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Two choices on Nov. 7: vote or die

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

“I just got the mail and it seemed that there was the usual couple of endorsement mailers,” wrote Bruce Rothschild of Santa Monica. “The first listed choices for the local Santa Monica elections. The next one said, ‘Cremation, the Better Decision.’ It is a hard choice.”

From junk mail to junk phone calls: So far I haven’t found any Halloween displays that equaled the commentary of last year’s exhibit by Rich Turner of Long Beach (see photo).

More Halloween stuff? Barbara Bastrup of Santa Ana noticed that a television station website said that one of the Tournament of Roses princesses attended “Scared” Heart Academy.

Talk about hot property: Journalist Brad Johnson chanced upon evidence, as if any were needed, that almost any real estate will sell in Santa Monica (see accompanying).

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Wait till AARP finds out about this! A reader spotted an estate sale in La Crescenta that was trafficking in two-legged antiques (see accompanying).

Sounds like ... : Donald Fritz of L.A. and several other readers saw a spelling-marred ad placed by someone who needed a history lesson about famous Americans (see accompanying).

Our fair fronds: Whether you view palm trees as silhouettes rising “above the landscape like impossibly tall and skinny girls,” as Walter Mosley wrote, “or utility poles with feathers,” as the late columnist Mike Royko said, they are identified with Southern California.

But, as John Rogers of the Associated Press wrote recently, palms seem to be on the decline here, victims of a deadly fungal disease.

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Nor do they get much respect from City Hall. In a project to plant a million new trees in L.A., officials recently gave away 3,000 trees and compiled a list of more than 50 varieties that they are planting and encouraging residents to plant. Palm trees didn’t make the list, partly because they offer little shade and partly because, with their lack of leaves, they are considered ineffective at trapping air pollution, Rogers wrote.

And, so, as he noted, Neil Diamond’s song lyric about L.A. -- “Palm trees grow and rents are low” -- now appears questionable on two counts.

Serenading SigAlerts: As I exited the Santa Monica Freeway in West L.A., I saw a panhandler who was strumming a guitar. Didn’t catch the tune since I didn’t dare lower the window for fear he’d hit me up for a cover charge. But I imagine it might have been that old standard “Money” (“The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees, I need....”)

misceLAny: Santa Monica College got a plug from ESPN’s Chris Berman Sunday when he identified it as the school that star Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson attended. Berman then threw in the names of two other alumni, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dustin Hoffman. But Berman forgot to mention an alumna who was briefly active in Democratic Party affairs: Monica Lewinsky.

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