Citing fairness and reasonable accommodation, Councilmember Stone argued in June 2016 that the City of Chico should not charge exhorbitant fees for use of its community buildings. In particular, the conservative council lead by Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan raised fees for use of the community facilities in an effort to “run the City more like a business” and demanding in excess of $600 per event from the League of Women Voters for their candidate forums – a public service provided by the League to the community. Stone fought hard to reverse the fee schedule for groups that provide “substantial public, non-partisan benefit.” Sean Morgan the Council disagreed and the League moved on to another facility citing the high cost as well outside of their budget for public service. Reportedly there is no League of Women Voters in California that pays any facilities fees for their local candidate forums.
On Tuesday, August 23rd, Congressman Doug LaMalfa was provided the City of Chico fire station with event services (setup prep and tear down) and the active Fire Station 5 during fire season for no cost to hold a “community coffee.” The facility and services were provided for free for the event.
Chico News & Review Editorial Board calls out the discrepancy in policy and community organizations’ use of community facilities in this editorial.