Leon Worden

You wanted open primary, you've got it

By Leon Worden
Wednesday, May 20, 1998

oters in 1997, over the objections of the California Democratic and Republican parties, gave thumbs-up to the open primary. This year for the first time, voters of either party can influence the other side's primary election results.

California voters are notorious for sending mixed messages at the ballot box. Majorities routinely embrace every campaign limitation scheme to come down the pike, no matter how ill-conceived or constitutionally indefensible. Yet they've given the nod to the open primary, which has driven up the cost of campaigns. Go figure. Candidates are spending more than they otherwise would because now, they must reach for "crossover" voters.

Gubernatorial candidate Al Checchi, the Democratic businessman (pardon the oxymoron) reached so far out in his early television commercials that he didn't even identify himself as a Democrat — an attempt to sway (confuse?) Republican voters.

Don't get me wrong. I know people who wanted an open primary. Some of them are my friends. Some of them probably attend your church or send their kids to your school. Some might even live next door.

I just don't happen to be one of them. I liked it the old way. I liked it when the Republicans could decide on the Republicans, the Democrats could pick their Democrats, and may the best candidate win in November.

I don't think Republicans have any more business messing around in the Democrats' internal elections than the Democrats do in ours.

But I can adapt. I'm a '90s guy. I can accept change. I welcome it.

Therefore I think I'll vote for Gray Davis for Governor.

I mean, why not? Dan Lungren is unopposed on the Republican side. He's the Republican nominee. He'll square off against the top vote-getting Democrat in November, no matter who selects him.

Why miss a chance to screw up the Democrats' election? Al Checchi could be a formidable foe in November, especially if he makes everybody believe he's a pro-business conservative. Jane Harman could pull some of the women's vote. But who in his right mind would vote for Gray Davis? Over Dan Lungren? Nobody I know.

Voting for Gray Davis in June might be the best thing I can do to help get Dan Lungren elected in November.

As to whether I can actually bring myself to punching the little hole next to Davis's name, well, we'll see. But this is what two-thirds of state voters said they wanted.

* * *

It's that time of year again, and I don't mean election time. It's the time of year when the phone rings off the hook.

Now. There are two different numbers for two different events in July. If you or your group would like to enter the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade, call Parade Central at 297-5261 for entry forms. Leave your name, group name, mailing address and phone number on the machine and your forms will arrive in a few days.

HOWEVER, if you want information about the SCV Country Fair in Newhall Park on July 3-5, call Kimberle at 254-6437.

Two events. Two numbers.

Random July 4th info: No, it doesn't look like the Saugus Speedway will have fireworks this year. The only scheduled fireworks displays are at Magic Mountain and over the lake in Castaic.

Yes, the $10 parade entry fee applies to everyone. The parade is a non-profit event run by volunteers who would like to recover costs. No, Silly String won't be allowed along the parade route, and yes, the Sheriffs are on top of it. Last year the crowd was well behaved and made everybody proud.

* * *

I want to call your attention to one item in particular in today's Old Town Newhall Gazette, which you'll find inside today's Signal.

It's the SCV Historical Society meeting tonight. Director Pat Saletore has done a terrific job putting together an exciting program on the Ridge Route, the old road from Newhall up the Grapevine to Bakersfield.

There will be an informative speaker and slide show, and the San Fernando Valley Model A Club will be out in full force with their vintage automobiles — some of which may have chugged up the Ridge Route itself.

Come dressed as a flapper or a gangster from the 1920s or '30s and you'll be escorted to a speakeasy for the nonalcoholic version of some Prohibition-era moonshine. Come to the Saugus Train Station on San Fernando Road at 7 p.m.

    Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident.

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