Being wrong can be such a happy experience
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|Being wrong can be such a happy experience |[pic] |
|By ROGER AYLWORTH | |
|There are times when I am truly grateful to be wrong, and this past Thursday night was a case in point. |[pic] |
|Like everybody who has lived in this area more than three weeks, I know that for Chico, Halloween can be a four-letter |[pic] |
|word. | |
|What should be a celebration of humor, creativity and youthful good times all too often has dissolved into an |[pic] |
|alcohol-lubricated orgy of group stupidity that sent dozens to jail, threatened the health and safety of untold numbers,|[pic] |
|and left law enforcement, university officials and civic leaders all shaking their heads in dismay and disgust. |[pic] |
|It seemed like every year a relatively small fraction of the crowd on the streets was hell-bent on proving the few could|[pic] |
|ruin just about anything for the many. | |
|Then this year at the direction of the City Council, the Police Department instigated a serious get-tough policy, with | |
|the avowed intention of shutting down the party with an iron fist, if need be. | |
|I was a whole lot less than unimpressed with the police and city's announced approach. A collection of ads, both print | |
|and broadcast, prepared by the city to discourage people - read that college age individuals - from inviting their | |
|friends to town or even going into the downtown for that matter, seemed unnecessarily heavy-handed. | |
|The ads emphasized the planned massive police presence. They talked about drunken driver checkpoints that were | |
|specifically designed to inconvenience and delay any motorist foolish enough to head into the downtown, and they made it| |
|clear jail cells awaited anybody who wanted to step out of line. | |
|Perhaps because I come from the point of view of a guy who grew up in the turmoil of the 1960s, this whole approach | |
|looked like the authorities were scratching a line in the dust and daring the youth, not just of Chico but of the whole | |
|state, to step over it. | |
|With seven widgets, six of them sons, I was pretty well convinced daring a kid to do a stupid thing was all but a | |
|guarantee of pending stupidity in progress. | |
|I told everybody who would listen, and probably a bunch of people who would rather not, that I was truly afraid that | |
|Halloween 2002 was doomed to be the worst kind of confrontation. | |
|Thank heaven I was utterly wrong. | |
|Oh, there were a lot of problems. There were arrests and there was some street violence, but in terms of the massive | |
|eruption of alcohol-induced mayhem that I had expected, things were reasonably quiet. | |
|The enormous crowds of previous years were sharply reduced. The peace officers, who were indeed omnipresent, were firm, | |
|but more friendly than confrontational. | |
|Those revelers on the street, even those with more than their full fair share of booze onboard, were often heard | |
|thanking the cops and citizen volunteers for trying to keep everybody safe. | |
|Did everything go off without a glitch? Of course not. The unpredictable nature of human behavior makes that all but | |
|impossible, but the bottom line is the plan worked. | |
|People who were looking for trouble didn't find it, at least not very much of it. The people who wanted to walk around | |
|and look at each other could, under the watchful and protective eyes of what seemed like some flavor of police officer | |
|every 25 feet. | |
|My fears proved groundless. Nobody, at least no groups of people, stepped over that line in the dust. | |
|Does it mean there will be no problems in the future? Nobody would be foolish enough to guarantee that. I mean, Lassen | |
|Peak could erupt again, too, but it means Halloween 2002 wasn't a disaster, and that's worth something all by itself. | |
|Roger H. Aylworth is a staff writer with the Chico Enterprise-Record. His column appears every Sunday and he can be | |
|reached at raylworth@. | |
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2002 Chico Enterprise Record
City's strategy works perfectly on Halloween
By DAVID LITTLE
Four young men who had driven three hours from Vallejo sat on the steps on the Chico City Council Chambers on Halloween night, looking forlorn.
"What's the big fuss about Halloween in Chico?" one of them asked me, genuinely concerned. "This is boring. There are more cops than people."
The four guys were from four different states and attended Cal Maritime Academy. They appeared straight-laced and sober. They weren't even in costume, just four college students in search of fun. They wouldn't find it here.
I can't see those guys coming back next year, nor will they recommend Chico to their friends at Cal Maritime.
In other words, the Chico City Council's strategy worked to perfection.
Halloween was no longer a party. It was a hassle. You couldn't spit on the sidewalk without three officers watching you do it. You definitely couldn't sip a drink.
You couldn't find a place to park. You had to pass through drunken driving checkpoints all over town. The fraternities and sororities vigilantly kept out uninvited guests. Bars stopped letting people in the door well before closing time.
For most local folks, none of this was a huge inconvenience. They knew what was coming. Many of them enjoyed their parties at home with friends early in the evening, then walked downtown about 10 or 11 p.m. to see what was happening. The answer? Not much.
I was standing on the corner of Fifth and Main most of the evening, one of more than 100 volunteers just trying to keep the intersections and crosswalks safe.
The most-repeated thought from the people in costume was, "Where are all the people?"
Many people I talked to said it was boring downtown, and I had to agree. Which was fine with me. I didn't feel like getting caught in the middle of an angry bunch of people upset at the cops for ruining their fun. Thankfully, people didn't seem hostile toward the officers. And they were downright effusive in their praise toward the volunteers.
Two couples walked up to me and saw my orange vest that identified me as a volunteer. "Are you a volunteer?" one of the young women said. "Volunteers rock. Here, have a sucker."
Those types of comments were common. I didn't hear one negative comment aimed at a volunteer. The revelers realized we were there to help keep them safe and warn them about all of the things they could get in trouble for.
Standing on that corner for three hours, from 9 p.m. until midnight, I didn't see one person get ticketed. I didn't see anybody arrested. I didn't see one fight. I didn't see anybody passed out, throwing up or peeing on a building.
It wasn't like that last year, so it's a step in the right direction. Visitors from out of town won't return to a city with mounted police and helicopters with spotlights flying overhead.
And then, once the unwanted guests and unwanted crime leaves, Chico people can reclaim their party.
David Little is editor of the Enterprise-Record. His column appears each Sunday. He can be reached at dlittle@ or 896-7793.
Halloween 2002 just another Thursday night
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
After all the preparations and predictions of riots in the streets, Halloween 2002 was "like a normal Thursday night."
Both the Chico police and Enloe Medical Center were pleased with how the evening turned out.
"In terms of crowd size, it was a success," said Lt. Mike Weber "We experienced less violent crimes and there were no significant crowd control problems."
Weber estimated the crowd level at 5,000 people during the night. That's down from 15,000-20,000 last year.
And with the streets open to traffic, people were scattered along the sidewalks, rather than concentrated in large masses.
At 9:30 p.m. the streets of Chico were virtually deserted. That changed by 10:50 p.m.
Costumed and uncostumed partyers turned what had once been an empty street into a theater. People dressed as body parts, table settings, superheros, sponges and "police" milled up and down the blocks in and around Riley's up to Normal Street.
One of the major elements of the city's Halloween night plan was flooding the downtown and south of campus neighborhoods with hundreds of police. The massive police presence, which included about 220 California Highway Patrol officers, Butte County sheriff's deputies, and officers from surrounding jurisdictions, apparently had the desired calming effect.
Crowds were friendly and cooperated with officers attempts to keep people moving. There were a few times when horse-mounted officers were used to move people along the Fifth Street corridor.
"We are all feeling the intimidation factor," said Leslie Lamkin, standing near West Fifth and Ivy streets and dressed as a female wrestler. She said she is a Chico State grad who has lived in Chico five years.
