Consolation tacos

A potentially lucrative but still super unnerving proposal to pump and store 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas under the Avondale and Glen Elder neighborhoods has been nixed by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Good news for neighborhood activists and folks worried about unlikely but nonetheless not-to-be-messed with possibilities, such as contaminated groundwater, flash fires and explosions.

Terrible news for the proponent, Sacramento Natural Gas Storage, who stood to make $17 million in the first year.

And probably frustrating for at least some homeowners, who agreed to lease their subterranean property rights for about $500 a year.

Not much money to you, maybe. But the royalties certainly wouldn’t hurt out in Sacramento’s vast plain of old left-behind suburbs, where the official tree is a mistletoe-infested Modesto ash—the developers planted them by the billions back in the Ozzie & Harriet days—and where suburban flight, disinvestment and decay have ruled for decades.

But a brand-new Chando’s Tacos opened just this month on Power Inn Road at Fruitridge Road kitty-corner from the SNGS office. Bites hopes that eases the pain of their loss somewhat. And while all the cash Bites plans to spend buying tacos there won’t quite match the economic impact of the gas company’s royalty checks, it will come close.

If Bites had to guess this early in the game, it seems likely that voters will reject formation of a charter commission this fall. It’s too esoteric. It’s not clear to most just what problem it will solve. The only natural advocates for the idea are good-government groups and columnists at alt-weekly newspapers—not exactly big power players in this town.

On the other side, you’ve got the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee, who, having decided that only a strong mayor will suffice, are determined to muddy the waters and undermine the commission process at every step. By the time Team Scoopy is done with them, voters will be so confused, they’ll vote no just to try and make the whole mess go away.

Bites also noticed the mayor’s propagandist R.E. Graswich skulking around a recent charter-commission-candidate workshop, scoping out his potential competition—Bob is apparently considering a run. Graswich walked in with potential candidate and Greater Sacramento Urban League president David DeLuz.

Bites is heartened by the entry of folks like Neil Pople, formerly of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento, and Derek Cressman from the pro-democracy group Common Cause.

But beware, would-be commissioners: If for some reason you can’t finish your two-year term, Mayor Kevin Johnson gets to appoint your replacement. So, no quitters.

California has decided, for now, not to quit on its ambitious high-speed-rail project. HSR got a reprieve earlier this month, getting the narrowest possible approval from the state Senate to go ahead with issuing $2.6 billion in state bonds and start construction. Sac Bee columnist Dan Walters penned his 470th “you’ll be sorry” column against the project. His sourpussery was more than offset, however, by a cheerful endorsement from the North Carolina-based post-punk heroes Superchunk.

One band member posted on the Twitter: “I don’t live in CA but i would ride the shit out of some high speed rail over there.”

Some days, it doesn’t look so good, Superchunk. But Bites hopes that one day you will indeed get to ride the shit out of some high-speed rail over here. Saving your ticket for then.