New police chief officially hired
The city of Chico has officially hired Bruce Hagerty as the new police chief effective March 3. Hagerty was one of three finalists, including interim chief Capt. Mike Maloney. Hagerty comes from the Kern County town of Ridgecrest, where he has served as chief for the past three years.

Hagerty has agreed to a contract in which he will receive $123,000 in annual salary, be given six months’ severance pay as long as he is not fired, and get three weeks of vacation accrual per year, $3,000 in moving expenses and all other city employee benefits.

Before becoming chief in Ridgecrest, Hagerty served 20 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, the last years as a commander. His stint with the LAPD, a department long plagued with controversy and scandal, reportedly caused some city officials concern.

City Manager Tom Lando, who negotiated Hagerty’s contract, said he is happy with the hire and expressed gratitude for Maloney’s service as interim chief between the time former Chief Mike Efford was squeezed out and a new chief was hired.

“I truly believe that Mike Maloney will be the chief here one day,” Lando said.

Hagerty is the fifth Chico police chief—counting Maloney—since the retirement of John Bullerjahn in 1991.

Proposed Bidwell trail takes another crazy loop
At the last Chico City Council meeting, a citizen’s effort to appeal the conceptual approval of the Annie Bidwell Trail along the south side of Chico Creek through Bidwell Park was denied. But Councilmember Coleen Jarvis was absent at that go around, so Councilmember Dan Nguyen-Tan voted with the council majority so that he could revisit the matter when she returned. As a member of the majority vote, he reserved that right.

In the meantime, Nguyen-Tan helped broker a compromise—removal of a creekside loop along the proposed trail—between the opponents and the trail’s main proponent, Michael Jones. This week the matter came back before the council. All the council would have had to do was vote to deny the appeal again and the compromise would have been struck. However, there were two things in the way.

First, Jarvis said that, as an elected official representing the citizens of Chico, she was uncomfortable doing business that way. The other problem was that the night before, the Park Commission, with two members absent and one conflicted out because she lives within 500 feet of the park, voted to approve the compromise but also added consideration of another loop in the trail, which apparently neither side wanted. This fouled the compromise.

After a lot of discussion and admissions of confusion by the councilmembers—"I’m sorry we’re so silly up here," Jarvis told the audience at one point—the council, after voting to reverse its earlier decision to deny the appeal, continued the matter to Feb. 4, when it will either vote to hear the appeal, take no action and therefore deny the appeal or simply take up the matter of Park Commission’s addition of the unwanted loop. Stay tuned.