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California and the West | CALIFORNIA DATELINE / Snapshots
of life in the Golden State.

The Playboy Bunny and GOP Elephant Team Up

September 19, 2000|PATT MORRISION

The Democrats came away embarrassed and empty-handed from that fund-raiser at the Playboy Mansion that didn't happen. But it's California's Republicans who may have figured out a better way to make X equal $.

Think Web.

"The California Republican Party has partnered with ebates.com to bring you a way to shop online and support the Republican Party!" boasts the site in question. And, with a logo of an elephant as a shopping cart, Republicanshopping.com links cyber-shoppers to all manner of goods and services.

Some seem suitably Republican, like Brooks Bros., donating 8% of a purchase price to the party, and Hooked on Phonics, which pledges 15%. But one linked site, Blowout Video, gives the GOP 8% of the tab on video purchases, including dozens of choices from Playboy.

Now 8% of the $18.47 price of "Playboy's Biker Babes: Hot Wheels and High Heels" would be $1.47, 8% of the $12.81 tab for the "Hot Latin Ladies" video would put $1.02 in the coffers of the party courting the Latino vote, and 8% from the $5 price of "Girls of Hooters" could drop 40 cents into the Republican campaign chest.

And you can't put a price on being able to say, "But honey, it's to help the party."

So, shop till you GOP.

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Steal this lane: For decades, the Mother Road has been the Mother Lode to thieves and souvenir hunters making off with the shield-shaped road signs proclaiming this or that piece of highway to be Route 66.

The 2,448-mile roadway winding eventually from Chicago to Santa Monica has borne names like Postal Highway, Ozark Trail and the Will Rogers Highway, but always and most famously, Route 66. And the signs saying so disappeared faster than a desert mirage in a thunderstorm.

"People were taking power tools and saws and sawing the whole pole down," Geoffrey Willis, former president of the California Historic Route 66 Assn., told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

So officials in San Bernardino County will instead be stenciling the famous highway logo on the highway, here and there across the 250 miles that the Mother Road runs through county territory. The first one was laid down in Victorville, on the asphalt that runs past the California Route 66 Museum.

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Say "Truckeeeeee": A hundred years after the townsfolk of Truckee had their photograph made, they did it again--different faces, same idea.

Three cameras--in an airplane, in a helicopter, and 85 feet up a firetruck ladder--tried to catch all 7,500-plus Truckeeans in a warm-weather approximation of the antique portrait that hangs on the wall of a Truckee restaurant, depicting about 300 forebears hefting snowballs and ice chunks at what looks to be a winter festival.

"We don't know the original date," Mayor Maia Schneider said. "You can tell it wasn't a spontaneous event, but you can tell it was a fun day." It wasn't spontaneous a century later, either: it took about 10 months and more than 1,000 hours to wheedle local folks into period clothes and bright T-shirts for a portrait that will be turned into a poster that should sell at least 7,500 copies.

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One-offs: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors awarded $580,000 to a former county corrections officer who wasn't told that the episode in which he was held hostage, handcuffed and held at gunpoint was actually a training exercise. . . . Koko the signing Western Lowland gorilla, who has mastered more than 1,000 hand-language signs, will wave "goodbye" when she departs her longtime home at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside for the foundation's new home on Maui. . . . Chowchilla's great alligator hunt closed a local park for three weeks and cost the city nearly $1,800--but in spite of two reported sightings, no alligator was found.

EXIT LINE

"If I could raise money, I wouldn't have spent so much of my own six years ago."

--Former Republican congressman and Senate candidate and still-millionaire Michael Huffington, asked at a reception for GOP Senate candidate Tom Campbell whether he would raise money for Campbell's race against Huffington's former rival, Dianne Feinstein.

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California Dateline appears every other Tuesday.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TB in California

Tuberculosis in California has declined since 1992 because of increased funding for early detection and follow-up programs to make sure infected patients complete their treatment.

*--*

Case rate per Year Cases 100,000 population 1990 4,889 16.3 1991 5,273 17.3 1992 5,382 17.3 1993 5,173 16.4 1994 4,860 15.3 1995 4,675 14.6 1996 4,313 13.3 1997 4,059 12.3 1998 3,855 11.5 1999 3,608 10.6

*--*

Source: Tuberculosis Control Branch, state Department of Health Services

Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times

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