Chico groups join statewide protest against fossil fuel projects

Steven Marquardt from Sunrise Chico (left) and Mary Kay Benson from 350 Butte County (right) were among activists from around the state protesting at the Capitol today in Sacramento.

Chico residents today joined a coalition of organizations protesting state energy policies that contribute to a carbon footprint fueling climate change.

Organizers of the #WeAreOutOfTime protest said California should immediately end the approval process for new fossil fuel projects and “drop existing fossil fuel production through a managed decline..”

“All over Chico and Butte County, we have seen, we have smelt, we have touched, we have tasted and we have felt the worst effects of the climate crisis,” said Chico’s Steven Marquardt, addressing the protest group. read more

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“The End of Oil?” It’s about time!

photo by Karen Laslo
2019: Steve Marquadt from Chico’s Sunrise Movement (left) and Mary Kay Benson from 350 Butte County protesting congressional inaction on climate change at a town hall.

by Karen Laslo
guest commentary

For years, environmental activists have been warning us about the most dire existential crisis of our lives: Climate Change. But despite their best efforts, very little has changed as people on all levels continue to behave as if there is no crisis, including many of the elected officials that we depend on for leadership and protection.

As a result of this inaction, all creatures, human and non-human, on this beautiful planet we call Earth, our only home, are in imminent peril of extinction. read more

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Voter turnout critical in Butte County; vote early, officials say Experts say mail-in voting is safe; voter suppression is the problem

So-called “voter suppression laws” made it difficult for millions – many African American – to participate in the 2016 election. Turnout will be key in the upcoming General Election.

by Leslie Layton

If you’re eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 General Election, Butte County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs has a single, simple piece of advice: Don’t procrastinate.

To make sure your vote gets counted on election night, register or update your registration now. Vote when you receive your ballot in October. Call the Elections Office with questions, whether you speak English, Spanish or Hmong, Grubbs says.

But in what some people are calling a “vote-because-your-life-depends-on-it” election, there is plenty to worry about in terms of national polling. In some states, millions of people who have voted previously must re-register — and may not know that — because of tough and suppressive voter registration laws. 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

Chico responds: Who are police protecting? Vice mayor proposes police reform

photo by Leslie Layton
Darrisha Daniel

by Leslie Layton

Darrisha Daniel attended the police brutality protest at City Plaza Friday for a simple reason: She believes policing in this country needs a “whole overhaul.”

Daniel, an African American psychology major who recently transferred to Chico State, says too many blacks get caught up in “routine” traffic stops and end up “arrested or even dead for no cause.”

“These days it becomes a question as to, who are they protecting and who are they serving?” Daniel said of police. Law enforcement, she noted, swallows up huge chunks of local budgets and government should ensure that “people in those uniforms are there to protect the community.” read more

City Hall rally for public safety creates danger A tense confrontation is diffused

photo by Morgan Kennedy
A Trump flag was flown at the so-called public safety demonstration in front of city hall Tuesday.

by Morgan Kennedy
guest commentary

“Chico First,” “One Chico,” “Safe Chico,” or whatever this group is choosing to call itself this week had a protest in front of city hall on Tuesday.

As a response to a recent escalation in the aggressive language members or supporters of the groups use on social media, some Chicoans – myself included — decided to hold a counter demonstration prior to the City Council meeting.

Most of us arrived shortly after 5 p.m., and their protest — an effort to influence the Council on issues related to homelessness and needle distribution — was well underway. There were throngs of people in highlighter-yellow shirts on the Main Street side of city hall. They had bullhorns, whistles, and a flatbed semi-truck sporting the slogan “save our town.” There was also a large Trump 2020 flag being flown, and several in the group wore MAGA hats or other Trump regalia. read more