Letter: Former councilor defends Chico Scrap Metal actions

Councilmember Morgan says my policies are the cause of his woes with Chico Scrap Metal.

When I was a 30-year-old councilmember, then-City Manager Fred Davis made a deal with CSM’s owner, George Scott, and the city bought the old scrap yard on Humboldt with federal money. I made the motion. Not a bad policy.

George bought property in the county, and a few years later the county, responding to neighborhood concerns, changed the land use to neighborhood commercial.  The city later conformed.  CSM has had 17 years to relocate. Not my policy.

In 2016 CSM asked for a political favor, and then-Mayor Morgan and newly elected Councilmember Coolidge tried to delete the ban on industrial use. Morgan’s policy.

A 9,200-signature petition by voters stopped them. Morgan ignored the City Charter and filed a losing challenge to the referendum in court. Morgan’s policy. Two years and $200,000 in city lawyer time later, Judge Tamara Mosbarger ordered Morgan to reverse his policy, retract the favor or let the voters decide. Morgan voted to retract.

Now CSM and Morgan are back in Judge Mosbarger’s court arguing about CSM’s imagined “rights.” CSM subpoenaed me and several others asking us to defend the city’s actions.  I’m now 70 and retired. Not my fight. Morgan’s bad policies and political favors might cost the city’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Councilmember Morgan should take responsibility for his policies and not blame others.

— Karl Ory, Chico 

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