George, Darrell and Homer makes three

Warning shots: If tales of cocaine use and deserting the Texas Air National Guard didn’t stop George W. Bush from becoming president, does Democratic Party adviser Bob Mulholland really think allegations of a troubled past could stop San Diego Representative Darrell Issa from becoming governor?

Apparently so. Mulholland has been calling journalists’ attention to a less-than-flattering Los Angeles Times profile (May 23, 1998) of the millionaire car-alarm magnate turned congressman.

“We are quite pleased that Darrell Issa is now the point person on the recall effort,” Mulholland told Bites. “If he’s going to run a campaign against Gray Davis, all this is going to come out.”

“I hear Bob saying these things—that’s what he does, you know. He’s kind of like a professional heckler, and I get that,” said Issa aide Scott Taylor, who dismissed the Times’ allegations, which he characterized as “a charge of a car theft at a really young age and some gun incident” with a former business associate. “It was a classic hatchet job by a reporter that had an ax to grind, number one. And number two, we’re pretty much on the record as saying that most of those allegations are untrue, and they were brought forward by people with questionable pasts.”

Asked to elaborate, Taylor paused. “Can I be honest with you?” he asked, and then he laughed at his own question—“Can I lie to you?”—before explaining that he needed to consult the original article and call us back.

Instead, the return call came from Issa adviser Jim Sills, who approached the grand-jury indictment for auto theft less flippantly. “He was accused and completely exonerated, and that was at age 18,” said Sills. As for bringing a gun to work: “Flatly false,” said Sills. “Never happened.”

Not that all voters would care. “These are things we’ve dealt with,” said Taylor of Issa’s previous campaigns. “When he ran for Congress, [Republican primary opponent] Bill Morrow—who’s our friend now—he used that information extensively. I mean, he mailed it and mailed it and mailed it. And Darrell still beat him by 18 percent.”

Glowing opportunity: Having the most secure job in Sacramento, Bites rarely peruse the want ads. But even we couldn’t resist the lure of a current job listing at the University of California, Davis, for a Nuclear Reactor Operator! While scouring the university’s employment Web site, we eagerly clicked on VL#031466 and began to contemplate a Homer Simpson-like existence, basking in the comforting glow of foolproof technology. As it turns out, the beast in question is a research reactor housed at McClellan’s Nuclear Radiation Center that has been in operation for 13 lucky years with no reports of three-eyed fish or other zany mishaps.

After reading the fine print, we began to calculate our job chances: “Must possess or obtain a reactor operator’s license within six months from date of hire.” How hard could that be? In the end, Bites’ dreams were cut short by a couple of minor details—no bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering and, more difficult to fake, insufficient “organizational skills to achieve timely progress on multiple simultaneous tasks.” Doh! Visions of that hefty $45,000-$54,000 salary range began to fade, to say nothing of all those pink-frosted doughnuts.

The airwaves giveth, the airwaves taketh away: KQED began broadcasting to Sacramento this weekend, but the big news for those who frequent the left-hand side of the FM dial was the sudden disappearance of KPFA. Longtime listeners to the venerable leftie station, which has been broadcasting out of Berkeley since 1949, were startled to find its signal drowned out by the relocation of Grass Valley’s Star 94.3 down to 94.1.

Members of the KPFA Sacramento Area Listeners group already have held an emergency meeting, and Star’s management is looking into a technical solution. So, while the Grass Valley station fiddles with its transmitter, KPFA fans can point an FM antenna toward the Bay Area, or resort to the station’s Internet stream. The flagship Pacifica show “Democracy Now!” still can be heard on KVMR (89.5FM) weeknights at 6 p.m. Or, you could just develop a sudden interest in the hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today …