Branding Sacramento

Shades of Gray: Former gubernatorial chief of staff Lynn Schenk cracked all the good jokes at Governor Gray Davis’ portrait unveiling in the Capitol rotunda last week. She told a couple of scorchers, referring to recent Governor Schwarzenegger appointees Susan Kennedy and David Zingale, about how the current administration doesn’t look too different from the one she worked for. And she told them while standing about six inches from a smiling Arnold Schwarzenegger—that’s more gall than Bites could ever conjure up!

So, we’ll let her have that spotlight and take this one:

Davis’ portrait reflects how he’d like to be remembered. He considers himself an environmentalist, who was instrumental in the effort to save a Monterey County watershed. He is pictured standing in the Palo Corona Ranch. And, as he described himself that day, he was a governor politically “a little to the left of center.” The 5-by-4-foot, $50,000 painting features Davis wearing a blue shirt and a red tie.

The question Bites poses is: What should Schwarzenegger’s portrait look like when he leaves office? What should he be wearing, and where should he be standing? Send your artistic visions to <%MungeAddy "”,"Bites"%>.

The doctor is in: In the pages of SN&R some eight years ago, Dr. Jerome Lackner railed against the state of the American health-care system, saying he couldn’t be a good physician in a system that pressured docs to “make more money while providing less care.”

So, at age 70, when many successful physicians move on to the golf links, Lackner left the managed-care matrix, setting up the William D. Silkworth Clinic. Lackner, who served as the state director of health under then-Governor Jerry Brown is one of California’s foremost experts on treating alcoholism and drug addiction—and at Silkworth, he has treated more than 4,000 substance abusers since he set up shop.

Here’s the thing about Silkworth: It’s free; patients only pay if they can. And Lackner never signs out. His patients can call him 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

But it’s been touch-and-go the last eight years. Lackner’s been keeping the clinic afloat on willpower and the generosity of a couple of special donors. But money is a chronic problem, and it looks like the clinic will soon have to close its doors unless a new infusion of funding comes through. Anyone interested in making a donation can call (916) 446-4325. Naturally, that’s also the 24-hour hotline number for Lackner’s patients.

A fine nickname: Sacramento’s boosterism community is fumbling all over its own marketing genius in an attempt to rename this fine mediocreopolis we all call home. They argue that none of our past nicknames has caught on, so we need a new one.

You know what Bites is talking about here. The River City. Sackatomato. Sac-Town.

The people who concern themselves with branding and logos want to come up with something new and catchy for Sacramento—something that communicates who we are.

Really, it’s just a marketing tool. And it will mean a lot of new letterhead for the Chamber of Commerce.

Good news! There’s a perfectly usable city moniker up for grabs.

Since San Diego’s City Hall was investigated by the FBI, two of its council members were convicted of taking bribes from a strip-club owner, Mayor Dick Murphy resigned, and the city’s pension-fund foul-up threatened to force the city into bankruptcy, that Navy town last week decided to stop calling itself “America’s Finest City.” New Mayor Jerry Sanders ordered the title restored, but Bites says finders keepers.

We should appropriate the name that has been so successful for that southern oasis. It would illustrate Sacramento’s environmental conscience by recycling and even would reflect the borrowing and thieving of ideas that runs rampant in this political town. If only San Diego wanted to ditch one of its beaches as well.