A rose by any other name: The way candidates describe themselves on ballots is a big deal. "Businessman" is a popular designation this year -- especially in the Inland Empire -- even though the person carrying the title is a professional politician who earns his pay by working in the Capitol.
From the Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller: "Around the state, election officials have been busy reviewing candidates’ proposed ballot designations before this week’s announcement of qualified candidates for the June 5 primary election. The regulations require that the descriptions, generally limited to three words, reflect “the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations” of the candidate."
"The brief descriptions are the last bit of candidate information voters see in the polling booth, alongside often unfamiliar names, so candidates try to put their best foot forward. Experts say the three words carry outsized importance."
"For example, when former Yucca Valley Mayor Paul Cook listed himself as “retired Marine colonel,” a rival in a five-way 2006 Republican primary ballot for the 65th Assembly District sued, claiming that Cook should be described as a college professor."
Okay, so "businessman" isn't all that exciting, but how 'bout "astronaut?" Now there's a title. Not verybody likes it though.
From Michael Doyle in the Fresno Bee: "San Joaquin Valley congressional candidate Jose Hernandez flew in space, but his astronaut identity is now under political fire...."
"The lawsuit quietly filed Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court by the firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk strikes right at the heart of Hernandez's biography. It's a life story he's making considerable use of as he seeks to challenge freshman Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
Voting isn't the only thing you do early and often: In California, even though the presidential primary election is two months off, some well-heeled donors have given to multiple GOP candidates.
From Lance Williams at California Watch: "That includes $15.2 million in direct donations to front-runner Mitt Romney; challengers Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul; and the candidates who have dropped out, Federal Election Commission data shows. In addition, Californians have given another $11.4 million to conservative super political action committees, according to a California Watch calculation."
"Romney might be struggling to nail down the nomination, but he’s easily winning the political money contest on the West Coast: He and his super PAC have obtained $12.1 million of the total."
"Among California’s Republicans, few are as engaged in the drawn-out race to the nomination – or, in some cases, so conflicted about its eventual outcome – as those who have given money to more than one candidate."
Veteran north state Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, long a major Democrat in Sacramento, has an unusual election this year -- he has no Republican foe. Instead, he'll likely be squaring off with a fellow Democrat.
From Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "With two other Democrats and a Green Party candidate on the June 5 primary ballot, the Arcata Democrat could join Guerneville activist Tom Lynch in a fall run-off under California's new top-two open primary system."
"Chesbro, now serving his 12th year in the Legislature, is running to retain his Assembly seat in the new 2nd District, which includes the northern half of Santa Rosa and runs up to the Oregon border."
If you want to fly with eagles, move to San Mateo County: The stately birds are back after a century, and looking good.
From Lisa Krieger in the Contra Costa Times: "A pair of bald eagles is nesting on the San Francisco Peninsula for the first time in nearly a century, a milestone for the once-endangered symbol of strength and grandeur."
"The nest is tucked deep in a fir tree on the far edge of northern Crystal Springs Reservoir -- hard for humans to see, but with a bird's-eye view of 7.15 million noisy neighbors."
"It feels really good. They're unmistakable -- white head, white tail," said George Chrisman, of Burlingame, who first spotted the birds during a Saturday morning scan of the reservoir two weeks ago, then watched for four hours until he saw the nest."
And from our "Button Down" file, comes the tale of the retro-hipsters in New York who like to frequent the bars shown in the "Mad Men" serial on AMC. Of course, the entire show is filmed in California, but that's Hollywood.
"While many of the places name-dropped in Mad Men no longer exist - Lutece, the Stork Club, Toots Shor's - there are plenty that do, among them P.J. Clarke's, the Roosevelt Hotel and Sardi's. Some Manhattan bars, clubs and hotels are even offering packages, drinks or viewing parties to mark the show's return..."
"Mad Men aficionados know the Oyster Bar at the landmark train terminal was not mentioned by name on the show, but it's believed to be the place where Don takes Roger Sterling for a martini-and-oyster lunch."
"P.J. Clarke's, at Third Avenue and 55th Street, manages to appeal to a trendy 21st century sensibility while channeling the classic cool that got the crowd from Mad Men ad agency Sterling Cooper drinking and doing the twist. P. J. Clarke's "was the site of manyMad Men parties," Gelman said. "I think there might be more scenes set there" than any other bar or restaurant."