This is the life?

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Along with all California elected officials, members of Ventura County's legislative delegation submitted their annual conflict of interest reports last week. To be frank, they make for pretty boring reading -- unless you find it provocative that Assemblywoman Audra Strickland last spring received a bouquet of flowers from the Professional Firefighters Association valued at $75.43.

Only one of the county's seven lawmakers seems to be an active investor, as Sen. Sheila Kuehl's report shows she's a fairly aggressive stock trader with a preference for the high technology sector. Kuehl, 67, also receives pension income from her long-ago career as a child actress. She gets a monthly check from the Screen Actors Guild.

She and Assemblywoman Julia Brownley each went on a trip to Berlin last fall sponsored by the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. They received hotel accommodations, meals and cultural tours valued at $3,500. Brownley simply explains the governmental value of the trip: "to improve U.S.-German relations."

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at