At the same time she said, "We're all waiting for the riot." Her fear of a riot never materialized.
At one point a group of young men dressed as basketball players amused the crowd by playing on Fifth Street near the intersection with Chestnut Street.
Just after the players moved on, a young man dressed in Middle-Eastern garb dropped a beer on the street. Unfortunately he was right in front of five police officers.
He was given a ticket and sent on his way.
The two most serious incidents occurred near Fifth and Ivy. A bomb threat was called into a local television station at 11:30 p.m. (see story).
A 21-year-old Mount Shasta resident was stabbed at Third and Ivy streets. According to police, the victim was involved in a fight and was wounded in the upper back. His injury was not life-threatening, according to Weber.
The crowds thinned out early due in part to the very cold temperatures and early bar closings.
Riley's closed down at midnight. Bars on the 300 block of Main Street - The Crazy Horse, Mr. Lucky and Towne Lounge - closed a short time later.
Although there were fewer people on the streets, more arrests were made this year then last year. A total of 88 people were arrested Thursday night and Friday morning. Of those, 56 people were arrested for being drunk in public, seven for being a minor.
This year Chico residents out numbered out-of-town guests when it came to arrests with 52 residents finding themselves detained. Only 36 guests were detained.
The award for traveling the longest distance to be arrested for being drunk in public goes to Joshua Ackler of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Six people were arrested for driving under the influence, not counting three other DUI arrests made by the California Highway Patrol.
Only one person was arrested for urinating in public.
A total of 66 citations were written Halloween night. The majority were for vehicle code violations. Six people were cited for urinating in public. One false ID and eight open container citations were issued. Four people were cited for being minors-in-possession of alcohol.
Enloe Medical Center had prepared itself for the worst this year. Last year the emergency room was overwhelmed with alcohol-related casualties.
"We had 14 incidents ... 11 were related to Halloween," said Jennifer Loperena, public relations coordinator for Enloe. "Three people were brought in from car accidents."
Of the Halloween related patients, six were seen for assault injuries.
"Not sexual assaults," Loperena added. Four minors were seen for problems related to consuming too much alcohol. The last patient was the stabbing victim.
"Overall it was not much busier than a typical Thursday night," she said. Enloe prepared for the night by adding 10 extra patient care staff to the regular roster. The hospital also set up a disaster command center in case the facility became overwhelmed with patients.
Weber said the city made some progress towards a community Halloween. He believes the goal will be reached when the Chico police no longer need to bring in help from outside agencies.
Halloween also brought out survey takers from Chico State University. Matt Thomas, an assistant professor in the political science department, said they were trying to collect information on the downtown crowd.
"We're curious," said Thomas. 'Decisions are being made based on past experience. We're trying to gather hard data to back it up."
Lori Beth Way, the coordinator of the criminal justice program, said the information they were asking for included where individuals were from, how many are students and their perceptions of the police presence.
"The information is for in-house use, but we may be asking the city to fund data analysis," she added. The information may be presented to the city in the future.
Yet another group of individuals were out Halloween night for reasons other than partying.
Trevor DeHart, Jose Mata and Karl travis stationed themselves on the corner of Fifth and Ivy to pray for the city.
"We're tired of the party image," said DeHart. "We're hungry for God to move in our city. We want the town to know God and his love."
The three began their prayer vigil at 8 p.m. and were going to stay "as long as we feel led."
Staff Writer Roger Aylworth contributed to this story.
Pipe bomb placed at packed intersection did not explode
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
Halloween could have been far more explosive than anyone - except one individual - wanted.
A pipe bomb was planted in a garbage bin behind the Fifth and Ivy Market sometime during the night.
"The fuse had been lit," said Chico police Lt. Mike Weber. The device did not explode.
A man called Channel 24 at 11:30 p.m. and told the assignment desk a bomb was at Fifth and Ivy.
The television station called the police.
Police found the three inch-by-six inch galvanized metal pipe bomb inside one of the garbage bin's sleeves for the lifting arms of a garbage truck.
Halloween revelers had been walking freely through the lot before the device was reported.
An estimated 2,000-3,000 people were passing on the sidewalks near the Fifth and Ivy intersection. One home just a few yards from the dumpster was hosting a party.
All three residences bordering the parking lot were evacuated.
"The explosive capabilities depend on what is in it." said Weber Thursday night.
Police moved everyone out of the parking lot and directed foot traffic to the far side of the street.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office bomb unit removed the device and took it to the Silver Dollar Fair Grounds where it was detonated.
"Having a bomb out on Halloween night was not good," Weber said Friday morning.
At the time it was discovered, police thought the bomb could have been a dummy device. But it was filled with explosives.
The bomb has been sent to the Department of Justice for analysis.
"It is an open investigation," Weber said.
Peaceful night seen as just first step to taking back Halloween
|An unidentified partyer is detained by authorities as he gets |
|charged with fighting in public at the intersection of West Fifth |
|and Ivy streets Thursday night. Glenn Fuentes/Enterprise-Record |
By ROGER H. AYLWORTH - Staff Writer
As Halloween 2002 approached Chico, college, and university leaders, fearful that something awful might happen, held their breath, but they are breathing easy now.
"The whole effort was pretty much a textbook exercise in setting public policy and executing public policy," said Chico City Manager Tom Lando Friday.
With a clear memory of the recently past Halloweens when huge drunken crowds surged through the downtown and the so-called "Fifth Street corridor," officials and citizens alike feared this year could see widespread violence and potential disaster.
However, in the wake of a concerted, city-funded "the-party's-over" ad campaign, and repeated pleas from the student leadership at Chico State University to "keep it local," the huge crowds didn't materialize this year, and the problems were comparatively minor.
"I think the (City) Council setting the direction very early on, the planning by Lt. John Carrillo and the Police Department, and the Police Department's execution of the plan, and more important, the to cooperation of the community with the plan" made everything work, said Lando.
"The majority of the community heard the message and cooperated with the message," said Lando.
The city manager particularly praised the area high school students, as well as students from Chico State and Butte College for "proving they could be part of the solution."
The Associated Students at Chico State called on all of their fellow students to not invite out-of-town guests to Chico for Halloween.
The student leaders also organized an alcohol-free dance/party, called "Fright Fest," in the Bell Memorial Union.
Anyone with a student identification could attend the party free but each person who entered was checked with a metal detector and all backpacks or bags were checked .
The Associated Students also sponsored a free breakfast, served from 11 p.m. to after midnight in the plaza in front of the BMU.
Because the Fright Fest was an in-and-out event, there were no solid numbers on how many people attended, but Michael Dailey, AS executive vice president, said the breakfast fed 423 individuals.
Chico State President Manuel Esteban, who spent time wandering both the campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, said that at least among the locals the partying was still going strong.
"It was obvious that people were still partying. There were plenty of parties north and south of campus," said the president.
However, he said the parties were smaller and more contained than in past years.
Esteban also said it was obvious to him the crowds were much down from previous years.
He said, while in past years City Plaza was crowded to capacity by revelers, this Halloween it was all but empty. He also said the only place there was any concentration of people was near West Fifth and Ivy streets, which he said is always the center of activity.
On Halloween night Chico State was patrolled by the California State University Critical Response Unit, a team of specially trained officers from the 23 campus police forces.
