City Council election update, death by cops, and Ryan Adams

Each week, I toil over what to write about in this space. Invariably, I have to leave out news I’d like to share. So, this week, I’m writing snippets of a few things. I don’t have enough space in these 500 words to flesh everything out, but at least you’ll get the gist.

Election update. I was disappointed this week to hear that former City Council candidate Dave Kelley won’t give it another go this November (see Letters, page 6). Kelley’s a moderate who spent eight years on the Planning Commission. He had more civic experience than the three newcomers who gained seats in 2012—Randall Stone, Sean Morgan and Tami Ritter. But, in Chico, it’s tough to get elected to the “nonpartisan” council without falling into either a progressive or conservative camp.

Speaking of candidates, a woman named Forough Molina has pulled papers. According to City Clerk Debbie Presson, Molina is a teacher in Oroville who’s on the board of directors of Chico Velo.

Death by cop. The other day I watched that video of New York City cops choking—and ultimately killing—a man for illegally selling individual cigarettes. That man, 43-year-old Eric Garner, was dismissive of the officers who confronted him. But he definitely wasn’t violent. As he’s put in a chokehold and his face pushed into a sidewalk, Garner cries out that he cannot breathe. He wasn’t lying. His death leaves six children fatherless.

Closer to home, an Orland man died last Sunday (July 27)—a week after an altercation with Redding police officers. Details on 33-year-old Matthew Robinson’s death are sketchy right now. What we know is that he was a mental health patient being transported from Chico to a psychiatric facility in Redding. Something happened en route, Redding police were called, and Robinson ended up in critical condition at Mercy Medical Center, where he later died.

Given the circumstances, we also know that Robinson most certainly was unarmed and needed help. It’s unclear if he was put in a chokehold, but photos of Robinson in a hospital bed reveal trauma to his face.

Robinson’s online profiles show that he graduated from Chico State a decade ago with an economics degree. On Facebook, he’s pictured smiling in cap and gown, and playing his guitar. According to LinkedIn, he was most recently unemployed and volunteered at an Orland-based animal shelter walking dogs and socializing cats. One of his interests noted on the site includes civil rights. I’m wondering if his were violated.

Rock ’n’ roll. On a much lighter note, my Ryan Adams Google Alert has been blowing up lately, since news broke that my favorite singer-songwriter is back on tour in support of an eponymous new record. Yes, I’ve had that Google Alert set up for eight or so years, along with a few others. Adams is playing in Portland and Santa Barbara in early October, and there happen to be three days between those gigs. Fingers crossed he plays a show in the Bay Area or Sacramento. If only we could get him to Chico—best show of the year, guaranteed. Local bookers, are you listening?