Big money

I got an email from local Republican political operative Cliff Wagner this week that sort of startled me. I like Wagner, who works out of Sen. Rico Oller‘s Chico office. Wagner, like Josh Cook, is a pretty decent fellow, for a Republican. Anyway, Wagner’s e-mail said that Chico City Councilman and candidate for 3rd District Assembly Rick Keene had already raised more than $120,000 in his quest for election. That is hardly chump change, at least when compared to the amounts Keene raises for his council campaigns, which are usually closer to $20,000. Wagner’s e-mail included a link to the state Secretary of State Web page and a list of Keene donors. Turns out, Keene contributions include a $100,000 loan from himself and $3,000 loan from the Tim Leslie for Assembly campaign. Man! I had no idea Keene, an attorney by day, had that kind of money to loan himself. All together Keene has $121,250 to help launch his campaign. Beside the loans, Keene received money from 14 sources including $6,000 from Carolyn and Thomas Dauterman and their business Thomas Hydraulic & Hardware Supply, $3,000 from local builder Wayne Cook, $3,000 from Rico Oller for Senate, $1,500 from Christian & Johnson and $1,000 each from Epick Inc. builders, Jim Ledgerwood and T. Thomas Wilkerson. He also got $500 from La Malfa Farms (see Newslines “Rogue Republicans target leader,” page 12.)

The Teach-In at Chico State this week was an enjoyable throwback to a time gone by. A fired-up progressive, Michael Parenti, railed against corporate America and its monolithic control of the nation, while a good-sized collection of faculty and students listened appreciatively. Professor and recently named Adviser of the Year, Ernst Shoen-René, said a professor’s job had been reduced over the years to something more like serving up Big Macs rather than an education. Included in the crowd was Prof. George Wright (see Guest comment, page 5), who yelled to Parenti early on, “Careful what you say here,” referring to his entanglement in the Free Speech Area a few days after Sept. 11. Another face moving through the crowd was Provost Scott McNall, who, it could be argued, was a representative of this gathering’s enemy—the school administration. McNall is a personable guy who heard some of the early speakers and told me, “I haven’t heard anything I don’t agree with.” Wright, who’s been called a Marxist, noticed McNall and said words to the effect that the administration and the faculty are really all in the same boat. And prior to Parenti’s talk, McNall told me that he had heard nothing so far that he didn’t agree with. And just as Parenti arrived, McNall walked up and introduced himself. “I was once a Marxist theorist,” he said. “Well, you’ve come a long way,” Parenti answered. “But in the wrong direction.”After about a 50-year absence (that’s a rough estimate) the Butte College Roadrunner is back in print. Now a monthly, the initial issue had some provocative headlines, like “Heterosexuals square off on gay rights.” The paper’s layout looks suspiciously (if not exactly) like that of the Paradise Post. The Roadrunner is printed at the Post. But there’s even more of a connection than that. Though not listed in the staff box, the paper’s adviser is Linda Meilink, who happens to also be executive editor/den mother for the Post. The paper looks pretty good for its first time out. The only criticism I have is that I didn’t understand the political cartoon, but that’s probably my fault.

Enloe Medical Center’s registered nurses plan an “informational picket” outside the hospital center at 1531 The Esplanade on Monday, Oct. 22. As contract negotiations enter their 11th month, the nurses say they want to express their disappointment with what they call the administration’s “hard line stance” in contract talks over patient care-issues. Specifically, the nurses want a Professional Practice Committee, picked by the nurses, that will meet with management to discuss patient safety. Such a committee, the nurses say, exists in every California Nurses Association contract in the state. There are a number of other issues, as well. “We are fighting for basic rights in this contract,” said Sandy Gorter, an RN and member of the nurses’ bargaining team, in a recent press release. "Union shop, a Professional Practice Committee, seniority and a decent raise and benefits package. The hospital has done nothing but delay and deny nurses what we deserve." The picket will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.