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Is L.A. calling? Is the chief listening?

Is Chief Kroeker angling for a job as head of the LAPD? Sources say Her Honor the Mayor would consider it very bad form on Kroeker's part, since he's only been here about two years Ñ and think of all they've done for each other. É Actually, it's not certain yet that there's even an opening in Lala Land, although the new mayor of Los Angeles has announced his intention to replace the current chief. É If that happens, Kroeker, who hails from Los Angeles and was twice a runner-up for the top cop job there, would be a likely candidate. The question is: Is he interested? É Kroeker, of course, is playing it close to the vest at the moment. But sources say the mayor's office has gotten wind that he's been making inquiries down there. They just might know. Vera's son, Jesse Katz, writes for the Los Angeles Times Magazine.

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In about two weeks, 'attractive signature gatherers,' which is how attorney Eric Winters phrases it, will be dropping by area bars with signs that say: 'Want Cheaper Drinks? Sign Up Here.' É It'll be the kickoff of an initiative petition drive to get the Oregon Liquor Control Commission out of the business of selling booze. Winters, who's managing the campaign along with conservative stalwart Don McIntire, says per-drink savings would be 'significant.'

Is the Empire Room, the charming neighborhood bistro at 43rd and Hawthorne, the only place in town that serves Armenian sandwiches? Lavash bread rolled up with five kinds of cheese, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers. Maybe I'll just have to check it out again.

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The Fluffgirl Burlesque Society, from Vancouver, B.C., will headline Sunday night at Dante's Sinferno Cabaret. Owner Frank Faillace observes, 'It's just like having six more Lucy Furs running around.' É As for us, as you may already have noticed, we stand ready to support any and all efforts to put the 'tease' back in 'striptease.' É Wednesday nights at Jimmy Mak's start earlier these days Ñ say, around 7. That's so Mel Brown and his jazz quartet can get in a set for the 21-and-under crowd, who would otherwise have to leave by 9, before the music usually starts.

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Funny, isn't it, how sooner or later, it all comes out in the wash. A few weeks ago, Tim Keck, publisher of The Stranger in Seattle, had occasion to call Russ Martineau, who was then business manager for Willamette Week, which just happens to be one of the Trib's competitors here in P-town. É After a couple of minutes, Keck noticed something amiss. 'Hey, Russ,' he said, 'you sound really depressed. How're you doing?' É 'Horribly,' said Martineau, 'I'm doing just horribly.' É 'What's the matter?' asked Keck, hoping to find some way to comfort his friend. É 'I'll tell you what's the matter,' responded Martineau. 'We're getting killed.' Advertising revenue at Willamette Week was going down the tubes, he said. 'The Trib is killing us with the older demographic, and the Mercury' Ñ another local weekly owned by The Stranger and aimed at a young, hip audience Ñ 'is killing us from below.' É In January, the Mercury filed a complaint with the state attorney general's office alleging that WW has been illegally offering ad discounts to nightclubs in exchange for not advertising in the Mercury. Now I guess we know why. É Shortly after the conversation, Martineau Ñ who was a part owner of WW Ñ left the paper.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..