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WHISKERED COUNCILMEN BACK AT WORK.

Byline: RICK ORLOV Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council returned from its summer recess Tuesday still somewhat in vacation mode: starting 10 minutes late, with tales of travels and a new look for three of its members.

``What is this? A mid-life crisis?'' one aide joked as Councilmen Tony Cardenas, Alex Padilla and Ed Reyes returned to work sporting beards, goatees and moustaches.

``I lost my razor and I'm not sure I'll be able to find it again,'' Cardenas retorted as he stroked his new goatee.

The council was off three weeks -- two weeks for its summer recess and a third for members attending the California League of Cities conference in San Diego.

The most adventurous was council President Eric Garcetti, who spent two weeks in Pensacola, Fla., and San Diego, fulfilling his service in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

``It was an incredible group of people, and I learned a lot that I hope I can apply here when it comes to leadership,'' Garcetti said.

One of the lessons involved taking charge in a life-threatening situation and learning to delegate authority to make sure everyone was brought to safety.

``There is definitely a Navy way of doing things,'' said Garcetti, still sporting the closely cropped haircut given recruits.

For others, like Councilmen Dennis Zine and Bill Rosendahl, the time off provided a chance to get away -- Zine to Hawaii and Rosendahl to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

``It was eight days without phones, cell phones, television or newspapers,'' Rosendahl said. ``It gives you a chance to realize there is a life without being plugged in.''

For the council, it also was a return to some of its critics.

Most notably, the council was serenaded with a rap song by Zuma Dogg, the homeless gadfly who managed to tie together criticism of the council's absence with illegal immigration and urging people to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 election.

With the council's return also comes a renewed effort to enforce decorum among public speakers after a long-running battle earlier this year over a speaker's use of racial slurs. Councilman Bernard Parks said that although some of speakers' language is protected by the First Amendment, the council will begin trying to enforce some rules to prohibit ``personal, impertinent (or) unduly repetitive ... threatening or abusive language.''

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com

(213) 978-0390

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Photo:

Council members, from left, Tony Cardenas, Alex Padilla and Ed Reyes returned to work Tuesday sporting new facial hair after their summer break.

John McCoy/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 13, 2006
Words:421
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