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

“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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Denial all over Speaking to the unmasked, addressing "possibility"

photo by Karen Laslo
A sign at a Chico business reminds customers that masks are required in public by the state of California.

by Anna Blackmon Moore
guest contributor

My father, who died two years ago, was an alcoholic. When I was a child and he was inebriated, I’d ask him whether he was drunk. He always said no before stumbling off to bed. I watched him go and felt I had been wrong to suspect drunkenness and even more wrong to ask.

I stood in our hallway, balanced unsteadily on a threshold between what my father said and what I knew to be true. It was very uncomfortable, deeply personal, and profoundly difficult for me to understand. My stomach churned; I developed a pre-ulcerous condition; I grew into adolescence an extremely insecure girl. read more

City of Chico says it will enforce mask-wearing Council tries new approach to public participation at meetings

photo by Karen Laslo
Because of the pandemic, city employees sat outside during the meeting, in the 90-degree heat, handing out speaker cards to those who wished to speak at the City Council meeting.

Public participation was allowed at the Aug.4 City Council meeting — but a citizen speaker tore off his mask at the microphone as he addressed the panel.

The Council allowed in-person public participation at the meeting for the first time since the pandemic set in, asking would-be speakers to wear a face covering in the chambers and line up outside, staying 6 feet apart, until their names were called. They were allowed to then enter one-by-one. One man pulled off his mask as he addressed the Council, pleading with it not to enforce mandatory mask compliance. read more

Police use of deadly force? Here’s one solution. Writer to cops: 'Break the blue wall of silence'

photo by Mark Comfort courtesy of Wikipedia
In May 1967, Black Panther members protesting police brutality and a new law marched on the State Capitol.

by George Gold
guest commentary

From The Sacramento Bee’s front page in 1967: “Two dozen armed Negroes entered the state Capitol at noon today and made their way to the back of the Assembly Chamber before they were disarmed and marched away by the state police.”

This happened in the midst of the ‘power to the people’ campaign organized to shine a light on police brutality in the Black community. After more than 50 years, has anything changed?

In Los Angeles, 1991, Rodney King was brutally beaten by cops as the whole country watched; somehow he survived. read more

Pandemic is costly — and often violent — for women worldwide Chico volunteers address inequities on a local level

photo courtesy of DSA
Alexandra Wynter (left) brings supplies to a Chico woman living in a homeless encampment.

by Lindajoy Fenley and Leslie Layton

Alexandra Wynter is feeling optimistic – even in the middle of a global pandemic that has made a difficult life even more difficult for many women.

As a volunteer coordinator for an outreach program run by Chico’s DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), the pandemic has given her an opportunity to build relationships with unhoused women — she prefers “unhoused” to the stigma attached to “homeless” — throughout the community whose lives have been made even more precarious by the COVID-19 crisis. read more