Old Slavey?

The days of the student-led protest may have waned in the early 1970s, but Chico high school and college students formed an exception Dec. 1, as they lined the sidewalk in front of the Old Navy parking lot on Forest Avenue.

They were taking part in a “National Day of Action” against Gap Inc. that was organized by the Greenwood Watershed Alliance. The activists are concerned about “sweatshop” labor in developing countries and to what degree members of the Fisher family, which founded the chain in 1969, have a stake in forestry practices in Mendocino County that include clear-cutting and toxic chemicals.

Struggling with the Saturday wind and rain against her carefully lettered cardboard sign, Chico High School senior Kylie Mendonca said the students’ goal was to raise awareness and discourage people from shopping at The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic because “the only thing [Gap investors] are worried about is money.”

“It’s hard to preach at kids,” she acknowledged, so “we tell people who we think would want to know.”

On its corporate Web site, Gap Inc. says the boycott is off-base, as the founders’ son, John Fisher, is not a Gap employee and is the only family member “who has operational involvement with” the logging arm.

But in reality, as recounted in a Wall Street Journal article, it was founders Donald and Doris Fisher who paid $230 million to bring the 350 square miles of forest into the family’s portfolio. At any rate, the statement contends, Mendocino Redwood Company is committed to environmentally sound forestry practices.

Pictured here are, from left: Zeke Rogers, a recording arts junior at Chico State; Micah Warren, who attends Butte College; and Sophia Smallhouse, a sophomore at Chico High School.

Early on in the protest, a Chico police officer stopped by and chatted cordially with the students. “We heard you were out here but we wanted to figure out why,” said the officer, who got a quick lesson in child labor issues.

Laid off? Here’s your new job

With the economy the way it’s looking, it might be time to pack it in and go out for one of those gover-mint jobs. I hear the benefits are great and it’s really hard to get fired.

The News & Review got a press release last week from the IRS, relating that, “for the first time since 1995, the Internal Revenue Service will be hiring as many as 8,000 employees nationwide.” The agency’s workforce has shrunk 31 percent, and folks are retiring. All you need is “three years of general experience” or some college credits—presumably in accounting, from the way the thing reads.

Northern California Recruiter Paula Schnur stated, "For a career that offers stability, great training and advancement opportunities and outstanding benefits, the IRS might be right for you, right now."