Big shots

A mind is a terrible thing: Bites and the whole Bites clan were looking forward all last week to Monday’s immigrants’-rights protests down at the Capitol and at Southside Park. How often does the whole family get to blow off work and school and stick it to the Man, together?

That was before Maggie Mejia ruined it all. Mejia is superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), where Bites’ own offspring Nibbles is a day laborer, er, student.

Readers may remember previous gripes about SCUSD’s incessant robo-dialed communiqués from district officials and school principals. They’ve become the No. 1 unsolicited call around the Bitescave, surpassing vacation-resort solicitations and invitations to switch long-distance companies.

Mejia’s recorded bulletin on Friday warned parents not to let their kids participate in the Monday boycott. “We believe the safest and best place for your child is in school,” Mejia told us. Especially important, Mejia intoned, because “our statewide testing period begins May 1st.” Well, that settled it. Never mind that May 1 has been sacred to the American labor movement for the last hundred years or so. Never mind that this May Day promised to be historic in its own right. We wouldn’t want anything messing with those test scores.

Ethics are boring: It just wouldn’t be a Bites column without a peek into the mind of our favorite corrupt Mormon political boss.

Last Sunday, Representative John Doolittle told The Washington Post that his constituents aren’t at all interested in political ethics reforms being hammered out in Congress—reforms that are a reaction to a web of lobbying scandals that Doolittle himself is caught up in. “Do I think they care about it? No, I don’t,’” Doolittle told the Post.

Bites doesn’t know what’s more disturbing, the notion that Doolittle is that cynical and out of touch or the notion that he’s not.

Where were we? The Sacramento Bee’s value to this community is pretty much summed up by the brilliant ad slogan it hit on a few years back: “We’ll be there.” The Bee is sort of like McDonald’s and Motel 6 in that regard. Kind of sucky, yes. But consistently so and always easy to find.

If there’s one place you’d expect the Bee to be, it would be there for the Big Shot. You know the one: Game three last Friday, when Kevin Martin ran half the court with Mike Bibby’s stolen ball and floated it over Tim Duncan at the buzzer, to win the game and resuscitate the Kings’ playoff chances. A bona fide moment in Kings history, as we were reminded over and over by the color commentators.

But the Bee didn’t get the shot. Oh, it printed a photo of Martin’s miracle hoop. But it was credited to one Greg Rihl, a photographer for the humble but scrappy Davis Enterprise. A coup for Rihl, who, according to his Enterprise bio is also a student at Sacramento City College. An embarrassing breakdown of Team Scoopy’s normally suffocating zone.

Say it ain’t so, Stan: OK, so Bites cheated during TV Turnoff Week. What do you expect? They really need to do it in some other part of the year that doesn’t include the NBA playoffs.

In an obvious instance of karmic payback, after a few clicks around the old basic cable, Bites was confronted with the image of Stan Atkinson, local legend, pimping for Pacific Gas & Electric.

Atkinson, as you probably know, was a local TV newsman going back almost to the invention of television. Now he’s back on the air, appearing (for money) supporting the big utility’s bid to thwart public power in Yolo County.

It’s a great political move for PG&E, because Atkinson has an unusual kind of juice around here. He could be mayor of this town if he wanted to. He’s been lionized—even in this paper—for his philanthropic work. He’s got a list of commendations from governmental and nonprofit organizations as long as both your arms and was even dubbed “The Man who owns Sacramento” by the Bee. And now PG&E’s got him on its payroll, talking about how the Sacramento Municipal Utility District is using “eminent domain” (cue the scary music) to take PG&E’s lunch money. Look out, Stan: Karmic payback is a bitch.