Changing of the guard

The Chico City Council’s new makeup, plus it’s time to choose a mayor and vice mayor

Next Tuesday (Dec. 6), when the Chico City Council meets, Ann Schwab, Randall Stone and Sean Morgan, the three incumbents who were re-elected Nov. 8, will be sworn in along with Karl Ory, the newcomer in the bunch who’s not a newcomer at all. Ory is old-school Chico, a two-term city councilman and former mayor who served on the panel back in the 1980s.

CN&R is looking forward to seeing how Ory’s presence changes the dynamics of the seven-member group. Not the ideological makeup of it (the conservative majority remains), but rather the way in which the council communicates, among each other and with staff and the public. We’re also interested to hear Ory’s input on his main campaign platform, job creation, an his area of expertise, affordable housing.

That evening, the council also will swear in the mayor and vice mayor. If the conservative majority sticks to its partisan track record, those four members will vote in two of their own, likely giving the mayoral post to Sean Morgan, who’s served as vice mayor for two years. The vice mayor post likely will go to Reanette Fillmer or Andrew Coolidge.

We don’t think any of them are ready for prime time, but it’s the mayoral post we’re most concerned with. Considering Morgan’s proclivity for shooting off his mouth, he doesn’t strike us as the best-equipped candidate. Unfortunately, the conservatives have shown no interest in extending an olive branch when it comes to these positions, despite how petty they appear as a result.

The torch-passing ceremony also marks the end of Tami Ritter’s term on the council and her thoughtful input during that time. By asking questions of staff when it comes to bureaucratese, for example, Ritter has made City Hall more transparent. And she’s been an advocate for the destitute—sometimes the lone dissenting voice on local laws that criminalize homelessness. We thank her for her service.