City council candidates converse on Chico concerns


Left to Right: Rich Ober, Alex Brown, Scott Huber, Jon Scott, Andrew Coolidge Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

A city council candidate Forum was hosted by Safe Place, a domestic support group and advocate for victims and survivors of sexual assault, at Congregation Beth Israel Monday evening. Out of nine candidates running for City Council on Nov. 6, five attended and came to speak on issues pertaining to social and fiscal problems in Chico.

When asked how they would handle families experiencing domestic violence:

Jon Scott took every opportunity to bring up what he sees as the elephant in the room, looming pension payment problems, Monday at Congregation Beth Israel during a forum on social and fiscal issues. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Jon Scott proposed to have a more encompassing domestic support shelter, and that people shouldn’t have to provide documents to get in. Also, he wants to educate the public that victims do have a way out.

Alex Brown brought up the idea of bringing in regulated cannabis to Chico as a way to grow funds for needed social programs Monday at Congregation Beth Israel during a forum on social and fiscal issues. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Alex Brown proposed expanding the definition of public safety to include issues like mental health, and partnering more with local groups like Catalyst Domestic Violence Support Services.


Rich Ober said groups like the TARGET team, which consists of an officer and someone trained in social work, and other programs in Chico already have many of the solutions, they just lack funding. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Rich Ober thinks that the solutions are already there through local services, but what we lack is supporting them financially and socially. He says we need to further fund groups like the TARGET team, and demand more de-escalation training for police officers.

Andrew Coolidge talked about the fact that no other communities of similar size in the state is as far from interstate access as Chico is, Monday, at Congregation Beth Israel during a forum on social and fiscal issues. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Andrew Coolidge says Chico PD exceeds normal training. That’s not to say it couldn’t be better though. He believes there is always room improvement, but that Chico PD is doing well with what they have. He has worked to help get the understaffed police department more officers under his watch as a city councilor.

Scott Huber said he hopes to see body-cams on all police officers, and to get them patrolling on foot as a way to make them seem less intimidating, and more interactive with the community, Monday, at Congregation Beth Israel during a forum on social and fiscal issues. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Scott Huber said that, while it isn’t his expertise, he feels there is a complete lack of honor for victims in this community. He believes it would go a long way to reach out to more people and help them understand that if you are a victim of domestic violence it is never your fault.

When asked what could encourage more big jobs to come to Chico:

Jon Scott proposed the possibility of turning Chico State into a polytechnic school to have graduates with skills that apply in today’s world. Have the students save Chico.

Alex Brown suggested opening up to new businesses like cannabis, and to invest further in academic development, and development of the arts.

Rich Ober believes we need to learn from our competition in Sacramento and the Bay Area when it comes to attracting big name job producers, and see what worked and didn’t work, then apply what would best fit Chico.

Andrew Coolidge says we need a new economic development director. Chico is the largest town in the country not connected to interstate highway and that needs to change. We need a four lane road connection to I-5 he says, then possibly bring back air travel.

Scott Huber proposes solving our homeless problem first and to make more affordable housing an option. Investing in park services and public art were also suggested.

Ricardo Tovar and Josh Cozine can be reached at or @rtovarg13 and @joshcozine on Twitter