Where’s the action?

City Council’s commission selections lack diversity

Chico prides itself on its diversity. During her State of the City speech last week, Mayor Mary Goloff, speaking of the successes that most stand out from her tenure as a City Council member, said, “First and foremost, the city of Chico is truly a diverse community. I am proud of the numerous initiatives that have taken form over the years. Building a more inclusive community is not a priority; it’s a necessity.”

We agree that there’s a strong desire on the council’s part to create a diverse and inclusive community. But when it comes to translating desire into action, well, sometimes that’s a different matter.

As we reported last week, of the 60 people who applied to serve on city commissions and the one city board, only five were members of ethnic minority groups or people of color, including one man who was of both Middle Eastern heritage and Jewish. Of those five, none were selected to serve. Instead, 18 white people were added to the commissions and board.

One candidate, an African-American man, had a master’s degree in public administration from Chico State and said his dream was to be “city manager of Chico.” He wasn’t selected.

A bright, clearly talented high school student said she wanted to represent young people—a distinctly underrepresented group—on the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission. She wasn’t selected.

The city’s new Diversity Action Plan speaks specifically to the need to attract diverse applicants to serve on the commissions. Well, sorry, council members, but your plan is lacking the action it needs to be meaningful. Try harder.