Mic check

F-bombs in the City Council chambers

I expect it took days for some people to recover from the Chico City Council’s last meeting. After all, its grueling agenda included a full review and adoption of the city’s 2013-14 fiscal year budget, along with a review of the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market’s franchise agreement, among other less-controversial matters.

One person who likely will never forget that meeting is Councilman Sean Morgan, one of the newbies on the council dais. About 12 hours into what was expected to be a day-long session Tuesday (June 18), as seen on the city of Chico’s broadcast of the meeting, Morgan, frustrated and flustered, dropped the F-bomb. Uh, whoops.

Morgan was a little too late in reaching to turn off his microphone. His swearing was heard live and now graces the city of Chico’s website courtesy of its archived footage of the meeting. (Go to about the 9:42 mark to hear the not-quite-under-his-breath F-word.)

Interestingly, Morgan uttered that granddaddy of curses at the tail end of a relatively innocuous matter—the consideration of adopting a policy for maintaining and using data the Chico Police Department would collect through license-plate-reading technology. Months earlier, the Internal Affairs Committee had wisely directed CPD to draft the policy in a way that protects the privacy rights of citizens. Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle explained how CPD alone would have access to the data through an in-house server. However, there was another option of going through a regional info-storage center, and an upcoming webinar about it would provide more insight, Trostle explained.

Long story short, Trostle told the council the issue could be tabled until after the webinar, or the panel could go ahead and approve the policy as written and come back to it if need be. That confused Morgan.

“Do you not want this tabled, or do you do want this tabled?” he asked.

“I would like to do whatever the council would like me to do with this,” responded Trostle.

Then came the F-bomb from Morgan, who immediately swiveled his chair away from the gallery while cramming the last bite of what appears to be a sandwich into his mouth. I have a feeling the city’s website is getting a lot of traffic from those who missed this classic moment in Chico politics.

But that wasn’t the only snafu of the night. Mayor Mary Goloff, in addressing Trostle minutes earlier, referred to him as Capt. Kirk, and she nearly forgot to take public comment on that agenda item. Later into the 15-hour-long meeting, farmers’-market supporters called Goloff out for sighing and shaking her head. The mayor defended herself, noting that she’s a human being and, as such, needs to take a long sigh once in a while.

Lucky for me, News Editor Tom Gascoyne and I teamed up on reporting duties. He headed to City Council chambers early and covered the budget issues. I checked in throughout the day, but had to stay put for only the last six or so hours. If I’d been there the whole time, there may have been a few more F-bombs in the room.