Debate and details

Heidi Hall comes out on top during candidates forum, and there’s more to that attempted-kidnapping story

Last week was the first time I’d heard Congressional candidate Heidi Hall speak. It was during the League of Women Voters’ candidates forum at the Chico City Council chambers. It was only my second opportunity to see her face off against incumbent Doug LaMalfa, who showed up for just one of the eight debates held during the primary election cycle. I think it was eight. It’s hard to say, since LaMalfa’s people don’t invite the CN&R to any of his appearances, though that courtesy is evidently extended to the editor of the local daily.

In any case, I now see why LaMalfa might not want to show up. He has a formidable challenger in Hall, who’s the most impressive Democratic candidate I’ve seen run for the 1st Congressional District. She was among friends in our progressive little burg, but I think anyone of sound mind would be hard-pressed to say she didn’t come out on top. Hall was thorough in conveying her understanding of the issues and was armed with potential solutions.

LaMalfa, who had the home-field advantage, was vague on how to solve many of the nation’s problems. He also seemed to be out of touch with the fact that Americans’ confidence in Congress during his term hit a historic low. Case in point: “We’ve been pretty productive this last year and a half in the sense that we need to go in the direction of jobs, strengthening our economy, putting Americans back on top first, because America’s the shining light to all the world of what we can do when we have the freedom and the opportunity to shine as individuals.”

Pretty productive? I had no idea he was a comedian. You, too, can be amused by watching the entire debate at the League of Women Voters’ website:

In other news, we reported last week in Downstroke that a woman had allegedly attempted to abduct two children during two separate incidents in Chico on Sept. 22. The first attempted kidnapping took place downtown, and the second occurred a few blocks east, on Flume Street, where the woman was arrested by Chico police. All ended well.

But there’s more to this story, according to a member of Orchard Church, the Chico congregation that feeds needy residents on Sunday evenings near City Hall. That church member, Julie Rhodes, was at City Plaza that day and watched the first incident play out. She wanted to share some additional details.

But the main reason she contacted me was to set the record straight about just who thwarted the attempt of the would-be kidnapper at the plaza. According to Rhodes, whom I’ve interviewed previously, the woman was taken to the ground by a couple of homeless men who were nearby and heard the mother of the child screaming for help.

Rhodes is an advocate for the homeless community, and she’s been disheartened watching its members being painted with broad strokes. One of the good Samaritans, whose name is Adam, is starting classes at Butte College next semester, Rhodes noted. The guys at the plaza that day acted heroically, she said. I agree, and they ought to be given credit where credit is due.