New faces, new council

Progressives still in majority—but expect some surprises

When the Chico City Council meets next Tuesday, Dec. 4, it will hold a brief ceremony at the beginning of the meeting, during which outgoing Councilman Bob Evans, who came in sixth on Nov. 6, will be honored for his two years of service. Following that, three new members, Tami Ritter, Sean Morgan and Randall Stone, along with the re-elected Ann Schwab, will be sworn in for four-year terms.

Although the philosophical balance on the council will remain as it’s been since 2002, with progressives holding a majority of the seats, the three new members are sure to offer some surprises. Council members are independent thinkers, and though they may lean certain ways, that’s not necessarily how they will vote.

As its first act, the council will select a mayor and vice mayor to serve for the next two years. Schwab, the current mayor, has served two terms, during which she’s been the most influential and popular mayor of the past decade. We certainly would have no problem with her being picked again.

On the other hand, it’s probably time for a change. If so, the job will go to one of the two remaining veteran progressives, Scott Gruendl and Mary Goloff.

Gruendl was mayor from 2004 to 2006. He did a good job, notably by initiating the push toward sustainability that Schwab has so effectively championed during her tenure. But we believe that, at a time when there are three new people on the council, it would be fitting to have someone new in the mayor’s seat, as well.

Goloff, who is in her second term, hasn’t been interested in the position heretofore. But she may want to cement her legacy by taking on the bigger job during what will probably be her last two years on the council. If so, we would strongly support her selection as mayor.

Finally, our thanks to Bob Evans. He’s served the people of Chico with intelligence and great good will. We’ll miss him.