Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin stuck to his guns, even if it meant admitting a misfire.
Last week, Lips explained how Pazin had to release a homicide suspect for lack of evidence just days after a press conference when he said he thought Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II would just about lock up the "urban terrorist" and throw away the key.
If that wasn't the case, Pazin said to a room of reporters, he'd buy lunch.
Well, just before noon Friday Pazin's spokesman Tom MacKenzie dropped off three pizzas courtesy of his boss. After leaving, he called back to say the sheriff also gave Morse a gift certificate.
Lips, who declined to eat a slice for the sake of ethics, called Morse to see if he got the better deal.
Wrong, the DA said, Pazin's tyrannosaurus rex arms -- too short to reach his pocket -- won out. After struggling to reach his wallet, the sheriff probably had to blow off the dust, Morse said.
He's not sure how much money's on the card, though it did buy a chai tea. Morse worried the barista would tell him it was void.
Lips wonders if this -- sending food after a few public barbs -- is the wisest strategy. The thanks may beget more prickly column inches for Pazin. On the other hand, maybe the media-hungry sheriff has finally decided bad press doesn't exist.
Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb Googled his name the other day and discovered Stephanie Rivero blasting him on her blog -- Eccentric_Chick101 -- for liking "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's book about the downtrodden Joad family who set out from Oklahoma for California's Central Valley.
Rivero, the daughter of Atwater Councilman Joe Rivero, challenged Lamb to a duel, declared him her mortal enemy and hoped that he was reading. (By the way, Lamb was and accepts.)
Lips thought this was a trifle until another nugget fell our way -- Rivero now works for Merced County Supervisor Mike Nelson as an administrative assistant.
In fact on that same blog she dishes about her new gig. "I now make over $30,000 a year, which is great because I don't even have my degree yet!" Rivero wrote May 22. "So, things are awesome right now. I feel so privileged, I've been thanking God every day and I guess that makes good things happen.
"I know this job will be difficult and will push my knowledge and energy, but it is very well paying, considering that I only hold a high school diploma and people would come from miles away to get just a minimum wage job due to the economy."
The posts were removed after a call to the county. Fortunately, Lips took screen shots for posterity.
County spokeswoman Katie Albertson said jobs like Rivero's aren't advertised to the masses. Instead supervisors usually hire people they know they can count on. After all, Albertson said, such positions require "absolute trust and confidentiality."
Looks like Rivero may need to brush up on the skills.
Loose Lips can be reached at email@example.com.