What if Wahl wins?

The current balance of influence would be lost without Dolan

What if Larry Wahl replaces Jane Dolan on the county Board of Supervisors? I ask because Wahl, unlike Maureen Kirk’s opponent for her supervisor’s seat, Erny Spears, has a fighting chance to win. He’s raised as much money as Dolan has, and he has a large constituency gathered during his long tenure on the Chico City Council.

Conservatives tend to vote more heavily than liberals in primaries, and this year there’s far more meat to eat on the Republican election plate than on the Democrats’. If Dolan’s supporters don’t turn out in force, Wahl could win.

Let’s look at it this way: What if Wahl, not Dolan, had been on the board lately? The M&T open-pit gravel mine on farm land near the river probably would have been approved (it was nixed, 2-3, with Bill Connelly following Dolan and Kirk’s lead in opposition). And surely Wahl would have joined the “three gents” on the board to give the green light to the New Era Mine, a terrible decision on its face and one that a judge later ruled was unlawful. The bills have just begun to roll into the county on that one.

The board has a conservative majority, but Dolan and to a lesser extent Kirk are such convincing advocates that they’re often able to move it in a positive direction. That would be gone if Wahl were elected. And without Dolan there, the Greenline would be much more vulnerable to developers’ influence.

Another reason to hope for a good turnout: Christina Billeci. Billeci is this year’s surprise candidate, a talented Democrat who could actually give global-warming denier Dan Logue a run for his 3rd Assembly District seat in November. A three-term Marysville councilwoman, she also was Yuba County’s public guardian for 31 years, a position that gave her a valuable perspective on the operation of county and state government.

I had coffee with her the other day, and was impressed by her grasp of the state’s financial crisis and the innovative nature of her proposals to solve it. Her Democratic primary opponent, old-school union man Mickey Harrington, is a good guy with a big heart, but she’s way quicker and more knowledgeable than he is.

City Beautification Dept.: If you haven’t seen the bikeway tunnel connecting Lower Park with Annie’s Glen, you’ve missed out. It’s a lovely expression of the Chico community’s love of nature and the park.

The tunnel’s walls are decorated with hundreds of colorful ceramic tiles, many of them carrying images of various plants, animals, fish and insects found along the Big Chico Creek riparian corridor. Most were made by school children, some by adults, but all are wonderful to look at.

The tiling was coordinated by local artist Janice Hofmann, owner of All Fired Up Ceramic Art Center, who worked with local schools and various groups to create the tiles. She did a terrific job.

Every time I ride through on my bicycle, I marvel at what a pretty addition this artwork is and how it transforms what otherwise would be an ugly tunnel into a thing of beauty. Congratulations and thanks to all who worked on it.