When the truth won’t set them free Misinformation peddlers have been spreading lies for decades – and the cost is personal

Natalie Hanson

by Natalie Hanson
commentary posted March 14

For those of us who have lost a parent to illness, or conspiracy theories, the pain of witnessing a massive campaign to debunk medical science runs deep.

When COVID-19 hit and began devastating millions of lives, misinformation about the virus -– whether to profit, politicize or divide -– also hit. I felt alone, recognizing telltale signs of the same messaging that tore my family apart.

I have learned how to speak publicly about my mother, and missing her. But I have never spoken publicly about why my mother died. She died of colon cancer, after about four years of suffering. What most do not know is that my parents refused to seek professional medical care, or to find out the exact cause of her mysterious illness. They had already spent years immersed in the conspiracy theory and anti-vax side of the Internet. read more

In preliminary ruling, judge backs CUSD policy on privacy Schools can't out their transgender students, Mendez says in denying injunction

Senior U.S. District Judge John Mendez

by Leslie Layton & Natalie Hanson
posted March 13

An effort to force Chico Unified School District (CUSD) staff to obtain “informed consent” from parents before “socially transitioning” a youth who identifies as transgender has stalled in federal court.

A federal judge has denied a request made in the Regino v. Staley lawsuit, filed against CUSD over a gender identity case, that the district be immediately stopped from accomodating any student who identifies with a gender different than what appears on school records without first contacting the parents. read more

Did cop who killed Gabe Sanchez call him ‘piece of shit’? Sanchez’s brother says Mark Bass made comment during recent confrontation

photo by Dave Waddell
Daniel Sanchez

by Dave Waddell
posted March 11

Eddie “Gabe” Sanchez, who was shot dead in 2015 by Chico police Sgt. Mark Bass, was called “a piece of shit” by Bass during a confrontation last week at a Paradise restaurant, claims Sanchez’s brother.

The Sanchez family has a wrongful death lawsuit pending in federal court against Bass, the Chico Police Department and City of Chico over the killing.

The verbal dust-up between Bass and Daniel Sanchez, Gabe’s younger brother, occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 28 at the Cozy Diner Bar and Grill on the Skyway. read more

Governor slashes water quality protections; lawsuit threatened Fish advocates, conservationists say they're "enraged"

photo by Karen Laslo
The governor’s order must be rescinded to “ensure adequate public safety,” said Carolee Krieger of the California Water Impact Network.

posted March 9

A coalition of environmental groups, including Chico-based AquAlliance, has submitted a notice of intent to sue the State Water Resources Control Board over an order to suspend water quality and fish protections in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta.

The Board issued the order following a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to retain water in state reservoirs to ensure future deliveries for Central Valley agriculture, an AquAlliance press release says. The coalition also includes the California Sportfishing Alliance and the California Water Impact Network. 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

City must open more alternate camping space prior to evicting Pallet shelter admittance procedures cause confusion

photo by Manuel Ortiz, EMS
The Eaton-Cohasset encampment where some 45 people are camped.

by Natalie Hanson & Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 22, updated Feb. 23

The City has been halted from evicting nearly 40 people living unhoused at the encampment it opened in north Chico until it can create two new additional campsites.

The City announced plans to open the sites quickly following a Feb. 22 meeting with Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman regarding terms of the settlement agreement in the lawsuit filed by Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC).

Meanwhile, some unhoused people and their advocates say it’s a struggle to access the city’s new pallet shelters, erected as part of the settlement agreement. read more