Pandering and gerrymandering

What’s in those lemon drops? Placer may be the reddest of California’s counties, but party discipline broke down last week when local Republicans decided not to “join Arnold” in supporting Proposition 77, the electoral redistricting measure the governor is pushing as part of his “year of reform” package on the ballot this November 8.

On September 14, the Placer County Republican Central Committee decided by a vote of 16-8 not to support the measure. Opinions were divided regarding whether to roll the dice on letting a panel of retired judges redraw California’s bizarre districts, many of which are so gerrymandered they’d make George Wallace blush, along with any old-time ward heeler of the Daley machine.

Brian Jensen, a spokesman for Representative John Doolittle, R-Roseville, said his boss supported a neutral or no vote on supporting Proposition 77.

“The congressman does not feel it’s wise to roll the dice and lose, with one bird in the hand, for two birds in the bush that may not be there,” Jensen said. As Doolittle told Bites during a July interview—while sharing a box of delicious lemon drops—“Democratic judges remember they were Democrats. Republican judges tend to forget they were Republicans.”

Title? What title? You’d never have known that a Sacramento basketball team was playing for a national title last week unless you happened to drive past City Hall. Where were the signs in the back windows of cars? Where were the full-color pullout sections in the Bee? Why is Bites the only one wearing purple in the office?

While KHTK Sports1140’s Monty ’til Midnight radio talk show has been pandering to the worst of misogyny by claiming that a WNBA title isn’t a real title, the Bee’s Marcos Bretón used his column to proclaim that the Monarchs’ title race isn’t important because it’s a “niche interest.” Meaning, he doesn’t care. Gosh, the television ratings and ticket sales don’t match those of the Kings, so it must not be real sports!

Bites thinks it’s time to take a bite out of sexism and point out that if the Royal Court Dancers were on the verge of winning a national competition, these guys would be all over that as a once-in-a-lifetime event. The same boys who think Pop Warner football is great fun don’t even know that the Sacramento Sirens have won three (or is it four?) national titles in a row—and if they did, they’d say it wasn’t important.

The Bee’s Ailene Voisin, quoting U.S. Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, notes that the NBA had pretty crappy ticket sales and television ratings when it had been up and running for less than a decade, too. And, by the way, Lieberman’s in the same Hall of Fame as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and John Wooden. So are Anne Donovan (coach of the Seattle Storm), Ann Meyers and Pat Summitt. Wanna bet that some of the women on this year’s Monarchs team are there someday, too?

Listen up, boys: Just because you don’t like the sport doesn’t mean it’s not a real sport. Bites doesn’t much care for hockey and can’t see why it’s on television but is smart enough to avoid slamming it in the presence of Mrs. Bites, who thinks it’s the best thing since canned beer. Grow up, quit whining and get used to sharing the playground.

iCasualties: For some reason, it’s getting tougher and tougher to get kids to join the National Guard these days. So, the military brain trust went to work and came up with a hip new marketing angle to draw patriotic youngsters into their nearest recruiting station.

While supplies last, you can get three free iTunes downloads just for giving recruiters your contact information and acknowledging that “I will be contacted by a recruiter, and that’s ok with me!”

A promo ad ran in a recent issue of the Sacramento City College Express newspaper. But Bites isn’t going to give you the Guard’s Web address. If you’re that desperate for free music, go borrow some CDs from the library. Ask your Mom to take you.