The problem is Sacramento

We’re good enough, we’re smart enough: Bites was dismayed to learn that Univeristy of California, Davis, provost Virginia Hinshaw will not be allowed to place a level-4 biohazard lab in the middle of her college campus. First, the university’s talk about placing the lab offsite was criticized as a diversionary tactic, and now the entire plan has been turned down by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Meanwhile, both UC Davis and the NIH are turning a deaf ear toward Bites’ proposal to create a Mixed-Use BioHazard Complex ™ complete with condos, Supercuts, Starbucks and daycare center.

Inferiority complex: The curse of the Sacramento Inferiority Complex has long hovered over our region. It rears its ugly head at the precise moment our ascension to first-class city seems certain. We’re doing really, really well, and then, crash: The Kings blow another playoff. The Monarchs fall apart. UC Davis loses its Ebola empire. Gary Coleman calls our city the “armpit of California.” Arnold Schwarzenegger tells the world, “The problem is not California. The problem is Sacramento.” It gets worse, with Arnold boasting that, if elected, he would not actually live in Sacramento, L.A. being just an hour commute by plane. On the plus side, Arnold and his supporters had taken to carrying brooms in the final days of the campaign, offering the promise of cleaner streets and sidewalks without all that leaf-blower noise pollution.

Speaking of noise pollution: During last Sunday’s rally at the Capitol, Bites appreciated the opportunity to witness Dee Snider prancing around to a prerecorded tape of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” while Arnold pretended to accompany him on guitar. (Terminator/Twisted Sister cross-marketing dates back many years to the release of Stay Hungry, which the group named after an early Arnold film vehicle.) One beleaguered BBC correspondent was taping his news segment with Snider and Arnold cavorting onstage behind him. This strange scene would later be broadcast in the United Kingdom. When he finished, the BBC guy shook his head in amazement that nobody seems to care about the tales of groping told by women—including one of his peers from British television. “I know one of the girls, and it definitely happened,” the reporter said. “It ruined her career.”

Sign of the times: When the bus made its way to Modesto, two Democrats were standing nearby with a big 8-foot-wide sign reading “Women say no to Arnold.” It didn’t go over well with the candidate’s supporters. Davis supporter Amy Kitchener said people kept grabbing at the sign, which was already missing a big chunk over the word “say.” Arnold supporters started getting in her face. “It was kind of scary,” said Kitchener, who drove all the way up to Modesto after realizing that she missed that morning’s event in her hometown of Fresno. “We thought we might get beat up.” Later, in Sacramento, Arnold supporters pushed their way into a demonstration area reserved for anti-recall demonstrators. One particularly adamant fan in a “Join Arnold: Let’s Bring California Back” T-shirt shoved a copy of SN&R in the face of protesters, jeering and pointing at the picture of the Cruz Bustamante puppet on its cover.

Battle stations: In a street adjacent to each rally, there was a strange truck parked at the curb with a 6-foot-wide white sphere in back. It was an NBC News truck the network used to broadcast live images from moving vehicles on the battlefield in Iraq. Now, it was being used to broadcast live images from moving buses on the campaign trail in California to a satellite 26,000 miles above Earth and back down to TV sets around the world.