Teams of officers, ranging from sets of two to squads of five or more, stood guard every 75 yards or so, along the whole length of the West Second Street side of the university campus.
Esteban said he understood the need for the heavy the massive police presence, both on campus and in the greater community, it was not something he enjoyed.
"The fact there were so many police officers downtown is obviously not something you want all the time, because it looks like a police state," said the president.
At the same time he said the massive show of force discouraged negative behavior.
He predicted the city will have to maintain this level of Halloween enforcement for years to come, in order to permanently change the event back to a local celebration.
Chico police Capt. Mike Maloney and Lt. Mike Weber agree with that statement.
"I think this was a big step forward in the right direction and provides a great deal of momentum toward where Halloween must go," said Weber.
Weber also said "nobody ever expected this one year will do it," fix all of the Halloween problems.
Maloney said a similar approach to the one used this Halloween will have to be used over "the next couple of years" to bring it down to a situation where the Chico police can handle the situation without outside law enforcement help.
Both police officials praised the community, and particularly the young people, for their participation in making things better.
"We are very grateful to the young people," said Weber.
Halloween 2002: The day the city has been preparing a year for is here
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
Ready or not, Halloween is here.
The day the city has been preparing for over the last 12 months has arrived. Some residents are rejoicing while others are taking cover.
What might or might not happen tonight and early Friday morning has been the subject of heated public debate over the past month, including a confrontation between Bob Ray, a former member of the city's special-events task force and self-styled leader of the South Campus Neighborhood Association and Chico Mayor Dan Herbert.
What seems to be lost in all of the rhetoric and debate is that city officials have been making plans for this Halloween since last year. The police report on the event cataloged a staggering count of five stabbings, two sexual assaults, 34 fights, 23 acts of vandalism, and more than 70 arrests with charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon, to drunk in public, to drug sales. There were numerous minor-in-possession citations.
Of those arrested 44 were people not from Chico. They came from Rohnert Park, Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno and Redding. One resident of Stateline, Nev., was arrested for being drunk in public.
Two cars were destroyed by revelers on West Fifth Street. Officers on horseback and in riot gear formed a line to clear West Fifth Street between Chestnut and Hazel streets so tow trucks could come in and pick up the damaged vehicles.
Police received 900 calls from residents requesting assistance that night.
After reviewing a report of the Halloween 2001 activities and months of study, the City Council decided "the unsponsored Halloween event" needed to be shut down. The council passed motions ordering no additional lighting, no portable restrooms and no street closures for Halloween.
The City Council also ordered the police to enforce all laws including curfew violations, drunk in public and urinating in public. The council also authorized an advertising campaign. Its message: there is no Halloween event in Chico.
We will find out tonight.
Halloween traffic will be nightmare
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
Five drunken driving checkpoints will be set up around the city beginning at 7:30 tonight.
Halloween night DUI checkpoints were ordered by the Chico City Council last March to try to discourage the large number of out-of-town "guests."
A Labor Day DUI checkpoint at the intersection of Highway 32 and West Eighth Avenue generated a traffic jam up to two hours long, according to Chico police Lt. Mike Weber. Anyone coming into Chico on Halloween can expect similar delays.
The checkpoints will be staffed by officers from the Chico Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.
Checkpoints will be on Nord Avenue at Big Chico Creek; The Esplanade at Memorial Way; Mangrove Avenue at Vallombrosa Avenue; East Eighth Street at Wall Street; and Park Avenue at 11th Street.
For those who do get into downtown, parking will be the next problem.
The public parking lots will be closed after 7:30 p.m.
According to Weber, the lots are being closed "to decrease traffic volume and flow in the downtown area." Anyone parked in the lots before 7:30 p.m. will be able to leave. No one will be allowed back in.
Chico State University parking lots will also be closed. University lots on West Second and Hazel streets, West Second and Ivy streets and the parking structure on West Second and Ivy will be closed after 7:30 p.m.
Parking is also prohibited on West Fifth Street. Unlike past years, West Fifth Street will not be closed off with barricades and traffic will be allowed through.
Tow companies are increasing their staffing levels for the night. They will be available to tow off unauthorized vehicles in public and private property.
A "taxi zone" will be set up on East Fourth Street between Wall and Flume streets. The special loading zone will run from 7:30 p.m. Halloween until 3 a.m. Friday.
Glass ban checkpoints will be set up on the perimeter of downtown Chico along the west and south sides.
Anyone entering the area will be asked to voluntarily comply with the ban. Once inside the glass ban area - a 50-block area from Broadway to Cedar Street, West First Street to West Eighth Street - anyone caught with glass will be cited.
"We will consider everyone warned once they are inside," said Weber.
There will be zero tolerance for all violations of the law, including minor in possession, urinating in public and open container laws.
Police will also be enforcing the curfew laws.
Children under the age of 18 out on the streets after 10 p.m. must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult. Unaccompanied children are required to be on their way to or from work, home, a public meeting, place of business, school, or recreational activity.
Minors picked up for curfew violations will be taken to the Chico Police Department and will remain there until picked up by a parent or guardian.
Anyone who wants or needs more information about the plans for Halloween night can contact Weber at 895-4921 or city project manager Chet Wood at 895-4812.
Enloe on disaster status tonight
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
Halloween 2001 was painful for Enloe Medical Center.
"Last year the impact was fairly significant," said Bob Kiuttu, the emergency preparedness coordinator. Most of the impact was from a high number of teens and young adults with toxic levels of alcohol in their system.
"The teens were admitted and had to be watched," he said. They were watched for as little as two to three hours on up to seven hours, depending on how intoxicated the individual was.
"The emergency department filled with stuporous and comatose patients that had to be moved to other locations," said Kiuttu.
This year Enloe is treating Halloween as a disaster drill.
"We're activating the disaster plan and treating the event as a live drill," he explained. Staff will be practicing throughout the day.
"Mostly it's a problem of an influx of patients," Kiuttu said. Patients will be coming in with alcohol- and drug-related problems and more injuries.
To deal with the large numbers expected, Enloe will activate a command center to coordinate the movement of patients, call in additional personnel if needed and provide support to the off-site medical teams.
Enloe will be conducting blood alcohol draws at the Chico Police Department to help reduce the number of people coming through the emergency room and make bookings easier. Other medical clearances will be routed to the Cohasset center.
"We was to clear up the acute care at The Esplanade for serious injuries," Kiuttu added.
Ten people have been added to the staffing for patient care with an additional 20-30 people on standby. Enloe will also have four ambulance crews working tonight instead of the usual two.
When asked if there was a concern ambulances would be delayed getting to patients because of crowds, Kiuttu said they "looked at strategic placement of ambulances on the periphery (of the downtown area)." Medics on bicycles will get to the patient and bring him or her out.
"The whole field response is being coordinated by Chico fire," said Kiuttu.
Fire Chief Steve Brown said paramedics on bicycles and foot patrol is the easiest most practical way to get through the crowds.
A pickup with five volunteers will also be used for medical emergencies.
The department is also prepared for fire. Five extra full-time firefighters will be on duty tonight.
Will the open streets cause delays?
