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YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT SPECIAL ELECTION ISSUE: • Local races • CN&R Endorsements • Trump’s worst


Volunteer firefighters MUSIC:

Evolution of Scout SCENE:

Adam and Eve outside



Oct Ober 8, 2020



Vol. 44, Issue 4 • October 8, 2020



Endorsements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7




Volunteer firefighters of Berry Creek and Feather Falls . . . . . . 8



Mail-in voting primer . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Chapmantown’s first city election . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Audrey Denny interview . . . . . . . . .16 Chico City Council candidates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Paradise Town Council . . . . . . . . . . 20 Trump’s top 10 transgressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22



October events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Brezsny’s Astrology . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34




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The CN&R recommends ... Ties.filled by candidates tasked with leading our communities through economic, pandemic and wildfire recoverBillions of dollars worth of decisions are at stake in state propositions. And choices for representation at

here is a lot weighing on Butte County voters in 2020. City and town council seats will be

the national level are between leaders eager to guide a broken country through recovery and those who appear prepared to continue to tear it down with divisive agendas. With all that in mind, the editorial team has compiled the Chico News & Review’s endorsements for the 2020 general election. We couldn’t fit every item on the ballot in this space, but the races and propositions that are featured have been carefully considered. Due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the CN&R wasn’t able to do its traditional in-person interviews with candidates, so we’ve limited our endorsement of local offices to the Chico City Council. We’ve based our choices on responses to this newspaper’s email Q&A (“Ten-four!” page 18), online candidate forums and radio interviews, and the experience of CN&R reporters who’ve covered council and this race. As always, we encourage voters do their own research. A good starting point is the Butte County League of Women Voters website (my.lwv.org/california/butte-county) and its links to online local candidate forums as well the Voter’s Edge voter-information site. Vote! Our lives depend on it.

President and Vice President: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris It might be overly dramatic to say the choice for president in 2020 is between good and evil, but that’s what it feels like. Over the course of his first term, President Donald Trump’s policies have degraded many important aspects of life—health, the environment, human rights—in this country and the world (see “Worst of the worst,” page 22), and he’s actively pitted Americans against each other while making it clear that he is only president of the people who agree with him. Joe Biden isn’t an angel, but he does have empathy (imagine that!?), and he has the experience to make good on his plans to enact policies that help all Americans—not just the rich ones—succeed. You know, like a leader. U.S. Representative, District 1: Audrey Denney We endorsed her over incumbent Doug LaMalfa in 2018, and we still choose this smart and energetic visionary who has the best interests of all North State residents—from farmers and ranchers to college students and working mothers—at heart, and isn’t beholden to corporate interests like Trump toadie LaMalfa. District 1 deserves a change. Chico City Council: Curtis Pahlka for District 1, Ann Schwab for District 3, Lauren Kohler for District 5, Rich Ober for District 7. In this first district-based election, four of the seven district seats are open, and Citizens For a Safe Chico (CFSC) has raised a ton of money (more than $200,000) to make sure all four go to a slate of candidates its touting under the banner of “Safe/ Save Chico.” It’s a shallow attempt by the political action committee to frame this as a one-issue race in a way that suggests the more conservative candidates will keep you safe while the more liberal candidates will not. That is of course, ridiculous: Every candidate is committed to public safety. Most 4


OCTOBER 8, 2020

concur on syringe exchange versus syringe distribution (the latter was a state, not a city, program anyway); all are committed to a long-term solution for the unhoused that doesn’t include allowing camping in the park. Two on on the CFSC slate—newcomers Kami Denlay in District 3 and Deepika Tandon in District 7—offer little in terms of relevant experience for the council, especially compared to their challengers. That left Ober standing alone in District 7, and we would have chosen him over most other candidates anyway. The CN&R endorsed his 2018 bid for the council, and we still appreciate his breadth of experience—multiple nonprofit boards and city commissions, community organizer—as well his commitment to environmental issues and sharp mind for problem-solving. The three other newbies—Pahlka (D1), Steven Breedlove (D3) and Kohler (D5)—are impressive in their own rights. We chose Pahlka over incumbent Sean Morgan for the empathy he brings to social issues (having experienced food insecurity as a child growing up in poverty) and his ideas on overcoming partisan divisiveness on the panel (a pot Morgan is known to stir) by committing to dialogue even during a disagreement. We gave the nod to Kohler over Randall Stone, an incumbent whom the CN&R has previously endorsed, but whose combative approach has worn thin to the point that his fellow councilmembers voted to remove him from his mayoral post last spring. Kohler’s business and socialservice experience, notably her on-the-ground work with the homeless, dovetail with challenges the city faces. District 3 presented the most difficult decision. We like both Breedlove and the incumbent Schwab. Even though they might differ (wildly, in some cases) on the best path forward, they are both committed to acting now to address homelessness and climate change and both advocate for additional crisis resources instead of just more police. The editorial staff wasn’t all in agreement, but the majority

agreed that Schwab’s experience and her ability to navigate partisanship on the panel tipped the scale. She was instrumental in guiding the city through the Great Recession, and that talent will be needed as the council addresses the current economic crisis. State propositions: Prop. 14 (stem cell research bond): Yes. $5 billion bond ($7.8 billion total cost) to extend California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s stem-cell research. Despite the fact that it’s a lot of money to spend at a time when a lot of Californians are out of work, the potential benefits of developing treatments for everything from Parkinson’s to blindness is too important to let the program shut down. Prop. 15 (change how taxes are assessed for commercial/industrial properties): Yes. Assess property tax on big businesses (those with property worth more than $3 million) based on current value instead of purchase price. Though some costs will likely be passed down to tenants (i.e., small businesses), the measure would benefit schools and local government services. Prop. 16 (reinstate affirmative action): Yes. Allow race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin to be a factor in hiring for public positions, awarding government contracts and college admissions. In nearly every sector in California, the percentage of blacks, Latinos and women in the workplace doesn’t match that in the greater population. If passed, representation would become much more equitable. Prop. 17 (restores right to vote after completion of prison term): Yes. Once a prisoner is released, they have to work, pay taxes and maneuver in a society governed by laws while on parole. These citizens deserve the right to have a say in matters that impact their lives. Prop. 18 (17-year-olds get to vote in primary): Yes. Allow those who will be 18 by the November general election to vote in March primaries. It makes sense to encourage engagement with the process and raise interest in the general election in which they’ll participate eight months later. Prop. 19 (change specific property tax rules): No. Would permit homeowners over 55, the severely disabled and people whose homes were destroyed by wildfire to buy a new home and keep tax-rate from the purchase price of their previous home intact. Sound familiar? It’s almost the same measure realtors put millions behind in 2018 (prop. 5), which was soundly defeated. The new initiative adds the provision of closing a loophole on inherited homes, requiring the heirs to actually live in the house or face reassessment of value (which is probably a good idea). Other than that, however, it’s still legislation that would still create even more inequity in the state’s convoluted property tax system. Besides,

current law already allows all the over-55/severely disabled/disaster-stricken folks to get their same tax break as long as the new home is the same value or less as their previous one (and as long as they buy in the same county). Prop. 20 (parole restrictions and increased felony sentences): No. Would roll back earlier reforms and limit access to parole for some nonviolent offenders, bump some property theft crimes from misdemeanor to felony and increase penalties on parole violations. A reversal of previous prisonovercrowding measures previously passed by voters that smells like a prison-spending scheme, one that would of course disproportionately impact people of color negatively. Prop. 21 (expand rent control for local governments): Yes. Allows cities to enact rent control policies above and beyond state standard in order to meet a community’s specific needs. In inflated markets like Chico’s, the ability to establish local limits could become the difference between having a roof over one’s head and being homeless. Prop. 22 (exempt app-based transportaion and delivery companies from gig-economy bill): No. An Uber/Lyft/Door Dash/InstaCarts-funded attempt to override AB 5 (gig-economy bill), but just for app-based drivers. We don’t need a piecemeal approach—we need a broad, nuanced solution for all sectors. Prop. 23 (on-site medical profession at dialysis clinic): Yes. Would create additional safety requirements for kidney dialysis clinics, including having a medical professional on site at all times. There are already strict regulations for dialysis clinics, and imposing more expensive ones could possibly lead to closures of some in critical rural areas. But the additional oversight is needed for this two-company industry with well-documented patient-care and sanitation issues. Besides, with billions of revenues between DaVita and Fresenius, the two companies can afford it. Prop. 24 (amend consumer privacy laws): No. Changes the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act that the prop’s supporters say will strengthen its provisions and further protect privacy online. That sounds good, but it’s unclear whether or not that’s what it will do. Enough watchdog groups (ACLU, Consumer Federation of California, Media Alliance, et al.) are ringing alarm bells that the thick (52-page!) measure contains language that would actually make it more difficult to opt-out of having your data collected and make it easier for companies to avoid accountability. Prop. 25 (get rid of cash bail): Yes. Replaces the cash bail system with an algorithm that determines public-safety and flight risk. Poverty or wealth shouldn’t be determining factors on whether Ω you stay in jail or go home.


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Community endorsements There are a number of good folks running for [Chico] City Council, but my choice in District 7 is Rich Ober. Why? He’s impressed me over the years with his deep love of Chico and his tireless work to make it a vibrant, healthy community for all. Whether serving meals at the Torres Shelter (and then leading its board), protecting our green spaces for a decade on the parks commission, or grappling with tough issues as a member of Chico’s Planning Commission and the Butte County Housing Authority board, Rich has an imposing record of public service. And experience matters. His dedication to improving our community—with particular emphasis on affordable housing,

green initiatives and sustainable jobs—shines through all his efforts. But what’s really special about Rich is how he serves: by listening, seeking common ground and working collaboratively. Moreover, he does it all in a spirit of civility, a quality sorely lacking in the public square these days. If we want Chico to meet the challenges it faces and come out stronger, Rich Ober is the public-minded City Council leader we need. I strongly urge District 7 residents to vote for Rich. Robert Tinkler Chico

The League of Women Voters of Butte County’s 2020 Chico City Council candidate forum was a clear-cut indicator of which candidates are

well-informed on issues outside of their political talking points and ready to embrace a role in public service. Of exceptional note is Steven Breedlove (District 3), who came alive while discussing detailed public-policy positions, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge and a cultivated understanding of every topic. With his obvious dedication to radical honesty, he exuded a level of personal integrity and value alignment rarely seen among aspiring political leaders of mainstream ideation. Breedlove has a firm grasp of what Earth’s climate crisis means for our local, regional, state, national and global communities, making him the only District 3 candidate worth supporting. LETTERS c o n t i n u e d

o n pa g e 6

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C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 5

Chico must embrace community builders like Breedlove, who are taking direct action to restore Earth’s vitality. If you will not vote or are not in District 3, please consider supporting Steve Breedlove anyway by focusing your time, skills and labor on the intentional and sincere cultivation of the only reliable and long-term form of true wealth that exists amid shared disasters: that of social capital. Mercedes Macías Chico

Cop watch I have been attending the virtual meetings of the Policing Review Ad Hoc Committee (PRAHC). Having signed onto the My Brother’s Keeper Reimagining Policing Pledge for mayors, Chico Mayor Ann Schwab also committed to the actions of reviewing the Chico Police Department’s use of force policies; to engage the community by including a diverse range of input, experiences and stories in the review; report the findings of the review to the community; and seek feedback and reform our community’s police use of force policies. The PRAHC began slowly with briefings from the Chico Police Department, the police union and Police Officers Standards & Training (POST). The police review committee must continue this important discussion of the department’s use of force policy past the end of the allotted time. Reform of the policy will need more time. Additionally, a citizen oversight board needs to be established so that the community can feel confident that these policies are being adhered to according to law. There is much more to be discussed and attended to beyond the use of force policy regarding the relationship between the community and Chico Police. Diane Suzuki Chico

Dirty politics Like many other health and community advocates, I have suffered personal and professional attacks for speaking up on behalf of our homeless and addicted populations, in attempts to silence my influence on the community. There is a concentrated effort in Chico to maintain a level of fear and rhetoric, pushing for the removal of homeless individuals, advocates and local progressive representatives in favor of a conservative leadership. Anyone who threatens this mission becomes a target, and many have lost their jobs and reputations over their advocacy. I am saddened to see that CN&R’s recent No. 1 professor, Dr. Lindsay Briggs [Best Instructor/Professor, Best of Chico, Oct. 10, 2019], has become a target of the Chico State Republicans in an effort to have her terminated from the university. I was a student of hers, and she taught me how social behavior, often unintentional, is what contributes to continued discrimination, abuse, harm, assaults and death of community members as a result of bias and harmful stereotyping. Dr. Briggs is a human advocate and fights hard for the rights of those who are underrepresented. She has been mocked, lied about, harassed and had death threats, and the dangerous people of Chico are on a mission to punish her because she spotlights their dangerous behavior. Advocacy isn’t always pretty, but it’s necessary for change and cannot be silenced. Jessica Giannola Chico

Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for November print publication is Oct. 30.


