The Weekly Roundup

Thursday, April 13
Things continue to get stranger in the Southern California community of
Vernon, where council candidates were living in a condemned commercial
building. “Election experts and veteran city clerks described the small
industrial city’s decision to not count the ballots in the City Council
race–pending resolution of legal disputes–as unprecedented. Critics,
meanwhile, said it was the latest troubling sign that the election might be

“I’ve never heard of not counting ballots you have on hand,” said Deborah
, executive liaison to the Los Angeles County registrar. “But you
know, Vernon kind of keeps falling into this category of behavior you just
don’t find legal citations for. I don’t suppose it’s illegal, but it’s very,
very strange.”

“Vernon has fewer than 100 residents, but it has seen a 50 percent surge in
its election rolls in recent weeks.”

Friday, April 14
“A Field Poll released today shows Steve Westly now has an 11-point
advantage over his June Democratic primary opponent, Phil Angelides,”
reports Edwin Garcia for the San Jose Mercury News.

The Angelides team scrambled to respond to the news late yesterday, and
released a memo by Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin & Associates stating, “Despite
outspending Phil Angelides by nearly 2 million dollars on television,
including over 1 million in just the last month, Steve Westly has not
advanced his position in this race.”

Saturday, April 15
President Bush announced he would spend Earth Day in West Sacramento at a
fuel-cell plant, Bush’s first trip to the capital area since 2001. Later in
the day, he will get to the good stuff, heading to a fund raiser in Palm

Sunday, April 16
The LA Daily News takes a look at candidates’ ballot designations, and finds
they don’t always hold up under scrutiny. “One of the candidates in the race
for the Assembly District 41 seat lists himself on the ballot as a “national
security analyst.”

“But he doesn’t work for the government or a think tank. He describes his
occupation that way for the June primary because he provides unpaid articles
and research for anti-illegal immigration groups.”

“Then there’s the candidate who calls herself a ‘city women’s commissioner.’
But she makes her living by running a political communications business and
resigned from the commission three months ago.”

“The situation is just a sampling of candidate occupation titles from area
races that illustrate a longstanding problem voters will face in the June
primary: Some candidates are little-known and what’s allowed on the ballot
to describe a person’s occupation can be subject to heavy spin. ‘Ballot
designations are the height of euphemism,’ said Barbara O’Connor, director
of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State
University, Sacramento.”

Sounds like that’s just a euphemism …

Monday, April 17
The San Diego Union-Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize today for their reporting
on the Duke Cunningham scandal. The good news: The prize comes with a
$10,000 check for the reporters involved. The bad news: That’s not even
enough to get a contract from Cunningham.

Tuesday, April 18
From our Felonious Drunk Files, we close with the story of a Petaluma man
who received a DUI while driving a golf cart.

“Authorities said 50-year-old Loren Dooley crashed the cart while giving a
ride to his three sons, ages 10, 7 and 5. The boys were treated for minor

“Dooley was booked on suspicion of felony driving under the influence,
authorities said. Dooley’s blood-alcohol level was measured at less than
0.08 percent, which usually would not result in felony charges. But
Williford said Dooley’s cart was designed to carry only two people.”

Wednesday, April 19
“Legislative leaders said they have achieved a breakthrough on an
infrastructure bond plan, agreeing to dump surface water storage, urban
parks and natural resource protection from a fall ballot package while
focusing on levee repair, school construction and transportation,” writes
Andy Furillo in the Bee.

“‘We’ve done what we needed to do to pare it down,’ state Senate President
Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said Tuesday at the Bay Area Council’s annual
‘outlook conference.’ The panel discussion also featured Assembly Speaker
Fabian N

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