City moves toward cooperative planning with county
The City Council, led by Councilmember Larry Wahl, moved closer at its Feb. 19 meeting to improving relations with the county when it comes to planning development within or near the city’s sphere of influence.

For years developers, discouraged by city building requirements, have simply cast an eye toward and put survey stakes down in the areas of county jurisdiction, where it is traditionally much less restrictive for developers. Wahl said he would like to form a joint-powers agreement with the county in which the “city would handle the planning end within the area of concern for the entire Chico area for the next 40 to 50 years. That would give us some control over how our growth proceeded, some uniformity in development.”

Then he suggested a council subcommittee be formed with him and Councilmember Rick Keene, both of whom are considered pro-developer. Councilmember Coleen Jarvis, who is more of a controlled-growth advocate, said she approved of Wahl’s idea but asked that the subcommittee have a “more-balanced membership” She asked that either Wahl or Keene be replaced with either Councilmember Dan Nguyen-Tan or Councilmember Maureen Kirk. Wahl and Keene then agreed to add Nguyen-Tan, meaning they would maintain a two-person majority on subcommittee votes. The council unanimously agreed to form the subcommittee.

Ramsey: Beating death suspect will face murder charge
Chico’s seeing more than its share of tragedies these days. Only two weeks after a girl driving her mother’s stolen car broad sided a family’s minivan, killing 15-year-old Kristina Priano, 21-year-old Randal Clark died after he was allegedly beaten with a baseball bat by neighbor Reigh Ellis.

Clark, a college student, died Saturday, Feb. 16, soon after he was taken off life support. He allegedly was assaulted by Ellis on Feb. 8, after witnesses reported that he came out of his West Fifth Street apartment at about 2 a.m., to see what was causing a loud disturbance in the street.

Apparently, Ellis and some friends were arguing with some neighbors downstairs about a broken window in Ellis’ apartment, for which Ellis blamed Clark before allegedly hitting him in the head with the bat.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Ellis will “certainly, barring unforeseen complications,” face a murder charge stemming from the assault. Until then, Ellis is being held at Butte County Jail.

No hanging chads here
Chico State’s Associated Students government is gearing up for a high-tech election.

The idea is for no hand-written or punched votes to be cast in the student government election, which is scheduled for April 17-18. “It’s our hope that it’s going to be completely online,” said Kiran Kumar, the traditional activities coordinator for the A.S., at the Feb. 19 meeting of the Governmental Affairs Committee.

But the plan to have only two staffed election booths, complete with Internet access to make sure no one’s voting twice, on campus concerned some student representatives, who worried that the election would not be visible enough. As on most campuses, Chico State’s A.S. elections don’t boast a particularly large turnout.

Students who wish to run for the various A.S. offices should be able to pick up informational packets by Feb. 27; the filing deadline is March 20.