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

“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

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

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