Bites goes hysterical

Mike Wiley.

Mike Wiley.

Whenever you have to slash some vital public service that’s going to affect the lives of tens of thousands of people, it helps to know what your budget is.

“Our dilemma is this: We don’t know what the Legislature is going to do,” says Mike Wiley, general manager over at Regional Transit, who’s looking at having to cut $18 million out of his budget thanks to that state’s financial mess. “And we don’t know when they are going to do it.”

Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

So, on August 25, Wiley and his crew are going to bring a list of cuts and other measures to the RT board of directors. The worse things go for the budget, the deeper down that list they’ll go.

Ironically, Wiley says RT and Sacramento riders are more than holding up their end of the bargain. “Ridership has been so responsive and has been going so well, we’re confident we can assume more fare revenue.” In fact, RT will make $1 million more next year than it did this year in fares, if service cuts don’t drive riders away.

Bites wonders what all of this means for Wiley’s vision for a mass-transit system that “provides full access and full mobility for all” (see “What the hell will it take to get you out of your car?” SN&R Feature, July 17).

“We can’t just sit here and wring our hands and say we can’t do anything because of the state budget,” Wiley said, adding, “My feeling is that the time is ripe. People are really ready for a change.”

Did you get this paper from inside a county-owned building, or from a stack or news rack somewhere on county property? The county courthouse perhaps, or a public library?

If so, thank the American Civil Liberties Union.

Some sneaky bureaucrat tried to slip the following new law past the county board of supervisors last week:

“Flyers, pamphlets, brochures or other such printed materials that are not produced by the County or under the auspices of the County shall not be distributed in County Facilities.”

That’s what folks in the First Amendment biz call “overly broad,” since it could apply to anything from political fliers to your friendly neighborhood SN&R. Along with unofficial printed matter, the proposed law would also prohibit sticks.

Yep, sticks. According to the staff report signed by one Michael Morse, director of the county Department of General Services: “In the past 18 months, there have been instances where people supporting various causes have tried to bring placards on sticks and flag staffs in the County Administration building.” Whoa, that is scary. What’s next, tar and feathers?

And when the rabble isn’t storming county buildings with their stick-placard-flag-weapon-thingies, they are circulating their degenerate propaganda everywhere.

“Similarly, printed material has been distributed within County facilities that advocate particular viewpoints,” the report continues. “But not necessarily those of the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive or the County of Sacramento.”

Really? Particular viewpoints advocated freely in public buildings? Why not just give Osama the key to Oval Office now?

The new law was on the board of supervisors “consent calendar” for Tuesday, July 29—mixed in with a half-dozen other items that county staff wanted the board to pass without discussion. It’s sort of a “sign here, boss” kind of deal.

But Sacramento attorney and free-speech-lovin’ troublemaker Jeff Kravitz spotted the new ordinance and fired off a letter to board members Monday night, calling the new law “draconian and unconstitutional.”

Supervisor Roger Dickinson agreed, and led the board in nixing the new law, saying, “It sounds like we have a solution crying out for a problem.”

Bites disagrees. It sounds like we have problem, crying out for some bureaucratic heads on sticks.