More on Councilwoman Mary Goloff’s recent admission

I wasn’t surprised to hear Councilwoman Mary Goloff say that she’d been seeking treatment for a dependence on prescription medication during the last City Council meeting. That’s because, earlier that Tuesday (April 15), I’d received copies of emails I’d asked for under the California Public Records Act that included a message from Goloff to council members and senior city managers, informing them of her admission into the Skyway House treatment facility.

Those records gave me the answer to why she’d missed three consecutive City Council meetings.

I’d started asking around weeks earlier, but the inquiries went nowhere. During the April 1 council meeting, for example, I asked Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen why Goloff had been absent. He said he didn’t know. Of course, I now know he lied to my face. In hindsight, I can see that he was under pressure to keep quiet—in her email to the council, Goloff thanked everyone for their discretion in the matter. Still, Sorensen could have told me he wasn’t able to comment. In fact, once I learned the nature of Goloff’s absences, I, too, decided that her privacy trumped the public’s right to know. This newspaper didn’t plan to out her for seeking treatment.

But, the fact is, there was a lack of discretion—City Hall was leaking like a sieve. As I found out from those public records, an anonymous source had tipped off certain members of the local media back on April 1. They’d received a copy of Goloff’s email.

I didn’t get that tip.

What I did get two weeks later, on Monday, April 14, the day before Goloff said she’d become addicted to prescription medication following hip surgery in November, was a copy of another email sent anonymously by snail mail. This one was also written by Goloff, but with a June timestamp. The email is fairly indecipherable—basically a half-page-long jumble of letters with occasional words.

I don’t know if Goloff was high on prescriptions drugs when she wrote the email, which was addressed to a member of staff, but it certainly is troubling. It also makes me question the narrative that her addiction began in the fall, and wonder whether her resignation as mayor back in August is related. In these very pages, in writing about her 2008 arrest for driving under the influence of mixed medications (she was busted following a minor car accident), Goloff said she’d recently celebrated 12 years of sobriety, prior to which she had a DUI conviction in 1993.

My guess this time around is that she came forward after someone at City Hall told her about my public-records request, and that she wanted to take control of the story. That’s the wise thing to do in these situations. Is there more to this story? We may never know. Goloff isn’t returning CN&R’s calls. She’s likely said all she’s going to say. On the one hand, I can’t blame her. On the other, it remains to be seen whether she’s truly up to serving the people of Chico.