Wednesday, August 9, 2000:

Saw Mayor Richard Riordan at the Pantry for a luncheon with the LA Press Club and a discussion surrounding the National Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. After a couple of greasy eggs & a small sausage, I was ready to talk turkey with Mayor Dick.

I gave him the "look" as he strode into the restaurant, and wouldn't you know, but he came right up to me. "Hey Doc," he called, giggling, "Can you help me out with a fetish?" he asked, then proceeded to suck his thumb with that leprechaunish twinkle in his mayoral eye.

"Sure," I offered. "Come over to my office, and we'll talk. I'll sing you a lullaby. I don't do diapers. But right now, I need to talk about something serious."

He pulled his thumb out of his mouth, looked deflated.

I took a deep breath, then let it all out: "Well, you know, Mayor Riordan, my art gallery and broadcast studios are within a block of the Convention Center. And as you may recall, six months ago, we were raided by heavily armed LAPD officers pretending to be a SWAT team looking for four gunmen/kidnappers. Within five minutes, they saw there were no gunmen there, but they spent over two hours searching our gallery, studios and offices, delaying our broadcast, but never charging us with anything."

The Mayor laughed heartily, his anxious eyes searching the room. "Well, Dr. Block," he quipped, "You know, you do look like a criminal."

I smiled patiently under my black straw hat, not sure if I was supposed to be insulted or enlightened by that remark. Then I replied that, as a matter of fact, I was subject to "sexual profiling" by certain members of the LAPD who, because of my "look," raided my peaceful, law-abiding establishment, threatened my staff and frightened my guests.

He laughed again; he's a jolly one, Mayor Dick.

I came to the point. "So, what should we expect during Convention Week, Mayor Riordan? Will the LAPD be running through my and other galleries and offices looking for demonstrators?"

"Nooo!" he brayed as if I'd just asked if the sky would rain donkeys and elephants. He said that our first raid (which was actually the second) was "a fluke."

A "fluke?"

"Look, I apologize!" the Mayor declared, high-fiving my open hand, "Okay? Does that help?"

"Yes," I replied, feeling a bit like all those people that the Pope, the President and now the Mayor were apologizing to. "That helps." Though I made it apparent that I haven't closed the book on the issue (and our law suit against the LAPD is still pending), I did feel that this public apology warranted that I release him. Whereupon he made a leprachaun-quick beeline for a clutch of excited LA Press Clubbers who were determined to have their picture taken with Hizzoner.