Political science

Last week we ran an editorial predicting that Assemblyman Rick Keene, R- Chico, would not show up for the League of Women Voters forum at Chico Council Chambers on Fourth Street. We spoke to him a day or two before, and though he said he’d try, he didn’t sound very confident. He said he had to be in Truckee to meet some folks. The forum was set for the same day our paper comes out. We like to think Rick read the paper and said, “Drat! Now I have to go!” Turns out he made it. (He lives only a few blocks away.) This week I got this notice from one of the forum organizers. “As you may know, Rick Keene rolled in one minute before the State Assembly candidate forum began last Thursday, so he obviously felt the pressure to show up. You might do a ‘correction,’ thanking Keene for pleasantly surprising the League and the community and hoping it will become the norm.” Done.

This week we endorse Keene over opponent Robert Woods. We admire Woods and his liberal ways. He is the kind of guy who restores respect to the liberal label, though how it ever became disrespected is beyond me. And it makes us wonder about the Enterprise-Record’s endorsement, which says Woods is so liberal that he “makes Stuart King, who lost to Keene by a 62 percent to 34 percent margin two years ago, look like Strom Thurmond.” What? Is the E-R suggesting that Stuart King has a 60-year-old half-white, half-African-American child somewhere?

At this week’s council candidate forum, Councilman Steve Bertagna said zoning Bidwell Ranch as open space would cost the city $2.5 million. Huh? He may mean that, by rezoning the land, the city will lose out on money from the Federal Aviation Administration, which has a fund to protect airports. The idea here is that if the city says the property is open space, then the FAA, looking to make sure there are viable flight paths from the airport, will say, “Problem solved; no money for you, Chico.” However, just like everything else, since Sept. 11, 2001, priorities have changed. Now those funds to protect airports go more toward homeland-security-like safety measures. Still, Bertagna’s comment got me to thinking: How much does the city owe on this property? Answer: $1,052,432. That represents how much the city still owes in Northeast Chico Sewer Assessment District fees that it took over from Crocker Development when it bought the property in 1997. Through October of last year, the city had paid $2.5 million in assessment fees. Here’s the deal: The city will recoup that money as it sells off rights to sewer access as development continues in northeast Chico. The city has now paid, through June of this year, $6,580,271 on the property. Maybe we could get our investment back by selling to Wal-Mart Inc. And maybe, if we all prayed together, we could get a Sam’s Club built there to go along with our soon-to-be constructed Superstore Wal-Marts.

Signs of a feather flock together. Notice where and how political signs seem to gather? I’ve noticed Penne, Wahl, Keene and LaMalfa signs seem to congregate in big open fields, sometimes next to signs that say something like “Ready to Develop!” I even saw a Bertagna sign next to a Nader sign along Eighth Street. I think this is a shotgun marriage; the signs are not on private property, but rather on a little corner of an intersection outside the sidewalk. Finally, a friend sent us this photo, which was taken east of Redding in Bella Vista. Now we know what “one of us” means.