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Snapshots of life in the Golden State. : Birds Do It, Bees Do It, Now Livestock Can Too

August 19, 1994|PATT MORRISON

Who says government resists change? Come January it will no longer be a crime to duel--only good aim will still be covered by the penal code. The Victims' Bill of Rights probably can't make up for the old law that the duel's winner has to pay the loser's spouse, however.

Livestock whose mating habits offended Victorian sensibilities will now be able to copulate lawfully within 400 yards of a city or town, if they can get that close.

Time alone has rendered some laws obsolete, like the 1979 measure ordering the CHP to study the possible hiring of women (more than 500 are now in uniform) . . . and the law allowing farmers to kill troublesome beavers. Nowadays, there are so few beavers that they constitute more of a miracle than a nuisance.


Families in the '90s

The 1990 Census was the first to count unmarried people living together. According to data recently released, about 1 million Californians were living together as domestic partners. About 4.8% of California's 10.4 million households were headed by domestic partners; the comparable rate nationally was 3.5%.

Type of Household Number % of Pop. Married couples 5,603,627 53.88 Singles living alone 2,416,267 23.23 Unmarried partners 495,223 4.76 Male-female 458,621 4.41 Male-male 23,275 0.22 Female-female 13,327 0.13 Other* 1,884,583 18.12

* Includes roommates or a single person with children.

Sources: Calif. Research Bureau, 1990 U.S. Census

Research by TRACY THOMAS


Airport '94: At the end of a day in which each had accused the other of all manner of untruth, GOP Gov. Pete Wilson and Democratic challenger Kathleen Brown found themselves on the same Southwest flight from Sacramento to Burbank.

As Brown got on the plane with ticket 129--no reserved seats--Wilson was already aboard, in the front row with his people (in movies and politics, people have people).

"Good afternoon, Governor," Brown said. "If this plane goes down, John Garamendi and Ron Unz will eat their hearts out." (Garamendi and Unz, you recall, lost their primaries.)

According to the Brown people, everyone laughed but Wilson. Even Wilson's people, who say on their behalf that the governor smiled.


Ludwig schmudwig: Parents of saxophone players think the new conductor of the Sonoma County Junior Symphony has a lot of brass. Asher Raboy wants to let Beethoven be Beethoven, i.e., no saxophones in the "Pastorale." "Don't take this away from the kids," urged one pro-sax parent. "Put these kids above your own concerns."

Raboy hopes to organize more ensembles for all the students' instruments, but Beethoven simply didn't write for two saxophones and seven flutes. (The sax was invented some years after the composer sounded his last chord.)

No groundswell reported for students who play the electric guitar.


Racing colors: The cast-iron lawn jockeys of Tiburon's Main Street will stay put, and stay white. A local African American minister had complained that the perennially controversial statues should be black, to honor African American jockeys who dominated racing in the last century.

Tiburon went through a mirror-experience 10 or 12 years ago, after people complained to the contrary, and the original black jockeys were replaced with white ones.

The 1994 compromise: the white jockeys remain, and a statue of "Jocko" will be taken from storage and displayed with a plaque. Legend holds that Jocko was a young slave who froze to death as he held George Washington's horse while the Father of His Country crossed the Delaware one Christmas to clobber the British.

Cassandra Flipper, whose great-great-uncle was the first black cadet to graduate West Point, sat in on the talks. The cookie-cutter statues, she says, never commemorated black jockeys but were modeled after black children in jockey costume who held carriage horses.

But the Jocko statue honors an individual, and "an event all Americans can relate to."


Something flambe? Getting briefed at a command center for the San Luis Obispo blaze were gov hopeful Kathleen Brown and GOP Senate contender Rep. Michael (Mike) Huffington. Outside, Brown ran into Huffington's wife, author Arianna (Arianna), a longtime acquaintance from when the women were a "dynamic duo" in New York City and, briefly, on the lecture circuit.

Amid vehicles layered in ash, Mrs. H., in high heels and summery peachy-pink, hugged her friend, in jeans and yellow firefighting jacket, and pledged, "After November, we'll have to have lunch." (Back on the campaign bus, Brown allowed as how lunch was a great idea--a fund-raiser.)


"That's a crime?"

--Pleasanton Municipal Judge Hugh Walker, at a hearing for a homeless man who pleaded guilty to taking a shopping cart. Eric Washington, cited before for the same offense, is now on three years' probation. He said he was just borrowing it to move his belongings.

California Dateline appears every other Friday.

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