By Judy La Russa,
During a June 3, 2019 town hall meeting, the Citizens in Opposition of 24-Hour Arco committee gave project updates and a special guest shared her life experience to a crowd of approximately 45 community members. Those attending were able to sign a petition in opposition of the 24-hour business, place an order for a t-shirt (fundraiser for cause), and to take copies of letters that could be sent to officials.
First to speak were Palo Cedro residents and team organizers Elaina and Terry Tupper. Chico Police Sgt. Terry Tupper shared, “I am here tonight as a citizen, but with my work experience, I can say I am qualified as a “Quality of Life Crime Expert.” (Quality of Life Crime is when there is a loss of quality of life as a result of being victimized.) He shared that with Redding and Chico’s crime getting out of hand, that it could possibly spread to Palo Cedro. “A 24-hour business is a magnet for criminals. With the limited resources that the Sheriff Department has available to them, there could not be an adequately patrol presence for a 24-hour convenience store.” The sergeant added, “It’s a draw. Cops are proactive and go to these “Fishing Holes” (24-hour businesses) to find crimes in the act. It never fails to make at least one daily arrest.”
Elaina then introduced to the crowd Deanna of Redding to share her life’s experiences that revolved around local 24-hour convenience stores. Deanna is four years sober from drugs and alcohol. She told Sgt. Tupper, “I’m surprised you do not remember me, one of my hangouts was a Chico 7/11.” Deanna shared that she and her friends would always use a 24-hour convenience store for their hangout. “It was my choice of place. It had everything I needed, roller papers, sweets and alcohol and where I could sell and buy my drugs.” And she added, “When I was homeless, it is where I was able to buy my hygiene products and used the restroom to clean myself up.” She said, in those days she never cared what she threw on the ground and that sometimes it would be used needles. Deanna said that they are called convenience stores but it’s truly more of a convenient for druggies.
Deanna also shared a devastating story about her adult son and the road he took. He is also an addict. His favorite hangout and hook up place was at a convenience store. She shared how last year at around 1:00 a.m. her son was hanging out with friends doing drugs and drinking alcohol when he got in an argument with one of them. They went around to the back of the store where the fighting escalated, her son pulled out a gun and shot him. The victim lived, but Deanna’s son is now going through the criminal course for attempted murder.
Elaina ended by sharing with the crowd, “I have to say often I hear from people, either involved in government business or who have been where we are, they all say, “community outcry” or “widespread public opposition” is the key to getting our governing bodies to hear us!” Elaina pleads, “Be part of that outcry for our community. A little work now will pay tenfold as we grow and develop our community responsibly. Please stay tuned to public meeting notifications and help by attending.” No Planning Commission meeting has been scheduled.
Currently, there is no other town hall meeting slated, but smaller individual groups will be meeting, organizing research work. To get involved or to stay notified—email: No24hourarcoinpc@gmail.com; call or text – 530-209-444 or 530-949-5010 or go to their Facebook Page: Palo Cedro Citizens for Responsible Growth.