Chico responds: Who are police protecting? Vice mayor proposes police reform

photo by Leslie Layton
Darrisha Daniel

by Leslie Layton

Darrisha Daniel attended the police brutality protest at City Plaza Friday for a simple reason: She believes policing in this country needs a “whole overhaul.”

Daniel, an African American psychology major who recently transferred to Chico State, says too many blacks get caught up in “routine” traffic stops and end up “arrested or even dead for no cause.”

“These days it becomes a question as to, who are they protecting and who are they serving?” Daniel said of police. Law enforcement, she noted, swallows up huge chunks of local budgets and government should ensure that “people in those uniforms are there to protect the community.” read more

Pandemic is costly — and often violent — for women worldwide Chico volunteers address inequities on a local level

photo courtesy of DSA
Alexandra Wynter (left) brings supplies to a Chico woman living in a homeless encampment.

by Lindajoy Fenley and Leslie Layton

Alexandra Wynter is feeling optimistic – even in the middle of a global pandemic that has made a difficult life even more difficult for many women.

As a volunteer coordinator for an outreach program run by Chico’s DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), the pandemic has given her an opportunity to build relationships with unhoused women — she prefers “unhoused” to the stigma attached to “homeless” — throughout the community whose lives have been made even more precarious by the COVID-19 crisis. read more

Farmers Market keeps many vendors in business Some are struggling with the effects of the pandemic

photo by Karen Laslo
Emma Harris works her Pine Creek Flowers booth April 25, abiding by public health guidelines Farmers Market has adopted.

by Leslie Layton

For Emma Harris, the past five weeks of pandemic have meant a hard hustle.

She’s had to fashion a new business model in just weeks to keep her Chico flower farm, Pine Creek Flowers, afloat.

As the pandemic set in, she saw that her market sales were going to plummet; the spring opening of the Thursday Night Market was postponed and the Saturday crowd at the downtown Farmers Market was smaller. She says she didn’t qualify for a loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program; Pine Creek Flowers doesn’t have a payroll. read more

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

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