Predictions, Part II

More news on the early candidates seeking office locally

Last week, when I wrote about the upcoming local elections, focusing on the Chico City Council and Butte County Board of Supervisors races, it wasn’t exactly the scoop of the century.

As it turns out, by the time the CN&R hit stands on Thursday, Tami Ritter already had announced that she’s vying for Maureen Kirk’s District 3 supervisorial seat. She made her intentions known publicly the night before, during the Butte County Democratic Party’s fundraiser. As I mentioned last week, she’ll have a challenger in Kasey Reynolds, who’s already put together a nice website ( and held a fundraiser featuring some Republican heavy hitters (Rep. Doug LaMalfa and state Sen. Jim Nielsen).

Considering both ends of the ideological spectrum are covered by Ritter and Reynolds, I kind of doubt anyone from either of their respective camps will toss their names in the ring.

As for Kirk, I caught up with her this week and she confirmed that she’s retiring at the end of her current term: in January 2019. That will mark an end to 24 years of public service—a dozen as supervisor, eight as a member of the Chico City Council and four on the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission before that.

Kirk told me her retirement has nothing to do with the rigors of the job—she loves being a supervisor and very much likes the people she works with. The longtime local public servant is a new grandmother and said she wants to spend more time with her grandson. She and her husband would also like to travel. “I’m just looking forward to some new adventures,” she summed up.

Speaking of the Board of Supervisors, another rumor I’d heard recently was verified over the weekend, when arts and culture impresario Debra Lucero announced via Facebook that she’s vying for Larry Wahl’s District 2 seat. I haven’t heard anything about Wahl retiring, so I imagine she’s challenging him for the post.

Lucero has long been a mover and shaker in Butte County, especially in the nonprofit realm. She has the name recognition and connections that should help her on many fronts, including fundraising—making her a formidable candidate.

I chatted with Lucero briefly this week and she said she was inspired to run after attending a women’s leadership event earlier this year. There she learned, among other things, that there is a dearth of women in government positions at the state and local levels. During a quick search, I found a report by California Women Lead stating that just 25 percent of county supervisors are women.

That was but the impetus for her candidacy—Lucero listed off numerous reasons for her bid that she’ll speak to in the months ahead.

As for the Chico City Council race, I heard this week that Richard Ober and Jeremy Markley indeed announced their candidacies at the aforementioned county Democratic Party fundraiser. So did Tom Nickell, whose revelation was evidently a bit of a surprise to most folks, though it wasn’t to me. Markley reached out to me and corrected me on one point: he’s a former president of Chico State’s Democratic Club (not the current president, as I’d written).

The only other news I have to report is that Councilman Andrew Coolidge confirmed that he’ll be seeking re-election.

Again, it’s early. I suspect the council race to become increasingly crowded. We shall see.