Bridging the divide

While national politics will almost surely continue to polarize following the election results, here in Chico we have a chance to begin to heal the great divide that split the council in the wake of the death of Councilwoman Coleen Jarvis and the issues that further tore apart the community in the wake of her passing—the fight over the cleanup of the Humboldt Dump and the future of Bidwell Ranch.

While voters retained the incumbents, two stubborn ideologues who see compromise as a sign of weakness, the new faces on the council, Ann Schwab and Andy Holcombe, provide a chance for a fresh start and maybe even a period of harmony among the council members.

Along with Scott Gruendl, most likely the city’s next mayor, Schwab and Holcombe will form a reasoned, non-confrontational liberal wing that, supported by moderate Maureen Kirk’s swing votes, should provide a prudent and balanced direction for the city. We can only hope that the conservatives come along willingly, abandon their unwillingness to compromise and learn to reach across the political divide.

Maybe they will put the betterment of the entire community first, and maybe the new council’s honeymoon will turn into a fruitful marriage. But then again, this is Chico, where political drama is the name of the game.