Grass-roots activism rescues some Comanche residents Homeless encampments flooded; many have nowhere to go

photo by Chris Nelson
Activist Chris Nelson found Teichert’s rising pond water seeping into tents and the path out flooded.

by Leslie Layton

The winter sheltering organization Safe Space jumped into high gear today as a ferocious early storm flooded homeless encampments. But Safe Space said it was only able to shelter 35 of the hundreds of unhoused people living in encampments.

Siana Sonoquie, a Safe Space board member, said she was contacted early today by an unhoused resident of the Comanche Creek encampment who reported that the area was flooding, tree limbs were falling down and one person was missing. “We started looking for a church,” Sonoquie said. “We’re used to doing this now and have a pretty quick system, with protocols in place and a lot of practice.” read more

County supervisors endorse new water district Tuscan Water District creates water oligarchy, critics say

photo by Karen Laslo
Supervisor Tod Kimmelshue: “I believe we should use all of our county resources, including surface water.”

by Leslie Layton

The Butte County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to endorse the formation of a new, landowner-run water district in which members will get one vote per acre of land they own. Members may also have to pay a hefty fee to belong to the governing body that will have authority to implement projects affecting the region’s aquifer.

The proposed Tuscan Water District (TWD) was endorsed by board Chair Bill Connelly and supervisors Tod Kimmelshue and Doug Teeter after hearing more than two hours of impassioned testimony from dozens of members of the public. (District 2 Supervisor Debra Lucero cast the lone vote in opposition and District 3 Supervisor Tami Ritter left the meeting early because of a personal emergency.) read more

Desmond’s killers told inconsistent stories DA's interview dubbed incompetent by cop expert

Desmond Phillips was killed by police on March 17, 2017.

by Dave Waddell

Two young Chico police officers, on the night in 2017 they gunned Desmond Phillips down, told conflicting stories to investigators about what Phillips was doing in the seconds before he was slain.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, apparently uncomfortable with those discrepancies, brought Desmond’s killers together nearly three weeks later for a group re-interview that “no competent investigator” would have conducted, says Seth Stoughton, a former detective and nationally recognized expert on police practices. read more

Lucero: Public discourse on Tuscan Water District comes — but late "The public had not been part of the formation process"

photo by Karen Laslo
District 2 Supervisor Debra Lucero

by Debra Lucero
guest commentary

The Tuscan Water District story is unfolding in Butte County. This isn’t the first time large landowners have joined together to try to “preserve their way of life and heritage.” It has happened all over the state and more recently, in San Luis Obispo where the proposition to form a new, powerful California Water District failed.

So, how did this current effort in Butte County get birthed?

The former Butte County Water Conservation & Resource Department director, Paul Gosselin, (now the State of California’s deputy director of SGMA – Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) and a former longtime Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission executive officer, John O’Farrell, came up with another idea — one that could circumvent the arduous San Luis Obispo process and even the Board of Supervisors. read more

Recall effort targets four CUSD board members Classrooms a battlefield as right shapes recall efforts statewide

photo by Leslie Layton
Trustee Matt Tennis, elected in November, has the support of Chico Parents for In-Person Learning that is working to recall the other board members.

by Natalie Hanson

Editor’s note: The effort to recall four CUSD board members ended unsuccessfully Oct. 12, when recall organizers failed to turn in the circulated petitions.

“If the school does not enforce the mandates, I pull my kids.”

Parent and Chico State student David Gregory worries about tension in Chico Unified School District (CUSD), as some parents press for removal of masking requirements — and of district leaders.

Gregory has three children who attend Paradise High, Inspire and Paradise Charter Middle School. While he is happy with mitigation at the high schools, he worries about his middle-schooler. read more

Election to recall Gov. Newsom underway Participation by Latinx, young adults, low so far

Secretary of State Shirley Weber

by Leslie Layton

Gov. Gavin Newsom has been described as one of the “most pro-Latino governors” in state history – but it’s still unclear whether Latinx voters will help him stave off the recall that would oust him from office.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said today that based on the absentee ballots pouring in, the recall is “proving to be a relatively popular election.” But there is still a distance to go by Sept. 14, which is, officially, election day for the recall.

“My goal is 80 percent turnout minimum,” Weber said at a news briefing today sponsored by Ethnic Media Services. “This election says what California is going to do.” read more