The govinator

Last weekend my son and I visited two local material supply stores, Home Depot and Lowe’s, for spackle, lattice and corrugated-plastic-extruded roofing. We made our initial stop and purchase at the Home Depot, secured our materials to the bed of the truck and, on this moderately warm day, decided that we would have a soda. Turns out you can’t always get what you want. We’d spotted one of the Coca-Cola vending machines that stand in front of the building. To get there we had to pass the Hungry Hippie hotdog vendor, who parks his modest enterprise on the sidewalk near one of the store exits and directly in front of the Coke machine. But when we slid a dollar into the money slot, hoping for a frosty 16-ounce plastic bottle of pop, we were denied. All choices were sold out. My son suggested the hotdog man had exhausted the supply to increase his business. I pointed out that would be a risky move, depending on how many sodas were left in the machine when he decided to empty it. Still, to get refreshment we had to turn to the hotdog hippie, who, it turned out, really is more of a capitalist than a hippie—he charges $1 for a 12-ounce can of pop.

As we were making our business transaction with Hungry Hippie, we noticed another capitalist at work: a spiky-blonde-haired young man wearing silver earrings and sitting at a card table with a sign that said, “Recall Davis!” The young political activist was asking those exiting the store if they’d like to sign a petition to recall the governor. We walked up to the guy and said no, we didn’t want to sign the petition, but wondered how much money he’d made so far. “Depends on how many signatures I got,” he said. Do you care who the governor is? I asked. “Yeah,” he said, “I don’t want Davis in there.” Why? I wanted to know. “Because he doubled college tuitions, and now I can’t go to school.” To his credit, this guy is doing something about his problems. He’s gathering signatures at maybe 75 cents a pop, which I’m sure will go toward his college education. Who would make a better governor? I asked him. “Arnold Schwarzenegger would be good,” he answered.

Ten minutes later we were walking into Lowe’s in search of items we couldn’t find at Home Depot, when we came upon another blond-haired fellow sitting at a dump-Davis signature-gathering card table. This guy could have come from the same family as the signature seeker over at Home Depot—or at least from the same fraternity. We asked him about his motivation and who he thought would do a better job of governing the state. He, too, said Davis was no good and that Arnold, not even bothering to say Schwarzenegger, would do better. I was going to say, based on what? But instead I agreed and told him if Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines gets good reviews and makes a lot of money, I, too, will vote for Arnold. Why not? It’s coming out on the July Fourth weekend and a Hollywood action megastar can surely run the world’s sixth largest economy, right?

We’ve learned that last week a fund-raiser in Sacramento for Assemblyman Rick Keene had the Chico politician pouring bottles of Chico’s Sierra Nevada Summerfest at $1,000 a pour for individuals and $3,000 a pop for groups. The event was hosted by the California Restaurant Association. Then this week we learn in the local news (TV, daily paper) that Keene was in town Monday to bash the notion of gay people entering into state-sanctioned marriage. Keene’s office, it seems, has removed the News & Review from its press list. Calls to his Sacramento office and his local office do not get returned. Since he was elected to the Assembly, I’ve spoken to Keene twice, once at a Jesus Center function around Thanksgiving and then again on May 18 when we crossed paths at the local Dairy Queen. Nothing since. In the wake of missing him for the local no-gays-can-get-married rally, I’m thinking of sending some flowers to Rick with a card that says, “Words can’t describe my feelings of rejection. Why don’t you return my calls, Rick?” I did recently run into Keene staffer Cliff Wagner, who told me his boss’s favorite flowers are yellow. I’m thinking yellow roses of Texas.