Chico News & Review https://chico.newsreview.com Thu, 30 Jun 2022 23:38:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0 https://chico.newsreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-CNR_FAVICON_500x500-32x32.png Chico News & Review https://chico.newsreview.com 32 32 What’s on? June 30-July 6 https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/30/whats-on-june-30-july-6/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/30/whats-on-june-30-july-6/#respond Thu, 30 Jun 2022 21:22:59 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19946 Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun! Visit [...]

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Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun!

Visit the CN&R’s online calendar for more details on these and many other local listings.

thin air Tape Release Show

The local indie/experimental musician releases physical tapes of his new record, All Revolve All Dissolve, via local label KitKat Records. Coyote Whisper and Vik Whistle open the show, followed by a performance of the new record in its entirety.

Today, June 30, 7pm. Tickets: $10 

Argus Bar + Patio
212 W. Second St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 570-2672

Comedy is Gay

An LGBTQ comedy showcase headlined by San Francisco comedian Drea Meyers.

Friday, July 1, 7pm. Tickets: $20 

Gnarly Deli
243 West 2nd St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 433-4415

The Tightys

Local rock show/birthday party along with Empty Gate and Furlough Fridays.

Friday, July 1, 9pm. Tickets: $7 

Duffy’s Tavern
337 Main St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 343-7718

Podium

Enjoy a different kind of fireworks this year courtesy of the punk band from Valencia, Spain along with locals Sunny Acres and The Fed-Ups.

Monday, July 4, 7pm. Tickets: $10 

Naked Lounge
118 W. Second St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 487-2634

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Council (re)turns to Sorensen https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/30/city-manager-hire/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/30/city-manager-hire/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2022 20:23:17 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19954 Former Mayor Mark Sorensen will be Chico’s next city manager, the city announced Thursday (June 30). The City Council, which will approve the appointment officially at its next meeting Tuesday (July 5), interviewed candidates in [...]

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Former Mayor Mark Sorensen will be Chico’s next city manager, the city announced Thursday (June 30).

The City Council, which will approve the appointment officially at its next meeting Tuesday (July 5), interviewed candidates in a series of closed-session meetings last week. Sorensen’s hiring caps a national search to replace Mark Orme, with whom the council parted ways March 25.

Sorensen, whose two terms as councilman (2010-18) included a term as mayor (2014-16), has worked the past 10 years as city administrator in Biggs, where his position encompasses the roles of finance director, utility director and risk manager.

“My past experiences in local government have tested and proven my leadership qualities and how I handle difficult and challenging situations,” he said in a news release distributed by Chico City Clerk Debbie Presson, ahead of the meeting agenda for Tuesday night. “I am very well prepared and look forward to finding solutions to the challenges that lie ahead serving as the city manager of my hometown.”

Current Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Councilman Sean Morgan served with Sorensen—Morgan as vice mayor before succeeding Sorensen as mayor. Councilman Mike O’Brien was police chief during Sorensen’s last three years on the council.

“Mark has a wealth of knowledge about the city, its operations and finances,” Coolidge said in the news release. “These made him the right choice for the position and the best person to lead Chico forward into the future.”

Police Chief Matt Madden, who briefly held the post of interim city manager before the council hired Paul Hahn, announced his retirement Wednesday (June 29) after 30 years in law enforcement, the past 25 with Chico PD. He plans to retire in September.

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‘Crossing the Line’ for choice https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/27/roe-v-wade-podcast/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/27/roe-v-wade-podcast/#respond Mon, 27 Jun 2022 16:16:32 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19888 By Danny Feingold This story is produced by the award-winning journalism nonprofit Capital & Main and co-published here with permission. Long before the June 24 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Lisa Caruso decided to tell the story [...]

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By Danny Feingold

This story is produced by the award-winning journalism nonprofit Capital & Main and co-published here with permission.

Long before the June 24 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Lisa Caruso decided to tell the story of those seeking abortion in an increasingly anti-choice America.

Caruso, head of U.S. Content at the nonprofit Population Media Center (PMC), wanted to get beyond the politics of abortion to the gripping human reality facing millions of people in parts of the country that had already restricted reproductive rights.

The result is “Crossing the Line,” a 10-part audio documentary series produced by PMC that will premiere on July 6, with new episodes every two weeks. (A trailer is available here; more information on the podcast can be found here.)

“Crossing the Line” features the stories not only of people trying to terminate a pregnancy but of the growing network of professionals and volunteers committed to helping them. From doctors and nurses to family members and faith leaders, these providers and advocates are now on the front lines of an explosive battle that poses significant legal and personal risks.

Capital & Main spoke to Caruso, who was raised Catholic, hours after the Supreme Court ruling on Roe. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Capital & Main: What makes this podcast different from others on abortion?

Lisa Caruso: We are not breaking ground in terms of sharing stories, but what we want to do is take people to the front lines as it’s unfolding so they can experience it firsthand.

It’s not just a podcast about abortion—it’s about human rights, about family, about individual freedoms and how we protect inalienable rights in America.

Do you want the justices who voted to overturn Roe to listen to the podcast, and what do you want them to take away from it?

