Airport manager grounded: In March Bob Grierson, the Chico Municipal Airport manager, got a memo from City Manager Tom Lando telling him his last day after six years on the job would be Friday, May 6. This week Grierson said he was OK with the move, that he had secured a job with a helicopter company in Redding.

Lando said cutting the position was a cost-saving move that should save the city $150,000 a year, including Grierson’s $110,000 salary and benefits package. The airport manager duties will be shared, Lando said, by Assistant City Manager Greg Jones and city economist Dave Burkland. Grierson was brought to Chico in 1999 to guide the airport’s planned expansion, which really never got off the ground. The expected growth to the west of the airport has been stalled by a number of issues, including environmental constraints.

Southbound train: In light of recent derailments in Southern California, two bills addressing railroad safety, AB 158 and AB 374, are currently sitting in the California Assembly.

Under the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), AB 158, which was recently amended, will authorize a study on how to reduce the risks associated with transporting hazardous materials through densely populated communities, address planning issues and tackle railway vandalism.

AB 374 will allow the PUC to analyze “near miss” data, increase the number of track and equipment inspections and develop a citation process for violations of general orders.

Power suit: Butte County entered into a lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) last week alongside a host of other counties and water districts alleging that DWR has been violating its water supply contracts by selling electricity and not crediting its customers.

DWR operates the dams and aqueducts that move the state’s water from up north, where most of the water flows down from the mountains, to cities and counties southward, where most of the state’s population resides. A lot of power is generated at those dams, but almost all of it, according to DWR, goes into pumping water over the mountains to SoCal. In fact, DWR is the biggest consumer of electricity in the state.

But the county and its co-plaintiffs say the department has been making money by selling electricity but has failed to pass on the savings. The suit asks for unspecified monetary damages.