Don’t go away mad

Just go away: Bites has noticed that California’s been strengthening laws against sex offenders almost nonstop. On June 20, Sacramento County tried to catch up by limiting the places sex offenders can wander once they’re free. “There is a need to limit the opportunity for sex offenders to be in contact with unsuspecting children in locations that are primarily designed for use by, or are primarily used by children,” reads the new county ordinance, which goes on to deny sex offenders access to everything fun, including video arcades, parks, swimming pools and youth sports facilities. As an afterthought, on the day of the vote, the board of supervisors threw in libraries.

Sex offenders are the stuff of Bites’ nightmares, too, but are libraries really designed primarily for children? What about all those great literary works and the self-help books on managing your own divorce and menopause? It’s not that we overvalue children with such a prohibition. It’s that we undervalue libraries and what they offer to the public—even the public scapegoat.

Even if the county somehow ignores the fact that “sex offender” is a broad term describing lots of people who don’t prey on children, and that many offenders have been clean for decades, and that most child molesters don’t victimize strangers, maybe it should at least focus on public places that aren’t monitored by friendly librarians.

It’s a sad fact, but Bites sees a lot more children at malls than at libraries.

And don’t let the door hit ya: The Sacramento City Council said so long to a civic fixture last week. Senior rabble rouser and gadfly Bill Grant announced that he’s getting a job and won’t be able to make city-council meetings for a year or so.

If you’re a regular or even occasional visitor to the council’s Tuesday-night meetings, you’ve probably seen the tall and dapper Grant in action.

He has used his two minutes (or so) of public comment every week to guide the council on issues regarding the Hart Senior Center in Midtown, to testify to the beneficial effects of bridge on the mind and spirit, and to expose the Bee’s sneaky decision to move Mark Trail to the left-hand page of the daily comics.

For his civic gusto, SN&R even named him “Best participant in democracy” back in 2004.

“You need to have an ear to the senior community, or it’s going to be a problem for you when it comes to elections—if I’m around,” Grant warned while signing off last week.

No sappy goodbyes from this city council, however. “Send us a postcard,” Mayor Heather Fargo deadpanned as Grant stepped away from the podium.

With friends like these: You’d think the governor had actually signed the bill granting same-sex couples marriage rights, the way Randy Thomasson is carrying on. The president of the Sacramento-based Campaign for Children and Families is up in arms because Arnie has agreed to be the keynote speaker at a fund-raising event for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian Republican group.

According to Thomasson, “no Republican governor in California history has promoted transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality like Arnold Schwarzenegger has.” His media talking points have been picked up by such luminaries of unbiased journalism as WorldNetDaily, where he’s quoted as saying that the Log Cabin Republicans intend to “transform the California Republican Party into the party that supports homosexual ‘marriage’ and the entire transsexual, bisexual and homosexual legislative agenda.”

Bites is skeptical that folks like Tom McClintock and Chuck Poochigian would let Arnie go all “queer eye” on the Republican Party. Still, we can’t help but wonder if Thomasson is talking about the same Arnold Schwarzenegger we know and—well, know.

Has Thomasson forgotten how Arnie predicted rioting and violence in the streets if San Francisco’s gay and lesbian wedding party were allowed to continue? Or that the governator shot down last year’s Assembly Bill 866, a bill that would have instituted a voluntary pledge to avoid gay-bashing in political campaigns? Or perhaps Thomasson was asleep last fall when Arnold terminated A.B. 849, which would have extended civil marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples.

Yep, that’s our governor. Bites can’t help but wonder who is more confused about what it means to support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens: Thomasson or the Log Cabin Republicans.