Election mop-up

Sean Morgan is calling it quits at two terms and the Chico E-R endorses Democrats

Before diving into the new makeup of the Chico City Council, I have to backtrack a little. Not to overdo it on Reanette Fillmer, Chico’s outgoing vice mayor, but she tends to do things that are newsworthy, or at least column-worthy. Case in point, check this space in the last issue to read about her getting fired (“LaMalfa’s pawn”).

This week, though, I’m referring to her breaking the news that Chico’s mayor, Sean Morgan, won’t seek re-election in 2020, when his second term on the council ends. (His mayoral stint is just about over.) Fillmer blocked me on Facebook a couple of years ago, after I called her out for fibbing to me about using that platform to besmirch Councilwoman Ann Schwab (see “Disingenuous, dishonest,” Second & Flume, Nov. 3, 2016), but her recent post about Morgan made some ripples—and I have the screenshot.

Speaking of talking trash about colleagues, here’s how she put the news: “2020 Schwab, [Randall] Stone, Morgan and the meanest and oldest [Karl] Ory are up. We need the three of them out and Morgan is not running again. We need 4 candidates for 2020. If you know anyone please contact Sean or I (sic).”

Fillmer’s fans can say goodbye to her in person during the City Council’s Dec. 4 meeting—the one that includes the changing of the guard. Preliminary election results place Kasey Reynolds and Alex Brown in the top spots for the three open seats. Scott Huber and incumbent Andrew Coolidge trail them—separated by less than 150 votes, so it’s too close to call.

As for Morgan, I suspect he won’t be thrilled with how his pending departure has been revealed—first by Fillmer in a Facebook group and especially now by yours truly in these pages. Politicians typically like to break that kind of news themselves, so I’m a little surprised Fillmer would out his plans. Then again, restraint isn’t her strong suit.

What’s next for Morgan? Sure, he could change his mind and run for council again, but I suspect he’ll raise funds to enter state politics. He’s spent the past six years cozying up to the two Jims—Gallagher and Nielsen, who handily won re-election Tuesday. Gallagher is entering his second term in the Assembly and Nielsen, a senator, is terming out in 2022—creating a vacuum in the heavily GOP-centric North State.

Prior to Election Day, I didn’t have the space to mention a couple of jaw-dropping Chico Enterprise-Record endorsements. Its editorial board predictably picks conservatives for City Council—four years ago, it chose Mark Sorensen, Andrew Coolidge and Fillmer (all victorious). Yes, the local daily is forever saddled with having elevated Fillmer. The E-R’s picks in 2016: Morgan, Jeffrey Glatz, Jovanni Tricerri and Loretta Torres (one for four that year—veterans Ory, Stone and Schwab joined Morgan in victory.)

But this year, lo and behold, the E-R went with one of the progressive candidates, Scott Huber. More shocking perhaps: endorsing Audrey Denney for Congress. It was a lot more gutsy than the paper’s previous “Do not vote for any incumbent running for Congress” shtick. My question: Is the E-R folding? Or, as one of my cohorts guessed, has Editor David Little been abducted by aliens?