Photo By Robert Speer

Money, honey
Big bucks continue to roll into the campaign coffers of local candidates. As of the end of the last reporting period, Oct. 1-21, the two candidates for the District 3 county supervisor post, Steve Bertagna and Maureen Kirk, had pulled in $75,941 and $74,234, respectively, for a total of $150,175.

The Chico City Council candidates are raking it in, too. Michael Dailey, who had the weakest showing last time, gathered up the most this period, $14,250, for a total of $23,095. Mary Flynn remained the top fundraiser, with contributions totaling $28,420, but that includes $2,500 she lent her campaign. Scott Gruendl received $18,513, including loans totaling $970; Dan Herbert took in $23,458, Mark Sorensen $19,209 and Tom Nickell $18,107.

Herbert, Sorensen and Dailey all received fewer but larger donations, many of them coming from developers and related businesses. Flynn, Nickell and Gruendl got much larger numbers of contributions, but they were smaller in amount and came mostly from individuals and small-business owners.

For a complete list of council contributors, go to the city’s Web site,, then to the city clerk’s home page and click on “Campaign Disclosure Statements.”

No more jail time
Remember Mehdi Belahbib, the young Chico man who in 2003 was found guilty of felony child abuse for allegedly shaking his 7-week-old son and causing him permanent brain damage?

It was a controversial case revolving around the little-understood “shaken-baby syndrome,” and in 2005, the 3rd District Court of Appeals overturned Belahbi’s conviction, releasing him from prison after 23 months to face retrial.

On Monday (Oct. 30), Belahbi entered a plea bargain, pleading guilty to a felony charge that he’d negligently failed to get prompt medical attention for his child, in return for having all other charges dropped and a sentence of a year’s probation.

His lawyer, Dennis Latimer, told the Chico Enterprise-Record that since Belahbi’s original conviction, both the law and medical science surrounding shaken-baby syndrome had changed, and the prosecution could not have obtained a conviction.

Teachers, district near deal
Chico teachers wearing orange union T-shirts turned out en masse last Thursday afternoon (Oct. 26) outside their union offices on East Avenue in an effort to add some pressure to contract negotiations taking place inside the building.

The negotiators put in a long day, working from 7:30 that morning to 1 a.m. Friday to hammer out what Chico Unified Teachers Association President George Young described as “an agreement in concept on almost everything.” The precise language of the agreement remains to be finalized, he said. He estimated the contract would be ready in about two weeks