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Will Rogers

May 08, 2002

Will Rogers

It has been at least 45 minutes since the last election, and I don't

think the next is due for another hour or two, so I had hoped for a brief

period of going to the mailbox without an elected official popping out.

The constant flow of mail from politicians is enough to make me long for

those golden days when I'd toss the newly arrived mail on the table and

tell my wife, "It's all bills."

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Though we're now enjoying a respite from blatant campaign fliers,

local residents have experienced a recent spate of mailers from the guys

who won the last elections. In recent weeks I've received mail from Rep.

Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Glendale) and

state Sen. Jack Scott (D-Glendale).

An insecure boy who leaves town for the military might worry that the

only cement in his relationship with the girl back home is the glue on a

stamp. Elected officials operate on a similar premise, trying to keep us

interested from afar. A big difference, of course, is that the soldier

might use simple stationary and stamps he buys at the PX, and he has

competition for the affections of his beloved. But elected officials have

a huge advantage over their competition. Pushing an already strained

analogy to the brink, they've got the girlfriend paying pros to assemble

four-color literature to report on their accomplishments, and she even

buys the stamp! Anyone else who wants to pitch woo, or to simply offer an

alternate view on the official's service, has to pay for it themselves.

A recent mailer from Schiff boasted four photos of him, sprinkled

among brief sentences summarizing some legislation he has introduced or

sponsored. Schiff threw caution to the wind by standing behind the

"Access to Higher Education Act," this as he cosponsored legislation to

give kids better access to immunizations. But the newsletter also says

Schiff somehow found time to support legislation that "updates law

enforcement's abilities to fight terrorism."

Voters dedicated to rolling back law enforcement's abilities to fight

terrorism will be unhappy to read of his success, but that's a risk

officials take by keeping the folks back home informed.

The mailer, billing itself as an "update," also included a survey.

Printed on a post card for return to Schiff's Pasadena office, it has a

list of 10 issues. Recipients are asked to check off or add those issues

they most want Schiff to work on. I chuckled at a note on the reverse

side of the card, the standard notice "postage will be paid by the

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