First impressions

Kickoff forum gives biz community an early look at Chico City Council candidates

Last week, I attended the Chico City Council campaign forum—the first this season—hosted jointly by the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Chico Business Association. First impressions are important for wannabe politicians. Here are my mine, starting with the four incumbents.

Sean Morgan: Chico’s vice mayor played it safe, a departure from his tendency to shoot from the hip (and shoot off his mouth). He sat motionless when the panel was asked for a show of hands on support for or opposition to two local school bond measures. Lots of red, white and blue on his campaign flier—no surprise there.

Tami Ritter: She seemed to take issue with challengers pointing out the panel’s tendency toward partisanship and responded by noting cooperative efforts that have transcended it. She also called BS in response to a couple of statements by newcomer Jovanni Tricerri, including his view that, “If you want housing in this community, you can get it.”

Ann Schwab: The former mayor and longtime councilwoman sounded measured and said she wasn’t sure whether Chico’s council is partisan or just simply passionate. Come on, it’s both. The environmentally minded politician’s campaign literature—a tri-fold—is printed on recycled paper, naturally.

Randall Stone: There’s a fine line between noting your accomplishments and sounding self-congratulatory. Stone crosses that line too often. He rightly pointed out the hypocrisy of his conservative colleagues giving the police raises during the city’s financial crisis. He gets a nod for recycling—the brochure I picked up was from his 2012 campaign.

Lisa Duarte: The contemplative-sounding Duarte gets the prize for minimalism. No glossy brochures, just your basic white photocopy for this gal. Some of Duarte’s ideas are offbeat, but I agree with her on the city’s failure when it comes to infrastructure. Pot holes, anyone?

Jeffrey Glatz: The council needs to remember that it’s nonpartisan, he said. Agreed. But Glatz needs some schooling on civil rights issues. He lumped in so-called “transients” with criminals, saying, “these folks need to be, basically, removed from our town.” He should also see how much of the general fund is spent on police before making statements about the council not supporting them.

Mercedes Macias: A no-show.

Karl Ory: A former council member and mayor from back in the 1980s, Ory is better known today for his work on the Airport Commission, advocating for the Saturday farmers’ market and opposing Chico Scrap Metal’s efforts to dodge amortization. Jobs are his first priority, he says.

Jon Scott: Hands down, he has the best voice. No mic needed for this baritone. The local businessman calls himself the no-BS candidate. Scott did a nice job of calling it how he sees it while not sounding like a blowhard. He hinted at a local tax to pay for city services.

Loretta Torres: I can’t look at the hat-wearing conservative without thinking of actress Diane Keaton. Torres is all about fiscal responsibility.

Jovanni Tricerri: His claim to fame is authoring Chico’s police staffing plan. He was correct when he said we live in a compassionate community, but he’s off by saying we spend more on housing than we do on public safety. Like, way off. He also hinted at a local tax.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself at, BCAC TV’s video of the event.