Four angry men

Don’t even get them started about what to do with the nine or so acres that were the center of recently defeated Measure A, which would have allowed the building of a bridge and new entrance into the Hegan Lane Business Park in southwest Chico. Councilmembers Rick Keene, Larry Wahl, Steve Bertagna and Mayor Dan Herbert don’t want to think about it anymore. They’re still pissed at the people who led opposition to an issue they passionately supported. “The people have spoken,” the men bitterly repeated at the June 19 City Council meeting when Councilmembers Coleen Jarvis and Dan Nguyen-Tan broached the subject. Jarvis asked that the council explore the possibilities of purchasing the property; Nguyen-Tan wanted to discuss the idea of at least annexing the property into the city. “No way,” came the collective response from Keene, Wahl, Bertagna and Herbert, the council majority that sparked a referendum that led to Measure A when they approved the $2.9 million project. Jarvis said she thought the city should at least talk to the property owners and see what their plans are. At first, Bertagna showed signs of weakening, asking if perhaps the council would be agreeable to some sort of study. He even started to make a motion to initiate discussions with the property owners.

But Keene, Wahl and Herbert brought Bertagana back down to earth by reminding him “The people have spoken.” And when he landed and came back to his senses, Bertagna said the matter should be “tabled indefinitely.” (Of course, after June 5 of next year the council can act again to build that bridge, and I’m guessing the matter will come off the table sometime around June 6.) In the end, the councilmembers voted 6­1 on Keene’s motion to zip up their collective lips and throw away the key on this baby. But there’s a catch. Only Councilmember Maureen Kirk voted against the motion. By voting in favor, Jarvis and Nguyen-Tan reserved their right to revisit the matter—very likely before next June. But that may be futile. The council majority is simply not going to reward the anti-Measure A people by purchasing the property and turning it into a creekside greenway. The four angry men have spoken.

I heard Bill Cosby was coming to the Gold Country Casino and he’d be staying at a Paradise bed-and-breakfast. Cosby told the owners of the bed-and-breakfast that he would grant only one interview to the local media. I talked by phone with one of the owners of the bed-and-breakfast and explained why we should get the gig. We’re more sophisticated than other local media, I said. I heard positive reinforcement in the owner’s voice. We’ll get the interview, I told myself as I hung up. I’ve charmed this fellow. Brimming with confidence, I started thinking up the questions I’d ask—insightful, sophisticated stuff like, “Why do you think are you so funny?” Or, “You seem to really get along well with little kids, huh?” I couldn’t wait. This was big-time. Then this week I learned the deal was off. Cosby’s wife was insisting they stay at a five-star hotel in Sacramento and fly into Oroville by helicopter.

Don’t know if you watched game five of the Lakers-Sixers series, but I was able to pull one positive note from that otherwise disappointing debacle. And it was this: When NBC switched our view from Philly to L.A to show us the folks who’d gathered in the Staples Center to watch the game on a big screen, I couldn’t help but think that here are the real Lakers fans, the poor schmucks who can’t get a ticket to see a live L.A. playoff game because they get snapped up by the beautiful people who want to be seen hanging out with other beautiful people. Didn’t see a single cell phone.

You know why the Sixers are more likeable than the Lakers? It’s because Allen Iverson will never be a spokesman for McDonald’s. He has, as the kids like to say, “street cred,” at least when compared to burger salesman Kobe Bryant. And Dikembe Mutumbo looks like African royalty next to Shaquille O’Neal, who looks more like the guy waiting with towel in hand to dry off your car as it emerges from the automated car wash. He’s got that long reach. And that’s my assessment of this year’s NBA Finals.