The atmosphere of drugs, crime and violence didn’t just happen, it’s a result of policies made by staff and council

1 Apr
The little metal objects there in the foreground are CO2 cannisters, properly used by restaurants and caterers to dispense whipped cream. Did you know they can be used to get high?

When I was about 13 years old, I saw a neighbor kid running down our street, with whipped cream all over his face, laughing hysterically. His mother was chasing him, crying and begging, desperate to catch him. He just kept screaming gibberish at her, and that laugh, it was insane. Later that day the police came around to talk to other kids in the neighborhood. They told us our neighbor was getting high on the fumes from the whipped cream can, CO2, and that if we saw that again, we should go home and tell our parents. We were clueless, we just thought David was the freakiest kid in our neighborhood.

When I was in college, I actually saw people using a very elaborate dispenser, specifically made for using these cannisters to get high. There was that laugh again. They spoke as though it was illegal, and that the dispensers were hard to get.

Forty years later – I was leaving Mangrove Plaza yesterday morning when I spotted these cannisters laying along the sidewalk. It wasn’t hard to imagine some nut standing there, in the dark, laughing hysterically as he “huffed” his CO2.

I hate to be a quitter, but this is exactly why my husband and I finally sold our home just down Palmetto five years ago. Long time neighbors were dying or moving, and we started to see the weirdest stuff going on in the hood. Car break-ins started moving up Palmetto toward our house. We spent a few hundred dollars on security lights and spoke to the neighbors. Two doors down, a neighbor’s car window was shattered and the car was rifled. Right in her driveway, outside her open windows. Finally, our son’s car was broken into, sitting in the driveway – they forced the window open, and it was over $150 to get it fixed. At that point, we decided we were done with the old hood, and we sold the house. The folks who bought our house have since installed a very formidable security gate across the driveway.

But I’ll tell you what, security measures are spit on the griddle in the atmosphere our local leaders have fostered in Chico. I’ve lived in Sacramento folks, and what I’m seeing in Chico is the same big city problems that come along with a rise in the population. I’ve seen it for over five years, what’s taking our local government so long to deal with it?

I find it annoying that council has spent a ton of staff time on cannabis dispensaries, but smoke shops and liquor stores go along as usual, selling not only the CO2 cannisters and dispensers, but selling products such as Kratom Powder.

From WebMD: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves contain a chemical called mitragynine, which works like opioids such as morphine. Kratom has pain-relieving effects like opioid drugs. It also has many of the same serious safety concerns as other opioids. People commonly use kratom for withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, as well as coughdepressionanxiety, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using kratom can also be unsafe.

From Mayo Clinic: If you read health news or visit vitamin stores, you may have heard about kratom, a supplement that is sold as an energy booster, mood enhancer, pain reliever and antidote for opioid withdrawal. However, the truth about kratom is more complicated, and the safety problems related to its use are concerning

Unfortunately people do use it recreationally. “Kratom is also used at music festivals and in other recreational settings. People who use kratom for relaxation report that because it is plant-based, it is natural and safe. However, the amount of active ingredient in kratom plants can vary greatly, making it difficult to gauge the effect of a given dose. Depending on what is in the plant and the health of the user, taking kratom may be very dangerous. Claims about the benefits of kratom can’t be rated because reliable evidence is lacking.”

And when a person that I know was using it, I witnessed many of the reported side effects: “Kratom has a number of known side effects, including: weight loss, dry mouth, chills, nausea, vomiting, changes in urine and constipation, liver damage, muscle pain, dizziness, drowsiness, hallucination and delusion, breathing suppression, seizure, coma and death.

The most frightening effect my husband and I witnessed was our friend’s psychotic breakdown. We’d never seen anything like it, and we were unable to help. The paranoia and delusions were too much for us to deal with, and when we tried to get him to a hospital, he jumped out of our car and ran away.

I’m mentioning this because the “smoke shop” at Mangrove Plaza advertises Kratom Powder on their marquee in giant letters.

The atmosphere of drugs, alcohol and crime didn’t just happen to Chico, it’s grown out of policies made by staff and rubber-stamped by a council that is completely dependent on staff to make their decisions. I don’t think any member of our council is particularly qualified to do this job. I’ve watched them follow Mark Orme like a brood of newly hatched ducklings.

I don’t remember when I’ve seen them turn down a new liquor store or smoke shop. The staff recommendation is always JUST DO IT! Those businesses generate a shit-ton of sales tax, which of course, Council is determined to raise by a full cent. And you’ll pay that on all your over-the-counter medicines, aspirin, cough syrup, cold and flu medicines, allergy remedies, rubbing alcohol, epsom salts, etc.

I sent the picture, with my concerns, to my city council rep Kasey Reynolds – Vice mayor, gee, does that mean, Mayor of Vice? Not sure. We’ll see if she gets back to me.

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