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

Red Cross shelter evacuees struggle with urgent needs A writer asks if Camp Fire changed attitudes toward climate change

photo by Denise Minor

by Denise Minor

The sky was growing dark by the time I checked in at the Red Cross station on a recent afternoon, in front of the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. Two volunteers in red vests greeted me and welcomed me to the shelter for Camp Fire evacuees.

Red Cross Communications Director Stephen Walsh offered to show me around. On that night there were about 700 people staying at the shelter, with some living in their recreational vehicles in the parking lot, some living in a tent city behind the RVs and some living in the three dormitories. All six of the Red Cross shelters that had been opened right after the fire had by then been consolidated to this one. 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

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

How to Bankrupt the Earth point of view

photo by Karen Laslo

by Lin Jensen

When the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rises, we are supposed to be pleased because a higher GDP means that production and consumption have increased. That’s good, isn’t it? Both major political parties and virtually all economists, corporate CEOs, business owners, workers and random consumers agree that up is good and down is bad.

So the more we make and sell, the greater the wealth of the nation — and this might be true were it not for the fact that the earth’s capacity for production and consumption is entirely dependent on the rate and limit of available sunlight reaching the thin layer of soil that blankets the molten core of our planet. Check the dirt under your feet and you’ll know what sustains you. Take up a handful of soil and you’ll hold in the palm of your hand the only sustainable economy for those of us here on this earth. read more

Chico police didn’t ask for return of Sit and Lie law Councilman Coolidge resurrected contentious ordinance

photo by Karen Laslo

Councilman Andrew Coolidge

news analysis by Dave Waddell

Contrary to Chico’s latest urban legend – one sparked and fanned by certain news media and politicians in the midst of a City Council election campaign — Chico police did not “ask” for the highly controversial Sit and Lie Ordinance to be resurrected.

The distinction of raising Sit and Lie from the dead belongs to a single individual: City Councilman Andrew Coolidge, who’s seeking re-election in the Nov. 6 balloting. read more