If you can't play your way onto a big-league marquee, maybe you can pay your way up there.
As festively timed as those Neiman Marcus one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts--e.g., a nuclear-powered mini-sub--San Francisco is inviting the highest bidder to put its/his/her name onto Candlestick Park through the end of the decade.
It worked once before: 3Com Corp. in Santa Clara counted out a half-million dollars to see "3Com Park" up in lights, but that expires at the end of the year, and 3Com's offer to re-up hasn't exactly been embraced by the city. San Francisco needs cash for the 1999 Super Bowl but may have been stung by its own citizens' sneers--like the one quoted in the Boston Globe--that at this rate, the city would be handing over the rights to a certain world-famous engineering feat and calling it McDonald's Golden Arches Bridge.
This is a clear summons to corporate wit. Provide a little distraction from the Giants' last-place troubles and name it Energizer Bunny's Candlestick Park. Or enlist a psychic assist for the team: Sign up a witches' coven as sponsors and call the place Bell, Book and Candlestick Park.
Violence at Home
Wives, lovers and husbands aren't the only Californians losing their lives to domestic violence. Last year 215 people were murdered in domestic violence situations. The victims are listed by their relationship to the killer.
VICTIMS KILLED Wives 77 Ex-wives 3 Husbands 22 Ex-husbands 0 Girlfriends 43 Boyfriends 13 Mothers 6 Fathers 11 Daughters 1 Sons 10 Brothers 6 Sisters 0 In-laws 5 Other family 7 Friends 5 Acquaintances Homosexual 3 partners 3
NOTE: Stepparents included in parent categories
Source: California Department of Justice
Researched by TRACY THOMAS/Los Angeles Times
Snap, crackle and Pete: The Bickersons of the GOP--former Assembly Speaker Doris Allen and Gov. Pete Wilson--are in the ring. To remind the happily uninformed, Doris and Pete first jousted over the budget stalemate, then went a few rounds more after Wilson endorsed next month's recall to punish Allen for going along with a Democratic--read Faustian--deal to make her Speaker.
The hits just keep on coming: Allen was conspicuously uninvited to a bill-signing in Orange County--and one of the bills was of her authorship--but she showed up anyway, to be roundly snubbed. Her letter the next day denounced Wilson as "small and petty" in taking credit for the bankruptcy solution. Then Wilson, who departed the presidential trail because he left East Coast voters chilled and California voters unthrilled, said through a spokesman that it is Allen's leadership style "upon which the voters of Orange County will ultimately judge her."
Civic roundup: It's just a whirring factory of ideas out there:
* Nevada County's cemetery district (23 graveyards to tend and 2 1/2 employees to do it) may put its sod up for adoption. Much as organizations adopt a patch of highway to clean litter, some of the county's cemeteries may be offered up for tender handling by volunteer groups. "To hell with the highways," says Grass Valley's Abe Tobis, who tidies up the cemetery where his wife is buried. "We've got plenty of citizens sleeping in cemeteries that are unkempt."
* Not to be outdone by Porterville, Visalia is thinking about backing its own credit card, the Visalia Visa card with the city logo, a project that could capture $18,000 a year for city funds. Don't leave the San Joaquin Valley without it.
* And just in time for the virtual newspaper, Modesto unveils its first official outdoor statue: a bronze of a young newsboy delivering papers with his dog at his side. With the proliferation of computers, the modern kid is more likely to snuggle up with a mouse than a dog.
Lovely Cory, meter mad: Up and down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz he capers, caparisoned like a circus clown but a scofflaw of the deepest dye as far as the cops are concerned. Cory McDonald, called "Mr. Twister" for the balloon figures he creates, feeds strangers' parking meters under parking cops' noses, popping in coins as the red flags are about to spring up, a civic offense that comes under the heading of "unauthorized deposit of coins."
When the story hit the news wires, the local paper, the Sentinel, was overwhelmed by calls from TV news mags--so many that the calls overflowed into another office. And who should answer one network morning news show's inquiry about the coin clown but the wife of the same chief parking officer whose life was being made a complete misery by the antics of "Mr. Twister"? (She politely transferred the call to the newsroom.)
The Santa Cruz good-parking-fairy saga began some 20 years ago, with another self-appointed Samaritan who fed meters freely--until the day he did it to the chief of police's car, and left a card in the windshield wiper soliciting a donation.
"Mr. Perot has shown the ability to motivate people before. But it is a short time frame."
--California Secretary of State Bill Jones, who has not gotten the word on the no-short-jokes-please rule about either Ross Perot or his very-slow-off-the-blocks third-party petition drive.
California Dateline appears every other Friday.