What Will Happen To Bacteria Bear?

Anthony Pignataro:

So I was prowling the hallowed state capitol halls yesterday and stumbled on what might just be the greatest story in the state. All the legislative staffers are talking about it, and yet no one knows how it’s going to shake it. It’s a mystery, and enigma, a ticking time bomb of tension, if you will — and sooner or later (I’m hoping for sooner), someone somewhere is going to have to come up with an answer because, quite frankly, the people will finally get sick and tired of all the obfuscating and demand that the powers that be start earning their pay.

Yes, I’m talking Bacteria Bear — that golden grizzly bear statue Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger planted in front of his office last year. Some people call it Mike, because reporters tend to lean their microphones against it during press conferences. Others think that’s lame, and have taken to calling it Bacteria Bear, a name bestowed by the CHP guards who stand outside the office and watch every day as all the school kids touch the bear.

The bear, which weighs 800 pounds, actually belongs to Schwarzenegger himself (he paid around $20,000 for it, according to this New York Times story). Since Schwarzenegger will be gone Jan. 3, 2011, no one around the capitol really knows what will happen to the bear. Even the governor’s office doesn’t know what will become of it, though governor’s spokesman Aaron McLear said in this Sacramento Bee story that if, in fact, it ends up getting moved, he’s not helping move it.

“People are actually asking about this,” said one legislative staffer who asked for anonymity because, well, this is kind of a dumb matter. “Everyone is debating the policy questions surrounding the Bear. This is what they’re talking about.”

NOV. 16, 2010

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