I will tell you a tale of another time—a dark age—when people used to come to Chico by the tens of thousands, fill up our hotels and restaurants, and force local businesses to deplete their precious stock in exchange for filthy money. They would dress in frightening masks, disguise themselves in sexually suggestive costumes, and worst of all, drink alcohol in our public houses. It was a time of debauchery and shame.
In this mire of moral destitution, this chasm of corrupt character, this sordid, simmering cesspool of scandalous salacity, stuff happened. Bad stuff. And not the kind of stuff that happens anyway, like stabbings and fights and what have you. There was also pee. Chico needed a hero: someone willing to stand up to the powerful cabal of merchants suckling at the teat of this wicked holiday. Someone willing to cancel Halloween.
The year was 2002. America was mourning the loss of actor/comedian Milton Berle. The second installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy battled it out with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. U.S. armed forces were shipping off to Afghanistan for what was likely to be a quick and decisive victory over Terror Itself. And, in the cool quiet of spring, the shadow of a Lawman darkened the doorway of Chico’s City Council chambers.
His name was Mike Efford, Chief of Police, and he brought with him a message of hope. The Council members listened in breathless awe as he wove for them a tapestry of such beauty, such purity, that they knew in their hearts his vision was worth any sacrifice to achieve.
He spoke of a day where the sun rose and fell with no naughty nurses, naughty nuns, naughty Cinderellas or bumblebees or naughty Anne Franks. The youth sat quietly at home with textbooks on their laps and held tall, frothy glasses of Ovaltine. The nefarious cabal of costume shops, bars, and members of the hospitality industry would finally be forced to loosen their stranglehold on the souls of Chico’s citizens.
All it would take was an initial investment of many thousands of dollars to fund an intimidating ad campaign, followed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in following years to maintain an even larger police presence than would be required, were Chico to still be filled with tourists.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Chico doesn’t need money if it comes from outsiders; commerce stemming from intemperate or raucous behavior has no value and no place; and that fun is dangerous and uncontrollable, and no good can come of it. And that the term “one thing we can all agree on” is just a figure of speech that really means five or six things we can all agree on.