Elections and farewell

Prediction results and saying goodbye to a CN&R staffer

I love this time of year. It’s almost the start of spring—my second-favorite season, behind fall.

This is also the time of year that the political scene is ramping up. The June primary is getting closer. Speaking of which, I got one wrong a few months ago when I made predictions for who was going to run for certain offices. I thought Jane Dolan might take another crack at regaining her seat on the Butte County Board of Supervisors—the post Larry Wahl won back in 2010. As we know this week (see Tom Gascoyne’s report, page 10), Dolan is out. But I was right about medi-pot advocate Andrew Merkel going up against Wahl.

I could be wrong about this, too, but I don’t think Merkel’s a serious contender. He called me a few months back when I’d wondered in this column if Dolan would be back on the ballot. He asked why I’d want her back on the Board of Supervisors and told me that she’d be appointed to the panel regardless. That’s because Supervisor Bill Connelly would appoint Dolan to his seat representing the Oroville district, since he’d be vacating it after the primary election, Merkel said.

At the time, Connelly hadn’t announced his candidacy for the county assessor’s post. I thought Merkel was confused. Turns out he was half right. As we recently found out, Connelly is vying for that job.

But back to my discussion with Merkel. When I asked him why Connelly would appoint Dolan to his supervisor’s seat, Merkel said the two were fast friends. I don’t know whether that’s true, but there’s no guaranteeing the Oroville supervisor will be elected as assessor. And even if Connelly won that office, he wouldn’t appoint his successor. According to Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs, Gov. Jerry Brown would make that appointment. Furthermore, the appointee must live in Connelly’s Oroville district, making it very unlikely that Dolan, unless she’s moved from Chico, would fit the bill.

Suffice it to say, my conversation with Merkel was a strange one. At the end of it, he asked me my name. Did I mention that he called me?

As for some other predictions, I was right about Supervisor Maureen Kirk’s seat. She’s got a challenger in Bob Evans, the former Chico City Councilman who was oddly not re-elected to that panel in 2012.

It’s too soon to know who’s vying for the City Council race in November. We know Andrew Coolidge is in. I’d mentioned the other likely candidates: Councilman Mark Sorensen, Michael Dailey, Dave Donnan, Dave Kelley. Another name popping up these days is Aveed Khaki. Time will tell.

In other news, the CN&R is saying goodbye this week to Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia. In addition her recent duties as associate editor, Christine has long been in charge of the paper’s environmental section, Greenways. She has done a stellar job digging up stories about Chico’s green happenings as well as overarching environmental efforts over the years. Everyone at the CN&R as well as many in the community will miss her good work on the environmental front.