Reason prevails

Look for the American flag project—hundreds lining city streets every day of the year—to get some reconsideration. On April 24 the City Council will vote—quietly via consent agenda—to display the flags only on patriotic holidays. Because of an outpouring of concern about putting the flags up year-round, particularly along the tree-lined Esplanade, Ed Regan, chairman of group called Chico City of Flags Committee, wrote a letter to Councilmember Steve Bertagna. “This project was meant to unify the community not to polarize it or use it as a lightning rod of other agendas,” Regan wrote. So the committee has lowered its goals and asked that the flags be flown only on national holidays. Regan’s partner in the project, Larry Juanarena, told me he had already ordered about 100 flags, at a cost of $6,000. If he couldn’t fly them on the city streets, he said, he’d line them up around the perimeter of his restaurant Pat ‘N’ Larry’s Steak House. “It’s the most beautiful flag in the world,” said Juanarena. When I told him I sort of favored the Ohio state flag—the only one shaped like a pennant—he scoffed. “That’s not the flag of a country,” meaning it didn’t qualify to be compared to the ol’ Red, White and Blue. Yeah, well, I still like it.

The battle over Proposition 12 money—whether it should go to parks or to remodeling the county’s five veterans’ halls—will be aired by the county supervisors April 24. Feather River Recreation & Park District officials think the money should go to parks, which it says was the original intent of the proposition. Supervisor Bob Beeler says it should go to the vets’ halls. County Administrator John Blacklock agrees. Bob Sharkey, superintendent of the FRRPD, says maybe we should take a cue from Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi, who’s said Butte should be more like Los Angeles County. Of course Yamaguchi was referring to how much easier it is for developers in L.A. to gain permits to pave over open lands. Still, in that crowded and fully built-out county, Sharkey said, individual supervisors can spend Prop. 12 money in their respective districts as they see fit. Veterans’ halls, while important and deserving of respect, are not public parks, Sharkey has argued, and do not benefit the whole community.

The only sure things in life are death and taxes—and the fact that Channel 12 will show up at the post office on tax day, park its mobile video unit along the street, in the bike path, adding significantly to the traffic snarl, and then tape a report about how hectic things are at the post office on tax day. Add one more sure thing: That on the Thursday following tax day this column will whine about Channel 12 adding to the mess at the post office. Those are the four sure things in life. Oh yeah, and the fact that some people at Channel 12 will get real miffed that I complain about their contributing to the chaos at the post office on tax day.

Services for Jonathan Studebaker will be held Saturday, April 21, at the university stadium beginning at 1 pm. Studebaker, a former planning commissioner and vocal advocate for the disabled, died April 3 at age 35. Donations can be made to the Shriners hospitals, which cared for Jon for so many years. Also, there’s been some interest detected in naming something after the guy; something besides the so-called “Studebaker strips.” Former City Councilmember Ted Hubert was honored with Conference Room No. 1, in the council chambers building. (Of course nobody calls in "The Ted Hubert Room"—it’s still called "Conference Room No. 1.") Studebaker got a kick out of the argument conservative councilmembers used to secure that naming, as well as a number of other conservative desires: "Ted would have wanted it that way." I’d like to hear some suggestions. Let’s name something after Jon. He would have wanted it that way.