Well, there you go again

Final forum
The Associated Students of Chico State will host a debate among Chico City Council candidates Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at BMU Auditorium.

Oct. 26, 2006—a date which shall live in infamy. Or so I thought that Thursday morning, after absorbing a barrage of e-mails and phone calls ripping our endorsements.

One in particular.

“CN&R’s council endorsement today was one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in your newspaper in the paper’s 29 years here. With pro-developer Sorensen getting E-R and CN&R endorsement, we get a developer majority. Thanks a lot …”

“What has happened to this once-respectable voice of reason?”

“Hope you’re pleased with yourself for fucking up the city! [click]”

As it turns out, the man these people thought we should have endorsed, Tom Nickell, ended up winning. Along with the progressives we did endorse, he kept the balance of power in favor of the left, at 5-2 instead of 4-3.

Oct. 23, 2008—a date which shall live in …?

I’ll know mid-afternoon. Coincidentally, albeit conveniently, I’m booked to observe the county registrar’s precinct training all morning.

I predict more disappointment than anger over the fact we again endorsed Mark Sorensen. A 4-0 conservative sweep is an improbability, and our reason now is pretty much our reason then. Still, based on the number of support letters, I know the many friends of Ali Sarsour will take issue with his omission.

As in the case of Nickell, I won’t get caught in the “why not” trap—I don’t want in any way to diminish him, which is what comparisons tend to do. He is a good man, a righteous man, and will make a fine councilman if elected.

In considering the eight candidates, our editorial board favored five, but there aren’t that many seats available. (Unless the council votes to play musical chairs each meeting …)

The most arduous deliberation was for Chico school board.

Liz Griffin missed a big opportunity to introduce herself at the League of Women Voters’ forum this month, but we’re not going to hold a family vacation against her. We came away from our candidate interview impressed with her energy, knowledge, perspective, energy, experience … and did I say energy?

That left four candidates for one seat.

David Pollak (who also missed the candidates forum but came in on a Saturday to meet with us) is a devoted parent and a decent guy who attends his daughters’ field hockey games instead of board meetings—explaining both why I like him and why we just couldn’t endorse him.

Zane Schreder clearly has a passion for education. He’s also one intense dude. He’s also got a conflict-of-interest problem I don’t think he can explain away. As a school project manager, he’d need to recuse himself from every facilities improvement vote because he’d invariably have a working relationship with at least one of the bidders. That negates his biggest plus.

Jjon Mohr is a force of nature. He’s convinced the district has fundamental problems, and he won’t rest until he ferrets them out. As much as I think CUSD would benefit from some serious scrutiny, I don’t think an atomic blast is the best source of illumination.

That leaves Reed, the incumbent, who’s served four taxing years. Much that’s afflicted the district has been beyond her control; still, I question whether she’s looked at problems with a critical-enough eye. Asking pointed questions isn’t the same as asking hard questions.

In the end, my gut said Pollak, but my head (and editorial board colleague) said Reed—as does our endorsement.