Chico moderates: Step forward!

The old political divisions are mired in the past

The author is a 31-year resident of Chico and has lived in the Chapman neighborhood since 1990.

It is time for an infusion of new blood into the moderate political faction in Chico.

I define moderates as those somewhere between David Guzzetti and Larry Wahl. Unfortunately, many in our community pretend that moderates do not exist. Instead, we fall back on the familiar labels of liberal and conservative, tree hugger and developer. The daily newspaper helps to reinforce those themes on a regular basis.

It is my belief that the area’s political extremes are now so entrenched in battles and issues dating back for so many years that revenge is the motive for most political decisions and stances. Over the years, both sides have had stunning victories and stinging defeats. After each battle, payback seems to be the only option for the losing side. Conciliation and compromise are for wimps.

The recent defeat of Jane Dolan was a stunning demonstration of what happens when political factions become stagnant by relying on the old guard year after year. It is likely that there were several individuals within the 2nd District who could have defeated Larry Wahl.

This is not meant to be critical of Jane Dolan; I have supported her consistently since moving into the Chapman neighborhood in 1990. A perfect storm of political maneuvering, coupled with her being in office for 32 years, brought her down. (For some, it was a long-awaited payback for her defeat of Bernie Richter in 1978.)

Greater Chico seems to now be wrapped up in an ideological impasse. The recent Chico City Council debacle over filling the seat vacated by Larry Wahl became comical with time, with both sides rehashing past electoral slights. It is time for change. New and younger players need to be recruited into the local political arena. New players, individuals without grudges and spare baggage, could make a difference in the tone of day-to-day political debate.

This is also a good time for a serious and sincere effort to bring some diversity into the moderate and liberal factions. The hasty recruitment of Sor Lo as a council candidate demonstrated both the support for diversity and the folly of poor vetting. Effective elected officials do not pop out of the woodwork. They must be groomed and trained to understand the responsibility of leadership, the rigors and pain of campaigning, and the overall satisfaction that comes with community service.

It is time for Chico to put out a call for new blood.