Election Day notes

Worshiping at the Church of Democracy

There was a line out the door Tuesday morning at the Church of Democracy, which is what I call the back building at Grace Community Church, where I do my voting. The line moved fast, though, and within five minutes I was in my booth, honoring James Madison and the other visionaries who laid the groundwork for what the American people were doing that day.

I was thankful I wasn’t in Ohio or Florida or one of the other states where people had to wait hours to vote because Republican election officials were making it hard to do so.

I like going to the polls. I’d do mail-in if it were the only way to vote or I were on my deathbed, but as long as Americans go to the polls on Election Day and I’m still vertical, I’ll be there too. As I left the Church of Democracy, I took a look back, enjoying the sight of so many people exercising their fundamental right to choose their leaders and chart a course toward the future.

Endorsement freeze-out: Last week I got an email from Chicoan Roger Beadle complaining that, when he’d written an email rebuttal to the Enterprise-Record’s editorial endorsement of Mitt Romney for president, he’d been told it wouldn’t be published because it came in after the paper’s deadline.

I emailed E-R Editor David Little asking him about this. He forwarded me his response to Beadle: “I’m sorry, but our deadline on election-related letters was Friday [Oct. 26]. We received so many that we had to set a cutoff date in order to get them all in before the election. We had a notice about the deadline on the editorial page last week.”

OK, but the paper published four endorsements—for state Senate, Congress, Oroville City Council and U.S. president—between Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. E-R readers couldn’t respond to any of them.

I emailed Little again, suggesting he make his endorsements earlier, to give people time to comment on them. His one-sentence response: “Thanks for the advice.” I could almost hear his teeth grinding.

Then, on Sunday, Nov. 4, Little made an exception, publishing a fierce letter from Democratic congressional candidate Jim Reed countering the E-R’s endorsement of his Republican opponent, Doug LaMalfa, and accusing it of making an “erroneous and unmerited assessment” of Reed’s campaign.

Little was wise to publish Reed’s letter. Not to do so would have opened him up to a charge of gross unfairness. But what about all the other people, like Roger Beadle, for whom exceptions were not made?

Remembering Midge: Like many people, I was saddened to learn of the passing of the wonderful Mercedes “Midge” Frontera Gilbert, who died Oct. 22 at the age of 76. For a number of years Midge and her husband, James Gilbert, were the first family of local theater, he as the gifted set designer for Chico State productions, she as a teacher and director, especially of children’s theater. The Blue Room is setting up a memorial youth theater scholarship in her name. Go to www.tinyurl.com/midge-gilbert for more information.

Robert Speer is editor of the CN&R.