Love hurts

David Reade, chief of staff for Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, hit a new low even for him with his noxious attempt to smear Barbara McIver, the Tehama County supervisor who was defeated by LaMalfa on Nov. 2. Reade was behind a television ad that tried to link McIver to Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler Magazine and a Las Vegas casino owner. Flynt helped pay for a flier that targeted LaMalfa for being an assemblyman against Proposition 68, which would have opened the state to non-Indian gambling interests. Reade used that flier to link McIver with “Porn King” Flynt, though in fact there was no association whatsoever. The Enterprise-Record played right along, offering this headline: “Hustler publisher Flynt in Assembly race.” The painfully convoluted story that followed was so slow and methodical that I imagine a majority of readers didn’t make it to the end, where the connection was sort of explained.

Two years ago, during the primaries, Reade tried to fool voters into voting for Measure B, an ill-conceived attempt to redraw the county supervisor districts to dilute the voter bases of Jane Dolan and Mary Anne Houx. Just before Election Day a recorded message was phoned to a number of registered Democrats urging them to “stop the illegal gerrymandering” by voting yes on Measure B, which in reality would have passed the gerrymandering. The call was made on “behalf of Chico Democrats,” said the recording. “We must protect our Chico neighborhoods from the extreme right-wing supervisors. Stop the illegal David Reade redistricting plan. Vote yes on Measure B.” The voice on the recording was Reade’s. That this guy is LaMalfa’s chief of staff says a lot about LaMalfa’s ethics and morals. We can only hope that McIver will give it another run in 2006.

The Enterprise-Record also reported this week that James Pedri, assistant executive officer for the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the lead state agency in the cleanup of the toxic Humboldt burn dump, wrote a letter last week to the Butte Environmental Council protesting a story in the Summer/Fall issue of its newspaper, Environmental News. The letter says BEC is publishing misleading information about dangers presented to the public by the cleanup operation and denies the RWQCB “required cleanup to benefit development.” The BEC piece accuses the RWQBC of having uncomfortably close relationships and “socializing both during and after work hours” with the property owners whose land is slated for clean-up. Some of those folks, including Ginger Drake, widow of developer Dan Drake, want to build houses on the land. Karen Clementsen, a geologist with the RWQCB, told the E-R, “I’ve not met with any of these folks socializing. I have no earthly idea what [BEC] is talking about.” BEC might be referring to Phil Woodward, a geologist with RWQBC, who for 14 years headed the dump cleanup for the agency. About a year ago he transferred to another project. Woodward’s been tied romantically with Drake. “We do have a relationship,” Woodward said this week, “but that has nothing to do with [transferring off the Chico project].”

The RQWCB staff members are indeed a sensitive bunch. Last year Pedri wrote another letter of protest to Chico Mayor Maureen Kirk decrying a quotation in this paper attributed to the late Councilmember Coleen Jarvis. Jarvis had told us that Woodward “was less than objective” about the best way to clean up the dump and was not open to alternatives. Pedri protested: “Over the years, Mr. Woodward has been constantly subjected to unwarranted verbal abuse and criticism from the public, media and elected officials. In the face of all this, Mr. Woodward has maintained a professional and courteous attitude toward all involved during his management of this difficult project.” Part of that “courteous attitude” included calling the Chico police and having Barbara Vlamis, general director of the BEC, forcibly removed from a Humboldt dump meeting earlier that year.

The Halloween squash was such a roaring success we understand there are now calls for a stay-away-from-downtown-Chico-at-Christmas campaign. Window shopping and sidewalk strolling would be strongly discouraged through the liberal use of the Police Department’s 50,000-volt Taser guns, which gives a whole new meaning to “shop till you drop.”