Nakamura alludes to some mysterious consequences in not forgiving Nature Center loan, but won’t elaborate

22 Apr

Well, I sure as hell called that one! Yes, Brian Nakamura recommended the $206,000 (and counting) owed by Chico Creek Nature Center be WRITTEN OFF!

Like Mark Sorensen added sarcastically, “Yeah, what’s another $200,000?”  Sorensen, for the record, said he was against writing the loan off, the committee giving a split recommendation to council. Our boy Randy Stone wants to FORGIVE AND FORGET!

A loan taken in 2008, on which there have been no payments since 2010.  For a daycare center that can’t make money in this town? You have got to be kidding. 

Oh yeah, the Nature Center, they’re just such an asset to the community. Brian Nakamura knows this, he says, because he attended their nature camp! Huh? I thought that was just for kids? And, by the way, camp hasn’t even started sign-ups for this year, so when did he attend camp? 

Something I’ve learned about Brian Nakamura, is when he talks, you need a tape recorder, cause he goes all over the place, saying all kinds of stuff, starting to insinuate dire consequences, but mumbling unfinished sentences into his shirt collar. This morning, he started to say something about some kind of bad legal situation we would be in if we didn’t forgive this loan – I’m just  guessing – it has something to do with auditing books, and stuff not looking quite right. Funds out of balance.  Like, “hey, where did you put that $206,000?” “Me?! I thought YOU had it!” 

I didn’t press him on it, because Mark Sorensen had already yelled at me and cut me off before my three minutes was up because I suggested we wanted to see the financial records for the center. I also suggested that the city get an organization on that city-owned property that was accountable for their finances. Later Sorensen asked the center director if they had an audit firm or if they did their books internally. Wow – that’s what I suspected – Sorensen, who voted a year ago to defer the loan payments, has not only never seen the books, he doesn’t know anything about them. A man who not only owns his own lucrative business but manages another entire town.  What a fucking idiot.  Sorensen is way too quick to hold up his hands and deny any responsibility for this mess.

Director Caitlin Reilly responded that they have a CPA file a form 990, which she says is available to the public. I told her I’d be contacting her for that, and she said it would take her a  couple of days to scan and send it. Oh yeah, she has sooooo much to do down there!  That must be a regular whopper of a file. Full of bigger whoppers, I’m guessing!

This on the heels of Nakamura’s Garbage Tax. That’s another post folks. 

 

Robin Hood Nakamura wants to raise our garbage rates so he can forgive a $206,000 debt for Chico Creek Nature Center

21 Apr

At tomorrow’s Finance Committee meeting they will discuss raising your garbage rates so they can “forgive” over $200,000 in loan, interest, and late fees to the Chico Creek Nature Center.

A quick read of the consultant’s report regarding the new garbage tax will tell you, the city is adding a pimp charge to your garbage bill – but no, you won’t get anything more in return. The “additional services” they are talking about are all services the city is supposed to perform already. They will turn these duties, like street sweeping and leaf pick-up, over to the haulers, in return for an exclusive contract for Waste Management and Recology to split down the middle.

This is a sweet deal for both haulers – we will all be forced to “subscribe” to service, even if we don’t need it.  You know there are single people and childless couples all over town who bust a gut to produce a shopping sack full of trash per week, who do not have garbage service at their home.  They throw their trash away at work, in that big dumpster out back, or they take it to the grocery store when they shop – why not, that’s where most of it came from. When they eat out, they leave their trash at the restaurant. 

There are also neighbors who share trash service, which seems like the answer to those whiners who complain about too many trucks on the street.  Why not talk to your neighbors? Agree between yourselves on a common carrier, share cans whenever possible.  Unfortunately, that will be doable under this new franchise agreement. 

As for those “additional services,” street sweeping sounds great, but leaf pick-up is something we all pay for that disproportionately benefits landscape businesses. Every week my neighbors’ landscape providers come around, mow, and then blow everything right into the street. In Fall it’s absolutely impossible not to notice, there are mounds of leaves in front of houses that do not have one tree in the front yard. The program has very simple rules, one  of which is, no back yard leaves. But who supervises any of this? People should be cited for depositing their yard waste in the street, but here we ALL pay to have it picked up, free of charge. To hell with the leaf pick-up program. 

