Election and protections

City Council candidates emerge, and Allan Stellar is back with another adventure

If you feel like something is missing in this issue, you’re not alone. This is the third week of the month, yet there wasn’t a Chico City Council meeting on Tuesday. It seems odd, but it actually is typical for this time of year. Nonetheless, there’s still some news from the city: The candidate filing period for the council race in the November general election is now open. Three seats are up for grabs.

Back in January in this space, I made some predictions about who likely would run. So, I thought I’d revisit them. We won’t know for certain what the full candidate pool will look like until the second week of August, when the filing period ends, but a few folks have already filed an intention to run. That includes local businessman Andrew Coolidge, who announced his intention to run again many months ago (he lost a bid in 2012). Unsurprisingly, Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen is seeking a second term on the dais. The other incumbent throwing his hat into the ring is Mayor Scott Gruendl, who’s seeking a fourth (yes, fourth!) term on the panel.

I didn’t predict this one at the beginning of the year, but I suspected over the last few months that the mayor would give it another go. Gruendl’s defensive posturing during the thick of the city’s budget crisis told me there was a pretty good chance he was at least considering running, despite having said during the last election that a third term would be his last.

On the one hand, I can see how Gruendl wouldn’t want to end his long service to the community on what is most definitely a low note. This is a pivotal time in the city’s history, and the mayor very likely wants to be a part of its rebuilding process. On the other hand, bowing out would be so easy, and I don’t think anyone would blame him.

Mary Goloff’s seat is the last one to fill. Goloff has said she won’t be seeking a third term. I’d be very surprised to see her name on the ballot this fall. Two other residents, conservative gadfly Loretta Torres and former council candidate Rodney Willis, have shown interest, according to City Clerk Debbie Presson. As for some of my other predictions, I’ll have to revisit them later this summer.

I want to turn my attention to this week’s cover story, by environmental essayist Allan Stellar. In “Monumental Myth,” Stellar writes about his recent hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in an area of Siskiyou County that an environmental organization had proposed as the site of a national monument. Folks up in that rural region—where a State of Jefferson flag flies at the fire department—largely opposed the creation of the so-called Siskiyou Crest National Monument.

The environmental group gave up on the proposal some time ago, but Stellar is bringing it back, if only through this piece. He’s especially invested now that he’s seen firsthand what there is to protect. Check out his essay, and, if you’re so inclined, send us a letter to the editor (chicoletters@newsreview.com) with your thoughts on the matter.