Not guilty!

Not guilty!

Freshmen are wussies anyway: It’s no wonder Chico State lost its title as the country’s No. 1 party school. According to a confusing press release the school issued last week, alcohol use among freshmen has declined, in some cases by as much as 21 percent. That’s the drop in the number of freshmen surveyed who had had five or more drinks on the day the survey was taken—a random and meaningless statistic if there ever was one. Another survey backed the number up, though, finding that the percentage of freshman who had at least one drink in the past year decreased from 92 percent to 86 percent.

Not all the kids have given up the booze, however. According to one survey, 92 percent of Chico students had at least one drink last year, up 2 percent over 2002. The median number of drinks consumed at one time also went up from four to five.

Conservative hack not guilty of battery: John Gillander (pictured), the Republican political operative who’s provided his services to the late Assemblyman Bernie Richter and the elusive current Assemblyman Rick Keene, was found not guilty of battery upon off-duty Fish & Game Warden Will Bishop in a jury trial this week.

Last Nov. 15, Bishop’s and Gillander’s paths crossed at Bidwell Park’s Horseshoe Lake. Bishop, who was out on disability at the time, was visiting the lake with three grandchildren. Gillander had his two dogs with him. Bishop came upon one of the dogs that he said was blocking his path and acting aggressively toward him and his grandchildren.

A physical confrontation commenced, with both men exchanging punches and rolling in the gravel near the lake. After they separated, Gillander ran to his vehicle and, he told the court, headed to the police station to file a complaint. But Bishop used a cell phone and reported the confrontation before Gillander could.

In the end it came down to whose testimony was more believable, Gillander’s or Bishop’s and Bishop’s 7-year-old grandson’s? The jury did not hear of Gillander’s previous scrapes with the law—he plea bargained in a similar case in Lodi in 1997 and was convicted in a Butte County court for violating a city ordinance a few years ago—nor was it told Bishop was a F&G warden. In the end it sided with Gillander.

Look for the union label: Employees of Oroville Hospital have complained for years that their administrators are corrupt and incompetent, spending wildly on upper-tier salaries and pet projects while the rank-and-file are passed over for raises and forced to pay cash for their own health care. This Friday, 500 of those employees will have a chance to do something about it, by voting whether to unionize with the United Steelworkers of America. USW organizer Jeff Sabin said the move would give some muscle to the employees, some of whom he claims have not had raises in as many as eight years. Sabin has also filed five complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against hospital CAO Bob Wentz, whom he accused of threatening workers’ jobs if they tried to organize.