rolling in.

First there was the close encounter with the mysterious distributor - author? - who has never been spotted when the piles of newsletters materialize.

Such was the case before last Tuesday's Council meeting.

We had arrived early, anticipating a big crowd, but City Hall was empty, except for the homeless man who followed us up the stairs muttering over and over, "Everybody says the city is so great, but why then is it so scared?''

Close behind were David Cole, who has been suspected of penning "The Dirt," (a charge he once again denied as we stood outside the chamber), community activist Donna Block and Jerry Rubin, a full-time activist who has been suspected of distribution, as well as a repoter from a weekly paper.

Noting there were no copies of "The Dirt #3" on the table outside the chamber, we went inside, and as soon as we sat in the nearly empty room, the reporter plopped one seat down and thrust a fresh copy of "The Dirt #3" at us.

"I knew it was you," she blurted.

We leapt over her seat and dashed for the table that promised to hold a new edition. Grabbing a copy we ran towards the balcony through the empty hallway and looked down, when we heard voices coming from the other side of the lobby.

Below, in the shadows across the floor, we could see Judy Abdo talking to people we couldn't make out. We just heard voices. Otherwise, City Hall seemed empty.

We looked away from the voices in time to spot a movement at the front entrance. Leaning over, we saw the two automatic doors slowly closing -- and nobody there.


The editor sat and pored over the new edition of "The Dirt."

There was an update of the school bailout, reports of closed door-meetings, rumors of a computer virus striking a top school official and items striking former mayors, the Greens, the city's Homeless Policies (again), an Assembly candidate, the folks behind the Living Wage, speed humps and parking woes.

'There's an attack on us here," we said, pointing to the end of the item on homeless spending.

The editor read the item -- "There is no Cap!" - which quoted the City Attorney in a staff report saying "the cap on homeless services has no dollar figure," which seemed to fly in the face of a city ordinance that cracked down on the homeless five years ago.

"We congratulate the local news media for completely missing this story," the item concluded. "Maybe they were too busy snickering at the typos in our last issue, we know surfsantamonica had a good laugh."

The editor looked up.

"At least they spelled our name right," the editor said. "But we'll have to slam them harder the next time if we're going to weed them out in a p---ing match."

"What is it?" we chimed in. "Can't afford the lunch reward?"

"No, there's a bigger plan, it involves -"

The telephone rang and the editor grabbed it.

He listened, then said, "I'll meet you in ten minutes, there are speed humps for blocks around."

He grabbed his coat and headed out the door.

"Hot tip from a city official," he said. "High ranking."

Lookout for the next installment of "Clearing the Dirt" this week.

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