Birds of a feather

If you’re not interested in the Jim Hightower event on Friday (see Upstream battle,”) let Bites suggest another political event (also on April 11, and also featuring giant cowboy hats) that might be more to your liking.

It’s an An Evening of Western Hospitality with Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of Gold River.

Actually, you’re not really supposed to know about An Evening of Western Hospitality, seeing as it’s a $10,000-a-head fund-raiser for Lungren’s re-election campaign, being held at the private ranch of rich guy Dave Luchetti—owner of Pacific Coast Building Products and minority owner of the Sacramento Kings.

Why is the fund-raiser so hush-hush? Surely it’s not because of musical guest Chris Janson, a frequent opener for Hank “Bocephus” Williams Jr.

No, it’s because the supersecret headliner is Dick “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” Cheney—right here, in Sacramento. Can you feel the excitement?

Cowpoke Cheney.

(Bites would just like to point out that you would have known all of this last week if, and only if, you read SN&R’s breaking news blog, Snog.)

How does Bites know all this? Inside sources and old-fashioned reporting, of course. That and the fact that the arrival of His Dickness was posted briefly on

For some reason, Lungren’s campaign people didn’t want to chat about the exclusive event, but Lungren’s opponent sure did.

“My initial reaction is that birds of a feather flock together,” said Democrat Bill Durston, an emergency-room doc and Vietnam vet who will most likely be facing off against Lungren in the fall.

“You know, Lungren has been trying to distance himself because Bush and Cheney are so unpopular. But this is one more example of Lungren being in lock step with the Bush administration. He’s tacitly endorsed torture. He’s unabashedly in support of the Bush administration’s policies on the war in Iraq.”

Weirdly, the announcement got pulled from the Web site shortly after Bites called Lungren headquarters. Perhaps the Cheney-Lungren crew figure it’s nobody’s business. They figure wrong: 9300 Dillard Road, Wilton, Calif., from 5 to 9 p.m. Bites should also mention that “Western attire is optional.”

Hoss Johnson.

Note to Kevin Johnson’s campaign team: There’s a difference between being a political “outsider” and just being out of it.

Take, for example, what happened when Johnson met with leaders of the gay and lesbian community—including members of the Stonewall Democratic Club and representatives from CARES among others—back on March 25.

“He was very vague and evasive,” said gallery owner Tina Reynolds, who, sadly, illustrated what has become a pattern with Johnson’s candidacy.

The one firm answer Reynolds got out of K.J. could not have been a very welcome one. She asked how Johnson felt about current state law defining marriage as being between a man and woman. “He said, ‘I agree with that.'”

Bites isn’t sure how Johnson’s opposition to gay marriage effects his mayoral electability, but it does put him in the same camp as Robbie Waters and, come to think of it, Dick Cheney.

Johnson didn’t seem to know much about CARES (Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services), Sacramento’s vital provider of AIDS and HIV services. And, perhaps even more strangely, K.J. seemed unfamiliar with the notion of “Second Saturday.” According to Reynolds, Johnson called the long-running institution, “the best kept secret in Sacramento.”

“We left the meeting feeling that he didn’t know Sacramento,” Reynolds lamented. Hey, maybe it’s just that kind of fresh perspective this town needs right now.