Reporters' Notebook: Come out and listen to the candidates

If you're unsure about the issues in the Nov. 2 election, Merced's League of Women Voters (which, interestingly, is also open to men) has a candidate's night planned with Cathleen Galgiani and Jack Mobley in the Assembly race and Anna Caballero and Anthony Cannella for Jeff Denham's state Senate seat. All the candidates will be answering questions from the audience at 7 p.m. Monday in the Supervisors' Chambers on the third floor of the county building, 2222 M St. If you don't have a pen, the league has plenty of tiny golf pencils and 3-by-5 cards for your questions.

Jack Mobley's pitch for campaign funds, even $5: "I know things are tough with the economy, jobs being lost, etc. I know in my business it is a challenge to meet payroll twice a month, let alone buy new equipment and pay down debt. Today is payday and my employees expect to have a check that will cash. That is a responsibility most of the folks in Sacramento don't understand or have ever faced."

Mike Berryhill slammed Dennis Cardoza for misrepresenting his voting record: "The Stanislaus County Clerk's Office has provided a voter history for Mike Berryhill and that document is attached to this release. It clearly shows that Mike Berryhill has voted in all but two elections. Cardoza in his eagerness to launch yet another negative attack on Mike Berryhill failed to get his facts straight."

Right backatcha, Mike: "He doesn't want to debate me. He hasn't done so well with me." -- Mike Berryhill, Merced County Times 9/23/2010. NOT SO FAST, Mr. Berryhill ... You haven't done so well in past debates. "Berryhill Flunks Debate" read the Modesto Bee headline covering the debate between Cardoza and Mr. Berryhill at the Latino Community Roundtable forum. As a result of the debate Cardoza received the endorsement of the nonpartisan organization.

The latest U.S. census stats for poverty rates: U.S. 14.3 percent; California 14.2 percent; Stanislaus County, 17 percent; Merced County 25.6 percent; Modesto 18.3 percent; Turlock 17.6 percent; Merced 26.6 percent. In other words, the number of people living in poverty in Merced is almost double the national rate.

Yosemite National Park and young people both benefited from a recent grant. The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council awarded $25,000 for the Youth in Yosemite program, where 40 youngsters will engage in an eight-week internship experience in Yosemite. Students will work closely with park managers on projects that offer opportunities to learn more about natural and cultural sciences, geology, habitat restoration and trail engineering.

Greg Mitchell, former editor of Editor & Publisher who writes the Media Fix blog for The Nation magazine and blogs at the Huffington Post, wrote a book in 1993 about the state's 1934 election, "The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics." It's now being reprinted. In his research, Mitchell discovered what he thinks is the nation's first attack ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPQfLqnsLEg