Chico City council candidates speak on local issues at open forum


Alex Grant

Andrew Coolidge (right) listens to fellow city council candidate Scott Huber (left) as Huber gives his final statement.

The Chico Chamber of Commerce offered voters free coffee, Wednesday, and the opportunity to hear candidates speak on important issues facing voters in the upcoming election at the Chico Area Recreation and Development Community Center.

The event was open to the public, but due to limited space attendees were required to RSVP. Candidates Alex Brown, Andrew Coolidge, Matt Gallaway, Scott Huber, Rich Ober, Ken Rensink, Kasey Reynolds and Jon Scott were present to discuss the upcoming election and the continued success of Chico.

Chico voters packed the Chico Area Recreation and Development Community Center Wednesday to hear from eight city council candidates on why they’re qualified to serve the Chico community. Photo credit: Alex Grant

While the audience sat and sipped on coffee, Moderator Katie Simmons asked candidates a series of four questions broken up by brief polls.

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Moderator Katie Simmons tells the audience which question the panel is moving to next. Each candidate answered the same four questions before issuing final statements. Photo credit: Alex Grant

The first question addressed a possible Emergency Shelter Declaration in order to address the issue of housing. Though some candidates were in support of such an emergency declaration, other candidates questioned whether the city could afford such a measure, or if it was even necessary.

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City Council Candidate Rich Ober explains what he hopes to accomplish if elected to the city council. Photo credit: Alex Grant

The next issue concerned the outsourcing of city functions such as park and fire services. Once again, there were concerns raised regarding funding such services, though most candidates were in favor of the city exploring these options to see if it could save money.

Candidate Kasey Reynolds(left) explains how her running her local family business, Shubert’s, has prepared her to serve as a Chico city council member. Photo credit: Alex Grant

Next, candidates were asked how they would promote home ownership for those just starting their careers in Chico. Finally, candidates were asked what they would do to improve Bidwell Park.

Jon Scott(right) addresses the audience during his final statement as candidate Ken Rensink(left) listens. Photo credit: Alex Grant

This candidate forum follows Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that many candidates attended to address similar issues before concerned voters and the current city council.

Candidates Andrew Coolidge (left), Alex Brown (middle) and Matt Gallaway (right) wait for their turn to speak during Wednesday’s public city council forum. Photo credit: Alex Grant

The Chico Chamber Young Professionals will be hosting a City Council Candidate Mixer, on October 17 at Red Tavern off of Esplanade. At this mixer voters will have the chance to engage with the candidates and discuss issues that matter to them in a more informal setting. All members of the Chico community are invited to attend the free event but spacing will again be limited. RSVP through email at [email protected].

To see the candidates’ answers on specific issues, check early next week for our video coverage of the event.

Daniel Christian can be reached at [email protected] or @DanoftheOrion on Twitter.