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

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

Bill Mash always had a project going Chico loses an activist and story-teller who gave the unhoused a voice

photo by Karen Laslo
Mash at KZFR radio station where he produced programs.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Dec. 5

Eric Mash remembers how his father, Bill “Guillermo” Mash, always had projects underway. So when his father told the family that he had decided to move to Chico and write about homelessness, no one was surprised.

“He fell in love with Chico,” Eric said. “He just had this passion and fire within him to help others, and to always love and care about everybody. He did everything on a bicycle … helping the homeless, helping all the causes.”

Chico writer, radio personality and tireless advocate Bill Mash is being remembered by the Chico community as many friends and loved ones mourn his sudden death last week after a heart attack on Nov. 19. read more

Adapting agriculture to new climate demands Global warming: "Humans made it, humans can unmake it"

photo by Richard Roth
Wilson Landing Road orchards exemplify problems with conventional ag practices.

by Richard Roth
posted Oct. 27

Adaptive agriculture is one of the greatest tools humans have for solving the problem of global warming. A big ticket — true, but in an age where cow burps and farts have become the vapor of hot debates all around the world, it is time to take a reflective examination of the “what, when, how, where, and who” of natural resource management in our homes and greater communities. And then encourage implementation of corrective adaptation quickly.

In a time of radical climate change, we must consider radical change in land use management when considering such things as formation of the Tuscan Water District. read more

School leaders in Chico work to reduce “unfinished learning” In wake of pandemic, experts suggest reform; Chapman employs community model

photo by Leslie Layton
Principal Mike Allen at Chapman Elementary just before opening bell.

by Natalie Hanson
posted March 23

As the pandemic disrupted Chico’s Chapman neighborhood, Chapman Elementary School Principal Mike Allen was one of several local school leaders known to knock on students’ doors and check on them, often with food in hand.

The schools were closed by state mandate with only online learning from March through August 2020, meaning that children missed seven months of in-person education. In October 2020, Chico Unified adopted a hybrid model. In August 2021, campuses fully opened to in-person learning. read more

Settlement ends lawsuit against City of Chico Vice mayor makes 11th-hour bid to postpone settlement

photo by Karen Laslo
Evicted campers leave their site after a sweep.

by Leslie Layton / commentary
posted Jan. 15

A settlement agreement in the lawsuit related to the city’s treatment of unhoused people, signed Friday by a federal judge, could end the spectacle of chaotic mass evictions that stranded campers who had nowhere to go.

Early last year, a newly-installed City Council began a series of sweeps in parks, near waterways and on patches of grass on public land.

Journalists watched as workers came in atop tractors, rumbling through encampments where displaced people had pitched tents and had failed to move their few belongings to who knows where – until we weren’t allowed to watch. read more

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