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Community members voice concerns at Chico City Council Meeting

Hundreds of community members in Chico voiced their concerns about public safety during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 12:04 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2020 8:25 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Hundreds of community members gathered outside the Chico City Council ahead of Tuesday night's meeting for a protest, and counter-protest, regarding various controversial topics in the city, including the Needle Distribution Program and Sit-Lie ordinance. 

Outside the Council Chambers, they chanted and sounded off, demanding city leaders do more to restore safety.
they fear rescinding the Sit-Lie ordinance is taking the city in the wrong direction.

Viewer submitted photo credit: David Hootman

Many said they are concerned the recently established Needle Distribution Program is doing much more harm than good.

There were also a number of counter-protestors tonight, who support the Needle Distribution Program because they say it reduces the spread of diseases. 

As the city council meeting got underway, many made their way inside to tell council members directly how they felt. 

One of several hot-button items on tonight's Chico City Council agenda was a proposal by Vice Mayor Alex brown, and Mayor Randall Stone to rescind the city's Sit-Lie ordinance.

The Sit-Lie ordinance makes illegal to stop and rest on a city sidewalk.

Police Chief Michael O'Brien confirmed Tuesday night that in fact, in the year 2019, no citations were issued for violations.

Instead, officers simply ask violators to move along, which they then do.

However, homeless advocates say it's unfair and inhumane and want the ordinance rescinded.

Meanwhile, downtown business owners say removing Sit-Lie would be unfair to them.

A motion by Vice Mayor Alex Brown to immediately rescind the ordinance failed by a vote of 3 to 4. 

Instead, the council agreed to postpone a decision in order to consider modifying the ordinance to eliminate financial penalties and to pursue possibly having social workers assist police officers.

No date has been set to take up the discussion.

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