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Web Page Exercises Its Own Kind of Term Limits

November 28, 2000|PATT MORRISON

Now you see 'em, now you don't.

The bottom may have dropped out of the dot-com market, but that doesn't explain the disappearance from the state's Web page of photos and particulars of seven of the state's eight constitutional officers, like the lieutenant governor and the attorney general--everyone but Gov. Gray Davis.

On New York state's home page, the Statue of Liberty shares face space only with New York's governor, George Pataki. Alaska's has the governor and lieutenant governor, Oregon's has a lake, and Florida's has a picture of what looks to be a heron or an egret--that's egret, not regret.

A source in the governor's office said the Web folk in charge of such things had no political motives in changing the Web page design. Over at the office of Secretary of State Bill Jones, the only Republican among the seven MIAs, spokeswoman Beth Miller quipped, "Perhaps none of us was implementing [the governor's] vision to his satisfaction." (For those of you who don't eat, sleep and breathe politics, that refers to Davis' comment last year that the Legislature's job is to "implement my vision.")

Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush disappeared from the lineup some time ago, but that was his own doing.


The write to win First there was the tale of the little house in the forest above San Bernardino; when it didn't sell in 1994, the owner staged an essay lottery. A $50 entry and the best essay beginning, "I would like to live in a house in Summit Valley because . . . " would take the home home. But when only 181 people entered, the contest was canceled.

This month another such contest began, to benefit a nonprofit cancer support group. Essayists are asked to send a $195 entry fee and an essay beginning, "I've always dreamed of living in a beautiful beach community like Manhattan Beach, California . . . "

The way cyber-stocks are going, investors may have to win a house--they may not be able to afford one. So the latest essay contest is a kind of solace, a consolation prize: a $1,500 bottle of wine. The best e-mail of 100 or fewer words relating a tale of dot-com woe wins the 1996 Screaming Eagle Cabernet--the perfect vintage for spilling into your keyboard while you're checking the bad news on the market.

Web sites are and


Gobbler wobbler An editorial in the Santa Barbara News-Press has cooked up a vegetarian stew. The paper was recently bought by billionaire environmentalist-libertarian Wendy P. McCaw, who, along with editorial page editor John Lankford, is said to be a vegetarian. Hence a Thanksgiving editorial urging generous support for the local food bank--with a caveat.

"We cannot--in good conscience--recommend continuation of a tradition that involves the death of an unwilling participant," to wit, the turkey. The editorial says a reader "can donate a turkey if you wish, but you can also donate all the other goodies associated with a holiday meal. Beans and rice are a good protein substitute for turkey."

At the food bank, spokeswoman Stephanie Smagala said the community "kind of thumbed their nose at the editorial," donating 700 more turkeys than the charity had requested. And last week's "Angry Poodle" column in the alternative Santa Barbara Independent savaged McCaw for a "let them eat beans" attitude of "finger-wagging at the poor." And it offered this conjecture: "I think [McCaw and Lankford] were trying to find out if anyone actually read their editorials. To this end, they decided to write something so dumb to see who, if anyone, would notice."

The surviving turkeys probably did.



One-offs The glassy-winged sharpshooter, a pest that has chewed up crops statewide, joins such contemporary objects as Viagra and Prozac in a Yolo County time capsule commemorating the state and county's 150th birthday. . . . Grass Valley high school students failed to get enough signatures on a petition to try to block a daytime curfew that lets police fine public school students who cut class.


"I don't think people are stupid. People just aren't reading the handbook."

--DMV researcher Scott Masten, of the 77% failure rate for pilot tests of the state's overhauled written driving exam. Reported in the San Jose Mercury News.

California Dateline appears every other Tuesday.


Breast Cancer Outlook

Cases of invasive breast cancer in California increased but the number of deaths remained largely stable during the 10 years ending in 1997, the most recent for which figures are available. The average incidence over the period is 108 cases per 100,000 women in the population.


YEAR CASES DEATHS 1988 17,026 4,121 1989 16,562 4,258 1990 17,375 4,292 1991 17,639 4,295 1992 18,324 4,116 1993 17,991 4,310 1994 18,179 4,404 1995 18,731 4,241 1996 19,432 4,289 1997 19,754 4,090



Source: California Cancer Registry, Sacramento

Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times

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