Yes, I would like everyone to listen to the podcast. Like anyone else who is listening, I hope it opens their hearts and minds to the real-life impacts of their decision today.

You started making this podcast last year, long before today’s decision overturning Roe. How hard has it been for women to get an abortion even without the outlawing of Roe?

This ban is another notch in the already difficult barriers to access that have been erected for individuals seeking abortion services. It unevenly affects women of color, immigrants and those with geographic barriers.

What are the dangers faced by people seeking abortion and those who help them?

In Tennessee, there is only one clinic in Knoxville remaining because Planned Parenthood was burned down. In Michigan, those seeking abortion must have security and escorts because there are armed protesters every day. In Texas, anyone who helps someone who wants to have an abortion is considered an accomplice to murder.

Can you share a story of a woman seeking an abortion and the people helping her?

Our premiere episode is focused on a travel program in Dallas. It’s in conjunction with a religious coalition who believes that it’s their responsibility to help individuals seeking these services because their God does not condemn individuals in this situation. We take a journey with a young mother who wants to focus on getting her life on track and already has a young toddler. She knows the choice that is right for her is to not continue the pregnancy.

It may surprise people that clergy are helping people access abortion. Why are faith leaders involved in this movement?

They see their calling to be supporting individuals who need help without judgment. A reverend we are working with has indicated that he has had anti-abortion protesters come to him seeking abortion through this program and then go back out to protest. I don’t know if I was surprised as much as I was pleased to learn that it isn’t as black and white as we might think; it isn’t red vs. blue.

It is an incredible testament to those who work in this space on a day-to-day basis. They have been committed to it for years: the individuals who founded a clinic in Texas in 1973 right after Roe passed. A doctor in Knoxville who is following in the footsteps of his father who ran a clinic. A doctor in Texas who grew up undocumented and saw people oppressed and marginalized and wanted to take up the fight. They all have their individual motivation.

This podcast must be logistically very difficult. How are you actually pulling it off?

Initially we thought we could send out audio packs to those in the movement and on the ground. Logistically it became very difficult. It took getting a trusted network of reporters and documentarians in these key states and building that trust one on one, so they could understand what we are trying to do and that this would be a historical documentation in real time.

Are you hoping to reach beyond pro-choice Americans with this show and challenge those who support banning abortion?

I hope this podcast reaches as far and wide as possible and lets those who listen make their own decision. We wanted to not just speak in an echo chamber. I thought that using these immersive stories could hopefully illuminate for those on the edges what the realities are. They might not have known before because it’s all been politicized. We want to be able to present factually but also with an opportunity for conversation.

What have you learned about our country, and how banning abortions will affect the nation?

Nothing is more shocking than the wording in the decision that came down today that basically says the erosion of rights is just the beginning. They will be looking at other precedents and considering whether they need to be examined—gay marriage, birth control. If this starts to be the norm, that we are reconsidering things that have been the law, I am not sure where we are going.

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Lucero relinquishes seat https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/24/primary-results-final/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/24/primary-results-final/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2022 20:31:34 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19855 The Butte County Board of Supervisors will tilt further right come January with the ouster of District 2 incumbent Debra Lucero. In the final results from the June 7 primary, released Friday morning (June 24), [...]

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The Butte County Board of Supervisors will tilt further right come January with the ouster of District 2 incumbent Debra Lucero.

In the final results from the June 7 primary, released Friday morning (June 24), Chico police sergeant Peter Durfee received 50.7 percent of the vote to win the seat outright. Lucero took 45 percent, with Carl Jeffries getting 4.3.

“Another way to look at this is if he had received 76 votes less, we would be headed to a runoff in November,” Lucero posted on Facebook. “That’s why EVERY vote counts….”

A first-term supervisor, Lucero led on election night, but Durfee passed her in the next wave of counting. The finally tally was 5,398 for Durfee versus 4,790 for Lucero of the 11,708 votes cast. Turnout in District 2 was 42 percent—three points higher than the county total, which was nine points below the 48 percent participation in the last nonpresidential primary, 2018.

District 3 incumbent Tami Ritter already held a comfortable margin and wound up with 68.6 percent to defeat challenger Mary Murphy-Walfdorf by 37 points. Durfee’s election will leave Ritter as the lone progressive on the board, thereby giving conservatives a supermajority as required to pass certain measures (i.e., the budget).

This election followed the county’s redistricting from the 2020 census—a process that yielded a map approved by the three conservative supervisors (Bill Connelly, Tod Kimmelshue and Doug Teeter) over sharp opposition from the two Chico progressives that turned Lucero’s district from compact and urban to largely suburban and agricultural.

“I wish Mr. Durfee luck and hope he will represent all of us well,” Lucero’s post continued. “I want to thank all of my supporters and those who stood beside me during the race….

“In the end, the gerrymandered district, the smear campaign by the Political Action Committee Butte Forward (supported by our Assemblyman [James Gallagher], fellow supervisors and their families, and many agricultural industrialists) plus a third candidate spoiler and low voter turnout was too much for my campaign to overcome. It was a hard-fought race.

“It saddens me that I won’t be representing District 2 come January 2023, but I have to believe the past four years have not been in vain. I have enjoyed representing my constituents and Butte County at the state and federal level … and will continue to do so through the end of this year.”

