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Chico City Council holding special meeting Tuesday night

The Chico City Council is meeting Tuesday night to discuss a variety of topics including the recent heated protests at the needle distribution in Chico as well as options to help local restaurants.

Posted: May 26, 2020 7:31 PM
Updated: May 27, 2020 9:29 AM

CHICO, Calif. - The Chico City council is holding a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss a variety of topics.

Among the topics on the agenda are the recent heated protests that have been taking place at the state-approved needle distributions on Sundays in Chico. 

Letter from California Department of Public Health

Councilman Randall Stone says that the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition has reached out to the state for additional resources. The state has granted that request.

Last Sunday a protest escalated into heated arguments between people who are for and against the needle distribution program.

In a letter sent to Police Chief Michael O'Brien from the California Department of Public Health, it says that they have approved amendments to the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition to provide delivery-based syringe access and disposal services.

"Regardless of who is at fault, we know we have an escalating situation and it got so egregious and the state of California apparently took action before the city of Chico could even bring up the item to discuss tonight," said councilman Randall Stone.

Holly Charles Saeidani, from Chico, says,  "Some benefits of the program are that the more needles there are, the more likely they will shoot up with a clean needle, which is really sad but when there is someone struggling with addiction, that’s where they are at and we need to realize they are not going to stop struggling today, for us, to make us happy." 

Another man who wished to remain anonymous said he disagrees with the program, "Why would you want to give them free needles and provide them a safe place to do that? You need to provide them a safe space to get off of drugs so they don’t die and don’t get sick." 

The letter also says that the coalition will arrange home delivery of syringe access and disposal services and will provide services in private residences, tents, recreational vehicles, and other non-traditional forms of housing.

Action News Now has reached out to the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition who confirmed they have been approved for delivery services. 

Another topic that will be discussed at the meeting on Tuesday night is a proposal for restaurants that are reopening for dine-in.

The idea would be to close-off streets in downtown Chico to allow restaurants to expand their dining services and seat more people outside. 

Councilman Randall Stone says if the plan moves forward it would be up to the city staff to figure out the best way to implement the policy.

Upper Crust Owner, Jeff Plummer, told Action News Now he would be all for it. 

"I think seating people outside and separating them more is always a good thing," said Plummer. 

It would be up to restaurants to decide if they want to get on board with the idea. This is still just a proposal that the city will be further discussing. 

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