Between Melissa Holmberg’s challenge to Mayor Sean Morgan’s callous sentiments, Carol Eberling’s recollection of days gone by when the government supported impoverished citizens in need of housing assistance, and Professor Robert Jones’ unflinching criticism of a homeless demonization narrative popular in the community, the diversity of voices all spoke to the core beliefs of Chico Friends on the Street.
Read the article here. View the video of the above speakers—and more not mentioned in the article—here. For your viewing convenience, check out the timestamps for each speaker in our April 4 blog post.
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In her April 5 editorial, Chico News & Review editor Melissa Daugherty calls on Sean Morgan to account for cruel words he was quoted as saying in reference to homeless folks in Chico, as well as for the hostility he directed toward the cities of Redding and Oroville.
Kudos to the CN&R for holding our elected officials accountable. Read the editorial here.
On the April 3, 2018 meeting of the Chico City Council, supporters of the homeless community in Chico delivered remarks to advocate for resources for homeless citizens, and challenge the ongoing narrative demonizing the homeless and misconstruing the actions and intents of Chico Friends on the Street. (Comments begin at the 53:36 mark.)
Among the highlights of the nine addresses are the young women from Chico Country Day School recommending the provision of menstrual products in public bathrooms for homeless women, and the revelatory and courageous presentation by Melissa Holmberg exposing Mayor Sean Morgan’s derision for the poor and his contempt for the city of Oroville—neighbor to Chico, and the county seat of Butte County.
1. Dan Everhart — 53:36
2. Students from Chico Country Day School — 57:00
3. Linda Furr — 1:00:10
4. Carol Eberling — 1:03:45
5. Angela McLaughlin — 1:07:05
6. Robert Jones — 1:09:55
7. Melissa Holmberg — 1:12:39
8. Annie Chen — 1:15:25
9. Hilary Locke — 1:18:25
The following is an abbreviated version of a “public comment” I attempted to read at the Chico City Council Meeting on July 5. Being “off topic” and refusing to sit down, I was escorted from the council chambers. The video of the event is recorded below.
“Rather than proceed with further business, I hereby advise the Chico City Council to resign forthwith. This council is in breach of the U.S. Constitution, which you are sworn to uphold.
Among the many ways you, the Chico City Council, have criminalized the life sustaining actions of the homeless, you have criminalized the possession of clothing, blankets, tarps, food and medicines with draconian “storage” laws. This is a breach of the Fourth Amendment, prohibiting unreasonable seizure. You have further criminalized sleeping, which the U.S Justice Department has called a breach of the Eighth Amendment, prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishment.” And, in another breach of the Eighth Amendment, you have made the act of eliminating bodily waste a crime, while cruelly denying public restroom access. As you know, there are no 24 hour public restrooms in the City of Chico.
You have made public restroom access unavailable for eight hours of each day and you have made public urination and defecation a crime, for which a person may be arrested and held in Butte County Jail. This is the very definition of “criminalization.” A person must urinate and defecate in order to survive. And, since they will inevitably need to urinate or defecate during the eight hours in which you have removed restrooms from service, they must engage in criminal activity in order to survive.
Also, you have, through gross incompetence, created a “sanitation emergency,” in which urine and feces will unavoidably be deposited in and around the public space. You are thereby endangering the health of the public you are sworn to protect, when remediation is clearly available.
Again, in view of the above cited incompetence and ongoing violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, I advise you to resign forthwith.”