Council passes new Sit and Lie Ordinance Ordinance opponents stage quiet protest; one detention

photo by Karen Laslo

Audience members turn their backs on the Council in protest.

by Leslie Layton

About 20 opponents of a law that bans sidewalk lounging near businesses turned their backs on Chico City Council Tuesday night as it voted 4-3 to reinstate the so-called Sit and Lie Ordinance.

The protest was quiet and emphatic and different in character from the orchestrated disruptions at the Sept. 4 City Council meeting when Mayor Sean Morgan ordered the chamber cleared and the panel proceeded to advance the ordinance in an almost empty auditorium. (ChicoSol journalists were barred from that meeting.) 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.

The current Council, controlled by a 4-3 conservative majority, is expected to restore the Sit and Lie Ordinance to city law at its meeting tonight – three weeks before the election, and as voters are receiving their mail-in ballots. The ordinance outlaws sitting or lying on sidewalks next to businesses during certain hours. read more

Chico’s conservative candidates haul in $200,000 Esplanade League fined, quits; FPPC still probing conservative PAC

photo by Karen Laslo

by Dave Waddell

When it comes to political action committees (PACs) operating in this year’s Chico City Council race, some things have changed while one has remained the same: Big bucks contributed by big developers to a PAC backing conservative candidates.

In fact, three conservative City Council candidates and the developers’ PAC supporting them have hauled in an unprecedented $200,000 in contributions for the Nov. 6 election, compared to a total of about $85,000 for three liberal candidates. read more

Chico resurrects Sit and Lie Ordinance Sidewalk rules divide the City Council at a tense meeting

photo by Karen Laslo

Audience members begin series of chants.

by Dave Waddell and Leslie Layton

The Chico City Council, after closing the council chamber to the public and ChicoSol, voted 4-3 in a tense and emotional meeting Tuesday to resurrect the expired Sit and Lie Ordinance.

The conservative council majority voted — after an audience disruption prompted the chamber closure — to bring back an ordinance aimed at people who they say are obstructing sidewalks and business entrances. City Attorney Vince Ewing said that under a California statute, the council could close the chamber to a disruptive audience — but not to members of the press. read more

City Council majority backs ordinance in closed meeting Council votes 4-3 on 'sit-and-lie' after barring ChicoSol from chamber

photo by Karen Laslo

by Dave Waddell and Leslie Layton

After Mayor Sean Morgan cleared the raucous Chico City Council chambers Tuesday night, Chico police officers barred ChicoSol News Director Dave Waddell from re-entering the meeting – the only member of the local news media who was barred.

Officer Jeff Durkin told Waddell he lacked the proper press credentials to regain entrance to the chamber – despite Waddell showing him his driver’s license and his ChicoSol business card. Durkin stood with another officer, Drew Cooper, outside the frosted glass doors to the council chambers. On multiple occasions a television reporter opened the door and communicated amicably with Durkin, before it closed again — with ChicoSol journalists still on the outside. read more

State probe of PAC more than year old Reports vague on spending targeting progressive candidates

BCAA flier attacked former Mayor Scott Gruendl.

by Dave Waddell

A Butte County political action committee – under state investigation for more than a year and counting – has become increasingly vague in reporting its spending activities targeting Chico liberals.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) announced on Aug. 15, 2016, that it had opened an investigation into Butte County Awareness and Accountability and its treasurer, Tom Kozik, as a result of information uncovered in this ChicoSol exclusive.

“It’s still an open and ongoing investigation,” Jay Wierenga, the FPPC’s communications director in Sacramento, said last week. read more