Libraries go for broke: The Butte County Board of Supervisors dealt a surprise blow to the Library Advisory Committee when Oroville Supervisor Bill Connelly reversed himself and voted against placing a one-eighth cent sales tax increase on the June ballot that, if approved by two-thirds of voters, would have raised $3.2 million toward funding service upgrades at Butte County libraries.
Connelly had in the past signaled his support for letting voters decide whether to tax themselves to pay for newer books, more computers and longer hours of operation in the county’s libraries. But he changed his mind Tuesday, saying that the county’s financial situation seemed to be improving and he hoped funds for libraries could be found elsewhere. He joined anti-tax stalwarts Kim Yamaguchi and Curt Josiassen in voting down the proposal, which would have included a seven-year sunset clause.
Committee member Fred Davis said he was “extremely disappointed” in the decision, and noted that the committee would have to go back before the board soon to try and find another way of funding library operations. In the five years since the Chico branch started staying open an extra 25 hours a week, usage has increased there by 62 percent. General circulation is also increasing at all five branches.
Vote by mail or not at all: County Registrar Candace Grubbs told the supes Tuesday that competing federal and state voting requirements had put her office in a near-hopeless situation.
With the state government having decertified most of the voting machines used in California—including those the county has used for the past 13 years—and the federal government having mandated that all polling stations be made accessible to the disabled by the next election, Grubbs said planning for the June 6 election was “in limbo.”
“It’s not that we’re behind … it’s that we can’t get there from here. All these [voting machines] have been certified nationally but not here in California,” she said.
The board took Grubbs’ suggestion to urge state legislators to pass a bill, AB 707, allowing for an all-mail ballot this June, a stop-gap solution that Grubbs admitted would not solve the problem, but could buy some time to prepare for the November ballot.
Doctor-killing stops a beating heart: District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office was flooded with calls last week from pro-choice advocates urging him to file charges against an abortion protestor who allegedly threatened a doctor outside the Women’s Health Specialists clinic on Humboldt Road.
According to a letter sent to clinic supporters, abortion protestor James Canfield told a clinic physician, “Doctor, you are a murderer and you will be shot for it.” The letter, which urges readers to call for Canfield’s prosecution under federal law, goes on to say that Canfield has been protesting the clinic for five years and has “become increasingly more aggressive” toward clinic workers and clients.
Ramsey said Chico police were still trying to determine what happened. Canfield reportedly denies threatening the doctor, and the only other witness is a fellow protestor.