In others’ words

How did you meet Kelly Meagher and what has he meant to the community?

Bob Mulholland

Bob Mulholland

Jon Luvaas, former city planning commissioner: “We met during the canyon condos fight, and we formed Friends of the Foothills. I love Kelly. He’s a rascal. He says what he thinks and he’s very outspoken about it. … We’ve worked together over the past 30 years on a lot of issues, and it’s been great fun. I love his toughness and I love his heart. He’s a brother.”

Mark Stemen, Chico State professor and environmentalist: “I met him when I was a student organizing some effort with the Progressive Student Union on campus back in 1987. We’d gotten into financial difficulty, and he came in and said he’d take care of it. For me, a student who didn’t think anybody was listening or wanting to help out, that was a powerful statement. I’ve seen it happen with him over and over again.”

Bob Mulholland, state Democratic Party adviser and husband of former county Supervisor Jane Dolan: “I assume Jane and I met Kelly soon after he moved to Butte County and he was the driving force for the referendum to stop the idiotic condo project proposed for Butte Creek Canyon. Without Jane as the county supervisor and Citizen Kelly over the last 30 years, there would be no Greenline and there would have been houses built on the west side of Chico all the way to the Sacramento River.”

Jane Dolan: “I immediately saw him as someone with brains, energy and a willingness to help and not just give advice on what others should do. Kelly’s impact is wide and deep: Any initiative to protect the environment—rural Butte Creek Canyon, open spaces, water quality, safe neighborhoods—Kelly is supportive and effective.”

Steve Carter, Meagher’s driver: “I picked him up in front of Duffy’s when I was driving for Yellow Cab about a dozen years ago. He said I was his favorite driver, so now I drive for him permanently. The dispatcher would spread Kelly out among the drivers to make if fair because he always tipped fat. They said, ‘Don’t tell him how much it is, don’t run the meter, don’t worry about it, he’ll take care of you.’ ”

Eric Mathisen

David Guzzetti, former City Council member and host of KZFR’s Woody and Friends: “I met Kelly during the canyon condos fight of 1981. I’d just gotten elected to the City Council. … When I introduced myself to Kelly during the first campaign event that we had for the canyon condos, he came right up to me and said, ‘Guzzetti? I’m a strong supporter of the environment, but I’m a Republican, I’m not a socialist like you are.’ Of course, it cracked us all up because Kelly is not a Republican. We’ve worked dozens of campaigns together. We’ve co-chaired for years the Chico Conservation Voters, a grassroots political-action group. We’re very close.”

Eric Mathisen, founder of KZFR: “I met Kelly in LaSalles. He was pretty easy to pick out in a crowd because he didn’t have any hands, and you notice that kind of thing. I talked about wanting to build this radio station, and he’s one of the few people who listened with any encouragement. … I’d tell him when we needed money, and he would grumble and ask me hard questions and then he would write a check, bless his heart. He did that a number of times. In fact he did it at a time in our history that, if he hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here.”