Predictions, Part I

A stab at the likely candidates for Chico City Council and two supervisors’ seats

I’d planned on predicting who’s going to run for a seat on the Butte County Board of Supervisors and Chico’s City Council around Thanksgiving. After all, we’re about nine months out from the 2018 primary and more than a year from the next general election, the respective elections for county and city races.

However, my sources tell me the progressives are getting organized early when it comes to the Chico City Council. As of this writing (me pounding the keyboard on Tuesday afternoon), my understanding was that a couple of folks were planning to announce their candidacies during the Butte County Democratic Party’s fundraiser on Wednesday (Sept. 13), after this paper went to press.

So, I’m at it early this cycle. But before tossing out names, here’s some background:

Three council seats are up for grabs in 2018, and all three of them are held by conservatives: Vice Mayor Reanette Fillmer (a first-termer), Andrew Coolidge (another first-termer) and Mark Sorensen (a former mayor and second-termer). Of the three, I question only whether Sorensen will seek re-election. As you may recall, their wins in 2014 are what flipped the seven-member council to a conservative majority. That means 2018 is kind of a big deal.

So, who’s running? According to my sources: Richard Ober, a former Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (BPPC) member and current chair of the Torres Community Shelter; and Jeremy Markley, former president of the Chico State Democratic Club. These are the two who may have made an announcement at the aforementioned fundraiser.

According to the city’s election page, a local architect named Matt Gallaway appears to be throwing his hat in the ring.

Other folks I hear rumors about: Toni Scott, a professional grant writer, chair of the Chico Planning Commission and board member of the Chico Chamber of Commerce; and Tom Nickell, a BPPC member and former Chico vice mayor. Pretty sure he’s in.

I’ve long suspected that Mat Bacior, a frequent attendee of City Council meetings in recent years, would vie for a seat next year. He put my suspicions to rest when the CN&R’s Howard Hardee asked him about it after a recent meeting. Still, Bacior has plenty of time to change his mind.

The last Chico City Council race fielded 11 candidates, and any of the losers could re-emerge. That list: Jovanni Tricerri, Loretta Torres, Jon Scott, Mercedes Macias, Jeffrey Glatz (now a park commissioner), Lisa Duarte and Tami Ritter, a former councilwoman.

Speaking of Ritter, word on the street is that she’s eyeing a supervisor’s seat in 2018. The terms of both Chico supervisors—Maureen Kirk and Larry Wahl—end in 2019. I believe Ritter lives in District 3, Kirk’s turf. If she runs, she’ll have company. Kasey Reynolds, owner of Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy, is holding a campaign fundraiser this Saturday, Sept. 16. I didn’t know much about Reynolds, other than that she makes my favorite ice cream in the world (Chico Mint). However, I see on her website that the shindig includes special guests Rep. Doug LaMalfa and state Sen. Jim Nielsen.

As most folks know, the council and county board are “nonpartisan” panels. However, in practice, we know how that plays out. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling, and the popular Kirk hasn’t even announced whether she’s giving up her seat.

I have more, but I’m out of space. Stay tuned.