Read the list yourselves – they’re talking “X-mas tree pick-up.” I’m sorry, I don’t use “X-mas trees,” and I certainly don’t leave them laying in front of my house in the street. Why should I pay for those other jackasses? 

But we will, we will pay and pay. The consultant says our rates are “artificially cheap,” compared to nearby towns. Well, that’s because, they’ve all instituted the same scam already. Get ready for your bill to go up, $15, $20, maybe as much as $30 a month. 

One thing I see in looking at this report, our rates are artificially low not because we don’t have all these rainbow services, but because we have a current agreement that forces the haulers to use Neal Road Landfill. I am soooo conflicted here. Neal Road Landfill is a dinosaur, I don’t care what Mike Crump says. Recology owns a much more modern landfill in Wheatland – but get this – people in Wheatland and the surrounding area pay Rocology $52/month for a 96 gal tote, compared to our $24/month. Well, excuuuuuse me! Sustainability, my  friends, is for the rich.

I’d like to see our service remain same, keep the provision that the trash be kept here in Butte County, and a fund be set up immediately for the modernization of Neal Road Landfill. They talked about that somewhat at Sustainability Task Force meetings, but they’re really not serious about it. That’s because Neal Road is run by the county now, public workers are just not as motivated as private industry workers, let’s face it. They turn everything into a salary trough, where service becomes the last priority after paying their unfunded pension liability. 

Aftr they talk about putting the screw to us simply because they can, City Mangler Brian Nakamura will recommend further deferral, possibly even forgiveness (excuse me while I enjoy a solid chorus, in four part harmony, of “I TOLD YOU SO!”) of the Chico Creek Nature Center’s loan. This loan was originally $185,000 in 2008 but has metastasized into about $205,000 due to unpaid interest and late fees. And, the money was originally stolen  from the development fund, now over $9 million in deficit. Nakamura is recommending that the city forget about the extra $20,000-something in interest and fees and switch to an interest-only payment plan, until such time as this shaky little organization can pull it’s head out of it’s ass and start paying it’s bills. He also has the city attorney look into forgiving the loan!

Which provokes an interesting question: can the forgiven Nature Center loan be written off by the city as bad debt, or will the city have to repay the Development fund out of the General Fund? 

This on the heels of over $500,000 in losses through the home loan program, “written off” at last week’s council meeting. They’re just handing our money out like candy down at City Hall!  This is why they want to triple our garbage rates? 

Tune in next time, for another exciting installment of “Runaway City!” starring Jon Voight as Brian Nakamura, and Eric Roberts as Mark Orme. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hemet Taxpayers Association eliminated health benefits for council members and instituted term limits

19 Apr

Back in 2010, the Hemet Taxpayers Association asserted themselves and actually got two ballot measures passed – at more than 75 % approval.  It cost them about $7,000. I know, I’d rather buy my own ice cream truck for that kind of money, but it might be worth it to pass the hat around for something like this: (from  City of Hemet Ca,    http://www.cityofhemet.org/      under Municipal Code )

(See Sec. 2-36. Salary of members)

Initiative measure limiting health benefits for elected officials. The city shall not pay for, fund, or otherwise contribute to, the premiums, charges, fees or other costs of health benefits made available by the city to elected city officials either during their term or after their term of office. This measure shall only affect city officials elected to office after October 1994. Nothing in this measure shall prohibit the city from making health benefits that are generally available to other city employees also available to elected city officials during or after his/her term of office, provided that such health benefits are provided at the sole cost of the elected city official. City ordinances, resolutions, or policies, or portions thereof, in effect as of the date referenced below, that are inconsistent or in conflict with this measure shall be deemed repealed and no longer of any effect to the extent necessary to harmonize such documents with this measure. This measure shall take effect at the conclusion of the general election held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, and shall continue thereafter.

(Ord. No. 142; Code 1984, § 2005; Ord. No. 1521, § 1, 6-13-95; Ord. No. 1576, § 2, 1-23-98; Ord. No. 1618, § 1, 6-27-00; Ord. No. 1672, § 1, 8-13-02; Ord. No. 1715, §§ 1, 2, 5-11-04; Ord. No. 1764, § 1, 7-11-06; Res. No. 4369, § 2, 7-27-10 (passed by voters 11-2-10))

(Sec. 2-37. Initiative measure establishing term limits for elected officials.)

