Honoring Jane Dolan

Her success belies the notion that government is the problem

“It doesn’t seem that long.” That’s how Jane Dolan began her valedictory speech Tuesday (Dec. 14) during her final meeting as a Butte County supervisor after 32 years on the job, the longest tenure of any county supervisor in California history. Dolan liked what she did so much, and did it so well, that time flew for her.

She’s most often associated with the Greenline prohibiting urban sprawl onto the rich farmlands west of Chico, which she conceived and fought for and has protected with a mother’s fierceness ever since it was passed in 1982.

But there’s much more to her legacy. She was a force behind creation of the county transit system. She organized and pushed through the Chapman-Mulberry Neighborhood Plan, and she was responsible more than anyone for getting sewer lines put into that area, a years-long effort that’s finally reaching fruition.

Dolan also worked diligently to improve county libraries (she fought hard for construction of the Chico branch) and keep them open. She worked to improve neighborhoods, roads, police and fire protection and county government services. She supported local agriculture in every way she could, recognizing that it was the economic backbone of the county.

Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention here. And listing them, as significant as they are, doesn’t convey the full extent of Dolan’s contribution to county governance. On the board, she was forever a force. As board Chairman Bill Connelly said Tuesday, she had a formidable way of starting out in the minority on an issue and then, because of her knowledge and articulateness, bringing others into her camp and carrying the day.

As much as anything, Jane Dolan belied the notion that government is the problem, not the solution. She believed deeply in government’s ability to help people, and the innumerable results of her hard work and dedication proved her right.

We are delighted to learn she has a new job, as executive director of the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum. This is a multicounty agency that brings together various stakeholders—farmers, environmentalists, agencies, communities—with the goal of improving the condition of the river for the benefit for all involved, including wildlife. We can’t imagine a better fit for her, and we wish her success in her new job as we thank her for all she’s done for Butte County.