Goodbye, bipartisanship

Conservatives dump the philosophically bridged city leadership

Tuesday evening’s Chico City Council meeting ushered in a change in the philosophical balance of the city’s governing body after 12 years of a progressive majority. Incumbent Mark Sorensen and newcomers Reanette Fillmer and Andrew Coolidge were sworn in before a packed gallery in the council chambers. The excitement was palpable, as was a sense of conviviality.

But that didn’t last long.

We were disappointed to watch the conservatives vote along party lines during the panel’s first two orders of business by selecting their own—Sorensen and Sean Morgan—for both the mayor and vice mayor posts. We hope this doesn’t portend the future on this council that ought to put the community over politics. It was clear during the city’s fiscal crisis that the members of the council could put aside their differences and work as a team toward a common goal. Its bipartisan leadership was more effective for the community and the wise and generous move would have been to continue in that vein.

Alas, the four conservatives didn’t have it in them. That’s too bad.

We want to thank Scott Gruendl, a two-time mayor, and Mary Goloff, for their terms of 12 and eight years, respectively. Gruendl, with his time on the Planning Commission, actually served the city for a total of two decades. He’s been instrumental in many of the city’s progressive efforts over the years, including signing on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and helping bring the Chico Pride event to the City Plaza for the first time in 2011. He and Goloff showed their willingness to compromise by crossing party lines on many important issues. We hope the newcomers have learned something from them and their public service.