What District Are You In? City Council Elections Right Around the Corner


City of Chico

Odd-numbered districts in Chico will be up for election on Nov. 3.

The first Chico City Council general municipal election since the introduction of a new district map is set for Nov. 3. 

The approved map branched Chico into seven districts. District 4, which contains communities closest to Chico State, will not be voting for a representative this November. However, neighboring District 3 and District 5, will have the opportunity to vote for their new representative.

The candidates running for District 3 include the current Chico Mayor Ann Scwhab, Steven Breedlove and Kami Denlay. 

Schwab is running for re-election on a platform to ensure well-paying jobs, improve Chico’s infrastructure, unite the Chico community and address homelessness. 

“We have seen an impact of those experiencing homelessness moving in our creeks and parks and that creates fire danger, particularly in the Lindo Channel area and the area close to upper park,” Schwab said.

Breedlove, similarly, emphasizes homelessness as a top campaign issue. He is running on a platform seeking to further Chico’s efforts toward a more sustainable and equitable future. 

“We need sanctioned campings, to get unhoused folks out of the creeks … my whole campaign is based on the concept of housing as a human right and that everybody deserves a basic standard of living and dignity,” Breedlove said. 

Breedlove said he stands out because of his life experience, analytical skills, and the motivation behind his campaign. 

“I’m not doing this for me. … I’m passionate about making a world where everyone has their basic needs met and with dignity, and that is not being communicated by either other candidate,” Breedlove said. 

Breedlove points to his life experience, both as a student and as a veteran. He has always felt connected to Chico and wants to make the city the best it can be. 

“I graduated from Chico State … right before Lehman Brothers collapsed,” Beedlove said. “My adult life was defined and ultimately driven and shaped by the financial crisis in 2008 … I’ve traveled pretty extensively abroad and in the United States, and came back here to raise a family because I love Chico,” Breedlove said.

Schwab says she stands out because of her knowledge, leadership and experience, both as a city council member and as a long-time member of Chico’s community. 

“I was on the council … during the recession and made some very difficult choices to reduce spending and saved the city from bankruptcy. We have an unsure economic time ahead of us, and … I have the experience to address the city’s budget. I know this community,” Schwab said.

Schwab emphasized that as a downtown business owner and city council member, she has built valuable relationships with the people of Chico and remains deeply connected to the city. 

“My long-standing, unwavering commitment to Chico, my ability to build relationships, work across the aisle and look for solutions instead of creating ideological boundaries, will move Chico forward,” Schwab said.

Denlay, who could not be interviewed by press time, is running on a platform focused on neighborhood safety and addressing the impacts of homelessness. 

Denlay’s campaign goals emphasize working with community stakeholders, business leaders and nonprofits while increasing transparency in city government and reforming failed programs.

In particular, Denlay hopes to increase Chico Police Department personnel.

Candidates running for the District 5 seat include Randall Stone, Lauren Kohler and Andrew Coolidge.

Kohler, the newest face in the district race, comes from Butte County Department of Behavioral Health and Project Roomkey.

“Overall, I am the youngest person running,” Kohler said. “I haven’t ran a campaign before, but so far it’s been really gratifying.”

Kohler explained that she felt the calling to run for city council following discussions on renter protections that hit the council last summer. Kohler alleged that the council had primarily sought out those who owned property with an unequal representation of renters. 

“Young people are either used as a pawn to push policy or are blamed from problems — specifically Chico State students,” Kohler said. “Chico state really helps our economy but students aren’t necessarily viewed as part of the community … I represent the young people and we don’t see enough representation from people like that.”

Coolidge announced his bid in the campaign after losing reelection in 2018. Coolidge sat on council from 2014-2018 and served on several committees and boards in both the city and county.

“When I finished in 2018 I didn’t think I’d come back to the council or run again,” Coolidge said. “I kind of figured I was done. When I saw that the city was divided into districts and who moved into my district to run for re-election I went, ‘Somebody’s got to step forward.’ And I think I’m probably one of the best people.” 

Coolidge mentioned that he had pushed for new districts when he had previously served on the council previously to allow for proper representation of minorities.

“When I ran for council, there would be 10 people running for a race and you’d have to pick three or four for that specific year, and you didn’t really get to compare ideas,” Coolidge said. “It was kind of like a beauty pageant.” 

Coolidge also mentioned emphasizing city projects such as safer bike paths and better street lighting.

“Look for who would be better off running a city with a $100 million budget and can make sure that what has been plaguing our student population will come to an end … don’t paint everybody with a broad brush of what’s happening nationally,” Coolidge said. “One person might lean a different way on a local level than a national level.” 

Randall Stone is running for re-election after previously serving as mayor of Chico and sitting on the council for eight years.

“I’m experienced in housing and housing affordability which is one thing that’s crippling our community,” said Stone. “My advocacy at the state level is in there and I was part of the committee that generated $250 million for affordable housing throughout the state of California.”

Stone mentioned that crime in the district has seen a decrease and credits the community for the decline.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done. Some of the largest environmental polluters in the city are located in District 5 so there’s something we want to keep track of,” Stone said. “The reason why I’m running again is to navigate us through this incredibly challenging fiscal time.”

City council seats for the seven district representatives are up for election every two years, alternating between even and odd districts. The odd-numbered districts will be voting this November; the even-numbered districts will be voting in 2022.