County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar Candace Grubbs told the CN&R by email Friday afternoon that California does not conduct automatic recounts and that anyone who requests a recount must pay for it.

Durfee said in a statement released noontime Friday, “I am humbled to be chosen by my Chico neighbors to represent them on the Butte County Board of Supervisors.” Working with his future colleagues, he continued, “I will ensure Chico residents have a voice in Butte County government. As promised, I will focus on making Chico safer while tackling our homeless crisis. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and partner with my fellow community members to find the best solutions to Chico’s difficulties while bettering our city for all Chico residents.”

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What’s on? June 23-29 https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/23/whats-on-june-23-29/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/23/whats-on-june-23-29/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2022 09:00:00 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19808 Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun! Visit [...]

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Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun!

Visit the CN&R’s online calendar for more details on these and many other local listings.

My Cousin COLE

Join vocalist Molly Mary Mahoney, pianist Joshua Hegg and saxophonist John Mahoney for an evening of love songs by Cole Porter. Fresh arrangements by Hegg.

Friday, June 24, 7:30pm. Tickets: $25 

Chico Women’s Club
592 E. Third St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 894-1978

XDS

The local psychedelic dance punk duo headlines along with Tite Nauts and Bellingham, Wash., psych punk rockers The Sheen.

Friday, June 24, 8pm. Tickets: $8 

Argus Bar + Patio
212 W. Second St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 570-2672

Ice Cream Social Benefit for Torres Community Shelter

True North Housing Alliance hosts a fundraiser that includes ice cream, live music and a meet and greet/photo op with Star Wars characters as part of an effort to raise $400,000 for the shelter in 100 days.

Saturday, June 25, 10am. Tickets: $5-$10 

Oak Grove Picnic Area, Bidwell Park
300 South Park Dr, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 896-7800

Aberrance

13th birthday party for the local metal band along with Preacher from Reno, Alå from Woodland and Wasteheart from Chico.

Saturday, June 25, 7pm. Tickets: $10 

Naked Lounge
118 W. Second St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 487-2634

Divine Sundays Market

Crystals, herbs, clothing, music, food, workshops and free popsicles. Follow the market on Instagram for updates.

Sunday, June 26, 11am. Tickets: Free

Chico Women’s Club
592 E. Third St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 894-1978

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Interpretive dance https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/22/city-council-initiative/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/22/city-council-initiative/#respond Wed, 22 Jun 2022 20:41:55 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19813 What is “quality of life”? The city of Chico has a definition of sorts in its vision statement, which calls for the city to be “a safe place to raise a family, an ideal location [...]

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What is “quality of life”? The city of Chico has a definition of sorts in its vision statement, which calls for the city to be “a safe place to raise a family, an ideal location for business and a premier place to live.” Dictionary definitions include “the standard of health, comfort and happiness.” None are particularly specific.

That proved the crux of the issue Tuesday night (June 21) when Chico Vice Mayor Kasey Reynolds proposed the City Council place on the November ballot a voter initiative titled “Protect Chico’s Quality of Life Act.” As drafted, it would require all future councils to “use all legal means available, including the enforcement of existing and the enactment of new laws,” to preserve quality of life—established as safety, cleanliness, beauty and economic vitality. Further, it “provides a means for citizens and businesses to hold the city accountable” (i.e., receive compensation) should the city not abate nuisances.

Discussion of the initiative, which followed the police department’s annual report and the city’s shelter crisis plan, brought to light how broadly terms can be interpreted. Speaker Julie Threet observed that “safety means a lot of things to a lot of people”; to her, it’s about schoolkids sitting in dilapidated classrooms wearing masks. She’d consider a vaccine clinic from Butte County Public Health at the mall a nuisance for the city to abate.

Melody Proebstel told the council how she taught Chico State students about the concept of privilege, “not having to think about something,” and so “what looks like safety to me may look different to someone else.” She encouraged consideration of how each element delineated within quality of life “would look for the entire community.”

Katy Thoma, executive director of the Chico Builders Association, said the developer group supported the idea in principle—they’re looking forward to how it would be implemented “without unintended consequences.”

That’s where the council landed. Sean Morgan, aligned with Reynolds in the conservative majority, suggested the initiative merited a comprehensive review by City Attorney Vince Ewing, whose office had not vetted the proposal. In response to questions from Mayor Andrew Coolidge, Reynolds said a constituent supplied the language based on a Sacramento city initiative on the November ballot (the Emergency Shelter and Enforcement Act).

Councilman and former police chief Mike O’Brien, saying such an action “must pass legal muster,” made a motion to have Ewing’s office analyze the draft. Morgan seconded, and both accepted a friendly amendment from Reynolds that Ewing present a “ballot-ready initiative” at the next regular meeting, July 5, due to the tight timeline. The council voted 6-1 in favor, with lone progressive Alex Brown dissenting.

“I feel like a broken record, but we keep getting the same narrative from this council,” Brown said by phone the next morning. “First of all, this ballot initiative appears to be so broad that it puts us in a very serious liability situation. … It is broad in a way that I don’t think can be narrowed. And it looks very performative—I can see Chico citizens reading it and saying, ‘That looks good,’ and potentially voting for something like this; but when I read it, it looks a whole lot like bad policy to me.

