Buzzing the hive

Bullying the Bee: Just last week, Bites blasted all the sloganeering, flag-waving Bush supporters who have been clogging downtown Sacramento streets with picket signs and vitriol. So what newspaper do these bozos protest over the weekend? That’s right, the Sacramento Bee.

Apparently unhappy that the Bee has opted to ignore the protesters instead of calling them dogmatic reactionaries, the right-wing rabble descended upon the Bee’s Q Street office on Saturday, making a ruckus that they expected to be covered in ink.

According to the accounts of some protesters, Sacramento police officers showed up saying they had been called by Bee managers to disperse the crowd but left after concluding that the protesters were doing what Bee employees do on a daily basis, lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.

It’s bad enough that the Bee would allegedly take such an anti-free speech approach to critics, but perhaps even worse that it was bullied into giving the protest Section A space and an overly generous crowd estimate of 3,000.

And if you Bush-backers don’t like being belittled in this space, Bites asks, what are you gonna do about it?

New digs: Sacramentans last week got their first peek at the City Hall of the future, as a brigade of designers, architects and preservationists unveiled the various choices for the $58 million hive that will house all the city’s worker bees.

Oh, and myriad choices there are! While everyone appears set on the idea that the existing City Hall, built in 1909, will be renovated and free-standing, the bulk of the project will be the 200,000-square-foot office building that will loom large behind the historic hall.

And for that super-structure, hundreds of possible configurations have been bandied about for months, ranging from variations on the traditional utilitarian box to something that appears to include a landing dock for Martian ambassadors and other interstellar dignitaries.

The two leading contenders were made into small-scale Styrofoam models that are being displayed in the Sacramento Public Library‘s Community Room. Bites was disappointed that such a big pack of creative types couldn’t come up with better names for the duo than “Scheme 1” and “Scheme 3” (apparently someone’s dog got hold of Scheme 2—turning the Taj Mahal of municipal bureaucracies into a pile of polystyrene crumbs—or so Bites imagined).

Anyway, to help liven up a choice that the City Council is expected to make sometime after the start of the year, here’s the Bites take on the buildings, complete with better names.

Scheme 1 pulls out all the stops of modern architecture, with groovy angles and a big section carved out of the back of the building to reduce its boxiness. And the council chambers are contained in a half-egg-shaped pod parked in front of the building like a docking UFO. Let’s call it Space Station Sacto.

Scheme 3 looks a little like all the rectangular edifices that our traditionally unimaginative state designers have been plunking down in Sacramento for decades, except with a deep, concave curve along its front. It looks like a car bomb took a big chunk out of the façade, so we’ll call it the Oklahoma City.

And since that’s such a harsh national memory to endure every time we need to go pay a parking ticket or pull a parade permit, Bites favors Space Station Sacto, and not just out of hopes that Mayor Heather “Buckaroo Banzai” Fargo might take Bites for a spin through the solar system.

Hostel takeover: Speaking of on-the-move, that’s what the Sacramento International Hostel is going to be once city charges forward with its City Hall plans, lest it be squashed by progress.

The Hostel’s gorgeous, sprawling Victorian house at Ninth and H streets will have to be moved across the street and down the block, back to its original home at 10th and H, a city-owned spot it occupied before being bumped next door by the city, then across the street by a mortuary.

Hostel operators weren’t too happy about having to move this historic structure for a third time along the same block, but the city apparently made them an offer they couldn’t refuse—funding the $2 million move and offering a long-term lease.

“The hostel people are well-taken care of, so I don’t want to hear from them,” said recently ex-mayor Jimmie Yee, his exasperated tone indicating little wiggle room for future negotiations.