The Kings are dead

Pond scum: This week’s Master of the Obvious award goes to Sacramento Bee columnist R.E. Graswich, who in his October 9 column noted that rumors that the Sacramento Kings may move to Anaheim are running rampant. Graswich cited 86-year-old developer Joe Benvenuti as his source, but Bites has discovered a more direct link between the Kings and Arrowhead Pond arena in Anaheim: Orange County sports-franchise broker Tony Guanci.

Guanci, a close associate of Joe and Gavin Maloof who has sat in on the current arena negotiations, has attempted to woo various professional sports franchises to Orange County since the late 1980s, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times. Indeed, the Times says, he’s tried to lure the Maloofs and the Kings down south at least twice, in 1998 and 2003. And according to two anonymous sources here in town, it was a furious Guanci who stormed out of the room at the so-called disastrous dinner September 5, when negotiations between Sacramento and the Kings broke down.

Neither the Maloofs nor Guanci responded to requests for interviews. But when asked about Anaheim’s NBA potential by the L.A. Times in 2001, Gavin Maloof said, “I think Anaheim would be a plus for the league. The arena is beautiful. The market is so rich.”

No freedom for you: This Saturday, at approximately 10:25 p.m., Yolo County sheriffs crashed KDVS’ biannual music festival, Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom, at Plainfield Station in Woodland. Authorities told Plainfield owner Pete Farazzi that they had received an anonymous complaint and that he was in violation of a 10 p.m. curfew ordinance.

Bites has been to Plainfield, and with nary a neighbor for almost a mile, only a bona fide hater would call in a noise complaint.

Farazzi said that Plainfield has never been shut down during the five years he’s owned the joint. However, Capt. Larry Cecchettini claims that “there always is” a hater—er, grievance made, because of late and loud music.

Cops arrived, ordinance paperwork in hand, and shut down the 17-band festival with two bands to go. Many suggested that it wasn’t a coincidence the O:RMF was canned during the changeover between the only two hip-hop acts on the bill.

Farazzi noted that the concertgoers were “well-behaved” and that the authorities already had “ran ’em out of Davis.” He had to chase off cops issuing sobriety tests, on Plainfield property no less, as drunken and dejected music enthusiasts made their way home.

Miami vice: The newspaper business has been very good to Bites, but it’s nothing compared with the largess lavished upon the top executives of Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. According to the Sacramento Business Journal, five out of the region’s 11 highest-paid executives work for McClatchy, now the second-largest newspaper chain in the country after the acquisition of Knight Ridder earlier this year. That includes the top three rankings: CEO Gary Pruitt, $2 million; Vice President Frank Whittaker, $760,000; and Vice President Robert Weil, $740,000.

Considering the newspaper chain’s sluggish financial performance, the only McClatchy executive who seems to be truly earning his keep is Vice President Howard Weaver, No. 11 on the Business Journal’s list with a salary of $370,000. The veteran newsman recently helped squelch a scandal concerning several journalists at the now McClatchy-owned Miami Herald who were also on the Bush administration’s payroll.

The journalists were paid for appearances on Radio and TV Marti, which beams U.S. propaganda into Cuba. Coincidentally, their coverage in the Herald and its sister publication, El Nuevo Herald, tended to be favorable toward the Bush administration. Famed Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen went ballistic about the flagrant conflict of interest in an acerbic column that originally was spiked by publisher Jes Diaz Jr. In stepped Weaver, who explained that McClatchy wants columnists like Hiaasen to be able to speak and write their minds.

And Diaz? He tendered his resignation two weeks later.