Don't look now, but Gary Coleman will be on the ballot in California's recall election.
Assembling our crackerjack campaign staff, we went to work. With Gary's authorization, we took out nomination papers and hit the streets to collect signatures. Express editor Stephen Buel cruised the bleachers during last week's A's-Indians game. Managing editor Michael Mechanic hit up lunchtime crowds at the Emery Bay Public Market food court, a campaign sign in one hand and a stack of petitions in the other. Staff writer Chris Thompson worked the crunchy-granola set outside the Berkeley Bowl. Everywhere we went, we found ordinary folks desperate for a People's Candidate, someone who really connected with the voters. (Well, that and people who haven't ever voted, wouldn't think of voting, or cannot vote because they are currently on parole.)
Still, the people spoke with breathtaking speed: Gary Coleman was their man. We FedExed the documents down to Southern California, and Gary signed his declaration of candidacy before a notary public. On Wednesday, August 6, we walked into the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office and officially put Gary Coleman into the running. Come October 7, you'll see his name on the ballot, right next to seasoned politicians who have dedicated their lives to public service. And thanks to a guaranteed low voter turnout, a shallow, populist resentment of career politicians, and Coleman's name recognition, the former child star has as good a shot as anyone of becoming our next governor.