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Sunday, August 17, 2003
The Race Is On

By Eric Neel

The "official" media outlets will tell you the wacky Cali governor's race is set: Aaaaahhhhhnold, the other Arnold, Skin Flint, Ariana ... yada, yada, yada.

Don't listen to them. This thing is still wide open.

At the X Games in L.A. this weekend, there was a groundswell, friends, a roots movement. The people were clamoring for candidates who represent them and speak to their issues. They were hungry for new-millennium politicians unafraid to storm Sac-town, people ready to turn this wayward ship of state around, people who know the box is just a figment of our imaginations, just a construct set up by the Man who's always looking to hold us down.

It was stirring stuff. The air was popping with possibilities.

And, like we are on every other angle, we had the gubernatorial edge honed for you, too.

Koston promises more and better skate spots. Then he'll come ride with the people ... and make them look silly.
Here's a run-down of the leading candidates, and a quick gloss of what their first official actions would be. (Extra points if you spot the unifying theme, and super-double extra points if you come ready to ride bold and brash into a bright new California day.)

Bob Burnquist, supah-fly skateboarder by day, straight-up eco-policy wonk by night: "I'd push for GMO labeling, try to promote organic community gardens, and get action sports more into the inner-city, get the kids into skating and stuff like that."

Ryan Sheckler, savant: "Build more skate parks, and not allow the businesses to nob the railings in all the good skate spots."

Travis Pastrana, daredevil: "Skateparks for all! Dude, I love BMX, it inspires everything we do in Moto X. If the people are happy, they like you, and if there are skateparks, the people will be happy."

And the youngest candidate -- and youngest X Games gold medallist -- Ryan Sheckler. He's so young, he can't even vote for himself.
Carey Hart, limit-tester and wooer of pop stars: "Seeing as how I'm always jacked-up, I'd say free insurance for everyone would have to be the first thing."

Eric Koston, chairman of cool, master of understatement, and area-chapter president of the Free Kobe Bryant Society: "What would I promise them? ... Better skate spots. What else?"

Mike Metzger, Moto X lion in waiting: "I'd try to make school more fun for kids, you know? Build skate parks on school campuses, somehow get kids to want to go to school, and want to learn how to study, because they can study and also do extreme sports at their school. I think that would be kind of cool. Some kids want to go play soccer and some want to go to the skateboard park, and some want to do both, we should do something for all of them, get them all pumped up on learning."

Mike Budnik, long-drive master of the universe: "Lower greens fees in Orange County, man. I've spent too much money to play the courses down there."

Anyone want this guy running your city?
Brian Deegan, author of the best-selling I Just Landed An Off-Axis 360 And I'm Feeling Like A Bad-Ass, Thank You Very Much: "You know what my slogan would be? 'Don't ask me, cuz I really don't care.' No, really, I'd make sure everyone had a ramp in their backyard, and I'd let people ride dirt bikes wherever they want, out of town, in town, all over the place. That would be the rule. I'm ready, man. I'm ready to take control of this state."

Matt "Have-You-Seen-My-Spleen" Hoffman: "Bikes allowed in every skatepark in California."

Rick Thorne, BMX rider, idea guy: "I could say all the things like I'd put skateparks everywhere, but that's already happening, you know what I mean? So, I'd say, if I was governor you'd be allowed to kill one security guard a year, because they're wannabes and they're not really authority, and I've been dealing with them for 22 years."