In the Oak grove,
come as a surprise.
By Karen Laslo 9/22/14
In the Oak grove,
come as a surprise.
By Karen Laslo 9/22/14
Wednesday morning, the Chico Chamber of Commerce hosted an election forum for the seven candidates running for Chico City Council, who were asked to respond to questions consistent with the Chamber’s business interests.
While most of the candidates were either familiar or expected by this photographer, there were two women who, literally, stood out from the rest: Lupe Arim-Law and Forough Molina. Seated, one at each end of the panel’s table, their darker skin and dark hair noticeably contrasted with the typical Anglo candidates seated between them. This year, not one but two Latina women are running for Chico City Council. From a photographer’s artistic perspective this made the forum more interesting (see photos below). But as I listened to Lupe and Forough speak, I became aware that I could confidently vote for them because of what they stand for: environmental protection, social justice, and fiscal responsibility.
These two women, Lupe Arim-Law and Forough Molina, along with incumbent Mayor Scott Gruendl, are the only Progressives running for Chico City Council this year. Although this is just the beginning of the campaign season, with many more forums to go, from what I’ve heard so far, they’ve got my vote.
(click on image to view larger)
On April 15th, 2010, the local Tea Party held a rally at the downtown plaza on tax day. These local candidates were guest speakers: Bob Evans, Mark Sorenson and Doug LaMalfa. [Larry Wahl was not at the 2010 rally.]
Bob Evans is running against Maureen Kirk for 3rd District Butte County Supervisor.
VOTE JUNE 3RD FOR MAUREEN KIRK, BUTTE COUNTY SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 3. MAUREEN MAKES SENSE.
The following is a quote from the Chico Friends of the (Saturday) Farmers’ Market (“bold” and “italics” by author, Karen Laslo):
“Cheryl King and Karl Ory, as proponents of the Farmers Market initiative, submitted 2,347 petitions containing 9,352 signatures of Chico residents on May 12, 2014 to Chico City Clerk Deborah R. Presson.
We were verbally assured by the [Chico] City Clerk that the petitions would be delivered to the [Butte] County Clerk the next day. On May 13, 2014, a volunteer witnessed the counting of the petitions by the [Chico] City Clerk and we were again assured that the petitions would be delivered that day to the [Butte] County Clerk for verification of signatures as required by State Election Law. We were also told that the [Chico] City Clerk would provide a letter verifying the submittal of the petitions.
I discovered yesterday [May 20] that the [Butte] County Clerk had not received the petitions. I spoke with the [Chico] City Clerk and she informed me that she had been directed by the contract [Chico] City Attorney to withhold the petitions so that the matter could be discussed in secret session by the Chico City Council at their meeting of May 20, 2014.
The City Council agenda, again, did not specifically mention the Farmers Market Initiative as an item discussed in close session; however it was discussed as item 2.2, Anticipated Litigation. The contract City Attorney was asked to announce the closed session activity as item 1.6 on the Council’s regular agenda. Without reference to subject, he rattled off several votes taken by the council including one stated as a 3-3 vote. This was a vote of the council again rejecting the City Attorney’s opinion and choosing not to litigate the initiative.
I [Karl Ory] addressed the Council last night [May 20] as representing over 9,200 residents who have had their democratic rights circumvented. I asked that the petitions be immediately transferred to the [Butte] County Clerk for verification and certification. I received no reply to this request. I followed up that evening with an email to the [Chico] City Clerk requesting an immediate response and the immediate transfer of petitions to the [Butte] County Clerk. Again, at 9:15 AM this morning, I provided the office of the [Chico] City Clerk with a letter asking for the whereabouts of the petitions and the time and manner of transferring the petitions to the county. I have received no response.
Our next steps are to ask for an investigation by the office of Kamala Harris, the State Attorney General and by the Butte County Grand Jury, as a violation of state election law and abuse of democratic principles.
We have been advised by attorney Keith Wagner that there is no basis for the petitions to be withheld. He calls the city action unauthorized and inappropriate.
I again request the City of Chico to do the right thing, and stop playing games. Once the petitions are certified, state law requires that the City Council either adopt the initiative or place it on the ballot. This manipulation of election procedures is something you would expect in the Ukraine or some third world country. This is not how we do things in Chico.
Councilmember Mark Sorensen does not want this on the November ballot where he must face voters who disagree with him. He has long supported evicting the Saturday Downtown Farmers Market. He has the City Manager and City Attorney working for him, even to the extent of violating state election law.
We hope the Attorney General and the Grand Jury will swiftly restore justice and allow voters rights to be upheld.”
Author’s Note: On May 21, the Farmers’ Market Petitions were finally delivered to the Butte County Clerk’s office by Chico City Clerk, Debi Presson. Mayor Scott Gruendl accompanied the Chico City Clerk.
On Monday, May 12, 2014, at 1:30pm, the Chico Friends of the [Saturday] Farmers’ Market held a press conference outside City Hall before submitting a stack of petitions that measured almost 3 ft. tall to the Chico City Clerk. Spokesperson for the group and former Chico mayor, Karl Ory, said, “. . . the voters of Chico are turning in over 9,352 signatures to keep the Saturday Farmers’ Market at the same site it has served the Chico Community so well for 21 years with 12,000 customers a month. We would urge Councilmember Sorenson to stop using city staff and taxpayer funds to try and block a voters’ initiative. This will be on the November 4th regular ballot.”
“When the City of Chico decided to evict the Saturday Farmers’ Market, our Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse the initiative as we believe the voters, not the City Manager or the politicians, should decide this. The CCFM is composed of more than 100 small businesses that pay taxes and bring economic activity to downtown Chico,” said Richard Coon, President of the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market Board of Directors.
Here’s the story in photos. ( Click on the image to view larger.)