The battle for Chico: NVHRC loses in court, but seems to be winning on the battlefield; meanwhile, condition of Bidwell Park has the city in another lawsuit

29 Aug

Well, I was glad to hear about a victory in the lawsuit against the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition, also known as “the needle exchange people”. Which is a misnomer because they don’t exchange needles, they just hand them out.  These idiots have been handing out needles, every Sunday, to crank and heroin junkies without asking them to bring back their used needles. As any rational adult would expect, these used needles are turning up in places where transient drug addicts congregate and shoot their drugs. It used to be a few needles here and there – but you’ve seen the pictures of NVHRC staff handing people whole boxes of needles. Now you see the results whenever you go to the park, any creek, parking lots, school play grounds, etc.

A group of local public safety advocates went to court and got a judgement against NVHRC, an order to cease and desist the handout, and another order to pick up needles at various known campsites in town. I thought it might send a message through the transient community, that Chico is getting tired of them. I wanted to believe it would be the beginning of a change.

But I tried not to get too excited, cause you know the thing about lawsuits, is you have to enforce the decision. It’s on the plaintiff. That’s why I never threaten to sue anybody, there’s a lot more to suing somebody than most people realize.

One local gadfly wrote last Sunday (8/23), “In a ‘stick it in your eye’ gesture, NVHRC has set up their tents in Humboldt Park right on schedule.”  He included this picture.

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“If you thought the lawsuit was the end of anything, you are wrong. It is the beginning. Hitch yourself up and get ready to fight for your community, one issue at at time. We WILL reclaim our heritage, our parks and waterways will be clean and safe, and we will fill our city with signs of beauty, not blight and the deplorable human condition of drug addiction. Being addicted is not a crime, but just about everything else associated with drug abuse is.”

But, am I reading this right – they aren’t passing out needles?

According with the lawyer associated with the plaintiffs,  “If they are not handing out needles it is legal. But handing out drug paraphernalia may not be. I would like to see them explain what the legit purpose is for tie offs and cookers…especially when packaged with Naloxone.”

We’ll have to watch and see.

Two meetings in two weeks, Council has got a full agenda for next Tuesday, with continuations of discussions from last Tuesday as well as new items such as two new employees.

Ironically one item is approval of the Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force budget. After he gives that report council will approve a $170,000/year salary for the new chief and he will be sworn in. Another item is approval of a NEW management position for Public Works at $125,000/year plus benefits. Here’s another irony – especially if you’ve seen the RV that’s been parked at the CalTRANS Park and Ride for about a week – they are updating the abandoned vehicle code to be consistent with Butte County and the state. Just now?

Something new is that they put those salaries right in the agenda, wow. Another new thing is they name names in suits brought against the city. A woman is suing the city of Chico for negligence, so I looked it up in the court case index. Something new there – the documents are available to read.  So I read it.  This woman lived my nightmare – she was jogging on a trail in Bidwell Park and a huge tree limb broke and fell on her. She had pretty major injuries, and laid under that tree limb for 30 minutes before help arrived. The fire department had to cut her out of that mess. She had various broken bones – leg, scapula, wrist – and this is the part I had to look up – her leg was partially “de-gloved.” Look it up for yourself, but watch out, there’s a picture.  She could have bled to death. 

The suit goes on to describe the setting – the condition of Bidwell Park. I remember taking this up with Mark Orme a few years ago, and all he had to tell me was “be careful when you are in the park.” That’s it? No warning signs, no closed trails, no removal of dangerous branches? There’s not even a sign saying, “you enter Bidwell Park at your own risk”, but that’s the truth. 

The woman made a claim to the city but was summarily denied, so she was forced to sue. 

Welcome to the City of Mismanagement. Who you gonna call? 

Here’s a hint  – don’t call the guy who used to work for PG&E.

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