State Commission Investigates 2014 City Council Campaign Committee ChicoSol story prompts probe into PAC that worked to oust Chico mayor

By Dave Waddell

The state Fair Political Practices Commission has opened an investigation into a political action committee that targeted former Chico mayor Scott Gruendl in the 2014 City Council race.

The PAC, called Butte County Awareness and Accountability, and its treasurer, Thomas Kozik, are under investigation as a result of an in-depth story about their activities published two months ago by ChicoSol, said Dylan Levine of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division. The FPPC said it would not comment on any specifics of its investigation while the probe is under way.

ChicoSol’s story detailed apparent violations by the PAC of laws governing political activities in California.

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Black Lives Matter Rally Speakers call for Dialogue, Tolerance

photo by Karen Laslo

photo by Karen Laslo

Pastor Vince Haynie paused for a photo with Anjoli Frazier, 13, and Jaded Frazier, 11, at City Plaza July 10 at the close of a Black Lives Matter rally at City Plaza in Chico. The rally drew about 100 people as protests were underway in many American cities over police shootings in African-American communities and in particular the fatal shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Some of those attending the Chico rally wore white t-shirts that had red stains. Anjoli said she and her sister wore the shirts to represent “all the blood that has been shed by people of color.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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