Are you voting in November council race? For whom? If you can’t vote, and you wish you could vote, who would you vote for?

12 Sep

Friends ask me what I think of the upcoming council election, I always say my district isn’t up. But, as they usually remind me, those who get elected could most certainly wreak havoc on our lives and livelihood, as the current council is doing now. 

And today I notice, the biggest search is ‘council candidates’. I’m glad people are interested, so I guess I’ll throw my nickel down.

I hate the districts but I think we’re stuck with them. My biggest problem with the districts is they lower the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected – meaning, they actually represent a very small portion of the city, but everybody has to put up with their actions.

Here’s the link to the city website election page:

https://www.chico.ca.us/election-information

Do you know what district you’re in? I realize the boundaries are not shown that clearly. I just happened to recognize the shape of my street, and the way the fenceline runs down the neighborhood – the fence of my back yard is the boundary of my district. Cutting it pretty close, eh? Well, how’s this for close – it actually jogs over at Kasey Reynold’s house to take her residence into my district, and then jogs back. It’s pretty obvious these districts were drawn to accommodate the status quo.

If you are unsure of your district be  sure to contact the clerk’s office – debbie.presson@chicoca.gov  While you’re at it, thank Debbie and staff for now throwing up their hands and running away screaming.

Of course, my district is not up, so I guess I could ignore this mess until 2022. The problem being, like I said – all the council members will be in a position to screw up my life, so I guess I better pay attention.

Here’s another reason why districts are stupid – anybody can contribute to these campaigns. Your district council member can take money from anybody, so why should we only be allowed to vote for one candidate? Why did the council vote unanimously to go along with this deal instead of fighting the lawsuit?  Because both sides of the aisle think they can manipulate the districts to their favor. It’s a sad situation, but let’s talk about candidates anyway.

In District 1 we have incumbent Sean Morgan and challenger Curtis Pahlka. To his credit, Morgan has tried to hold the line regarding illegal camping and drug use. But he’s no fiscal conservative, having approved every management contract with all the perks and benies. He NEVER questions the pensions, just shakes his pompoms for the cops. Pahlka, on the other hand, is endorsed by unions like the SEIU. He’s also the darling of the local liberal fringe hangers, like Angela McLaughlin. While he has very little to say jfor himself about public policy at this point, his supporters are saying plenty.  So, in District 1, I’m endorsing Morgan.

District 3 is a real ballbuster – Incumbent Ann Schwab, who in 2012-13 tried to deny we had a financial crisis. Challenger Kami  Denlay Klingbeil, who complains about “Fires. Drug Paraphenalia. Vicious dog attacks. Assault. Attempted kidnappings. Drug deals. Human excrement. Trash. Chop shops…” but refuses to question the police as to why they don’t arrest these criminals. Steve Breedlove, whose agenda seems to be total anarchy.

I’ll tell you what sucks for me here – this district is right next to mine, right over my back fence, neighbors I’ve worked with on various issues, but I don’t get to vote. I hate the districts.

To her credit, Schwab has jumped the ideological fence a few times and voted with the conservatives, which means she’s workable. Denlay, with her childlike take on government, will just be another fist puppet for staff. Breedlove, with his total lack of civility and hystrionics, he’ll add hours to every meeting. So, in District 3, I’m endorsing Schwab.

Another toughie – District 5 – Incumbent Randall Stone, a guy with a colorful history of pissing off citizens and staff alike, he’s also been quick to back pedal when faced with a stone-toting mob. Former council member Andrew Coolidge was dumped in 2018 after jumping the conservative ship to vote with the liberals to declare a Shelter Crisis Designation, which led to the current situation in our parks and waterways. A new challenger, Lauren Kohler, a former Butte County Behavioral Health employee who currently works for a local manufacturer, is full of youthful idealism, but has very little to offer in terms of how to pay for the rainbow.  