Are you going to get a COVID-19 vaccination? Asked in downtown Chico

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Yeah, when it comes out.

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It’s definitely coming. As a mom, I said no; there’s no way I’m putting my kids through this. He’s 18 now, so it’s going to be his choice, but I don’t want to be the guinea pig to see what happens long term with that.

Our commitment to coverage and how you can help The Chico News & Review’s goal is to raise $32,000 by Oct. 30, 2020. When added to funds received through the Paycheck Protection Plan Loan, this will ensure that our team of dedicated journalists can continue working through one of the worst economic and health crises of the

past century. With your recurring or one-time contribution, the CN&R can continue our awardwinning coverage on the topics that impact the residents of Butte County, including COVID-19, the arts, homelessness, the fight for equality, and wildfire recovery and prevention.

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Volunteer valor Sister fire companies were among first on the scene as the North Complex overtook their mountain communities

Kmountain entirety of her 34 years. As a child, she played in the town’s creeks and walked its winding, wooded atherine Molohon has called Berry Creek home for the

roads. She attended Berry Creek Elementary School and made pies for the annual Berry Festival by to raise money for the town’s all-volunKen Smith teer Butte County Fire Station 61. As an adult, she worked at Berry Creek School kens@ as a kitchen manager and seven years newsrev i ew.c om ago began serving at that same firehouse—just as her father, aunt and uncle had once done. Help the volunteers: Throughout the long night of Sept. 8, GoFundMe campaigns have been set up for Molohon and her small squad of fellow two of the volunteer volunteers helped their neighbors evacufirefighters who lost ate and battled flames during the Bear their homes in Berry Fire (now known as the “West Zone” of Creek to the fire: tinyurl.com/reedrankin the North Complex Fire). By morning, most of her hometown—including the tinyurl.com/Molohon elementary school and even the fire station—was reduced to smoldering rubble. So was Molohon’s home, a cabin she shared with her boyfriend on the grounds of the historic—and now, also burned—Mountain House. “It’s shitty … I’m still trying to process it,” Molohon said Sept. 16. She met with the CN&R in an Oroville parking lot that afternoon, between rushing around to gather living essentials (at that moment, dog beds) and outfit a shed in her parents’ yard in Oroville—where they moved two years ago, after nearly 50 years in Berry Creek—for living quarters. Her mother accompanied her, running errands in the younger woman’s 1996 Ford Explorer—which miraculously survived outside the burned fire station, though some of the front bumper melted. “Basically, my whole childhood is gone,” she continued. Molohon is not the only displaced Berry Creek firefighter. Six of the seven volunteers who compose the Station 61 fire brigade, including Chief Reed Ranking, lost their homes that night. Berry Creek and the neighboring, smaller community of Feather Falls—home to Volunteer Company 52—are two of the areas hardest hit by the still burning wildfire, which as of the CN&R’s deadline (Oct. 2) had claimed more than



OCTOBER 8, 2020

300,000 acres and 15 lives. Of those fatalities, 13 were from Berry Creek and two from Feather Falls, and all occurred in the fire’s early hours. On that fateful night, volunteers from both towns put their own concerns aside, and risked everything to save their neighbors’ lives and property.

Volunteer brigade According to Rick Carhart, public information officer for Cal Fire/Butte County Fire Department (the two agencies collaborate to provide the fire service in the county), Butte is home to 17 volunteer fire companies; the number of volunteers at each ranges between one and dozens, with the largest company based in Chico. Nationwide, volunteers account for roughly 73 percent of American firefighters, according to Cal Fire’s Butte Unit volunteer website. Carhart said many volunteers take all of the same training as “career” firefighters and can become qualified in several areas of response: support, emergency medical services, equipment operations and wildland and structure

firefighting. Some serve in simpler helping roles, like communications or cooking at fire stations. All volunteers carry pagers, and are alerted when medical or fire calls are received within their service area. Crews are also dispatched from the nearest career fire station, but volunteers are often the first on the scene. Carhart said about a half-dozen Butte volunteer companies have water tenders—large trucks capable of gathering water from hydrants, tanks or natural sources like creeks and lakes to deliver to other engines, or the front lines of a fire. “The volunteer companies are very important and provide critical service and support,” Carhart said. “Without them, we couldn’t do what we do nearly as well.”

Fire family The community of Feather Falls lies just over a ridge from Berry Creek. Though less than 10 miles apart as a bird flies, the towns are separated by a nearly one-hour drive along winding

mountain roads. Unlike the more established, decades-old Berry Creek unit, the Feather Falls Volunteer Fire Company numbers just two individuals—a married couple in their 50s named Sandy and Craig Bourasa. The Bourasas moved to Feather Falls six years ago, after Craig retired from a 33 yearcareer with the City of Hayward. They’ve loved the community far longer, though: For two decades it served as their retreat from city life, a place where they could take the kids to ride ATVs and enjoy time boating on Lake Oroville. They’ve owned property there for 16 years. The couple also owns the Gold Flake Saloon, a cafe/bar/restaurant where they met the CN&R Sept. 26. The establishment, which they bought two years ago, is the town’s only business and is housed in a historic building that Sandy said is the only structure left standing from the town’s founding. A post office connected to the Gold Flake opened in 1888, when the community was called Mooretown. The post office and saloon also serve as hubs of the

Sandy and Craig Bourasa at the Gold Flake Saloon in Feather Falls. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH

the fire academy, he went on his first call. “We didn’t have anything when I first started,” he said. “It was Company 52, but it was just me and my truck. My first fire [the Lumpkin Fire, a Sept. 2015 blaze that injured eight firefighters], I just showed up and they said, ‘You don’t have any equipment?’ I said, ‘Nope, just me.’ “That’s when I met Reed Rankin. He told me to hang out at his water tender and trained me with the pump handle that day.” Rankin, Berry Creek’s chief, invited Craig to come train with the Berry Creek company every Tuesday, an offer he accepted. Aside from learning a lot and developing his skills, Craig also found camaraderie with the Berry Creek crew and started bringing his wife along. Sandy said sitting in on those sessions inspired her to join up herself. Both companies still meet regularly for training, assist one another on calls when possible and consider each other “family.” Company 52 now has a water tender and some other equipment, but no fire station. They keep some equipment on their own property for fast response, while most is stored in a quonset hut on the grounds of the Feather Falls Grange Hall; the shed survived the fire, but the grange hall—where the community gathered for monthly breakfasts and other events—did not. A cardboard sign at the edge of the property aimed at recruiting more volunteers still stands, unscathed. community, even when closed; dozens of work crews and fire and law enforcement personnel currently use the large parking lot as staging grounds. Upon moving to Feather Falls, Craig wanted to join the volunteer fire department, but found there wasn’t one. So, he started one. Shortly after completing his training at

Night of … “You could tell something was wrong all day, just by looking at the sky,” Sandy said of Sept. 8. “I closed the bar early and told everyone to evacuate, to get out of town, and then spent the day doing structure protection at our house.” FIRE C O N T I N U E D

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The structure engine was destroyed in the North Complex Fire along with the rest of Butte County Fire Station 61 in Berry Creek. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY

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Katherine Molohon has lived in Berry Creek her whole life and As Sandy stayed behind, readying to protect their home if need be, Craig went to man followed in the footsteps of her father (and aunt and uncle) to become a volunteer firefighter. the water tender and spent the day pumping PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHERINE MOLOHON water from Lake Oroville at the Enterprise boat ramp to deliver to engines bound for the remove some of the heat, and doing some front lines. Early in the evening, Sandy heard small backfiring,” Craig said. “They didn’t radio chatter about firefighters falling back have much time for prepping, because before from Station 51, a career station farther up we knew it, the fire was here. the hill where crews were staging, and knew “You couldn’t see more than a foot and a it was time to leave. half in front of you,” he said. “Some of the “I figured if these guys, the real profesfirefighters were taking serious heat in the sionals, are retreating, then I have no busilungs. It was like that for about 20 minutes, ness thinking I could stop anything,” she and then it was gone.” said. “I called Craig In Berry Creek, to ask him if I should four of the volunmeet [him] at the water teer force—includtender, and he said, ‘No, “The fire coming ing Rankin and you need to get off the Molohon—had been in sounds like a mountain.’” “staffing” (staying full Sandy said her skill time) at Fire Station jet engine, and set leans toward medical 61 since Aug. 17, the emergencies that account day lightning strikes you can’t hear for the large majority of sparked 21 wildfires Company 52’s service in Plumas and Lassen anything.” calls and that she feared National Forests. —Berry Creek volunteer she’d be in the way in On Sept. 8, they firefighter Katherine Molohon the firefight. So she received a call from evacuated to Oroville a resident of the and put her communicaMountain House tion skills to use, helping keep evacuees and area—about 15 minutes up the hill from their fire personnel connected and updated. station—who said the glow of the fires was As he made his runs up and down the hill, fast approaching. The company loaded into Craig found himself in the area of the Gold the squad vehicle—a pickup truck with a utilFlake as flames fast approached the building. ity bed outfitted with some hand tools, mediKnowing he couldn’t singlehandedly stop the cal equipment and small amounts of water advancing wall of flame, he parked on a turn and hose—and went to investigate. above the saloon known to locals as “Crash En route, the crew began encountering Corner” and prepared to watch the beloved spot fires, and the firefighters were soon bar burn. Then, in the nick of time, he heard surrounded by flaming, towering trees. over the radio that ground crews were showThey immediately turned their attention ing up to protect the Gold Flake. He joined toward driving the winding mountain roads them as they pulled into the parking lot. “The hand crews went crazy, they jumped straight out and started cutting everything to FIRE C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 2

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with lights, sirens and horn blaring, urging people to evacuate immediately. At one point, the road was blocked by a fallen tree and flames began burning on the roof of the truck. That’s when they decided to bug out down the mountain, leading the last of Berry Creek’s evacuees to Lake Oroville. During several more trips up the mountain that night, sometimes stopping to protect properties and extinguish spot fires, Molohon confirmed her house, the fire station and most of the town was gone. Asked what it was like to be on the ground as her hometown burned, Molohon described scenes of sheer terror. “There’s fires starting everywhere, smoke everywhere,” she said. “And explosions. There’s ammunition [from homes] going off … you can tell what it is, but it’s unnerving because you can’t tell where it’s coming from. The propane tanks, when they get hot, they start venting and shooting fire and burning. Some of them explode, and it’s like bombs going off. The fire coming in sounds like a jet engine, and you can’t hear anything.” Molohon stopped speaking and looked away. “I’m still a bit jittery with loud noises now.”

