Lost in translation

Recalling a sitting governor may not be as easy as it looks. Last month, SN&R told you about Dr. Kenneth Matsumura’s effort to get a measure recalling Governor Schwarzenegger on the June 2006 ballot. (See “Recall redux,” SN&R News, November 3.)

The measure is nearing approval from the secretary of state’s office to begin the signature-gathering phase. But the recall campaign hit an unexpected snag, due to a recent court ruling that requires recall measures to be translated into seven languages. Matsumura agrees with the rule but said his organization hadn’t counted on the extra time it would take haggling with the secretary of state’s office over the ballot language.

“We should have been done in October,” Matsumura lamented. Now, he says the group may not have enough time to gather enough signatures to place the recall item on the June primary ballot. If not, Matsumura says, he thinks his group can gather enough signatures to trigger a special election, perhaps in July.

That would mean voters could go to the polls three times in a row to vote for candidates for governor and possibly could unseat two governors within four months of each other.

Matsumura concedes that the multiple-election scenario sounds bizarre, but he said his group wants to eliminate the Republican governor and replace him with someone more progressive before the end of the next legislative session. Go to www.savecalnow.com for more information.

Thinking outside the box

The Target store on Broadway is seeking approval from city officials for a $10 million renovation and expansion. Sounds good, say neighbors, with a few caveats.

The Land Park Community Association wants the store to include windows on the Broadway street side and possibly move the restaurant portion to the north side of the building as well—in order to give the building a more inviting and pedestrian-friendly layout. The community also is concerned that the company plans to do away with its garden center (the only garden center in the neighborhood) and locate its loading docks there instead—not far from the front door. Neighbors are concerned that the loading dock will make the traffic problem in the lot much worse.

“I think everybody supports Target’s goals. But we think they can really contribute to the community through their building design,” said Luree Stetson with the Land Park Community Association. “But so far, they have been completely unresponsive.”

The group has appealed city staff’s approval of the remodeling to the city Planning Commission, where it is expected to be discussed on January 12.

Giving away the store?

Negotiations with MobilePro for Sacramento’s first citywide Wi-Fi network are nearing an end. But community groups are questioning whether the city is getting a good deal.

The company plans to give the city 2,000 free wireless accounts, to be used by city workers like police, inspectors and ambulance crews.

In exchange, the company is receiving a significant concession from the city: the right to attach its transmitting equipment to city-owned buildings and utility poles. The city right of way offers a tremendous advantage to a company that otherwise would have to negotiate on a building-by-building basis with individual property owners.

The company also is planning to give free Wi-Fi access on a very limited basis to Sacramento citizens. But the connection speed of 56 K would only be equivalent to dial-up Internet service, far too slow for many Web applications today—viewing a city-council meeting online, for example. And the company is only planning to offer a single, two-hour window of free access per day. (See “Sacramento goes Wi-Fi,” SN&R News, November 10.)

Local nonprofits, like Common Cause, Access Sacramento and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, are questioning the real value of the “free wireless” proposal and want city officials to negotiate for a better deal, including more free high-speed wireless accounts that could be used by nonprofits and social-service agencies. The contract is expected to come before the city council in late January or February.