Fong Campaign Plans Trip Over Troubled Waters

Oh, sure, you've seen him in a suit and necktie, but now get ready for Whitewater Matt.

Not the Whitewater in Arkansas, but one of the Golden State's foam-and-fury rivers. Matt Fong, the Republican running against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, plans a daylong river rafting trip July 18--river yet to be named--to bond with staff and enjoy a barbecue and ecology photo op and press chat at the end of the day. (Reporters will go along, perhaps as ballast.)

The adventure may help to overcome the bookish image that comes with Fong's current job as state treasurer; those judo competitions at the Air Force Academy are long behind him. But it comes as 12 people, some of them river rafters, have died in June in rivers running high and fast from deep snowpack and late Sierra melt.

"We want to have a good time," says Fong's spokesman, "but be safe also."


Heil and farewell First they were a gift, then they became a reminder, then an embarrassment, and now they're . . . invisible.

Nazi swastikas adorn lamps at the House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa Park that were presented during World War II by local German Americans, another eclectic ornament on a 1915 building described as Spanish colonial with Art Deco bits.

Preservationists recently restoring the national landmark kept the swastikas, as well as the other symbols of German history, from the imperial double eagle to the emblems of the Knights Templar and the Holy Roman Empire.

The local Anti-Defamation League wanted the swastikas removed, and a compromise was reached. Art historian Will Chandler says it is "very dangerous to destroy the evidence of history, but if people are unnerved by it, I have no problem with covering them up."


Pet perks In a job market that has to offer something different, some Silicon Valley companies are welcoming workers' other significant others: pets.

Rafhael Cedeno told the San Jose Mercury News that he wouldn't even have taken his software engineer job at Netscape unless he could bring his Yorkshire terrier to work. The cubicle-companion policy extends to cats, rats, mice, birds and fish, too.

It is, says the head of a Chicago outplacement firm, in vocabulary dear to the California heart, "recognizing what people's lifestyles are all about and accommodating them."


Orthography R Us They call it an information kiosk for city services, but at the dedication of San Francisco's quarter-million-dollar gizmo, it summoned up the mayor's name--Willy Brown. Anyone within lobbying distance of Sacramento would never have made such a mistake during Willie Brown's tenure as Assembly speaker-for-life-before-term-limits.

But it's a nonpartisan thing:

In boldface capitals atop a press release from Gov. Wilson's office about his $60-million proposal for remedial reading and math teaching in elementary school was a headline reading: WILSON HIGHLIGHTS CONTINUED INVESTMENT IN EDCUATION.

Perhaps, after Wilson's visit to the elementary school where he announced the proposal, everyone adjourned to a lovely lunch featuring potatoe salad a la Dan Quayle.


One-offs Convicted Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, whose most recent published work was a 35,000-word manifesto that led to his arrest, has been shopping for a book publisher, according to the New York Daily News. . . . Protesting hearing-loss research that would blast anesthetized squirrel monkeys with sound louder than jet engines, animal rights activists dressed like monkeys protested outside UC San Francisco. . . . San Francisco's venerable Billboard Liberation Front is back, this time altering Apple computer billboards, changing "think different' on Ted Turner's image to "think dividends," among other alterations. . . . Police arrested an Oakdale man on suspicion of stealing more than 800 copies of the Oakdale Leader out of news racks to keep his friends and relatives from reading about his drug arrest.


"To get my foot in the door I think I'd market toilet paper."

--Advertising exec wannabe Danielle Coney, the newly crowned Miss California. The marketing student is interning at Gap Inc. before the Miss America pageant in September.


El Nino's Aftermath

Today marks the end of the 1997-98 rain season, which is measured from July 1 through June 30. Here are rain totals through June 28 for selected cities comparing this season with the last big El Nino year of 1982-83. Also shown are normal season totals.


City Normal '82-'83 '97-'98 Redding 33.30 66.63 65.61 Eureka 37.53 59.38 58.56 San Francisco 19.71 38.17 47.22 Santa Maria 12.36 26.31 32.98 Sacramento 17.52 35.50 32.25 L.A. (Civic Center) 14.77 31.25 31.01 L.A. Airport 12.01 25.61 27.78 Long Beach 11.80 23.03 22.67 Fresno 10.60 23.57 20.36 San Diego 9.90 18.26 17.78 Bakersfield 5.72 9.94 14.66


Source: WeatherData Inc.

Researched by TRACY THOMAS/Los Angeles Times

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