Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy PrezDay, L.A.

The Militant has no particular place to ride to today, no particular neighborhood to explore, so why not get topical?

Today of course is Presidents Day, borne from the practical merger of the birthdays of iconic Commander-In-Chiefs Washington and Lincoln, but now supposedly re-appropriated to celebrate all presidents. And especially this year, as a one handful of people will win the big reality show this coming November to be the next president, this can't be a more appropriate time to talk about the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

We know that our next president will likely be a native of either Honolulu, HI, Chicago, IL or even the Panama Canal Zone, but has there ever been a native Angeleno as president?

Everyone knows there's been a native Southern Californian as president - Richard Nixon, born in Yorba Linda, raised in Whittier, the Quaker-bred son of a onetime Pacific Electric Red Car motorman. (perhaps that's why he was more pro-transit than some of his Republican bretheren, having supported federal funding for SF's BART and DC's Metro systems). There almost was another one more recently -- former 2008 Democratic candidate Bill Richardson was born in Pasadena.

No there's never been a native Angeleno president - yet, but history boasts candidates for both president and vice president who are locals.

Adlai E. Stevenson II ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for president in 1952 and 1956 against Dwight D. Eisenhower. A former governor of Illinois and grandson of a Vice President (under Grover Cleveland), Stevenson was born in a home in the West Adams district, just a few blocks north of USC.

Not too long ago, Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp ran with Bob Dole in 1996, losing to Bill Clinton and Al Gore in re-election. Though known more as an NFL quarterback, U.S. Congressman from New York and a member of George H.W. Bush's cabinet (as HUD Secretary), Kemp was born in the City of Angels and is an alum of Fairfax High School and Occidental College, and also attended Cal State Long Beach.

So enjoy the rest of your Presidents Day. The Militant hopes you get some nice Presidents Day presents as you BBQ your turkey and enjoy some nice fireworks displays while your kids dress up in costume hunting for colored eggs.

2 comments:

Tricky Dick said...

I'm not a crook!

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