WHO TO CHOOSE? You think you have a dilemma trying to pick for president? That’s nothing compared to the soul-rending, mind-bending torment I’m suffering: whether to root for my sunny California love, the L.A. Dodgers, or my youthful, unrequited gritty passion, the Chicago Cubs.
As a South Side rebel, I followed my father as a Cubs fan, while my twin brother, Bruce, as usual, went the other way and became a White Sox aficionado. The Cubs hadn’t won a World Series since 1908, but in 1945, with many major league stars away in the service, the Cubs won the National League pennant.
Exciting, yes, but there was no TV to watch the Series, and I was just a kid in school, without money or means to get to Wrigley Field. I still remember staring at my desk, wondering why I was there instead of cheering in the bleachers.
And I remember my father not taking me to a game. But then he never took me to any regular-season game, not even to the White Sox park, which was closer.
That year, Hank Greenberg, released early from the service, was the big Detroit slugger, and in the Series, he hit two homers, scored seven runs, and drove in seven. He wrecked my Cubs.
I had to listen on our crappy old box radio, one without knobs, forcing me to twist the metal stubs and risk electrocution.
It came down to the seventh and deciding game. When the Cubs lost it and the Series, I was heartbroken. But no one in my family — Bruce, my sister Joyce, my mother, or even my father — seemed to give a damn.
But back in the present, while I watched the 2016 series, my heart told me who to root for: the Dodgers. New love over old.
RALPHABETA: Debra Teton, noting that the Ralphs market on De la Vina Street is due to close on November 4, reminds me that it’s known in the neighborhood as “Ralphabeta.” That’s because locals knew it back when it was an Alpha Beta store. The closing is a loss because of its (relatively) bargain prices. (No word yet on what’s going in there.)
KILL ’EM OR DON’T: It’s medieval, but we’re still doing it. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have abolished the death penalty, but California, for all its liberal pretensions, still clings to it.
The execution option has had an odd history. The California Supreme Court ended it in 1972. But the citizens of California reinstated capital punishment right back again that same year with Proposition 17. In 1976, the Court found the death penalty unconstitutional. But the justices breathed new life into it the next year and made legalized killing legal.
Now we have another chance to weigh in. Proposition 62 on the November 8 ballot would substitute life imprisonment without possibility of parole. It would also save an estimated $150 million a year in state and county criminal justice costs. But if vengeance is yours, Proposition 66 would instead speed up the killing machine and supposedly save tens of millions of dollars.
In 1984, three L.A. gangbangers sent on a contract murder assignment got the wrong house. They killed four members of a family, including the mother of former San Francisco 49ers star Kermit Alexander. Outraged when they escaped the death penalty, he is now pushing Prop. 66.
On the other hand, actor Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicutt of M*ASH fame), authored Prop. 62. Public attitudes are changing, and Prop. 62 might pass and the death machine grind to a halt, although no one’s been executed since 2006. In 2012, voters rejected Prop. 34, which would have repealed the death penalty. If both 62 and 66 pass, the one with the most yes votes would win. Polls are running in favor of the speed-killing measure.
As you might expect, the California Democratic Party supports abolishing the death penalty; the Republican Party is opposed. My take: It’s time to get rid of state-sanctioned killing. It does no earthly good and sets a bad example for the youth.
There’ll be a debate on the issue on October 26, pitting Santa Barbara defense attorney Robert Sanger against Richard Simon, senior deputy DA in Ventura County. It’s free and takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara College of Law, 20 East Victoria Street.