This being California, you knew the recent primary election would be a little different here.

And so it was that one of the candidates for Los Angeles County assessor was listed on the ballot as John "Lower Taxes" Loew (see photo).

Yes, Loew, a deputy assessor, had legally changed his middle name to create a more appealing ballot designation.

Loew made the runoff, but he only received about 24% of the votes, compared to 46% for incumbent Jeffrey Prang. Perhaps a less subtle middle name for Loew is in order.

"No Taxes"?

• Of course, the Golden State is no stranger to unusual ballot maneuvers.

Years ago, Jack Kelly, who played a con-man/gambler on the old Western TV series, "Maverick," won approval from a court to list himself as "Businessman/actor (Maverick)" (see photo).

Kelly was seeking a seat on the Huntington Beach City Council.

An opponent of Kelly, John Valentino, then declared that he would change his designation to "John (Rudolph) Valentino." Maybe Valentino should have been satisfied with "The Great Lover," inasmuch as he was turned down.

Meanwhile, up in Los Angeles, Jack McGrath, a write-in candidate for the City Council, wanted to opt for simplicity and list himself as just plain old "Jack."

Valentino and McGrath lost their elections while Kelly was elected to the HB Council. Perhaps his TV past as a con-man/gambler struck voters as good training for a politician.

• From politicians to weasels: A few decades ago, another unsuccessful office-seeker gave as his designation, "Ferret Legalization Coordinator" (see photo). In case you didn't know, it's illegal to own ferrets in California. (Whether you can own politicians is open to debate, I guess.)

• I can't let this discussion come to an end without mentioning a write-in hopeful in San Francisco who ran for President as "Nobody." He never was able to get on to the ballot but his appearances were nevertheless colorful. A typical scene would have the candidate shouting out, "Who understands economic policy" to which his followers would yell, "Nobody!"

We could use a little of such honesty these days, I think.

• Dueling Signs Dept.: Back in Long Beach, reader Tim Elliott found a "STOP" warning atop a "NO STOPPING ANY TIME" warning on Sixth Street (see photo). I bet I know who was paying attention when these two were posted on the same pole? Nobody!

Steve (the Journalist) Harvey can be reached at and @sharvey9.

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