Money talks

CN&R kicks in $5,000 for its nonprofit effort, and the unsustainable cops’ contract is up for a vote

I may have gotten a little overzealous last week when I announced that the CN&R has launched a nonprofit arm in collaboration with the North Valley Community Foundation to fund local investigative reporting. My entire column was dedicated to explaining what the Chico News & Review Foundation is all about. I also took to the neighboring editorial space to convey the concept and to let readers know how they could contribute to the cause.

But this is a big deal. I was excited. So sue me.

I mean, how many other local media are doing anything this groundbreaking? None. And our communities need it. We need someone looking closer at public officials and the policy they set. We need someone finding the conflicts of interest and cronyism occurring in our backyard. We need a person going beyond the surface level on the societal issues plaguing our neighborhoods.

It took more words than I thought to relay how completely awesome the initiative stands to be once the community has a full-time watchdog sniffing around the local public sector—municipalities, county government, institutions of education, both higher and K-12.

A lot of folks understand this, and we’re already getting support for the project. But this is an ambitious one, and it’s going to take many months of me convincing you, dear readers, to turn out your pockets. The CN&R is serious about making this vision a reality, which is why we are kicking in some serious cash to get things started. Every time the Chico News & Review Foundation takes in a donation, the company will match it for up to $5,000. For more info about the foundation, or to make a contribution, go to

My thanks to those who’ve already donated to this cause. We won’t let you down.

Speaking of big money, on the evening of April 7 the Chico City Council is going to vote on the long-awaited contract with the Chico Police Officers’ Association, the city’s most powerful employee union.

If you go to a single meeting this year, this is the one to attend. There, you’ll see a gallery filled with “blue shirts,” local cops who will attempt to be an imposing force. It would be nice to see the chambers full of people who pay their salaries, especially those who voted in a conservative majority, representatives who have claimed they have the stuff it takes to make the tough decisions that will solve the city’s financial troubles.

But the pending contract with the CPOA most certainly is an obstacle to that.

The plan is actually going to cost the city an additional $1.5 million over the life of the contract. You read that correctly. A municipality that’s still millions in the red just came to a “tentative agreement” that includes yearly raises that will further strain city coffers. The City Council knows this. I’m looking forward to hearing the spin from the dais of those who vote in favor of this irresponsible and unsustainable contract. You should go, too, and watch them squirm.