Hey, hey, hey, goodbye

Mercy killing: After this week, we won’t have Gary Condit to kick around anymore. Democrat Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, a longtime protégé of the controversial congressman, is expected to put Condit out of his misery during next week’s primary.

Condit’s fall from grace, precipitated by the disappearance of intern and mistress Chandra Levy, has been a case study in how power not just corrupts, but it can make its wielders downright delusional.

Consider that in the waning weeks of Condit’s long reign, he had the gall to tell the news media that the Levy family should thank him for seeking re-election because it keeps her case in the news. This from the guy who stonewalled police during their investigation. And his cheated-upon wife has sued the National Enquirer for allegedly fabricating a confrontation between her and Levy, as if it mattered.

Maybe Condit did have nothing to do with Levy’s disappearance, and knows nothing that would help the investigation. But as someone who made a career in a profession where appearance is at least as important as reality, Condit should have acknowledged his errors and bowed out gracefully.

Instead, we have a megalomaniac claiming to be a victim until the very end. But at least we are at the end. Adios, Gary.

Promoting lawlessness: Legislators are a necessary evil. But is it necessary that they’re full-time evildoers, cranking out thousands of new laws each year just to justify their existence?

Bites has never been one of those knee-jerk anti-government types, but Bites is nonetheless intrigued by a bill by Assemblyman Dennis Hollingsworth to return California to a part-time Legislature, as it was until the late ’60s.

“The people of California are disgusted at the current political process, which is dominated by self-serving actions and excessive fund-raising,” said the Republican legislator.

Bites couldn’t agree more. So here’s what we do: Through aggressive campaign finance reform, we elect a Legislature that is accountable to the people, instead of wealthy special interests. Then we have them reform the rules to allow for a decent standard of living for all Californians. Then we go back to a part-time Legislature.

How’s that, Dennis?

Some questions: Why has the eviction of 420 Sacramento area families by a Japanese investor been in the Sacramento Bee every day for the last two weeks? Why have Governor Gray Davis and the New York Times each weighed in with their outrage?

This mass eviction is certainly a stark example of how little legal protection renters have, a story worthy of both coverage and sympathy. But why did the Bee take such a “stop the presses” approach to this story while virtually ignoring several examples in recent years of area property management companies sending out hundreds of large rent increases to low-income residents, actions that amount to de facto evictions in most cases?

Could it be that middle-class evictions resonate more with middle-class reporters, editors and politicians?

Where’s mine?: Speaking of class struggles, the head of working-class state employees isn’t exactly struggling these days, particularly after a 19 percent pay increase approved this month jacked his salary up to $125,000 per year.

California State Employee Association President Perry Kenny’s fat raise was fodder for flaming e-mails that went to just about every state worker last week. They noted how CSEA managers and retirees are playing “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” with Kenny, while 92,000 Civil Service Division grunts get crumbs under the proposed contract.

Rather than union-busting, the missive was actually the latest salvo in Civil Service chief Jim Hard’s battle for control of the union (see “Union Divided,” SN&R, November 15, 2001). Hard’s people believe that Kenny has played too nice with the state, and word of his high salary isn’t going to sit well with the troops.

Outta here: Less than a month after Bites called for Capitol staffer Luke Breit to hit the road—due to his alleged sexual harassment—Breit announced his retirement over the weekend.

If only Bites could be this effective with all its targets.