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California | INSIDE POLITICS

Candidate Pledges Range From Apple Pie to Pot

September 22, 2003|Patt Morrison | Times Staff Writer

Forget the best-seller list. The finest reading in California comes right to your door -- the voter guide for the alleged Oct. 7 recall election.

For $10 a word, maximum 250 words, candidates who agreed not to spend more than $10 million and change in the election could buy space in the voter guide to get their messages into millions of mailboxes. Among the scores of patriotic, heartfelt and thoughtful platforms are a few especially choice campaign pledges and appeals:

* The 25-year-old nonpartisan who says, "It's time to let my generation take charge."

* The Republican, "once an aspirant Catholic priest," who advocates tax breaks for all working families of California, including the taxes on cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor.

* The nonpartisan candidate who endorses "a workers' and farmers' government, which will abolish capitalism in the U.S. and join in the worldwide struggle for socialism."

* The Republican who tips his hat to " 'Atlas Shrugged,' America's second most influential book." (He doesn't name the most influential; perhaps it's the Bible. The author of the second, Ayn Rand, was an atheist.)

* The Democrat whose campaign seems rooted completely in his premise that "children raised by single dads do better than children raised by single moms" and links his philosophy to state policies, including more male teachers, boy-friendly schools and a birth-control pill for men.

* The Democrat who wants to decriminalize marijuana and "teach basic criminal penalties and yoga in our schools."

* The Democratic comedy writer who pledges "to solve all the state's problems in 22 minutes and 44 seconds with two commercial breaks and a hug at the end."

* The Democrat whose list of qualifications cites the fact that his family includes an "adopted puppy and kitten."

* The independent who entreats voters, "Please vote for me, thus breaking the Seventh Seal and incurring Armageddon."

As an American Independent Party candidate says, "May the Lord give you the wisdom of Solomon as you vote."

Speculation Over Bustamante's Absence

The nattering and muttering among Orange County Republicans was all about why Cruz Bustamante had failed to turn up for an endorsement interview with the major-league Mexican American Political Assn. in Buena Park -- and yet managed, just a few hours later and a few miles away, to make it to a $250-a-plate fund-raiser in Santa Ana.

Could it have been plane trouble getting back from Denver, as the campaign said, or long memories?

Seventeen years ago, Bustamante's campaign guru, Richie Ross, was handling the Assembly campaign of Dan Griset, who was then a Santa Ana council member. Griset's campaign sent out a mailer showing parked cars jammed onto the lawn of a Santa Ana house, and denounced use of "illegal residences" as "overcrowded hotels for immigrant workers." Among others denouncing the mailer as racist was Nativo Lopez -- who now heads the Mexican American association. (As it turns out, the residents of the house in the mailer were U.S. citizens, and the picture was taken the morning after a family wedding.)

The possibility of a Gov. Bustamante has figured into Los Angeles City Hall's favorite hobby -- politics' ceaseless salmon-like swim upward to better grounds. The spin now is that if Bustamante becomes governor, Tony Cardenas -- a freshly minted council member and Bustamante's onetime Assembly roommate (legislators sometimes bunk together to save money) -- might be appointed lieutenant governor.

And, if Cardenas went to Sacramento as Numero Dos, the man who might think about going after his council job is Deputy Mayor Felipe Fuentes, who said last week that he was going to switch offices to be chief of staff to the council's president, Alex Padilla. How 'bout it, Felipe? "It hasn't even crossed my mind."

In Lieu of Statement, a Song From Angelyne

One candidate who didn't submit a ballot statement is Angelyne, who has "the first campaign song" instead -- "Angelyne -- Y'all be Lovin' Her for Governor." Lyrics that may soon be on voters' lips run to: "Angelyne, Angelyne, ... if you live in L.A. you know the scene/It's earthquakes, freeways and Angelyne. What a great governor she will be/With her miniskirts, makeup and anatomy." Music and lyrics are by Harvey Sid Fisher, who has lobbied Congress with his tunes, and whose albums are enriched by titles like "Astrology Songs" and "Golf Songs."

Points Taken

* The sound was inside the halls at the GOP state party convention recently; the fury was outside, where, for five bucks for three swings, catharsis-deprived Republicans could "beat the car tax" by taking sledgehammer whacks at a 1988 Audi. State party chief Duf Sundheim, who said he had tried to find a French car, made the inevitable joke about the Audi's not having "Cruz control." He said it belonged to a friend who'd given it over for the event. The car was registered to one Eric Beach, and its registration had expired five weeks earlier.

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