Oroville residents express mixed feelings about city’s constitutional republic declaration

OROVILLE — In early November, Oroville declared itself a constitutional republic in a six to one vote by Oroville City Council.

The council meeting was heavily attended by supporters of the resolution, about 10 of whom spoke before the council. While the resolution was supported, residents really didn’t seem to understand what it means. In a nutshell, the resolution states that as a constitutional republic, the city of Oroville will not enforce “any executive orders issued by the state of California or by the United States federal government that are overreaching or clearly violate their constitutionally protected rights.”

After the resolution passed, it received national attention, and residents and city council have been quoted in newspapers and articles and in television coverage from local television stations such as KRCR to the Los Angeles Times to the Sacramento Bee to Fox News.

People who live in Oroville, Chico and Orland have shown mixed reactions to the resolution.

Oroville resident Bonnie Malone has lived in Oroville for many years. She gave her thoughts in a phone interview.

“I’m a law abiding citizen,” Malone said. “I happily pay taxes. I help provide meals for the homeless and have a long history of being involved in the community. I think this is very bizarre. I look to politicians and leaders as a model. I think it is humiliating to have our leadership defy state and federal mandates. Defying law is not a good thing for politicians that have been elected by the people to do.”

Malone is not proud of the decision that was made.

“I am horrified at the disrespect that the mayor and City Council have shown. I would like to apologize to our governor. I’m trying to make sense of this behavior and see what the other half sees, but I don’t. We live in an impoverished area and this is a waste of time and energy and money. The whole thing seems idiotic and futile and not worth anyone’s time. Our community members have gone over to the dark side. We’re losing thousands of people a day to this pandemic,” she said.

Oroville resident Raine Deigh has owned clothing store Redfly for 18 years. She was born and raised in Oroville and vehemently supports the resolution.

“I’m all for it,” Deigh said. “I think people should have the freedom to choose what they put in their bodies or on their bodies. It’s our choice. I have a 10-year-old child. I would never want to regret a decision I made for him. People need to stand up for their freedom. I also think that even if we don’t support choice, we should respect each other’s decisions and opinions. Everyone here respects each other. I’m grateful to have a community like this.”

Bangor resident Dowanna Chisholm is also in favor of the resolution and gave her opinion in front of the Oroville post office. “I think we’d rather do our own thing,” Chisholm said. “Most of us don’t want to be told what to do. We are mature in life and we don’t need someone to cram this down our throats. We should live our lives and we don’t need someone to tell us every aspect of what we should do with our lives.”

Oroville resident Cindi Comer owns Comer’s Print Shop with her husband. She somewhat supports the resolution and gave her opinion in a phone interview.

“I like the concept,” Comer said. “But it doesn’t have teeth and doesn’t have a lot of effect. It won’t be life altering for anything going on. I think it’s a great statement but doesn’t do anything.”

Orland resident Linda Schroer supports vaccine mandates and gave her thoughts at Chico Marketplace. “People should be vaccinated,” she said. “I keep hearing about more and more deaths. This new variant is crazy. I don’t want to come to malls without a mask. I think residents should have been asked what they think about the resolution.”

Chico resident Alex Hilton is against the resolution.

“I think it’s ridiculous and immature of elected officials,” Hilton said Tuesday at the Chico Marketplace. “They’re acting like kids who take the ball home because they don’t like the rules of the game. When it comes to public health, we can’t be selfish. Throughout American history, if towns, states, and cities had taken this irresponsible attitude it would have had negative effects on everyone’s health. The only way to minimize COVID-19 is to follow science and reduce its effects. Not doing so keeps it around.”

Chico resident Patrick Covert also is against the resolution.

“The state of Jefferson comes to mind when I think about this,” Covert said Tuesday at the Chico Marketplace. “It just makes sense that it’s Oroville that is doing this. It seems to be the demographic. I feel bad for people who don’t want to follow government safety and structure. It could be harmful in the long run to separate from the government system.”

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