I guess I’m voting

I had planned not to vote this time, but there are three Chico City Council seats open, and here at least I can see the candidates up close. The other reason is that I promised to vote.

A few months ago I was minding my own business at the Saturday Farmers Market when a woman accosted me. She happened to look like Ms. Walker, my seventh-grade teacher, who could stop with a look any child in his tracks and make him do her bidding. If she hadn’t been so genuinely gentle and kind she could’ve taken over the neighborhood.

I realized it wasn’t Ms. Walker—who’d be close to 120 by now— asking me a question, but this woman struck the same note and rendered me as pliable and anxious to please. She said, “Are you going to vote?” Before I could override my reflex I said, “You bet!” and sealed my fate, since breaking a promise to Ms. Walker was unthinkable, mostly because I had once, instead of writing the teacher’s name on a homework paper, drawn a picture of a beef steak in reference to the blues musician T-Bone Walker. I was quite the wit. Then I forgot to change it before I turned it in, and in the confrontation that ensued she actually cried. I made one of the kindest teachers anywhere cry, and the only way even to begin to make amends was to be good forever, at least to her.

So when Ms. Walker’s look-alike asked me more than a half-century later if I was gonna vote, I said, “You bet!” I was good at pop quizzes. Enough therapy and self-help tapes might’ve persuaded me to ignore the whole incident, but I owed it to Ms. Walker. People go to war for less.

As for the Chico City Council, what I want is somebody who doesn’t think that more wage slavery is the answer to anything. Individual sustainability, family sustainability, is important to me. Guiding people into different jobs won’t mean squat in the long run, because nearly all of us will still be dependent on outsiders for a living. Local corporations can be as capricious and wrong-headed as transnationals, and they go under more readily since they can’t afford national politicians.

The only obvious choice is Mark Herrera. He’s fresh and uncorrupted, and these days that’s enough for me. And Quentin Colgan talked straight sense at the most recent council meeting about medical cannabis. He didn’t come right out and call them bozos, but I’ll overlook that, and I’d like to see what he’d do as a bozo himself. Regarding Scott Gruendl and Mary Flynn, a coin toss will do.