by Leslie Layton
Councilor Scott Huber has stepped down from the Chico City Council after being subjected to attacks on social media and giving up a temporary summer job out of state.
“…given the tone and content of online discussions I genuinely fear for my family’s well-being. For all of these reasons I resign my Council seat, effective immediately,” Huber says in the June 21 letter.
“It is with regrets and sadness that I submit my resignation from the Chico City Council. Regrets that the community I love and only hoped to serve has become toxic for me, sadness that as hard as I tried modeling civil discourse and respectful treatment of people from the dais, I have clearly failed at changing anyone.”
Huber, who conducted himself with grace, was one of two liberal members of the Council and has been blamed in recent days for creating a problem with “transients” in the city. In a June 7 post on a Citizens for a Safe Chico Facebook page, he was identified as one of several “extremists and enablers” who are “to blame when you see a new transient camp pop up in your neighborhood.”
Huber believed the city should provide adequate sheltering options before undertaking the series of evictions at homeless encampments that went on earlier this year. He assisted some residents of those encampments in moving their belongings at the time of the evictions, treating them with respect and concern. That work, and his approach to the housing crisis as a councilor, seems to have engendered the remarkable antagonism toward him on conservative Facebook pages.
His adversaries criticized him for taking a summer job out of town — though it was temporary and not in violation of the city charter. But anger toward Huber over Chico’s struggle with homelessness spilled out in the posts, with commenters occasionally using vulgar language and often mocking him for his position. A Citizens for a Safe Chico ad says, “… while you deal with transient camps Scott Huber will be bird watching…”
Huber, in apparent reference to the Yellowstone employer who hired him to work as a wildlife guide this summer, writes, “And an innocent small business owner a thousand miles away has been targeted with paid ads by Citizens for a Safe Chico for merely employing me.”
Huber had attended several Council meetings on Zoom and said he had been available to constituents by phone and email. His Yellowstone employer said he received disruptive phone calls and emails, and Huber says in his resignation letter that his home address in Chico was published “as part of a strategy of harassment.”
Teri DuBose, president of the Citizens for a Safe Chico political action committee, responded on the Facebook page, denying that the group advocated contact with Huber’s employer.
“The good news is that your emails to Scott made a difference. We asked him to pick one (Chico or Wyoming) and he did,” the post says.
Leslie Layton is editor of ChicoSol. This story was expanded to include additional information after the initial posting on June 21.