Alien nation

Feeling burned: Frankly, Bites is surprised it took Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger so long to notice that Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, a Brooklyn native of Puerto Rican descent, is hot. It’s long been common knowledge that Puerto Rican and Cuban women “are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it.”

That at least is how the governor put it in regard to Garcia during a recent recorded conversation with aides that was subsequently obtained by staff members of the Phil Angelides campaign, who sent it on to the Los Angeles Times. As Bites was going to press, the two gubernatorial campaigns were arguing about whether the accessing of the audio file on the governor’s Web site was legal. What’s not in doubt is Garcia’s temperament. “She’s a ball buster,” says Schwarzenegger.

As it turns out, Garcia has good reason to bust nuts—just not the governator’s. In late August, Assembly Democrats shot down a bill she co-sponsored that would have granted a third casino with 5,000 slot machines to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who just happen to reside in her district, which also includes tony desert resort town Palm Springs.

Schwarzenegger had approved the gaming compact before the shoot-down, and in a show of appreciation, the otherwise hotheaded Garcia told the guv there was no need to apologize for the remarks. Whoops! Too late. He already had apologized, in public no less! What a ball buster, that Bonnie!

Totally spun: Bites has been somewhat surprised and even disgusted at the tendency of Southern California’s Latino Democrats to suck up to Schwarzenegger like leeches to a phlebotomy convention. Case in point: Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, who openly brags that his relationship with the governor is “at an all-time high.” No doubt this further twisted the knife stabbed in Angelides’ back by the open embrace of all-things-Arnold by his Democratic colleagues at the conclusion of the recent legislative session.

Núñez and company have just as much right to climb into the pen as anyone, but they’d be wise to remember that those who play with pigs are bound to get muddy.

Like Janus, the governor has two faces. It’s a wonder he knows whether he’s coming or going. He should be called the Flip-flopinator. Who, exactly, is he? The patron saint of public-employee raises or the renegade reformer who tried to stick it to teachers, nurses and firemen last year? Father of four and faithful husband of Maria Shriver or rowdy serial breast molester? Fabian Núñez’s new best buddy, or the opportunistic xenophobe who vowed to close the border last year and refuses to condemn the loathsome Minutemen?

Outer limits: Whether or not old Flip-flop shows Latinos his true face this election season mostly depends on whether Angelides can survive the near-fatal wounds inflicted by his colleagues and his staff members’ downloads. If he does, and Democratic voters unite behind him, Bites believes Arnold will be mightily tempted to play the immigration card. It’s what his Karl Rove-schooled campaign team does best.

Politically, it makes sense, if the race gets close. When asked in a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California what issue they most wanted candidates to talk about, 21 percent answered immigration, more than any other topic. Gas is through the roof, the roof is caving in on home prices, and what troubles voters the most is those gosh-darned illegal aliens.

Bites doesn’t blame them for being scared. The headline on a recent communiqué from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it all: “ICE arrests 15 aliens in Roswell working for U.S. military contractor.” You remember Roswell, New Mexico, right? Where that flying saucer crashed back in ’47? It’s beginning to look like those Latinos swarming across the southern border are soon going to be the least of our worries.