Settlement ends lawsuit against City of Chico Vice mayor makes 11th-hour bid to postpone settlement

photo by Karen Laslo
Evicted campers leave their site after a sweep.

by Leslie Layton / commentary
posted Jan. 15

A settlement agreement in the lawsuit related to the city’s treatment of unhoused people, signed Friday by a federal judge, could end the spectacle of chaotic mass evictions that stranded campers who had nowhere to go.

Early last year, a newly-installed City Council began a series of sweeps in parks, near waterways and on patches of grass on public land.

Journalists watched as workers came in atop tractors, rumbling through encampments where displaced people had pitched tents and had failed to move their few belongings to who knows where – until we weren’t allowed to watch. read more

Referendum petition fails to meet deadline

photo by Karen Laslo
David Welch

posted Jan. 13
At a press conference today, David Welch, spokesperson for “No On Butte County Gerrymandering,” announced that the group fell short by just a few hundred signatures in its effort to petition for a referendum on the newly-adopted Butte County district map.

Group members, arguing that the redistricting map adopted by the conservative majority on the Board of Supervisors was heavily gerrymandered, said their work was hampered by the holidays, the Omicron variant and rainy weather. “The gerrymander of our county, against the backdrop of Republican gerrymandering across America, has aroused a level of passion I’ve rarely seen for a local issue,” said Welch, vowing that other options would be explored. — Karen Laslo read more

KIXE film highlights immigration system breakdown At deadly border crossing, a humanitarian crisis

posted Jan. 10

A film on the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, produced by immigration crackdowns over the past couple of decades, will be shown in a free KIXE PBS film screening at 6 p.m. Jan. 20.

Readers can register here to gain access, watch “Missing in Brooks County” at home, and also participate in an online community conversation afterward that will feature several local panelists, including ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton, who has covered immigration from the Mexican side of the border. read more

Referendum effort launches over redistricting Group claims gerrymandering to dilute Latino and urban vote

photo by Karen Laslo
District 3 Supervisor Tami Ritter at today’s press conference.

posted Dec. 17

A “No on Butte County Gerrymandering” campaign launched today to circulate a petition for a referendum on the redistricting map adopted in a Dec. 14 split vote by the Butte County Board of Supervisors.

Speakers at today’s press conference said the map that was adopted was gerrymandered to disenfranchise urban voters in Chico by splitting the city into four districts. The map, which establishes two western agricultural districts, was approved by supervisors Bill Connelly, Tod Kimmelshue and Doug Teeter. read more

Project Roomkey extended in Butte County Some motel space will be available through March 2022

photo by Karen Laslo
District 2 Supervisor Debra Lucero

by Leslie Layton
posted Dec. 17

The Butte County Board of Supervisors made funding available this past week to extend Project Roomkey – the state program that utilized federal funds to house at-risk homeless people during the pandemic.

In a 5-0 vote, the board on Dec. 14 approved a proposal brought forth by supervisors Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter that allocates $1.5 million from the county’s General Fund for motel rooms for unsheltered senior citizens or individuals with chronic health conditions who need isolation or quarantine during the pandemic. The rooms will be available until the end of March and the occupants will receive services to help them maintain quarantine, such as meal delivery. read more

Pandemic’s painful toll in Butte County discussed at briefing Panelists call for dialogue, stronger leadership

photo by Leslie Layton
Butte County Public Health’s Victor Rodriguez speaking at a statewide media briefing.

by Leslie Layton
posted Dec. 11

Butte County’s abysmal COVID-19 vaccination rate is a symptom of an anti-science movement that has cost lives, polarized communities, and contributed to a “climate of denial,” panelists said at a statewide media briefing.

Five Butte County residents made up a panel at a briefing sponsored by Ethnic Media Services earlier this week to discuss this region’s COVID toll. They reminded a Zoom audience of 62 people that the county has been ravaged by wildfires, its residents slammed by soaring housing costs. On top of all that, misinformation about the virus has further polarized communities. read more