Rainy-day musing

Fiction 59
Deadline is nigh! Storywriters have until 5 p.m. Friday (Feb. 20) to submit entries. Check www.newsreview.com/fiction59 for specifics.

My CN&R window overlooks Flume Street. My vantage includes the Saturday farmers market parking lot, the Old Brickworks building, the U.S. Bank triangle and the creekside row from Lon Glazner’s Solutions3 to Chico Creek Chiropractic.

Monday, I heard—then saw the aftermath of—a car accident. I’m still a little freaked out by the squeal-and-smash sound. If City Hall were located on this corner, there’d be a stoplight here already.

Tuesday, I looked out at water pooling on the roof of the office downstairs. It’s a pretty sight, all ripply and flowing, and gives hope that our reservoirs and aquifer are getting what they (we) need.

Yes, I’m in a pensive mood. Here are some of the other things that have crossed my mind over the past few days:

• Much fuss has been made about the Internal Affairs Committee of the Chico City Council opting to refer the disc-golf short course to the Park Commission. The fear, apparently, is that commissioners friendly to the Friends of Bidwell Park will stymie the council’s compromise.

They don’t have that kind of power. The council has the ultimate say. And for anyone worried about the added time this step represents: It’s rainy season! This is much better weather for troubleshooting than playing.

• A few months ago, I chided opportunistic supporters of disc golf who were maneuvering to make this an issue for the 2010 City Council campaign. Now that the tables have turned, I hear talk that environmentalists are plotting the same thing. What a waste of energy.

Look, between now and then, council members will cast plenty of votes that really matter, on things far more significant than a few slivers of parkland. Those decisions will be what Scott Gruendl, Tom Nickell and Mary Flynn will be judged on. Those who choose candidates off this sort of distraction issue should be ashamed of themselves.

• By the way, I haven’t forgotten about the undercurrent I exposed in the “Chief concern” column at the end of last month. City Hall processes are deliberate, particularly when they entail the Human Resources and Risk Management Department. A change in police chiefs should happen in due course; if not, soon enough concerned citizens can ratchet up the pressure.

• Sad to learn the economic downturn hurting newspapers is also hurting local broadcasters. KPAY’s morning show—honored as best local newscast in Best of Chico 2007—will go off the air at the end of the month.

Last year I lost the show I listened to on the way home from work; now I’m losing the show I listen to on the way to work. And for what: more syndicated blather.

Newsgathering takes people, time and, thus, money. Matt Ray and Mike Baca will soldier on, but realistically, how much can a two-man newsroom cover, especially in two short spots an hour? And what about emergencies, like last summer’s wildfires?

“Hopefully we’ll be able to call in resources,” Ray told me. “A lot of people in the building wear a lot of hats.”

They’ll need to, because the only other news radio around here comes from volunteer-driven KZFR and listener-supported KCHO.

• I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by right-wing obstructionists, but I thought they’d at least wait till President Obama got the Oval Office chair warm before trying to derail him. We’re not even close to 100 days into the new administration, and ridiculousness has spread already, from false claims about new military policy to doom-and-gloom about a stimulus package more judicious than the bank bailout signed by his predecessor.

As I wrote in a headline for Letters this week: Give change a chance!