Bites sells out

Bites is not in it for the money. Considering the present state of the economy, that’s not such a bad attitude to take. Everybody’s talking about tightening their belts these days. Bites doesn’t even have a belt.

Not to begrudge those who have somehow managed to keep their pants up. In fact, it was somewhat reassuring, after a Thanksgiving dinner consisting of a turkey-shaped 5-pound mound of Spam, to be greeted by the front-page news in Monday’s Bee that more than 200 legislative staffers are getting pay raises.

Bites sympathizes with The Sacramento Bee’s scorn for all state workers, which the newspaper regularly ladles out like government-issued nacho cheese oozing down the sides of a turkey-shaped mound of Spam. Still, as the Bee continues to go down the toilet, like the orange chunks of gristle disgorged by Bites’ unwitting relatives, obsessively targeting your single-biggest audience isn’t exactly wise and prudent behavior.

Economically speaking, it might be called self-inflicted demand destruction, or in lay terms, suicide. With consumer demand already plummeting, heck, why not pull the trigger?

Bites takes a different attitude toward all the patriots who serve this great state—the laziest Caltrans worker, the whiniest mid-level department manager, all the overpaid administrators in need of anger-management training, every former journalist who sold out to become a highly paid political flak, and last but not least, the sexy, unpaid interns who do the small amount of work that actually gets done at the Capitol.

Give ’em all pay raises, even the interns, but force them to shop local.

Shop local. What a concept. Being the provincial sort, Bites likes to think of “local” as within the Sacramento city limits. Of course, the problem for, oh, well, three decades: How do we get the shoppers downtown? And wouldn’t you know it, just in time for the holidays, the collective minds of our fair city have hit upon the final solution.

The best way to bring suburban shoppers downtown is to change all the one-way streets to two-way streets.

Yes, it seems counterintuitive, particularly when you’re about to drive your bicycle head-on into a bread truck because you forgot they changed N Street to two-way. Yet that’s the genius of the city’s plan. It creates chaos, confusion and congestion, all the elements you’d expect to find in a world-class city. Can Sacramento finally be on its way?

Truth be told, whether you agree with the aesthetics of gridlock or not, Bites thinks the city should spend even more taxpayer dollars on theoretical traffic-flow experiments, cold fusion and perhaps even time travel. Anything to stimulate consumer demand. Sure, the money might be better spent repairing the crater-sized potholes on Eighth Street, but they’ll get around to that after the economy turns around.

For now, be thankful that we live in a city with foresight. Who would have thought that another great way to bring shoppers downtown would be to install a state-of-the-art, impossible-to-cheat-on digital parking-meter system that’ll suck your debit card right down to the bone? The brilliance is staggering. Nothing says “Welcome to Sacramento!” like a $25 parking ticket. Not only does it put more money in the city’s coffers, it teaches citizens a valuable lesson: obedience.

In these troubled times, obedience is the watchword, and this holiday season we are commanded to shop local. It’s our duty, and for those who live outside Fortress Sacramento, a few tips:

If you find yourself driving the wrong way on a two-way street, don’t attempt that “ghost ride” routine you’ve been practicing at home. If you’ve finished shopping and there’s still time left on your parking sticker, you’re in luck! It’s still good, so you can drive to another downtown Sacramento location and shop even more. Finally, to fully enhance your holiday buying spree, shop only at SN&R advertisers. Legislative staffers aren’t the only folks in Sacramento who need the money.

Cosmo Garvin was out of the office this week, so an SN&R staffer named Anonymous filled in for him.