Aftermath Molohon continued on duty through the first night and the next day, finally signing off some time in the afternoon. She has since taken a break from firefighting while she rebuilds her life. Rankin continued to roam the mountain in the squad pickup for the next few weeks, offering assistance where he could. The Berry Creek company’s structure engine, water tender and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of essential firefighting equipment were lost with the station. Rankin also lost his personal vehicles, as well as those used for his well-drilling Berry Creek School, destroyed in the North Complex Fire, was directly across Rockerfeller Road from Station 61. phOTO By JasOn Cassidy



OCTOBER 8, 2020

business. GoFundMe campaigns have been established for Molohon and Rankin (see column note), the former by her sister and the latter by Will Cotter, president of the Berry Creek Community Association and a former volunteer with the Berry Creek fire company. Both firefighters got a boost Sept. 10, when they were gifted RVs by EmergencyRV (formerly RV4CampFireFamily), a nonprofit group set up in the wake of the Camp Fire. In the days following the fire, the Bourasas began assessing damage to people’s properties and looking for the missing. They explained they’re better suited to this task than outsiders, as they know the lay of the land and Feather Falls’ residents. Together, they located the two fatalities. Though their home and the bar were saved, they lost a rental property, several outbuildings and farming and other equipment. “The hardest thing about this whole thing for me is, sure, I lost some stuff, but that doesn’t even compare [to others],” Craig said. “It just doesn’t feel fair. Survivor’s remorse is painful. Everyone’s lost everything, and I can go sleep in my own bed. It’s a horrible feeling.” Both the Bourasas and Molohon said Cal Fire has been very supportive since the fire. In the days following the destruction of Berry Creek and Feather Falls, Cal Fire held a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing where all of the volunteers from the two companies got together to share their experiences. They’ve also been offered ongoing counseling. Though she admits she’s still struggling with loss and her experiences during the fire, Molohon didn’t hesitate when asked if she’d return to volunteer firefighting in Berry Creek. “Absolutely,” she said. “I want to go home, and I want to get back to serving my community.” Ω

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Voting blocks Now fully annexed, historic Chapman and Mulberry neighborhoods finally get a say in the city

How do I vote? Sending ballots by mail has become a big story in America leading up to the 2020 General Election, but in Butte County, voters already have some experience with the process. For the March primary, Butte was one of the 15 counties that took advantage of the provisions of the California Voter’s Choice Act by sending mailin ballots to all registered voters and expanding early voting at designated centers. For the Nov. 3 election, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states will allow mail-in voting: Nine states (including California) and Washington D.C. are automatically sending ballots to registered voters; 36 permit ballot requests with either COVID-19 as an excuse or no reason at all; and five allow voters a mail-in ballot with a qualified excuse. Ballots in Butte County were mailed out Monday (Oct. 5); if not received by Oct. 12, call the Elections Office at 552-3400 for a replacement. To check the status of your ballot (when it was mailed, received and counted) visit california.ballottrax.net/voter. As a refresher, here are the different ways local Ballot drop box at Chico’s city hall. voters can turn in their ballots: CN&R FILE PHOTO BY ANDRE BYIK

Mail it back • No postage necessary. • Ballot must be postmarked by Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 3.

story and photos by

Ashiah Scharaga ash ia h s@ newsr ev iew.c o m


s Richard Roth walked down a street in the Chapman neighborhood of Chico, he paused and marveled at a hen crossing the road with her chicks. “Look! See, that’s what I love,” he said. It isn’t the chickens, per say, but the fact that chickens do cross the road to get to the other side where he lives. Chapman is a neighborhood of marvels—with houses in a kaleidoscope of colors and variety of sizes with overflowing gardens, and rough, often narrow roads without sidewalks and gutters. The inhabitants are diverse, too: families, multi-generational businesses, retired homeowners and formerly homeless people all call Chapman home. And now, as of July 1, the residents of Chapman, as well as the nearby Mulberry neighborhood, are officially part of the city of Chico.

Deposit in a secure drop box • Drop boxes open Oct. 5-Nov. 3. • Ballot must be turned in before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. • Refer to your Voter Information Guide (available online at clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net) for a list of drop-box locations .

Hand deliver to a voting assistance center (VAC) • VACs open: Oct. 31-Nov. 3. • Ballot must be turned in before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. • Refer to your Voter Information Guide for a list of VAC locations and hours of operation.

Wait, am I registered to vote? • Check your registration status at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. • Deadline to register by mail or online (at registertovote.ca.gov) is Oct. 19. • Miss the deadline? There’s still a way: Conditional Voter Registration is available and you can fill out a provisional ballot at the Butte County Clerk-Recorder Elections Division office (155 Nelson Ave. Oroville) through Nov. 3 and at VACs between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3.



OCTOBER 8, 2020

Alois Scott Jr.’s family has lived in the Chapman neighborhood since the 1960s. He’s excited at the prospect of developing his family’s land now that Chapman is within the city’s boundaries.

In less than a month, they will get to vote for a City Council representative for the first time. They’re deciding between Rich Ober and Deepika Tandon. While some in Chapman and Mulberry are still concerned about the potential for the annexation to change their neighborhood’s unconventional, semi-rural character, the election represents an opportunity to provide a voice to folks who’ve watched the city grow around them without having a say in its policies. Vincent Ornelas, a Chico State professor and 12-year resident of Chapman, called it an exciting, welcome change. “To me, these next several years, it’s going to be a really interesting case study to see what happens with the [Chico City Council] agenda … it’s going to be about, ‘What are you doing [for] the neighborhood?’” Ornelas said.

Christy Santos and Mark Hooper arrived in Chapman in the 1970s and gradually improved their unfinished property. They advocate for a representative who will protect the neighborhood from speculating developers and gentrification that could push poor residents out.

Potential for change The Chapman and Mulberry neighborhoods are part of southern Chico—Chapman bordered by Little Chico Creek and East 16th Street in the north and Boucher Street and 20th Street Community Park on the west and east; Mulberry encompassing about six blocks east of Fair Street and from 21st Street to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. These neighborhoods are part of Chico’s District 7, which also includes the “east streets” between downtown and Hwy 32, a few areas near the Chico Mall, and the historic Barber neighborhood. According to demographic data compiled by the city of Chico, it encompasses 13,595 people. The district is one of Chico’s more diverse parts of town, with the highest percentage of Latino residents in the city and second highest percentage of Asian residents. (The latest estimate of just the Chapman/Mulberry area’s population was 1,300, in 2014.) Alois Scott Jr. lives in his childhood home on the same lot his parents purchased in Chapman in the 1960s. He remodeled it after his parents passed away. Now that his property is within the city, he’s in the process of splitting his lot and creating new singlefamily homes. It’s a project he’s passionate about because he sees it as a way to honor his family and help improve the quality of the neighborhood. When he tried the development process with the county, he found the requirements cumbersome. Plus, he’s appreciated the ease of access having city offices close by. “Personally, I think [annexation] is nothing but a positive step for Chapman,” Scott said. “At some point, we’ll be able to have our streets improved, and our fire, police and emergency services will be just as good as what the city has now.” And if folks don’t like it, now they can run

“These groups should be a priority over everything else,” he said.

According to the plan

Richard Roth is skeptical about how the city will handle management of the Chapman neighborhood—residents may have to keep fighting to preserve their way of life, he says.

for city office, he added. That is a big deal, having the ability to actually have a representative from Chapman who “can go and fight for things that will actually allow people to improve the area we live in.” Along the same lines, Ornelas is hopeful that annexation into the city will mean improvements, especially when it comes to safe transportation. While he appreciates the uniqueness of Chapman, he said it cannot come at the expense of children and elderly and/or disabled residents who need to be able to get around safely.

Many Chapman residents are proud of their neighborhood’s character, and their desire to maintain it hasn’t changed postannexation. Decades ago, Roth—along with many other long-term residents of the neighborhood—helped develop the Chapman/ Mulberry Neighborhood Plan for this very reason. It was adopted by the city in 2004. A primary concern has been protecting the area from speculating developers and gentrification that could push poor residents out. That’s been a concern of Christy Santos and Mark Hooper’s. The couple moved to Chico in 1976, arriving in Chapman with whatever they could pack into their Volkswagon bus. At the time, their property cost less than $10,000, and their dwelling was incomplete, with no kitchen or bathroom—but it was what they could afford. “We saw lots of potential here,” Santos said. They camped out on their property and fixed it up. They planted a vegetable garden and rode their bicycles to work. Having a local City Council member is the neighborhood’s “best bet that we’ll get reasonable planning and representation,” Hooper said. Brendan Vieg, the city’s Community Development Director of Planning and Housing, knows the Chapman/Mulberry plan well—he worked with residents on the city’s behalf during its drafting and subsequent adoption. The zoning map for the neighborhoods is a

“sea of yellow,” he said, marked for singlefamily residential development. Vieg knows speculation is a concern, but large-scale development is simply “not allowed” without changing city code and zoning laws. A couple of neighborhood residents have started the process of building single-family homes since the annexation. In his view, the neighborhood may continue to see such smaller-scale development, particularly on underdeveloped, larger lots that now have access to city sewer and services. “I don’t see that necessarily as a bad thing,” Vieg said. “It might improve the quality of the neighborhood.” Roth is skeptical. He’s more apt to make a judgment call after Chapman elects its first district representative and residents can see how their council member responds to neighborhood concerns—and if they have to keep fighting to preserve their way of life. “It’s a rigged system out there. It’s rigged against poor people. It’s rigged for business,” he said. “It’s hard for people to build a house.” However, Roth still sees potential in the annexation: The city could create something like an “innovation district”—encouraging and allowing for tiny homes, a community land trust and other experimental, affordable types of housing opportunities. Chapman and Mulberry, he argued, would be the perfect place. “Having the districts actually—maybe— works a bit better. We’ll see,” he said. “Mostly, let us be.” Ω




Is this the year? With more experience and money, Audrey Denney returns to challenge Doug LaMalfa for Congress


Jason Cassidy jason c @ newsrev iew. com


he last time voters saw Audrey Denney’s name on a general-election ballot, she had been a candidate for a mere nine months. Despite her lack of political experience and age (34 at the time), Denney gave then-three-term Republican Doug LaMalfa the biggest challenge he’d faced for his seat as U.S. Representative for California’s Congressional District 1. She lost by 9 points. “Honestly, I can barely remember the woman that I was in January of 2018,” said Denney during a recent break from working the phones at her downtown campaign office. Two days after the election, the Camp Fire started. Between that local disaster (for which Denney was on the ground volunteering and advocating for residents), the current local disaster of the pandemic coupled with wildfires, running for national office and various personal trauma (surgery, the unexpected deaths of two friends), the last two years have felt like a lifetime to Denney. “I have learned so much and grown so much, personally and professionally,” she said, which has made her even more determined as she’s set her sights on ending LaMalfa’s eight-year run in Congress. “It feels like I used to be a wet clay bowl, and this experience has fired me and now I can hold water and I have purpose.” 16


OCTOBER 8, 2020

support in the district might be growing, significantly. Among likely voters in Denney’s campaign has raised more District 1 given only “ballot designations than $1.3 million so far, nearly half a miland party affiliations,” Denney trailed lion more than LaMalfa. by five points, a gain of four from 2018. If she is going to overcome the nine However, among voters also supplied point gap from 2018, she’s going to have with balanced positive profiles for each to put a lot of that money toward building candidate, it’s an even race. She came out support in Shasta County. In 2018, her top by five points with already-informed numbers in the other two of the big-three voters and by eight points among responcounties in District 1 were impressive, dents presented with positive and negative with advantages of roughly 7,000 and messaging on the candidates. 5,000 votes in Butte and Nevada counties, “Nothing about me changed,” said respectively. In Shasta, however, LaMalfa Denney, who says she’s stuck with her won by more than 20,000 votes. platform and messaging between elecA June poll by Lake tions. Her explanation for the Research Partners (paid for change reflected in the poll is that by the Denney campaign) “people in our part of the world Online: suggests that her overall are sick and tired of the status audreyforcongress.com