I can’t support Coolidge because he’s the wrong kind of flipper. When he was campaigning he played to the conservatives with references to “bums” and Chico’s deteriorating public spaces. But as a council member he voted to declare a Shelter Crisis, which essentially allowed illegal camping in public lands. Meanwhile, Kohler makes no bones about wanting more services for transients, including a “come as you are” shelter. We already have a “come as you are” shelter, it’s called Butte County Jail. 

Meanwhile, looking back, I’ve actually agreed with Randall Stone on a number of issues. He and Tom Nickell made public the problems surrounding the recycling centers at various grocery stores, including what amounted to a bike “chop shop” behind the Mangrove Safeway. Stone, whether it was legal or correct or whatever, also outed a Chico PD officer for his really offensive and inappropriate behavior on Facebook. Stone took a lot of flack for that, but in the end that officer was discharged, and after seeing the stuff he put on Facebook, I’m okay with that. 

When Stone voted to totally revamp the South End of Esplanade, he got such a pantsful in the way of complaints from the public, he changed his vote. I think it takes a lot of guts for a public official to bow to the overwhelming sentiments of the voters and taxpayers.

Like when he voted against the recent sales tax increase measure. I almost had a stroke when I heard him say it. I really expected him to go along with the rest of them, I was already working on my Arguments Against for the ballot. I still don’t know if he really cares about low-income citizens, or if he just has a nose for any subtle change in the wind, but he shot that tax measure out of the saddle.

So I can live with Randy, in District 5, I’m endorsing Stone.

And then there’s District 7.  I know I don’t want Ober, who identifies too closely with the “Foul Four” and their “New Green Deal.” He is another member of the Homeless Industrial Complex who says he wants to use “imaginative ideas” to “solve homelessness” but won’t be rational on the subject of crime in Chico. He thinks everybody shares his lifestyle, he has no concept of blue collar work or low-income lifestyles. He’s what I like to call a “Happy Wanderer.” 

Meanwhile, I know nothing about Deepika Tandon except her ads are all over my computer. When I looked at her funding I saw where the money comes from – a lot of it from James Gallagher. Which means, developer money. 

I know we need affordable housing, but I’m not willing to dump environmental review just to cram in a bunch of tiny little boxes along the freeway. I don’t think you can build your way out of a housing crisis. Our housing crisis isn’t a lack of housing, it’s a lack of jobs. We need better quality jobs for people who already live in the North State. We don’t need to close manufacturing plants or pave over rice fields and orchards to build clusterfuck housing for yuppies to move here. 

District 7 is a draw. I don’t know if I can endorse Tandon, but I’ll say, I wouldn’t vote for Ober.

Issues? Next time, on This Old Voter, with Juanita!

2 Responses to “Are you voting in November council race? For whom? If you can’t vote, and you wish you could vote, who would you vote for?”

  1. Dave September 12, 2020 at 1:19 pm #

    Not one of them will mention the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room — THE PENSIONS AND OTHER UNFUNDED LIABILITIES! Have you heard ANY candidate mention even ONE WORD ABOUT IT??? Of course not. And it’s the biggest problem the city faces.

    Instead of reforming the out of control unfunded liabilities, whoever wins will do what they can to raise your taxes and get the city hundreds of millions more in debt so they can kick the pension time bomb down the road a couple more election cycles.

    Remember, even the so-called conservatives Morgan and Reynolds wanted a sales tax increase. The only reason we didn’t get a sales tax increase on the ballot was because the liberals and “conservatives” couldn’t agree on how to fleece us.

    No one on the current council and no one running is worth a damn. And they are all coming for your wallet because they are all whores for special interests.

    • Juanita Sumner September 13, 2020 at 5:53 am #

      Yeah, that’s the conclusion I came to – I hate having to “pick the lesser of evils”. But there it is.

      So yeah, let’s make ’em dance, let’s start asking them about the pensions, the pension deficit, and how much money a year (next year $11 million) will go to the UAL. Here’s a good question to hit them with – “what is the UAL?”

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