Something to smile about in local politics
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Oct 25, 2012 | 951 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It would be easy to poke fun at Patterson’s “other” candidate for mayor — Troy McComak.

After all, the young man ventured into political life last spring when he started at the top and ran for Congress. (Candidates have to be 35 or older to seek the presidency, so that was out for Troy.) His expressed intention, he was quoted as saying, was to impress a young woman. (I can only hope it worked.)

Now in his second candidacy of the year, the 27-year-old Troy has his name on the ballot running against Patterson’s incumbent mayor, Luis Molina. It’s doubtful that McComak has the mayor shaking in his boots.

But, hey, I’m glad to see the spirit coming from this young man. He undoubtedly is a person who doesn’t take himself very seriously, and I can relate to that.

Troy is obviously running a “thrifty” campaign, possibly saving his bucks for a dinner out with female companionship. I like his large, hand-painted “Troy 4 Mayor” signs that stand out among the slick, professionally prepared signs of other candidates.

If McComak is serious about getting into public service on the local level, he might start with seeking an appointment to one of Patterson’s commissions or committees, such as the planning commission.

But this time around, I’m glad he didn’t. City government needs something to smile about from time to time, and this is one of those times.

On the back burner

You may remember (or you may not) that I promised my concluding impressions of our recent trip to Turkey in this week’s Fast Talk.

I hope you’re not holding your breath, because that plan has been postponed to next week. The 49ers, PHS Tigers, Stanford, the Raiders and the Giants all winning kept my attention.

Another centenarian

A woman who moved from Patterson nearly 50 years ago will note her 100th birthday this Friday, Oct. 26.

Jennie Carlson has lived at a Turlock facility for many years. She moved from Patterson after the death of her husband, Al, in 1963. Al Carlson was a painting contractor here, and the couple had two daughters.

All about luck

Some people believe they are born lucky. I don’t. I never had a dog named Lucky or had much luck come my way.

Instead, I’ve always felt that the way things happen is preordained. In other words, it was meant to happen the way it did.

Here’s an example. A few years ago, when the local Boy Scouts held a huge annual yard sale, someone donated an excellent locking briefcase. You know, one of those opened only by a combination setting of three numbers. Except we didn’t have the setting, and thus the bag couldn’t be opened.

I took the case home and decided I would try all possible combinations, of which there were 999, and open it. I first went from 001 to 099, then from 900 to 999, back to 100, etc.

Now the law of averages says I would open the case in the first 500 tries. It didn’t happen. Not in 700 tries, nor 900. In fact, I had only nine numbers remaining before it opened, having “struck out” on the first 990 settings. How’s that for being unlucky!

I learned years ago that I have no friends at Tahoe and Reno.

My kind of watch

Browsing through a holiday gift catalog, I came across an amazing item: a watch that doesn’t operate on batteries, nor is self-winding. Instead, you manually wind it up, as in the old days when individuals actually did things for themselves.

It isn’t water resistant, doesn’t have a fluorescent dial or show the day and date, can’t be used as a compass or a fish-finder, and doesn’t emit bird calls or give the temperature and relative humidity. Nor can it be used as a camera or other nonsense.

I wanted one — badly — even though my 52-year-old Bulova steadily keeps ticking along. I would consider it to be a status symbol.

Email strikes again

Some readers are surprised that I use email, considering my technological disability. And I receive no small amount of electronic mail.

When we recently headed out of the country for 16 days, I notified a few of my most ardent emailers to “hold up” while I was away. They complied, but nonetheless I came home to no fewer than 299 messages.

One of those is worth passing along. It involves two brooms who met in a closet, got acquainted, and ended up getting married. The bride broom was gorgeous in her wedding gown, while the groom broom was elegantly handsome in his tux.

At the reception dinner, the bride broom leaned over and told her husband that she was pregnant with a little whisk broom. To which he indignantly replied: “But we haven’t even swept together!”

For the sports fan

There’s seldom an occasion when you just can’t lose at playoff time. But such was the circumstance last week.

Growing up in Eastern Iowa, it was natural to be a fan of the Cardinals. We lived about 250 miles from Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis, and I attended a few ball games in each city, but the Cardinals were my favorite team in the National League. By far.

But I’m also a fan of the Giants and have been elated about their recent success. So when the two met early this week for the NL crown, I simply couldn’t lose.

Now — beat the Tigers (Detroit, that is).

And finally…

Have you noticed the nearly total absence of presidential candidate yard signs and bumper stickers this year? Are Patterson residents not tipping their hand on their voting preference this time around? Too much heated emotion to let your neighbors know which side you are on?

I’ve seen only one Obama bumper sticker, and that was on a car in Modesto. And the sticker was quite small. I have yet to spot a Romney sticker.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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