Sowing seeds


quo, they’re sick and tired of somebody pretending to work for them. They’re sick and tired of a representative who’s bought and paid for by his corporate interests.” It’s likely that much of that fatigue comes from growing frustrations with President Trump and, by association, the members Congress who’ve stood by his side—such as LaMalfa, who according to FiveThirtyEight.com has voted in line with Trump 94.4 percent of the time. Overall support for congressional Republicans is declining in line with Trump’s sliding poll numbers, and FiveThirtyEight shows that voters currently favor a Democratic Congress over a

Denney already has some valuable experience under her belt. Post-Camp Fire, she went to work advocating for the county, at one point traveling to Washington D.C. with a group of people impacted by the disaster and meeting with 20 members of the House and Senate. Brian Solicki, Denney’s campaign manager who was on the trip, said, “We spent two days lobbying for increased FEMA funding,” as well as discussing forest health and management and the influence of climate change on wildfires. Time for a change? During the trip, Denney says, she realPlaced against the backdrop of D.C. ized that she had the skills and demeanor partisanship, Denney plainly stands out to do the work of a high-level public serwith a smart and intuitive communication vant. In the office of John Garamendi (of style. California’s Third District), Denney was “She is open, she is transparent, [and] left to lead a meeting with the congressI think she’s not jaded like a lot of us can man’s staff. Afterward, Solicki said an be,” Lucero said. “It’s a breath of fresh energized Denney turned to him and said air.” something to the effect of, “We could do If she wins in November, Denney’s this and we could do this well.” chief cause would “That was a be to address the really transforHer explanation for the mational trip,” destructive fires that have ravaged the told the change reflected in the Denney North State in recent CN&R, adding years. She knows that “getting to poll is that “people in she’ll need to galvabe involved at a our part of the world nize support. community level” “I’m going to roll inspired her. are sick and tired of in there, I’m going When asked to be the freshman how she might the status quo, ... sick rep from California’s overcome and tired of a repreFirst District and Washington’s what political power combative culture, sentative who’s bought am I going to have? Denney said it and paid for by his None,” she said. “But comes down to what we’re going to making an effort corporate interests.” do is create allyships to listen. with other districts “You can put that have large swaths of natural resources, any single person in front of me and I’ll other mountainous districts in California, connect with them, because I’ll shut up, or in Forest Service District 5, which we and ask questions,” she said. “That’s the are in. We [need to] take every possible secret to life: Being curious about other step we can to increase the pace and the people and what they care about.” scale of this restoration work.” To illustrate the point she told a story A key difference between how she and from her 2018 campaign. Sitting alone LaMalfa see the wildfire issue is that, in at her table during a street fair in Etna, addition the recognizing a need for improv- Denney was approached by a Vietnam ing forest management and PG&E’s poor veteran. infrastructure, Denney follows the science “This old man comes walking up to of climate change being a key driver in the me—he looks just like my dad—and growing intensity of wildfires. he’s like, ‘Are you a Republican or a “Obviously, wildfires are getting worse Democrat?’ ‘I’m a Democrat.’ And he and worse, more frequent, more deadly, goes off and does his little tirade, and I’m and hotter and hotter,” Denney said. “For just smiling and nodding, and then I’m me, besides Congressman Doug LaMalfa, like, ‘So, tell me about you.’ We have it is hard to find someone who just believes this whole 20-minute conversation and he climate change is a hoax. … Even in the ends up giving me a hug and giving me 20 ag industry, we’re being hit so hard across bucks. the country, and people are like, ‘It wasn’t “That’s what happens when you show like this 10 years ago. It wasn’t like this 30 people you care about them.” Ω years ago.’” Republican one by 14 points. Debra Lucero, a Butte County supervisor who campaigned with Denney in 2018, acknowledged that running as a Democrat in a conservative-leaning district is tough, but she’s cautiously optimistic that Denney’s work could pay off this time. “It’s kind of like tilling ground, and she’s been tilling some really hard earth,” said Lucero. “Hopefully the seeds she’s been planting will begin to grow.”

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Ten-four! A Q&A with the 10 City Council candidates vying for four district seats

THE QUESTIONS: 1. How long have you lived in your district? What do you believe is the chief concern of its constituents? 2. What would be your No. 1 priority for the City Council? Why? And how would you accomplish it? 3. Given the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy, what more should the city

do to support local businesses and residents and to address potential shortfalls in the budget? 4. The city has recently released the Homeless Opportunities Plan—what it’s calling “an aggressive approach toward combatting street homelessness.” Do you support the recommendations listed in the plan? Why or why not? 5. Do you think Chico is unsafe? What public safety efforts should the city fund?

Chico is now divided into seven districts, each electing one councilmember
















7 A note on this feature:

There wasn’t room to publish all of the CN&R’s questions in print. To read the Q&A in its entirety, go to chico.newsreview.com



OCTOBER 8, 2020

Sean Morgan

1. I have lived in District 1 for 35 of the 45 years I have lived in Chico. The main concern of D1 constituents (as they tell it to me) is safety for families and seniors. 2. Solvency and public safety. Maintain emphasis on fiscal discipline while not gutting public safety departments to fund feelgood initiatives. This was my goal in my first election, and it worked well for years. 3. Promote education of COVID-safe operations and stop threatening businesses with judicial intervention for minor infractions. Economic activity is the only thing that will fill potential budget shortfalls. People need to be working; businesses need a healthy community in which to thrive. 4. It is less of a plan and more of a “thrown together” list of initiatives. Council was asked to spend $2 million without the guarantee of one new shelter bed. This is a good first step, but more work is needed before we end up throwing money down a hole that doesn’t offer long-term solutions (and accountability). 5. Overall, no. However, if someone is afraid to take their children to the park or downtown, the “feeling” of being unsafe overwhelms whatever the real threat may be. There is no doubt the numbers of criminal drugusing transients has increased, and this leads people to feel unsafe. Addicts steal to pay for their habit. Whether that be a lady’s purse, or a laptop left in a car. Having property stolen is a personal violation. We need to demand civility from all citizens and not make special “allowances” for those who don’t want to follow the rules.

Curtis Pahlka

Steven Breedlove

1. In 30 years of living in Chico, I think I’ve lived in every district. I have lived in District 1 for about eight years total. The concerns are diverse, with younger folks seemingly mostly concerned with homelessness and older folks concerned with people in our community refusing to abide by public health requirements.

1. I bought a house in northeast Chico five years ago. The folks I’ve talked to while canvassing want to get unhoused residents into stable and humane accommodations. My plan is sanctioned camps, crisis intervention services and expanding addiction recovery and social supports for safe and healthy communities.

2. We need to address the

2. My top priority is housing. We need to get unhoused folks into camps with services and infrastructure, build small affordable units, ensure no one is evicted because of COVID, and ensure tenants have rights. We do it through putting working and poor people before profit and police pensions.

housing gap in our community. We haven’t built in balance in the past, and we are dealing with a severe lack of housing that working families can afford. It’s going to take collaboration and political concessions to do it, but if council can move away from partisanship, it can be done.

3. I like many of the measures that council is already taking, but the fact remains that if we continue to undermine public health guidelines, this economic impact is going to continue much longer than it could/should have. Responsible budget cuts and revenue generation are going to be necessary, but the sooner we stop the spread of COVID, the sooner we can all get back to business. 4. Mostly yes. The plan was

collaboratively presented by people whose life work has been addressing these issues, so it behooves us to listen to their recommendations. I would like to see greater accountability for the resources than what was presented, but we are seeing the cost of doing nothing playing out in our community. Action is required.

5. I do not feel Chico is unsafe, but safety is relative to one’s circumstance and perspective. Having a career background in public safety, I have seen firsthand how critical well-functioning public safety agencies are to a community. The strategic efforts of CPD’s TARGET Team is one example of wise funding. But safety can also come from community, with residential and business neighbors looking out for each other in their respective neighborhoods.

3. Crushing poverty leaves little disposable income to spend locally; we must control housing costs. Creating a local-food economy and a public bank would be game changing. For new revenues, we need a gross-receipts tax that protects small business while capturing money siphoned out of our economy through multinationals. 4. Yes and no. I support the low-barrier shelter project because winter kills and we need additional shelter beds. But only $700,000 of the $2 million-plus would house people in the next few months. “Aggressive” is my plan for sanctioned camps with infrastructure using surplus military equipment. 5. Chico has grown into a city, and cities have problems. My house was burglarized last December, but statistics show crime has not significantly increased. People are poor. Poverty is the parent of crime and revolution. My agenda is based on poverty relief, not coercion and the carceral state.


Kami Denlay

1. District 3 has been my home for six years now, and my childhood home sits two blocks outside the district. While District 3 is home to many of Chico’s schools, stunning Verbena Fields, and borders both lower and upper Bidwell Park, I believe we face many public safety concerns. 2. We must preserve Chico’s quality of life while ensuring our neighborhoods are safe. This is fundamental to keeping Chico the special community it’s known as. We must fight to keep our parks clean, protect our waterways and offer real solutions to our growing homeless problem. 3. While we need to be safe and cautious when it comes to COVID, the fact is many businesses are suffering. We need to find ways to promote local businesses and offer community members the means to engage with them. We must listen to our local business owners to find new and innovative ways to reopen our economy responsibly. 4. I was encouraged to see our

local service providers coming together to collaborate and find new and innovative solutions to our homeless issues. I appreciated that “accountability” was a core sentiment throughout the presentations. We must continue to work together to create solutions that will benefit all of Chico.

5. In response to a “substantial” increase in Part 1 crimes, including violent crime, the Chico Police Department has created the Violence Suppression Unit. I believe this new unit will be a step in the right direction for creating a safer Chico for everyone.


Ann Schwab

1. I’ve called District 3 home for 19 years. In meeting with my neighbors in the district, I know they share my concerns with economic growth to fund neighborhood safety. We recognize the need for economic growth to help fund badly needed improvements to parks and roads, and funding for public safety to ensure neighborhood safety. 2. We have one-time resources to invest in a navigation center to provide sheltering for people camping in Bidwell Park and creekside greenways. Through a multifaceted, community supported approach, the city must take the lead with nonprofit organizations and county personnel to provide pathways to housing and reverse this degradation to our open spaces. 3. Through award-winning Team Chico, we can help Chico businesses be successful by being responsive to their needs; and by applying new revenues to build infrastructure that supports business. The city needs to continue conservative revenue projections and live within our means. We must remain vigilant and pivot quickly to respond to downturns. 4. Yes! Resources for solutions

to homelessness are not forthcoming from the state or federal government. If we want solutions, the city must take action. Disagreement on approaches has left us stymied and not one step forward to finding solutions. We start by putting aside blame and agree to invest in our community.

5. While our crime statistics may reflect lower rates, our community is suffering from the effects of domestic violence, drug use, quality of life crimes and fires in the park and greenways. The 20 percent population increase after the Camp Fire further degraded police-to-population ratios. We must invest in additional mobile crisis teams to better serve our community.

Andrew Coolidge

1. I have been a resident of District 5 for 15 years. In speaking with a great number of voters in District 5, homelessness, public safety and roads are the top three issues. 2. Dozens of items must move forward on the council immediately. From housing issues to crime issues, cleaning up the park to improving bicycle lanes, public evacuation plans to solar energy plans for the future, tree plantings to public safety—all must be brought forward simultaneously. 3. A defined local plan should have been established in March. Chico was very late to move restaurants outside, address senior issues related to the crisis or assist families in any way. Budget concerns have been largely ignored. 4. Unfortunately, the plan does

not address the entirety of the issue, does not include enough participation of county services and is limited in its perspective and scope. All ideas surrounding this issue need to be thoroughly explored.

5. Crime has been going up in

Chico. This is a fact according to the statistics. Bike trails and walking paths are dangerous and often poorly patrolled or have poor lighting. District 5 has some of the worst areas in the city, which puts our college students at risk for assault.