"This year it's a little different with the open streets," said Brown. "That's why additional resources were added in case of delayed response times."
|Archives |[pic] |
|A couple of outbursts punctuates Halloween meeting | |
|By ROGER H. AYLWORTH - Staff Writer |[pic] |
|One thing that is absolutely clear about next Thursday night is nobody knows what is going to happen, and everybody is |[pic] |
|worried. | |
|That reality was made crystal clear during a Wednesday night town meeting on Halloween that took place in the Bell |[pic] |
|Memorial Union on the Chico State University campus. |[pic] |
|In a room crowded with roughly 100 mostly student-age individuals, acting Chico Police Chief Mike Efford promised the |[pic] |
|audience law enforcement can't keep them safe, Chico Mayor Dan Herbert conceded nobody really knows how to handle the |[pic] |
|sorts of problems Halloween generates in Chico, and City Manager Tom Lando said that by next April the City Council may | |
|have a whole new set of orders about what to do. | |
|The 90-minute meeting, sponsored by Chico State Associated Students, was also punctuated by a pair of angry exchanges | |
|involving the mayor and members of the audience. | |
|The city leaders, along with Chico police Lt. John Carrillo, University Police Department Lt. Kelly Clark and Chico | |
|State Associated Students President Jimmy Reed, came to campus to explain what they were doing, what they weren't doing | |
|and why they were doing what they were doing. | |
|The first thing Chico's acting police chief said was he couldn't guarantee anybody's safety. | |
|"I can't repeat it often enough. We can't keep you safe," Efford said. | |
|Even with 450 California Highway Patrol officers, who will augment another roughly 150 Chico police and officers from | |
|neighboring agencies, he said they can't protect the 20,000 to 25,000 people who might be on the streets Halloween | |
|night. | |
|He said what he and the small army of law enforcement officers are going to try to do is follow the mandate of the City | |
|Council: "diminish this event and transition this to an event for the community and not a fun-fest for all of the | |
|western states." | |
|Lando said while Halloween is falling less than a week from election day, the city's effort to end the event "is not an | |
|election issue." | |
|Lando said when the council voted to shut down Halloween, it was a 6-1 vote with only Councilwoman Coleen Jarvis voting | |
|against it. The city manager said Jarvis only voted against the proposal that was passed because she wanted stronger | |
|language in the resolution. | |
|"It is a safety issue," he said. | |
|Not everybody agreed with that position. | |
|Bob Ray, a one-time member of the city's special-events task force and a well-known figure on the Chico State campus, | |
|charged it was a campaign issue. | |
|He complained the city's television advertisements - featuring video of violence during last year's Halloween, and a | |
|print-ad campaign that has appeared in both the Butte College and the Chico State student papers showing a young man in | |
|handcuffs - were provocative. | |
|Ray said the city's message to students is, "If you go down to Halloween, you will be arrested." | |
|He charged the language used by the city had been about "zero tolerance" law enforcement, and now Herbert, who is | |
|running for re-election, has begun to instead talk about safety. | |
|That resulted in a shouting match between Herbert and Ray with Herbert demanding to respond to Ray's allegations and Ray| |
|demanding to continue with his list of "concerns." | |
|Associated Students Executive Vice President Michael Dailey physically stepped between the two, who were several feet | |
|apart separated by a table and a couple of rows of chairs. | |
|Dailey tried to calm the situation, but Ray responded, "I know you are friends with the mayor. Just let me talk!" | |
|Dailey said there were many people with questions, and this was not a forum to make accusations. | |
|He then called on another individual with a question, and Ray, obviously angry, left the meeting room. | |
|"We don't have the answers. We are trying an approach," Lando said. | |
|He also said there are some misconceptions going around. | |
|"We will not be frisking people. We will not be checking identification. Nobody is talking about turning off the | |
|streetlights. The stoplights will all be on," said Lando. | |
|Lights were a source of concern mentioned by several individuals at the meeting, including AS President Reed. | |
|While the regular streetlights will all be on as usual, the high-intensity auxiliary lights that have been set up along | |
|the West Fifth Street corridor and in City Plaza over the last two years will be in place. But police Lt. Carrillo, who | |
|is the department's incident commander and coordinator for Halloween night, said the lights will only be turned on when | |
|and if law enforcement decides they would be necessary. | |
|"Do the lights come on after the first rape or after the riot breaks out?" Reed asked. | |
|One young woman asked, when the lights were used in the past, did it have an impact on the number of sexual assaults | |
|associated with Halloween? | |
|"I think there is a preconceived notion that women are being dragged off behind houses and assaulted," Carrillo said. | |
|"That's not how our sexual assaults happen." | |
|Lando said when it comes to fondling and pinching, the extra lighting had no effect, but he also said, "Violent (sexual)| |
|assaults don't happen in the lights." | |
|Reed said the Associated Students have had representatives at three consecutive City Council meetings asking that the | |
|auxiliary lights be put on the formal agenda and reconsidered, but so far that has not happened. | |
|One man, who said he has lived in Chico for 10 years, said if the community really wants to end Halloween they could | |
|call in the National Guard, enforce an 8 p.m. curfew, set up checkpoints on the major arteries into town and turn away | |
|any people who don't have identification proving they live in Chico, and order businesses - including bars - closed. | |
|"That's how you kill the thing. You put two in the head and one in the chest, and you put it down," said the male, who | |
|did not identify himself. | |
|Another male also charged the city's ad campaign will bring people in, not drive them away. | |
|He demanded to know if volunteers will be properly protected, and attributed to Mayor Herbert a published letter | |
|soliciting volunteers for Halloween night. | |
|In the midst of his statement, the man became angry with Herbert when the mayor leaned over and whispered to Chief | |
|Efford. | |
|The man told the mayor to pay attention to what he was saying and not talk to the chief. | |
|That sparked another angry exchange with the mayor when Herbert said the man had no right to tell him what to do and he | |
|would talk to whomever he chose. | |
|Dailey intervened again and the questioner sat down. | |
|Lando was asked what Halloween costs, and he said the city will end up paying $40,000 to $60,000 to deal with the event | |
|and the county will spend another $40,000 to $50,000 in associated costs. | |
|No matter what happens this year, Lando said the City Council will "deconstruct" how things turned out, and come March | |
|or April of next year it will come up with new plans for Halloween 2003. | |
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2002 Chico Enterprise Record
Playboy slaps party-school label back on Chico State
By ROGER H. AYLWORTH - Staff Writer
Just more than 15 years after the last time it was so "honored," Chico State University has again been nationally ranked on Playboy's top party-school list.
In the November edition, which will hit the newsstands Monday, Chico State was ranked No. 2 in the magazine's list of top 25 party schools in the country.
In 1987, the first and only other time the magazine has posted such a list, Chico State was named No. 1.
"Campus legend has it that Playboy does a yearly ranking of America's top party schools. Truth is we haven't done a roundup since 1987, when we tagged Cal State-Chico the craziest campus in the nation. Chico has had bragging rights for 15 years, causing students to binge with pride while parents and administrators have dried out fraternities and sororities and canceled Halloween," said Allison Prato, Playboy associate editor, in announcing the release of the new list.
Theresa Hennessey, a spokeswoman for Playboy, said the magazine decided to revive the party school list because of demand from students.
"There was such demand for it we decided to do it," said Hennessey in a telephone interview from the magazine's Chicago headquarters.
The magazine announced plans to revive the list in January.
Playboy editors, according to Hennessey and Prato, relied on letters and e-mails from students as "votes" for the top contenders.
