Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Does State Senator Bob Huff Have Against Seabiscuit?

I got the latest edition of Huff Headlines in my e-mail the other day, and I tucked it away in the save file for a bit. All so that I could ponder what our guy from the 29th Senate District of California had to say when I had the proper amount of time.

There is a lot to recommend here. State budget woes are a problem that need to be dealt with, and possible tax hikes are always troubling, especially when Republicans start talking about them. Of course, the 50th anniversary of the City of Walnut had me reminiscing a bit. But then I came to that part of the missive dealing with something very near and dear to my heart, Santa Anita Racetrack. Here is what Bob had to say:

One of the most important parts of my job as a Senator is to represent the needs of the local business community. Economic development and small business growth in particular, is an invaluable part of our livelihood and quality of life. This month, I would like to highlight the Santa Anita Racetrack.

All well and good, I guess. A little on the earnest side for my taste, but what the heck. But as I read on the good vibes went south, turning to both shock and dismay. 

Having originally opened on December 25, 1930, Santa Anita Park became known as "The Great Race Place" and was home to the infamous racehorse Seabiscuit.

Infamous? Seabiscuit? One of the most beloved sports figures of all time? We're talking Sandy Koufax class of sports hero here. Babe Ruth. Magic Johnson. Willie Mays. What's so infamous about Seabiscuit? That's like comparing him to Jack the Ripper or Sid Vicious or something.

Here is what the publicity release for Lauren Hillenbrand's classic sports biography Seabiscuit: An American Legend had to say:

Competing in the cruelest years of the Depression, the rags-to-riches horse emerged as an American cultural icon, drawing an immense and fanatical following, inspiring an avalanche of merchandising, and establishing himself as the single biggest newsmaker of 1938 - receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or any other public figure.

In 2003 Universal Pictures released the movie Seabiscuit, which was inspired by the Hillenbrand book. You can view the trailer here.

At Santa Anita Park stands a statue of Seabiscuit. And every year thousands of race fans take the Seabiscuit tour, visiting the celebrated horse's stall and hearing all about his legendary feats. And having made trip myself, I can tell you there was nothing "infamous" about it. Bob? You owe this horse an apology.


  1. Why don't you send him a copy of your column, Sir Eric, I'm sure he made an honest mistake (hopefully), he'll correct.
    INFAMOUS is a word most of us in Sierra Madre use to describe former mayors who support over development.
    We'll also be using it to describe our Gov. and State legislature if they impose a tax on our vets for care of our pets.
    I got this email this morning.....please respond everyone:

    The Governor has
    Proposed to close the budget gap by extending the sales tax to cover all veterinary services. Can you afford to pay more for veterinary services? Plus, shelters and rescue organizations would have to pay more, making it harder for them to do their good work. You can voice your opinion on this (it does make a difference!) by calling the Governor's hotline and voting yes or no. It will take two minutes and is all automated so you don't even have to talk to a live person. The number to call is 916-445-2841. The answering machine will direct you, just make sure you:

    Press 5 : "calling to voice your opinion on a current hot issue”;

    Then press 1: "the proposition to extend the sales tax to cover veterinary services";

    Then press 2: "in opposition to the proposition.”

  2. Bob needs to engage more literate staff.

  3. Tell Bob to find out for us if Santa Anita is going to be sold to the San Manuel Indians.
    Shake him down, unless he gets us a scoop.....more bad press on this website!

  4. Americans spend billions of dollars on pets each year - and American children still go hungry. Not sure about that one. Are pets a luxury today? It's not like they're herding sheep in our fields.

  5. Anonymous at 11:48

    For many seniors living on a fixed income their beloved pet is their family, their friend, and a source of comfort when they are alone.

  6. I remember watching Bugs Bunny cartoons as a kid, and Seabiscuit got mentioned a lot. I thought he was a cartoon character back then.

  7. You're correct again, Pasta.

  8. Perhaps Sen Huff's knowledge of the English language was challenged by the writing. I expect it amounts to nothing more--or less--than that. Too bad.

  9. Huff's writing skills are infamous.

  10. You guys are just horsing around, right?

  11. You might also mention to Huff that Santa Anita opened in 1934, not 1930. For a great historical account, check out the guest series on my blog written by historian and longtime Sierra Madre resident, Leonard Wynne...

  12. I am writing to you with the hope that my voice of concern is heard.

    America has a huge decision to make whether we want cheaper products or if we want jobs. Companies like Walmart are draining the economy by forcing vendors to go overseas (China) or procuring from the sweat shops there. Likes of IBM are openly laying off people with the offer that they can have the same job in China, Russia India etc. Likes of Warner Bros, Microsoft and you name it are offshoring production and services, with a view to improve their bottomline.

    So where does that leave US? Beer production and Tattoos are the only local production here? All these companies when they fail, still come to Uncle Sam for rescue? Yet they take the bailout funds to improve their performance in Wall Street!!

    Congressman, it is time for us to stand up and view our nations requirement in different light. We could start with raising corporate taxes for those companies sending production and services offshore. We could start a green tax proportional to the distance the product has to sail across the seas to reach our land for sale. We should re-examine the defunct free market policies. This is ruining our nation.

    I am extremely concerned that we are letting things slip. Particularly in this declining economy companies are increasing off-shoring to improve their bottom-line and in the process pushing our country deeper in to the red.

    I am hoping that your good self will step beyond the political affiliations and adopt/support policies that will help improve this situation.

    Sincerely Yours