Love conquers Tim

“Turned around and fell in love.” That’s the new chorus in Tim Bousquet‘s “My Song.” The feisty owner, publisher and editor of the Chico Examiner has been hinting around for months that his paper, which has not been published for the past month or so, will either be handed off to someone else or folded away. Seems he owes his printer some money, but more than that Bousquet is getting married in December and then moving to the Ashland, Ore., area. He quotes himself in a press release sent out this week: “I am simply overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed time-wise, I’m overwhelmed with work, and I’ve overwhelmed financially. Something had to give, and stepping off the paper for a while made sense.”

Bousquet, trying to resolve his paper’s debt, says he will sell T-shirts, a Chico history calendar and turquoise jewelry made by real Native Americans (I made that part up) to help bury his bills. He promises to have a big election issue, though, noting with his usual modesty that his paper pretty much defeated the Otterson Bridge last summer. “I’ve considered turning the Examiner into a monthly concentrating on broad political and cultural issues. I’d rather hand it over to someone else, though.” In other words, the Chico Examiner is pretty much dead come December. Peter Berkow, the press release says, is planning a party to raise money in the next few weeks to help Bousquet financially. While I didn’t always agree with Bousquet’s shoot-from-the-hip style, he did keep the thing going much longer than anyone in his right mind would have done. Hats off to Tim.

Green Party candidate for governor Peter Camejo’s visit to Chico last weekend seemed to be a success, if you measured it by the turnout he had Saturday night in front of the City Council chambers. Earlier in the day, Camejo stopped by the Dorothy Johnson Center in Chapman during a multicultural fair and gave a 20-minute talk about how state demographics are changing. Because the fair was put on by the Chico Area Recreation District, Camejo was not allowed to give a stump speech or talk politics. If he were, CARD would be forced to allow other candidates the same opportunity—but it’s not like Bill Simon and Gray Davis are busting down the doors to deliver multicultural speeches in Chapman. Camejo, who looks like a college philosophy professor, came across as a pretty decent man. When I asked him how he was being transported through Chico—I was hoping it wasn’t via SUV—he sort of nodded toward a pedicab parked nearby. “On that?” I said. Camejo rolled his eyes a bit and sheepishly nodded his head yes. I told him that was pretty cool and perfectly acceptable here in Chico. (He was in the hands of the local Greens—what do you expect?) After the talk, Camejo and Larry Shoup, Green Party candidate for secretary of state, climbed into the pedicab and were whisked off north along B Street. Their route took them right through the heart of Chapman. Can you imagine Simon or Davis doing that—even in an SUV?

Later that evening, Camejo was downtown waiting for the doors of the council chambers to be unlocked. When word came that no one from the city could be contacted to unlock the doors, Camejo got this troubled look on his face and noted that the sun was sinking fast. They weren’t set up for an outside event—no lights. Some of the Greens thought a conspiracy was afoot—that this was symbolic of how the establishment was trying to lock them out of the process. Camejo has complained that Davis will not participate in any debate that includes the Green Party candidate. Democratic adviser Bob Mulholland concedes this is true. "Just like the 49ers, we do nothing to help our competition." Turns out the locked doors were the result of miscommunication by the city. A city employee told me this week that a firefighter was asked to come down and unlock the door, but he left a note for another firefighter to do it, and that person never saw the note. Honest mistake and for the better. There were too many people—I’d guess 200 to 300—gathered to hear Camejo. That many would have never fit into the council chambers. Camejo went ahead and talked outdoors about establishing a living wage, affordable housing and foreign policy. (If he occasionally wanders from matters a governor would deal with, that is because he is also helping to build the party.) Camejo spoke for close to an hour and was well received. Of course, he was preaching to the choir. How will his message play outside the Church of the Green? Who knows? He can’t afford the TV time to tell what he stands for.