2 Oct

Book in Common, The Road: Who needs fiction? City of Chico getting ready to redeclare Shelter Crisis Designation

Well, I’ve enjoyed talking about “The Road”. I know it’s a dark book, but you know, I don’t stay interested if I don’t see some hope in a story. I will say, this book ends on a hopeful note. The few characters are very well written, and the plot is well-thought-out and believable. That’s all I will say.

Cormac McCarthy is a really interesting author, I’d suggest checking out his wikipedia. In fact, I’ll probably read another of his books – “No Country For Old Men.” I’ve seen the movie, and now that I’ve read McCarthy, I’d like to see the book.

McCarthy has written screenplays for the films adapted from his books, including a 2009 production of The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, one of my favorite actors. Thanks Dude, for sending me that trailer, my husband and I watched the movie and felt it was a very good interpretation of the book. They even got Robert Duvall to play a short role, a very important part of the story.

I enjoy reading, especially given the state of our world today, this book was very appropriate. But, so many friends and readers have contacted me lately, pissed off about the city’s tax measure, the skating rink, and now, council is reconsidering another Shelter Crisis Designation, on Tuesday’s agenda.


The report indicates that Staff is asking Council to redeclare this disaster. I wrote to my district rep Kasey Reynolds and included Sean Morgan because I have spoken to them before. I asked them simply, “So, will either of you be voting to extend the shelter crisis designation, or will this be the end of the shelter crisis designation? Thank you for your anticipated response.”

Reynolds has not bothered to respond – she wants phone calls, goes all over the place, and then you have no record of what she babbled. At least Morgan responded.

It’s not an extension. We already eliminated it (that’s my understanding). In any event, it did nothing while we had it, won’t do much if it comes back, but may be necessary for other strategic plans. The City Attorney’s reasoning will be interesting. I assume you’ve already made up your mind?

I responded, “How much money does the city get for the declaration? No I haven’t made up my mind on this issue yet, because I don’t have all the details. You really shouldn’t assume that you know what people are thinking. I’m guessing you think there’s a mouse running around in my head!”

Morgan: “No money. That’s not the point.” I questioned him further, and he told me, “So, in order to (hopefully) get the injunction prohibiting us from enforcing our anti-camping ordinances, we may have to do some things we might not normally approve (at least in my case). Some of these things may require the reinstatement of Shelter Crisis because it allows for use of structures, etc. that wouldn’t normally get past state code. A huge double standard you say? Absolutely. Unfortunately, I can only play the cards I’m dealt.

Actually, there was more to the conversation – Morgan accused me at one point of “condensing”, I think he meant I was being “condescending”, and threatened not to “interact” with me anymore. Frankly, I was being perfectly businesslike, because I know how fast these people can cut you off. It’s not me, it’s him. He’s very defensive. What he’s saying is, they’re getting ready to expand services for the transients. He knows people are going to be pissed about that, and just when he’s asking for a tax increase!

Frankly, Morgan’s mind may not be entirely made up on this issue. We might be able to reason with him.

How do you feel? Well, don’t be “condensing,” but contact Mr. Morgan and tell him about it. Tell him what you think of the ice rink too. Don’t use profanities, don’t be threatening or insulting, just give it to him straight. Tell him you think he’s mistaken. Tell him you won’t support any tax increase for a council who spends money like that. Etc. Try your best to be polite, and let him know you realize he’s got a pretty nasty job. But whatever you do, be sincere, and tell him you’re being sincere.

That’s sean.morgan@chicoca.gov

5 Responses to “”

  1. Scott Rushing October 2, 2021 at 11:10 am #

    Hi Juanita: It appears to me that Sean Morgan, now with O’Brien by his side, is interested in spending taxpayer dollars on expanding the police department and ordinances to allow the police to be more aggressive with the homeless. There seems to be little honest effort to mollify Judge England or the magistrate. The taxpayer is being ground up in the processor of anti-homeless machinery.

    On Sat, Oct 2, 2021 at 11:00 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: ” Book in Common, The Road: Who needs fiction? City > of Chico getting ready to redeclare Shelter Crisis Designation Well, I’ve > enjoyed talking about “The Road”. I know it’s a dark book, but you know, I > don’t stay interested if I don’t see some hope in a” >

    • Juanita Sumner October 2, 2021 at 3:27 pm #

      I appreciate your point of view, but I disagree here. What I want is for the feds, state and county to take responsibility here. The city has no responsibility to house anybody. Judge England is out of touch with the real world, why would we need to “mollify” him?

      We have taxpayer funded (federal) HUD housing in Chico, we have two taxpayer supported shelters, one which routinely turns people away when they have empty beds. The county Behavioral Health Department pays out hundreds of thousands in management salaries, but their offices are only open from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, M-F. We have a county jail that takes millions in AB109 funding but does not maintain the jail properly, using this as an excuse to release people who are a serious threat to themselves and others.

      I don’t agree that the police are being aggressive with the homeless. They don’t arrest for obvious crimes (including those perpetrated on homeless people) because they know the perps will be back on the street within 48 hours. I know you don’t live here, so you have no idea what this has done to our parks or neighborhoods. What I’d like is to see more of these people arrested, housed in a decent jail, and given a speedy trial. I’d like to see more court ordered mental health and drug treatment. But we don’t get that because Kory Honea spends the AB109 money on pensions instead of fixing the jail – all in county supes agendas, look for yourself.

      I’d like to see the “homeless advocates” go after these other agencies instead of the city of Chico. Let me know what you think of that when you get a chance.

      On a last note, I know what the city intends to spend the money on – the pensions. I know you are aware that the police department makes up the lion’s share of the pension deficit, contributing a measly 15% of salaries well over $100,000/year, so I’d love for you to join me in demanding that they pay a bigger share of their pensions. Thanks for your interest in our town.

      • bob October 2, 2021 at 6:28 pm #

        My experience with the homeless is that most of these people are mentally ill and drug and alcohol addicted. And of course many turn to crime to support their addiction.

        There’s no place in Chico that can deal with these people. Building tiny houses, resting centers, camp grounds, putting them up in hotels and all the other proposals we have heard so far are ridiculous and doomed to failure. And those failures are very expensive.

      • Juanita Sumner October 3, 2021 at 6:03 am #

        Instead we need more drug treatment and mental health care providers. It’s frustrating that the Behavioral Health Department has a budget of almost 100 million dollars but provides very little service to anybody.

      • bob October 3, 2021 at 8:10 am #

        The vast majority of these people belong in long term drug rehab centers, mental health institutions or prison. Butte County does not have those facilities.

        Yet our local government and quasi-government bureaucracies are pushing policies that don’t address the root of the problem and are bound to fail making the majority of the people they claim to try to help and the community worse off.

        Why is that happening? Because there’s too much money to be made off the homeless situation here. It’s a gravy train these bureaucracies intend to ride as long as possible and certainly at the very least until their members can retire with fat pensions.

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