Just the facsimile, please

Fax are stubborn things: “If we want to take a stand against solid waste, we need to commit ourselves to living the principles we’re seeking to impose,” complained Tim Leslie last week. The assemblyman had just been deluged by some “219 faxes from individuals claiming to be against the solid waste received via unsolicited mail.” Adding to the irony, Leslie noted, was that only one of the faxes actually came from a constituent in his district. “If they choose to communicate via e-mail next time, they’ll sure eliminate a lot of waste,” he said.

Leslie is yet another victim of the growing phenomenon known as “astroturfing,” in which countless, virtually identical letters, faxes and e-mails are generated through the miracle of Internet networking.

But what of our state politicians themselves? Though Leslie’s release did arrive via fax, he kept himself down to a single page and just sent it out once.

Compare that with State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who, in just the three days right before we went to press, managed to inundate SN&R’s wheezing fax machine with no fewer than 55 pages of faxes.

If Angelides really does run for governor—as some say he already is—we’re going to have to get ourselves an unlisted fax number.

Better bites: Call it the occupational hazard that comes with being a set of disembodied teeth, but Bites always has had a bit of a fondness for mosquitoes. Who among us can argue with the logic of Jonathan Richman’s plaintive ode to the misunderstood little creature—“And God, he made me / Just the same as he made you / I’m mother nature’s mosquito” (or its stirring chorus “Bite, bite, bitey-whitey-white, sir”)?

All of which means that Bites initially was dismayed to hear that Matthew Hahn and Sergey Nuzhdin are messing around with God’s work by attempting to make “a friendlier mosquito.” As it turns out, the two University of California, Davis, researchers are working to develop a breed of genetically modified mosquitoes that will not transmit malaria. Their idea is to enhance mosquitoes that carry genes to block malaria in such a way that those genes will be “spread throughout the population by natural selection.”

In other words, the malaria-resistant mosquitoes would be able to get laid a lot more and still would be able to bite us as much as they want without killing us in the process. Hey, everybody goes home happy.

Reality check: Time was when life imitated art, but here in the mighty capital city, we all prefer just to imitate reality shows.

Witness the Bipartisan Weigh Off, in which a group of our proud legislators collectively weighed themselves last week on a flatbed truck, like ugly ducklings auditioning for the next season of The Swan. On Monday, they could be found on the south steps of the Capitol doing bicep curls and leg lunges.

Equally earth-shattering was Assemblyman Rico Oller’s State Capitol Frog Jump Jubilee on Tuesday, an annual event only slightly more dignified than Paris Hilton’s exploits on The Simple Life. (Rumors that the gun-happy loser in this year’s 3rd District primary battle was planning to shoot opponents’ frogs turned out to be unfounded.)

Not to be outdone, Assemblyman Mark Leno paid tribute to NBC’s failed reality show Race to the Altar, by racing a teenage girl to the altar in Golden Gate Park. Leno—whose Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act was passed out of committee by a more than 2-to-1 margin last month—teamed up with 15-year-old Marina Gatto for a five-kilometer “Running to the Altar” fund-raiser. Leno is accepting sponsors through May 14, even though the event actually was held last Saturday. Then again, as Leno’s pal Gavin Newsom might say, rules are meant to be broken.