Civil rights action: Chico homeless caught in ‘web of ordinances’ Lawsuit stops sweeps momentarily

photo by Karen Laslo
Activist Emily Alma holds up a “Justice Prevails” sign at the Comanche Creek Greenway April 12 after a federal judge grants a temporary restraining order, pausing evictions of unhoused campers.

by Leslie Layton

Bobby Warren knows something about the crime of homelessness.

His court docket is a litany of supposed missteps, with various charges related to Chico ordinances. According to court records, he’s been caught in Depot Park when it was officially closed, stored belongings near a Chico creek, been cited for illegal camping — all examples of ways you might violate city code if you’re wandering unmoored, without an address, job or helpful relative.

Warren also must know something about misfortune: He lost his home after a divorce and cancer diagnosis. He has been fined around $2,000 for code violations, fines that came down after notices addressed to Warren were returned to the court (he sleeps outside!). The “Failure to Appear” entries mount up quickly, the docket shows. read more

“Crimes against humanity” underway in police killings George Gold: Reform must proceed

Reform advocate George Gold

by George Gold
guest commentary

We live in unprecedented times. Pandemic. Impeachment. Insurrection. Police across the United States killing American citizens, repeatedly.

In Chico, the killings must be properly named: Desmond Phillips, Tyler Rushing, Stephen Vest. According to the United Nations, crimes against humanity are defined as “… certain acts that are purposely committed as part of a widespread or systematic policy, directed against civilians, in times of war or peace.”

These days, with so many opportunities, people often say, I want justice for Desmond, or justice for Tyler, or justice for Stephen, but rather than some sort of homily of sorrow or regret, justice will be served when we have change. The Chico Police Department must change its tactics, its operating procedures, its mindset, its culture, its behavior. Stephen Vest was shot and killed by Chico police eight seconds after they arrived on the scene; he was shot 11 times. read more

Homeless evictions continue in southeast Chico Chico police block media from watching; upset citizens decry policy

photo by Karen Laslo
An officer tells a homeless woman at Humboldt and Forest to be out by evening on Feb. 16 as she stares into a small mirror.

by Leslie Layton

Chico Police Department today blocked the media from Boucher Street as officers informed homeless people camping there and at Forest and Humboldt streets that they had to move.

Unhoused people at both sites had been given 72-hour eviction notices that had expired. And as the rain ceased and the sun broke through today, police moved in on the encampments.

At Boucher and Wisconsin streets, community members offered to help campers load tents and possessions into trucks and move them if they had someplace to go. A few people chose to move to beneath the Highway 99 overpass in lower Bidwell Park. But with no shelter space available in the city, many didn’t know what to do. read more

Heavy equipment used to remove belongings in Bidwell Park As campers are pressed to move, protesters ask where they'll go

photo by Karen Laslo
Loading up belongings for removal.

A bulldozer arrived early today in lower Bidwell Park when city employees, accompanied by Chico Police Department Target Team members, began clearing what Councilor Scott Huber said was “abandoned personal property” at the horseshoe pits encampment.

The action follows a vote by the new conservative majority on the Council to enforce a ban on camping in the park. Huber stood with about 60 protesters who, with signs, banners and conversation, pointed out that the homeless living in the park have nowhere to go. read more

COVID-19 outreach events reach hundreds of needy families Ethnic disparity in positive cases appears to drop

photo by Kate Sheehy/Semillas
Reyna Nolta from the Hispanic Resource Council at the COVID-19 prevention event in Orland on Saturday.

by Leslie Layton
A COVID-19 prevention campaign targeting low-income and minority communities in the region — that public health officials believe has been effective — is reaching hundreds of families as it winds down for this calendar year.

Spearheaded by the Hispanic Resource Council of Northern California, staffers from a host of social service agencies and Butte County Public Health have distributed more than 2,000 masks, more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, information packets and educational materials translated into Spanish at events throughout the North State. The latest events, held Oct. 17 in Orland, Chico and Oroville, were the last big projects in the 2020 prevention campaign although other facets of the campaign will continue. read more

Dismissing public health metrics, Gallagher says open up Reporter's Mlog: lawmaker's district torn over path forward

photo by Karen Laslo
Assemblyman James Gallagher, who represents most of Butte County and much of the Northern Sacramento Valley, preaches civil disobedience.

by Leslie Layton
analysis

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) preached civil disobedience Thursday in front of the Chico Council Chambers, suggesting to unmasked constituents at an “Open Butte County” rally that opening up for business can be a necessary act of protest.

Speaking to almost 200 people, many of whom waved American flags or “Recall Newsom” signs, some sporting MAGA caps or Reopen T-shirts, the 3rd district assemblyman again said, as he has before, that shops and schools can consider reopening as acts of civil disobedience if they’re in violation of public health regulation. read more