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Monday, August 6, 2007

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A heady bouquet of change
S. Africa’s wine industry has long been run by white men who said blacks lacked tradition. Now a Zulu woman is proving them wrong.
By Robyn Dixon
Times Staff Writer

Parties play to partisan rancor
Angry sparring has largely served political interests on each side, but the confrontational tactics create risks.
By Noam N. Levey
Times Staff Writer


Stellenbosch, South Africa tsiki Biyela looked curiously at the red liquid in her glass, wondering what to ex-

pect. She was listening to a connoisseur who swirled his glass about, passionately extolling the perfumes of blackberries and cigar box that she was supposed to be appreciating. Biyela smelled, as instructed, but there had never been any blackberries or cigar boxes in the Zulu village where she grew up, fetching water from the river and firewood from the forest every day. The liquid smelled alien. Then it was time to taste. Bitter! Disgusting! Was she going to dedicate her life to making this undrinkable brew? That was eight years ago. Today, Biyela, a petite woman with a ready smile, gets a faraway look in her eye when she has her nose in a wineglass. She is South Africa’s first black female winemaker in an overwhelmingly white, male-dominated industry. In 1999, she was one of a group of students given scholarships to learn winemaking as part of an affirmative action measure in a country struggling to overcome the poisonous legacy of apartheid. Fresh from university in 2004, she joined the boutique Stellakaya winery here in the Cape Winelands as its winemaker, and its wines since have won gold and silver medals in South Africa, one of the world’s new wine powers. “This is my favorite,” the 29year-old enthused, popping the cork from a bottle of blended Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, pouring it into a glass and holding it under her nose, with a small frown of in[See South Africa, Page A6]

Stephen Osman L os Angeles Times

G O I N G U P : Workers apply stucco to a condominium complex on Moorpark Street in Sherman Oaks. Throughout Southern California, more multi-family units than single-family houses are being built, and the trend is expected to escalate during the next 30 years.

As more apartments and condos are built, traffic The U.S. makes progress won’t be the region’s in a violent swath of only kind of jam. Iraq, slowly and subtly.
By Sharon Bernstein By Tina Susman
Times Staff Writer Times Staff Writer

Squaring a ‘triangle of death’

Southern California is becoming a tight fit
other places — was of an affordable single-family home, a little house on a patch of green where kids could play out back. But today, construction of condos and apartments is rapidly overtaking that of singlefamily residences, even in suburbs known for spread-out living. It’s part of a broader shift to urbanized living in Southern California, a change that brings with it significantly higher density and concerns about overcrowding and traffic. Consider the Valley: In the 1940s, developers there and throughout the region were putting up houses wherever they could, plowing under vegetable fields and planting that dream along streets and cul-de-sacs. But over the last six years, Los Angeles has approved more than 14,000 condos and apartments for construction in the San Fernando Valley, according to city records, nearly three times the number of single-family residences. It’s a trend that is mirrored throughout the region, and it is expected to intensify as Southern California stretches to accommodate a crush of 6.3 million new residents over the next 30 years. So many new apartments will be built that by 2035, the number of multi-family dwellings under construction will outstrip the [See Homes, Page A10]

yousifiya, iraq — U.S. troops had nicknamed the suspected insurgent “George Clooney” because of his handsome mug, but he wasn’t so pretty after members of his own Sunni tribe shot and wounded him, then turned him over to the Americans. U.S. forces say the tribe’s act was an example of the payoffs from practicing the counterinsurgency techniques preached by Gen. David H. Petraeus as he enforces President Bush’s troop “surge.” But unlike the 28,500 newly arrived troops, soldiers here have been at it for nearly a year. Their experience in trying to tame this palm-fringed enclave south of Baghdad, within the area sometimes called the “triangle of death,” serves as a sobering reminder of how long it can take to remake a region steeped in violence, be it bucolic farmland or a chaotic city like Baghdad. They have seen victories, but they also have suffered horrific losses. And most say that the improvement in security did not begin until May, when the disappearance of three U.S. soldiers [See Troops, Page A4] RELATED STORY

When Bing Crosby crooned that he would settle down and “make the San Fernando Valley my home,” he wasn’t singing about apartments. The Southern California dream back then — exemplified by the World War II-era tracts popping up in the Valley and


