More is not more

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I love freedom of expression, whether it's a trick-or-treating Joe Theismann with a styrofoam tibia protruding from his tube sock or that Iowa senate candidate boasting about castrating pigs.

I love the freedom to vote for whomever you want, as long as you bring a pencil to the polls.

But, fellow citizens, sometimes freedom is too much of a good thing.

The stack of election mailers I have received in the last month alone is higher than a Great Dane is tall. Some days, I get three of the same mailer. Hey, I don't live in Chicago, I vote only once.

In the last two days alone I have received 26 candidate-pimping telephone calls, and as I type, it's not even dinner time.

I'm very popular with Maria Shriver, Ethel Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy, who really hope that I vote for Bobby Shriver. He used to be Santa Monica mayor and now he wants to be an L.A. County Supervisor.

They're not all robocalls. Yesterday, a live caller identified himself as "Rick Tuttle," but I don't know if this Rick Tuttle is the same guy who was L.A. city controller for 16 years, because before he could make his pitch I cut him off like a hostile Hummer on the 405 -- he was campaign caller No. 8, and my daily tolerance ends at three.

Today, caller No. 12 also was live. She did not introduce herself, and the only reason she got through her whole script was because her Russian accent was so thick I wasn't sure what she wanted. Turned out she likes a certain candidate, the one whose mailers feature her long brown hair and Kennedyesque teeth.

I love America, where Russians are paying attention not only to the Santa Monica City Council, but also to where my polling place is, and if I need a ride.

But I miss the days of true campaign contact. When Bobby Shriver first ran for Santa Monica City Council, the big local issue wasn't the fate of the airport or overdevelopment, it was the height of residential hedges.

Bobby walked the precincts pressing the flesh that year, and when he came to my house, we started talking about my privet shrubs. Then he noticed the 100-year-old clawfoot bathtub in my yard, and got all excited about its rehab potential.

I voted for him.

Bobby, the tub's still there. It still needs work. Let's talk about it. Maybe I'll vote for you tomorrow.


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