Rain Dance

Damning the dam: After a scorching summer solstice, how weird was it to get soaked by unseasonable showers this week? Rain in late June is either a sign that the apocalypse is coming, or just a reminder that Mother Nature is a fickle, unpredictable creature. Bites can’t decide which.

Yet, the surprise dousing does seem an odd harbinger of things that could be, coming as it does just as the House of Representatives was set to take up a massive Energy and Water Appropriations Bill that contains Congressman John Doolittle’s latest Auburn Dam poison pill.

The Republican one-hit wonder has made a political career out of his dogmatic support for building a $2.5 billion dam in Auburn, and recently put a water gun to the heads of Sacramentans with an amendment to the bill, requiring yet another study of the much-studied dam before we can get any extra flood protection.

Specifically, his amendment would delay implementation of the American River Watershed Study, which is expected to call for a package of levee improvements and raising of the Folsom Dam—both measures designed to protect Sacramento from a 200-year flood event—when it’s released in August.

But Johnny D would rather roll the dice with our lives and stuff, hoping the big rains don’t come before he can parlay the state’s growing thirst for water and power into construction of perhaps the most controversial public works project the region has ever considered.

As a God-fearing Bible thumper, you’d think Doolittle would be a little more heedful of signs from above, which early summer showers must certainly be. Or maybe he just sees us as Sodomento, a sinful spot that could use a good soaking. It’s hard to say when talking about the area’s strangest public official.

The blackout black out: Doolittle might be the strangest and most vaguely unsettling of area political leaders, but good ol’ Governor Gray Davis remains the most slippery and slimy.

Just last week in this space, Bites was bemoaning how the guv’s office withheld public records related to the $43 billion in public funds that they’ve contracted to hand over to energy-generating pirates until right before a court was going to compel their release.

Well, then it turns out that Davis’ minions blacked out key information needed to understand the energy contracts, including critical details on energy delivery points, variables related to natural gas prices, transmission costs and risk allocation when plants have problems.

And they had the gall to charge notoriously cheap journalists $60 for this packet of materials that most analysts said is useless in understanding precisely how much this free market extortion is going to cost taxpayers over the long haul.

Although the court hearing wasn’t until after press time for this column, Bites is confident that Judge Linda Quinn was going to order the hidden information exposed and maybe even give the guv a rhetorical slap during a hearing on the matter set for June 27.

And can we get our 60 bucks back, too?

Still at it: After rhetorically jousting with Walter Mueller and his fellow fascist nutballs on the Northern California Council of Conservative Citizens a few months back, several regular readers have been keeping Bites up to speed on their latest antics.

In addition to forming a European-American Culture Council to advocate for the poor disenfranchised white men of California, Mueller’s group was scheduled this week to use the Ethel McLeod Hart Senior Center in Midtown to spew the most vile and dangerous type of propaganda.

The speaker who didn’t show was Harvey Taylor of the Institute for Historical Review, whose focus is to deny that the Holocaust of World War II ever happened, and to label the belief that it did as just another Jewish conspiracy.Word was the Jewish Defense League planned to protest the event, which they hadn’t yet heard about. Hmm, who do you think tipped them off?