“It looks like policy that reinforces the narrative of us versus them. It reinforces the narrative the enforcement is the way to solve social problems. It reinforces the narrative that the citizens who are unhappy should be able to get money from the city.”

Morgan told the CN&R after the session that he wanted to avoid another Warren v. City of Chico lawsuit, in which a federal judge ruled that the city violated the Constitution in enforcing ordinances (anti-camping in this case).

“The vice mayor’s idea for this, whether it came out of Sacramento or somebody in the audience wrote it, is fine—it’s a good framework,” he said. “How do we move forward with something like this? And is it feasible? If it’s not, let’s find out it’s not; then we’re still in the same boat. If it is, let’s go get it. We’ll find out.”

Reynolds told the CN&R, “I just provided a draft and knew it would need to be reviewed; that was what I expected. You have to start the conversation. I wanted to give us a framework … we’ll shore it up the best that we can and get something forward for the voters.”

She said she heard about the Sacramento initiative from constituents and added: “Knowing what we’re going through in our community right now and that we’re focused on one particular thing [homelessness], I think it’s time we focus on the community as a whole and have an opportunity for everybody to be listened to.”

The item drew 10 public speakers and three online comments—eight in support without reservations. One, attorney Rob Berry, said that “even if nothing practically improves because of this initiative, it’s an opportunity for this community … to state in a unified voice that this community is not nearly as divided on these issues of quality of life as we hear or we’re told.”

Brown told the CN&R that the notion “even if it doesn’t hold up, it makes a clear statement” is “not good policy. Policy should lead to a specific result; it should lead to something done. If it was never the intention to have things being done as a result of whatever this is, we’re headed in the wrong direction.”

Other issues

Police Chief Matt Madden presented his department’s annual report, going over each of the 36 pages. The document posted online breaks down police activities and crime statistics for 2021; Madden offered context.

Among his remarks, the chief noted that he had discretion over just 5 percent of the police budget ($29.4 million in 2021-22); how 2020 presented unusual circumstances for comparison because of the pandemic (e.g., shelter in place orders); that Chico PD has completed deescalation training, ahead of schedule; and officers used force in less than two-tenths of a percent of their encounters (81 incidents in 49,078 calls for service).

Brown asked for clarification on how the department defined “use of force”; Madden replied that Chico PD considered measures an officer takes beyond placing a suspect in handcuffs without resistance.

Reynolds—a member of Madden’s Police Community Advisory Board, which previewed the report—pointed to the use-of-force statistic as her big takeaway.

“A lot of times when you hear a lot of the naysayers and the defund-the-police and those kind of people coming in, that’s not what is portrayed; it’s that they’re these big bullies going out doing these horrible things,” she told the CN&R. “It’s an amazing number.”

Along with use of force, Brown said she’s focusing on complaints against officers, known as professional standards. The report listed 12 last year, up from four each of the previous two years. Madden cited more robust internal review, incorporating greater use of technology such as bodycams, from which investigators opened five cases. Of the 12 total, administrative investigations exonerated three officers and did not uphold two other complaints. Brown told the CN&R she’d appreciate more transparency in reporting out the process.

Coolidge told the CN&R by phone that he’s looking at 2021 compared to 2019, rather than 2020’s extenuating year-over-year variances. Through that lens, “there are some minor upticks [in crime] that have to be paid attention to,” he said, “but also the fact that we need to continue to strengthen our police department as much as possible and understand we’re a growing city.”

Madden’s report was informational only, but the council needed to approve a state-mandated plan stemming from the city’s shelter crisis declaration. The majority did so on a 6-1 vote, Brown again dissenting, ahead of the July 1 deadline—though in making the motion, Reynolds acknowledged gaps mentioned by each of the four public speakers.

The plan comprises the city’s actions in response to Warren v. Chico and documents collated by Ewing’s office: the settlement agreement, plans for the Pallet shelter and the city’s Low Cost Housing Resource Guide. Citizens asked about the absence of data points and intentions moving forward.

“For me, if felt obligatory,” Brown said of the plan submitted for approval. “It lacked effort, and it wasn’t something I was interested in putting my name behind.”

Coolidge told the CN&R that the council needs to revisit the plan, “to dive into it more in depth. The long-range planning is a big part of this, and to some extent it was lacking.”

In the meeting’s other notable action, the council unanimously instructed the Public Works Department to collaborate with the Downtown Chico Business Association on placing more trashcans downtown. The city has budgeted $65,000 to add and replace cans.

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Massive mess https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/20/plastic-trash-law/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/20/plastic-trash-law/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19711 By Andy Furillo This story is produced by the award-winning journalism nonprofit Capital & Main and co-published here with permission. The moment may be at hand for Californians to turn the tide on a sea of plastic waste that [...]

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By Andy Furillo

This story is produced by the award-winning journalism nonprofit Capital & Main and co-published here with permission.

The moment may be at hand for Californians to turn the tide on a sea of plastic waste that environmentalists say is destroying life in the ocean, contaminating drinking water and stuffing state landfills.