After more than 1,500 votes came in, the editors tallied the totals, and then called some alumni and students to verify claims, but they made no personal visits to campuses.
There is at least one hint that the information the magazine collected might be less than absolutely accurate.
The Web site announcing the ranking included a list of "where to get your drinks" in Chico. That posting included "Riley's, Madison Beer Garden, the Bear, Joe's, La Salle's, the Grad;" however, there is no such place as the "Madison Beer Garden," and the "Bear" is a nickname for the Madison Bear Garden at West Second and Salem streets.
Also, not all of the e-mail that came into Playboy supported Chico's ranking.
"Don't you dare say Chico State. I'm sick of having to defend it. It's all because of your article 15 years ago!" said one e-mail, according to the magazine Web site.
Prato, in a telephone interview with the E-R, said she got only a handful of this sort of comment, and no official communication from the university administration.
"I was really surprised the ranking still has such impact," said Prato.
She also said she didn't want anybody to take the Playboy rankings too seriously.
"This is all in the name of fun and students are doing what they are doing of their own accord. I think this is a fact-based, really fun survey, and the results should be taken with a grain of salt," said the Playboy editor.
Jimmy Reed, Chico State Associated Students president, said he didn't write that e-mail, but he certainly agrees with it.
"This sucks! It really does. We have worked hard to get rid of that image stamped on our degrees," said Reed.
"I think things have really changed from 1987, but Playboy doesn't seem to recognize it," said Reed.
The AS president was particularly distressed by the timing of the publication, coming just a short time away from a Halloween celebration that already has campus and community officials nervous.
"We are trying to keep it a tradition, keep it Chico, and then here's Chico State ranked by Playboy," Reed lamented.
Chico's Interim Police Chief Mike Efford agreed with Reed when it comes to timing.
"I do think it is very poorly timed. We are trying to get the message out. 'Don't come to Chico'," said the chief.
"Regardless if they think Chico State is a party school, Chico is not a party town," he continued.
Efford said Chico State is an exceptional educational institution, and this sort of misguided recognition blurs that fact.
He also took Playboy to task for, in his opinion, enshrining binge drinking.
"This promotes nothing but drinking, drinking, drinking," complained Efford.
The chief asked how a "responsible magazine" can promote a behavior that kills and injures people all across the country.
The concern about the publication's impact on Halloween may be exacerbated by a comment on a Playboy Web page about the party list.
An e-mail attributed to a person only identified as "Wes," said, "Partying is an everyday thing. Granted, you might have to take a night off here and there for a midterm, but nobody parties harder.
"It really goes off on Labor Day, Halloween and St. Paddy's, when thousands of people come to this little town in the middle of (expletive deleted) nowhere to party."
"I don't know if it is going to increase our problem," said Efford, "but it certainly doesn't help it."
Chico State President Manuel Esteban said he was "so disheartened" by Playboy's action, and he was also frankly angry with the magazine.
"A magazine like Playboy - what do they know about higher education? Nothing! All they do is trade in sex and try to sell magazines," said the president.
While saying he didn't think too many people would take the listing seriously, Esteban said he also feared that some serious students who otherwise might have come to Chico State won't, while some party-centered individuals, who might otherwise have gone elsewhere, will now choose Chico State.
"I just think it is irresponsible, pseudo journalism," said the president.
Police ready, special rules in place for Halloween
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
The Chico Police Department has a few rules for all the ghouls coming out tonight.
A glass ban, including non-alcoholic beverages, is in effect from 5 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Thursday. It is illegal to posses glass containers on all public property - roads, sidewalks and parks - from Flume Street to Cedar Street and West Seventh Street to Big Chico Creek. All glass containers will be confiscated.
It is illegal to be in possession of open containers of alcohol and to consume alcohol in public. The fine for an open container is $100. Anyone caught furnishing alcohol to a minor faces fines up to $2,700.
Minors caught with alcohol face a fine of $250 and will lose their driver's license. If caught downtown after 10 p.m., high school students will be charged with a curfew violation and get a free ride to the Chico Police Department.
"There will be a van just for kids," said Sgt. Linda Dye, with the community outreach program. "Parents will have to pick up their kids."
Tricks may be a part of the holiday but anyone who thinks an anthrax-based prank is a good idea is in for a special treat: federal prosecution.
"We are taking a tough stance," said Dye. "It will be investigated vigorously and at the appropriate time, when we have a suspect, the FBI will be brought in."
Anthrax hoaxes can be prosecuted under federal and state laws, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The police will have a heavy presence in the downtown area tonight. Officers will be supported by 100 volunteers assisting with crowd and traffic control.
Assistance will also be coming from outside agencies under a mutual aid agreement.
Enloe Medical Center will have an additional doctor and three or four other staff members on duty in the emergency room tonight. Linda Tucker, spokesperson for Enloe, said paramedics will be on foot patrol downtown.
The radiology department will scan trick-or-treat bags for concerned parents.
"The exam only picks up metallic items," said Tucker. Poisons, wood, plastic, glass and other materials are not detectable.
Parents can reduce their concerns by taking their children only to homes where they know the residents.
As far as possible terrorist activity is concerned, Chief Mike Efford said, "There is nothing to indicate that Chico is the target of anything other than Halloween."
Halloween comes without guarantees
By ELEANOR CAMERON - Staff Writer
The Chico Police Department cannot guarantee anyone's safety on Halloween night.
The warning comes from Chico police Lt. John Rucker as the department prepares for the annual alcohol orgy. It is aimed primarily at the young adult revelers who congregate in the downtown and west Chico neighborhoods.
The number of sexual assault and sexual battery reports go up during Halloween, Rucker said, and "a tremendous number go unreported." During last year's celebration a woman was raped in an alley downtown, he said. The rape went unreported by news outlets.
It doesn't help that the costumes are often sexually suggestive, he added.
"Costumes have a psychological effect," Rucker said. He explained that wearers often feel free to adopt a persona not their own.
"I truly believe that if the citizens of Chico knew what the costumes looked like, they would be truly disgusted."
Rucker emphasized the Halloween revels have never been a city-sanctioned event. All of the city planning has been focused on keeping people and property safe.
Chico has been able to call in reinforcements in the past. This year, things may be a little different in light of heightened security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Due to events," Rucker said, "(they) are coming with a caveat that if their officers are needed at home, they will stay home. Communities are not willing to give up officers at this time."
Additional Alcohol Beverage Control officers will be in the area to assist with enforcement.
"The whole issue is the size of the crowd," Rucker said. Halloween 1999, the crowd estimate was 20,000 people. Halloween 2000, the crowd estimate was 15,000.
The number of arrests was higher in 2000 even though there were fewer revelers.
Bars and liquor stores are still responsible for checking IDs despite costumes and makeup, Rucker added.
All open-container, minor-in-possession, glass-ban and drunk-in-public laws will be enforced.
"People are coming here to drink excessively and see what they can get away with," Rucker said. "The bulk of the problems are caused by people from out of town."
In 2000, 58 of the 90 people arrested came to Chico just for Halloween.
This year, the police and the community are asking university and college students to invite their friends another time.
Event volunteers have been relied on to help keep the crowds moving through the downtown area. According to Rucker, a record 150 people volunteered last year.
Volunteers will be expected to take a three-hour training course. Training is scheduled 6-9 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 in the City Council Chambers. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 895-4642.
