Los Angeles

Marion Barry won a coveted election, but lost his checkbook.

Nadine Winter came early for a crime seminar, only to have her purse snatched on a Los Angeles street.

Betty Ann Kane and Charlene Drew Jarvis heard about a new city program -- for the first time -- from across-the-river neighbor Charles Beatley, mayor of Alexandria.

Bill Spaulding said he didn't eat for two days, and bemoaned the cost ($1.60) of a so-called "Super Dog" sold in the bowels of the huge L.A. Convention Center.

Allegedly sunny Los Angeles (it rained) turned out to be a mixed bag -- or in the case of Winter, a lost one -- for the seven elected District of Columbia officials who attended the annual conference of the National League of Cities that ended here yesterday.

City Council member Winter (D-Ward 6) had perhaps the worst luck. "They got everything," she said of her brush with crime. Winter said she ended up borrowing money to stay the week.

Barry, meanwhile, had one big victory -- election to the league's board of governors, a post he had eagerly coveted -- to compensate for a host of small indignities. There was the lost checkbook -- "I'll have to change accounts," he complained. There was the fact that when he arrived his luggage was lost for 45 minutes. And he didn't get a police car and driver to transport him around, although the District routinely extends such service to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley when he visits.

An aide to Bradley said there were too many VIPs in town for that special service. But Barry was on the list of 75 officials who got to be chauffeured from the airport to their convention hotels.

Sensitive to criticism that six City Council members had come to the convention at city expense but without any coordination, council chairman-elect David A. Clarke scheduled two caucuses of city officials just to make sure there would be no duplication of effort while they attended a potpourri of workshops on every imaginable urban issue. The merits of sending such a large delegation might be debatable, but those who came did work.

Meanwhile, outgoing Chairman Arrington Dixon, who arrived at the convention late Monday night, said he still is job-hunting for a position after his term expires Jan. 2. Asked if he were considering running for public office again, Dixon said, "I can't afford public service." Dixon said he is looking for a job in the computer or telecommunications fields -- possibly in cable television, one of Dixon's pet projects. Commercial cable firms are expected to bid on the District's cable franchise next year.

"Isn't it nice to come out to L.A. and find out what's going on in Washington?" council member Kane (D-At Large) asked with a smile. She had just learned that the city had signed a $25,000 contract for an information service from the league. The city agreed to the contract in October, but a league official said it still had not received the check from the city.

Spaulding (D-Ward 5) was the only council member to complain that his city-paid travel budget was inadequate to meet the high cost of conventioneering, L.A.-style. On the other hand, he was the only council member to bring along an aide.

Both Barry and council member Jarvis (D-Ward 4) attended a black caucus meeting on trade with Africa. Jarvis, chairman of the council's housing and economic development committee, took notes to help make sure African nations will be invited to participate in an international center still on the drawing board for Southwest Washington.

The members of the black caucus applauded the Rev. Jesse Jackson -- who is organizing an economic boycott against Anheuser-Busch, the beer company, for not trading enough with black businesses. However, most of those same delegates attended a reception the following night billed as a "Anheuser-Busch salute to the black caucus." The delegates drank beer and watched Monday Night Football on big-screen TV.