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Schnapps for everyone

Despite a gloomy outlook at the beginning of this past election cycle, with pundits predicting that Californians would again allow themselves to be slammed with higher taxes, we stepped up to the plate — or the ballot box — and issued a resounding no with our stylus.

According to two talk show radio hosts that I listen to on occasion, when the bloated tax measures were being prepared for the ballot, Governor Schwarzenegger and state Senate and Assembly leaders were drinking schnapps while congratulating themselves on figuring a way to fill the multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

But surprise! Like an overburdened pack mule, we kicked up our heels and let it be known that we weren’t going to take on any more.

And why should we? Do you know that some estimate that state government spending has doubled in size in just 10 years? Too bad that when times were good (i.e. during the hot real estate years) more money wasn’t put aside for the rainy days that we’re going through now.

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Even with the prudent measures practiced by the Glendale Unified School District, budget issues loom ahead for our schools.

And to poke a stick further at state government, we voted in Measure 1F, which prohibits an increase in politicians’ salaries during a deficit year.

Not that I’m worried that the governor is going to have to crack open a can of pork and beans. (I wonder how delicious schnapps and beans taste).

I must admit that, to Arnold’s credit, he doesn’t accept a salary as governor.

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Statewide reports have said that voter turnout was particularly low, but when I voted at Monte Vista Elementary School, poll workers there said that they had been kept pretty busy all day.

I guess we in the foothills couldn’t resist “terminating” the measures.

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On this week’s cover you’ll find coverage of the American Cancer Society’s Foothills Relay for Life. I was there for a portion of the 24-hour event, and had the chance to talk to some of the walkers. Their stories were so moving and too many to tell.

Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman was one of the first speakers of the day and she recounted her own battle with cancer.

She was candid in addressing the crowd, saying that after being elected to the council, she developed a generic speech for all events that she attends.

“But not today,” she said. “No canned speech for this event.”

Meteorologist Dallas Raines was also a cancer survivor who talked to the crowd. Though inspiring, he reminded everyone that “no one is immune” from this devastating disease; it doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t care if you’re young or old, rich or poor.

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Walking the track, I learned of children that survived. I learned of children that didn’t. And of mothers. And of fathers. And of teachers. And ?

The luminaria ceremony was particularly moving. Seeing everyone quietly walking around Clark Magnet High School’s field, reading the names on the hundreds of bags that were lit from within by a candle as a bagpiper played.

We in the foothills are fortunate that we have the resources to host an event of the magnitude of Relay for Life. Walking around the track, I saw so many familiar faces. Afterward, it was estimated that more than $100,000 was raised.

While I offer congratulations, I also hope that we won’t have to do it next year; that the cure, the answer is found.


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