"The goal is to take Halloween back for the children and the community," Rucker said. "We support the Trick-or-Treat Street that will be going on in downtown Chico."
The event is for children 12 and younger. Parents can take their children trick-or-treating downtown 2-5 p.m. after checking in at City Plaza.
Halloween crowd mostly well-behaved
By CHRIS MARTIN - Staff Writer
Early on Tuesday night, Halloween appeared as if it may be a bit more manageable than it has in the past.
Before 10 p.m., police walked the West Fifth Street corridor in teams, generally getting along well with the groups of costumed revelers. The crowds were sparse and everyone appeared to be having a good time.
When Chico police Chief Mike Efford looked around the Fifth and Chestnut street intersection, he was encouraged.
"It looks good," Efford said. "We're trying to compare it to years past. It's hard to tell, but so far, the group is - shall we say - festive in nature, and we hope it stays that way."
Sgt. Dave Barrow stood at Halloween's epicenter, Fifth and Ivy, at 9:15 p.m. and marveled at the light amount of foot traffic.
"As long as we can be out here and mix with the crowd, and the people are in good humor, then we're succeeding in our mission," Barrow said.
The root of most problems when large crowds are involved, Barrow said, is undoubtedly alcohol.
Police were taking a zero-tolerance stance on those seen drinking from open containers, minors in possession of alcohol and people who "are completely out of it."
As 10 o' clock rolled around, the waves of people seemed to come from all directions, with the multitudes heading nowhere in particular.
In the City Plaza, Chico police Sgt. John Carrillo, joined by Butte County Probation and Parole officers, had his hands full with a number of suspected gang members.
One man, who claimed to be a Norteño gang member from Gridley, was found to be in possession of a chain-type weapon and sent to the Butte County Jail in Oroville, Carrillo said, in addition to numerous probation arrests.
Lt. Mike Weber was heading up the downtown operation, and he spent the early part of the evening driving around the area.
He said it's difficult to judge how an event this size will turn out before midnight, which is typically the "peak" of Halloween.
"A majority of the people are out here for fun, but there's a significant minority who cause problems," Weber said. "We're trying to be very proactive with the gang activity."
Around 9:30 p.m., Chico police dispatch reported five arrests to Weber, but no sooner than he was told this, police radio transmissions began to crackle with "transport needed" requests for rides to the Butte County Jail.
By 11 p.m., the number escalated to at least 16.
As Weber drove through the packed streets in the south campus neighborhood, he looked at the crowds and shook his head.
"It's unfortunate we have all these problems," Weber said. "There's too many people. The community's safety is compromised by all of the officers needed in this area."
To check the movement of the crowd, Weber drove by Fifth and Ivy, where Sgt. Barrow, who earlier had said the crowd was light, looked at Weber and said, "Now it's Halloween."
In light of the number of officers on the street compared to the amount of revelers, Weber said Halloween has become "a situation with a lot of potential (for problems)."
Although the night was still young, officers appeared to have a handle on the event. Aside from several fights and alcohol-related offenses, no major incidents took place.
Over 140 community volunteers staffed downtown intersections, and about 150 police officers were on duty.
In addition to Chico police and sheriff's offices from Tehama and Glenn County, every police agency in Butte County was present, along with a officers on horses from the California Highway Patrol and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.
City braces for the expected onslaight of Halloween revelers
By CHRIS MARTIN - Staff Writer
With Halloween less than a week away, city and university officials are bracing for the expected onslaught of visitors and revelers to the downtown area.
Even though Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, Chico police Sgt. John Rucker said the department is anticipating the holiday itself to be busier than the weekend.
"We always wonder if it's going to be nuts for three days, but usually 'the night' is Halloween," Rucker said.
Last year, police estimated the crowds at around 20,000, with a large number of people from out-of-town.
Rucker said fliers have been passed around several California college campuses advertising that Chico is the place to be on Halloween.
Looking to discourage people from flocking to Chico, student housing officials at Chico State University have enacted a six-day ban on guests in the resident halls.
John Lauer, associate director for university housing and residential life, said the temporary policy - which was first used last Halloween - worked "pretty well."
"Basically, we have no idea how well it does from keeping people from coming," but residents are generally happy with having a quiet place to which they can return.
Aside from deterring people from coming to Chico, Lauer said, resident safety was a concern.
Unfamiliar faces in the hallways, overcrowding and an increase in thefts have been a problem in the past, he said.
The ban begins today and will be lifted Wednesday morning.
In an effort to cut down on garbage and the potential for injuries, a glass ban will be in effect around the downtown area.
Passed last year by the Chico City Council, the ban includes areas from the Warner Street Bridge to the north to Seventh Street to the south, and Cedar Street from the west to Flume Street to the east.
In 1998, Chico police officers were pelted with bottles, and a Sacramento County Sheriff's Office horse had to be destroyed due to a major foot injury it received from stepping on broken glass.
While the ban last year covered nearly three days, this year it will last from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday, Rucker said.
Agencies assisting Chico police on Halloween night, said Lt. Mike Simpson, include the California Highway Patrol, Butte County Sheriff's Office, Butte County Parole, Butte County Probation, and sheriff's offices from Glenn, Tehama and Sacramento counties.
Joining the University Police's efforts will be officers from the Humboldt, Sonoma, San Francisco and Hayward state university campuses, Chief Mike Minard said.
To better prepare for the impending masses, more portable toilets and garbage bins will be placed along the streets in the downtown area, said Lisa Michels, head of the City Council-appointed Special Events Task Force.
Community volunteers will have maps that show where the toilets and bins are located, Michels said, and large maps will be placed on the street for easy reference.
Michels said 70 community members have signed on to volunteer on Halloween night. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to call Sgt. John Rucker at 895-4962.
Assailant in Halloween slashing gets seven years
By TERRY VAU DELL - Staff Writer 11-01-1999
OROVILLE - A gang attack on Halloween in Chico that left one young man with his throat cut resulted Wednesday in a seven-year prison sentence for the accused assailant.
In handing down the maximum term, Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly said that Leonel Puga, 20, displayed "extreme viciousness, callousness and cruelty" in the unprovoked attack on a rival gang member.
The "tragedy," the judge said, is that he had his statement "almost memorized" because of an upswing in gang-related assaults locally.
"I shudder to think when something like this happens in a small community like Butte County, what is it like in the big cities" with far more gang activity, the judge asked.
Puga asked for a lesser sentence, assuring the judge that he has since severed his Norteño gang ties and plans to go to culinary school.
But deputy district attorney Clare Keithley responded that the young Hamilton City man's only remorse seemed to be over his predicament, not for his victim, whom she said almost died in the attack.
The victim, Paul Pulido, 19, of Tehama, a purported member of the rival Sureños gang, was standing at the corner of Third and Main streets with a couple friends and their girlfriends watching the Halloween festivities when Puga allegedly tried to kill the rival gang member for no apparent reason other than to enhance his reputation among other Norteños with him that night from Sacramento, Stockton and San Jose.
Pulido was stabbed under the armpit and his throat was cut in a deep wound extending from his left ear to the middle of his chin, according to police reports.
Doctors told police that "it looked like someone tried to cut his head off," the prosecutor told the judge at Puga's sentencing Wednesday.
Even though the victim was also a member of a gang, he was "still entitled to his life and the protection of law enforcement and the courts," Keithley said.
