Let’s embrace responsibility and help the unhoused Individual stories eclipse overused term ‘criminal vagrant’

photo by Karen Laslo

Chico City Councilmember Scott Huber.

by Scott Huber

After recent experiences, I’m compelled to present a counter-narrative to those who have spoken out against a “Code Blue” cold-weather shelter (and other sheltering ideas).

At the Feb. 5 Chico City Council meeting, a minority of speakers expressed their reasons for opposing a city-sponsored cold-weather shelter. Their reasons included (paraphrased) “sheltering these people is not Chico’s responsibility, it is the responsibility of Butte County or the non-profits.” Others asserted that because this form of shelter would be open to anyone it would allow for “drug addicts, criminals and sexual predators” (again paraphrased). read more

Shafer says Tree of Greed must come down Chico's MLK celebration features Poor People's Campaign rep

photo by Karen Laslo
Greg Shafer speaks at Trinity United during MLK celebration Sunday.

by Karen Laslo

Greg Shafer, Northern California representative to the Poor People’s Campaign, told a Chico audience of about 200 people Sunday that the “American Tree of Greed must come down,” and that it’s responsible for the environmental degradation, endless wars and the prison-industrial complex that cause suffering, in particular for the poor.

Shafer asked, “But who will cut the Tree of Greed down?” Not the government, not the rich and powerful, not the corporations, he said, responding to his own question. Shafer said America must listen to the African-Americans who’ve been warning for years that the tree’s fruit is toxic. Shafer told the crowd, “We need a new Poor People’s Campaign.” read more

“My former neighborhood feels like a cemetery” Fear of fire did not prepare Paradise residents

by Leslie Layton

My childhood home is a pool of ashes contained by a cement foundation. The air in this once-Edenesque place smells almost acrid. The barn my father built from oak planks is a pile of rubble, with trickling aluminum melted into place on the ground.

At some point during the Nov. 8 Camp Fire that destroyed my hometown of Paradise, Calif., the white aluminum streams were trickling downhill as if headed toward the creek. No longer. There are almost no signs of movement on this still Sunday, Dec. 9. My former neighborhood feels like a cemetery. read more

Cops usher homeless off triangular island Intervention aimed at getting them to a Chico winter shelter

photo by Dave Waddell
Cindy Hurt

by Dave Waddell

While some who had been living outside for months on a triangular island of city land seemed quite worried about their uprooting, 42-year-old Cindy Hurt said Monday’s intervention led by Chico police provided the prospects of a “solution.”

With the arrival of very cold and rainy weather, Chico PD’s so-called Target Team, along with Butte County Behavioral Health and Torres Shelter personnel, tried to usher an estimated 20 residents off the land, which is bordered by Little Chico Creek and Pine, Cypress and East 12th streets. Some residents were still packing up this morning. read more

Camp Fire was a “climate disaster” Tiny temperatures changes mask dramatic changes underway that call for action

photo by Leslie Layton
Chico State Professor Mark Stemen

by Leslie Layton

2.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s how much – or how little, depending on your viewpoint – that the daily average temperature increased in recent years in the Paradise area.

That little temperature increase is what it took to create the environment for a deadly fire that would stun Butte County with its heat and swiftness, demolish almost 18,800 structures, kill 88 people and change the lives of almost every area resident. read more

Camp Fire changed lives: a survivor’s story "This is what being a climate change refugee feels like..."

photo by Andrew Meyer

Allan Stellar with Angel

by Allan Stellar

That awful, awful day.

On that awful day, when Paradise was engulfed in flames, I hugged my yellow lab Angel goodbye. I woke up early, 5 a.m., and decided to leave for work without our normal early morning hike. I lived in the foothills, at 2,000 feet, some 37 miles from Chico where I had work to do as a home health RN.

I had lived in this off-grid solar house for a decade, enjoying the yip yap of coyotes in the country and sleeping on the deck under the stars on hot summer nights. Angel watched me dress that morning with an eerie gaze. It was as if she knew something was going to happen. As I left, I promised I would be back in the afternoon to take her for a hike. read more