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LOS Angeles is beginning to earn a reputation as a city of bluenoses.

First, those overlords of virtue, members of the Los Angeles City Council, ban billboards that advertise alcohol and tobacco without regard to that old safeguard to free speech, the First Amendment.

Now they've used - abused, actually - their official powers by ordering an investigation of a television show at which some people have taken offense.

To be sure, the show, ``The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer,'' has enough to offend almost anyone. It is a UPN sitcom with the premise that Abraham Lincoln was an oversexed buffoon and the real brains behind him was a black English butler.

Clearly, making jokes about slavery and desecrating perhaps our greatest president as if he were Bill Clinton is not one of TV's great moments. But by its action of ordering the city Human Rights Commission to investigate the show - tantamount to censorship, according to an ACLU attorney - the council once again has overstepped the bounds of its municipal authority and responsibility.

By doing so unanimously, its members show their true colors.

If instead of a council made up of politically correct liberals, the council were dominated by Christian Coalition conservatives who took it into their minds to start censoring television shows they didn't like, there would be a howl from here to Moscow.

The tragedy is that this is a council that meddles in every ideological mud puddle while the city's streets and sidewalks and water and sewer pipes rot.

Its members stood by for years, intimidated by Daryl Gates, without raising a peep while police brutality was systematically ignored by the LAPD.

They never lifted a finger while Los Angeles became the world capital of the pornography industry.

They think sex clubs in Hollywood neighborhoods are a good idea.

They squandered the public treasury on their own self-indulgences while gangs wreaked havoc on the city for a generation.

Now they are outraged by leaf blowers and Budweiser ads and ``Desmond Pfeiffer.''

So it will be until voters rise up en masse and throw the rascals out.

In the meantime, we suggest you take advantage of the council's desire to regulate what's on television.

Joe Hicks, executive director of the city Human Rights Commission, characterized ``Desmond Pfeiffer'' as ``dumb, juvenile and meant to be insulting.'' He believes the investigation is warranted because of protests from some members of the community.

We can live with that standard. So if you think a TV show is dumb, juvenile and insulting, we suggest you call or write your City Council representative and demand an investigation.

Where to call:

To call City Hall, dial (818) 756-8121 and then enter the seven-digit number:

Councilman Richard Alatorre - 485-3335

Councilman Richard Alarcon - 485-3671

Councilman Hal Bernson - 485-3343

Councilwoman Laura Chick - 485-3486

Councilman John Ferraro, council president - 485-3337

Councilman Mike Feuer - 485-5013

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter - 485-3357

Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg - 485-3353

Councilman Mike Hernandez - 485-3451

Councilman Nate Holden - 485-3323

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski - 485-3811

Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas - 485-3331

Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. - 485-3347

Councilman Joel Wachs - 485-3391

Councilwoman Rita Walters - 485-3351
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 1, 1998

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