Candidates and bike lanes

An official kickoff of election season; plus, it’s Bike Month

The political season is now in full swing. A sure sign was the Butte County League of Women Voters’ first candidates forum of 2018, on Monday evening at Chico State, held in partnership with the university’s Associated Students and the Office of Civic Engagement. There, the folks challenging incumbent Rep. Doug LaMalfa for the District 1 seat weighed in on issues ranging from America’s health care crisis to the executive branch’s use of force sans congressional approval.

We’re fortunate to have such an active local chapter of the national bipartisan League of Women Voters. The group is unmatched locally when it comes to organizing events that give voters a read on prospective lawmakers and other elected officials—judges, the sheriff, etc.

The CN&R’s presence was twofold at the event: Managing Editor Meredith J. Cooper was there to cover it (see “Half a dozen hopefuls,” page 8) and reporter Ashiah Scharaga sat on a panel of local journalists asking questions of the candidates. She and I spent the better part of Monday afternoon coming up with them and then culling the list to the best 14. Unfortunately, due to time constraints since there are six candidates challenging LaMalfa (the incumbent was a no-show), Scharaga was able to ask only one of them. Having been in her position several times over the years, I warned her in advance she’d likely get in just a few. Still, we both agreed that it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared.

The league’s next forum is for the Butte County Board of Supervisors’ two seats, both of which represent Chico: District 2, in which incumbent Larry Wahl faces a single challenger, Debra Lucero; and retiring Maureen Kirk’s District 3 post, which is being sought by Bob Evans, Tami Ritter and Norm Rosene. Afterward, County Assessor Diane Brown and challenger Randall Stone will face off. It takes place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at Marsh Junior High School.

If you can’t make it, don’t fret. BCAC TV (Comcast channel 11) is filming the forum and you can watch it—and the congressional forum—at

Speaking of politics, with just about a month to go before the June primary, it’s time for this newspaper to mention this caveat: Starting with our next issue and until the election, we will publish only a single political-themed letter per author. So, make it a good one.

Also, stayed tuned for more election-related coverage.

In other news, it’s now officially National Bike Month. Hot on the heels of the CN&R’s annual Bike Issue, May is filled with several local activities to celebrate life on two wheels. For a list, head to Chico Velo’s calendar of events at

I’ve been on my bike a lot more lately, but I’m kicking myself for not trying out the city of Chico’s temporary bike lanes on Third and Fourth streets, between Flume and Salem. I did go out of my way to drive in those spots, though, and I liked the feel. It forced me to slow down, although it was confusing when other vehicles ignored the markings and drove right over the bike lane. The city center badly needs more bike-friendly routes, so I’m looking forward to hearing the city’s assessment of the experiment.

Until next time, happy riding!