The list. It’s my method for everything, and for compiling the one for this column, the criteria is: What’s on my mind? And is any of that also on the community’s mind?
In the notebook at this writing: World Cup, guitar effects pedals, Theme of 2022?, election results, Guillermo.
World cup? Hmmm … It is on the world’s mind, and I do have one eye on the second half of England v. USA as I type, but I’ve got nothing. (Turns out, neither did either side in this match that ended 0-0.)
Guitar effects pedals? On this list? I might have a problem. Although, if y’all were as obsessed with them as I have been lately, this column would be finished in record time.
Theme of 2022? Election results? In the introduction to this issue’s annual Top Ten stories list, the CN&R poses what the theme for the year might be, and I was very thankful there was no life-changing catastrophe—e.g., Trump, wildfire, Trump, global pandemic, Trump, wildfire—to color the year.
Personally, 2022 was defined by emotional extremes. My stepdad (the dad who raised me) died during the holidays last year, and less than a year later, as we were preparing for his belated celebration of life, my birth father passed away as well. On the sunnier side, with COVID restrictions largely lifted, I was able to spend more time with family and friends, finally could play live music again and was fortunate enough to travel to Europe … twice!
As for locals’ minds, issues around homelessness were at the forefront again in 2022. The recent election has shown that most local voters prefer get tough over give help rhetoric. Chico’s City Council has now swung right four out of the last five elections (with a 6-1 advantage on deck), with “public safety” as the nerve the conservatives have tapped. (Never mind that public safety has been a priority for both right- and left-leaning candidates.)
Guillermo? Yes, Bill “Guillermo” Mash. He is on the minds of so many as of this writing he remains in the intensive care unit at Enloe Medical Center after suffering a heart attack. I count Guillermo among my dearest friends. In fact, I don’t know that there’s a person who is as universally adored/admired by Chicoans than the humble, kind citizen journalist, community builder, music/arts supporter/fanatic and tireless advocate for the unhoused.
As I join Chico in holding Guillermo close in our collective heart, praying for the best possible outcome for him, I can’t think of a better way to punctuate this year than to share his own words (from the 2017 CN&R Local Heroes issue), with a wish that those in local government read them, too.
What’s uncomfortable for many people is to meet people where they’re at. It changes people’s lives. Because it shows them immediately that you care. … [Ask] “How can I help you?” And just help them.
[Editor’s note: After press deadline, the CN&R received confirmation that Bill “Guillermo” Mash died on Nov. 29. An update will be posted online in the weeks to come, and in the January print edition.]