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of life in the Golden State.

Sonny Bono Is Given a Moving California Honor

September 05, 2000|PATT MORRISON

Their names are seen by more people than the names up in lights on movie marquees.

Unfortunately, they usually got there the hard way--by dying.

In its waning hours, the state Legislature added another Californian to the list of those who have freeway interchanges named for them: Sonny Bono.

Senate concurrent resolution 99 decreed that a freeway interchange in Moreno Valley will henceforth bear the name of the crooner-turned-congressman who died in a 1997 skiing accident.

With the Legislature's action, Bono joins the company of another entertainer, Gene Autry, singing cowboy and broadcast and baseball mogul, whose name shows up on the interchange of the Golden State and Ventura freeways, near the museum that houses his Western and movie memorabilia.

More usual are freeways, bridges and highways and even a retaining wall named for lawmen who have died in the line of duty, as well as generals, explorers, admirals and Medal of Honor winners. Naturally, legislators and mayors have been accorded this bit of immortality, as have good Samaritans, a Caltrans chief landscaper, and James Lick, the piano- and organ-maker who financed the Lick Observatory. One stretch of Highway 1 was christened Devil's Slide not to honor the eponymous prince of darkness, but evidently because during Prohibition it was where mobsters dumped their victims into the sea.

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The Ovary Office: A Sacramento-based nonprofit political group striving to get women elected to public office and especially to the White House's top job wanted to hire a woman who had already occupied the Oval Office--but not in the same role the group aspired to.

American Women Presidents had offered the post of vice president and spokeswoman to Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern in the sex scandal that led to President Clinton's impeachment and trial. But other organizations asked the nonprofit to change its mind, and it did, concerned about "the credibility of the organization" and having "miscalculated the resentment" against Lewinsky, said the group's president, Mosemarie Boyd.

So Lewinsky, who was earlier dropped from a diet chain's ad campaign, remains a solo entrepreneur, at last reports still selling her $70-to-$130 handbags with the label on the outside.

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AC/DC meets X: With local electricity rates on an angle of ascent steeper than a Vandenberg missile, San Diegans have often turned for help, news and numbers to the Web site of Utility Consumers Action Network.

However, in this brave new cyberworld, distinctions between dot-org and dot-com, the nonprofit organizations and the for-profit commercial enterprises, are sometimes muddled. Those who erred and typed in the network's Web address but with dot-com at the end saw on their computer screens not data on electricity rates but an X-rated Web site.

The executive director of the real UCAN organization, Michael Shames, joked that his group should get a percentage from the sex site's sales to angry electric consumers who happen upon the virtual porn by accident and stay online to buy something.

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One-offs: John Tomasich quit his job, sold his Long Beach house and moved to Wisconsin to campaign at his own expense for a half-cent sales tax to renovate Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers . . . So many geese are overrunning a Walnut Creek golf course and messing up the fairways with fowl leavings that the course is turning a trained border collie loose to scare the geese away . . . Among the items seized from convicted Lakeside cocaine trafficker Ronnie T. Walters are his helicopter and his 38-foot boat named "No Se Nada" (I Know Nothing) . . . After two years of negotiating between Chevron and the Contra Costa town of Brentwood, the oil company agreed to paint over its signature blue paint on a gas station and do it up medium brown to fit in with the color scheme of Brentwood's historic downtown.

EXIT LINE

"A lot of prosperity here is built on the perception that the city is on the verge of rebirth, and anything that damages that can stop you dead in your tracks."

--Tony Intinoli, mayor of Vallejo, where one young girl disappeared en route to school and another was abducted on her way home. She later escaped. Quoted in the San Jose Mercury News.

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California Dateline appears every other Tuesday.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Sweet Summer Corn

California is the king of corn, especially when it comes to the fresh-market sweet variety,growing 21% of the nation's crop last year. Here are the top corn-producing states and the percentage of the national output their ears equaled in 1999.

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Millions % of U.S. Rank/State of pounds crop 1 California 573.5 21% 2 Florida 529.2 19% 3 Georgia 378.0 14% 4 New York 320.2 12% 5 Ohio 113.3 4% 6 Oregon 108.8 4% 7 Colorado 107.2 4% 8 Michigan 74.2 3% 9 Pennsylvania 69.5 3% 10 Wisconsin 67.9 3% Other states 383.0 14% U.S. total 383.0

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Note: Percentages do not total 100 because of rounding.

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Researched by TRACY THOMAS/Los Angeles Times

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