Local politics

I haven’t paid much attention to politics the last few years. Actually I’ve avoided it more often than not, but local politicians’ shenanigans interest me, and I went to the candidates’ forum done by the League of Women Voters in the Chico Silly Council room last week. The place was packed.

I went to see Heidi Hall and Dough LaMalfa, who are running for the House of Reprehensibles, and I accidentally hit the jackpot. I didn’t know about any other participants until I got there and found that the League of Women Voters had included candidates for the Chico Unified School District Board and the Chico Silly Council. Mark Twain allegedly said, “In the first place, God made idiots.  That was for practice.  Then he made school boards.” He said that a long time ago, too.

I got to sit for three hours listening to mostly blather, and even when it wasn’t blather it sounded like blather—and now and then, drivel—because everybody used the same frame of reference and agreed on the basics.  Some of them seemed sincere, which I know can be practiced, and some of them were obviously full of it, or maybe themselves.  They all believe in the essential goodness of the system although they think it’s broken in some way that they can fix. My kind of politician is anybody who supports eliminating the body to which she wants to be elected.

Three candidates for the Chico School Board showed up, as did seven candidates for the Chico Silly Council. What a bunch. There had been four candidates for the CUSD board, but one of them withdrew her candidacy, perhaps the wisest of the lot.

Dough LaMalfa is not one of us, unless you’re him.  He said, “I’m from the neighborhood.” but I don’t think he was talking to you.  He’s fine with fracking—never mind all the water used and the poisons involved, it makes us less dependent on foreign sources. Saying that Dough LaMalfa might be simple might be libelous, so I won’t.

LaMalfa’s also not so sure about this global-warming flap, temperatures have always varied, et cetera. I can’t argue with that last bit. Some talk about climate-change deniers like heretics and, like Ms. Hall, cite numbers to back up the notion that people have made the Earth hotter. I don’t put much stock in numbers on a little screen, no matter what they’re supposed to mean. I think that’s part of my fogeydom, and I’m delighted.

I don’t care whether Earth is warming up or not. Nor do I care what role people played, and I definitely don’t care that an organization of Catholic bishops has agreed to blame global warming on us—small potatoes next to original sin—which Ms. Hall thought worth mentioning, along with the concurrence of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.  It must be so. All the experts say so.  What flavor is the Kool-Aid™?

I think the adjustments thought necessary to counteract global warming make sense and seem mindful of the effects of materialistic capitalism and capitalistic materialism.  That’s why I recycle and don’t let the water run while I brush my teeth.  I don’t care what Homeland Security says, or ninety-seven per cent of the scientific climate-change experts in all of Creation, for that matter.

You want to be careful voting for the candidates for the Chico Silly Council, because a couple of them are a little loose around the edges, not quite tucked in all the way. They would liven things up, though, which would be worth the risk, and they can count on my vote.

Where the hell are the socialists when we need them? Or any other “-ist,” for that matter, including communists—communism didn’t fail; the Soviet Union failed—though no damned “-arians,” except vegetarians. I’d vote for a vegetarian.


  1. Thank you for making us laugh! And Dough LaMalfa is supporting the State of Jefferson? Not sure what that is about but the resources. Love your eagle eye.

  2. Alden Denny says:

    Mr. Porter,
    Before today, the last I read from you was your final column for the CNR. Although I was relieved that I no longer had any need or inclination to pick up that paper ever again, I was tremendously sad to see you go. I feared that I would never again be able to read your sober, sensible words in this (at times) particular un-sober and un-sensible town.

    My relief at seeing that you have been provided a regular column in The Synthesis is immense. Reading both your column and this publication on a weekly basis has been a joy, relief, and comfort for the last 7 years.

    I came to Chico in 2007 with the sole intention of studying music and music education, a decision made 7 years beforehand due to summers spent in Chico in contact with some of the music faculty. From 2007 on, I read nearly every issue of The Synthesis and, first out of curiosity and then habit, nearly every one of your columns. Though my memory is fleeting at best, I remember the weekly encouragement supplied by both being extremely nourishing (despite the fluctuating quality of the publications).

    My years in college, in retrospect, were intensive but not difficult. There was successes; perhaps you might remember my face from the multiple bands I was active in: Count Funkula, Chico Ska Orchestra, Eye Que & Live Assist, Brass Hysteria! a very short stint with Big Tree Fall Down, and collegiate groups among others. I was even the literal poster boy for the Cammies one year (The groups I was playing with and I got three separate awards that year).

    Since leaving Chico and beginning my career as a mostly-music-only-substitute-teacher-unless-I-really-need-the-money-in-which-case-I’m-a-P.E.-babysitter down in Marysville/Yuba City, my outlook on life , education, and society has taken a turn for the bitter (beer helps with that, I’m told); and learning that your column was being closed for good didn’t help.

    Of course, since my base of operation has shifted southward, the continuation of your column should affect me only minimally now (I don’t believe in electronic publications, whether they exist or not), but knowing that whenever I visit here I can read your words is a boon and a blessing.

    In short, thank you for your thoughts. They may or may not have been interpreted as you intended (as an educator and artist, I understand that feeling), nor was writing them either particularly exciting, therapeutic, or least of all enjoyable; but a joy they were to me, even when solemn or saddening.

    May you be blessed in your new venue, and may The Synthesis be blessed by your blessing.

    A long-time fan,
    Alden Denny

  3. Holy smokes. Your best post yet. Wanted to thumbs up several statements even though I don’t know your local politics. May I share on Facebook?

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