Region’s lawmakers promote new anti-trans laws LaMalfa, Gallagher join fervent nationwide crackdown on civil rights of trans people

photo courtesy of EMS
Nadine Smith: ‘They were an easy target.’

by Natalie Hanson
posted May 17

Across the United States, fervor for passing anti-trans laws has reached an all-time high within the political right -– affecting even counties in politically “blue” states, such as Butte.

In some states, health care providers already face felony charges for offering gender-affirming care. Advocates for the trans community say such care is integral for a successful transition.

More bills targeting transgender rights have been introduced and become law this year than at any time in U.S. history. There have been 543 anti-trans bills proposed nationwide in 2023 alone, according to the website Trans Legislation Tracker. Of these, 71 have passed. read more

Lawsuit over gender identity, children’s privacy, creates turmoil ACLU files motion, asking to join with CUSD defendants

Aurora Regino, who grew up in Chico, has filed suit against CUSD trustees and the superintendent.

by Leslie Layton & Natalie Hanson
posted March 7

A lawsuit filed against Chico Unified over its response to a student who was questioning their gender identity has opened a new front for Butte County culture wars.

The lawsuit, Regino v. Staley, filed Jan. 6 in federal court in the Eastern District of California, alleges that a school counselor at Sierra View Elementary coaxed a student into adopting a male identity after the fifth-grader confided that they “felt like a boy.” The lawsuit names as defendants the Board of Education and Chico Unified (CUSD) Superintendent Kelly Staley. read more

Valley’s Edge opponents worry about environmental impacts Fight over foothill development has wracked Chico for decades

photo courtesy of Steve Evans
From left, Steve Evans, Michael McGinnis and Kelly Meagher announced the No way San Jose campaign in 1988 to stop development next to Upper Bidwell Park.

by Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 4
Part II in a two-part series

Thirty-five years ago, a small, progressive coalition stopped development in the lower foothills adjacent to Upper Bidwell Park with the rallying cry, “No way San Jose.”

That area has been protected under the name of Bidwell Ranch since the 1988 referendum that stopped the project. Voters in favor of stopping the Rancho Arroyo project wanted to protect northwest Chico -– not so much from inevitable population growth -– but from the kind of suburban sprawl that had come to be associated with California cities like San Jose and Fresno. read more

Will Valley’s Edge provide the housing Chico needs? Environmental organizations file lawsuit to stop the project

photo by Leslie Layton
Bill Brouhard presenting the proposed Valley’s Edge housing development to the Chico City Council.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Feb. 2
Part I in a two-part series on project that may take more than 20 years to build out

Chico is known to be severely lacking housing most residents can reasonably afford -– and yet an ambitious project the city has approved to develop housing near the foothills has garnered significant pushback.

On Jan. 3, Chico’s City Council greenlit the Valley’s Edge project. Today, national and regional environmental organizations filed a lawsuit to stop Valley’s Edge, alleging that the environmental impact report is out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The coalition that filed suit, including AquAlliance, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, issued a statement saying they were suing the City of Chico and Chico Land Investments LLC “for approving a development … without properly assessing or mitigating wildfire and other environmental risks.” read more

Public schools take center stage in battles over civil rights Chico Unified School District sued by conservative group

photo courtesy of EMS
Michaele Turnage Young

by Natalie Hanson
posted Jan. 19

Civil rights advocates say that battles over student rights have become polarized by far-right “special interests,” and they foresee a fight ahead to protect childrens’ rights.

Those fights may involve issues ranging from protection against discrimination to materials students are allowed to access and read. And at a Jan. 18 Board of Trustees meeting for Chico Unified School District (CUSD), officials responded to concerns raised by a lawsuit filed by an organization that supports many of the political right’s causes with court fights. read more

Chico’s Stonewall responds to parent complaint, media report Stonewall Alliance gives LGBTQ 101 workshops

photo courtesy of Andrea Mox

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov.11

Stonewall Alliance Chico’s Executive Director Andrea Mox was worried last month when a parent at Blue Oak Charter complained to school staff that their child came home asking about terms for LGBTQ+ people after attending a suicide prevention workshop.

Mox said the parent complained to the school and local media that they did not know their child would be attending a “sex education” workshop. The parent, quoted by a local news station without giving a name, was angry that their 12-year-old child was learning about terms like “pansexual.” read more