Before Camp Fire, DA let PG&E avoid crime Did Ramsey deal save utility from probation violation?

Wikimedia photo

by Dave Waddell

Just one month before the horrendous 2018 Camp Fire, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey freelanced a money deal with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. that allowed PG&E to escape a criminal charge for its negligence in starting the 2017 Honey Fire that threatened Paradise.

PG&E’s extreme desire to avoid a criminal charge in Butte County – and Ramsey’s willingness to play along – was motivated by the company’s desire to avoid violating terms of its federal probation for the 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people. read more

Denial all over Speaking to the unmasked, addressing "possibility"

photo by Karen Laslo
A sign at a Chico business reminds customers that masks are required in public by the state of California.

by Anna Blackmon Moore
guest contributor

My father, who died two years ago, was an alcoholic. When I was a child and he was inebriated, I’d ask him whether he was drunk. He always said no before stumbling off to bed. I watched him go and felt I had been wrong to suspect drunkenness and even more wrong to ask.

I stood in our hallway, balanced unsteadily on a threshold between what my father said and what I knew to be true. It was very uncomfortable, deeply personal, and profoundly difficult for me to understand. My stomach churned; I developed a pre-ulcerous condition; I grew into adolescence an extremely insecure girl. read more

Hispanic Resource Council launches COVID outreach campaign COVID testing fear a problem

by Leslie Layton

Reyna Nolta and the Chico-based group she works with knew, shortly after Independence Day, that they had been called to act.

She had read and been interviewed for a July 4 ChicoSol story that reported on the disproportionate way in which COVID-19 was slamming the Latino community in Butte County. Now, the Hispanic Resource Council of Northern California (HRCNC) – an organization with a clunky name but a trustworthy reputation — has in a matter of weeks organized five events targeting Latino, Black and Hmong families with information and supplies to stem the spread of the virus. read more

War on immigrants escalates as pandemic worsens Trump steps up assault on immigration and immigrant communities

photo by Leslie Layton
Demonstrator at a Women’s March several years ago calling for immigrant rights.

by Sunita Sohrabji
EMS contributing editor

The Trump administration has made 400 policy changes detrimental to immigrants through its tenure at the White House, with 63 fresh blows meted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) in a report released July 31.

“Many of the changes reflect the administration’s really strong knowledge of immigration law and regulations, and their willingness to enforce things that have been on the books for years, but have never been implemented,” said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at MPI, who co-authored the report with MPI Associate Policy Analyst Jessica Bolter. read more

City of Chico says it will enforce mask-wearing Council tries new approach to public participation at meetings

photo by Karen Laslo
Because of the pandemic, city employees sat outside during the meeting, in the 90-degree heat, handing out speaker cards to those who wished to speak at the City Council meeting.

Public participation was allowed at the Aug.4 City Council meeting — but a citizen speaker tore off his mask at the microphone as he addressed the panel.

The Council allowed in-person public participation at the meeting for the first time since the pandemic set in, asking would-be speakers to wear a face covering in the chambers and line up outside, staying 6 feet apart, until their names were called. They were allowed to then enter one-by-one. One man pulled off his mask as he addressed the Council, pleading with it not to enforce mandatory mask compliance. read more

Butte County Latinos hit hardest by pandemic City of Gridley now claims 35 percent of county's total cases

Butte County Public Health says 41 percent of the total COVID-19 cases, through June, were people identifying as Hispanic.

by Leslie Layton

Butte County’s Latino residents are becoming infected with COVID-19 at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, a reflection of the disparities surfacing throughout the nation that show low-income, immigrant and other minority communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

Figures released earlier this week to ChicoSol in response to a Public Records Act request show that people identifying as Hispanic comprised 41 percent of 164 Butte County residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 28. Latinos and/or Hispanics make up less than 15 percent of the county’s population, according to estimates, but belong to what is by far the county’s largest minority group. read more