Already qualified for the November ballot, the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act would force the petrochemical-based plastics industry to make all single-use plastic packaging and foodware items reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030, while reducing production of them by 25 percent.

Northern California recycling and waste management giant Recology Inc. put up $3.85 million to get the measure on the ballot. The Corn Refiners Association contributed $250,000 more. The Conservation Action Fund, supported by a half-million-dollar contribution from the Nature Conservancy, is bankrolling the ongoing campaign. And a who’s who of prominent environmental organizations in the state has lent lobbyists and message masters to lead the attack on plastic.

The measure’s supporters describe a frightening scenario of a world overwhelmed by plastic waste—food cups, clamshell containers, straws, bottle-cap sealants and dozens of other single-use items. Plastic trash, the advocates say, now floods the oceans with some 14 billion tons of waste a year that ravages fish and other sea life. On land, plastic refuse breaks down into microscopic particles that are being found pretty much everywhere.

“This isn’t just about marine life,” said Nick Lapis, a lobbyist for Californians Against Waste. “This is being ingested by humans, and we don’t know what the effects of that are. This year, research has come out that showed for the first time that there’s plastic in human blood and human lungs, and there was a study that tested the first bowel movement of newborns, and they had plastic in them. … Babies are literally being born with it in their bodies.”

*   *   *

Under the terms of the measure, the plastics industry—attached at the hip with the fossil fuels industry, a relationship now under investigation by the California attorney general—would be required to pay a one cent fee for each piece of single-use plastic such as a plastic lid, straw and cup sold.

Most of this money would go into a new California Plastic Pollution Reduction Fund that would “support local public works infrastructure and litter abatement activities, composting, recycling, reuse, and environmental restoration,” according to the initiative. The measure also bans polystyrene foam containers widely used in food services.

Opponents of the initiative say it would cost consumers and state and local governments billions of dollars and lead to tens of thousands of workers losing their jobs. They say that the initiative’s wording does allow producers to pass along costs to consumers, only that they can’t itemize it in a receipt or invoice.

The California Business Roundtable ($350,000) and the American Chemistry Council ($250,000) are the biggest funders of the opposition campaign, Stop the Tax on Working Families. The Dart Container Corp., of Mason, Mich., has contributed $256,000 in a donation it made through the Business Roundtable. Dart produces polystyrene foam cups and other food service delivery products; in 2012, it acquired the highly visible Solo Cup franchise, famous to Pong players everywhere. The California Retailers Association, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the California Taxpayers Association have signed on with the Roundtable and the chemistry council as sponsors of the opposition committee.

Michael Bustamante, the opposition spokesman, said the initiative will cost consumers $4.3 billion a year on the penny-per-plastic-item tax, or $901 a year for a family of four. He says the state will pay an additional $4.1 billion for expanded recycling and related costs, and that the initiative will require another $500 million to replace “noncomplying materials,” for a total cost of $8.9 billionMoreover, Bustamante said 40,000 workers will lose their jobs, more than half of whom are Latino.

Bustamante obtained the data from a report put out earlier this year by the Center for Jobs and the Economy, the California Business Roundtable’s research arm. The report, however, said that the initiative would only “affect” the jobs, not eliminate them. The report attributed the figures to 2019 state Employment Development Department data for California packaging employment. Among the 40,159 jobs that the report said would be affected, 7,327 of them are actually in the paperboard and paper bag industry.

In an interview, Bustamante said that “ambiguities” in the wording of the initiative might also expose cardboard, glass, paper and aluminum products to the requirements of the initiative, especially if those materials are intermixed with plastic products.

Bustamante also attacked the initiative’s foremost financial backer, Recology Inc., as “corrupt” and “rotten from the core.” He cited the company’s admission to wrongdoing in two long-running bribery cases that were resolved last year with the company paying $136 million in criminal penalties and rate reimbursements. Bustamante charged that Recology launched the initiative primarily as a result of a decision by the Chinese government in 2017 to stop recycling the world’s plastic waste, including the tonnage it had been importing from Recology.

“You know that these guys were shipping their plastics to China,” Bustamante said. “China was accepting them for free, but when China closed its doors in 2017 and said, ‘We’re not accepting any more,’ Recology needed to find a Plan B, and their Plan B was this initiative.”

An employee-owned company that has collected San Francisco’s trash since 1935, Recology now recycles more than 600 million pounds of materials every year along with some 1 billion pounds of compostable food scraps and yard waste in 127 communities in Northern California, Oregon, Washington state and Nevada.

“We are not out to destroy the plastics industry, but we must embrace change,” former Recology CEO and President Michael Sangiacomo wrote in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed when the company launched the initiative drive in 2018.

Company spokesman Robert Reed, in a statement to Capital & Main, said that Recology has “long grappled with the challenges put out by plastic waste” and that it “proudly put up the seed money” for the initiative. Reed said that the plastics industry “has cynically and dishonestly tried to make Recology the focus” of the campaign “to divert attention away from what is truly at stake: voters’ interest in addressing the dangerous proliferation in our environment, our lands and seas, our flora and fauna, and our own bodies.” Reed asserted that the measure “earmarks no money—zero dollars—to Recology.”

