Shell game

I learned a valuable lesson this week that goes something like this: “If you can’t say something nice about egg-throwers, you’d best not say anything at all.” Last week’s column also got me egged, metaphorically, by an unhappy reader who wrote with such motivation that she didn’t have time to fuss with periods or conventional grammar. (Spelling mistakes, which often come with furious writing, have been fixed in the following.) “With all that is going on in the world and in our community, the news and review actually pays you a salary to write this crap? Is the CNR a little paranoid? Clearly I understand that this week’s piece represents your weak and boring sense of humor, perhaps constantly displayed because you lack so many of the real facts regarding the DCBA and the PBID and do not know what else to write about, but seriously do you think the busy, not to mention concerned citizens of this community have time to sit and consider your ridiculous finger pointing about some kids who egged the building your offices reside in?”

A note of explanation: The folks who currently run the Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA) are pushing for a new assessment district, the PBID, to help bolster their budget and get things cleaned up downtown. Some of them are a little high strung these days, what with the effort to pass the PBID, so they should probably be forgiven for their seemingly irrational reactions. (By the way, we have recently installed a John Ashcroft-autographed, state-of-the-art, Patriot Act-approved video surveillance system here at the CN&R.)

If Chico Councilmember Coleen Jarvis had a nemesis on the council, it was surely Steve Bertagna. They were on the opposite sides of issues so consistently that when they did agree, one of them would take note of the blue-moon occurrence. I talked with Bertagna this week. He is on a motorcycle adventure somewhere out of state. He said he had just lost the back tire of his Honda and was waiting to get it fixed. I think he was somewhere in Nevada. “The two of us were political opposites,” Bertagna said in reference to Jarvis. “I think we had a good example of a love-hate relationship.” Because of her drive and strong opinions, he added, Jarvis will be long remembered. He said he felt bad that he would be unable to attend her memorial services this Saturday. He also said something in the city should be honored with Jarvis’ name. The late Ted Hubert got his moniker attached to Conference Room No. 1 in the City Council building. There was a bit of a political upheaval over this, I recall, with opponents saying it set a bad precedent. Jarvis, David Guzzetti and former Councilmember Mary Andrews were against it. The night the council voted, Guzzetti and Jarvis were absent. They didn’t want to cast their votes against the late councilmember but in good conscience couldn’t vote for it. Hubert was a fiscal conservative whose hold on the city’s purse strings was so tight he made present-day council tightwad Larry Wahl look like the proverbial drunken sailor. The only thing I can remember Hubert ever voting for was to keep the Bidwell Park Deer Pen. Otherwise he’d say, “Nope, too expensive.”

Today, of course, nobody calls that room the “Ted Hubert Room.” It is still referred to as Conference Room No. 1. Bertagna said he is open to suggestions. While Herbert was concerned about the welfare of some troubled deer, Jarvis promoted helping down-and-out humans. The homeless shelter is already named for Tim Torres. The Esplanade House? Maybe we should think even bigger. How about the Chico Municipal Building? That’s a bland name. Doesn’t the “Coleen Marie Jarvis Building” sound more welcoming?

A reminder that Jarvis’ memorial is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, in Laxson Auditorium. Doors open at 9:30. I would guess the place will be overflowing.