Lauren Kohler

Randall Stone

1. I’ve lived in my district for nearly eight years. The main concerns that I’ve heard are the safety of the roads, and the amount of streets with inadequate lighting. Citywide, people are worried about homelessness and our lack of affordable housing, and making sure that we face the challenges of COVID-19 safely.

1. My wife, Krista, and I met, courted and have lived in District 5 for a noncontiguous eight of 27 years in Chico. Housing and homelessness unquestionably is the greatest concern, followed closely by public safety and syringe cleanup, and finally tenant protections in this unstable housing market.

2. My first priority would be to

2. Housing affordability. If

mobilize an emergency response to our shelter crisis. Chico issued a declaration of shelter emergency two years ago, and we have not increased affordable housing availability to meet our needs. I will support the creation of sanctioned campgrounds, safe parking lots and shelter beds.

3. I will make sure that our local businesses have the tools to be open safely, ensuring strict adherence to public health guidelines. The more strictly we follow guidelines, the sooner we will be able to open. We can’t sacrifice our most vulnerable populations for the sake of returning to normal. 4. I don’t think it does enough. We need a plan that takes action to respond to our homelessness crisis immediately. We need to look into sanctioned campgrounds and safe parking sites that don’t have a $600,000 price tag. Parking lots of empty big-box stores are one option. 5. I think our greatest threats to public safety come from climate change. We need fire/smoke shelters, investment in firehardening of our structures, and a robust firefighting network. We need to invest in proactive safety infrastructure like streetlights and crosswalks, and creating systems to respond to different crises appropriately.

businesses are not able to house their employees or endure the disruption on productivity because housing is not affordable, many of the benefits of Chico remain moot. Renter protections to protect against market disruptions. Developers have not met the affordability crisis, and Chico should implement an inclusionary zoning ordinance.


Rich Ober

1. I’ve lived in District 7 for 26 years. Some concerns are unique to specific neighborhoods (annexation in Chapman; development of Diamond Match in Barber). Districtwide concerns include improvements to the Park Avenue commercial corridor, safe parks, homelessness, renters’ rights and housing. 2. A green economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy—we need to incentivize and grow new entrepreneurial sustainable industry and jobs while supporting our local homegrown businesses. [Also], workable solutions to homelessness based on data—I’ve called for 300 new shelter beds, a city-sanctioned campground and completion of Simplicity Village.

3. The scope of our economic 3. Providing every feasible alter- crisis is still largely unknown, but

native to support local businesses, such as the parklets I proposed, to deferral of fees. But it also means protecting the community and public safety by ensuring businesses are adhering to COVID safety protocols and ensuring the community is able to obtain federal and state funding.

4. I’ve unequivocally endorsed this plan and appreciate staff’s utilization of federal and state funds to make this plan a reality. But because this plan was developed only after the state provided funds to implement, I am concerned that when the funds are exhausted, the city will end the program. 5. The perception of reduced safety should be addressed by the city. Crime rates have been on a multi-decade decline, with crime in District 5 specifically declining as other policies have shifted crime burdens to other districts. But lighting, cameras and most importantly pedestrian and bicycle safety are key.

we know it is staggering, on both the human and economic scale. We must continue to use data and make decisions to keep our community safe. I support specific “lifeline” measures such as allowing expanded outdoor dining. I also support a .5 percent sales tax once recovery has begun and our local economy can support it.

4. Yes, I fully support this plan. The impacts of homelessness on our city are profound and we must take action. We must get people off the streets and out of the parks and into housing with access to services so that recovery can begin. The HOP is just a start, but it is a crucial first step. 5. Chico is a remarkable, beautiful, creative and dramatically growing city. My family, friends and I spend time in our parks, downtown, in our neighborhoods, and we consistently feel safe and welcome. But there are challenges and the city should focus limited resources on traditional policing as well as on conflict intervention, de-escalation, mental health services and more so that our public safety professionals are available to respond to the situational reality of citizens in need.

Deepika Tandon

1. I have lived in Barber neighborhood of District 7 since 2007. My business is also located in the Barber neighborhood. Vandalism, theft and leaving trash behind by the transients in the district are some of the main concerns. 2. It is difficult to pinpoint one concern. Issues are all interconnected. Dealing with the unhoused population is definitely a priority; it’s not humane to let people live on streets and parks. We need to make sure everyone feels safe in the city. Once the crime rate is lowered, the economy would revive, and people can enjoy our downtown and parks. 3. We need to follow the CDC guidelines to safely open our businesses. In addition, we need to make sure people feel safe to go out and support our local businesses. We do need to get creative and work with the local business community members to understand their needs and make decisions accordingly. 4. I do believe we should help unhoused individuals who want to be helped. Accountability plays a vital role in this process. The plan in its [current] state is just a relocation of camps from parks and downtown. What happens after this relocation is important to know, and the cost of maintaining a program like this needs to be evaluated before we go ahead and spend a hefty lump sum. 5. Chico is becoming unsafe as the crime rate is rising. The city needs to enforce the laws equally for everyone, housed or unhoused. We need to support our law-enforcement officers to do what they are trained for—i.e., to enforce law and order. Better streetlights (if resources allow) would be a good thing, too.


O N PA G E 2 0



Battle for future of Paradise Three incumbents and a former mayor contend with community frustrations—and a crowded field—in Town Council race story and photos by Andre Byik


itting in an empty hall at the Paradise Performaning Arts Center, Steve Culleton, a former mayor of the town, offered his pitch to regain a seat on the Town Council. “I had been corrupted by power,” Culleton said of his last years in office, ending in 2016. “And I drank the Kool-Aid. I had—at some point in the 12 years I served—become part of the good ol’ boy club that everybody talks about.”

Mike Zuccolillo, running for reelection while facing criminal charges, says he wants to set up an oversight board for the town’s $270 million PG&E settlement.

Culleton, who goes by “Woody,” said he had become a defender of the town’s government instead of the town’s residents. He said he took part in conspiracies to influence the makeup of the council by encouraging certain candidates to run in order to block others. And he said he witnessed how personal grievances drove discussions during the panel’s closed sessions. He lost his bid for re-election in 2016. Now, two years after the Camp Fire, Culleton is attempting to rebuild his political career. His motto for the Nov. 3 election: “To be a megaphone for the people. I’m going to be the people’s whistleblower.” Culleton’s home was destroyed by the fire, and his recovery was featured in the documentary Rebuilding Paradise, which was made by Ron Howard. Culleton said he believes the film will help his

Steve “Woody” Culleton, a former mayor of Paradise, is running to regain a seat on the Town Council.

campaign, and his yard signs show him embracing the Oscar-winning director. Culleton joins a crowded field of candidates vying for three seats on the Town Council. In all, 13 people have qualified to be on the ballot. Three incumbents—Mayor Greg Bolin, Melissa Schuster and Mike Zuccolillo—are defending their seats on the five-member body. At stake is a continued say in how the town of Paradise spends its $270 million settlement with PG&E over the fire, as well as the direction of the community’s rebuild. The high number of candidates running in the race—especially for a town whose population is down more than 20,000 post fire, and now hovers around 5,000—is not lost on either the incumbents or Culleton. “Everyone is running because people are unhappy with the town’s leaders,” Culleton said. He noted the many fees—for inspections, permits, water hookups—as one frustration shared among fire survivors. “‘OK, yeah, you can do that. Give me $50. Give me $100.’” The candidates challenging the incumbents include realtors, businesspeople, educators, government workers and retirees, some of whom lost homes in the Camp Fire. In candidate statements, some, like realtor/business owner Warren Bullock, say the town “needs someone that will truly stand up for its citizens and represent their best interests.” Others cite concerns about the town’s rebuild and finances as motivation for running. The CN&R spoke with Culleton as well as incumbents Zuccolillo—who is facing criminal sex charges and calls to step down—and Schuster about the town’s frustrations and each of their perspectives on the race. (Bolin, the mayor, did not grant an interview.) Paradise is laying the foundation for how it will

Paradise Town Councilwoman Melissa Schuster is defending her seat in a crowded race.



OCTOBER 8, 2020

rebuild from the Camp Fire in the decades to come. Projects in the works, Town Manager Kevin Phillips told the CN&R, include an early warning emergency system; the town has a contract with a firm studying options. The town also is working through an environmental review for a sewer system that Phillips said could further foster economic development. It’s moving forward with planning a walkable downtown adjacent to Skyway with arterial roads that link to Paradise Community Park—a revitalization that is “really trying to draw people to rebuild in that area,” Phillips said. Since the Camp Fire destroyed thousands of homes in the town, Phillips said 364 singlefamily homes have been rebuilt. He added that Paradise’s settlement with PG&E can help keep the town’s operations—such as public safety— funded for the next 20 years. The town’s cur-

Candidate statements:

For information on all candidates out real solid evidence.” rent annual budget is about for paradise Town Council, $16 million. The town has refer to the Butte County Voter received the settlement The Town Council was rocked in information guide available on the clerk-recorder site: money, which is currently April with the announcement of clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net sitting in an investment criminal charges against then-Vice account held by the state. Mayor Zuccolillo. According to The settlement funds have also been earthe Butte County Sheriff’s Office, Zuccolillo marked by the current council. was targeted in a “‘To Catch a Predator“A big portion of it is to support operastyle’ operation” by an unidentified person tions through the rebuild,” Phillips said. “A over an alleged “bad business deal.” This perportion of it is to pay for our local share of son, the Sheriff’s Office said, brought forward grant funding that we’re receiving. A portion evidence that Zuccolillo had been sending of it is to pay off some existing debt.” sexually explicit text messages and photoThe council has discretion over the graphs to a person he believed was a 16-yearfunds—and members could decide at any old girl. Once Sheriff’s detectives took over point to shift gears, he said, adding: “They the case, it’s alleged he sent additional sexucould come out next board meeting and ally explicit texts and photos to an undercover decide to designate it for something comofficer posing as the previously established pletely different.” 16-year-old. Current councilwoman Schuster, who was Zuccolillo has pleaded not guilty to sending elected to a four-year term in 2016, told the harmful matter to a minor, communicating with CN&R that the town’s settlement money must a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual be protected and leveraged for the benefit of conduct and arranging a meeting with a minor the town as a whole. for the purpose of engaging in lewd and/or las“[It’s important to] recognize that that civious behavior. His case is ongoing. money is not there to be handed out to the The council stripped Zuccolillo of the title community; it is there to continue to provide of vice mayor on May 12, but the councilman services that a town provides,” Schuster said. has chosen to not resign. On a recent after“That’s why the town exists—to provide sernoon at his office on Skyway, Zuccolillo told vices to the community. Police and fire and the CN&R the case will be litigated in court. animal control and code enforcement.” “People get accused of things all the time,” Schuster recently spoke with the CN&R he said, “and I tell people, ‘Judge me on what at her property in south Paradise, and she said I’ve done for the town. Judge me on the decithe number of candidates in the Town Council sions that I’ve made.’” race tells her there’s frustration among surviZuccolillo said he’s received mixed reacvors with the rebuild. She said people feel out tions from the community about his re-elecof control as they navigate their recovery and tion campaign. Some people have expressed now, on top of that, a global pandemic. It’s a their distaste for the councilman. Others have frustration that Schuster said she shares. reached out through Facebook to show their “I think that everyone feels that things support. aren’t moving fast enough,” said Schuster, “You’re innocent until proven guilty, and who is rebuilding after her home burned in it seemed that council wanted to be judge, the Camp Fire. “And the biggest one—I think jury and executioner, which is very disapthe biggest thing since day one, since Nov. 8, pointing to me,” he said. “But I’m not really 2018—was that people aren’t getting answers surprised. I’ve never been welcomed on counto their questions. cil. It’s been clear as day from day one. But I “I wish I could give them all of the didn’t run because I wanted to be friends with answers that they want, and I wish I could tell them. My job wasn’t like, ‘Hey, I want to be them what they want to hear. But that’s not your friend, let me in your club.’” reality. We don’t have all the answers.” Zuccolillo said he sees town residents Schuster said she decided to run again struggling with their recovery, many tempobecause she didn’t see other candidates who rarily living in RVs and hedging their decishare her values. Schuster described herself sions on their settlement awards with PG&E. as open to hearing new ideas and taking into Zuccolillo said outside of the issues he’s account the feelings of others. running on—including restoring Skyway to “I care deeply for people,” she said. “I care four lanes and creating an oversight commitdeeply for the Earth. I care deeply for animals. tee to advise the council on the best use of the … I’m the only vegan on the council.” town’s settlement money—he also wants to Schuster also said she believes an experibe an accessible councilman with whom resienced council is needed to navigate the town’s dents can relate. recovery, though she expressed her disap“I think it’s important that people feel like pointment with Zuccolillo’s decision to run we listen,” he said. “And I think the reprefor re-election as he faces criminal charges in sentation of why all these people are running Butte County Superior Court. probably reflects on the fact that people don’t “I am disappointed that he didn’t resign,” think that we’re listening.” Ω Schuster said. “I don’t feel that our sheriff’s department, or the DA, would have arrested a public figure—a popular public figure—withELECTION C O n T i n u E d O n pa g E 2 2


