How Soaring Campaign Spending Shaped
‘14 City Council Race
PAC Led by Former Tea Party Leader May Have Broken State Law

Tom Kozik

by Dave Waddell

Before he created a political action committee that appears to have broken state law while attacking former Chico mayor Scott Gruendl, Tom Kozik for years orchestrated and recorded Chico Tea Party meetings.

And at those meetings, as attendance appeared to steadily dwindle, Kozik occasionally made some bizarre claims. Most notably, at a gathering of Tea Party Patriots in 2014, Kozik quoted a Soviet dictator in criticizing President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“It looks like ‘Obamacare’ is set to collapse into a single-payer healthcare system, and this is what they call the ‘crown jewel of socialism,’ and that’s a quote from …,” said Kozik, pausing momentarily for effect, “ … Lenin.”

Actually, the term “single-payer healthcare system” does not appear to have come on the scene until the 1990s, or about 70 years after Vladimir Lenin’s death. And a Google search suggests that the true source of the “crown jewel of socialism” quote is former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., in reference to the Affordable Care Act in 2011.

While Kozik’s notions may come from the farthest reaches of right field, his political action committee, named Butte County Awareness and Accountability, is relatively new among the numerous PACs that have operated in city elections for many years – their agendas ranging across the political spectrum. Indeed, with the Nov. 8 City Council election less than five months away, two trends seem likely to continue in Chico: Ever-bigger bucks being raised and spent by the candidates themselves and ever-greater involvements by political action committees.

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Ahead of SCOTUS Ruling, Getting the Message Out to Central Valley Immigrants


photo by Elena Shore

by Elena Shore
New America Media

FRESNO, Calif. – Weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to announce its decision in United States v. Texas, immigrant rights advocates are working to get accurate information to residents of one of the state’s hardest-to-serve regions: California’s Central Valley.

“We have one antidote to fear, and it’s information,” Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, said during a recent media roundtable in Fresno. Fear and confusion, Close warned, could expose people to “being scammed, having people prey on the confusion.”

The meeting was organized by New America Media in collaboration with Ready California and local partner organizations, and was joined by reporters from a dozen media outlets, as well as community members and immigrant rights advocates.

Advocates said that with a decision expected soon, this is a crucial time to give people the information they need.

What families need to know

The U.S. Supreme Court will announce its decision in United States v. Texas between now and the end of June. The outcome will determine the future of two immigration relief programs on hold since Obama first announced them in 2014.

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Measure E Supporters Canvassed to Ban Fracking in Butte

Melinda Vasquez

photo by Karen Laslo

 Melinda Vasquez takes a break from canvassing

Editor’s Note:  Measure E to ban hydraulic fracturing in Butte County had passed with 71.5 percent of the vote, according to election results on June 8. This story was written during spring semester at Chico State.

By Maria Miyashiro

Melinda Vasquez knocks on a door at the sea-green apartment complex. She is greeted by a woman, who notifies her Chihuahua she’s “going to spank your butt” if the dog doesn’t stop barking. The dog quiets down.

Vasquez begins her inquiry: Whether her neighbor is familiar with the Yes-on-Measure-E campaign to ban fracking, a question she’s asked dozens of times at doors in the Memorial Neighborhood of Chico just in the last hour.

The woman says she’s familiar with the measure. “It’s about dope,” she says confidently. It’s not. Vasquez patiently explains that Measure E would ban fracking, the process used to fracture rock formations under high pressure to reach hard-to-access pockets of gas or oil.

Vasquez soon seems to have the woman convinced of the importance of a fracking ban, and leaves her with three fliers: one for herself, one for her “neighbor that’s laying down,” and one for her children, all of whom – Vasquez warns — could be affected by toxins and carcinogens that are sometimes found in drinking and agricultural water when frack fluids leach into water supplies.

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Meeting with a Chef on the Road to Adulthood

Chef Thomas Rider

photo by Gabby Miller

Chef Thomas Rider prepares Strawberry Caprese Crostini with local strawberries.

by Gabby Miller

He stood before a crowd of college students and alumni. On the table in front of him was a basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables displaying the colors of the rainbow. A grey Chico State Wildcats baseball cap sat on his head, and his black chef’s jacket was lined with red trim and embroidered with his name and title on the front.

It read: “Thomas Rider, Executive Chef.”

“I’m on the Food Network at Chico State,” he said, receiving chuckles from the audience.

On the rainy Thursday evening before spring break more than 60 students arrived at CSUC’s Bell Memorial Union to watch Rider—the executive chef for Associated Students—put on a show.

 “There’s no magic here tonight,” Rider joked. “Just simple ingredients to make delicious food.”

The demonstration was the fourth installment of “Adulting 101,” an eight-part workshop hosted by Student Life and Leadership, the Career Center and the Alumni Engagement Office.

Those in attendance for Rider’s presentation first walked by a small, round table set up with a jug of water, granola bars, fruit snacks and cookies as they made their way to a seat. There they found recipe cards detailing the night’s three courses: Strawberry Caprese Crostini, Farmer’s Market Salad and Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms and Greens.

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