Maloofs, monkeys and Castro, too

Miserable comforters are ye all: Fresh from storming out of the city council’s downtown-arena hearing, the Brothers Maloof took their case directly to “the people” last week. Well, a few select people, anyway. In a July 29 letter to Kings season-ticket holders, Maloof Sports & Entertainment Prez John Thomas talks about how frustrated Joe and Gavin were “after spending the day at city hall meeting with each member of the Council,” only to have everything take such an unsatisfactory turn. Now, who among us can’t relate to that?

“Each of the five times an election has been planned, we have subsequently been told that the city could not do it,” writes Thomas, apparently exaggerating the case by a factor of five. “In the interest of our community, Joe and Gavin agreed to be patient once again.” The letter also goes on to complain about how those who proposed delaying the election “did not extend the courtesy to us of sharing either the Resolution’s content or the basis for the definitive terms it contained.”

Wake up, people! Our favorite casino and sports billionaires may have the patience of Job, but how long can we expect to treat them as second-class citizens before they take their Kings to a more appreciative, more deserving or at least more easily manipulated city? Bites can only pray that the people will rise up on August 5, when the city council meets again to consider the matter, so that the Brothers Maloof no longer will suffer for our small-mindedness.

Cuba sí, Elian no: Sacramentan Jay Weldon likes to joke that he’s working his way toward a degree in the history of Cuban art and architecture—one credit at a time. The local photography buff just returned from his fourth trip to the land of classic cars and fine cigars through a study-abroad program at Contra Costa College. Unlike Pastors for Peace, which recently ran into an army of Homeland Security folks after bringing medical supplies to Cuba, Weldon’s group breezed on through. The trip included a stop in Elian Gonzalez’s hometown of Cardenas, where he says a monument is now being built to commemorate the youth’s “liberation” from the republic of Florida. Weldon says the local school kids all loved fooling the visiting photographers by telling them, “That’s Elian over here!” And then when everybody would run over to take his picture, they’d say, “Wait. No, that’s him over there!”

Weldon never did get to photograph Gonzalez, but he did get to see lots of ships coming in from the many countries that, unlike the United States, are happy to trade with Cuba—including a contingent of Canadian oil speculators.

Did someone say oil?

Come to think of it, maybe it was Fidel Castro who was aiding Al Qaeda and harboring all those weapons of mass destruction.

Too much monkey business: There are many ways to protest the plight of lab monkeys, but perhaps the most genteel is to sit out in front of a lab in a lawn chair with your collection of stuffed toy monkeys. That’s how Jeremy Beckham, a 19-year-old biochemistry student from Salt Lake City, spent the last week, camping outside UC Davis’ primate lab and regaling passersby with tales of vivisection, electro-ejaculation and other sordid activities. Davis is the final city on the young activist’s tour of National Primate Research Centers, which began back in April. In addition to the vigil, Beckham held a proper protest on Saturday and already is planning a more ambitious 2005 Primate Freedom Tour (his Web site, at, lets you order primate-freedom tags and everything you need to essentially adopt a research monkey).

Speaking of which, that infamous Davis monkey—whose timely escape became a symbol for the successful movement to block a level-4 biodefense lab—remains at large. Or dead. The university officially endorses the latter theory, but one of Bites’ spies there assures us that a body was never found and that folks are still keeping an eye out for him. Bites likes to think the little guy was watching over Beckham from the bushes the whole time.