We got this e-mail Wednesday at about 8 a.m. from Councilmember Steve Bertagna (pictured). And we’d like to thank him for the judicious timing of this announcement—we go to press at noon on Wednesday. Scoops are a big deal in this business and when you are a weekly paper, scoops are sometimes hard to come by. (We got scooped on the big Goin’ Chico controversy, for god’s sake.) Anyway, we’ll let Bertagna speak for himself: “Though my candidacy for the Butte County Board of Supervisors has been anticipated and talked about for sometime, I will not be running in the upcoming election. As all have heard, over and over and over again, my family has been in Butte County for many generations. It is because of my family, Brittney, Joshua and Raeanne, I look forward to spending time at piano recitals, football games and basketball games, not running a campaign, debating or making speeches. Brittney is a junior in high school and preparing for college. Joshua is entering high school as a freshman and will be playing football, and Raeanne is a seventh-grader and is on her way to the WMBA (5-foot 1-inch). I have three-and-one-half years remaining in this term on the Chico City Council and will probably run again. I spend countless hours, remaining very outspoken and sometimes obnoxious. I enjoy it very much (particularly being obnoxious). Again, I must say Chico has been very good to the Bertagna family and spending time as an elected official is a wonderful job. Unfortunately, campaigning and running a campaign is very time-consuming and draining. At this time my wife and kids come first.” Remember, you heard it here first, unless, of course, you’ve already picked up the E-R.
I just got back from a whirlwind road trip to San Diego—1,280 roundtrip miles and about 24 hours of driving over four days. (This would explain why I’ve printed Bertagna’s entire press release to help fill this column space.) We tried to drive around Los Angeles on the way down, hoping to miss that stop-and-go traffic that curses L.A. freeways (without getting killed or caught) by way of Pasadena. This alternate route was not entirely successful. Even on a Saturday, traffic moves like a Slinky walking down steps—real slow, burst of speed and then real slow again. On the way back, we tried to sneak around the City of Angels via another route. No luck. As a side note, we couldn’t help but notice, while sitting in the middle of the freeway with no place to go, that the In ’n’ Out burger joint in West Covina is about the same size as one of our Wal-Marts. Big, big, big.
Speaking of scoops. Look for Chico Police Chief Bruce Hagerty to step down next March after what will have been three years and two months on the job. When hired in January 2003, Hagerty was expected to serve three to five years. Our relationship with Hagerty has gone from pretty cordial to pretty strained, at least on a professional basis. Maybe that is as it should be; as we each try to do our jobs to the best of our respective abilities and purposes, there are bound to be conflicts. There was controversy when the last regular chief, Mike Efford stepped down a few years back—he got a big chunk of change ($71,000 in a severance check) as he was moving on to his new job as chief at Butte College. That didn’t sit well with some of the officers. And look for Capt. Mike Maloney to be on the short list of candidates to replace the chief.