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Picking Winner Is Age-Old Dilemma

August 08, 2003

The 99 Cents Only Stores ran its customary full-page newspaper ad Tuesday for potato chips, coffee creamer, thong sandals and the like. Up in the right-hand corner, though, was an unusual offer: "Want to be Governor? If you are 99 years old 99 Cents Only Stores will gladly pay the $3,499 filing fee and gather the signatures for our chosen candidate."

Spokesman Daryl Merson said the store has received a dozen responses and was busy winnowing the field to select a candidate by Saturday's filing deadline. Merson said the company really meant to find someone who was 99 or older, not simply 99.

"There's no age discrimination here," he said.


'A part of history': Rose M. Brooks, 55, was at the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office to file her candidacy for the Duarte Unified School District board. She was the first person to run up to Arnold Schwarzenegger when he entered the room shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday.

He signed an autograph for her.

"Yes, I'm considering voting for him, seriously considering," she said. "I feel like I've been a part of history."

Benjamin Smith, 31, of Harbor City was standing in line to file his own papers to run for governor as a Republican when Schwarzenegger walked in.

Schwarzenegger had an escort from the county registrar-recorder herself, Conny McCormack. Smith remained in line.

He said, "I was thinking: 'It'll take me longer to get my paperwork done -- nobody's working.' "


Staying apart for the kids' sake: Michael Huffington, the former Republican congressman whose ex-wife, Arianna Huffington, is running for governor as an independent, took himself out of the race Thursday.

"This week my children told me that they did not want their parents to run in this election -- either one of us," Huffington said in a prepared statement. "In consideration of my two young daughters, I have determined that entering the governor's race would not be in the best interests of my children."

Secondarily, Huffington said, he determined that his candidacy would split the Republican vote, and he said he has decided to support Schwarzennegger.


Flynt sued for harassment: On the day Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt declared his candidacy for governor, he and Larry Flynt Publications Inc. were sued by a former employee for alleged sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination.

In a complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Elizabeth Rene Raymond claims that Flynt created an abusive working environment when she worked there as an executive assistant from 1999 to last August, and that she was fired when she complained.

During her employment, Raymond said, she was subjected to unwanted sexual comments. On one occasion, Raymond was disgusted to find sex toys in a dishwasher, the complaint states.

Flynt could not be reached for comment.


Stepping off the campaign trail: David Edgar Kessinger will have to take a break from his campaign for governor today to appear in Riverside Superior Court in connection with a misdemeanor battery charge against him.

The charge traces to an incident with a security guard in March at the same courthouse where he will appear, Kessinger said in an interview Thursday. According to Kessinger, 61, he was visiting the courthouse to do legal research but did not want to detach his keys from a plastic slinky at the entrance because security guards had previously let him pass through simply by inspecting the keys.

He said a security guard insisted that he detach the keys from his pants. When he did so, Kessinger said, the security guard took the keys and dropped them on the ground.

Kessinger said he ordered the security guard to pick them up and tapped her on the shoulder as she was walking away. When a sheriff's deputy came to investigate and asked him if he wanted to be arrested, Kessinger said he responded: "That would be a good idea, at least we'll have a record."

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