Predictability and generosity

Council conservatives squash the bipartisan city leadership; and it’s time to be charitable

After all of the pomp and pageantry of bidding farewell to Chico Mayor Scott Gruendl and Councilwoman Mary Goloff, including words of praise by Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen about Gruendl’s expertise and dedication to the city, the new conservative-majority City Council set the tone of its tenure by voting in Sorensen as mayor and Sean Morgan as vice mayor. How predictable.

To their credit, the remaining progressives—Tami Ritter, Ann Schwab and Randall Stone—voted for Sorensen, a unanimous show of support for the now second-term councilman. But when it came to choosing a vice mayor, things got intense. Newbie Councilwoman Reanette Fillmer interrupted City Clerk Debbie Presson—who was attempting to explain some particulars about the position—with a nomination for Morgan, the F-bomb-dropping junior conservative.

After that, veteran Councilwoman Ann Schwab, now the senior-most member of the panel, made a case for why Councilwoman Tami Ritter would make an excellent vice mayor, listing the many task forces and committees on which she’s served. The vote on Morgan went first, and resulted in a split vote in his favor.

And thus ended the bipartisan mayor/vice mayor leadership Chico had seen over the past 16 months.

I’m cynical, so I figured things would go down this way. But there was this teensy weensy part of me that thought the conservatives would be bigger than that.

Let’s get generous: A lot of the work we do at the CN&R can be thought of as advocacy journalism. Quite regularly, we write about individuals and organizations helping those in need in our community. The hope, of course, is that our readers will aid the efforts, be that through donations or volunteering or spreading the word about the good causes featured in these pages. I’d call this passive activism. But we want to do more. So, this year, we’re lending a helping hand to some of the organizations in our backyard by holding a charity drive here at our HQ at Second and Flume streets.

What we’re looking for are toiletries—the essentials, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. They can be travel-size or jumbo, and we’re not asking for expensive stuff from the salon, although we’ll gladly take that, too. We’re collecting it through the month of December for a number of worthy local nonprofits who’re dedicated to caring for the needy among us. So, dear readers, come down anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday to drop off items (see page 40 for a full list of necessities).

The CN&R is also continuing our long tradition of being a “giving tree” location. This program connects children living at The Esplanade House—a transitional housing program for families—to generous locals who have the means to purchase them gifts to brighten their holidays (see page 29 for more info). There are plenty of children to sponsor this year—lots of little ones, too. I chose a 1-year-old girl, whose wish list includes clothes, a soft blanket and a baby doll. What more can I say?