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Worst of the worst Trump presidency’s 10 most disturbing developments

conspiracy to hurt American business. Visiting California last month amid the recent wildfires, he dismissed the connection between natural disasters and climate: “I don’t think science knows [about global warming]. … It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch.” Trump has acted on his beliefs, mostly notably pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement in which 190 countries have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

5. ‘Very fine people on both sides’ by

Evan Tuchinsky evant@ n ewsrev i ew. com


he moment he descended a Trump Tower escalator on June 16, 2015, and launched his first campaign, Donald Trump rewrote the meaning of “presidential.” He went on the offensive, indifferent about offending, and he’s never let up. He bull-rushed his way to the Republican nomination, then the White House, then through four years of Twitter flurries and name-calling. Trump’s failings haven’t been limited to “fake news” bluster and rampant lying (more than 20,000 documented falsehoods and counting). He’s taken heinous action, too; in the process reshaping many aspects of American life for the worse. From health to the environment to human rights, President Trump has made such an impact that, even if he’s voted out, we’ll feel the ill effects for decades. Here, the CN&R details the Top 10 most disturbing developments of the Trump presidency.

of sexual orientation or gender identity. Among myriad actions, Trump and his administration banned transgender servicepeople in the military; allowed states to prohibit LGBTQ people from adopting or fosterparenting; removed considerations of gender identity for assigning prisoners housing and treating employees in the workplace; and stripped LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections from healthcare and health insurance.

Another defining quote of Trump’s presidency came after the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesvile, Va., where white supremacists and protesters clashed— and where Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old protester, was fatally run down by a rally attendee. Trump, stating there were “very fine people on both sides,” did not condemn the killing, much as he failed to disavow white supremacy in last Tuesday’s debate. Through words and actions, the president repeatedly

9. Trade war casualties

Starting during his 2016 campaign, Trump consistently hammered China for its trade relations with the U.S. He called its business dealings “the greatest theft in the history of the world” and said Americans “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” As president, Trump initiated a trade war by slapping tariffs on Chinese imports, prompting retaliatory tariffs—notably on agricultural products, such as rice and nuts grown by Butte County farmers. He extols the resulting “phase one” trade deal with provisions for China to purchase $200 billion more in U.S. goods by the end of 2021. However, the cost of his trade war, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Columbia University, will be $316 billion to the U.S. economy by the end of 2020 and at least $1.7 billion in companies’ value. That’s not counting diplomatic damage to American-Chinese relations.

8. Rollback of rights

Trump has directed discrimination at many minority groups (more later), but his actions toward LGBTQ people are especially striking. His policies have systematically rolled back rights that have granted equality regardless



OCTOBER 8, 2020


3. Amy Coney Barrett

When a Supreme Court vacancy arose in 2016, Republicans refused to consider the nominee put forth by outgoing President Barack Obama in March of that year, insisting instead that the nomination belonged to the winner of that November’s election. Four years later, with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Sept. 18, the GOP flipped 180 degrees and, instead of affording the same courtesy to the 2020 winner, is rushing to confirm a third Trump pick: Amy Coney Barrrett. Barrett was a law clerk for late Justice Antonin Scalia—and is just as conservative. She’s written about the intersection of faith and law, and as an appellate judge has taken positions against the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, gun control and immigration. At 48, she would be the youngest justice on the court where appointments are lifetime.

2. Coronavirus (non)response

10. Revolving staff door

Trump made a point that he was seeking “the best and the brightest” to fill his staff. Subjective judgment aside, few have stuck around. The Brookings Institute reports 91 percent turnover among White House senior officials, 59 of 65—and that doesn’t count Cabinet secretaries, 16 (not counting Obama Administration holdovers) dismissals and resignations across the 15 departments.

Children detained at Texas border.

7. The planet is his trash can

Just ahead of the State of the Union address this year, nine conservation groups (including Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club) issued this status report: “Donald Trump has been the worst president for our environment in history. Unfortunately, our children will pay the costs of this president’s recklessness.” Depending on who’s keeping score, Trump has taken about 100 steps to weaken environmental protection. Among them: blocking California from setting fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles; reducing regulations on emissions from power plants and how coal ash gets stored and dumped (i.e., into waterways); removing bans on oil exploration in the Arctic, coastal waters and public lands; authorizing oil and gas pipelines; refusing to ban a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, proven to jeopardize human health; and reducing the scope of the Clean Water Act.

6. Climate denial is his ‘Pleasure’

Few in Butte County will forget Trump visiting the Ridge after the Camp Fire and using the name “Pleasure” instead of Paradise—twice. That blooper, along with his muchmaligned remedy for forest fires of “raking and cleaning things,” may seem trifling; add the image of him tossing paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, and a bigger picture comes into focus. This president has called global-warming science a “hoax” and “a money-making industry”—even a Chinese

Donald Trump pictured with then-Governor Jerry Brown and now-Governor Gavin Newsom in Paradise post-Camp Fire. During the press conference, Trump twice referred to the town as “Pleasure.” PHOTO COURTESY OF BBC TELEVISION

has drawn dividing lines. He threatened governors with federal military intervention to quell protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer—and, for a photo op at Washington D.C. church, had peaceful protesters forcibly dispersed with tear gas.

4. Impeachment offenses

On Dec. 18, 2019, Trump became the third president impeached by the House of Representatives, with charges against him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Like his historic predecessors, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, he was acquitted in the Senate. The impeachment articles stemmed from evidence and testimony that Trump held back foreign aid money from Ukraine until the Ukrainian government agreed to launch investigations into Biden and his son Hunter. The president then would not fully cooperate with congressional committees looking into the matter. More recently, he’s raised the specter of another constitutional crisis by refusing to assure a peaceful transition of power should he lose the upcoming election.

That the president and First Lady Melania Trump came down with coronavirus last week, despite access to the best preventative measures available, underscores the communicability of COVID-19. As of the CN&R’s deadline (Oct. 2), the disease had sickened 7.3 million Americans and killed 208,300, including 2,840 ill and 45 dead in Butte County. Trump continuously minimized the threat posed by COVID as it spread from China through Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Though he knew the virus was, in his recorded words, “deadly stuff” in February, he also (per a recording) “always wanted to play it down.” Meanwhile, as the epidemic grew, Trump withdrew U.S. backing from the World Health Organization and continued his attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, putting health coverage—during a pandemic—at risk for millions of families.

1. Kids in confinement

Trump’s opposition to immigrants is a cornerstone of his “America First” politics. He put limits on legal immigration, removed exemptions for deporting undocumented migrants and placed higher priority on financial means and employment in granting a green card or visa, among other actions. He aims special antipathy toward Latinos: Since his 2016 campaign launch in Trump Tower, where he claimed that Mexicans who cross into the U.S. are criminals (“and some, I assume, are good people”), he’s ramped up immigration enforcement. Of all that’s transpired in Trump’s presidency, however, nothing compares to separating children from parents seeking asylum at the U.S./Mexico border. Not only has Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy torn apart families, federal officers have confined children in holding pens fenced with chain link. That legacy endures. Ω

Oct Ober 8, 2020



Arts &Culture VALENE L. SMITH MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY: Virtual exhibits. Currently online: Unbroken Traditions. More to come. Meriam Library, Chico State. csuchico.edu/anthmuseum

THU8 ARTIST TALK: Los Angeles painter Jesse Mockrin on “Reframing Art History.” Part of the Hopper Visiting Artist series. Zoom ID: 938 7189 9376 Password: 786705 Thu, 10/8, 5:30pm. Chico State, online event. Info: rmiddleman@csuchico.edu

THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: CTC is back with a part



There will also be a virtual tour of the exhibition online. Also, call for photos for the Photography Challenge— looking for new perspectives. Visit site for more info. 900 Esplanade. 487-7272. monca.org

PARADISE ART CENTER: Virtual Gallery Members’ Show. View

ALL MONTH 1078 GALLERY: Timestamp 2020 Artifacts and Ephemera of this Time, an ongoing exhibit displayed in the gallery windows and online. It’s a collection of objects that chronicle the tumultuous first half of this year: protest signs, poems, drawings, compositions and more. Electronic submissions also accepted. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org

work by gallery members from the comfort and safety of your home while the center’s Wheeler Gallery is temporarily closed. Through 2/16. 5564 Almond St, Paradise. paradise-art-center.com

SPOOKY STAND-UP: Weekly open mic in October hosted by local comedian Dillon Collins on the patio. Thursdays, 8pm. The Lab Bar and Grill, 250 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10. facebook.com/labbarandgrill

Chico Performances have teamed up to present some of the world’s best mountain, adventure and cultural films. Single and week-long passes for the 2020 online fest available through Oct. 17. $15-$40. Chico Performances. chicoperformances.com

MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY ANNIVERSARY TOUR: A virtual tour (via Zoom) of the exhibition, Unbroken Traditions. Part of the museum’s 50th anniversary. Fri, 10/9, 1-2pm. Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, Chico State. Online event: Register at csuchico.edu/anthmuseum

WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S: This year, the walk is on every sidewalk, track and trail. Small teams of friends and family take their own socially distant walks. Check out http://act.alz.org/chico2020 for more information. Sat, 10/10, 8:30am.


FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s markets are open

OCTOBER 8, 2020

Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

peek into the history of the museum’s exhibits and programs, meet some of the students, faculty and staff who helped shape it, and learn about upcoming virtual exhibits. Sat, 10/10, 2pm. Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, Chico State. Online event: Register at csuchico.edu/anthmuseum

October tour has moved online. You can still look at art and crafts, learn about creative processes, visit artist studios and collect Northern California art throughout the month—it’s just all happening virtually. Check the site regularly for artist updates and studio visit availability. $15. 450 Orange St., (530) 895-8726. chicoartcenter.com


THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: See Thurs., 10/8. Fri, 10/9, 7:30pm. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico Theater


CHICO ART CENTER: Open Studios Art Tour. This year, the



Theater Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

patreon.com/BlueRoomChico and sign up to to watch already filmed productions of Treasure Island and Blue Stories, plus an ever-growing list of vintage performances from 1990s on. Blue Room Theatre, blueroomtheatre.com

Can. An exhibit celebrating Butte County artists who also teach. If allowed, museum will be open Thursday–Sunday 11am–5pm during the exhibition dates, through Nov. 1.

