Democrats issue call for special Council election

David Welch, speaking for the Butte County Democratic Party, today called for a special election to replace two former Chico City councilors: Scott Huber and Kami Denlay.

The Democrats say the council election should be combined with the “attempted recall of the governor.” See our story “Chico in turmoil” for more information on the town’s political drama and homelessness crisis — photo and reporting by Karen Laslo.

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Chico in turmoil with shrinking City Council Councilor Kami Denlay resigns

photo by Karen Laslo
Councilor Kami Denlay resigned June 27.

by Leslie Layton

This is what a political crisis looks like: Two City Council resignations in seven days. A barely-used emergency shelter for homeless residents that was erected by the city on a remote lot. Social media threads where commenters use terms like “trench warfare” to describe local politics.

The second City Council resignation came June 27 when first-term Councilor Kami Denlay announced she was stepping down — only seven days after her colleague, Scott Huber, had resigned. That leaves two vacancies on the seven-member panel – an unprecedented event, at least in recent decades. 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

City adopts plan for one-time federal “rescue” funds Brown: "Homelessness was a footnote"

photo by Karen Laslo
Councilor Sean Morgan defended the effort to provide a general framework.

by Leslie Layton

The Chico City Council, in a special Tuesday meeting, after several failed motions adopted a preliminary plan for spending more than $22 million in American Rescue Plan funds in a 5-2 vote.

A Council majority agreed to remove a jobs training program designed to get unhoused people into the local workforce when they adopted the plan brought to them by City Manager Mark Orme, who called it a preliminary “framework,” or a “road map.”

Roughly, the plan allocates about 50 percent of the funds to improvements in infrastructure, 30 percent to government services and 20 percent to local businesses. read more

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

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