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

An election ends Gridley’s “political slumber” Chico Democrats look to the small farming town for lessons

photo courtesy of Catalina Sanchez
Sanchez will be the first Latina to serve on the Gridley City Council.

by Leslie Layton

There are many things to say about the Nov. 3 General Election, including this: in southern Butte County, the small town of Gridley has awoken from decades of political slumber.

Three incumbent city councilmembers were ousted in Gridley, and two of the candidates who won their seats are apparently the first Mexican-Americans elected to the Gridley City Council. This fact in itself is surprising, because about half of Gridley’s residents are identified as Hispanic or Latino, with the vast majority of that population coming from families that immigrated from Mexico. 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

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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