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California and the West | CALIFORNIA DATELINE / Snapshots
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When Davis Is on the Web, Even the Typing Is Virtual

August 22, 2000|PATT MORRISON

The governor was wired.

Gray Davis, not exactly the first guy who comes to mind as a surfer of either literal or virtual dimensions, spent a bit of the Democratic National Convention doing hommage to the state's second most glamorous (and politically generous) industry by going online.

In three Web chats and a Webcast, Davis engaged his public. The governor--we'll give him the chat-room moniker of the Grayster for our purposes--swatted at the usual questions about his future interest in the big ticket with his usual answers, along the lines of "My life's ambition was to be governor of California and that's what I'm concentrating on. I'm not going down that road" and "I have one job here, building enthusiasm and support for this ticket. I'm a bit player here."

Davis didn't do his own typing. He spoke, and someone else typed in his answers. As a Davis spokesman said, "He's a man of many skills but fast typing is not one of them."

A man who got his job by a 20-point margin hardly needs typing on his resume. All he needs to be able to find is the $ key.

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Road rodeo: Who says the Wild West is dead? In Riverside County, a truck bearing a huge load of sod was heading downhill for a triple freeway interchange when its brakes failed. At 65 mph, the driver frantically signaled Brian Duffield, who pulled his pickup in front of the rig and slowed down until the trucks touched bumpers. Duffield--who presumably didn't have a lasso handy--rode his brakes for two miles until he brought the big truck to a stop. The cost: his brand-new set of brakes.

And in Simi Valley, the two 20-something sons of the police chief have pleaded not guilty to a road-rage fracas. Prosecutors are saying the Adams brothers, Ryan and Reed, got riled after a Bakersfield woman cut them off, and then beat up the woman's husband when both cars pulled over.

It's a different kind of road rage in Merced, over the rotten state of the county's asphalt. Bumper-mounted lasers will survey 1,566 miles of thoroughfares for cracks and potholes with the help of a Caltrans in the sky, a global positioning satellite.

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Back to the Back Bay? Has the tolerant Bay Area begun to resemble Banned in Boston?

First UC Berkeley decided to reclaim control of People's Park from the city because not enough students use it to justify the money UC pays the city to operate it. People's Park has been the Plymouth Rock of college protest, and Chancellor Robert Berdahl's remark that the park might serve a better purpose as a housing site could bring out protesters again.

Next, San Francisco's Roman Catholic Archdiocese is getting rid of its teenage rectory workers after a lawsuit by a 16-year-old worker whose Burlingame pastor admitted touching several children inappropriately.

Said Father Ed Dura of St. Anne of the Sunset Church, "I think it's too bad, and gives the impression that priests cannot be trusted with teenagers."

Lastly, San Francisco's public health director says he'll press criminal charges against AIDS activists. He was announcing a rise in the city's HIV rate when activists opened fire on him with paper wads and Silly String.

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One-offs: It's pig heaven in Castro Valley, where vet technician Sharlene Scheffer cares for 160 abused and abandoned guinea pigs, and is looking for a bigger apartment so she can accommodate more. . . . The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians, a tribe with only one adult member and seven children, plans to open a Coachella hotel-casino, making it the smallest tribe in the nation to do so. . . . The world will be coming to the door in Carmel-by-the-Sea, whose residents will finally have the choice of home delivery of their mail--once the city finishes putting street numbers on the buildings.

EXIT LINE

"If I was that big, I would be a millionaire and I wouldn't be living here in San Bernardino. This is a bad area."

Alleged Mexican Mafia drug kingpin Antonio Sainz Hernandez, quoted in the San Bernardino Sun.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Cattle Rustling

So you think stealing cattle in California is a crime of yore? Think again: Here are the numbers of beef and dairy cattle reported rustled over the past seven years:

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YEAR CATTLE VALUE 1994 1,863 $947,819 1995 1,345 $520,761 1996 2,137 $869,399 1997 1,887 $908,550 1998 2,849 $1.3 million 1999 1,696 $928,935 2000* 662 $385,512

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* Through July 17

Sources: California Department of Food and Agriculture, Bureau of Livestock Identification, Sacramento

Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times

** California Dateline appears every other Tuesday. **

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