Citrus slights

A URL by any other name: You wanna meet a guy who holds a grudge? Shake hands with Chris Dengler. This guy thought he had it made—he thought he had the mighty Internets figured out and had devised a plan to get rich quick.

Here’s how it worked. Back in 1996, Dengler registered the Internet domain address Then, he planned to work with that city’s Chamber of Commerce to put its members’ information up on the site.

They weren’t interested, so Dengler got pissed.

Now, nearly 10 years later, Dengler—still pissed, though now living in the eastern Arizona town of Gilbert—is auctioning the city’s Web address off on eBay. The starting bid is $50,000.

Now, keep in mind that most URLs don’t sell for anything near that kind of coin. A good place to start looking for that kind of thing is GreatDomains (, where potentially popular Internet addresses are auctioned off. is going for $7,000, for example. The asking price for is $35,000. For some serious cash, you could get a catchall address like ($500,000) or ($250,000).


If no one wants Dengler’s Web address, he says, he plans to “hand the domain down to his children’s children’s children.”

As of this writing, 53 people had viewed the auction page on eBay. No one had submitted a bid. Oh, and Bites checked. The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce already has quite an attractive Web site.

Compensation without representation: It’s always fun to take a peek at correspondence between local legislators and their constituents. Take, for example, reader Mark Dempsey’s letter to Sacramento-area Assembly representative Roger Niello.

Dempsey urged the Republican to support Assembly Bill 583, a good, solid, progressive bill that would institute public financing of elections statewide. It’s a system that is increasingly being embraced by local governments, including the city of Sacramento. Qualified candidates voluntarily adhere to some modest spending limits in their campaigns and in return get to draw a bit from the public campaign kitty.

The idea is that it gives candidates who don’t have all the special-interest money locked up—from developers, trial lawyers, unions or big business—a fighting chance.

That’s just crazy talk to Niello, who wrote back to Dempsey saying he couldn’t support the bill because it would “force taxpayers to financially support candidates that they would not otherwise support.”

Dempsey cheekily replied that funding ideas we don’t like is a well-established democratic tradition. “We are already paying the salaries of legislators like yourself.”

Welcome to the machine: Over the years, Sheriff Lou Blanas’ tenure has been marked by one scandal after another, from inmate suicide epidemics to rampant illegal strip searches of female inmates and highly publicized beatings by sheriff’s deputies—to name just a few.

From time to time, fearing for their own safety, citizens have called for some sort of civilian oversight of the department.

Nonsense, Blanas has proclaimed every time. If the sheriff’s department were really dangerous and corrupt, voters could simply fix the problem on election day.

Well, election day for the sheriff is coming up soon, so let’s take a look at the field. As of this writing, there’s Blanas’ own right-hand man, Undersheriff John McGinness. Then there’s, well, nobody. How democratic.

Undersheriff Mini-Me, er, McGinnis has about $230,000 on hand, and no opponents. Blanas came to power the same way, serving as undersheriff for former Sheriff Glenn Craig while being personally groomed for the big chair. The system works great, if you’re into juntas. Mexico had a similar setup for about 50 years; it was called the dedazo, which, in Bites’ half-assed Spanish, translates as “powerful finger.”

The filing deadline for new candidates is March 10, and somebody’s got to jump into this race. Bites would do it. But Bites is afraid of being disappeared.