In Ventura’s mind, Tahoe is un-American |

In Ventura’s mind, Tahoe is un-American

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura didn’t waste any time taking a political stance regarding local issues during a press conference for the American Century Golf Championship on Thursday at Edgewood Tahoe.

While preparing to make his first appearance in the celebrity championship, the recent Reform Party elect immediately body-slammed the hot, two-cycle engine ban issue.

“I love Lake Tahoe, but the only thing is, they’re un-American. They don’t let Wave Runners out there,” said the 47-year-old man who presides over 10,000 lakes. “I own five of them, so I don’t think I’d do too well up here.”

The ban, which went into effect June 1, forbids watercraft with two-stroke engines on the lake. Jet Skis are the watercraft most impacted by the ban.

“To me, they are the same as any other boat out there. If they are going to start legislating boats, where is it all going to end? The industry will handle it. Instead we’re governing again … too much government,” he said.

The former World Wrestling Federation star, wearing a Navy SEAL hat and a Minnesota Commander in Chief polo shirt, also indicated that he wouldn’t be enhancing the local economy’s bread and butter – gambling – this weekend.

“I don’t gamble. The last time I gambled, I learned my lesson,” he said. “We were wrestling in Atlantic City in 1981 and I gambled that night, and I ended up wrestling for free. Then I had to drive all the way back to Connecticut and think about it. It makes an impression on you, and I’ve never really gambled since. I’ll play Powerball now and then, but I don’t get my entertainment that way.”

Ventura also used the forum to not rule out a future Reform Party ticket including himself, to criticize excessive campaigning and funding and the parallels between him and NBA star Charles Barkley.

Regarding a future bid for a seat in the White House, Ventura didn’t rule out the possibility – especially if General Colin Powell runs for the presidency.

“By the time those two candidates (Al Gore and George W. Bush) get to the election, everyone is going to be so tired of them that a third party could come in and steal the whole thing,” Ventura said.

Perhaps a Reform Party candidate?

“Maybe. It’s happened before,” said Ventura, who envisions such a venture by him would be for the vice presidency.

“I can make that statement because I feel very strongly that General Powell is not going to run. When you know something’s not going to happen, you’re given a little more leeway.

“But General Powell is an American hero and he’s bulletproof. I don’t always go with who will or might win. I just think General Powell would be the best man to lead us into the new millennium. I’m quite sure he’s not going to run, and I understand why, because he’s given to our country more in one lifetime than most of us could in five.”

Ventura takes pride in knowing that he spent $600,000 to win the Minnesota governorship, while his two competitors combined to spend $12 million in their campaigns.

“I think it’s kind of sad the way it’s getting now that you buy the election. He who gets the most money wins, except in a few cases. That bothers me a little bit,” Ventura said. “I’m a big advocate of campaign finance reform.

“It’s also time to put a time limit on when they’re allowed to campaign. I mean, my goodness, they’re starting to campaign two years before the election now. Hold them back and let them campaign three months, maybe six months tops before the election.”

The spirits of the former mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., rose even higher when he learned who he’s been grouped with for Friday’s opening round: Barkley and Ahmad Rashad.

“What a crew that’s going to be. I’d venture to say that our group will win the trash talking for 18 holes,” he said.

He’s especially excited to be paired with Barkley, a man he greatly admires.

“Charles and I are a lot alike. We’re not afraid to say what we believe in,” Ventura said. “I give him credit. He’s the first to talk about running for governor. Then again, I’m the first that did it. When I saw Charles at at Timberwolf game, I told him, ‘Just remember, Charles, you talked the talk, I walked the walk.'”

And before he left to join the celebrity-amateur event, Ventura set the record straight on his preferred nickname.

“I’m not Jesse ‘The Body’ anymore. As you get older you learn to make your living with your brains, not your brawn. I’m Jesse ‘The Mind’ now,” he said.

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