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Stand up for Chico, a newly formed political action committee, counters prevailing narratives by casting a positive light on the city

A new organization has just joined the political landscape in Chico.

Stand up for Chico, a local political action committee, announced its presence today (July 23) with a blunt opening on its website: “The City of Chico is a beautiful place. It deserves better than fear-mongering and divisiveness.”

As part of the launch, Stand up for Chico (SUFC) partnered with video activists of Respectful Revolution to produce a short that features interviews with people enjoying a day in Bidwell Park this past Fourth of July and an introduction by the PAC’s president, local homeless advocate Angela McLaughlin, saying: “In the coming months we plan to focus on what’s going right in the community, to look for the positives, and to also work together to find constructive solutions for the areas where we need improvement.”

In a recent interview, McLaughlin shared that the main impetus for the starting the PAC is to counter what her group sees as an ongoing “ugly narrative” on social media by the political action committee Citizens for a Safe Chico (CFSC), whose logo SUFC seems to parody. The images of garbage in parks, homeless camps and discarded hypodermic needles that CFSC posts online present a one-sided image of the city, McLaughlin said.

“Of course, there are all of these things in the community, right? We all understand that Chico has some issues and that we could do better work on them,” McLaughlin told the CN&R. “But where I think that there is a disconnect is thousands of us go about our business in Chico every day. We go downtown, we go to the parks, we go for a walk, and we’re not assaulted, we don’t encounter needles, we don’t encounter garbage, nobody is aggressive with us.

Angela McLaughlin of new local political action committee, Stand Up For Chico. (Photo by Jason Cassidy)

“When somebody posts a picture of the park and says, ‘I had a great walk,’ it doesn’t get circulated. That’s unremarkable, right? So, I think that there’s a disconnect that people see these pictures and then they get circulated and everybody’s like, ‘Oh, my god, this is outrageous!’ … when the reality is, for most of us, we have concerns of course, but that doesn’t reflect our experiences.”

Out of the gate, SUFC isn’t endorsing any candidates for local offices. The immediate goals are to reframe Chico’s image—starting with the introductory video as well as a social-media campaign that will encourage locals to share images and stories to the committee’s Facebook and Instagram pages of their “great” experiences living in Chico—and to begin working on solutions for immediate issues.

“We want to focus on building coalitions, working on solutions for problems that we can solve,” McLaughlin explained. “Legal camping is a big one … and downtown, issues with the plaza and making sure that downtown is a place where we all want to be.”

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7 Comments

  1. Chico is a beautiful city with much to offer but we need to be realistic about the homeless population and it’s effect on downtown Chico, it’s effect on the economy. I’ve been there in the evening when the homeless are sitting on the sidewalk with legs stretched out and I’ve had to step over them or when I went outside at City Hall and a homeless man was sleeping outside. Let’s face it it’s a problem and it needs to be dealt with.

  2. I didn’t know you were up to all of this phenomenal PAC activity, Ms. McLaughlin. I love it. It’s a beautiful, overdue push-back to the haters. I gave Gerard kudos for his wonderful work on it too, when I saw him at the Market today. Thank you, on behalf of our beautiful, kind, reasonable, heartfelt City (excepting a very small minority that’s ever embittered). Thank you!

  3. Stand up for Chico is a great idea! Although we have a farm in the foothills, we spend a lot of time in Chico, walking and biking in Bidwell Park, volunteering, taking our dog for walks in Upper Bidwell, and eating and shopping. Of course there are problems to be solved, and fabulous Chico people are working to solve them with compassion, energy, and on-the-ground-work. I’m weary of complainers; I’m appreciative of those who are providing solutions.

  4. Thank you for what you are doing. I do a lot of walking around Chico and I feel safe doing so. Yes there are homeless people but in most places where a lot of people live, there are homeless. I look at the news and I see there are homeless people in Redding, Red Bluff and other cities. It’s a national problem. We need to help them to get housing. For those who can work, we need to help them get jobs. For those that have mental health issues, we must get help for them. Bashing people doesn’t do any good. The picture being presented by some people that Chico is unsafe, that there are needles everywhere is not true. I look where I go, but I find Bidwell Park and wherever I go in Chico to be safe. I like living here.

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