Destroying a neighborhood

A pyschologist for a foster family organization and resident of the Vecino neighborhood

I refer to the City Council meeting of Jan. 8, 2002, at which a pre-zone of the Vecino neighborhood (from Mangrove to Esplanade, 10th Avenue to First Avenue) from R2 to R1 was discussed and voted on; and, specifically, the issue of Bill and Judy Casey, who have recently bought a property for the purpose of building a four-plex of rental units in the middle of our sedate residential block on Laburnum Avenue.

Mr. Casey doesn’t want to live here. He wants to make money in our neighborhood while degrading its quality, lowering our property values, bringing noise and traffic to our quiet block, and forever changing its character. The residents’ rights were not protected nor respected by our City Council. A mockery of justice was perpetrated.

Councilman Rick Keene spoke of Mr. Casey’s right to make a profit on his investment. What about our investments? Public discussion pointed out that Mr. Casey could sell his property at this moment and still make money. He has divided the property, leaving a single-family home on the corner. Additionally, he has the money from three beautiful 100-year-old walnut trees that he immediately cut down and sold upon purchase, even the stumps. None of this seems to matter to Messrs. Keene, Herbert, Wahl and Nguyen-Tan, who voted for the proposed four-plex.

The Hignell and Hignell property and the Anderson property nearby were brought into the discussion. Both these properties are particularly attractive. Mr. Keene moved that these two properties of many years’ existence also be zoned R2 to make the three properties appear similar in circumstance. There is no similarity of circumstance.

I believe Mr. Keene assumes that, because he is clever, no one will notice what he is doing. Unfortunately, I have seen him get away with this on another issue. I refer to the property improvement removals along Lindo Channel. The persons who complained got what they wanted (to keep their improvements intact), while the dozens of good citizens who abided by the City Council’s decision of removal were ignored.

Those who whine and have friends on the City Council can get what they want, while other good citizens are ignored or dismissed. This, in my opinion, should bring a referendum for recall of these “men.” Chico needs officials with higher ethics and greater insight in how to run a city.

The two women, Coleen Jarvis and Maureen Kirk, are the starkly contrasted voices of reasonable observation and inquiry. I feel these women are shabbily treated, with condescension and general bad manners.

Finally, I would like to call attention to the performance of our mayor. Mr. Herbert’s long tirade about his $16,000 of developer’s fees was an embarrassing, if comical, display of immaturity. He wants all of us to pay the fees for new streets that he is creating. He claims he shouldn’t have to pay since he is a longtime resident of the city. Oh? If not he, then who? Is he special?