Oil Trains Pose Threat to Lake Oroville and State’s Water Supply, SOOT Says Butte County supervisors mum on SLO rail expansion

Dave Garcia
Dave Garcia at Chico Certified Farmers Market

by Leslie Layton

Chico, with its state university, valley oaks, coffee shops and bike paths, feels more collegial than industrial, a place that’s far from the contamination and accidents that plague oil country. But the people in bright orange “Stop Toxic Oil Trains” T-shirts – they sometimes appear at Saturday Farmers Market and other events – say that when oil country rolls through Butte County, it brings accident potential here.

No one seems to be sure how many oil trains pass through the Feather River Canyon on Union Pacific’s (UP) Oroville route that snakes above the north fork of the Feather River, but the activists in orange T-shirts want to stop crude-by-rail shipments on that route. That’s because derailment and a spill of oil or another hazardous substance could contaminate Lake Oroville and poison the water supply that serves millions of Californians. read more

Political action committees spend big to oust Chico liberals PAC under state investigation avoids pre-election disclosure requirement

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BCAA flier

By Dave Waddell

A political action committee, under state investigation for its 2014 activities, again produced a slew of negative advertising this election year, flooding the mails with attacks on liberal candidates for Chico City Council.

The PAC, called Butte County Awareness and Accountability, is the subject of an ongoing probe by the Fair Political Practices Commission that resulted from a ChicoSol story that can be read here. Tom Kozik, a member of the Chico Municipal Airport Commission, is the PAC’s founder and treasurer. For years, Kozik was a leader of the Tea Party in Chico. read more

An Election That Will Change Lives Trying to breathe again

nataliecharlesworth

by Natalie Charlesworth

Nov. 8, 2016:  I sat in math class, frantically checking the presidential election polls every chance that I got. The numbers were so close. Hillary, Trump, Hillary again, and then back to Trump. Jumbled thoughts like ping-pong balls bounced back and forth in my mind. My palms, sweaty. My anxiety increasingly getting worse. I began to wonder, why I had even decided to attend class that day? I then put my phone down and got back to what I should have been doing –focusing on math. read more

Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Chico news photo of the week

photo by Karen Laslo

On the Nov. 15 #NoDAPL National Day of Action, Chico-area residents demonstrated in front of U.S. Bank, one of a number of American financial institutions said to be funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the environmental advocacy organization Food & Water Watch, U.S. Bank has some $275 million invested. The pipeline would carry fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois, and the Standing Rock Sioux are leading what is now an international movement to halt construction in order to protect the Missouri River and sacred grounds. read more

Trickle-Down Meanness Shapes Attitudes Toward Homeless Local Election Outcomes Matter

photo by Dave Waddell

Sign that replaced a homeless man’s rest site

By Dave Waddell

While waiting for coffee recently, I became fixated on a mentally ill homeless man. He lay on his side in the shuttered entrance to what last was a Walgreens at East Avenue and the Esplanade. Every few seconds, the old, bearded, agitated man would flail his arms toward someone or something that was tormenting him but wasn’t really there. His situation – common across our country – struck me as just so sad and seemingly hopeless.

Yesterday, upon my return for coffee, I noticed that some sort of contraption covered by a blue tarp had taken the man’s place in the entrance.  Attached to that tarp was a message, hand-lettered in pencil with more anger than planning: “Stay the Fuck out or else Little Bitches.” read more

Political Action Committee Attacks Again, Undeterred by State Probe Investigation sparked by ChicoSol story continues

By Dave Waddell

Seemingly undeterred by a state investigation into its activities, a political action committee is following a script in this year’s Chico City Council race that is similar to the one that brought scrutiny to its politicking two years ago.

The PAC, called Butte County Awareness and Accountability, widely distributed a mailer in recent days that lambasts council liberals Ann Schwab, Tami Ritter and Randall Stone. All three face re-election Nov. 8, along with conservative Vice Mayor Sean Morgan. read more