Shane Goldmacher is a former reporter for Capitol Weekly. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he served as editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

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  • Schwarzenegger targets the 'ElimiDate Voter'
  • Legislators tap Sacramento interests for campaign cash
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  • 1A: 76.9-23.1
    1B: 61.3-38.7
    1C: 57.4-42.6
    1D: 56.6-43.4
    1E: 64-36
    83: 70.6-29.4
    84: 53.7-46.3
    85: 45.9-54.1
    86: 48-52
    87: 45.2-54.8
    88: 23-77
    89: 25.5-74.5
    90: 47.6-52.4

    U.S. Sen.
    Feinstein 59.7
    Mountjoy 34.9
    Schwarzenegger 55.8
    Angelides 39.2
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 49.5
    McClintock 44.9
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 56.7
    Poochigian 37.9
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 48.5
    McPherson 44.7
    Lockyer 54.8
    Parrish 37
    Chiang 50.9
    Strickland 40.1
    Insur. Comm.
    Poizner 50.7
    Bustamante 38.9

    For complete election results click here.

    Angelides 48.2
    Westly 43.1
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 42.9
    Speier 39.3
    Figueroa 17.8
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 63.2
    Delgadillo 36.8
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 61.1
    Ortiz 38.9
    Parrish 56.4
    Richman 43.6
    Democratic primary
    Chiang 53.4
    Dunn 46.6
    Republican primary
    Strickland 40.9
    Maldonado 36.9
    Insur. Comm.
    Bustamante 70.5
    Kraft 29.5
    Supt. of Schools
    O'Connell 52.5, avoids run-off

    For complete election results click here.

    73: 47.4-52.6
    74: 45-55
    75: 46.6-53.4
    76: 38-62
    77: 40.5-59.5
    78: 41.5-58.5
    79: 38.9-61.1
    80: 34.3-65.7

    For complete election results click here.

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    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Surf-turf war hits high tide in Capitol

    The following first appeared in Capitol Weekly

    Last summer, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, quietly slipped a resolution across the Senate desk to officially proclaim Santa Cruz, California, as "Surf City USA." It was a simple resolution, he thought.

    But eight months, three legislative resolutions, three angry cities, two competing museums and one pending trademark later, it is clear that however laid back the state's surfer culture is, the legislative wrangling for surfing bragging rights is anything but.

    The Simitian measure came only months after the city of Huntington Beach had submitted an application to trademark the term Surf City USA, reviving a gnarly, years-old rivalry between the two seaside surfing towns.

    After the Simitian bill went public, an Orange County Register editorial fired back that Santa Cruz would be "better named Latter-Day Hippie Capital of the USA" than Surf City USA.

    "My constituents in Santa Cruz county are a little perplexed and bemused that one part of the state thinks it has an exclusive claim to fame on this issue," said Simitian, who views his nonbinding resolution as a way to put the federal trademark office "on notice" that other California townships have a claim to the surf-city moniker.

    And in a Zen-like surfer moment, Simitian says, "Surf City is a state of mind, not a place, and I don't think you can trademark a state of mind."

    Santa Cruz dates its surfing history back to 1885, when three Hawaiian princes surfed on locally produced redwood boards at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. That would make Santa Cruz the site of the first surfing in California, as Simitian's bill proudly points out.

    But so far Huntington Beach surf aficionados, who claim surfing started in California in 1910 in Huntington Beach, have scuttled the Simitian measure, preventing it from ever coming to a floor vote.

    Morrow paddles out

    The latest wave in the surf-turf war came this January when Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, decided to memorialize a surfing museum in his northern San Diego district. Morrow authored a resolution, SCR 69, to designate the California Surf Museum as the "official museum of surfing history, art, culture, heritage, and memorabilia for the State of California." But the Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach folks, each with museums of their own, would have none of it.

    Simitian immediately approached Morrow, who at the time was in the middle of a congressional campaign, with a proposed amendment to recognize that the state's surfing history "is reflected by the many surfing museums" in the state. Morrow agreed to the amendment in early March.

    But Assemblyman Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, was unsatisfied.

    Last month, in the middle of a bare-knuckled Senate campaign he won by a razor-thin 236 votes, Harman found the time to author ACR 131. The bill--a direct affront against Morrow's measure--would recognize the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum as "the official museum of surfing for the state".

    On why there is some much controversy over surfing, Morrow says, "I don't know if it is so much about surfing as it is about Huntington Beach. What's in the water down there?"

    "The last thing I expected was this fight," he added.

    Both measures are now moving through the Legislature, with the first to complete the process becoming the nonbinding law of the land.

    Size does matter

    The language of the resolutions themselves boasts the credentials of the museums and their surrounding surf communities.

    The Simitian measure touts the Santa Cruz's "11-world class surf breaks," but Harman counters that Huntington Beach "embodies the ultimate surfing culture" with its "8.5 miles of wide, sandy beaches."

    Huntington Beach claims the "most heavily surfed beach on the West Coast" and has "the largest surfing event in the world" every year. But Santa Cruz is home to Jack O'Neill, who "invented the wet suit," and now has a local surfing contest held there in his name.

    "Surfers are by nature very territorial and very proud," said Jane Schmauss, acting director and co-founder of the California Surf Museum in Oceanside. Morrow's Oceanside measure, which was written at the request of Schmauss, focuses more on the museum itself, and its 20,000 annual visitors, than on the city of Oceanside.

    "The California Surf Museum has photographs, surfboards, and blueprints of classic surfboard shapes, and has in its permanent collection the earliest documented surfboard in California," reads the measure.

    "We are not saying we are better than any of the other surf museum," says Schmauss. "We are saying our name is the California Surf Museum and we would be honored with the title."

    Harman tries to shoot the curl

    But Harman's Huntington Beach measure--introduced two months after Morrow's--has a head start toward gaining official state recognition. While neither Simitian's nor Morrow's measures have received a vote, Harman has guided ACR 131 through one Assembly committee, onto the consent calendar, and right past the Assembly floor--all on unanimous votes. The bill now sits in the Senate Rules Committee, awaiting a committee assignment.

    In the meantime, Harman has asked Morrow not to move his measure because Huntington Beach is currently not represented in the Senate, after John Campbell left last fall to take a seat in Congress. Harman recently won the primary for that seat and is expected to win election to the Senate in June.

    "Senator Morrow has agreed to hold his bill temporarily in the Senate," said Harman. "Huntington Beach does not have a senator representing that area." But while Morrow waits, Harman continues to push his bill through the process. There has even been talk of a bipartisan Santa Cruz-Huntington Beach alliance.

    "We got an informal approach on would you be willing to join forces with the folks from the Huntington Beach in opposing the Oceanside museum," said Sen. Simitian. "I said absolutely not."

    Simitian says the legislative surfing contest is, in large part, "just a harmless bit of fun," especially considering all the measures are nonbinding resolutions. But, he adds, all the hoopla over a sport and culture known for being laid-back is rather odd.

    "The commercialization and commodification of Surf City seems to be wholly inconsistent with the culture of the surfing world," said Simitian.

    Seriously, dude.

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