Enter the arena

Can’t recall: As city and county officials are belatedly discovering, opponents of a new, publicly funded downtown basketball arena weren’t kidding when they expressed their displeasure with the proposal in a CSUS poll taken earlier this year. Just 1 percent—1 percent!—agreed that such a project should be paid for entirely with public funds, and only 34 percent supported a stadium built with a combination of public and private funding.

Nevertheless, local politicians went ahead and crafted a ballot measure with Joe and Gavin Maloof, leading some anti-arena malcontents to form a Yahoo! group calling for the recall of City Councilman Rob Fong and County Supervisor Roger Dickinson. Judging from the tone of the initial post on Yahoo!, the 15 members of the group are mad as hell:

“Fong and Dickinson: You are leading an effort that your constituents have asked you to abandon. You basically declared a local state of emergency because some wealthy athletes, wealthy sports team owners, and wealthy corporations want a new Arena because it generates huge profits for them!”

Bites agrees wholeheartedly but suggests that wasting too much effort recalling Fong and Dickinson is one of but many hidden costs that proposals for a publicly funded stadium foist on the public. Can we really afford to waste that much political energy when so many others deserve attention?

Better to shoot down the stadium proposal at the polls in November. Then, if you’re still feeling inclined to take on Fong or Dickinson, run against them for public office. Fong’s up for re-election in 2008; Dickinson in 2010. Bites knows they could use the opposition.

Melting the ice: For those still insisting that no scientific consensus for global warming exists—a cerebrally impaired fraternity that counts Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters among its dwindling membership—the overflowing banks of Whitney Creek, 10 miles north of Weed, offer evidence to the contrary that hits close to home.

“Unusually warm weather is melting glaciers, causing increased flow in Whitney Creek,” Shasta-Trinity National Forest hydrologist Steve Bachmann told Environmental News Service. It seems the scorching hot temperatures recorded in late July have hastened the melting of the Whitney Glacier near Mount Shasta. Whitney Creek will continue to overflow, flooding Highway 97, until the glacier stops melting. “Only cold weather can accomplish that,” Bachmann said.

The Whitney glacier is named after geologist Josiah Dwight Whitney, the namesake of Mount Whitney. It is the longest glacier in California, with ice up to 127 feet thick. Experts count anywhere from seven to 10 glaciers in the Mount Shasta area. At least, that’s how many there were before this summer’s record heat wave.

Faux green: Speaking of recall elections and global warming, the Legislature is back in town, and its Democratic majority is hell-bent on holding Governor Arnold Schwarzenhummer to his pledge to reduce greenhouse gases in the state. Democrats hope to pass legislation that will place strict emission caps on greenhouse gases; the governor supports emission credits that will permit businesses to continue polluting at a cost to be determined by a complex formula.

The battle is sure to reveal where the governor’s true loyalties lie: to the environment, about which a large majority of Californians say they are deeply concerned, or to the California Chamber of Commerce, the business interests who put him in office and apparently write Dan Walters’ global-warming columns.

Which will it be? Governor Green or Governor Mean? Stay tuned.

Bites confesses to being amused at Arnold’s newfound caché as an environmentalist. Schwarzenegger paints his bus green, and the next thing you know, he’s the second coming of Ken Kesey, celebrated as being environmentally conscious “for a Republican” by mainstream pundits up and down the state.

How quickly they forget. It wasn’t too long ago that the Austrian Oak was tooling along the campaign trail in a Hummer, the 4-miles-per-gallon monstrosity he helped create and popularize during an era when we all should have known better. It symbolizes everything that’s wrong with the American way, and for that Schwarzenegger can take much of the credit. The Earth Liberation Front doesn’t torch Hummer dealerships for nothing.