Last Sept. 9 Recology admitted to fraud in a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. In a plea deal, the company agreed to pay $36 million in criminal penalties. Also last year, Recology on March 4 settled a case brought by the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office related to the bribery scheme and agreed to pay more than $100 million in rate reimbursements to the city’s residential customers.

According to court documents, the bribery scheme involved two Recology officials who delivered more than $1.1 million in payments to San Francisco’s former public works director, Mohammed Nuru, in exchange for rate increases going as far back as 2013.

Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds said in a press release that the company is “committed to full cooperation” in the government’s ongoing investigation.

Despite the bad publicity out of San Francisco, initiative supporters have not backed away from Recology. Lapis, the lobbyist for Californians Against Waste, said it has been “a good partner” and called the industry attack on Recology, which is no longer involved in the campaign, “a miscalculation on who they think is driving the ship here.”

*   *   *

As for the opponents’ allegation that the initiative will cost consumers $4.3 billion, the measure’s supporters are using the figure to bash the plastics industry. They say that the number represents an admission on the industry’s part of the Mt. Everest-sized plastics problem, as well as an acknowledgment that producers have no intention of reducing the amount of nonrecyclable waste that they are pumping out.

At the rate of a penny a piece, the proponents say, the figure suggests the industry is producing and California consumers are throwing away some 430 billion pieces of single-use plastic a year.

“I think what the opposition here is saying with these inflated cost estimates and claims is that they are basically owning up to having no intention of changing their ways or taking responsibility for their products,” said Dr. Anja Brandon, the U.S. plastics policy analyst at the Ocean Conservancy. “They plan to continue business as usual while pushing costs on to consumers, which the ballot measure explicitly prohibits.”

Dart Container Corp. and the American Chemistry Council both promote reuse and recycling on their websites. Brooke Armour Spiegel, vice president of the California Business Roundtable, said in an interview, “The business community is not opposed to recycling and reducing plastic waste. In fact we strongly support it.” Nobody from either Dart or the chemistry council responded to requests for comments. (Dart’s chairman, Kenneth Dart, who is believed to be worth $6.6 billion as of 2013, renounced his U.S. citizenship in favor of Belize to avoid paying taxes, as did his brother, Dart Chief Executive Officer Robert C. Dart.)

Brandon surmised that neither Dart nor the American Chemistry Council are serious about growing what environmentalists call the “circular economy” that other firms, especially those in corn refining, seem poised to pursue. She notes that the plastics industry is deeply connected to the oil industry and views the continued use of petroleum-based single-use plastic as a pathway to profits.

“They see the public’s growing awareness and frustration with single-use plastic pollution as [an] existential [threat] to their business,” Brandon said. “Because, ultimately, getting to a circular economy means not using fossil fuels anymore.”

In April, California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office served a subpoena on ExxonMobil, the first move in what he said will be an investigation into the petrochemical industry’s alleged misleading of the public about single-use plastic producers’ ability to recycle its products.

“Enough is enough,” Bonta said in a press release announcing the subpoena and the investigation. “For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis. The truth is: The vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled and the recycling rate has never surpassed 9 percent.”

*   *   *

With polls showing state residents overwhelmingly concerned about plastic pollution and ready to do something about it, business groups have recently gone to the table to negotiate their possible legislative accession to a significant plastic waste reduction bill. Talks are underway in Sacramento among business groups, environmentalists and lawmakers, and they must reach an agreement, sources said, or the initiative will go to the voters.

State Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the author of SB 54, a plastic source-reduction measure that has been pending since December 2020, is mediating the talks. Any likely deal would require the industry committing to and financially supporting a significant level of source reduction, a move to replace more plastics with compostable products and increasing the state’s plastics recycling rate to well beyond its current 9 percent level. In return, the business side wants more certainty regarding what the state’s recycling agency, CalRecycle, can and cannot order.

Last Tuesday (June 14), 21 environmental groups sent a letter to Allen saying that they could not support a compromise proposal that made it into a bill that is now in print. They contended that the revised SB 54 takes away too much of CalRecycle’s authority to develop the initiative’s reduction and recycling programs and gives it to the producers “who have created the problem,” the letter said.

The initiative’s proposed polystyrene ban and its effect on Dart Container Corp. also has emerged as a major issue in the talks, another source said. Although Dart, the big-time polystyrene producer, is not directly participating in the negotiations, the company—besides its $256,000 contribution to defeat the initiative—has, since 2019, contributed $496,000 to 85 lawmakers in the Assembly who ultimately would have to approve any legislative deal, according to initiative proponents.

Neither side is predicting whether a legislative compromise can be achieved. In anticipation of the possibility that there will not be a deal, proponents announced last Monday (June 13) that they had retained one of the country’s leading Democratic campaign organizations, Bryson Gillette, to run the fall campaign, if there is one. June 30 is the deadline for the two sides to reach a deal if they want to remove the measure from the Nov. 8 ballot.   

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What’s on? June 16-22 https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/16/whats-on-june-16-22/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/16/whats-on-june-16-22/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2022 15:47:20 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19635 Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun! Visit [...]

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Wondering what shows, plays, concerts and other events are happening around Butte County? Chico News & Review has you covered with a few highlighted picks for the week. Get out and have some fun!

