Disingenuous, dishonest

Chico City Councilwoman Reanette Fillmer is a prime example of why we need to vote

Last week, Chico City Councilwoman Ann Schwab—along with her liberal colleagues Randall Stone and Tami Ritter—was the target of a hit piece put out by a political action committee. This week, the same PAC, Butte County Awareness and Accountability, has singled her out.

The latest mailer features an unflattering photo of Schwab, along with an illustration of the sinking Titanic with a headline calling for voters to “Sink Schwab!” The amateurish piece of political propaganda is almost comical, though I doubt Schwab is laughing. She’s had a rough couple of weeks.

As the CN&R reported last week, Schwab also has been attacked by one of her colleagues. Councilwoman Reanette Fillmer charged that Schwab wasn’t able to adequately represent her constituents because she recused herself too often. Schwab owns a business downtown and, as state law instructs, cannot vote on issues that are within 500 feet of it.

Staff writer Ken Smith attempted to interview Fillmer for that story (see “Avoiding conflicts,” Oct. 27), but she refused. This was the third instance in which she has not responded to CN&R’s requests for comment. I told Fillmer that, like it or not, as an elected representative, it’s her job to talk to the media. After all, she had no problem discussing the issue for an article in the Enterprise-Record. Her response to me: “I think Ann is a human being and a good person; articles like this hurt people, the election and cause bad blood on the council. I would like to protect her and not continue to raise a media issue that was merely a question for our city attorney at a council meeting.”

Merely a question at a meeting, eh? I don’t think so.

I told Fillmer that was pretty disingenuous considering she had taken to Facebook after the meeting to further promulgate the theory that Schwab was shirking her duties. She responded that she’d removed that post over the weekend. That wasn’t true. That very day, a Tuesday, I asked Smith to take a screenshot of Fillmer’s personal page, where this publicly posted message remained: “So, for your information, we did further research and Ann Schwab has recused herself 114 times since she started in office. What are your thoughts?”

In short, Fillmer has an honesty problem.

What’s more, during this week’s City Council meeting, she made a motion to agendize discussion on the issue of homelessness. That’s a long overdue conversation, and the council unanimously approved the motion.

It’s ironic, however, that Fillmer is the one calling for such discussion. After all, when elected two years ago, she was appointed to serve as the city’s representative on the Greater Chico Homeless Task Force. But she was so absentee that the task force asked for a replacement.

Her true objective, I believe, is to reshape her public image. She’s been trying for months to do that. But newsflash, after what she’s done—including justifying homeless criminalization because she had to buy new shoes after having “stepped in someone’s shit” while in San Francisco—she has no credibility on this issue.

Fillmer was elected in a year with abysmal voter turnout—fewer than 55 percent of registered Butte County voters cast ballots. Her win is indicative of the importance of our civic duty. Get thee to the polls on Tuesday.