State rejects city’s dump plan: The state agency in charge of making sure Chico cleans up the old Humboldt Burn Dump has apparently rejected the city’s choice of action, saying in effect, “See ya in court.” Last month the City Council voted to go with a citizens’ committee recommendation to keep the cleanup to a minimum so as to not kick up a lot of lead-laden dust.
On Oct. 23, despite warnings from the Regional Water Quality Control Board that the state would probably not buy into the majority plan, the council voted 4-3 to go with it.
The council majority took a bit of a calculated risk with its decision to force the state’s hand and possibly end up in court. If that happens, there is a good chance insurance money will kick in to help defray the cost of cleanup, which is estimated at $7 million to $10 million. Opposition to the state’s preferred plan—gathering and capping all of the contaminated land into one big mother of a mound—stems from a range of concerns, from protecting the neighbors from breathing poison to rejection of building houses on the land. The council meets again Nov. 18 to discuss the matter in closed session.
Union suits: With relations between the Chico Unified School District and its teachers’ union more congenial of late, the newest members of the Board of Trustees are offering up some refreshing questions about union and district politics.
When the matter of disclosing the Chico Unified Teachers Association’s initial proposal came before the board on Nov. 5, Trustee Scott Huber had what he called a “dumb rookie question.” Why, he wondered, would the CUTA present such a vague opener—referring in general to class sizes, ratios and a variety of wage issues—intended for vetting at a public hearing. “It seems to me the public-comment session isn’t really worth much,” Huber said.
“Welcome to our world,” offered board President Rick Anderson.
Then Trustee Rick Rees did Huber one better, asking why all the negotiations have to take place in closed session anyway. “Millions of dollars gets haggled on behind closed doors.”
Uh, yeah. Bob Latchaw, the CUSD’s executive director of human resources, said that open bargaining could be done by mutual agreement, but the only case he’s heard of that in 20-some years was in Palo Alto.
Wang dang doodle: Despite fielding one or two complaints from offended males, the Associated Students Women’s Center’s “Penis Registry” program is supposed to be “a lighthearted and fun way to educate people about sexual assault,” said program assistant Laura Hahn.
The registry, part of the annual “Take Back the Night” event held Nov. 12 at the campus free speech area, is really more of a five-question quiz that tests men’s ideas of what defines sexual consent. Hahn said the idea was to raise awareness without bombarding people with statistics and added that the center has taken hundreds of calls from curious and for the most part supportive students and faculty members.
If a participant gets all five questions right, he is given a jokey license certifying that he is using his penis safely. The center will also tabulate the results of the surveys to test campus men’s attitudes about personal boundaries.