Two hot seats

City Council vacancies attract a crowd of applicants

The Chico City Council, down to five members, considers how to fill its two openings at the July 6 meeting. (Photo by Evan Tuchinsky)

A total of 21 applicants—including a retired police chief and two former council members—have tossed their hats in the ring to fill two vacant positions on the Chico City Council.

The majority of hopefuls, 14, are vying for the at-large position opened by the resignation of Scott Huber. The remaining seven are competing for the District 3 seat opened by Kami Denlay’s resignation. All of the candidates will be interviewed publicly at a special City Council meeting on Tuesday (July 20) at 6 p.m.

The most recognizable names in the bunch are former Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien and former Councilmen Tom Nickell and Larry Wahl, all for the at-large spot. O’Brien served as chief from 2015 until his retirement last year. Nickell served on the council from 2006 to 2010. Wahl was a councilman from 2000 until 2010, and the last time the council appointed a new member to fill a vacant position was when he was elected to the Butte County Board of Supervisors. Wahl served as a supervisor until he lost his seat in June 2018 to Debra Lucero.

Rounding out the applicants for the at-large position are Beth Burton, Jordan Colby, Jesica Giannola, Jeffrey Glatz, Bryce Goldstein, Lori LaRiviere, Tim Lynch, Daniel Rodrigues Sr., Derrick Sanderson, Jon Scott and Lucille Wanee. The applicants for District 3 are Amberlynn Avila, Dale Bennett, Adam Ghiorso, Amber Howard-Brown, Sandra Husband, Sam King and Brian Logue.

Some of the at-large applicants have served on various city commissions. Glatz is the current chair of the Bidwell Parks and Playground Commission, and Goldstein serves on the Planning Commission. Wanee served on the Arts Commission. In addition to having serving on the council, Wahl is a planning commissioner, and Nickell has served on the Parks Commission. Nickell currently is on the Chico Area Recreation and Parks District (CARD) board, an elected office.

Of the District 3 applicants, one has commission experience: Bennett is a former Planning Commissioner who’s serving on the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board.

All of the council hopefuls’ applications—including statements about what each sees as Chico’s three most significant issues and possible solutions—are viewable in the staff report linked to the July 20 City Council meeting agenda on the city’s website.

In spite of calls at the July 6 meeting to fill the vacancies by a special election, the council voted 4-1 (with Council Member Alex Brown dissenting) to appoint the new members.

After interviewing the candidates at Tuesday’s meeting, each of the five current members will nominate up to two applicants for each position. A vote will be held at another special meeting, on July 27, and the two winners will be sworn in at the council’s regular meeting on Aug. 3. Both seats will be up for grabs again in the November 2022 election.

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