Visit the CN&R’s online calendar for more details on these and many other local listings.

Dad Bod Competition

In this local physique exhibition, the best dad bod wins. First prize consists of $100, a Gnarly Deli t-shirt and a free sandwich. No actual Dad status necessary—only a body is required to participate.

Friday, June 17, 7pm. Tickets: $5 

Gnarly Deli
243 W 2nd St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 433-4415

Pride Burlesque

Immediately following the Dad Bod Competition is a benefit show for Chico Pride presented by the local body-positive and queer-inclusive burlesque troupe, the Malteazers, and Stonewall Alliance Chico. A second show has been added on Sunday, June 19, 6pm.

Friday, June 17, 7pm. Tickets: $15 to $25 

Gnarly Deli
243 W 2nd St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 433-4415

Skate Shop Grand Opening

Celebrate the opening of Love Skate Shop with prizes, refreshments and music by DJ Ted Shred. 

Saturday, June 18, 10am. Tickets: Free

Love Skate Shop
1380 East Ave, Ste. 100
(530) 809-0689

Juneteenth Events

Oroville Juneteenth Celebration: Local food, live music and vendors along with educational booths, a chess tournament, bounce house, water sports and more family friendly fun presented by the African American Family & Cultural Center.

Saturday, June 18, 3pm. Tickets: Free 

Martin Luther King Jr. Park
2921 B St, Oroville, CA 95966
(530) 532-1205

Fathers & Freedom: Chico MLK Unity Group and Black in Butte host a free barbecue lunch and family event in celebration of Juneteenth and Fathers Day.

Sunday, June 19, 12:30pm. Tickets: $Free

Bethel AME Church
821 Linden St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 715-7047

The Velvet Teen

The Sonoma County rock trio (including drummer and Chico ex-pat Casey Deitz) is on tour along with Seattle singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama. Local support from superstars Surrogate and Black Magnet.

Saturday, June 18, 7pm. Tickets: $15 

Naked Lounge
118 W 2nd St, Chico, CA 95928
(530) 965-5908

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California budget: Big surplus, big differences https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/15/state-budget/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/15/state-budget/#respond Wed, 15 Jun 2022 19:28:09 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19620 by Alexei Koseff for CalMatters CalMatters is an independent public journalism venture covering California state politics and government. For more info, visit calmatters.org. California lawmakers approved a $300 billion state budget this week, but it is [...]

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by Alexei Koseff for CalMatters

CalMatters is an independent public journalism venture covering California state politics and government. For more info, visit calmatters.org.

California lawmakers approved a $300 billion state budget this week, but it is far from final as legislative leaders continue to negotiate with Gov. Gavin Newsom over items including a proposed multibillion-dollar rebate to taxpayers.

The Legislature adopted the record spending plan anyway, to meet a constitutional requirement that members pass a balanced budget by Wednesday (June 15) or forgo their pay. The bill will be sent to Newsom, who then has 12 days to sign or veto it—another critical deadline that should propel the two sides toward a deal.

The start of the next fiscal year looms on July 1, less than three weeks away. Yet the budget process will likely extend well beyond that date, as lawmakers pass follow-up measures amending provisions of their spending plan to reflect compromises with the governor. That’s what happened last year, when Newsom and legislative leaders announced an agreement in late June and continued to put finishing touches on it into August.

Newsom and the Democratic-controlled Legislature share general values for state spending and their budget proposals have broadly similar frameworks. But with an unprecedented amount of money at their disposal—unexpectedly strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, especially among the wealthiest Californians, has produced a discretionary surplus of almost $49 billion, state officials estimate—they have yet to agree on many of the details.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat who leads the Senate Budget Committee, said the Legislature is more than 95% in agreement with Newsom and she expects they will reach a consensus soon.

“I like these kinds of negotiations,” she said in an interview. “Our perspectives are so aligned that we’re in good shape.”

A spokesperson for Newsom said the governor still wants “more immediate, direct relief to help millions more families with rising gas, groceries and rent prices,” as well as more money directed to pay down debts, build reserves and “shore up our state’s energy supply to ensure we can continue to keep the lights on.” He also “remains opposed to massive ongoing spending,” Anthony York, Newsom’s senior advisor for communications, said in a statement.

The budget bill approved by the Legislature on Monday includes about $236 billion in general fund expenditures, with the remainder coming from special funds. It would grow state budget reserves to nearly $38 billion, increase compensation rates for state-subsidized child care providers and expand eligibility for Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor, to all adults, regardless of immigration status, by the start of 2024. 

Under the legislative plan, California would spend $1.7 billion over the next few years to build up its health care and social services workforces, as well $100 million to develop a generic insulin and $100 million to establish trust funds for low-income children who lost parents or caregivers to COVID-19.

Anticipating a U.S. Supreme Court ruling as soon as this month that would overturn constitutional protections for abortion rights and potentially bring a wave of women to California for care, state leaders want to significantly expand abortion access. The budget would set aside more than $130 million to train more providers, enhance clinic infrastructure and security, reimburse providers who care for people without health coverage and establish a statewide fund to help patients with travel costs.

