Mutiny on the bounty

Family affair: These days, there’s just no love lost between battling bail bondsmen Eddie Cuevas and Leonard Padilla. Cuevas, who bought his bail-bond company from Padilla and also is the boyfriend of Padilla’s niece, said there’s been “bad blood” between the two of them for years now. So, when bounty hunter and perennial political candidate Padilla was running for Sacramento mayor earlier this month, Cuevas was more than happy to feature Padilla’s poster in his Eighth Street bail-bond shop—albeit with certain, um, modifications.

A photo of one such Padilla poster—altered to include the slogan “I don’t pay taxes, why should you?” is labeled Exhibit 2 in a civil suit Padilla subsequently filed against Cuevas in Sacramento Superior Court.

“Yeah, he’s suing me ’cause I got freedom of speech,” said Cuevas, who is accused of altering a number of Padilla’s signs.

Padilla, on the other hand, insists the court was his only recourse: “He said I was fucked up and I was being petty. I said, ‘No, I’m not being petty.’ I says, ‘You gotta stop it.’ You know, lawn signs in an election campaign in America are like motherhood and apple pie.”

According to the complaint, Cuevas “converted, held and maliciously displayed Plaintiff’s chattel,” “libelously portrayed Plaintiff in a false light” and “committed these malicious acts while openly campaigning for Plaintiff’s opponent Heather Fargo in a positive nature.”

And here, all along, Bites had thought it was Fargo’s upbeat TV ads (the ones featuring happy downtown couples cavorting to Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out”) that swung the election in her favor. Now you know the real story.

First they came for the shrimp: Can snail mail save our fairy shrimp? This is one of those questions Bites never gave much thought, not until Sacramento City College Professor Dave Wyatt and other local environmental activists began encouraging a write-in campaign to protect the fairy shrimp and other endangered critters who frequent the vernal pools in our area.

The action is prompted by the Sun Ridge Development plan, which aims to put 22,000 units of residential housing on 6,000 acres east of Mather Field. The problem is that those same acres contain 10 percent of Sacramento County’s remaining vernal pools, and these seasonally flooded depressions contain endangered species that are much older than the redwoods. (An estimated 90 percent of California’s vernal pools are already gone forever; you can learn more about them by visiting

The Army Corps of Engineers is issuing a permit to fill in the vernal pools, but it is required to offer the public an opportunity to comment. The catch is that you need to speak up by midnight on Friday, March 26. You can write a letter (postmarked by March 26) to Justin Cutler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1325 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-2922 or send an e-mail to

Bites is sure that the Army Corps will read each and every letter and give the matter careful consideration. And then you’ll sleep soundly, knowing that if a fairy shrimp ever has the opportunity to save your life, the favor will be returned.

Left behind: Airport security folks frown on terrorist jokes, and so do many Sacramentans. After Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a terrorist group, two online organizers—the Campaign for America’s Future and—told The New York Times they hoped to gather 50,000 to 100,000 signatures calling for Paige’s dismissal. In fact, during the first week, they fell just short of 50,000 in California alone, including some 690 Sacramento residents. You can go to to read the latest comments from outraged Californians like Debbie L. (“This is obsurde”) and Martha E. (“THe Bush machine has not helped educaiton in this country”). All of which leads Bites to repeat a question too rarely asked: Is our children learning?