Flynn outlines broad platform

Mary Flynn

Mary Flynn

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

How excited is Mary Flynn about the prospect of gaining a seat on the Chico City Council?

Monday (July 17) was the first day she legally could pull nomination papers to run for council. So, “eager like a kindergartener on the first day of school,” she went to the Chico City Clerk’s Office shortly after 8:30 a.m.

She was too eager, apparently.

“I didn’t know you needed to make a reservation,” she said, laughing, later that morning during a press conference in the front yard of her Laburnum Avenue home. “I got there right at 8:32, and they weren’t ready for me. They said come back in the afternoon.”

A week earlier Flynn became the first person to formally announce candidacy for council in the Nov. 7 election. Three seats are up for grabs, those of Councilman Dan Herbert, Councilwoman Maureen Kirk and Mayor Scott Gruendl. Herbert and Gruendl have indicated informally that they intend to seek re-election; Kirk is running for District 3 Butte County supervisor instead.

At the press conference, Flynn provided the broad outline of a three-part platform.

First, she supports what she calls “sustainable economic development,” which she defines as “policies and approaches that meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While it’s important to attract new businesses to the area, she said, she wants to focus especially on nurturing Chico’s own “unique homegrown businesses,” those created locally by visionary entrepreneurs.

Second, she wants to protect Chico’s neighborhoods. She cited in particular Enloe Medical Center’s current expansion into her own Avenues neighborhood, “a jewel in the heart of Chico,” saying the hospital’s growth has “certainly had an impact.” With the latest expansion plan, the hospital has exhausted the neighborhood’s capacity to hold it, she said.

Third, she wants to preserve and expand Chico’s parks, open spaces and viewsheds. “We are blessed in Chico to have such wonderful community facilities,” she said. She wants to create more recreational facilities, making them “neighborhood accessible” and thereby easing the pressure on Bidwell Park.

Flynn is positioning herself as a good-government, smart-growth, environmentalist candidate, but only in broad terms at this early stage.

Asked which current council members she thought best reflected her own views on the issues, she responded, “It depends on the issue. … I guess I would say I’m kind of a morph between Ann Schwab and Maureen Kirk.”

She’s eager to serve, she said. She feels a “strong connection” with Chico and wants to help shape Chico’s future for the students she teaches. Her background as a publisher as well as a teacher and her experience—as a founding director of the Chico Community Shelter Partnership—creating the Torres Community Shelter show she’s a “strong problem solver and consensus maker.”

She’s gotten “lots and lots of support” for her campaign already, she said, and wants to run a campaign that “reaches all the community.” She has time to do that: The election is more than three months away.