Sam and me

I got to meet last week with Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, as he made his pass through our neck of his district. Aanestad has an office on the third floor of the Chico Municipal Building, and I’d been invited there by Aanestad’s senior consultant, Josh Cook. Misunderstanding some of the details included in my e-mailed invitation from Cook, I arrived at Aanestad’s office a week and five minutes early. I didn’t stick around and wait, though, because I’m a busy guy with important things to do. When I returned a week later, the senator already had someone in his office, and I was asked to wait, but this time it would only be for 10 minutes or so. I could handle that. While I passed the time in the little room where they have the media mailboxes, a round table, a television, DVD player and a collection of videos and DVD recordings of Chico City Council and Parks Commission meetings, I was joined by local economic mover and shaker Bob Linscheid, who also had an appointment with the senator. Soon I was summoned into Aanestad’s office. As I walked down the short hall leading to the office door, I got this sinking feeling and was suddenly transported back to about 1970; I was in junior high school and headed to the principal’s office.

The conservative senator and I talked about the state of affairs in Sacramento, what with the new governor and all. He told me that, unlike some of his fellow conservative Republicans, he did not go gaga over the new and severely moderate Republican governor. Aanestad said he’d been asked by Bill Simon during the recall election for an endorsement. But Simon dropped out of the race, so Aanestad didn’t endorse anyone. Now, he said, he’s waiting to see how the new governor performs on the job. I asked if he was optimistic. “I recently sat next to [failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Tom] McClintock,” Aanestad said. “And he is the most pessimistic person I know. But he told me he was optimistic about the future. If Tom is optimistic, then so am I.” Fair enough.

CBS folded this week in the face of a conservative firestorm and decided not to air its two-part mini-series on Ronald Reagan. No wonder. Look at this (uncorrected) letter we received via e-mail from a couple in Redding (and note that the conservative organization GOP Team Leader has stopped sending its members electronic form letters to which they can attach their names, instead simply suggesting topics for letters to the editor indicating support or protest): “Dear Chico News & Review: Please do not support the airing of the miniseries that supports a liberal agenda. This miniseries does not utilize the truth and has actually admitted that it made things up. Made up damaing quotes in a effort to make ronald reagon look bad. Where will it stop….”

Call me sensitive, childish, sophomoric if you wish, but this column, launched in the spring of 1994 and taken over by me a few months after its creation, is neither little nor glib, as it was recently labeled by a fellow hack journalist. “You’re not going to put this in your glib little column, are you?” this person demanded after telling me something of minor interest. Glib little column? My dictionary defines “glib” as a) performed with ease and informality; b) superficial; insincere. I think this person was leaning on the latter definition. Why do people insist on slipping in the adjective “little” (or glib) when referring to this column, this weekly toil, this thing that pretty much validates my earthly existence? Would you ask master builder and renovator Wayne Cook, “How’s that little Diamond Hotel restoration coming along?” Of course not. Consider the other columns in this town. Physically, measured by word-count, this one is no smaller than David Little’s weekly effort over at the E-R. This column runs 650 to 750 words; Little’s is about the same. Does anybody ever ask, “Did you read Little’s little column this week about his hunting/fishing/camping-with-the-guys trip?” Over at The Synthesis, Bill Fishkin’s offering usually adds up to about 400 words. (It’s not that he doesn’t have the space, he just seems to run out of things to say.) So call it stupid; call it a waste of ink; call it pointless. Just don’t call it little.