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Chico mayor addresses public vitriol

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Sep 04 2013 12:16:42 AM CDT
Chico mayor addresses public vitriol

Mayor Scott Gruendl, third from left

CHICO, Calif. -

Chico city leaders have faced a lot of criticism for some of their recent decisions but in a press conference Tuesday officials say some opposition has been counterproductive and some language has turned violent in nature.

The press conference was called outside the Chico City Council Chamber by Mayor Scott Gruendl, where he was flanked by a supportive councilmembers.

Responding to what he calls an unprecedented number of requests for meeting minutes, Grendl says some people and entities are making such requests with "harmful intent," suggesting they are simply doing it to slow down city officials.

In a press release he says, "I am a vanguard of the public's trust, so it is difficult for me to make the claim that the very systems that are available to enhance this trust appear to be abused by some. My intent is not to limit the voice of our community or access to government, but when these sacred instruments appear to be used as tools of abuse, my oath of office requires action."

Outside the City Council Chamber, Gruendl said he is particularly concerned about how some people are voicing their opinion of city leaders.

"People are entitled to say what they want. I mean, just because what you say is a protected freedom, it doesn't make it right. It doesn't. And ultimately what does it contribute to the solution?"

He says there is also a growing concern about violent language being used towards city leaders.

"As one letter to the editor recently said, 'You know, you're lucky that people don't still come with torches and pitchforks.' Really? Is that what this community needs right now?"

Councilmember Randall Stone recounted something that he heard over the Labor Day weekend.

"I was out on a Butte EMS ride-along last weekend and some city employees told the the EMTs to punch me in the face," he says.

Similar language has been used against Chico City Manager Brian Nakamura, who's been a part of major changes within the city that some seriously disagree with.

There have also been comments about whether Nakamura has the city's best interest in mind since he came to Chico from Southern California only a year ago.

Gruendl also called such ideas counterproductive.