Man on fire

Paint your bandwagon: Bites always delights in reading the inane and unformed ideas some of our state’s politicos come up with to introduce as laws. Take, for example, the weighty and historic move by Senator Carole Migden to name zinfandel as the state’s “official” wine varietal.

Ah, well. Assemblyman Bill Maze recently drew up an anti-graffiti law that surely has the thought police scheduling its deputies for overtime shifts. Maze is a Republican (you, know, the party of less-intrusive government) from Barstow and wants to make it illegal to possess paint. His Assembly Bill 1957 would make it a misdemeanor to carry a can of Krylon or a pail of Dutch Boy in any public park.

At least Migden’s district includes sections of Sonoma County, and she probably knows a bit about wine. But, honestly, what does anyone in Barstow know about tagging?

Bee sneaky: Bites is an ardent privacy supporter, especially in these days of electronic DNA left in cyberspace that yields horrific amounts of spam. When registering online to subscribe to the site, Bites read, with a jaundiced eye, the Bee’s pithy privacy notice concerning registration:

“We promise we won’t share your personal information—or e-mail address—with another company without your permission.” You can almost close your eyes and hear the crickets, can’tcha?

Then Bites was hit last week with e-mails that evaded the Bitescave’s spam filters because they were, after all, from “The Sacramento Bee.” These were marketing promos for home builder Centex Homes—shilling for the company’s new developments in Elk Grove, Rocklin and El Dorado Hills.

Retracing Bites’ steps, it was easy enough to figure out Team Scoopy’s sleight of hand. One screen tells you only that you’ve been signed up for the Sacbee News Bulletin while a separate, much less obvious, screen is busy pimping you out to the Bee’s advertisers. You’ve got to catch the misdirection in order to “opt out.”

Way to build up your readers’ trust.

Keep Davis weird: On the other hand, Bites is much happier these days with The Davis Enterprise, which recently treated readers to a story about a UC Davis English major named Rob Roy who just announced that he’s running for city council in the people’s republic of Davis.

The 25-year-old has pledged not to take any developer money and to subject all new building in the city to some sort of “green building ordinance.”

Good stuff. Even better, the paper points out that Roy has earned a name for himself, and that name is The Party King of Davis. Indeed, the Davis Wiki credits the candidate with “drinking his own urine mixed with beer and setting his pubes on fire on camera.”

Apparently fearing that his bacchanalian reputation might be a political liability, Roy assured the Enterprise, “That was the old me.”

The story got the attention of Yolo County’s political establishment. Republican apparatchik and Woodland Mayor Matt Rexroad weighed in with a blog entry that filled in some blanks in the mayor’s own colorful past.

“This guy has me beat,” Rexroad wrote. “I did kill a bear once in mountain survival school and got sprayed down with a fire hose while naked in SERE school (2x) because I got caught trying to escape.”

For the uninitiated, SERE is short for “Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape.” But, hey, that was the old Matt Rexroad.

As for Roy, it’s pure political chutzpah for a 25-year-old to shrug off anything—let alone the public immolation of one’s own pubic hair—as being just “the old me.”

He admits there’s not a lot he can do about his rep now. “I’m sure Bush’s drunk-driving record haunts him, too,” he told Bites. But he hopes in the next few months to draw more attention to his platform. Although students make up a huge chunk of the city’s population, he said they aren’t well-represented at City Hall. “Davis used to be a college town, until the developers came in. I’d like to see Davis preserved as something unique and not forget its roots.”