Negotiating the difficulties of a delicate pact
An adoptee wonders about her mothers — especially the one who went away. Will she end up feeling unwanted again?
with Dorrie — but not with Kendall, who had t was a saturday, midmorning. A been deeply hurt by her absence. Kendall telephone split the stillness. had already insisted on conditions for a visit: Kendall McArthur’s adoptive Patti must see a psychologist, just as Kenmother, Dorothea, known as Dorrie, dall was doing. She must figure out why she took the call in the study. In an inhad disappeared from Kendall’s life. She stant, more than two years of turmoil must explain it, and she must promise never crested, then crashed in Kendall’s to vanish again. Barring that, Kendall said, heart. It was her birth mother. even if Patti appeared at her door, she would Kendall, 11, dismissed a playmate. She hide in a closet and refuse to see her. crept to the study door, just out of sight, and On the phone in the listened intently. Within study, Kendall’s adoptive moments, the conversamother was spelling this tion grew heated. Kendall out again. Last time, the had neither seen nor spoconditions had met with ken with her birth mother, stony silence. Now there Patti Sheets, in what was fury. seemed like forever. Maybe it was over. For There was biting anger six years, Kendall had in Dorrie McArthur’s been in an open adoption, voice as it tumbled out of a delicate arrangement by the study and into Kenwhich children see their dall’s elegantly appointed birth parents often — at Silver Lake home. Kendall least several times a year, caught every word, and sometimes weekly, even she filled in the silences daily. By agreement, both with good guesses about sets of parents — adoptive what her birth mother and biological — play large was saying on the other roles in their children’s end: I want to see Kendall. T O RT U O US LOVE: lives. She thought this might At 13, Kendall McArthur Forty years ago, most happen. Her birth mother could be loving and adoptions in the United had called three weeks becheerful — and then an States were closed. Today, fore, for the first time in 27 “adolescent plus.” [See Kendall, Page A12] months. She had spoken

washington — As the House of Representatives lurched through its last rancorous hours over the weekend, there was much talk of shame and disappointment about the bitter partisanship that seemed to consume Congress ahead of its summer break. But there were few real tears in the Capitol for the current state of affairs. Seven months into Democrats’ control of the House and Senate, the angry sparring has largely served the political interests of both parties, whose leaders often believe they have more to gain by warring with their rivals than by working with them. Newly empowered Democrats, confident that the public backs their agenda and eager to expand their House and Senate majorities next year, have little incentive to accommodate the GOP minority. They left town touting their successful efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, revamp ethics and lobbying rules, and implement the Sept. 11 commission’s recommendations, though many other major goals, such as ending the war in Iraq, were unrealized. For their part, Republicans, who still lag in public opinion polls after losing the majority last year, see more advantage in disrupting congressional business in their quest to cast the Democratic Congress as ineffective. They went home complaining of a “do-nothing” Congress, even after they used one procedural tactic after another to stall legislative business. “This is an era of partisan gridlock,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a [See Congress, Page A17]

Inside The Times

Rodger Bosch AFP/Getty Images

TA S TE OF SU C C E SS : Ntsiki Biyela got a scholarship to study winemaking in 1999.

Politics: Premier rejects Sunni Cabinet members’ resignations. World, A4

Inspectors feel weight of bridge’s collapse
States dispatch experts. One visits a corroding span in Colorado.
By Stephanie Simon
Times Staff Writer


By Sonia Nazario : times staff writer
Last of two parts

pueblo, colo. — There are holes in the steel girders supporting state bridge K-18-R. Not big holes. The size of a deck of cards, maybe. But the corrosion so alarmed state inspectors on a routine visit Thursday that they asked their supervisor to take a look. Which is why he’s now perched 40 feet above the Arkansas River, bracing his back against the concrete deck of the bridge and his feet against the

rust-scarred steel trusses that keep the structure up. Jeff Anderson is tapping the girders with a geologist’s pick, listening to each ping and clank for clues about how K-18-R is bearing up. He’s waiting for the bridge to talk to him. “Watch out below!” A very sizable chunk of corroded steel gives way under Anderson’s probing and tumbles down, shattering on the bike path that runs along the river. Built in 1924 in this modest farm town in south-central Colorado, the bridge is one of about 75,000 nationwide deemed “structurally deficient.” Its sufficiency rating stands at 47 on a scale of 100 — lower, by a few points, than that of Minneapolis’ Interstate 35W bridge before it [See Inspection, Page A16]

Ricardo DeAratanha L os Angeles Times

Creating a buzz for pharmaceuticals
A special report looks at how we, and physicians, get sold on drugs. Health, F1

New Chrysler chief
The executive who abruptly quit Home Depot over his pay is chosen. Business, C1 Weather: Clearing skies and cooler after morning clouds. L.A.: 79/63 Page B10 Latest news: Complete index: Page A2


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