Governor propositions public

Caught red-handed: Even if he’s off campaigning for Team Bush in Ohio, Arnold Schwarzenegger still has done his part to ensure that, come Tuesday, the people of California speak with one voice: his. “Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ballot Proposition Voter Guide,” which found its way into voters’ mailboxes earlier this month, is not only an unprecedented attempt by a governor to sway the public initiative process; it’s also downright odd. From the perfectly blond couple pointing meaningfully out toward the horizon to the vaguely totalitarian iconography sprinkled throughout, it’s the kind of heroic propaganda that would make Leni Riefenstahl (or at least Teutonic metal band Rammstein) jealous.

Yet, the trump card in Arnold’s glossy, full-color mini-mag would have to be its centerfold. Now, don’t get excited, Playgirl fans; it’s not an Arnold centerfold—although he is ubiquitous throughout the brochure, giving the thumbs-up to DNA databases and speaking before crowds of admiring white folk. No, the centerfold is reserved for the single depiction of a non-white person, in this case an oversized image of a man’s expensively bejeweled hands grabbing fistfuls of dollar bills. “Indian Gaming Has Become a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry” reads the headline beneath the hands, which are decidedly more ethnic than even Arnold on a major carrot-juice-and-skin-bronzer binge.

So, could it be that Arnold is dabbling in ethnic stereotyping again? (See “Open mouth, insert elevator shoe,” SN&R Bites, October 21.) Why, of course not! After all, when Schwarzenegger was busted last week for circling the wagons and telling his devotees that “the Indians are ripping us off,” his chief spokesman Rob Stutzman reportedly accused Arnold’s detractors of “a pathetic use of the race card.” In other words, being racist is not racist, but calling someone on it is. True, it took us all an extra 20 years to get it down pat, but George Orwell surely would be impressed.

Thanks for your input. Now go away: The Save the Tower folks have clearly outworn their welcome at City Hall. Last week, the Sacramento City Council officially declared a proposed Century Theatres CinéArts cineplex dead, citing concerns that the corporate art house would drive the Tower Theatre out of business. But another proposal to help Century double its downtown screens is very much alive and could be just as dicey for the Tower.

The plan isn’t a direct subsidy to Century, but it would direct $5 million to help Westfield Downtown Plaza build a new theater with as many as 16 screens at Seventh and K streets, hopefully generating more foot traffic on the anemic K Street Mall.

That would give Century 16 out of 24 screens downtown (it now has seven) and would promote the chain to the 800-pound gorilla of downtown film, as opposed to the 500-pound gorilla it is today. And with more screens to fill, Century could be a lot more likely to go after art and independent films that pay the rent for the Tower and Crest theaters.

Representatives speaking on behalf of the neighborhood/business group Tower District Alliance, and executives from Tower’s parent company, Reading International Inc., got a chilly reception from many on the city council, who seem to wish the whole “Save the Tower” movement would go away. But Councilman Dave Jones, who leaves at the end of November and is expected to win his run for state Assembly next week, was somewhat more supportive. He figures more movie screens downtown are both inevitable and desirable. “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking at how to mitigate the impacts” to the indies, he said. His proposal: Get the downtown movie companies to sign an agreement that lets Century play all the blockbusters it wants, while giving the Tower and Crest dibs on art and independent films. Is that legal? Probably just barely. Would Century and the other companies go for it? Almost certainly not. Still, Bites appreciates Jones’ creative approach to what is quickly becoming a bitter stalemate.

We’re not so sure Mayor Heather Fargo would agree. At the end of one testy exchange between Fargo and Jones, heronner quipped, “We’ll be having many more meetings on this subject, though I know you won’t be here for them.”