Probe: May 8, 2002

May 08, 2002

NO HANGING CHADS — In the recent election at Brawley Union High School, student candidates who lost races by a hair were denied manual recounts.

Voters received ballots with their names printed on them. They marked their ballots in pencil and cast the ballots during English classes.

There was e-mail traffic over the weekend between students offering "congratulations" or "condolences."

When results were reported Tuesday, some candidates requested recounts. One candidate lost by three votes and one lost by one vote. The administration denied their petition.

Did we learn nothing from Florida? — Political Commentator, Brawley

Hanky-panky is not new to BUHS politics. Student names went on the ballots to ensure nobody stuffed the ballot boxes, said ASB adviser Phil Villamor.


The ballots were recounted by machine in close races, he said.

A manual recount would have made no difference, according to Villamor. As you may recall, that was the official line in Florida. It also was the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It looks like the student politicians will have to follow the lead of losing candidate Al Gore, pledge support to the winners and wait until next time.

The candidates learned who won the election because a member of the student council called them and told them who won.

QUESTION: I am doing a research paper on famous (non-athletes) people from the Imperial Valley. I already have Cher. Could you help me out? — Researcher, El Centro

Cher was born in El Centro while her father was in the Imperial County jail.

How about Tokyo Rose? And how about the infamous "Meathead," a guard in a Japanese prison camp who allegedly mistreated American prisoners of war during World War II? Both grew up in Calexico. Bandleader Spike Jones, famous in the 1940s, hailed from Niland.

Donal Logue, formerly of El Centro, is the lead actor in the Fox Television network series "Grounded for Life;" Dino Cazares of the recently defunct metal band Fear Factory and jazz performer Walter Beasley both grew up in El Centro. And then there's Ken Howard, another former El Centro man who starred in the TV series "The White Shadow."

QUESTION: Is it true that the homeless man sleeping outside at Brawley Four Corners, the junction of Highways 86 and 78, has a doctorate in philosophy? — Wondering, Brawley

We don't think so, although we can't rule it out.

Brawley Police Chief Henry Graham, who talks now and then to the homeless man he calls Sonny, said, "I have never heard that. He's an intelligent man but he doesn't talk like a Ph.D."

Graham said Sonny came to Brawley about five years ago from New York City. Sonny told Graham he prefers Brawley's climate to New York's mean winters.

When he first moved to Brawley, he set up camp near the intersection of Highway 86 and Western Avenue. People worried because the traffic was so fast. He's moved several times since but mostly he stays in the little park by the highway junction at First and Main streets.

Sonny doesn't cause any problems.

"He doesn't block store entrances or accost customers. People come to Sonny. They must like him," the chief said.

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