To mediate or not to mediate? District, teachers trudge on
It’s déjà vu all over again in Chico teacher-school district salary negotiations—or is it? Mediation has failed, say union leaders, in echoes of the near-strike sentiment of 1999. But the Chico Unified School District disputes that assessment. Dan Sours, president of the Chico Unified Teachers Association, said that an April 2 session with state-appointed mediator Curtis Lyon ended with Lyon orally agreeing to certify the sides to fact-finding. That means a three-person panel would hear both sides’ stories and write up a report.

“We sent them a final offer, and they wouldn’t counter it,” Sours said, adding that he couldn’t reveal the details, but it’s “much different” in all aspects from the CUTA’s last public offer asking for, among other things, a 10.29 percent raise for 2000-01. Jim Sands, assistant superintendent for the CUSD, said that as far as he’s concerned mediation is still going on and he’s still honoring Lyon’s gag order against talking about it with the press and public. “The mediator hasn’t told us it’s over,” he said. “He was going to take [the fact-finding certification request] under advisement and get back to us.

“We’re still interested in resolving this,” Sands said.

If Lyon indeed does write a letter certifying the sides to fact-finding and that process fails to reach a resolution, the district could impose its last, best offer, and if the union still doesn’t like it, teachers could legally strike.

Back to the future
The Associated Students is putting together a time capsule, and it may need your help. The organization wants students to donate items they want included in the time capsule, which will be buried on campus for at least 30 years.

The items, explained Activity Fee Commissioner Chad Kodet, should “give future students a realistic portrayal of what it was like to be at Chico State during the 2001 school year.” Given that, what might it hold? Well, if the 1972 time capsule (which was recently opened) holds any clue, it should be … interesting.

Students back then included a jump rope, a connoisseur’s handbook of marijuana, and denim cut-off shorts. Hmmm …

Suits dropped in battle over Measure A
The opposing sides over the battle of the $2.9 million Otterson Drive extension and bridge have agreed to drop their respective lawsuits over ballot arguments contained in ballot measure whose outcome will approve or kill the project. The bridge would improve access to the Hegan Lane Industrial Park, at a cost, opponents say, to the creekside environment. Craig Alger, a member of the Coalition for Parks and Jobs, which supports building the bridge, had filed a suit because of the language of the rebuttal argument that would be placed on the ballot pamphlet and mailed to voters.

The suit named City Clerk Deborah Presson and Chico City Councilmembers Maureen Kirk, Dan Nguyen-Tan and Coleen Jarvis as defendants. In response, Steve Schuman, a member of Neighbors for Environmental and Fiscal Responsibility (NEFR) filed a suit that named Presson and City Councilmembers Dan Herbert, Steve Bertagna, Rick Keene and Larry Wahl. After the suits were filed, Nguyen-Tan and Bertagna got together and decided this was not the way to go and talked the rest of the council into urging the two plaintiffs into dropping their respective suits. They did. The election is slated for June 5.