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.
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
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.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) opened an investigation in August into Butte County Awareness and Accountability and its treasurer, Thomas Kozik, as a result of a ChicoSol story that can be read here.read more
What happened to Madeline Hemphill’s cell phone and the video she says would prove excessive force by Chico police?
It’s a question central to law enforcement investigations of the Aug. 27 arrests of Hemphill and her roommate and fellow Chico State student Nicole Braham.
A second cell phone video from the arrest scene — shot by Telvina Patino, a third roommate and Chico State student – has been viewed tens of thousands of times on YouTube and can be seen here.
Chico community activist Emily Alma has labeled the arrests an “excessive force event.” Also critical of police handling of the incident has been Michael Coyle, an associate professor of political science at Chico State. Coyle, who teaches criminal justice courses, said that if good policing means de-escalating situations, what’s shown in the video are poor police practices. “The video looks more like a basic training on how to escalate a situation, physically put someone in pain, and make them afraid of police,” said Coyle, who chairs the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) board in Chico. “Whatever happened to community policing?”read more
When Chico’s Jake Davis announced a City Plaza rally to show support for the indigenous groups trying to stop construction of a North Dakota pipeline, he feared only half a dozen people would show up.
Davis, co-founder of Chico350 – the international organization 350.org fights for clean energy and other measures to slow climate change – knows how hard it is to organize climate-justice protests outside of large cities. But what happened Sept. 13 at City Plaza was surprising and moving.
Almost 200 people showed up for the late afternoon rally, including members of tribes who live in Chico, Oroville, Corning, near the California coast and the state border with Nevada. Internationally, it was a day of protest in support of the #NoDAPL movement trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that cuts across indigenous burial grounds, tribal sacred sites and underneath the Missouri River. “This ended up becoming a chance for indigenous people to have a voice,” Davis said Tuesday. “We thought it was just about stopping a pipeline, but it’s a lot bigger than that now. It’s bigger than Native or non-Native.”read more
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.read more