Strength in numbers

It’s one of the nastier twists in the ongoing fight over Proposition 8. A slim majority of California voters decided to take away basic rights from their neighbors. Not surprisingly, lawsuits were filed and demonstrations were held. And when these people had the gall to push back, the yes side called the protests “an insult to California voters.” Really, those were the words of “Yes on 8” spokesman Andrew Pugno, according to newspapers around the state.

What’s really insulting is how mind-bogglingly easy it was to pull off this constitutional mugging.

Consider that the state of California can’t get any kind of reasonable budget deal passed because legislative Republicans oppose raising new tax revenue with almost religious zeal. Though the GOP is solidly outnumbered in the Capitol, they have the juice to block any spending plan because the California Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to pass any form of tax (and therefore any budget).

Sure, it’s an insult to California voters who regularly send large Democratic majorities to Sacramento. But, hey, the rules are the rules. Likewise, you can’t pass a bond to fix schools or roads without a two-thirds “yes” vote from voters. Our right to be free of taxes is considered so sacred that it takes an extraordinary vote, not just a majority but a supermajority, to impose them.

But casting thousands of people into second-class status can be accomplished with little better than a tie. By these rules, there’s really nothing stopping a constitutional amendment that says left-handed people can’t get married to each other, or that they can’t get married at all.

But really, who would vote for such a crazy law?

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of anxiety in the newspaper world these days. This year The Sacramento Bee lost many talented and experienced reporters as their parent company, The McClatchy Co., shed workers and tried to get back to profitability.

We feel the pinch here at SN&R, too, though you wouldn’t know it judging by our relentlessly sunny attitudes.

So, like a lot of media outlets, we spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out our audience. Who are you people? What do you want?

One of the more fun tools we have to figure you out is called The Media Audit. Every major media outlet gets one, and it’s basically a tool to help show advertisers what SN&R readers are into. And that’s good, since it’s advertising that allows us to put out this free paper. Sometimes, Bites likes to thumb through the profile to try and get some sort of clue of who’s out there. Here’s what the numbers say as of last spring.

Not surprisingly, 46 percent of you are Democrats. Thirty-one percent are independents. And only 15 percent are Republicans. Seventy percent of you are regular voters. Not too shabby.

But perhaps more importantly, you’re twice as likely as other Sacramentans (looking at the media market overall) to eat at Jimboy’s, and only half as likely to eat at In-N-Out Burger. Hmm …

You’re 44 percent more likely to have bought a lottery ticket in the last two weeks and 89 percent more likely to have gone out to a nightclub. Obviously.

You guys are weirdly fond of Audis (277 percent more likely than the base line to own one) and Kias (150 percent more likely). But does anybody out there still drive a Hummer? Because you’re not showing up in the stats at all.

You are 25 percent more likely to have an advanced college degree, but only half as likely to own a sailboat. You like Pepsi a bit more than Coke, 103.5 the Bomb way more than 103.9 the Fish, and choose REI over the Men’s Wearhouse. Well, duh.

Does any of this knowledge make Bites a better journalist? Probably not. But whatever you’re into, just go buy some stuff, OK? Free newspapers aren’t cheap.