The Legislature overwhelmingly passed the measure, by a vote of 57–16 in the Assembly and 28-8 in the Senate. Republicans complained that not enough of the surplus was directed toward struggling Californians and budget reserve accounts, especially with a potential economic recession looming.

“As state coffers grow, family bank accounts are shrinking,” Assemblymember Vince Fong, a Bakersfield Republican, said on the Assembly floor. “Californians are rightfully frustrated. They are paying more and getting less. State spending continues to rise, but the problems get worse and crises go unaddressed.”

The biggest remaining dispute between Newsom and legislative leaders is over competing proposals to provide Californians with relief from soaring gas prices and inflation. The governor has pushed to send every registered vehicle owner in the state a $400 debit card—as many as two per person—at a cost of about $9 billion. 

But Democratic lawmakers want to focus the rebate on low- and middle-income families, earning less than $250,000 for a couple or $125,000 for an individual. Their plan would cut $200 checks for each eligible taxpayer and their dependents, up to $800 for a household, at a cost of about $8 billion.

Both sides have agreed to a $21 billion climate package, but have not yet worked out how exactly to distribute that money among drought relief, wildfire preparedness, zero-emission vehicle incentives, clear energy development and other programs.

Other lingering disagreements revolve around higher levels of new spending proposed in the Legislature’s budget compared to the governor’s plan. At a Senate budget hearing last week, Erika Li, chief deputy director for the budget in Newsom’s Department of Finance, expressed opposition to several billion dollars in additional ongoing expenses that lawmakers are seeking for universities, housing and social safety net programs.

“Given the uncertainty of the economy and rising inflation, we’re concerned that the Legislature’s budget commits an unsustainable amount to ongoing expenditures,” Li said.

Those legislative proposals include increasing the state’s earned income tax credit, a tool for returning cash to low-income working parents, to at least $255 starting in 2023. The change would cost at least $400 million annually.

Lawmakers want to increase the base funding for the University of California and California State University by $150 million more than Newsom and pour hundreds of millions more into financial aid, expanding assistance to approximately 150,000 newly eligible students. They would also direct an additional $2 billion to student housing projects over the next three years.

The Legislature is pushing to create a new homeownership assistance program, setting aside $1 billion a year for the next decade to subsidize down payments for first-time buyers, who would eventually repay the money into a self-sustaining loan fund. Newsom has not signed off on that idea, nor on billions of dollars in additional funding that lawmakers have proposed for affordable housing development and homelessness services.

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Lucero loses lead https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/11/lucero-loses-lead/ https://chico.newsreview.com/2022/06/11/lucero-loses-lead/#comments Sat, 11 Jun 2022 17:48:08 +0000 https://chico.newsreview.com/?p=19538 Chico police officer Peter Durfee took the lead over incumbent Debra Lucero in the race for District 2 supervisor in the latest update to Butte County’s primary election results. Hours after vote centers closed Tuesday [...]

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Chico police officer Peter Durfee took the lead over incumbent Debra Lucero in the race for District 2 supervisor in the latest update to Butte County’s primary election results.

Hours after vote centers closed Tuesday night (June 7), early returns showed Lucero leading Durfee 51.7 percent to 43.1 percent. However, Lucero’s lead evaporated as the Butte County Clerk-Recorder’s office processed more ballots. As of Friday evening (June 10), Durfee leads Lucero 50.7 percent to 45 percent, according to the Butte County Clerk-Recorder. The third candidate, environmental health and safety manager Carl Jeffries, trails with 4.2 percent.

One of the contenders must secure an outright majority, at least 50 percent plus one vote, in order to avoid a November runoff. Lucero losing her seat would tilt the balance of power further in favor of conservatives on the board, who would enjoy a 4-1 advantage for at least two years. In District 3, Lucero’s fellow Supervisor Tami Ritter was still easily fending off challenger Mary Murphy-Waldorf, 68.7 percent to 31.3 percent.

Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs told the CN&R by email Monday morning (June 13) she did not have an estimate on the number of ballots that remain uncounted in the District 2 race. The California Secretary of State reported 11,705 unprocessed ballots countywide; 47,935 were counted.

“I remain hopeful as the Election Day ballots remain to be counted and the clerk-recorder finishes the canvas,” Lucero said in a text.

Grubbs’ office has seven days to receive and count ballots postmarked Election Day. Along with the staff processing provisional ballots, she’s also sent letters to voters whose ballots need to be “cured“; that deadline is June 22.

Peter Durfee

Stressing the importance of voters signing and returning the cure letters, Grubbs said she expects the complete count by June 24.

Butte County avoided setting its low-water mark for voter turnout in a primary election. A slow election night suggested that the county could break its record for low primary participation: 35 percent, from 2014. A midnight update on the clerk-recorder’s website, about four hours after polls closed, showed only 16,389 ballots tallied out of 123,469 registered voters—a turnout rate of about 13 percent. With the latest round of ballots counted, the figure surged to 38.8 percent—on par with historical voter turnout, which is typically low during primary elections without a presidential race.

In the lone contested race for countywide office, for assessor, Alyssa Douglas was still leading by a wide margin, with 59 percent of the vote. Her opponents, Randall Stone (former Chico mayor) and Michael Howard, were drawing 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

This article was updated June 13 at 9 a.m.

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