Hawaiian punch: Bites never expected to see the day when cop-lovin’ Sacramento Bee columnist R.E. Graswich would question the professionalism of the Sacramento Police Department, but there it was in black and white on the front page of Tuesday’s Metro section: “Graswich called the charges ‘bogus’ and said veteran officers should have been able to tell that there was no truth to the allegation of abuse.” The Hawaiian-shirted writer’s transformation from gossip columnist to news subject was the result of his arrest Sunday on suspicions of misdemeanor battery. Police spokesman Sgt. Justin Risley spoke to Bites on Monday, the day after the incident, and said that police responded to a call in which a woman claimed, “My boyfriend is hitting me.” He said she suffered minor injuries—scratches and bruises on her arm—that were consistent with her complaint, but Risley noted that both individuals gave police different versions of what happened. And according to the Bee article on Tuesday, the woman later recanted her story.
Bites figures Graswich, who denies the charges, got off pretty easily, considering that instead of spending the night in jail, he was taken to a hospital, complaining of high-blood-pressure problems, and was then given a ticket and sent on his way.
True, lawyer Dave Hunt, who runs the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office domestic-violence unit says it’s “not necessarily unusual” for someone to be cited and released for a misdemeanor battery charge, especially when there are no weapons or threats of further violence made. But being Sacramento’s No. 1 cheerleader for the boys in blue couldn’t have hurt. (If Bites’ sweetie had made that call, this column probably would have been penned from 651 Eye Street.)
No word on whether Graswich, who could not be reached at press time, has any extra “get out of jail free” cards up his sleeve.
So long, Steve: Astute Bites fans may have noticed something funny about last week’s item tweaking Assemblyman Steve Samuelian, R-Fresno, for making dubious claims of Republican support for his re-election bid. On Wednesday, after press time, Samuelian suddenly dropped out of the GOP primary he was certain to lose.
At a press conference, Samuelian used the standard line pols use when they bail out of a race they can’t win: Must Spend Time With Family. In this instance, however, it was an especially ironic use of the oft-abused Family Man excuse.
Samuelian’s fellow elephants got their trunks out of joint earlier this year when cops found the assemblyman cruising in a prostitute-heavy area of Fresno. Though it was late on a Saturday night, Samuelian insisted he’d lost his way to the Farm Bureau office. Five years before, Samuelian had been caught looking for hookers “on the same block of the same street,” according to The Fresno Bee.
Cops didn’t buy his story, and nor did Republicans, many of whom dropped their support of Samuelian and started lining up behind a local Republican businessman favored to win even before Samuelian quit.
“Choosing my family over politics was an easy choice to make,” Samuelian said at the press conference, reading a short statement that used the word “family” no less than eight times. The phrase “husband and father” also recurs.
Obviously, Samuelian, 34, wasn’t going to stand up and announce the real reason his political career died. But insisting with a straight face that he needed to be with the wife and kids just called more attention to the sad circumstances—and highlighted the unmistakable irony that Samuelian wouldn’t have lost his job if he’d just stayed home with the family in the first place.