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

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

Councilor Scott Huber resigns; fears for family Conservative PAC responds to social media attack on Huber

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.” read more

Greenpeace floats hot air balloon over Chico farm Message to governor: Stop fossil fuel extraction

photo by Karen Laslo
The Greenpeace protest balloon floats up over the north Chico farm in the early morning light.

by Karen Laslo
guest commentary

If you were driving west on Sacramento Avenue past the CSA GRUB Farm early Oct. 8, you might have seen a big blue and green globe floating above the tall trees on the edge of the farm.

It was a Greenpeace hot air balloon, painted to look like planet Earth and trailing a giant banner with a definite and firm message to the governor of California: “Newsom: Stop fueling the flames.”

The message was in reference to the massive climate change-driven wildfires that have scorched Northern California. read more

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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