Everybody’s business

Burger beat
Something tasty seems to be in the works over by Pleasant Valley High School, and it could prove a promising lunch spot for the young folk. (I’d like to whine at this point that my high school never let us go off campus. I had to eat subsidized creamed turkey in the crapeteria, which probably accounts for my myriad social problems.)

An application went before the city’s Architectural Review Board on Aug. 4 in which Francisco Saez of Chico sought to build a fast-food restaurant at 1550 East Ave., the northeast corner of Marigold Avenue.

The restaurant, which would include an outdoor patio and nine parking spaces, would be called Big Chico Burger.

Union do
Grocery workers worried about the state of their contracts with Safeway and other chain supermarkets may be encouraged by the resolution of similar talks in Seattle, Wash.

The three-year package the Seattle workers agreed to last week and announced Aug. 16 is a union victory in that it is not a “two-tiered” agreement, meaning it does not offer “inferior wage and health benefits packages to new employees,” reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Workers’ health insurance costs went up, but they’ll get raises starting at 30 cents an hour each year—building on a $7.72-an-hour starting wage.

Since their contract expired in July and both parties agreed to extend it, 15,000 workers in the Sacramento area (including Chico) represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union have been in talks with representatives from various supermarket corporations. Negotiations went bad in Southern California late last year, leading to a lengthy strike.

Local funnyman
When the second season of Last Comic Standing started airing in February, a Chico native had his moment in the national spotlight. Chris Voth, who is performing at the Blue Room Theatre this Saturday night, hopes it won’t be his last.

But even though part of Voth’s bit (a funny one-liner that unfortunately got him labeled as insensitive to people with disabilities, even though he’s not) was used to promote the show, he got “only” as far as the semi-finals in New York. Voth had shown up with 240 other hopefuls to an open call in San Francisco, where he stood in line for nine and one-half hours waiting to do a 30- to 40-second set.

Voth says he was recognized a lot from being on the show but didn’t get much direct work from it. The Pleasant Valley High School grad, who was billed as being from Chico but now lives in San Francisco, apologizes for being “cliché” as he reveals he makes a living waiting tables.

His goal, Voth says, is to get by solely on his standup work.

“It’s just something I always wanted to do,” says Voth, 30, who started doing standup eight or nine years ago. “I just try to write smart, clever jokes. … I’m happy to still be doing it.”

He said the Last Comic Standing people were nice to him and the experience was “very positive.”

Voth, who prefers to live alone, doesn’t know how well he would have dealt with the show’s format, in which comics live in the same house and challenge each other to standup showdowns.

But living arrangements aside, he says, “I’ll put my stage stuff up against any of those guys.”