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California | INSIDE POLITICS

Pointed Demands, Unorthodox Polls All Part of Recall

September 01, 2003|Patt Morrison | Times Staff Writer

Recall flotsam and jetsam:

Running for governor seems to be a fabulous way to hear "you've got mail" coming from your computer. Another one of those e-mails reaching virtually every gubernatorial candidate is this, from a reporter with the Jewish Bulletin in San Francisco: "I am writing a story about Jewish candidates in the recall election, and was wondering if you are Jewish. Please write me back or give me a call.... I am on deadline, so the sooner you get a hold of me, the better."

Send not to know for whom the Taco Bell tolls. The fast-food chain's vote-with-your-appetite campaign, awarding points to Arnold Schwarzenegger for beef taco orders and to Gov. Gray Davis for chicken soft tacos, has irked the state's Democratic Party chairman, Art Torres.

"Even in Chicago, no one would try to pull off such a rigged 'election,' " Torres complains. "Beef tacos, at 74 cents, always outsell chicken tacos, which cost $1.50 (Sacramento prices)." And for conspiracy theorists, Torres has this query: "Is it just coincidence that Schwarzenegger has up to $1 million of stock of Pepsico Inc. (listed in his Statement of Economic Interest), the former owner of Taco Bell and still their exclusive soft drink supplier?" Don't ask us -- our mouths are full.

The governor is starting his senior year in high school. Kyle Smith of Danville is the statewide YMCA youth governor for the 56th Model Legislature and Court in Sacramento, scheduled for February, by which time the state may have a different governor. Kyle met with the present one, and concluded, "I'm opposed to the recall. Gov. Davis has done nothing that warrants it. He's not perfect, nobody's perfect, but all in all he's handled things reasonably well. It seems like sour grapes to me."

Hahn Reassigns Another Commissioner

While Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn was on some Hawaiian beach tanning, his city commissioners were still in L.A., and a few of them may be steaming.

Hahn issued a statement last week while on vacation saying that he's removing real estate lawyer David Farrar from the presidency of the city's redevelopment board and transferring him to the Metropolitan Water District board. Farrar's seat will be filled by banker Paul Hudson, who was recently on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. This brings to 19 the number of city commissioners removed or transferred lately. A mayor's office spin-master said the transfer was at the request of Farrar, one of four city commissioners who contributed $10,000 to the mayor's anti-secession campaign. He didn't call back to say whether he thinks the transfer is a promotion or a demotion. Still on the board of the Community Redevelopment Agency -- so far -- is Douglas Ring, who contributed $50,000 to the anti-secession campaign.

Letter Delivers Smile to State Lawmakers

Altadena Democratic state Sen. Jack Scott celebrated his 70th birthday last month, and Arcadia Republican Sen. Bob Margett -- himself a spring-chicken 74 -- read aloud, in Scott's honor, from a letter from a young Pomona constituent.

"Dear Senator Margett, The reason I am writing you this letter is because I am grateful that you gave us the multimedia CD-ROM of the California State Capitol. I am sorry if I am bothering you and wasting your time. I must say that you've done a fine job in being a great, truthful and kind Senator. I think the CD-ROM will help me and my class bring up our grades. I'm glad you're the Senator. I do wish that you could be the Senator forever, but we all know that you have to die sooner or later. Goodbye and farewell for now. Yours truly, Larry James Guillan" It gave a good laugh to a body that hasn't had much to laugh about lately.

Points Taken

* California Journal, the uber-magazine of state politics, is looking for a new owner to boost circulation and revive the California Political Almanac, which the magazine last published for 2000. The sale search will be announced in the September issue, says former Times staffer and California Journal editor Dave Lesher. California Journal was founded in 1970; it also publishes the "Minnies," an annual ranking of insiders' choices for the best and the brightest -- and the worst -- legislators under the Capitol dome.

* Some canny Assembly members issued this tempting press invitation: "Tired of covering the recall? Come watch three Assembly members battle cruise ship pollution." The three are joint authors of a package of bills regulating cruise ship pollution along the California coast. The Bluewater Network organization, which endorses the bills, says a weeklong cruise can generate 50 tons of garbage and some 200,000 gallons of sewage.

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