Sanctity of mayors

Congratulations to Scott Gruendl, new Chico mayor. Getting the job wasn’t easy. The three conservatives on the City Council tried to block his appointment with some pretty far-fetched reasons: Forty-five minutes is too long of a commute from his job in Willows should some mayoral ribbon-cutting emergency arise; Gruendl is too liberal to be mayor of Chico; Gruendl is a divider, not a uniter. I heard that Mayor Maureen Kirk was under a lot of pressure from various local interests not to throw her decisive vote to Gruendl. She didn’t fold. I assume the reasons given to Kirk were similar to the ones voiced at this week’s council meeting. But there is something that must be pointed out here, something no one wants to mention, so I will: Gruendl is gay. Now, I’m not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that this is the case here, but I sure hope resistance to his being named mayor was not grounded in some sort of idea that the sanctity of “mayorige” must be protected; that we need an amendment to the city charter that says the Chico mayor shall only be heterosexual. We’re beyond that, aren’t we?

Good newsWal-Mart has finally said OK to union representation for its associates (known in most other businesses as workers). The only problem is that the option is available only to the 20,000 associates working in the 40 Wal-Marts in China. The union is the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which according to a news story by Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect is “a body dominated by the Chinese Communist Party.” American unions, of course, are staunchly anti-communist, so maybe that’s why Wal-Mart won’t allow the AFL-CIO into its American stores to represent the millions of Wal-Mart workers here.

There was a story in this week’s Sacramento Bee that said Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gave the members of his caucus iPod digital music players, costing $300 apiece, at a GOP policy retreat last week in San Diego. At about the same time I talked by phone with our Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico, who told me he was in San Diego on a family vacation, right on the heels of returning from a working vacation in Israel. He didn’t say anything to me about the iPod, but he told the Bee they make terrific traveling companions. I’ll bet. Hey Rick, what kind of music do you listen to when traveling? Anybody watch 60 Minutes last Sunday? It was all about the so-called backdoor draft in which military reservists are being called back to duty, in some cases decades after they served. This raises the question: Will President Bush, one-time Texas Air National Guard reservist, be tapped for action in Iraq or Afghanistan? Why not? He’s already got a flight suit he can wear. Can you imagine the president going to war? I mean, talk about leading by example. On the other hand, if he is sucked up in this backdoor draft, will his dad have to step in and fix things like he did 35 years ago?

Last year my kid played in a CARD basketball league. His team’s coach was great—he had a basketball court in his back yard. That’s a coach. Turns out this year my kid’s team doesn’t have a coach and, in consequence, no backyard court for practice. The team’s first scrimmage is this coming Saturday. Reluctantly I’ve offered to step in on an interim basis. We talked about it and agreed it’s tough to be the kid on the team whose dad is the coach. Real tough. I told him about Danny Landis, the kid on my minor A Little League baseball team whose dad was our manager. Danny should have been playing in the majors, where they wore full uniforms, including spikes, instead of just caps and T-Shirts. But Danny’s dad held him back so he could coach the boy. Danny was a great ball player, but he was miserable that summer so long ago. The other players weren’t jealous of Danny; we just felt sorry for him. I never saw him again after that summer. But I’m sure he’s messed up somehow because of that bad situation. Anyway, anybody with basketball sense and some free time is invited to contact CARD and relieve me from duty. My son will thank you.