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Senate Leader Suggests State Pay Municipalities for Election

August 13, 2003|From Times Staff Reports

Senate leader John Burton proposed Tuesday that the state government come to the rescue of counties and pay the entire estimated $66-million cost of the Gov. Gray Davis recall election.

Burton, a San Francisco Democrat, voiced "great concern" that an acute shortage of local funds and a reduction in the normal number of polling places would deprive voters in what he said was "probably the most important election ever held in California."

He said the money would come from a $2-billion fund set aside for emergencies. He said the money should be spent to expand the number of available polling places and to hire poll workers.

But the idea got an ice-water reception from Sen. Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga, the Senate GOP floor leader. And a spokesman for Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack said even if the county got more state money, it would be unable to open more polling places.

Brulte suggested that instead of passing emergency legislation, the lawmakers should hold off until after the local election costs had been tallied and submitted to an existing bureaucratic process in which the state pays the costs of unfunded programs it imposes on cities and counties.

"That's the way we do it for everything else; why would we do it differently this time for the election?" Brulte asked. He said he also wanted to be certain that Republican support for the plan would not unwittingly end up playing to the advantage of Democrats in the recall election.

Leno Invites the Also-Running on Show

Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to announce his candidacy on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno," but what ever happened to equal time? When are the other 150-plus candidates going to get their shot?

How about Sept. 22? In Tuesday's monologue, Leno said he was inviting everybody running for governor to be in the show's audience on that date.

"Here's your chance to get on national television with your issue," Leno said. "If you're running, if you're a legitimate candidate, we have 300 seats, we'll let everybody in. And Gary Coleman, don't worry; we will have a booster seat."

Cell Phone Loss Panics Green Party Candidate

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo was on his way to an interview on Channel 11 Tuesday when he suffered a major emergency: He lost his cell phone.

"It's like a nightmare," he said. "I never realized that my cell phone was my life. I lost my cell phone and I felt like I was on another planet. No one could get in touch with me."

Camejo's staff got him another cell phone with the same number -- and a more sophisticated array of technological options. "I am terrified," he joked. "I'm 63 years old. I don't know what button to push."

Predicament Spawns Fund-Raising Idea

The old-school way of raising money for political campaigns is to hold a fund-raiser. Someone has a reception in your honor, you show up and you take the cash.

Georgy Russell, the 26-year-old Mountain View Democrat whose campaign slogan is "Brains, beauty, leadership," has hit on a different strategy: Raise money by saying no.

After Russell gained some publicity by selling "Georgy for Governor" thong underwear and posting a picture of herself in a skimpy T-shirt on her Web site, she found that she could hardly leave the house without men asking her out. She even received two marriage proposals.

All of which spawned an idea. Russell's latest campaign fund-raiser is a shirt that says: "I asked Georgy out and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." It sells for $20.

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