Valley’s Edge opponents worry about environmental impacts Fight over foothill development has wracked Chico for decades

photo courtesy of Steve Evans
From left, Steve Evans, Michael McGinnis and Kelly Meagher announced the No way San Jose campaign in 1988 to stop development next to Upper Bidwell Park.

by Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 4

Thirty-five years ago, a small, progressive coalition stopped development in the lower foothills adjacent to Upper Bidwell Park with the rallying cry, “No way San Jose.”

That area has been protected under the name of Bidwell Ranch since the 1988 referendum that stopped the project. Voters in favor of stopping the Rancho Arroyo project wanted to protect northwest Chico -– not so much from inevitable population growth -– but from the kind of suburban sprawl that had come to be associated with California cities like San Jose and Fresno. read more

Will Valley’s Edge provide the housing Chico needs? Environmental organizations file lawsuit to stop the project

photo by Leslie Layton
Bill Brouhard presenting the proposed Valley’s Edge housing development to the Chico City Council.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Feb. 2

Chico is known to be severely lacking housing most residents can reasonably afford -– and yet an ambitious project the city has approved to develop housing near the foothills has garnered significant pushback.

On Jan. 3, Chico’s City Council greenlit the Valley’s Edge project. Today, national and regional environmental organizations filed a lawsuit to stop Valley’s Edge, alleging that the environmental impact report is out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The coalition that filed suit, including AquAlliance, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, issued a statement saying they were suing the City of Chico and Chico Land Investments LLC “for approving a development … without properly assessing or mitigating wildfire and other environmental risks.” read more

First shooter in police killing sued multiple times Gridley PD has no record of investigating officer’s prior shooting

screenshot from 2019 body cam video

by Dave Waddell
posted Jan. 25

Anthony Lara, the Gridley police officer who fired first in the fatal shooting of a man in mental crisis, has been a defendant in at least two lawsuits claiming excessive force and civil rights violations.

Lara initiated police gunfire that on Jan. 2 killed Baltazar Rubio, 43, of Gridley, who was allegedly pointing an unloaded handgun. The barrage came to total 31 shots fired by three Gridley-Biggs Police Department officers. Police bullets sped both directions down a skinny alley in the middle of a normally peaceful neighborhood, leaving residents stunned and shaken. read more

Health care providers struggle to reach essential workers As cold-season viruses spread, barriers to health care seem to grow

photo by Karen Laslo
Program Manager Norma Lacy

by Natalie Hanson
posted Jan. 11

The COVID pandemic continues to impact California’s farmworkers and their access to health care -– particularly in more isolated rural zones like the Northern Sacramento Valley, doctors say.

The “tripledemic” — as flu and RSV add to the surging respiratory illnesses sweeping the nation -– may worsen existing barriers to health care access that marginalized communities face. In Butte County, health providers say it is hard to know which communities have been hit hardest by the virus, but they believe it is harder to reach essential worker communities like California’s farmworkers. read more

Mike Ramsey’s backward notions on mental illness Butte County’s forever DA has history of demonizing in-crisis victims

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County DA Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell
commentary posted Dec. 17

I know Butte County has an elderly district attorney, but who knew Mike Ramsey’s thinking on mental illness was so prehistoric?

I am referring to a quote from Ramsey, Butte’s 35-year (!) DA, in Leslie Layton’s ChicoSol story about the difficult societal problems presented by Thomas David Bona.

Bona is a serial criminal living with schizophrenia and a multitude of delusions. He thinks he’s a member of the Sureños gang, which he isn’t. He also seems to have violently acted out his perceived ties to “The Sopranos” television crime family. read more

Bill Mash always had a project going Chico loses an activist and story-teller who gave the unhoused a voice

photo by Karen Laslo
Mash at KZFR radio station where he produced programs.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Dec. 5

Eric Mash remembers how his father, Bill “Guillermo” Mash, always had projects underway. So when his father told the family that he had decided to move to Chico and write about homelessness, no one was surprised.

“He fell in love with Chico,” Eric said. “He just had this passion and fire within him to help others, and to always love and care about everybody. He did everything on a bicycle … helping the homeless, helping all the causes.”

Chico writer, radio personality and tireless advocate Bill Mash is being remembered by the Chico community as many friends and loved ones mourn his sudden death last week after a heart attack on Nov. 19. read more