Settlement ends lawsuit against City of Chico Vice mayor makes 11th-hour bid to postpone settlement

photo by Karen Laslo
Evicted campers leave their site after a sweep.

by Leslie Layton / commentary
posted Jan. 15

A settlement agreement in the lawsuit related to the city’s treatment of unhoused people, signed Friday by a federal judge, could end the spectacle of chaotic mass evictions that stranded campers who had nowhere to go.

Early last year, a newly-installed City Council began a series of sweeps in parks, near waterways and on patches of grass on public land.

Journalists watched as workers came in atop tractors, rumbling through encampments where displaced people had pitched tents and had failed to move their few belongings to who knows where – until we weren’t allowed to watch. read more

Break the “local silence” on Covid Chico teen says youth need "dialogue of healing"

photo courtesy of Maya Klein

by Maya Klein
guest commentary
posted Dec. 10

Ed. note: This is a condensed version of a presentation made by Chico’s Maya Klein at a Dec. 7 statewide Ethnic Media Services briefing.

My high school — Inspire School of Arts and Sciences — is a bubble within Chico. Our student vaccination rate is 82%, and our population generally follows mask and hygiene guidelines.

Our 2020-2021 school year remained almost entirely on Zoom classes, following a 1×8 schedule in which we delved into a single class for each month until the end of the school year. During this time, other high schools within Chico had returned to in-person learning, and as a result, student Covid cases began to increase. 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

“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

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

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