Coleen Jarvis is back. The feisty, passionate and outspoken Chico councilmember held a press conference this week to give an update on her health and fight against cancer. In July she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After she entered Enloe Medical Center for surgery to remove the tumor, she was also diagnosed with colon cancer. In fact, the cancer may have started in the colon and then metastasized to her brain, where symptoms were more obvious. In other words, the brain tumor could well have been a blessing in disguise. At the press conference, where she sported a new and fashionably short haircut, Jarvis said her outlook “continues to be good—and I mean that,” and that she will be back full time by October. She will go through four weeks of radiation treatment to remove the last of the tumor, which could not be removed surgically. “I ask that you grant me the time and understanding that, while my participation [over the next few weeks] is less than 100 percent, my heart and commitment will be there.”
Surrounded by her family, Jarvis read her press release and kept it together emotionally until she mentioned the support of her family and the hundreds of cards and letters she’s received from the community. In fact, she seemed genuinely surprised by that outpouring. “Any of this can change at any time,” she said. “I mean, I could get hit by a car crossing the street.” Still, she said, she expects to back by October, fulfilling her responsibilities as both a city councilmember and a juvenile dependency attorney. “In the meantime,” she said, “I will be as active as often and as much as I am able.”
There are six people running for three seats on the Chico City Council. That’s a good thing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that there will be just as many winners as losers in the November election. In the past we’ve had as many as 19 people running for those elusive seats, which means we had a bunch of losers moping around town for a few months following the election. Those candidates are incumbents Maureen Kirk and Dan Herbert, former planning commissioner and veteran candidate Scott Gruendl, current planning commissioner and dentist Ross Bradford, bar owner Barbi Boeger and business owner and high-school mascot Jjon Mohr (see cover story). The strategy by the powers that be on the left and the right is obvious. Two out of the three seats are need to gain the majority. The progressives are running Gruendl and Kirk; the conservatives have Bradford and Herbert. Adding a third candidate on the slate by either side could possibly dilute votes. It’s a better bet to run just two candidates, since only two seats are needed for the conservatives to maintain power or for the progressives to steal it away.
The Bertagna flap just won’t stop. For two weeks letters to the editor as well as many of the recorded messages in the daily paper’s Tell It to the E-R column, have focused on little else than Councilmember Steve Bertagna's use at a public meeting of the word "jewed." Bertagna has both his defenders (Hey, it was a compliment to the Jewish people) and detractors (He has no choice but to resign!) Well, he shouldn’t resign. If enough people are put off, he will be voted out of office in two years. As for the word being a compliment, since when is referring to an entire ethnic group as a bunch of thieves complimentary? Whatever the case, maybe now we can put it to rest. Still, no matter what Bertagna does in the future—broker peace in the Middle East, single-handedly pull the nation out of its dire economy, personally build affordable housing in Chico—the former mayor will forever be known as the councilmember who said "jewed."