Diversity and Inclusion presents an evening with the acclaimed poet and public speaker. Born in Guerrero, Mexico, and raised in Eastside San Jose, Reyes explores the themes of migration and sexuality in his work. Zoom ID: 935 9085 8669; password: 419219 Thu, 10/8, 6pm. Free. Chico State, online event. csuchico.edu/diversity

THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: See Thurs., 10/8. Sat, 10/10, 7:30pm. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico

BLUE ROOM DARK SEASON: Visit the theater’s Patreon site


POET YOSIMAR REYES: Chico State’s Office of



and selling fresh produce and more. Chico: Downtown (Saturdays, 7:30am-1pm & Thursdays, 6-9pm); North Valley Plaza (Wednesdays, 8am-1pm). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.). Oroville: Riverbend Park (Saturdays, 7:30am-2pm); Dove’s Landing parking lot (Wednesdays, 9am-2pm). downtownchico.com; chicofarmersmarket.com; orovillechamber.biz/calendar

drive-in/part sit-down production presented in its parking lot of an adaptation of a comedy by Mark Twain. Thu, 10/8, 7:30pm. Shows ThursdaySaturday through Oct. 17. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico Theater Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

THE BIDWELLS: Reserve a table on the patio early to


Chico Art Center (online event)

guarantee a serenading by the two local vocalists behind the plexiglass inside the tap room. Sun, 10/11, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, secrettrailbrewing.com

MON12 THE AUDACITY TO LIVE: In a personal essay, Alondra Adame discusses her experience as a daughter of immigrants, a queer woman of color and a first-generation college student. Part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Zoom ID: 994 2663 3440 Password: 222163 Mon, 10/12, 4pm. Online event, Chico State. csuchico.edu/diversity

WED14 CONNECTIVE POWER OF GARDENS IN THESE TIMES: A lecture by gardener, author and host of the public radio show Cultivating Place, Jennifer Jewell. Part of the Museum Without Walls series. Wed, 10/14, 7pm. Online event, Gateway Science Museum. csuchico.edu/gateway

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION: Artist and meditation teacher Ramekon will give lecture followed by 20-min. meditation session. Participants of all levels are welcome. Wed, 10/14, 10:30am. Online event, Museum of Northern California Art. monca.org

THU15 THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: See Thurs., 10/8. Thu, 10/14, 7:30pm. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico Theater Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

FRI16 THE BIDWELLS LIVESTREAM AT LAXSON: Chico Performances presents an intimate livestream concert from the stage of Laxson Auditorium at Chico State. Featuring interviews with the artists by CN&R arts editor Jason Cassidy. Fri, 10/16, 7pm. Pay what you can ($5 suggested minimum). Tickets for online event available at chicoperfor mances.com

THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: See Thurs., 10/8. Fri, 10/16, 7:30pm. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico Theater Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

AN EVENING WITH INSPIRE: Student performances, robotics and science demonstrations, a behindthe-scenes look at productions and events and more. S student-led event and pledge drive. Fri, 10/16, 7pm. Online event, Inspire School of Arts and Sciences. inspirechico.org

SAT17 THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE: See Thurs., 10/8. Sat, 10/17, 7:30pm. $10/person; $20/carload. Chico Theater Co., 166 Eaton Rd., 894-3282. chico theatercompany.com

SUN18 STEVEN SCHULTZ: The local singer/songwriter plays a blend of country, folk and pop. Reserve an outdoor table early on the event website. Sun, 10/18, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, secrettrailbrewing.com


So is the CN&R calendar! Submit virtual and real-world events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition, at chico.newsreview.com/calendar



Secret Trail Brewing Co.

CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Chico City Council meetings are open to both in-person and remote participation. Visit Engaged Chico website (chico-ca.granicusideas.com). Tue, 10/20, 6pm. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St.

WED21 RECONSTRUCTING THE GROWTH AND DESTRUCTION OF MT. YANA: A lecture by Rachel Teasdale, professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Chico State as part of the Museum Without Walls series. Wed, 10/21, 7pm. Online event, Gateway Science Museum. csuchico.edu/gateway

THU22 POSTCOMMODITY, A CONVERSATION: Artists Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist discuss their work as part of the Chico State Art Speaker series. Thu, 10/22, 5:30pm. Online event, Janet Turner Print Museum. csuchico.edu/turner/

SAMEERA IYENGAR TALK: Chico State’s Humanities Center presents “Of the People, By the People, For the People: Theatre, Community, Solidarity and Play,” a talk by the arts and theater advocate. Zoom meeting ID: 986 1982 0803 Passcode: 549197 Thu, 10/22, 5:30pm. Online event, Chico State Humanities Center. csuchico.zoom.us

WATERCOLOR PAINT NIGHT AT MONCA: A virtual fundraiser with artist/instructor Christine MacShane. Thu, 10/22, 6:30pm. $20. Online event, Museum of Northern California Art. monca.org


Garrett Gray

SAT24 ABANDON THEORY UNPLUGGED: Brunch and an acoustic show. Reservation only. Visit site to save your seat. Sat, 10/24, 11am. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com KIDS HALLOWEEN: Afternoon of pumpkin decorating and costume contests for kids. Sat, 10/24, 12pm. Chico Marketplace, 1950 E 20th St. chicomall.com

POINTS SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP: Season finale of the Nor Cal RC Monster Truck Showdown. Sat, 10/24, 11am. AMain RC Tracks, 101 Silver Dollar Way.

THE RETROTONES: Classic rock and country covers on the patio. Sat, 10/24, 7pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave.

SUN25 GARRETT GRAY: Reserve a table in advance to hear the local songwriter. Sun, 10/25, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, secrettrailbrewing.com

LATINX STATE The campus may be closed, but Chico State student organizations are still presenting events—remotely of course. Throughout October, the Chicano/Latino Council, Latinx Equity and Success, Office of Diversity and Inclusion and others are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of online presentations and talks. Events include an evening of poetry by Mexican-born poet Yosimar Reyes (Oct. 8), and “The Audacity to Live,” Chico State student Alondra Adame’s story of “surviving the brand of The American Dream” (Oct. 12). Visit the office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion online for more info: csuchico.edu/diversity

WED28 SLAMMING THE DOOR ON A PANDEMIC: A COVID-19 vaccine lecture by Troy Cline, Chico State Biological Sciences Dept. Museum Without Walls series. Wed, 10/28, 7pm. Online Event, Gateway Science Museum. csuchico.edu/gateway

FRI30 SOUL POSSE: Pre-Halloween full-moon party with the cover band on the patio. Food will be available. Fri, 10/30, 6pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave.

SAT31 TRICK OR TREAT AND BIKE SHOW: A family event for kids to trick or treat and for enthusiasts to check out some bikesy. Sat, 10/31, 1pm. Sierra Steel Harley-Davidson, 1501 Mangrove Ave.

OCTOBER 8, 2020





Oct Ober 8, 2020

Oct Ober 8, 2020




‘We are not one genre’

out c S and and b n l o ica es ers s p u i O n e l o r e s md e n t i t exp onal i s per

Ifresh-faced Parker for a new artist. At 26, the musician—who goes by t would be easy to mistake Scout

Scout on record and stage—looks even younger than that. Plus, the local singer/ songwriter’s fresh electronic/hip-hopinfluenced brand of indie-pop is more youthful and current sounding than probably any other music in town. Truth is, Scout has been a performing musician for more than a decade—starting with posting videos on YouTube as a young high-schooler and self-releasing album number one, Flowers, in 2013. Over the course of self-recording and playing every instrument on five albums and three singles, and posting more than 100 videos, Scout has evolved in both sound and person—with the music going from an acoustic guitar/ banjo-driven folk style by to an often beat-heavy Jason Cassidy electro-acoustic mashup, j aso nc @ while the person simulnewsrev iew.c om taneously went on an identity journey that led to transgender hormone Scout online: replacement therapy startscoutthewise. bandcamp.com ing in 2019. This most recent chapter in Scout’s life was chronicled on the album Transitioning, released on Bandcamp in April. In the online liner notes, Scout explains: “Here you can hear my voice shifting all the way from my first shot of testosterone (track No. 1) to the end of my first year (track No. 10).” Now, just a half-year later, that new, soulful, lower-register voice is put to work on a second full-length for 2020, Don’t Forget to End. In a recent online chat, the prolific local musician talked with the CN&R about the art of making music and the evolution of Scout. At the end of the lyric video on your YouTube channel for “Like I Love Me” (from Don’t Forget to End), when the song kicks back in after the break, you have such a look of joy on your face. Were you as happy as it looks in that moment? Yeah, I was feeling that song. The quarantine definitely pushed me to have to deal with feelings and emotions and fears. I’m just accepting how I’m actually



OCTOBER 8, 2020

Your last album had an obvious theme. With Don’t Forget the End, is there a common thread that runs through it? I wrote three of the songs not in lockdown, but the rest I did write quarantining. The tone of it is kind of like: letting go and creating. With this album, I was—through my sound—creating a message of: “Don’t be afraid to try things that might be considered new to other people. … Don’t be afraid to share yourself, wherever you are, with others and realize we are not one thing. We are not one genre.”

feeling and what I’m actually going through, and it’s just coming out in a more natural way. I wrote “Like I Love Me” a while ago, but it was kind of like the peak of “I’m just going to do me” and not care about what other people want from my performance or from my creations. It felt good to be like, “Hold up. I do love myself, I enjoy my company. Do you?” You have more than 5,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel. How long have you been posting videos? I’ve been on there since my freshman year in high school, maybe 8th grade? I’m surprised. It’s really cute. I definitely connect with the youth a lot— the transgender youth. It’s really exciting because people will comment: “I’ve been here since this video,” and it’s like a video from high school that I’ve forgotten about. It’s just such a nice experience that I’m so lucky to get to have—just getting to be there for people in a way that I have appreciated other artists being there for me. You play a lot of instruments—banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, electronic effects, sampler/ loops. How does that impact your music? Being able to play multiple instruments is lifesaving for me, and it always has been since I was a little kid. There’s a way to reach feelings through instruments that is just beyond anything I could figure out or discover [without]. It’s amazing to be able touch the feelings that you’re trying to express through sound. Humans are cool. I’m really impressed with our ability to create.


Is Scout your given name? No, I’m trans, so I got to choose the name Scout. Scout was actually my Shady Creek name, so it was my camp name. I went there in sixth grade, then I returned there for a few years in high school to be a counselor. I made a lot of friends who were into the same kind of things I was— sustainability, animals and not hurting the animals. I felt very at home when I was there, and everybody called me Scout. A few years later, my little sister went to camp and I got to go pick her up, and everyone remembered me and they were like, “Scout!” I was like, “Oh my god, this is beautiful.” Scout is my name. This is right. It’s not just a stage name, it is my name.

Does having a deeper voice now open up new things for you vocally? It has definitely opened up my mental capacity. I had to learn everything all over again because my voice completely lowered into a range that I’ve never been able to even talk in. At first, my voice was cracking, and when I’d try to sing certain notes, nothing would come out at all. I just would keep practicing the notes that I could do and polish them up a bit. It’s not even perfect right now. It’s definitely been a process to relearn how to sing when singing is something I’ve considered my whole life to be medicine. Through practicing and just patience, I’ve been able to do things that I couldn’t do before. And I feel like I’ve practiced more than I did before, in a way. Through intentional practicing, I think I’m a better singer than I was before. I’m also a better person than I was before because I have a lot less anxiety related to gender and just like my body in general. It’s cool to go through such a huge change within something that I felt entirely comfortable with and relied on; and to get to have a closer relationship with it through losing it for a moment is just so cool and unique. I feel very lucky to get to transition, and to be able to transition with music is a big deal, too. Ω

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Oct Ober 8, 2020




‘Drive-in’ theater

Chico Theater Co. is back with a fun parking-lot production

ATheater must go on,” in this case despite the pandemic, Chico Company (CTC) is mounting a live theater s if to confirm the old theater adage that “the show

event in—get this—its Eaton Road parking lot. The play is The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and it’s based on the Mark by Twain novel of the same name, as Robert Speer adapted by Ron Fitzgerald. CTC r ober ts peer@ is presenting it on a makeshift but newsrev iew.c om effective stage built against the back Review: of the theater, facing the back parkThe Diaries of ing lot. Attendees arrive in cars and Adam and Eve shows pickups, pull into their reserved spacThursday-Sunday, es and watch the play either from 7:30 p.m., through the comfort of their front seats or, in Oct. 17. Tickets: $10/person; the case of pickups, sitting on lawn $20/carload chairs in the truck beds. (limited space) There is even a concessions stand serving snacks, beer and wine. The Chico Theater Co. 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F arrangement gives new meaning to 894-3282 the phrase “drive-in theater.” chicotheatercompany.com Interviewed before a recent performance, Marc Edson, CTC’s founder and driving force (he directed this production), said going six months without doing live theater was painful for the members of his troupe. Mounting the play was difficult— among other obstacles, they had to get a use permit from the city—but well worth the effort, he said.

