Why we went with the three progressives in our City Council endorsements
Ah, election time. It’s one of the more stressful periods for newspaper editors—at least in my experience. Figuring out our endorsements gives me fits. I take them very seriously. When it comes to the ballot measures, for example, I read virtually anything I can get my hands on for research purposes.
As for the candidates for local office, we go a step further. In addition to attending the candidate forums and reading campaign literature, we invite them to sit down with us for a chat. (In this case, the “us” is yours truly and Managing Editor Meredith J. Cooper.)
Unlike during the Butte County League of Women Voters (LWV) forums, we can ask as many questions and follow-ups as time allows and push back on nebulous answers. That’s the best way to gauge how would-be politicos will handle themselves at the dais, where they will interact with strangers.
Overall, I enjoy the process. It gives me a sense of the person behind the political mailers and soundbites. Meanwhile, it gives the candidates a sense for the people behind these ink-soaked pages.
One of the keys for us is to keep an open mind. That was our mantra going into each of the interviews we conducted over the past month with the candidates for Chico City Council.
Irrespective of whom we endorsed for the three open seats, we liked all of the candidates. I mean that. Indeed, it made our job tougher when it came to making a final call. We found a lot of common ground on issues the council should better address, such as economic development, maintenance of city parks and recreation spaces, and the polarization that has crippled thoughtful discussion that leads to solutions.
In our early conversations about the candidates, the outcome varied from what you’ll read in our endorsements.
The sticking point? Our No. 1 concern: homelessness.
In the end, we chose the candidates we believe are best equipped to reject the course the current council majority has chosen over the last four years to address this crisis. Our hope is that they will move forward with careful consideration of the potential policies and collaborations with stakeholders that will reduce the rate of chronic homelessness and the associated problems that the community is so up in arms about.
Of course, voters should do their own homework. In addition to watching the aforementioned LWV forums (available on BCAC.tv’s YouTube channel), we urge everyone to read a variety of local news coverage, including this paper’s special election coverage (pages 10 and 18-22). In it, you’ll see what the council candidates had to say in their own words.
Speaking of endorsements We may weigh in on a few more contests over the coming weeks. This year’s ballot is hefty, and there are a couple we’re continuing to research. We’ll also be reprinting our endorsements in a condensed form as we get closer to Election Day. Speaking of which, Monday (Oct. 22), is the last day to register to vote.
You can’t complain if you don’t participate.