Last April, Bertagna told us he would wait to see what Houx decided about her political future before making official his quest for her seat. And indeed, according to an inside source, Houx was about to announce two months ago that she was ready to quit and get out of the way so a younger candidate could take over. But apparently Bertagna, who can come across as rather arrogant at times, so angered Houx when he met and talked with her that she changed her mind. The source said, “She smelled blood.” Soon after that she contacted Assemblyman Sam Aanestad and asked for his endorsement. In the E-R story, Bertagna comes across as critical of Houx. He says the paper paraphrased his comments inaccurately. That happens. Now Bertagna and Houx are going to beat each other up and split the Republican vote. The liberals would rather see Houx than Bertagna in the seat but could come to realize that this may be a good time to run a candidate of their own. (Place Scott Gruendl‘s name here.) For his part, Bertagna said we took him out of context when we said he was waiting for Houx to decide her political future before he announced his plans. Oh. But now he has announced and the battle begins. John Gillander, gadfly and conservative goofball, predicted, “We’ll beat Houx by a landslide.” The Republicans have been in control so long in Butte County that they’re starting to eat their young.
Supervisor Jane Dolan, who’s been in office since, oh, about 1946, will be facing John Merrifield in the primaries next March. Merrifield is a farm-property real estate man from Durham who ran against and lost to Dolan three terms ago. While present at this week’s Chico City Council meeting, Merrifield called Bertagna his “running mate.” “Hey, I guess we’re running mates, huh?” he said a couple of times to Bertagna. We couldn’t hear Bertagna’s response, though we suppose it was positive. Merrifield used to take out an ad in this paper to run a weekly column on what he thinks about things.
We hear that Bruce Sessions, KPAY’s conservative talk show host, will step down this fall. Sessions said he’s not sure yet and that if we reported this he might well change his mind. He told me more than a year ago that he would leave the station sometime after the November 2000 election. Now word is that he will be hired as Butte County Sheriff Scott Mackenzie‘s new press liaison. Dino Corbin, new manager at KPAY, and Sessions don’t get along too well, we heard. But Sessions and Mackenzie are pretty good pals. Another couple of political buddies, Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi and political operative David Reade, made a splash recently when the Paradise Post reported Reade had recently taken a job as consultant to NorCal Waste Systems. The supervisor pushed hard to secure NorCal’s place as one of only two haulers allowed to operate in Butte County. We hear that Reade really wanted to be the county administrator, a job currently held by John Blacklock, who last March announced he was retiring in September.