Hall monitors

Next to Kevin Johnson, nothing has boosted the entertainment value of local politics like Twitter and other social media.

Especially on city council night. It’s great fun to watch the running commentary from Sacramento’s political junkies, ax grinders and hired guns. Take, for example, the mayor’s “special” assistant R.E. Graswich, who gets paid with perfectly good taxpayer money for tweeting stuff like, “Sheedy trying to punch holes in jobs & investment project—as if she doesn’t want 4100 jobs & $7 billion investment.”

This was during a council decision on whether the city should keep creeping toward a publicly subsidized arena for the Sacramento Kings. The mayor’s foil, Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, was drawing boos and hisses, at least in the Twitterverse.

Arena booster and sports-radio personality (Bites is told) Carmichael Dave blasted her for refusing to debate him on KHTK: “Sheedy again. Her voice and snarkology make me want an acid facial. Still won’t come on my show,” read one post. Another said, “Like the fraudulent coward she continually proves to be, Sheedy bleats and grandstands and then leaves the room. Typical.”

At the same time, political consultant and arena skeptic Tab Berg was running his own commentary on the arena-financing scheme and preparing a lawsuit in case the city council tries to avoid a public vote on the plan. Berg says Carmichael Dave also challenged him to a debate on the air, but when Berg accepted, the radio man “disappeared.”

“He’s been ducking me since,” Berg told Bites.

Bites doesn’t know a lot about Carmichael Dave, beyond the interview he did on NPR recently. In the segment Mr. Dave explained that Anaheim didn’t deserve the Kings, because Anaheim is already way better than Sacramento.

“Anaheim doesn’t need a win. Anaheim has Disneyland. They have Orange County. They have the beaches. Sacramento? Sacramento sucks!”

Ouch, that really hurts, Carmichael Dave. Please sir, if we give all our money to the Kings, will you stop saying we suck?

By the way, check out that NPR segment if you can find it online. It was called “Sacramento, CA: All hands on deck,” and was the latest in a series of shows called State of the Re:Union about people trying to make their communities suck a little less.

The show was a little one-sided on the arena issue. It turns out that there are an awful lot of people who kind of like Sacramento, who worry about the impacts that such a big subsidy will have on other worthy programs, and who will continue to lead awesome lives with or without the Kings around. But there were many other interesting pieces about this place, including a long segment on Craig Powell and his merry band of Land Park volunteers, and a very funny reading by local poet/troublemaker Josh Fernandez on the subject of his missing Iron Maiden wallet. You know, the one that says “Iron Maiden” in heavy-metal letters?

But back to the show inside city council chambers. The villain Sheedy ultimately called for city staff to come back with language for a ballot measure allowing citizens to vote directly on any arena-financing plan. Not to be outdone, Mayor Johnson also asked staff to come back with language to put his strong-mayor proposal on the June ballot, too. Oh, snap.

Hmm. Wonder which of those actually has a chance of passing the council? Perhaps we end up with a June ballot upon which the basketball star and his arena and his power play are all up for a vote at the same time? Who says Sacramento sucks? It’s great fun for political junkies.