Removing Jim

It was just like the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip, only without the wailing and praying. Two weeks ago city workers uprooted and moved the public-art bench at Second and Main streets, carried it a block-and-a-half west and set it down close to the old El Rey Theater. The idea, as we understand it, was aimed to disperse Jim, the guy who’s regularly sat on the bench since it was installed earlier this year. In this case, workers raised with forklift (as opposed to razed with a bulldozer) the Jackson Pollack-themed bench that sat on Second Street around the corner from the entrance to Zucchini & Vine, whose owners had reportedly expressed some discomfort with Jim’s faithful presence on the bench. He was discouraging potential customers, they said. So the bench was moved.

Jim said that when the city workers and their forklift arrived and prepared to lift the bench, they refused to tell him why it was being moved or disclose its new location. So he dutifully got off the bench—no protest here—and watched while they carried it down the street and installed it in front of the theater. Jim said he will not follow it, that he is more comfortable at the corner of Second and Main—his territory. Indeed, though his presence is less consistent than it used to be, Jim is still there on occasion, sitting on the base of the Zucchini & Vine window frame on Second Street, smoking cigarettes and greeting passersby with his customary nod of the head. War has been averted. We think.

We usually pay a lot of attention to what’s printed in the Enterprise-Record because of the sometimes-useful information we gain. We’ve learned, for instance, that the Chico City Council Chambers have been moved to Gridley and that the Cleveland Indians have miraculously leaped ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central Division standings. No kidding. The Saturday, Aug. 20 paper told us that Rep. Wally Herger was scheduled to visit the Chico Chamber of Commerce, which is located, the paper said, on Kentucky Street in Gridley. What’s going on here, we wondered. Cost savings? Maybe it was an attempt to get away from those rowdy council attendees who ruin the ambiance of an otherwise perfectly decent public meeting. Then we thought maybe it was a mistake. Why would they move the Chico City Council meetings to Gridley? But the next day we saw the same information in the Sunday paper. That was disconcerting. We were comforted, however, when we turned to the sports page and saw that our beloved Cleveland Indians are leading their division by a game-and-a-half over the Minnesota Twins. An amazing turnaround. Seems like just days ago we were trailing the Chicago White Sox by something like 10 games. What’s really weird is that at this late date in the season, when most MLB teams have played at least 120 games, the teams in the American League Central have only played about 60 games. Guess we have a lot of doubleheaders coming up through September.

Obviously the above refers to mistakes in the E-R that have so far gone uncorrected. Here are some more: According to one of its “Hits and Misses” Saturday editorials, the author of this column is “duplicitous.” Having looked up the definition (purposely deceitful), we have to say that is not true. If we are ever deceitful, it is by accident. Then the “Misses” goes on to say that we “refused” to return a phone call to a reporter whom we “took to task.” Not true. We didn’t get the phone call, or more precisely, hear the voice message, until late on the day our paper goes to the publisher. No chance to return the call. The E-R story was out the next morning. And we didn’t take the reporter to task; we took the editors who pressured the reporter to file an incomplete story to task. There. With the exception of where the Chico City Council is really located and the true standings of the American League Central Division, all has been corrected.