Political fodder

Fiction 59
Four words: Deadline is Feb. 29. (Three more: That’s Friday, people!!!)

Andy Holcombe is up for re-election to the Chico City Council. At least for now, his odds are pretty good: four seats, five (maybe six) candidates.

Ann Schwab wants another term, and the mayorship she’s primed to achieve. Larry Wahl has positioned himself for another run, perhaps the mayorship. The other incumbent, three-termer Steve Bertagna, loves to watch his youngest daughter play basketball—will he leave a vacancy for Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Sorensen to fill? Or park commissioner Jim Walker?

Chico being Chico, someone will enter the fray before Aug. 8, the deadline for candidates’ paperwork. Luvaas? Merz? No, someone else. (Tuchinsky? Sorry, no, lives outside the boundaries. Though … hmmm … Town Councilman Tuchinsky has a nice ring … hmmm …)

Anyway, I had lunch with Holcombe Jan. 28, with the idea I’d write an anniversary sequel to the “My lunch with Andy” column. The mayor was kind enough to work me into his schedule for a Monday meal at Bustolini’s, and we took about an hour of space on the ol’ digital recorder … but then things kept coming up.

First week: I was so shocked by the cardboard ballot box that I had to write about Election Day.

Second week: Valentine’s Day—got all sappy about my wife. (If I’d only known how much she’d like it, I’d have put a CN&R in the gift bag and returned the jewelry …)

Last week: The bones story.

This week: Barely remembering what we talked about, I looked at the recorder, thought about all that transcribing, and figured since it’ll be a belated anniversary piece anyway …

So look for “My lunch with Andy II” next issue.

Random speculation: OK, so Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Josiassen says he’s not going to seek re-election. Steve Lambert’s name has been bandied about for a while; Dan Nguyen-Tan wrote on his blog that Mark Jensen also is putting in his paperwork, and that John Byrne plans to move into District 4 to run.

Personally, I think Byrne is crazy. I visited his house when he hosted a Republican Party event I covered last spring; if he’s so willing to leave it, he should just sign over the deed to me. (I promise to declare it on my tax return and campaign forms.)

Besides, I have a wild hunch that someone else might establish residency in South Chico in order to become a supervisor—finally.

Steve Bertagna.

Hear me out. He wasn’t able to break through in District 3. District 4 is more conservative, and he’s got relatives there—Maisie Jane, for instance, and the rest of the Bertagna Orchards/Son Kissed Vineyard bunch. They’re guaranteed votes and potential bunkmates.

While he’s mum about the council race, I got him talking on this.

“Well, there is room in one of the wine cellars …” he acknowledged. “I appreciate the help of the newspaper, because I have a cot down there that they don’t know about.” Ah ha—try to dislodge him now!

“You’ve got yourself a scoop,” he concluded.

Bertagna in District 4. You read it here first. And last.