ChicoSol journalists capture 5 state awards Waddell honored for police shooting, Sites stories

photo courtesy of Sites Project Authority
A conceptual rendering of the Sites reservoir west of Maxwell. Dave Waddell’s first-place story was supported by an Ethnic Media Services fellowship.

ChicoSol contributor Dave Waddell has won four honors, including two first-place awards, and ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton was named a second-place winner in the 2019 California Journalism Awards competition.

The results were announced Tuesday by the sponsoring California News Publishers Association, which cancelled its planned spring awards gala because of coronavirus risks.

Waddell captured top honors in the in-depth reporting category for a series of stories on law enforcement killings in Butte County. He also placed first in land-use reporting for an extensive story on the proposed Sites reservoir. read more

The last volunteer brigade leaves Tijuana A border crisis and a global pandemic strand asylum-seekers

photo by Leslie Layton
At Chaparral, the Tijuana border crossing to San Diego, a sign shows the website URL that records the last number called. Asylum-seekers are assigned numbers and wait for months for a chance to make their case.

by Leslie Layton

It is 7 a.m. on a cold, grey day in early March at the border crossing that connects Tijuana, Mexico, with San Diego, Calif.

Some 25 migrants have gathered on the sidewalk below the port of entry. These are families on a waiting list, each with an assigned number in the 3,000 range. If any of their numbers are called today, they’ll get a turn to cross to the United States, and at some point — in what will probably be a very brief visit — a chance to make their case for asylum. read more

Asylum processing suspended as travel restrictions increase Migrant management strategies are a tool, not a solution

photo by Leslie Layton
Migrants in crowded shelters on the Mexican side of the border who are pursuing asylum in the United States may be stuck there indefinitely.

by Lucy Hood
The United States has implemented travel restrictions on an unprecedented scale in recent weeks that immigration experts say are riddled with loopholes and devised in a way that puts vulnerable populations at risk.

This is especially true at the U.S.-Mexican border, they said, where tens of thousands of migrants living in shelters in northern Mexico now have a very slim, if any, chance of pursuing their asylum cases in U.S. immigration courts. read more

City Hall rally for public safety creates danger A tense confrontation is diffused

photo by Morgan Kennedy
A Trump flag was flown at the so-called public safety demonstration in front of city hall Tuesday.

by Morgan Kennedy
guest commentary

“Chico First,” “One Chico,” “Safe Chico,” or whatever this group is choosing to call itself this week had a protest in front of city hall on Tuesday.

As a response to a recent escalation in the aggressive language members or supporters of the groups use on social media, some Chicoans – myself included — decided to hold a counter demonstration prior to the City Council meeting. read more

City re-examines police advisory board Some want more transparency from Chico PD

photo by Leslie Layton
Chico Police Chief Michael O’Brien is retiring in June.

by Leslie Layton and Dave Waddell

Item 5.5 on tonight’s City Council agenda could easily be overlooked given other hot-button topics competing for attention. But it could be instrumental in shaping police-community relations.

Mayor Randall Stone has agendized a discussion on the Police Community Advisory Board (PCAB), a nine-member panel, in a bid to press for more transparency from Chico Police Department. [Editor’s note: Stone tabled the discussion at the Feb. 18 meeting until a replacement for the retiring chief is appointed.] read more

Sheriff’s office responsive, Chico PD obstructive Two agencies, two different responses to our public records request

photo by Karen Laslo

Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien

commentary by Dave Waddell

Last March, I spoke at a League of Women Voters of Butte County forum having to do with public access to law enforcement records.

That Sunshine Week forum, which included Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea and police reformers Emily Alma and Margaret Swick, gave me an opportunity to vent a bit about the most secretive public agency I’ve dealt with as a journalist: the city of Chico. read more