Young environmentalists save Climate Action Commission

The decision to change the Climate Action Commission to an insignificant ad hoc committee was the big idea of Councilmember Sean Morgan.

Sean Morgan, Dist. #1, made a sarcastic remark about endangered Sea Turtles.

At last month’s city council meeting, the council would have done away with the Climate Action Commission right then and there, but the City Clerk pointed out that before they could dump the Commission, they had to let the public speak to the issue of whether or not they wanted their Climate Action Commission to be disbanded. Only Councilmembers Dale Bennett and Alex Brown voted to not demote the Climate Action Commission to an ad hoc committee that night in Sept.

 

Chico City Council as of 10/5/21

 

Councilmember, Alex Brown, Dist #4, at-large, voted “No” to disband the Climate Action Commission last month.

 

Councilor Dale Bennett, appointed to Dist.#3, asked staff if the Climate Action Commission was changed to an ad-hoc committee if it would still be able to continue its “good work.” He voted “No” to disband the Commission last month.

 

So, it was on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, that I anxiously watched the Chico City Council meeting with deep concern that they would officially disband the Climate Action Commission. But first they had to let the public speak.

There were 12 speakers and most of them asked the Council to not disband the Commission. But the first to speak was an older couple who callously dismissed the Commission as “not needed.” Alan Harris said that, “Greenhouse gas control is a bunch of nonsense. The people of Chico don’t care about climate.” Lori Harris told the council to do more important stuff like “clean up the homeless or fix the pot holes.”

It’s ironic to me that it’s the Harris’s generation that got us into this climate crisis mess in the first place. Their ignorance and callous disregard for the younger generation was appalling to me.

 

Lori Harris, vehemently spoke in favor of disbanding the Climate Action Commission.

 

Although it says Lori Harris, this is actually Alan Harris. Qoute: “Nonsense.” “People in Chico don’t care about climate.”

But then the young people began to speak.

They spoke about how their future was in jeopardy. They spoke intelligently and articulately about a catastrophic fire season that last into the winter now. The spoke about extreme drought, public health and safety, about adapting to the impacts of climate change, about despair.

They spoke about how they had studied climate change in their colleges courses and encouraged the public and council to educate themselves too.

They spoke about how we need the Climate Action Plan to help guide us through the climate crisis we find ourselves in now.

In the end, despite Councilmember Morgan’s sarcastic remark about [endangered] sea turtles, the City Council voted to not disband the Climate Action Commission. They will, instead, appoint people to the vacant seats.

I want to thank all of the people who spoke in favor of keeping the Climate Action Commission, especially the young environmentalists. I believe that it was these young people who saved the Climate Action Commission from being disbanded.

I don’t know who could look into the eyes of those intelligent, young faces, whose futures are at stake, and tell them “No.”

I know I couldn’t.

 

 

Jared Geiser.

 

 

 

Caitlin Dalby, General Manager of Butte Environmental Council, spoke in favor of keeping the Climate Action Commission as it is now.

If you’d like to hear these young people speak (and I hope you do), click on the link below.

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

Then click on City Council, 10/5/21.

Then click on Video.

The Climate Action Commission is Item 5.2 on the City Council agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out what the Commission does at this link: https://chicosustainability.org/climate-action/climate-action-plan/

“Where will they go?” Will truly affordable housing be included in the update of the Chico General Plan?

Chico City Council agenda, 11/17/20

Item 5.5

City Council Members,

On May 30th of this year I went for a bike ride towards the new courthouse. I hadn’t been out that way for quite a while so I was surprised to see that there were still Camp Fire survivors living in FEMA trailers, even as houses and apartment buildings were being built around them for Merriam Park. (See photos below.)

In general, I agree with the Smart Growth Advocates’ (SGA) five policies (Link: https://chico-ca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=74156). But, to me, their first point is the most important: Chico needs more affordable housing.

I’ve heard about two new proposed developments, “Stonegate” and “Valley’s Edge.” But they just sound like the same old sprawling developments that practically no one will be able to afford, except maybe some wealthy people from southern California or the Bay Area seeking a more rural and less hectic lifestyle. When new developments are sprawled out on the edges of towns and up into the foothills they get new infrastructure, such as streetlights, sidewalks and nice new streets without potholes, crumbling curbs and gutters. And, even though developer fees have been raised, it’s we, the taxpayers of Chico, who end up subsidizing new development infrastructure without reaping any of the benefits. And our current sewage treatment plant will need to be expanded to accommodate any new large development. This expansion will be quite expensive, and, again, Chico residents will end up subsidizing the expansion by an increase to their sewage tax bill. The developers won’t admit it, but the truth is, new development never pays for itself.

Meanwhile, the inner city, made up of classic traditional neighborhoods like the “Avenues,” the “Streets” and the “Barber” neighborhoods, will start to crumble and decay with no financial support or hope for revitalization.

And for all the reasons that the SGA have stated in their five policies, unlimited growth is not environmentally, financially or morally sustainable.

I urge the current city council to adopt the SGA’s five policies.

Thank you,

Karen Laslo, Chico resident

FEMA trailers with Merriam Park in the background.

 

To the right of the FEMA trailers are new streets, lights and sidewalks at Merriam Park.

 

Crumbling infrastructure in the “Streets” neighborhood.

 

New houses going up along Hwy 32 up into the foothills. I don’t think the people camping in the Park or living in the FEMA trailers will be able to afford these houses, do you?

 

Just a few local developers have bought up the valuable land for development projects that will make them lots of money. The Humboldt Burn Dump is in the background.

 

Conservative city council candidates get large contributions from developers.

 

When Chico city council candidates take large contributions from developers or from Political Action Committees (PAC), (such as Assemblyman James Gallagher’s PAC) then they’re beholden to those contributors.

 

Nobody should have to sleep in a bus shelter even if they’re a homeless person with a mental illness.

At it’s first city council meeting on 12/8/20, the new conservative, Republican majority (Kami Denlay, Deepika Tandon, Kasey Reynolds, Andrew Coolidge and Sean Morgan) voted to make breaking any of the Park rules a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine or jail time. These rules include: no smoking in the Park, no alcohol in the Park, no dogs off leash after 8:30a.m., no dog leash longer than 6ft. and, of course, no camping in the park. The new ordinance is aimed directly at the homeless people who are living in tents in the Park. In the middle of winter and in the middle of a pandemic, the question everyone keeps asking is, “Where will they go?” Good question.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Trump supporting, right-wing extremists on the city council will deal with that question.

Homeless people camping in the Park by the horseshoe pits.