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A Chico City Council member is defending his right to talk to local media

Chico City Council
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Chico City Council

The city of Chico is asking a council member to stop sharing potentially confidential information with the public.

Council member Addison Winslow received a cease-and-desist letter from the city attorney last week.

The letter says Winslow disclosed closed session information to local media outlets and cited three separate media reports where it alleges Winslow broke confidentiality. It does not explicitly say what information Winslow disclosed.

In a follow-up letter to Chico residents, Winslow said he believes the letter has to do with him publicly opposing the city’s decision to support a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding homelessness and anti-camping ordinances.

Councilmember Addison Winslow
City of Chico
Councilmember Addison Winslow

Winslow’s comments were about an amicus brief the city recently filed in support of overturning Martin v. Boise, which ruled that cities typically can’t enforce anti-camping ordinances against unhoused residents sleeping on public property when no alternative shelter is available.

“They say that I’m undermining the interest of the city by oversharing information with the press and I just think that’s ludicrous,” Winslow told NSPR.

Winslow said the amicus brief the city filed is public information and talking publicly about that decision should not be considered confidential.

“It’s disingenuous to act like it’s sensitive information that has some impact on the city besides embarrassing the public officials responsible for it who we can assume are responsible for it,” Winslow said.

The city’s cease and desist letter to Winslow cites the Brown Act open meetings law saying if Winslow violates it again, “the city is prepared to take all necessary legal action.”

Reached by email, the city attorney said he has no comment.

Erik began his role as NSPR's Butte County government reporter in September of 2023 as part of UC Berkeley's California Local News Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from Cal State LA earlier that year.