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For Sure: If Sabretooth ever gives up magic, we're sure he's got a second career as a wrestling villain waiting for him. he performs Feb. 13 for Magic from the Heart.

Nüz

Finger Food

"Considering that BUSH supporters are dipping their index fingers in purple ink to show solidarity with some voters in a not quite free election, and what Bush wants to do to social security ... perhaps the proper response is a raised red-inked middle finger."

So emailed frequent Nüz tipster TBILL BEING SOCIAL IN THE FOREST, after Bush's STATE OF THE UNION speech, which fell on Groundhog Day and left many with more than a shadow of a doubt.

Congressman SAM FARR, for one, noted in a press release that Bush's stated goals "sound honorable, but his policies don't live up to them."

Warning that Bush's Social Security proposal would "eviscerate the program and turn it into a lottery ticket," Farr homed in on Bush's claim that Social Security will be bankrupt in 40 years--a claim that Dems audibly booed midspeech.

"The reality is, if Congress did nothing, 40 years from now Social Security would probably have to cut benefit payments by about 25 percent," said Farr, a situation, he sums up as "not good, but far from bankruptcy."

Acknowledging that Social Security faces a long-term solvency problem, Farr insists that we have time to find a safe and secure solution.

"There's no reason to rush into a radical privatization scheme, especially one that administration officials admit would do nothing to fix the solvency problem," he says. "In effect, the president spent a long time talking about a risky idea that won't even fix the problem he's so worried about."

Farr joins ANNA ESHOO, ZOE LOFGREN and MIKE HONDA in Santa Cruz to discuss Social Security at a 10am, Feb. 26 town-hall meeting. Stay tuned for location.

Ring My Bell

Newly elected state Sen. JOE SIMITIAN (D-Palo Alto) has set up shop in the office previously occupied by termed-out Republican Sen. BRUCE MCPHERSON.

Nüz was reminded of this senatorial baton-switching at the county building, thanks to calls from citizens, who initially wondered when Simitian's office was going to open, then called to say that actually it had been open for a while, but with the door closed and a doorbell newly installed, reportedly for security reasons.

Reached by phone, Simitian explained that at first he kept the door closed "because the office, as I inherited it, was in shambles."

Beyond that, he proffers that his is the closest legislative office to the Sheriff's Department, hence his security concerns, a problem he says is compounded by his only having one staffer.

"One of my first challenges as senator was to persuade folks in Sacramento that I needed an office here at all," says Simitian, adding that lone staffer GWEN ESSEGIAN is going have to be "a bit of a Renaissance woman."

Explaining that Essegian will have to close the front door, when she's in a meeting in the backroom, Simitian says the doorbell was installed "for constituents to ring if they want to talk." A mailbox was also installed for constituents to leave notes and letters in.

Simitian, who spent the previous four years in the Assembly, says the organizational culture in the Senate is a lot less frenetic--there are half as many senators, most of whom have twice as much experience as their counterparts in the Assembly.

"Weighing against those positives is the challenge of representing a district twice the size and which includes five different communities of interest," says Simitian.

This is the first year that Santa Cruz County has had split representation in the upper chamber. Previously, the whole county was in District 15, but the district was reconfigured to include much of the southern and eastern portions of the county, including Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Felton, which are now represented by Republican Sen. ABEL MALDONALDO.

Meanwhile, District 11, which Simitian represents, stretches from San Carlos to Aptos and encompasses three counties and 13 cities and towns, including Santa Cruz, Capitola, Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek.

Emphasizing that he authored a string of ocean-related bills as an assemblyman, Simitian, who chairs the SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE, worries about ARNIE's proposed roll-back of some welfare-to-work benefits.

"A lot of people are anxious about the governor's popularity, but I think we can deal respectfully with someone with whom we have strong differences of opinion," he says. "It's our obligation to work with the governor the people sent us. It's also our obligation to work true to our values and those of our district."

Simitian thinks Arnie is "extraordinarily adept at speaking to the public in simple language that's easily understood"--by contrast, he says, most elected officials aren't nearly adept enough.

"How can I explain in language that's real? That's a question we should be asking ourselves, so that the hated vehicle licensing fee, whose repeal saved people about $150, can be seen as having cost people extra for UCSC, having meant millions less for high schools and having translated into 20 less classroom teachers? Was that your bargain? Jerry Brown had a word. He used to say, We have to "tangibilitize" these issues.' Clearly tangibilitize isn't a useable word, but the concept is spot on."

Visit Simitian at http://democrats.sen. ca.gov/senator/simitian, call him at 831,425.0401, but whatever you do, don't go playing Ding Dong Ditch.

Magic from the Heart

Nüz has seen some pretty strange sights in our time, but even we were a wee bit surprised when a magician named SABRETOOTH showed up in our office decked out in antlers and a beaver-skin hat, from which two bushy fox tails were hanging like a pair of braids. Did we mention he was also carrying a dance stick topped with a coyote skull--a skull that Sabretooth put a muzzle on the minute Nüz picked up our No. 2 pencil?

"It's best for this interview not to listen to Coyote. He'll lead you down the wrong path, "said Sabretooth, who believes that "antlers are antennae to the creator."

Part French, part Chippewa, Sabretooth says he's really a medicine man who uses magic "to help you swallow the medicine." On that Mary Poppins-ish note, Sabretooth invites y'all to watch him and fellow magicians MICKEY MAGIC and the AMAZING JIMBO perform at the second annual MAGIC FROM THE HEART show. Sponsored by NORDIC NATURALS, the show, which is a fundraiser for JACOB'S HEART CHILDREN'S CANCER ASSOCIATION, features the Sands of Sabretooth and the Amazing Jimbo's dove act. Not to mention that Mickey Magic is offering a $500 award to anyone who supplies a padlock to keep him locked in a pair of wooden wrist shackles. So, hurry down and help him out. Showtimes are 1pm and 3:30pm, Feb. 13, at Aptos Academy, 1904 Bonita Drive, Aptos. Call 831.477.0690 or visit www.Jacobsheart.org.

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From the February 9-16, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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