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Will Rogers

February 09, 2000

Will Rogers

The reelection campaign for U.S. Rep. Jim Rogan mailed a questionnaire

to local voters two weeks ago, and I'm begging readers to stop sending me

copies. Rogan's campaign asked voters to tell him which issues are

important, and where they stand. While debate over abortion is almost

always heated, an alternative Rogan offers in his questionnaire has

readers rushing to share their copies.


Rogan's mailer asks voters which of four general views they support.

One reads, "Allow abortions for rape, incense and the life of the

mother." That's right, incense, as in sandalwood. And there were other


I'd gleefully joke about the screw-ups, but smugness requires

pretending this newspaper has never published "meat" when the reporter

meant "meet," or misspelled a city official's name, or worse. Longtime

readers may recall our story about a local hospital donating used sheets

to a good cause. No one here could explain how the word sheets in the

headline was replaced by a common vulgarity often used to describe feces

or campaign literature. Of course, we can try to redeem ourselves with a

correction or clarification. When goofs as stunning as "incense" go out,

looking foolish costs Rogan's campaign from $20,000 to $40,000 -- the

typical cost of such mailers.

I did get a giggle from the mailer's question about schools, a snicker

not dependent upon an error, but upon the insulting simplicity all

candidates routinely impose on hideously complicated issues. Voters were

asked if Congress should support or oppose what Rogan called four

"programs to improve our schools," each detailed in just two words. One

certain to generate hot debate is simply called "less bureaucracy." It

will surely test Rogan's well of personal courage to battle the

well-funded "more bureaucracy in schools" lobby.


Elsewhere on the schools front, if someone offers you the 25-cent tour

of a Burbank school, exercise caution. It may cost more than that. A

reader contacted me to say her 11-year-old was coming up short on

purchases at the school lunchroom. Apparently overnight, prices

skyrocketed -- but only for some students. Victims weren't being picked

on, they were dealing with staff not familiar with the Susan B. Anthony

$1 coin. Apparently those manning cash registers decided that, if it's

roughly the size and shape of a quarter, it's worth a quarter. Kids using

a Susan B. Anthony for a $1 item were told to cough up three more.

While others have complained the SBA dollar and the quarter are

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