History lessens

Lots of people are getting hosed at the gas pump these days, and not just by high gas prices.

Dale Black’s girlfriend used his PayPal MasterCard to fill up at the Valero station on Folsom Boulevard recently. Bites should disclose that Black was at one time a co-worker, one of the original SN&R employees from way back.

Checking his balance later that day, Black winced at the $60 gas bill, but wasn’t surprised that it cost so much to fill the tank. But there was another charge, this one for $75 pending on the account.

“I was a little ticked. I was thinking somebody’s ripped us off.” But calling Valero’s corporate office, he was told the $75 hold was “standard procedure” with some credit cards and would take two or three days to be removed.

In fact, these holds are increasingly being attacked by consumer groups, who find the way banks hold other people’s money hostage more than a little presumptuous. And this being the Friday before Memorial Day, Black was $75 out of pocket for four days, not two or three.

“They don’t need the money. We do,” Black said. “We aren’t making a million dollars a day like they are.”

The weird thing is, while Black was getting screwed around by corporate policies set in far off boardrooms, he was getting very different treatment from the local store manager. “The guy at the Valero station was pretty nice about it,” Black explained. The manager even gave Black $75 out of the till, to hold, just in case. “It’s in my wallet folded up. I’m going to drive over there as soon as I get off the phone,” Black explained.

The West Sacramento Historical Society and Museum needs your help.

The group is building an exhibit on the Latino experience in West Sacramento, including the neighborhoods of Broderick and Bryte. So the society is asking for photos, personal items and artifacts from locals that will tell the story of the neighborhoods of West Sac, Broderick and Bryte, from the Gold Rush to the present day. Museum volunteers are also planning to collect oral histories to be included in the exhibit.

The beginnings of the exhibit will be open to the public during the next Second Saturday art walk, June 14, at 324 Third Street, just across the I Street bridge. Go to www.westsachistoricalsociety.org or call (916) 374-1849 to find out more or to share artifacts and stories.

Now, this is where Bites would normally try to slip in some sarcastic reference to the gentrification of West Sac, or bring up the newly reinstated gang injunction over there targeting Latino youth and say something snarky, like “Looks like Latinos are soon to be history in West Sacramento after all.” But that really wouldn’t be appropriate, would it?

Rex Cycles is leaving its historic digs on 20th and Capitol. Don’t worry, the shop is opening in another part of Midtown, but Bites has been hearing rumors that the new property owner, the Heller Company, is planning to knock down the building and build a spanking new retail and restaurant building along the lines of its popular MARRS building on 20th and J streets.

Problem is, some folks say the funky old building that housed Rex is in fact an historic landmark and was once a station on the local stagecoach line. They worry that Heller will knock the structure down without regard to its historic value.

It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened around here, so Bites called the man.

Yes, Mike Heller told Bites, the spot has “a lot of potential.” But he added that he doesn’t yet know how he’s going to develop the property. “And we’re doing everything per proper protocol to see if it does have any historical value.” OK, Mike. It’s on the record, for posterity.