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Sacbee.com

The Buzz: GOP controller contenders follow the money (buffy mention)

Tuesday 18 April 2006, by Webmaster

Story appeared on Page A3 of The Bee

In a heated GOP primary battle for state controller, former Assemblyman Tony Strickland last week claimed his opponent, state Sen. Abel Maldonado, can’t keep track of his own money.

Strickland’s staff plugged Maldonado’s name into the controller’s database of unclaimed private property and found Maldonado has about $2,000 he hasn’t collected. Or, as Strickland put it in a news release, Maldonado is on "the list of people who have carelessly lost track of their money."

On the contrary, said Maldonado’s staff. They said the senator has known "for over a year" that he has unclaimed property. "He has been using it as an educational tool," said Maldonado spokesman Tom Kise.

Maldonado has been teaching people how to find their property in the controller’s database and has left his own money in the pool so he can type in his name and show them how it comes up, Kise said.

The Maldonado camp fought back, noting a recent Los Angeles Times story documenting that Strickland and his wife, Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, R-Moorpark, have boosted their income by paying campaign money to consulting firms that they each run. The Stricklands say they have done nothing illegal.

It could be that Maldonado just isn’t feeling a pressing need for money these days. The latest cash-on-hand reports show the senator with about $248,000 in his campaign account, about $40,000 ahead of Strickland.

Batty legislation

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine’s office began promoting his Vampire Slayer Act of 2006 on Friday, which seemed like perfect timing: It also was the birthday of Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress who played Buffy, the vampire slayer, on the hit television show.

Instead of regulating use of Gilroy garlic, the bill requires appliance makers to label how much energy their products consume while in standby mode. Appliances that drain energy while inactive are dubbed "vampires."

It was one of the first bills highlighted by new Levine communications director Alex Traverso, who’s leaving Assembly Speaker Fabian Nez’s press office.

Will Traverso advise his new boss to show up in committee wearing a Dracula costume?

"He is a pretty flashy dresser, but I don’t know if he’d go in with a cape with a popped collar and slick his hair back," Traverso said. "But I wouldn’t put it past him. Last year, he asked members to bark ’aye’ " for a canine-related bill.