As card-carrying members of the Capitol press corps, we here at The Skinny are starting to feel more like the parent of a teenager in a crime-riddled neighborhood. Every couple of weeks, it seems, we’re going to the same funeral for somebody who is leaving us too soon. Last week, it was to the Fox and Goose to say goodbye to two of the Capitol press corps’ finest — Ed Mendel and Bill Ainsworth, who are leaving the San Diego Union-Tribune. The U-T had one of the largest Capitol bureaus in the state with four people before Bill and Ed took buyouts from the paper. As the dean of the budget reporters, Mendel’s loss will be felt acutely in the coming years of budget turmoil. As is the case elsewhere throughout state government, we continue to bleed institutional knowledge in the press, which makes the press corps more ill-equipped to carry out it’s function of policing government, exposing stories that would go otherwise unnoticed and trying to keep folks honest. It may sound high-minded or presumptuous, and we’re not saying we think that we journalists are the guardians of truth, justice and the American way. We’re simply bemoaning the loss of some real experts, and two pretty great guys, from our ranks…And it’s only four days til Election Day! As of Monday, Californians can begin casting votes for the November election. While SOS Debra Bowen is off in Kuwait talking to troops about fair elections (really, we don’t make this stuff up), California voters far and yon can start having their say-so. Let the recounts begin!