A detour to the Cesar Chavez monument At the southern tip of Highway 99

photo by Lindajoy Fenley
The gravesites of Cesar and Helen Chavez.

Editor’s note: ChicoSol is reviving its Highway 99 series that was popular some 10 years ago to mark this year’s Cesar Chavez Day. State Route 99 cuts through California’s Central Valley, where union organizing had a tremendous impact.

by Lindajoy Fenley
posted March 27

The final resting place of Cesar Chavez, who led strikes to improve the lot of underpaid and disrespected farmworkers nationwide more than 50 years ago, has the peaceful moniker Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz.

It has been headquarters of Chavez’s United Farm Workers union (UFW) since 1972 and a National Monument where the labor leader’s March 31 birthday has been celebrated annually since 2010. A warning sign that entry to the area is “impassable during high water” serves as a metaphor that the struggle for farmworker rights still faces challenges. Indeed, the bucolic spot tucked into the hills 30 miles east of Highway 99, a few miles before it merges into Interstate 5, is not immune from the controversy that marked Chavez’s life. read more

Chico residents again plea for a ceasefire resolution Some students say they're facing harassment

photo by Natalie Hanson
Yahmo Aqhba: “[The war is] affecting people, killing people we know and love.”

by Natalie Hanson
posted March 21

A group of Chico residents again have called on city leaders — in a third effort — to pass a ceasefire resolution that would show support for the Palestinian community amid Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

At the meeting earlier this week (March 19), activist Rain Scher stepped to the podium to present a revised ceasefire resolution to the City Council. Scher, a member of Chico Jews in Solidarity with Palestine, pointed out that the new resolution calls for declaring that all human life is “precious.” Scher told ChicoSol that the resolution “explicity names both the Palestinian and Israeli casualties.” read more

Chico parents form anti-racism coalition Parents demand zero tolerance for discrimination

Mele Benz

by Natalie Hanson
posted Oct. 31

Chico Unified parents who demand that their school district crafts stronger protections for students and faculty against hate speech say they are forming an anti-racism coalition.

Mele Benz is one of numerous parents in Chico who say they want children to have better protection from discrimination and hate speech. She is one of three parents who head the board of what is now the NorCal Anti-Racism Coalition, which represents about 100 family members and allies. It asks that Chico Unified School District (CUSD) demonstrate no tolerance for hate speech or discrimination on its campuses. (See sidebar on increased bullying in California schools here.) read more

Protesting our military extravagance Looking ahead to "flooding, melting polar ice, human migration"

photo by George Gold
September protest at Beale Air Force Base.

by George Gold
guest commentary posted Oct. 26

In September, about a dozen members of the Chico Peace Alliance traveled to the front gate of Beale Air Force Base to deliver a message to pilots and support workers.

We wanted to share our view — not often noted by the defense establishment — about the hazards that are caused by the U.S. military industrial complex. Our view was that peace is more important than war, and that the U.S. defense infrastructure causes a huge negative environmental impact right there in Marysville and around the world. read more

Housing Element gets nod from both state and Council Will plan produce more low-income housing?

Community Development Director Brendan Vieg talks about the Housing Element.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Sept. 25

Chico’s City Council has adopted an eight-year housing plan after finally winning approval from the state with its fourth draft of the required document.

The Sept. 19 City Council unanimous vote sealed the eight-year plan, the Housing Element, that outlines the development strategy for long-term residential growth and includes an assessment of current housing stock and available funding.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) had rejected previous drafts and required revisions to meet the state’s complex requirements. The Housing Element was required to cover the period from 2022 to June 2030, ensuring that the City would comply with new legislation by developing a comprehensive strategy to promote “safe, decent and affordable housing.” read more

The American lottery: affordable housing Demand intense for low-income housing in Butte

photo by Leslie Layton
Housing Authority Executive Director Ed Mayer looks out at the community room at the North Creek Crossings Apartments that opened in June and were built in partnership with the agency he leads.

by Leslie Layton
posted Sept. 18

When the Butte County Housing Authority opened its Section 8 waitlist for low-income housing early this year, it was flooded with 8,368 applications from this county and beyond.

A portion of those applicants entered a lottery for a Section 8 housing voucher. Each year, only 1,500 win the lottery. And even more alarming is the fact that only about half of the lottery “winners” -– the 750 who had been selected by lottery for a voucher -– find and rent an affordable unit in Butte County in the time frame they’re given. read more