A weekly window on the California elections.


Stop if you’ve heard this: “He fought to enforce the death penalty and waged the toughest battle to save the environment of any attorney general in America,” the announcer for a paid political advertisement intones. John K. Van de Kamp? Try again. The ad, it turns out, is about Democratic attorney general Anthony Celebrezze, who is running for governor of Ohio. If the commercial sounds familiar, it should. It was drafted by the campaign firm of Doak and Shrum, which also happens to be running the campaign of that other attorney general who wants to be governor--Van de Kamp--who has struck similar themes.

Earache: To explain the 17 propositions on the June ballot to voters who are blind, the secretary of state’s office has produced audiotapes for public libraries. Total listening time to get the lowdown on Prepositions 107 through 123 at “talking book” speaking speed: 5 1/2 hours.


No sweat: Among the candidates who won’t be breaking a sweat in the primary campaign’s final days are the 20 members of the state Senate up for reelection this year. All of them filed for another term; only one drew a primary foe. And the lone incumbent who missed a free nomination ride--West Los Angeles Democrat Herschel Rosenthal--is expected to easily defeat his challenger, lawyer William Graysen. The democratic process is a bit more alive among Assembly races, although it’s hardly at a fever-pitch. Of the 73 Assembly members seeking reelection, only 18 face a primary opponent.


From the San Diego Union, in urging defeat of Proposition 112:

“The Legislature, which has a talent for doing the wrong thing, has done so once again by linking a long-overdue ethics package with a pay raise . . . California voters resent being extorted, even in an ostensibly good cause.”

From Mervin Field, director of the independent California Poll, in predicting that only about one-third of the eligible voters will cast ballots in June:

“We are in reality a nation of non-voters . . . this state’s ballot boxes are becoming more and more empty.”


“We’ve all watched the McNaughton trial.”

--Dianne Feinstein, emphasizing the need for strict monitoring of preschools and other day-care facilities in the wake of the celebrated McMartin child abuse case.


“Politics is not like entering a convent.”

--Sam Singer, Ira Reiner’s campaign manager, explaining why Reiner rebuffed opponent Arlo Smith’s call for him to take a vow not seek a higher office if elected attorney general.


There was not much in the way of good news for John Van de Kamp in the recent Los Angeles Times Poll of 792 registered Democrats. Van de Kamp did not lead Dianne Feinstein in any of the major voter categories, although the margin of error of 5 points means that there is no statistical difference in some categories.

Van de Feinstein Voters Feinstein Kamp Lead Liberal 47% 22% 25 points Moderate 32% 30% 2 points Conservative 35% 28% 7 points Management 41% 20% 21 points White Collar 37% 28% 9 points Blue Collar 33% 24% 9 points Male 38% 29% 9 points Female 37% 20% 17 points Younger* 31% 29% 2 points Older 41% 23% 18 points Anglo 39% 25% 14 points Black 36% 19% 17 points Latino 29% 25% 4 points Northern 41% 24% 17 points Southern 35% 24% 11 points

* Younger equals ages 18-39; older equals 40 and up.

Source: Los Angeles Times Poll