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CALIFORNIA DATELINE / PATT MORRISON

Snapshots of life in the Golden State. : For Balance, How About a Be Kind to Weasels Week?

October 14, 1994|PATT MORRISON

As rough as these weeks have been for voters, weasels have had it even worse.

How would you like to have your good name, the name of a small mammalian carnivore, likened to politicians?

First there was that honky-tonk, 10-second commercial from the Kathleen Brown campaign comparing Gov. Pete Wilson to a weasel for not having consented to debates.

Then "A Bunch of Weasels," an art exhibit made up of a dozen stuffed and mounted weasels framing caricatures of the Santa Cruz County supervisors, was set up outside the county offices--and who could miss that connection?

Artist Mike Duffy was told to pack up the weasels, and a large black flag and painting of Christ. "It is a public building. It's not like an art museum where you have a choice of whether to go. People come here because they have to," said Supervisor Jan Beautz.

And then, in that Santa Cruz style we've all come to cherish, she added that she wasn't offended by the depiction, but "is it mean to the weasels?"

*

A man for all . . . seats: Republican Richard L. Mountjoy is running for reelection to his Assembly seat in Arcadia . . . and for the state Senate in Whittier.

The Senate seat was left vacant when Republican Frank Hill was convicted of federal corruption charges, and state law allows a candidate to run simultaneously in a regular election and a special election. He'll have to forfeit one if he wins both; no moonlighting between the chambers.

Another two-fer from the Riverside County Sheriff's Assn., which has endorsed both candidates for county supervisor: The leadership had endorsed Moreno Valley council member Cynthia Crothers, but then the rank-and-file agitated for former sheriff's Deputy Tom Mullen. In the least startling observation of the season, a Crothers spokesman told the Riverside Press-Enterprise, "Politics got involved."

*

Yankee stay home: The free trade agreement with Mexico may not extend to the person of the former mayor of San Diego--now California's governor. Tijuana's city council declared Pete Wilson "persona non grata" for his support of Proposition 187 and a border crackdown.

No guards will be posting Wilson's photo at the border. But the council declared that "Many Tijuananses have relatives in California and vice versa," and they reject Wilson's policies "against our fellow Mexicans, be they illegal or not."

*

Pig heaven: Remember Orwell's "Animal Farm"--Some pigs are more equal than others?

In Hesperia, a San Bernardino County city of 59,152 people and an unknown number of companion swine, female and neutered male potbellied pigs will henceforth have the same rights and privileges as pet dogs. But unfixed male potbellies must stay down on the farm--too aggressive for domesticity.

So Many Lawyers

It may come as no surprise that the number of lawyers in the United States topped 846,000 last year. Here are the states with the lowest people-to-lawyers ratios, based on 1991 statistics.

STATE RATIO 1.Dist. of Columbia 15:1 2.New York 195:1 3.Massachusetts 217:1 4.Connecticut 220:1 5.Colorado 248:1 6.Illinois 255:1 7.New Jersey 264:1 8.Alaska 266:1 9.California 289:1 10.Hawaii 306:1

Source: American Bar Foundation

Research by TRACY THOMAS

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Don't laugh, this is science: The migratory habits of 29,000 pelagic toys--ducks, turtles, beavers and frogs, spilled 10 months ago from a freighter--are helping researchers trace winds and ocean currents in the big bathtub of the north Pacific.

The rubber-duckie report, just published in a scholarly journal by an oceanographer and a computer modeler, lets scientists compare how currents and winds move floating ocean debris. The two men also analyzed the movement patterns of 61,000 Nike shoes that fell off a ship in 1990 and floated toward the West Coast.

Only about 400 surviving toys have beached themselves in Alaska; the remainder are evidently destined for the Arctic ice pack, to be rotated around the pole and into the North Atlantic. The shoes--probably cross trainers--have headed the other way, past Hawaii, toward Japan.

*

I'll take what's behind door No. 1: In a kind of supermarket-sweep justice, Vista Municipal Court Judge David Ryan has sentenced a woman convicted of using a stolen credit card to 60 days in jail and to let the victim take one item of her choice from the defendant's home.

Tyra Ann Veltri pleaded guilty after joining three companions in allegedly stealing Sarah Lang's purse, using credit cards to buy a vacuum cleaner, jewelry and shoes for her 3-year-old daughter. She surrendered after a companion was arrested, and returned the goods.

Public Defender Domenic Lombardo says the judge is trying to "balance the moral scale. . . . But there's no provision for balancing the moral scale in the Penal Code. There's no provision for an eye for an eye."

But maybe a VCR for a vacuum cleaner?

EXIT LINE

"We should all buy kit foxes."

--Guest at a back yard rally in the Bakersfield neighborhood of Rosedale, referring to protections extended to the endangered San Joaquin kit fox. Neighbors rallied to stop an extension of Highway 58 from going through their neighborhood. Quoted in the Bakersfield Californian.

California Dateline appears every other Friday.

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