Camp Fire housing bill to face final committee hearing AB 430 doesn't address need for affordable housing or housing in Paradise

photo by Karen Laslo
AB 430 author James Gallagher, 3rd District assemblyman, at July 3 Senate committee hearing. Gallagher said the bill will create a “narrowly-applied, streamlined” approval process – but whether that streamlining will produce affordable housing is the topic of debate.

by Leslie Layton and Karen Laslo

Chico-area residents and Butte County leaders spoke at last week’s Senate committee hearing in Sacramento, some in support and some in opposition to Assemblyman James Gallagher’s Camp Fire housing bill that will encourage large-scale development.

Gallagher’s bill, AB 430, was passed July 3 on a 5-1 vote by the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee and will be the subject of a final committee hearing on July 10. The bill will facilitate housing construction in eight communities by letting builders, in many cases, circumvent review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and by reducing requirements for public hearings for new development. read more

Nelson finds her visit with immigrant detainee “poignant” Detained immigrants in Yuba City need human contact, visitation group says

photo by Chris Nelson
Visitors entrance at the Yuba County Jail

by Chris Nelson

It was serendipity that I visited the man I did at the Yuba County Jail Monday in Marysville.

I got there four minutes too late to see the man I had planned to meet; the second name I had was a man who had been transferred elsewhere and the third candidate wasn’t available for a visit until later in the day. All three of those men had Latino surnames. The man I did get to visit was from Vietnam. read more

Citizenship gives Santa Rosa dad sense of security Green-card holders seek protection through citizenship

photo by Lindajoy Fenley
Joel Verdejo Flores with children David and Gabriela.

by Lindajoy Fenley

Joel Verdejo Flores worked without authorization for nearly five years in California before obtaining a green card that made him a permanent resident in 1995.

He was 20 years old, Bill Clinton was president and moving beyond residency to citizenship didn’t seem like a pressing matter. But that changed in 2016 with the election of President Donald Trump.

As Trump’s supporters continued shouting, “Build that wall,” the Santa Rosa father of two U.S.-born children heard that immigration enforcement was becoming more rigorous. He stopped wavering. read more

Proposed citizenship question turns Census into civil rights issue Inaccurate tally could affect minority communities, election results

by Lindajoy Fenley

Ethnic minority organizations are vowing to do everything possible to encourage an accurate census count in the face of what they called a Trump Administration plan to solidify conservative Republican power with a distorted tally.

“The 2020 Census is one of the most urgent civil rights issues facing America,” said moderator Beth Lynk of the Leadership Conference Education Fund in opening an Ethnic Media Services press conference by telephone that featured speakers for five organizations. read more

Chico’s “undocumented” attorney earns U.S. citizenship Sergio Garcia says family-based migration is crucial

photo by Karen Laslo
Salvador Covarrubias (left) brought his young son Sergio Garcia to Chico, knowing that the boy would qualify for residency.

by Leslie Layton

It took Sergio C. Garcia longer to become a U.S. citizen than it took for his native country, Mexico, to win independence from Spain.

It took longer than it took for him to win the right to practice law, becoming the nation’s first, so-called undocumented attorney.

Garcia will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen in a ceremony today in Sacramento – the end of a journey that began in 1994 when he was brought to the country as a teen who knew even then that if he was going to live in the United States, he wanted to belong as a participating citizen. read more

Charges filed against Chico man in connection with racist graffiti Bona to enter plea on Wednesday

by Leslie Layton

A Chico man who had been previously committed to a mental health facility was charged Friday with vandalism and violating civil rights, according to a press release from the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.

The press statement says Thomas David Bona, 33, was charged in Butte County Superior Court and will return to court to respond to charges at 8:30 a.m. June 19.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s statement says Bona was charged after committing “various acts of racist and non-racist graffiti throughout the City of Chico over the last two months.” read more