Promoting communication

In what seems like another lifetime, on the windowless bottom floor of Corporate America, I learned a lesson that has served me well to this day.

“Inclusiveness,” “empowerment” and “getting buy-in” were buzzwords in my management training course. Top bosses repeated them … yet usually ignored them. Faits accomplis and trickle-down information—that was the paradigm actually practiced.

I’ve made sure my staff here is team-oriented. The few times I’ve taken a shortcut and not asked for input, I’ve regretted it.

That’s why I’m particularly frustrated with the city of Chico and Chico State University. Both have suffered memory lapses, disregarding a basic tenet: Communication averts confrontation.

The City Council and Police Department have been assailed from all sides since the “disorderly events ordinance” first appeared on the consent agenda.

I thought the city had seen the wisdom of New Urban Builders, which consulted a wide range of people while developing its Meriam Park proposal; as a result, the megaproject faced little opposition.

But no, the city drafted the ordinance internally, and flaws surfaced when the public began picking it apart. To their credit, councilmembers decided Tuesday night to hear community comments at a special meeting Oct. 15. (Click here.)

Chico State, meanwhile, is moving forward with a five-story housing project that abuts one of Chico’s oldest neighborhoods. University officials met with residents only after the plans were complete and set for approval by CSU trustees in Long Beach. (Click here.)

Paul Zingg preaches neighborliness and stewardship—so how could his university neglect to talk to the neighbors?

Hopefully, city administrators and university officials learn from these communication breakdowns. If not, I’d recommend management training …

Snippets of self-promotion: In this space, along with periodic pontifications, I try to keep readers informed about the CN&R and our people. Here are the latest updates:

• The Best of Chico votes have been counted. Who won? We’ll tell you next week, in the Sept. 27 issue, in which we’ll also unveil Best of Oroville and Best on the Ridge.

• New to our Web site: posted comments. users have been sending feedback to writers and editors; now they can post their opinion right with the story, and submit it as a letter to the editor if they wish.

We won’t edit reader comments, but we reserve the right to remove any posting we deem libelous or otherwise objectionable.

• CN&R has a new fall intern! Brittni Zacher, a Chico State senior majoring in studio art with an emphasis in photography, is trying on photojournalism for size. Check out Scene for her first CN&R credit.

• The Big Celebrity campaign is heating up. I’m doing my best to raise money and awareness at Saturday Farmers Markets … but one of my opponents just held a golf tournament. Yikes!

Please give Big Brothers Big Sisters and me a boost with a tax-deductible donation at or via check (referencing me) to P.O. Box 7222, Chico, CA 95927. To quote the old Bartles & Jaymes guys, thank you for your support.