Hindrances such as snow, rain and gloom of night are not supposed to stay the intrepid couriers of the U.S. Postal Service from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, or so the saying goes.
In Santa Monica, a blizzard of a different kind--political junk mail--forced them on Sunday to make some unappointed rounds too.
Postal officials said they were so inundated with political mailers--some voters reported receiving more than two dozen in a single day--that they had to make the Sunday deliveries to reduce the backlog.
A heart transplant patient who insisted on voting Tuesday died unexpectedly, shortly after casting his ballot from his hospital bed.
J. D. Livingston, 65, of the Sun Valley section of Los Angeles was a steadfast Republican who told workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that he had never willingly missed an election.
Recovering from his third episode of rejection of his second transplanted heart, Livingston cast his absentee ballot about noon. He went into cardiac arrest a half-hour later, and was pronounced dead at about 2 p.m., according to hospital spokeswoman Peggy Frank Shaff.
"He was an incredibly patriotic man," said Shaff. "This was very important to him. It is just unbelievable."
Livingston, a retired real estate developer and dairyman, was one of about 100 hospitalized people at Cedars-Sinai to request absentee ballots from employees at the Westside hospital.
Santa Monica City Atty. Robert M. Myers is not known for his sense of whimsy, but the oh-so-serious lawyer demonstrated that he is not all business by naming his family band after a slur made against him by supporters of Proposition Y, the ballot measure that proposed making the city attorney's post an elected one.
The group called itself the "Habitual Criminals," which is what opponent Leslie Dutton called Myers because of his arrests during anti-nuclear power plant protests.
The band, in which Myers plays lead guitar and his wife and 11-year-old twins handle the vocals, performed at campaign fund-raisers, singing appropriately original songs about political life in Santa Monica.
Among them was a ditty called "Love Me, I'm a Santa Monica Liberal," sung to a tune by '60s folkie Phil Ochs.
Staff writers Nancy Hill-Holtzman and Josh Meyer contributed to these reports.