Totally angular

There is a parking change coming to the heart of downtown Chico. Really. Look for the now-parallel parking spots along Main and Broadway next to the Downtown Plaza Park, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to be converted to back-in angular parking. The angular parking set-up will put the squeeze on the existing three lanes that carry vehicles up and down the main transportation arteries of the downtown. But the lane squeeze—hardly noticeable, a city official told me—normally means the creation of more parking spaces. Good thing with the downtown parking shortage, eh? Well, yeah, but in this case the change translates to a net loss of one space. That’s because the park revamp includes bulbing the sidewalk at the intersections to match those at Third and Second streets where they cross Main and Broadway. It’s kind of cute. Combine that with some mid-block planters and you end up one parking spot less than you began with. The alignment changes should begin in November and work on three of the streets will be performed in the evenings so that during the daytime, parking is still available. The work along Fourth Street calls for the closing of one lane. How about this: Let’s build a multi-story parking structure on this block. The park can sit on the ground floor. This could be easily done now that most of the trees are gone.

Speaking of parking, there a fund-raiser scheduled to help defray the costs incurred by the Friends of the Downtown when they gathered signatures for a referendum to overturn the City Council’s vote to extend parking meter hours. The real fight, of course, is to stop the city from building a parking structure at Second and Wall streets. If interested in such matters, come to the Chico Women’s Club at 592 E. Third St. on Friday Sept. 6, where there will be a silent auction and food and information booths. Organizers are asking for a $15 donation at the door. Kids 10 years and younger get in for free.

Here’s a sensitive subject that I’d probably be well-advised to avoid. But seeing as how I seldom heed the advice tossed my way, here goes: We were sharply criticized last Friday by no less than five grownups who said that we displayed a gross lack of sensitivity by printing a photo of high school students heading to lunch in connection to a story about the growing issue of obesity-related health problems. We altered the photo, but failed, apparently, to adequately disguise the girls in the foreground. We learned that they were pretty upset when some of their friends identified them—the last thing we wanted to do to these girls. The five adults who contacted us were upset as well, though to varying degrees. Some were sad, some angry, some apoplectic. But here is the message that came through, at least from two of the adults: our biggest mistake was not our perceived insensitivity, but rather that we’d picked the wrong teens to photograph because they have connections in this community. Oh boy, now you’ve stepped in it, they seemed to be saying. We heard from one of those connections, and he was perfectly reasonable, just disappointed. The weekend came and went and we heard nothing more from the other connection. To the girls we issue a big apology. But here is a bit of advice of my own. They say that kids your age can be ruthless and mean. Guess what? We never grow out of it; we just learn to disguise it so it’s more socially acceptable.

Then there is this, sent our way via the magic of electronic mail: “My name is Laurie Gardner, I work for Home Health Care Management, Inc. We have a HIV/AIDs program. We work in conjunction with Caring Choices, a local nonprofit agency. We have a food closet and are in desperate need at this time. We can use any non-perishable food items for our low-income HIV/AIDs clients. Donations can be dropped off at Home Health Care Management, Inc. 1398 Ridgewood Dr. or can be picked up by calling Laurie Gardner, at 343-0727. Thank you for your time.”.”