The pod squad

First there was WKRP. Then there was Dunder Mifflin. Now SN&R. Well, not really. But according to Variety, ABC is in the early stage of producing “The Weekly,” a new comedy “set in the office of a dishy alternative weekly publication and blog.”

It’s produced by the same guy who made the King of Queens, so you know it’s going to be hilarious, right? And bonus, it’ll be full of all sorts insider gobbledygook, like “I need those cutlines, stet!”

What could go wrong? Just in case, the producers really ought to hire a professional consultant, someone who’s got years in the business, who just oozes dishy and alternative. Hmmm … who could get they get? Here’s a little peek into the newsroom of a real urban alt weekly, rendered in real sitcom dialogue.

“Hey, some guy’s in the lobby. Says there’s a loft fire across the street. Scoop, you want to check it out?”

“No can do. Send an intern.”

“The interns all quit. Nice going by the way … “

“Damn. Hey, does anybody smell weed?

“Dude, are you going?”

“Dude, I’m really swamped. How bad is this fire?”

“How should I know? The Internet’s down.”

(Cue laugh track.)

Is this my Pod? Will it get me to Hazel Avenue any quicker?

Bites is excited about all the cool stuff that’s going to come out in the Regional Transit Master Plan later this year. But if RT really wants to turn people on, it’ll follow the lead of our brothers and sisters in Santa Cruz. There, city leaders are taking a hard look at “Personal Rapid Transit.

PRT is a lot like a light rail or streetcar system, but each vehicle only seats two to four people. Or maybe just one person and their bike. The pods are computer-controlled and glide along guideways at street level or up in the tree canopy. And instead of following fixed routes, PRT offers “point to point service” anywhere in its grid. Plus it just looks really cool in artist renderings.

The Santa Cruz City Council earlier this month voted to start taking bids for designing the proposed new system. So if we don’t want to be left stuck in the 21st century, we better get a move on.

According to some calculations that Bites pulled out of thin air, the whole system would cost Sacramento about $1 billion, about what it’ll cost to extend light rail to the airport. But the sci-fi awesomeness it would bring to the River City is priceless.

Sure, it’s called the grand jury. But the county’s venerable watchdog gets no respect. At least, not from County Supervisor Roger Dickinson. Here’s Dickinson, quoted in The Sacramento Bee in July, talking about the jury’s report about alleged mismanagement at the Sacramento Public Library: “The grand jury does not come close to fitting the definition of a professional, experienced review.”

In 2007, when the grand jury went after city and county boosters for secretly negotiating the details of a wildly unpopular bid to tax folks for a new Kings arena, Dickinson called the report “a political polemic of fiction and fantasy.”

Rewind to 2004, Dickinson talked to this reporter about a grand jury assessment of problems inside the county coroner’s office: “All the grand jury has done is talk to some people and gather some correspondence and say, ‘Here’s our opinion,'” he complained. “There’s nothing new in there that I can see.” There are probably more examples, but you get the idea.

Why does Roger have so much contempt for this august body of citizen auditors? Sources tell Bites the grand jury is investigating that right now.