Parking meter fiasco
Dear City of Chico (City Manager Mark Sorensen, Chico City Council, et al.),
We the undersigned business owners of Downtown Chico are writing in response to the new kiosk parking system installed between First and Fourth streets along Main and Broadway. The impact to our regular customer traffic and baseline sales immediately following the Feb. 23 change has been drastic. Collectively, we have witnessed frustrated customers leaving the shopping district, fielded many complaints (with lots and lots saying they will not return) and have had no relief from these negative consequences. As an important economic driver for the City of Chico, we would appreciate consideration of such far-reaching decisions. If you walk through this “premium parking” region, you will see many boarded up storefronts and unequal distribution of the former parking meters. We request that you change this kiosk system and look forward to your solutions.
African Connection, The Bookstore, Bootleg, Brambley Cottage, Caitlin’s Closet, Chico’s Barber Shop, Collier’s Hardware, Cottonparty, Country Squyres Antiques, D’Emilio’s, 5th St. Clothing Co., Fleet Feet, For Elyse, 4thehealthofit Massage, Gabrielle Ferrar Design, Grana, Ital Imports, Kat’s Meow, LaRocca Tasting Room, Live Life Juice, Melody Records, Mountain Sports, Mr. Kopy, Naked Lounge, North Rim Adventure Sports, Olde Gold Estate Jewelry, Pasha Hand Crafted Rugs, The Peddler’s Closet, Preston’s Shoe Repair, Smokin’ Mo’s, Squyres Fire Protection, Tom Foolery, Upper Crust Bakery, Urban Couture, The Vagabond Rose, The Watchman.
Council vs community
If only we had a city council that cared as much about our community as council member Addison Winslow does. At this week’s city council meeting, he pointed out the discrepancies of how Measure H was marketed to us, the voters, last year, and how we were lied to by the conservative city council members when they promised to put the money raised from a new sales tax in Chico towards housing solutions and to address homelessness in our community. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the new city budget was discussed. Guess how much money is allocated toward housing solutions and addressing homelessness in this new city budget? ZERO. Council member Winslow was the only member to address this discrepancy and to remind the conservative city council members that they were breaking their promises to us—their constituents. Please contact your city council member and remind them of what they initially promised to do with the funds raised from the new sales tax: allocate money in the city budget to address housing and homelessness in our community!
I have been part of the No Hotel California Park group since 2019 and have worked hard to get mountains of evidence into the right hands as to why this hotel is not a good fit for this area. This small plot of land is on a private road, maintained by the seniors who live there. It is home to a diverse population of wildlife; hundreds of waterfowl and other birds use this area as a flyway; it is not within walking distance to any restaurants; and the list goes on. It is hard to capture all the details of this project in the small articles, sound bites and council meetings.
When making the motion to deny the April 5 decision of the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board, Councilor Tom van Overbeek apologized to the developers for being “tortured by our citizens.” This is the man who is supposed to represent the constituents of District 6! He went on to tell the Chico Enterprise-Record that he is “not going to pander to hysterical, fringe people.”
He doesn’t know the people who are against this project even though he was repeatedly asked to meet with us. We are not torturers or “hysterical, fringe people”, but are people that have put a lot of thought and care into this.
Chico is a charming, unique community with a vibrant downtown, plenty of amazing restaurants, an outstanding university and lots of nature to explore. If we let people like Mr. Van Overbeek and his like have their way, we will lose our character.
During a meeting with the community on April 27, 2023, which was statutorily required and called to review the Chico Police Department’s use of military-obtained weapons in Chico, there was a lengthy recitation by the chief of police. He recounted a huge array of military weapons like unmanned drones, armored rescue vehicles, a variety of so called kinetic energy launchers, kinetic energy munitions, all kinds of rifles (including automatic weapons), a Remington 870 (which is breaching equipment) and a battering ram known as Kinetic KBT 3-1000. The chief repeatedly described each of these as tools to de-escalate a given situation.
From the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services site (https://cops.usdoj.gov): “De-escalation refers to the range of verbal and nonverbal skills used to slow down the sequence of events, enhance situational awareness, conduct proper threat assessments, and allow for better decision-making to reduce the likelihood that a situation will escalate into a physical confrontation or injury and to ensure the safest possible outcomes.”
De-Escalation is a non-weapons, verbal approach to policing. To say that breaking down the door of a house, or pointing a SionIcs military-style rifle at someone is a de-escalation technique is just ridiculous. The proper definition of de-escalation is accepted by police departments across our country.
Trying to change the definition and process of what de-escalation is and should be is just double speak and will not fool anyone.
In the cases of the last five civilians killed by police in Chico, Chico PD officers used tasers, a biting canine officer, choking, and pistols. Was there a need for military-style weaponry to kill civilians? No. Remember, the police are sworn to “protect and serve” the people, not [to indulge] their desire to see action with increasingly dangerous weaponry. Do all these new weapons make the public safer? How will military-style weapons be used? Has Police Chief Billy Aldridge shared standards and practices for killing citizens with the new weapons? Citizens are not the enemy, but can Chico police officers tell the difference? Do they care when they know District Attorney Ramsey will do all he can to protect them? Without civilian oversight and given a blank check from the council to purchase whatever weapons Chief Aldridge desires, I predict that Chicoans will see more use of lethal force, not less, from your “peace” officers.