Though Puga claimed that he had only kicked the victim after he was down, police said eyewitnesses identified him as the attacker.
Facing an attempted murder charge, Puga pleaded no contest to felony assault with great bodily injury and also admitted to a gang enhancement that added three years to his sentence.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Puga's mother urged the court to show leniency, saying her son had never been in trouble before and comes from a hard-working family.
Reading from a prepared statement, Puga told the judge his arrest in the Chico street attack was "an eye-opener" for him, causing him to sever his gang ties.
He said he had brought "shame" on himself and his family, and asked for a chance to prove "that I am a good and honest man."
Defense attorney Grady Davis of Chico, who submitted several letters on Puga's behalf, blamed the "insidious combination of gangs and drugs for ruining many young people's lives."
The judge agreed that Puga came from a good family, an all-too-common denominator in the gang assault cases that have come before him, he noted.
Kelly said he yearned for earlier days when a perceived insult would lead to someone "honking their horn at you or flipping you off."
"Now, when you see someone who offends you, it's open fire or head for the throat," the judge said.
Under Proposition 21, the initiative passed by voters in November, people convicted of gang-related crimes in California must serve 85 percent of their sentence.
But since the Chico attack occurred before the law changed, attorneys in the case say that Puga will likely serve less than half of the seven-year term.
It wasn't all fun and games: Alcohol abuse and violence mar holiday festivities
By Elaine Gray - Staff Writer
Because there was no rioting or large-scale violence, it might be tempting to summarize Halloween 1999 with the cliché "A good time was had by all."
But on the morning after, Chico police said that wouldn't be an accurate assessment.
"I want to be cautious about saying, 'Yeah, this was fun, it was a good time.' I want to avoid that because that was not really the case. There was a lot of violence out there and a lot of alcohol abuse," Lt. Mike Weber said.
Overall, police were thankful for a downtown glass ban and a porch couch round-up. But they couldn't stop individual acts of violence and the weekly overindulgence in alcohol that peaked over the Halloween weekend.
At about 11:30 p.m. Sunday at Third and Main streets a 20-year-old Red Bluff man suffered a severe stab wound to the neck in what police described as a gang-motivated attack.
"By all indications the victim and his friends were just out enjoying the Halloween festivities," said Detective Jose Lara. "He was attacked specifically for not belonging to the (same) group as the assailant."
The alleged attacker, Leonel Puga, 20, of Hamilton City, is a documented gang member in Butte and Glenn counties, Lara said. Puga is in Butte County Jail on a count of attempted murder.
Puga and his buddies outnumbered the victim's group by two to one, Lara said. Puga's group reportedly attacked, yelling "Norte! Norte!" The victim suffered a 4-inch slash to the neck and was rushed to Enloe Medical Center; he is expected to make a full recovery.
Enloe spokeswoman Linda Tucker said Sunday was the busiest day in the history of the hospital's emergency room. There were 140 patients at the emergency room Sunday - 31 of them for alcohol-related problems.
"A staff member said at one point five people were lined up in beds, all vomiting," Tucker said.
Lt. Weber said Sunday's crowd was the largest police have seen on Halloween. "We estimated the crowd at 20,000-25,000 people on Sunday night."
Halloween-related partying began in earnest Friday and kept police busy through the weekend. A total of 135 arrests were made during the evening hours of those three days, more than half for being drunk in public.
"There was significant alcohol abuse," Weber said.
A review of arrest records shows the overwhelming majority of those taken into custody were men in their 20s. Though many were from out of town, the majority are Chico residents. Staff at Butte County Jail were reportedly swamped with processing booking sheets from the weekend.
An E-R reporter who worked Sunday night kept a sample of some of the calls officers responded to during one 30-minute period relatively early in the evening:
9:30 p.m. report of an unconscious 22-year-old who drank excessively; 9:47 p.m. minors in possession of alcohol at Fifth and Broadway; 9:50 p.m. vehicle rollover Highway 32 and West Fifth Street; 9:50 p.m. alcohol overdose Fourth and Normal streets; 9:55 p.m. drunk in public Sixth and Ivy streets; 10 p.m. alcohol overdose Fourth and Normal streets.
"A couple fires were set and one of them was a couch," Weber said. "That was one of the reasons we did the couch patrol - that was heads-up thinking, trying to be proactive - but this was one couch that got away."
The bottle ban enacted by the City Council turned out to be a huge help over the weekend, he said.
"The no-glass ordinance was a big help," Weber said. "On behalf of the police department we really appreciated the City Council getting that done. We didn't get the flying glass at us that we did last year, though by the end of the evening we all were wearing helmets as a safety precaution."
While no police officers were injured, one citizen was hit in the head by a thrown bottle and had to be taken to the hospital, Weber said.
"Generally speaking the evening went well for us in that we didn't have any significant crowd confrontations," he said. "There wasn't near the level of violence this year that we saw last year."
Weber worried that the community has grown so tolerant of outrageous alcohol-fueled behavior that Halloween might be judged successful just because a major riot was avoided.
"The numbers (of arrests and injuries) are way too large," he said. "We are still a very long way from where we need to be. We really need to go back to the drawing board and find out how to address the situation, because we are not seeing a decrease. We are seeing it grow."
Because of the huge numbers of people involved, Halloween is the peak of party season, but it's far from being the only time police have to deal with out-of-control partying, he said.
"That kind of activity is going on routinely on the west side, not to the magnitude of Halloween, but that same violent behavior mixed with alcohol - the bottle-throwing at police, the fighting - is a continuing problem on the west side," he said. "We have to continually focus large amounts of resources there because of party problems. What that does is actually compromise overall community safety.
"Instead of those officers being out in other neighborhoods and business areas, we have to focus our attention on that area, and that's something we shouldn't forget as we try to figure out what we do in the future."
Staff writers Larry Mitchell and Heather Hacking contributed to this report.
Tolerance of Halloween drinking is spooky
By Larry Mitchell - Staff Writer 10-30-1999
Chico's tolerance for thousands of young people going on a Halloween drinking spree is plain spooky, according to Helen Harberts of the Butte County Probation Department.
Speaking at a forum on youth violence Thursday night, Harberts said she doesn't understand such passive acceptance. The expense of bringing in extra police officers is huge.
Last year, there was "a near riot" downtown. The danger is always high, and the behavior is disgusting, she said. Kids get "roaring drunk" and wind up at the emergency room getting their stomachs pumped so they can go drink some more, she said.
"We appear willing to trade off all of this for the amount of money that gets spent in a few bars," she said.
The wrong message is sent, she said. Young people "see the entire community saying, 'Let your kids run wild.' "
Harberts spoke at a Youth Violence Prevention Forum which had the title, "The Village Connection."
Harberts' comments pointed to a catch in the "It takes a village to raise a child" philosophy, said Gloria Bevers, a Chico Unified School District (CUSD) administrator."
To raise a healthy child, it takes a healthy village, she said. She and other panelists questioned whether the "villages" American youngsters grow up in are in fact healthy.
The forum, sponsored by the Chico Area Interfaith Council, was attended by about 40 people. Held in the Chico City Council Chambers, the meeting was designed to open a community dialogue.
While there can be no guarantee Chico won't experience a tragedy like the Columbine High School shootings, panelists offered assurance that proactive measure are being taken on several fronts.
