If I seem a bit unfocused here, it’s no illusion. This is my last full week as a bachelor, so I have a lot of stray thoughts bounding through my brain. Apart from birth certificates and boutonnieres, here are some things that have popped into mind:
• The Butte County Grand Jury report is hot off the CD burner (see Newslines). The PDF contains some good reading, particularly the fightin’ words about Chico’s planning process. Expect the planning commissioners who’ve absorbed jabs in recent weeks to face some power punches. Will it be Wahl vs. Luvaas and Bertagna vs. Merz? Who will take on Minasian? Paging Don King …
• Chico apparently isn’t the only city that needs revised plans for planning—the grand jury found Oroville’s department has morale issues, too. Back to the drawing board?
• Whether Meriam Park is a model for development depends on your perspective, but there’s no doubt it’s a model for developers. New Urban Builders gathered broad-based support for its mega-project by soliciting community input. Diverse constituents—neighbors, conservationists, businesspeople—weighed in well before the project reached the Planning Commission (where it passed 6-0) and the City Council (5-1).
• Councilwoman Mary Flynn was absent from the June 19 meeting—obviously known in advance, since the Elks Lodge cell tower matter, for which she’s the lynchpin vote, got postponed ahead of time (to July 17). Surprising was the lack of representation from the Chamber of Commerce, particularly since CEPCO, another economic-development group, had two speakers endorse Meriam Park.
• On that cell tower: Unless Ann Schwab reconsiders her “no,” Flynn will decide whether the project gets an appeal hearing. (No appeal means automatic denial.) Key consideration: Hooker Oak. If the Elks tower gets OK’d, I wonder if the array approved for nearby in the park will actually go up …
• Is there a move afoot to bring a new hospital to Chico? Councilman Tom Nickell inquired about how Meriam Park would affect the hospital zoning along Bruce Road (answer: it wouldn’t) “if another entity like Sutter Memorial or UC Davis comes in.” Hmm …
Follow-up: In my previous column, I mentioned that the Women’s Sports Foundation included former Chico State women’s basketball player Erin O’Connor among the six nominees for the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award—and I observed that by recognizing O’Connor for standing up to her coach, the foundation had taken a stand as well.
The WSF clarified this week that it “is not taking a stand on these issues; we just seek to honor female athletes who exhibit extraordinary courage in their athletic performance, demonstrate the ability to overcome adversity, make significant contributions to sports and serve as an inspiration and role model for others.” The information sheet on the nominees, which included a sentence casting judgment, was “an internal document that had not been fully verified and was released in error.”
O’Connor is up for the award, the WSF’s public relations department confirmed—“that’s not going to change.” The presentation will be in October in New York.