Bike kitchen is cooking

What’s the difference between Sacramento and cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Chicago? Bike co-ops, of course.

Luckily, a handful of bicycle advocates are about to put Sacramento on the map—officially opening the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen this Saturday, June 24.

“Every other big city has something like this,” explained bike-kitchen President Chris Dougherty.

The bike kitchen will offer basic bicycle-maintenance classes as well as classes on safety to all bike-kitchen annual members.

Memberships will run $100 for the year or $20 a month. Even if you don’t want to become a member, a $5 per-day fee will get you access to the kitchen’s shop full of tools and help from a staff of volunteer bike mechanics.

The co-op is opening at 2837 36th Street (at the corner of 36th and Broadway) in Suite 1—in the same building as the BrickHouse art gallery.

“We picked Oak Park because we thought we could make a difference in that neighborhood,” Dougherty said.

After all, Dougherty and company aren’t just in it because they’re gearheads—they are trying to spread the use of this economically and environmentally sound mode of transportation.

“Bikes today, they’re complex little animals, not easy to work on,” Dougherty said, adding that working on your own bike can be intimidating to the uninitiated, and cost prohibitive “if you don’t have $60 to take it to the shop for a workup.”

Dougherty, who by day is an urban planner for the city of Roseville, hopes the co-op will spread the bike gospel and help remove some of the obstacles to bicycle ownership.

The bike kitchen has been getting a phenomenal response so far, Dougherty said.

“A few months ago, this was just an idea in a Craigslist posting,” Dougherty explained. “Now there’s all this great energy around it. It’s been a fun ride.”

The grand opening is Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and will feature live music, raffles, a tour of the facility and healthy snacks. For more information, go to www.sacbikekitchen.org.

—Cosmo Garvin

Memoir of an also-ran

This November, take a look at the long list of “also-rans” on your ballot. For the most part, you won’t know anything about them. They aren’t anointed by one of the two political-party machines; they’ve got little money.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have some interesting ideas.

Take, for example, the 2003 gubernatorial candidacy of Paul Mariano, a California State University, Sacramento, grad and then a public defender for Contra Costa County. Mariano jumped into the 2003 recall election, hoping to convince voters that recalling Davis was an abuse of election law.

Mariano’s candidacy is chronicled in the documentary Also Ran, subtitled That’s not right!, showing on the CSUS campus this Thursday evening.

Mariano’s platform was fairly simple, though he acknowledges many people didn’t get it.

“I didn’t particularly like Gray Davis, but he was fairly and legitimately elected,” Mariano explained. “I came up with the idea that, if elected, I would appoint Gray Davis as my chief of staff.” In other words, Mariano pledged to hand the reins of the state back to the man he considered their rightful owner.

The documentary sounds like part War Room and part Schoolhouse Rock. Mariano describes it as both “a whimsical and a serious look at the hijacking of democracy.”

“The moral of the story is that the law can be manipulated and abused. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,” he said.

Although it’s Mariano’s first film, Also Ran has garnered some praise already, winning the Best Political Documentary award at DocuFest Atlanta.

Also Ran is being shown Thursday, June 22, at the Sacramento State Alumni Center on the CSUS campus. The screening is sponsored by the Sacramento Press Club and the CSUS Institute for the Study of Politics and Media. Hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. Movie at 7.

—Cosmo Garvin