PATT MORRISON

The phantom congresswoman

Better know your elected officials well, lest you get fooled by another Sherri Davis.

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THAT FRESHMAN California congresswoman, Sherri Davis — she does get around, doesn't she?

She's urged Rummy to stay on as Defense secretary because resigning "would be seen as a victory for the terrorists."

She's styled herself the "Ann Coulter of Anaheim," and she's standing firm against hiking the national minimum wage because "if it ain't broke, why raise it?"

Figured it out yet?

There is no Sherri Davis in Congress — not from California or anywhere else. I did a double-take a couple of weeks ago when I saw a blog mention of "Sherri Davis, R-Ca." It had been a wild election; could some new member have sneaked under my political radar and into the vast ranks of the California delegation?

Naaah. No way was Sherri Davis the real thing. Loretta Sanchez is the congresswoman from Anaheim, and she's a Democrat. And she just steamrollered her GOP opponent, who wasn't Sherri Davis but a Vietnamese American man.

Check out the Sherri Davis legislative agenda, if you don't believe me. Just Google "Sherri Davis" and "Congress." Her Mandatory Portion Control Act, to curb the nation's obesity problem: Doesn't that sound like some nanny-state measure, not the robust legislation of a "let 'em eat cake and more cake" laissez-faire Republican? Her Yoga Mat Cleanliness Act: Doesn't yoga require a yogi? And don't those people wear turbans, just like … terrorists?

Not many people actually bit on the Sherri Davis reports except some YouTube bloggers ("Is anyone else baffled as to how this ditz got elected?") and a couple of gay and lesbian websites that evidently got suckered in by a Davis press release revealing that, in the backstage loo at "The Colbert Report," Davis' microphone had broadcast her remarks about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney being a "Peter Pan panderer." (For Christmas, I'll ask Santa to have Mitt Romney make a real press statement decrying something that a fake congresswoman never said backstage at a fake political show she never appeared on.)

So Sherri Davis isn't real, and she never taped a segment for "The Colbert Report." What is on "The Report" is a feature called "Better Know a District," in which members of the House — randomly singled out from that great unknown mass of politicos — trade national exposure for a fun moment with Stephen Colbert. There are 435 members of the House, and even they probably don't all recognize one another on sight — and unless your cable is stuck on C-SPAN, neither would you. But you should know yours. Do you? Is your representative a Democrat or a Republican? A man or a woman?

Too hard? Tip O'Neill said all politics is local — so let's go local (never mind who Tip O'Neill was). Who's your City Council member? Don't know that either?

That's my point. Lots of you call and e-mail me for help about potholes and DMV rules and the like. I appreciate your confidence, but when I ask whether you've already called your City Council member or state legislator, your usual answer is, "I don't know who that is."

You probably have your reasons. Perhaps politicians haven't inspired your confidence that they get anything done, from skid row to Baghdad, so why should you hit them up for help about a pothole or a driving test?

Los Angeles has a nifty "311" phone information service that can help you with city matters, even track down your council member. On the other hand, the website looks as messy as a frat-house kitchen. I couldn't even find my own house on the maps of my council district. The California state website lets you put in your address to find your Sacramento legislators, but it takes some maneuvering to get that far. An unofficial website, congress.org, is zippier than anything U.S. government websites have to offer.



As for Sherri Davis, California has room for a fake congresswoman, especially one who swears she once worked as a stewardess with Paris Hilton's mother and they fought over who got Rick Hilton. I want to believe that she's in the grand tradition of Emperor Norton, the genial wacko who strolled San Francisco more than 100 years ago, issuing imperial warrants, and Prince Michael Romanoff, who ran a smart Beverly Hills restaurant in spite of the fact that he was neither a prince nor a Romanoff. Congresswoman, don't drop the charade — even though I read in "The Hill," the Capitol's weekly newspaper, that you were merely invented to promote a musical about high school prom politics, just as the famed "lonelygirl15" living her life on YouTube via web cam turned out to be an actress hired by savvy promoters (now represented, I believe, by CAA).

Sherri Davis has no more voting power than, oh, the congresswoman from the District of Columbia. All I'm asking is that when '08 rolls around, make sure she doesn't get your vote. Otherwise, she might make you clean up your yoga mat — or ship you off to Gitmo.

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patt.morrison@latimes.com

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