Twain published The Diaries of Adam and Eve in 1906, shortly after his much loved wife, Livy, passed away. As many critics have noted, it’s his most personal work, and also the most emotional. As John Updike wrote, “Adam and Eve … gave Twain a path into intimate feelings unapproached by the beguiling, brusquely fantastic, altogether masculine yarns that dominate his oeuvre.” As its title suggests, the novel is written in the form of diary entries, which cleverly allow the first couple to tell their stories separately, giving a he-said/shesaid structure to the tale. In adapting the novel to the stage, Fitzgerald largely merged the two diaries, transforming much of their content into dialogue so as to have both on the stage

It’s time to




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Ho spend w to a su Saturd nny ay PAGE



OCTOBER 8, 2020

During a dress rehearsal for The Diaries of Adam and Eve, the Snake (Jeff Dickinson) offers the forbidden fruit to Eve (Holly Quick). PHOTO BY RANDY ROSS

so many bad guys he’s the most entertaining figure on the stage. Here he’s played by veteran local actor Jeff Dickinson for laughs as much as nastiness. From the moment we meet him (he’s singing “Sympathy for the Devil” at the time), we’re drawn to his dangerous cheerfulness. Dickinson is terrific in this kind of role, and he lifts the production way up when he’s on stage. That’s not to say there’s something lacking in the performances of Holly Quick as Eve and Alex Limper as Adam. Far from it. But they’re the good guys, and goodness is never as fraught as evil. Ω

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much of the time. This is a love story, after all. It takes some time for that love to manifest, however. At first, Adam resents Eve’s sudden presence in his heretofore peaceful and quiet life alone. “It” talks too much, he says. And what’s with this constant naming of things? Adam, it turns out, is lazy and incurious, while Eve is enthusiastic in her appreciation of the wonderful world around them. Of course, we know how this story turns out, so the fun is in the getting there. That fun increases exponentially when the third character in the play, the Snake, enters the picture. He’s the requisite bad guy—the primordial bad guy, we might say—and like


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Oct Ober 8, 2020



ARTS DEVO by JASON CASSIDY • jasonc@newsreview.com

CHICO IS STILL THERE! With the lockdown-triggered closures of some of the cornerstones of

the local cultural scene—e.g., Blue Room Theatre, Blackbird—Arts DEVO worries about what Chico will look like at the end of the pandemic tunnel. I am heartened, however, by a couple of transformations that have taken place during COVID times and that two of my favorite local establishments—Winchester Goose and The Naked Lounge—are about to be reborn. Rob Rasner—one of the owners of the Goose when it was my neighborhood watering hole at Broadway and Eighth streets—and his elves have been busy turning the old Herreid Music spot up the block into version No. 2 of the craft-beer bar. No opening date has been set, but according to one of the elves, the remodel is almost finished. And the Naked Lounge? Dude. The game is about to be changed. I got a sneak peek inside a couple weeks ago, and I am here to report that the coffee shop has been turned into a legit live music venue. False ceilings, false walls and an entire false room (for real) have been ripped out to open up the back third or so of the space, and a stage—a real, large, permanent stage—has been built and will be outfitted with a sound system. There’s a full kitchen, a new bar and beautiful new floors in a room that looks to me like New Naked Lounge owners: (from left) one of the coolest small venues I’ve seen in Chico in Brandon Squyres, Sarah Schlobohm, Michael my 30-plus years here. Lee and Mahina Gannet. Oh, and the people who will be booking the music? PHOTO BY MICHELLE CAMY Mahina Gannett, who does the same for the Sierra Nevada Big Room, and man-of-many-hats Brandon Squyres, frontman for doom-masters Amarok (and before that Cold Blue Mountain and The Makai). So, to repeat myself: “legit live music venue.” The makeover is a collaboration of four new owners—Gannett, Sarah Schlobohm and Michael Lee (the three owners of Momona) and Squyres—who will keep the name and continue to operate the Naked Lounge as a cafe/funky downtown hangout spot during the day and—as soon as conditions allow—add the live music at night. With the remodel nearly complete, the new lounge opened for take-out drinks on Monday (Oct. 5) and will soon start offering limited seating—inside and in the just-approved parklet out front. It’s almost too depressing to think about how long it might be before the music plays, but right now I am going to take comfort in some of the first hopeful news I’ve heard in awhile. The future of Chico’s soul is in good hands.

THE SEA MONSTER LIVES Chico, your spirit animal

needs you. Christine “Sea Monster” Fulton and her dog, Python, escaped the flames of the North Complex Fire a few weeks ago, but their place in Feather Falls—and everything in and around it—did not. Sea Monster is among Arts DEVO’s all-time favorite humans and for the last 15 years has been one of the most adventurous and active artists in town. She is a friend and inspiration to multiple generations of Butte County freaks, fun-makers and other creative types. While Sea Monster is laying low and plotting her next moves (and, rumor has it, “working on sexy sad motivational wiener postcards”), her friends and family are reaching out to the community “to help reestablish her life—from art supplies and clothes to Sea Monster and Python. a new home and reliable vehicle.” If you got it to give, you can donate directly through Venmo (@semonstie) or PayPal (paypal.me/pools/c/8sKt0OP1xv), and you can send her a message of encouragement at seamonstie2020@gmail.com.



OCTOBER 8, 2020

Oct Ober 8, 2020




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Its uses are only limited by your imagination.



ARIES (March 21-April 19): “A person’s

best ally is someone who takes care of herself,” says actress Susan Clark. I heartily agree. The people with whom you can cultivate the most resilient bonds and most interesting synergy are those who have a high degree of self-sufficiency—those who take rigorous responsibility for themselves and treat themselves with tender compassion. In the coming weeks, I think it’s especially important for you to emphasize relationships with allies who fit that description. Bonus! Their exemplary self-care will influence you to vigorously attend to your own self-care.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): According

to my reading of the astrological potentials, the coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to take a vacation in reverse. What’s that? It’s when you devote yourself to renewing and reinvigorating your relationship with the work you love. You intensify your excitement for the vocation or job or long-term quest that teaches you important life lessons. You apply yourself with sublime enthusiasm to honing the discipline you need to fulfill the assignments you came to earth to accomplish.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “If you are

not having fun you are doing something wrong,” said comedian Groucho Marx. He was exaggerating so as to drive home his humorous point, but his idea contains some truth—and will be especially applicable to you in the immediate future. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you have a temporary exemption from feeling frantically dour and unpleasantly dutiful. As crazy as the world is right now, you have a cosmic mandate to enjoy more playtime and amusement than usual. The rest of us are depending on you to provide us with doses of casual cheer.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Leave the

door open for the unknown, the door into the dark,” writes Cancerian author Rebecca Solnit, adding, “That’s where the most important things come from.” I think this is good advice for you in the coming weeks. What exactly does it mean? How and why should you do what she advises? My first suggestion is to reframe your conception of the unknown and the dark. Imagine them as the source of everything new, as the place from which the future comes, as the origin of creative changes. Then instruct your imagination to be adventurous as it explores brewing possibilities in the dark and the unknown.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “If something comes

to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality,” wrote author Norman Cousins. Whether or not you believe the immortality part of his formulation, I’m sure you understand how fabulous it is when you help activate beauty and vitality in someone. You may even feel that inspiring people to unleash their dormant potential is one of the most noble pleasures possible. I bring these thoughts to your attention because I suspect that you now have exceptional power to perform services like these for your allies, friends and loved ones. I dare you to make it one of your top priorities.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “The messiah

will come when we don’t need him any more,” said author Franz Kafka. In that spirit, and in alignment with current astrological omens, I will tell you that the precise help you wish you could attract into your life will show up as soon as you make initial efforts to provide that help to yourself. Here are some additional nuances: The gift or blessing you think you need most will be offered to you by fate once you begin giving that gift or blessing to yourself. A rescuer will arrive not too long after you take steps to rescue yourself. You’ll finally figure out how to make practical use of a key lesson as you’re teaching that lesson to someone you care for.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran author

Ursula K. Le Guin said that we don’t just naturally know how to create our destinies.

BY ROB BREZSNY It takes research and hard work. “All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them,” she wrote. “We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people.” I bring this to your attention because the coming weeks will be an excellent time to upgrade and refine your mastery of these essential powers. What can you do to enhance your capacity to invent your life? Which teachers and information sources might be helpful?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In 1984,

hip hop group Run-DMC was the first to achieve a gold record in their genre, meaning they sold more than 500,000 albums. Their next album sold more than a million. They were pioneers. In 1986, legendary producer Rick Rubin encouraged them to do a remake of “Walk This Way,” a song by the rock band Aerosomith. The members of Run-DMC didn’t want to do it; they thought the tune was in a genre too unlike their own. But Rubin eventually convinced them, and the cross-pollination was phenomenally successful. The Run-DMCmeets-Aerosmith collaboration launched a new genre that sold very well. The song was later voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In this spirit, and in accordance with current cosmic rhythms, I urge you to try a bold hybrid or two yourself: blends of elements or influences that may seem a bit improbable. They could ultimately yield big dividends.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

You periodically go through phases when you specialize in stirring up fresh intuitions. I mean, you’re always one of the zodiac’s Intuition Champions, but during these special times, your flow becomes an overflow. You have a knack for seeking and finding visions of the interesting future; you get excited by possibilities that are on the frontiers of your confidence. From what I can tell, your life in recent weeks has been bringing you these delights—and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Take maximum advantage. Aggressively gather in the gifts being offered by your inner teacher.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

Calling on my expert knowledge of healing language and imaginative psychology, I have formulated a mantra for you to use in the next six weeks. I suggest you say it five times after you wake up, and again at midday, and before dinner and before sleep. It should help keep you intimately aligned with the dynamic groove that the cosmos will be conspiring to provide for you. For best results, picture yourself as glowing inside with the qualities named in the mantra. Here it is: StrongBrightFree ClearBoldBrisk DeepNimbleKind AdroitSteadyWarm.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The

Grammy Museum in Los Angeles features displays that extol the musicians who’ve won Grammy Awards over the years. A few years ago, a distinctly unfamous musician named Paz Dylan made professional-looking fake posters touting his own magnificent accomplishments and managed to sneakily hang them on the museum walls. They remained there for a month before anyone noticed. I’m going to encourage you to engage in similar gamesmanship in the coming weeks. It’ll be a favorable time to use ingenuity and unconventional approaches to boost your confidence and enhance your reputation.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Relation-

ships never stop being a work in progress,” writes author Nora Roberts. That’s bad news and good news. It’s bad news because even for the most loving bond, you must tirelessly persist in the challenging task of reinventing the ways the two of you fit together. It’s good news because few activities can make you more emotionally intelligent and soulfully wise than continually reinventing the ways the two of you fit together. I bring these thoughts to your attention because the coming weeks will be a fertile time for such daunting and rewarding work.

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Oct Ober 8, 2020