Taking their stand

Councilmembers like Holcombe have every right to opine on Enloe

Should city councilmembers take public stands on non-city issues? No, says the Chico Enterprise-Record—once again chiding Mayor Andy Holcombe, this time for signing an open letter to the Enloe Medical Center Board of Trustees on behalf of service workers seeking a good union contract.

“Anything for votes,” the E-R states derisively in a Sept. 6 editorial.

Holcombe took similar flak in February 2007, when he participated in a press conference asking trustees to avoid a strike by negotiating a contract. This time, he was not alone. The letter was also signed by Councilmembers Ann Schwab and Scott Gruendl, as well as council candidate Ali Sarsour and Assembly candidate Mickey Harrington.

The E-R editorial board’s argument is that, with the city facing so many problems of its own, the “City Council doesn’t need to get mixed up in the operation of a private business.”

This is not just any business; it’s the city’s only hospital. Moreover, three people do not a City Council make, and the three councilmembers weren’t pretending to represent anyone but themselves. As we said of Holcombe following the 2007 event, he had every right—some might say an obligation—to use his clout “as he sees fit, especially when it comes to an institution as important as Enloe. By taking a stand on such issues as unionization and patient care, he encourages others to learn about the issues and get involved.”

If voters don’t like it, they can elect someone else.

It’s called democracy.