Neck-snappin’ good!

Miracle at the DMV: There was a time when press releases from the Department of Motor Vehicles were just about as exciting as an actual visit to the DMV, but all that’s changing under the new regime. Witness the department’s breathless new release announcing “another major breakthrough” in the reprogramming of DMV computers: “At Governor Schwarzenegger’s urging, DMV technicians worked around the clock for much of the past week and managed to complete the reprogramming in a neck-snapping seven days.”

Why, even God rested on the seventh day, gasped Bites, and he didn’t have to deal with anything nearly as crucial as fluctuating vehicle license fees! Interim Director Chon Gutierrez, perhaps mindful of his predecessor’s symbolic decapitation, likewise hailed the miraculous turnaround as “proof positive that our government really can work the way it’s supposed to when we put our minds to it.”

Expect more neck-snappin’ rhetoric from Team Arnold in the months ahead. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the image-spinners who pulled off the recall victory are now opening a California branch that will reunite former Bush-Quayle media guru Mike Murphy with former Jeb Bush spokesman Todd Harris and former Pete Wilson aide Sean Walsh. It’ll be their job to make sure Arnold reaches his constituency through Access Hollywood and People magazine. And the Governator won’t stop there; he’s warned members of the California Chamber of Commerce to keep their wallets open for more “TV spots that cost millions of dollars.” Now that’s what Bites calls democracy in action!

Pesky myths: Assemblyman Steve Samuelian’s folks faxed a fund-raiser invite to the SN&R newsroom last week, but sadly, Bites couldn’t make the trip to the Republican’s hometown of Fresno—and definitely couldn’t dig deep for the $100 ticket, much less a $1,000 sponsorship. Interestingly, the invite was accompanied by a dispatch from a Fresno Republican organization that debunked all those pesky myths about how Republicans aren’t really behind Samuelian’s re-election bid.

But as Bites readers know, there’s more to it than that. Samuelian jeopardized his hopes for a second term this year when Fresno police found him cruising for hookers. No charges were filed, but Samuelian did hire ever-present attorney Mark Geragos, just in case.

Local Republicans already knew Samuelian got popped for soliciting an undercover cop in 1998, but they agreed to back him the first time around only after he agreed to stay home with his wife and infant. They pounced after the second incident. Representative George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, who once employed Samuelian, called it “reprehensible” in a letter shared with reporters.

Now, Samuelian faces four Republican challengers in the March GOP primary, including ex-Assemblyman Mike Briggs, a turncoat who got bounced from office after crossing over to support Democratic budgets and later did consulting work for Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson. So, most Republicans probably would rather close their eyes and hope this primary just goes away quietly instead of becoming a big headline fest about elephants cannibalizing each other.

Perfect leader pot stickers: Even though the Bites-mobile is far too sleek and beautiful to be marred by anything so crass and superficial as a political bumper sticker, we’re tempted to make an exception for the latest creation from former SN&R staffer Don Button. Recalling our replacement governor’s one-time drug of choice, the bumper-sticker shows a Pumping Iron-era Arnold in mid-toke reverie, alongside the slogan “For Arnold’s Sake: LEGALIZE POT!”

Tailgaters are directed to a Web site,, containing information on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pot history, links to legislation, and a form e-mail reminding him that 60,000 Californians (including medical patients and caregivers) are arrested annually for nonviolent possession and use of marijuana. Appealing to Arnold’s ego, the letter insists that “you, Governor Schwarzenegger, are clearly the perfect leader to make a dramatic change in the draconian and un-American Drug Control Policy of this great state and nation.” Anything less than full support for medical marijuana and an end to prohibition, it concludes, would “prove you to be just another hypocritical politician.”

The site also includes ordering instructions for the bumper stickers, which would look really fantastic on all those shiny new Hummers showing up around town.