Eric Ellenbogen is mastering the legislative process at an age when Southern Californians usually worry more about suntans and surfing. Only 17, the self-assured, booming-voiced Ellenbogen already has been a registered environmental lobbyist in Sacramento for two years. He’s a good one too. “He has a real grasp of the legislature and where the levers are,” says Assemblyman Edwin Z’berg. “I wish all lobbyists were of the same caliber.”
When Eric first visited the state capital at age 13 to support air pollution legislation, nobody paid him much heed. Then he collected 10,000 signatures on behalf of a law to ban all beverage cans and, he says, “I was no longer some little kid running around the capital.” That bill failed. Undeterred, Ellenbogen—who heads his own environmental and lobbying organizations and has a secretary and staff of four student volunteers—helped obtain assembly passage of a bill outlawing flip-top cans and is now shepherding it through the senate. He also is suing the federal government for spraying California forests with Agent Orange, a defoliant banned by the U.S. Dept. of Defense for use in Vietnam after the discovery that it had caused birth defects in laboratory rats.
An honor student at Beverly Hills High School, Eric says that he plans to major in government at Harvard beginning this fall, then “wet my feet in politics.”
Lena Zavaroni is a gap-toothed gamine from Scotland who is 10 years old, stands 4’1″, weighs 68 pounds—and will earn at least $200,000 this year as Britain’s newest teeny-bopper musical heroine. Her sudden wealth is based on the success of her record single, Ma, He’s Making Eyes at Me, plus a briskly selling album and an invasion of the U.S. pop market that is already underway. At age 7 Lena began singing with her father and uncle in an amateur act for tourists and fellow residents of the isle of Bute off Scotland, where she was spotted last summer by a vacationing record producer. Stardom propelled the freckled entertainer, whose throaty delivery and professional timing are years beyond her real age, from the family’s modest home in Rothesay to her agent’s posh flat in London. She is missed. “The house isn’t the same without her,” says her mother. “I’m amazed to see her on TV sometimes. She comes over so bubbly, and she has that ability to change moods and turn from happiness to sadness in a moment. And yet at home she was a quiet little girl who was too shy to speak to strangers. When I see her performing now, I know she is going to be a star. She has learned to rise above herself.” None of this seems to have turned Lena’s head. She misses mum and dad and tries to talk to them on the phone daily, dislikes the bustle of the city, studies with a tutor, settles for $2.40 a week pocket money and is relaxed about the future. “I don’t really think about it,” she says. “I just take life as it comes.”