The city continues to flount it’s promise not to hold non-essential meetings

26 Jul

Here’s a letter I just sent to the Enterprise Record.

When Chico City Council decided to close meetings because of Gavin Newsom’s shut down, they promised they would only hold meetings for  “essential issues.” They instituted an online program called Engaged! and promised citizens would be able to participate despite social distancing mandates. While I have no idea how much they spent on Engaged!, I know it’s cost a lot of staff time trying to get it to work properly.

Since then council has held “special” meetings almost weekly, discussing less than essential subjects. The Finance Committee, the Police Advisory Board, the Bidwell Parks and Playground Commission and now, the Airport Commission, are all holding closed meetings, discussing non-essential subjects without the public in attendance.

Now staff tells me they are not able to put the BPPC or the Airport Commission meetings on Engaged!  They will be relayed on Comcast Channel 11. I believe this is a violation of the Brown Act. Not everyone is privvy to cable tv at $40/month (including the franchise fee paid to the city).

Council has proposed an “open” meeting for August, but has not divulged details as to how they will honor Newsom’s social distancing mandates. Since city chambers is not big enough, despite a recent $390,000 remodel, council has discussed shelling out more money for another venue.

Why not just stop having non-essential meetings? The only essential subject we have to consider right now is how to get our town up and running again before the city is bankrupt.

Juanita Sumner

4 Responses to “The city continues to flount it’s promise not to hold non-essential meetings”

  1. Yvonne Johnson July 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm #

    I am very upset about the airport. I bought my house last spring. About 3 months later the airport changed their path patterns. We should not be bringing in a major airline without public discussion. I have been in Chico since the fire and it has been one rude awakening after another. It is not what I thought Chico would be. I am especially shocked that the airport is trying to profit from the airport giving our 2030 plan to be emissions free. Let me guess! They will put charge stations out there and call it good.

    • Juanita Sumner July 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm #

      Wow Yvonne, thank you so much for keeping tabs on the Airport Commission. I noticed those were always some of the best attended meetings. People are concerned about the direction the airport is taking, and I am willing to bet, there isn’t overwhelming support for commercial air service. I agree – this is a subject that should be discussed in big, well-noticed public meetings. But most of the action went down at Jet Chico meetings. And now they close the commission meetings – something stinks.

      Thanks for speaking up, I hope you’ll write a letter to the paper and continue to spread the word on social media.

  2. s.k. rushing July 26, 2020 at 10:47 pm #

    Juanita, Chico needs a new city manager. For all the reasons you have identified.Scott

    • Juanita Sumner July 27, 2020 at 6:04 am #

      Thank you, that is at the top of my wish list right now.

      Mark Orme has run our city into the garbage can. It is obvious he is withholding city services, twisting our collective arm to get his tax increase. Meanwhile, yes, the city just made a $9 million + payment toward Orme’s pension deficit. That’s what it is – Orme negotiates the contracts, including his own, and that’s how we got into this mess.

      When he packs his bags I hope he remembers to take his little toady Chris Constantin.

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