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<i> Snapshots of life in the Golden State.</i> : Revolt Can’t Buck Trend of Big Campaign Spending

Same as it ever was.

That’s the word from California Common Cause about the dizzying level of campaign spending in state legislative races.

Despite public disaffection toward politics as usual, fund raising soared 38% to $72 million in 1992, according to the nonpartisan group. As usual, the spending paid off. In 94% of the races, the winning candidate spent the most bucks.

“Everyone wanted change last year and everyone thought that was a possibility--we had redistricting, term limits and a strong anti-incumbent mood,” said Common Cause executive director Ruth Holton. “But what we got in the end was the same old story.”

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To undo the stranglehold that vested interests impose on Sacramento--in state Senate races, the winner raised an average of $628,000--such reforms as contribution limits, spending limits and public financing are needed, Holton’s group says.

Reagan on ice: So why didn’t Ronald Reagan join longtime aides and antagonists--including James G. Watt, Larry Speakes and Mike Wallace--at a major conference on the legacy of his presidency at Hofstra University in New York last weekend?

Well, for one thing, he and Nancy had Kings playoff tickets back home the next afternoon.

Golden State tongues: Should California be re-dubbed the Babel State?

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With 8.6 million non-English speakers, California has more than twice as many as any other state, according to newly released 1990 census data. Next to New Mexico, California also has the largest percentage of foreign language speakers: 32%.

Not surprisingly, Spanish is the leading foreign language here, spoken at home by 5.47 million residents.

Next is Chinese, with 542,888 speakers, followed by Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Japanese, French, Italian and Armenian.

In all, 231 languages are uttered by Californians, with Lapp, Berber, Mono, Mountain Maidu and Kickapoo among the more exotic. The least common tongues, with a mere two speakers each, are Ottawa, Other Uralic, Salish and Serrano.

Census bureau analyst Rosalind Bruno concedes that it is not clear if some particularly uncommon languages reported spoken in homes are indeed real.

“You don’t know if it was a joke,” said the Washington-based researcher. “Or--if you want to go that far--if they live alone, are they talking to themselves?”

Immunizing Children

The Clinton Administration has promised to make universal child immunization central to its health reform plan.

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In California there has been little or no progress getting preschool-age children up-to-date on their shots.

Here are the percentages of California 2-year-olds who had been fully immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio by their second birthdays.

YEAR IMMUNIZED 1992 48.2% 1991 48.7% 1990 43.3% 1989 43.9% 1988 45.7% 1987 49.3% 1986 43.8% 1985 41.4% 1984 42.9% 1983 45.0%

Source: California Department of Health Services Compiled by Times researcher Tracy Thomas

Jail bait: A San Diego fishing captain has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for having killed a California sea lion last year with an exploding mackerel.

James Allen Dekergueien, 32, placed a small bomb in the fish and threw it into the ocean, where it was swallowed by the sea lion. Seconds later, the sea lion was decapitated.

Dekergueien contended that he never meant for the bomb to blow up inside the animal. But federal prosecutors in San Diego, who have posted three previous convictions of fishermen, said Dekergueien lured the sea lion to the side of the boat.

The charter captain’s sentence for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act? Three years probation and 100 hours of community service at Sea World.

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EXIT LINE

“Some of these people only know two or three songs--'Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.’ After a time it grates on your nerves.”

--Santa Cruz City Atty. John Barisone, explaining an ordinance requested by downtown merchants that, if enacted, would allow police to ticket out-of-tune street musicians who stay in one place too long.


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