Election notes

Now that the votes are counted, it will be interesting to see how the various scenarios play out. For instance, how will new Sheriff Perry Reniff treat his predecessor? Four years ago, when Scott Mackenzie was elected, he demoted opponent Reniff from assistant sheriff to sergeant, an obvious act of retaliation. Now it’s Reniff’s turn. It would make sense for Mackenzie to return to his former rank of sergeant because that’s as high as he’s been promoted in his 30-year career. I hope, and expect from what I know of the new sheriff, that is where it will end. Reniff could, I suppose, reduce Mackenzie to assistant jail commander or even deputy. But I don’t think he will. I predict Reniff will not be vindictive toward Mackenzie because he knows he must try to bring together a fractured department.

And, we wonder, how will the Butte County Board of Supervisors get along in the wake of the election results? I can see a problem in the great gaps that exist between sides in the interpretation of reality, particularly on Measure B, the redistricting plan that was easily defeated. The day after the election Supervisor Curt Josiassen told the Enterprise-Record “the campaign to cloud the issues obviously worked very well” in relation to B. I’d have to disagree, based on what B backer David Reade did the day before the election. (See Newslines, Page 10.) And then Josiassen says, “If we have to [do redistricting] in the boardroom in front of everybody to make everybody happy, we’ll do that.” Hey, don’t put yourself out, Curt.

While the supes stay the same, the City Council will be different to at least a small degree come fall. Council veteran Rick Keene is set for a fight this fall with Democrat Stuart King for the 3rd District Assembly seat. Since it is illegal to run for two seats at once, Keene will not return as a councilmember even if defeated by King. And at this point, we refuse to say King doesn’t have a Yugo’s chance in the Daytona 500 to win in the general election. And, with Keene gone, we wonder if his political compadre Mayor Dan Herbert will stay on. He is up for re-election this fall. We hear he wants to spend more time with his family, which is a more-than-reasonable desire. Councilmember Steve Bertagna, who lost his bid to be supervisor in a close race to incumbent Mary Anne Houx, will remain on the council until 2004. That’s good. He is a witty guy who adds a shot of humor to council meetings.

I was taken to task last week for using the term “progressive.” “Mr. Gascoyne,” wrote Dan Ryan, “in your ‘tepid’ endorsement of Rick Keene, your paper made the following comment: ‘Local progressives would like to see Keene off the council and sent to Sacramento, etc.’ I’m sure your paper meant to say ‘local liberals.’ We have Republicans vs. Democrats, we have liberals vs. conservatives, and we have progressives vs. ???????. In the future, when your paper refers to conservatives or ‘ultra'-conservatives, make sure you use the term liberal or ‘ultra'-liberal when you are presenting the other side of the issue. A progressive can be either liberal or conservative. It shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp.”

I wrote back: “Mr. Ryan, Thanks for your words. The problem is the word liberal has become almost derogatory in recent years. I don’t know why—I blame the liberals themselves. Why is it a positive thing for a conservative to boldly state he or she is a conservative when running for office? Why don’t candidates of the opposite ilk proudly call themselves ‘liberal'? Who knows? What is wrong with being a liberal? And I mean in the true sense—Clinton was no liberal. Where would the nation be without them? Where have all the liberals gone? They want to be called progressives. OK. Until ‘liberal’ sheds its negative connotation, I will continue to use ‘progressive’ when referring to a person of a generally open mind. Finally, I would say the counter to the label ‘progressives’ is probably ‘selfish white men who want to continue to rule the world.'"