"Schools are still safe places," said Bob Feaster, director of pupil personnel services (school psychology) for the CUSD. The incidence of episodes like Columbine is extremely low, nationwide, he said.
Bernie Vigallon, the CUSD director of alternate education, said Chico has a wonderful program called Safe Schools. It pairs a probation officer with a school resource officer from the Chico Police Department on the three high school campuses. Each team has responsibility for a junior high school, too.
"This was started about five years ago, and all of the credit has to go to Helen Harberts," he said.
The program lets police and probation officers follow at-risk students much more closely, Harberts said. "I cannot tell you what an impact that has on teenagers. It gives us the ability to be on campus, to work with kids, to smile at them. It's better for the kids. They don't all need to be yelled at."
In the past, if probation officers saw teens who were on probation once or twice a month, "it was considered good work," she said. The Safe Schools program puts police and probation officers in touch with youngsters daily, even hourly. And that's important, she said. With teens, everything is immediate. Situations develop quickly.
"We get a awful lot of anonymous calls that something is going to happen, or somebody said something or is carrying something," she said. "Safe Schools is a great platform. But it's got to run out into the community. We can protect kids in school. The problems come when they leave."
Bevers said kindergarten teachers tell her they feel pretty confident predicting at the end of the school year which of their pupils are likely to drop out of school down the road and which may become violent offenders.
Recently, the district started a new program to reach such children early on. It's called Focus on the Future.
Another panelist, Hassan Sissay, a history professor from Chico State University, talked about youth violence as a worldwide phenomenon. In some African countries, militant groups have found youngsters to be ideal recruits to carry out violence because they are easy to manipulate.
The panelists talked about characteristics of children who commit violent acts. Usually, such acts show up before the age of 15 in a child who is headed for serious trouble, they said. Other factors are poor academic performance, involvement with drugs and/or gangs, poverty, and outbursts of anger over small matters. A high percentage of violent teens experienced severe bullying themselves, the panelists said.
There is plenty of opportunity for community members to help, these experts said. Programs like the one run by the Janet Levy Center runs, where senior citizens volunteer to tutor and relate to youngsters in school have proven popular and successful, Bevers said. Another option is to contribute money to the Boys and Girls Club.
It's a great help if adults can spend some time with youngsters, the panelists said.
"In this day and age, the amount of time a child gets to be with a parent is shrinking," Bevers said. A survey of youngsters in the Citrus School area was done, and 86 percent of those questioned said they wanted to spend more time with their parents.
Tyler Miller, a youth pastor and part-time teacher at Champion Christian School, agreed about the importance of adults relating to youngsters.
"I think the real issue is us," he said. "When we allow ourselves to be human and vulnerable with young kids, then they know we love them."
City braces for Halloween hysteria
By John Michael - Staff Writer 10-28-1999
Two groups of young people walked past each other on West Sixth Street last Halloween night. A guy and a girl accidentally brushed shoulders, and both apologized.
A few words were exchanged, but peacemakers within the groups smoothed things out. Or so they thought.
As the groups went their separate ways, someone took a partially full beer bottle, ran up from behind and shattered it against another man's head, turning it into a deadly weapon.
That same night, three black men took offense to a costume worn by a Chico State University student. He was out partying as Pope John Paul. The men thought it was the costume of a Ku Klux Klansman.
A fight ensued and the CSUC student took a punch that knocked him to the pavement, breaking his skull.
Both men were hospitalized for about a week with severe head injuries.
Two examples, albeit extreme, of random violence apparently incited by simple misunderstandings twisted through a haze of alcohol.
No wonder Chico police Lt. Tim Voris, the department's point man for this weekend's downtown Halloween special event, sometimes awakens in the middle of the night.
"In a crowd of thousands, you don't know what the guy next to you is going to do," Voris said during a recent interview. "People have to do the things that will keep them safe. Use good judgment and act responsibly."
A few other drunken brawls, a gang-related stabbing and beer bottles tossed at police officers brought Halloween '98 to the "edge of Armageddon," as one high ranking police official put it.
This year, through intensive planning and coordination with a city-sponsored special events task force and the university, police officials are optimistic Halloween '99 will come to a close without a repeat of last year's "near riot."
Downtown streets and streets west of downtown will be closed to auto traffic Sunday night to give revelers more space to roam, and prevent potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.
Planned street closures:
€ All cross streets between Main and Broadway from Second to Seventh streets will be vehicle-free Sunday night. East Fourth Street from Main to Wall streets also will be closed to traffic.
€ Streets west of Salem Street to Ivy Street between East Fourth and East Sixth streets will be closed to everyone except residents. Salem and Ivy streets themselves are not part of the vehicle-free zone.
Also as a result of pre-event planning by police and the city, glass containers will be banned from public streets, rights of way, sidewalks, parking lots and other city-owned property between downtown and West Fifth Street between today and Monday.
The glass ban begins at 4 p.m. today and continues until 6 a.m. Monday.
Violators face an infraction that carries a maximum fine of up to $1,000, Chico City Attorney David Frank said.
Meanwhile, Halloween policing efforts actually began with the start of the fall semester at CSUC.
Officers have been cracking down on underage drinkers known in the language of the trade as "MIPs" - minors in possession of alcohol.
"We've been ripping and tearing on MIPs," one police official said, referring to the high number of citations handed out.
About 400 underage drinkers have been cited in recent weeks, said Butte County Superior Court Judge Darrell Stevens.
And about 150 have been sentenced to pick up trash in the downtown area and Fifth Street corridor on Halloween night and early Monday morning, he said.
A recent Chico police and fire voluntary couch clean-up effort snared nearly 200 old couches that won't end up in a Halloween night bonfire.
A crowd of 15,000 is anticipated to converge on downtown Halloween night. The actual number of people who will show up is anybody's guess.
"The trend is Halloween is getting bigger and bigger," Voris said.
And, with Halloween falling on a weekend night, celebrators have a full three days to "ramp up" for the big night.
Assigned full time to developing Chico's Halloween policing plan, Voris said the department's expanded planning includes details of officers working nightly from Thursday leading up to Halloween.
Voris anticipated assigning a few more officers to patrol starting Thursday and then steadily increasing the number of police and volunteers on the streets to about 125 by Sunday night.
From a tactical standpoint, Voris must use last year's experience as a benchmark and prepare for it, or worse.
Many of the strategies employed in previous years will be resurrected this year. They include dividing police and volunteer personnel into small teams responsible for policing small geographic areas.
Halloween enforcement also includes strict enforcement of the 10 p.m. curfew for juveniles, police said.
Voris also hopes educational efforts directed at squelching the attitude that "anything goes" on Halloween are meeting with success.
"People think that on Halloween, the rules don't apply anymore," Voris said. "They still do apply."
Fighting, brawling and throwing objects are the quickest ticket to jail, he added.
In other situations, police may give some ground, but it won't be much, Voris vowed.
"The situation is so dynamic, it's hard to say where the line is (in each and every circumstance)," he added.
Every sworn officer of the Chico Police Department will pull duty Halloween, and will be assisted by officers from the Butte and Glenn County Sheriff's Offices, the Paradise, Oroville, and Chico State University police departments, California state parole agents, Butte County Probation, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the STARS and VIPS volunteer units.
In addition, 18 mounted units from the CHP, Sacramento County and Tehama County will help with crowd control. Paramedics will also be stationed nearby for medical emergencies.
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