Summer school: gift horse or pain in the haunches?
Chico State University’s Academic Senate on Feb. 28 refined a resolution intended to tell the California State University system where teachers stand on summer school. Chico State was thrust suddenly into year-round operations (YRO) when Gov. Gray Davis approved funding for the program, for which neither the school nor the CSU Chancellor’s Office apparently had asked.

“It we continue to be governed in this way, I think it could be very destructive,” said Prof. Kathy Kaiser.

The key thing, several senators agreed, is that the CSU brass should know that the faculty must be involved in decisions affecting the curriculum.

“This is not an effort to slam anybody,” said Chairman Paul Persons, acknowledging that it’s too late to have a hand in the 2002 summer session. While teachers do want to help students graduate sooner, some are concerned that they may be forced to teach during the summer or won’t be paid fairly for such service.

Alioto on voter access: This reporter sure had plenty
Republican candidates who’ve include Chico on their whistlestop tours of California have been treated to gushing turnouts of businesspeople and local politicians. In contrast, Michela Alioto, who was vying to represent the Democratic ticket for secretary of state, had a captive audience in front of City Hall on March 4: one reporter.

Alioto made Chico her northernmost stop on a statewide tour. But she failed to get voters’ stamp of approval, garnering only 28.2 percent to Keven Shelley’s 33.7 and March Fong Eu’s 29 percent.

At the center of Alioto’s campaign is a promise to improve access for voters, particularly in the area of physical barriers posed to people with mobility and visual impairments. Alioto herself has used a wheelchair since she was paralyzed at age 13. Her other ideas include getting children interested in the electoral process, upgrading voting equipment and extending elections beyond just one day, when many people are at work or tending to their families. “The simple truth is that the electoral process is not made for today,” she said.

The San Francisco resident (her grandfather, Joe Alioto, was the city’s long-time mayor) most recently spent three years as a domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore. This is Alioto’s second try for the seat. In 1998, she took on Bill Jones, the current secretary of state, who is now running for governor.

Sheriff’s deputies endorse Mackenzie (again)
Not like it matters now, but the Butte County Deputy Sheriffs Association finally figured out whom it is endorsing for sheriff. Just about 12 hours before the polls opened, the deputies again voted to endorse Scott Mackenzie in Tuesday’s election. But the final vote count was kept secret, even from the association’s own members.

BCDA President Victoria Coots said Monday’s vote, tallied by a two-person committee under the supervision of labor representative Steve Allen, was “absolutely airtight.”

Challenger Perry Reniff called the endorsement “tainted,” saying that, to his knowledge, no endorsement vote had even been scheduled for that meeting.

“I don’t want anything more to do with [the endorsement],” he said. “The whole thing has been a terrible travesty. It’s ripped up the DSA pretty good.”

The union had originally voted 21-20 to endorse Mackenzie, but the vote was so close that supporters of Reniff demanded a recount. They charged that Coots, a Mackenzie supporter, had attempted to sway the vote in the sheriff’s favor by asking deputies to sign their proxy ballots, which are supposed be kept secret, Coots said that, because of the recent scandal, no proxy votes were accepted on Monday.

As we said, it’s all moot: Reniff won the votes that count—and election as sheriff.