During their lifetime no person shall serve, whether by means of election or appointment, more than three terms of office as a city councilmember, as the treasurer, or as any other elected city official. This term limit shall be applied separately to each different type of elected office held. A partial term of office shall be considered to be a full term where more than one-half of the regular term of office has been served. This measure shall apply prospectively, taking effect as to terms commencing in 2012 and thereafter.

(Res. No. 4368, § 2, 7-27-10 (passed by voters 11-2-10))

Chico City Council race kicks off next Sunday, April 27, with Andrew Coolidge, Chico library, noon to one pm

19 Apr

Next Friday we have our first city council candidate coming in to the library for a chit-chat – Andrew Coolidge. You may remember Coolidge from 2012.

As I scan over my drafts file, I see plenty of city of Chico  issues I haven’t had time to talk about – a back page story about California’s looming pension liability, a letter from a Chico man suggesting we set another tax on ourselves to fund more cops, a chart showing that Cal Water gives public agencies like cities a flat water rate while the rest of us are on meters, an article about a pile of bad home loans recently written off by the city, BK Brook’s letter about the problems at Chico’s long neglected sewer plant, an editorial from a man who has never attended an airport commission saying we need to “get better commercial service at the airport…” , and then an interesting report about how claims against the city – for stuff like falling tree limbs and injuries/tire damage due to broken sidewalks and potholes – are UP.  Have you looked at Bidwell Park lately? You are taking your life in your hands walking into Bidwell Park – the trees need to be trimmed along the driveway, or somebody is going to be seriously injured.

We need to make sure these candidates are not riding on a cloud of air. What do they know about the real issues? Has Coolidge read the employee contracts? What does he think about paying benefits and pensions on people that make three, four, five times the median income? Months ago Coolidge made a public statement about the water rate increase – what has he done since?  Has he contacted the Ratepayer Advocate or the CPUC, does he have any news of our rate case, has he written a letter of protest? Has he attended an airport commission meeting – how many? Has he attended any meetings Downtown, which ones? Does he know how much money has been taken from the sewer fund to pay pensions and benefits? Does he understand that our sewer has reached capacity, and there are concerns about our water table falling, but our city keeps handing out building permits?

So far we have two city council candidates lined up, Coolidge and Joe Montes.  I don’t know who else is running because Debbie Presson won’t post the filings – she’s waiting until after the June primary, because she’s just plain lazy and incompetent. I’m curious about measures or initiatives that might be on the city ballot, so if I get a chance I’ll go down to her office and ask to look at them. In the meantime, let’s give Coolidge a good vetting, that’s next Sunday, April 27, from noon to one pm, Chico Library at First and Sherman Aves.

 

We pay for Goloff’s rehab, like we paid for the surgery that supposedly hooked her on the meds. We need to dump health care benefits for city councillors

18 Apr

Chico Taxpayers Association would like to thank former mayor Mary Flynn Goloff for finally acknowledging that she has a substance abuse problem. But, I’d like to temper that with a good kick in the pants for having the nerve to sit up there for eight years high as a kite. 

Furthermore, I’d like to ask the other six council members and various close members of $taff how they could let this go on for almost eight years. In fact, when Goloff gave indications last year that she was unfit to serve, her cohorts on council voted to “forgive” the meetings she’d missed without any question as to why she’d missed them. Now we find out, as I suspected, she was in re-hab that time too. 

The last time I checked, Mary was receiving $21,000+ worth of health insurance from the city, for which she paid two percent of her salary as city councilor. Her salary is about $8,000, so she is paying less than $200 out of her own  pocket for a very nice policy. That policy not only paid for the rehab visits, but for the hip surgery she claims put her onto the meds. 

Yeah, I have a bad hip, wow. It started when I was carrying my first child, it got so bad, I could hardly walk.  It’s turned into “osteo arthritis”, which, as described by the doctor, means to me, “rotten bones.” I have taken  calcium supplements all my adult life, starting when I was working out at a gym. I’ve stayed physically active, toting my kids on a bike, making my errands by bike, swimming, hiking, biking, and snowboarding. See, it’s that Catch 22 thing – exercise helps the pain of arthritis, but it heaps it on too. The doctor recommended that I stay active, and he gave me some pain pills that would take the paint off Old Ironsides. I took one dose and laid awake all night cradling my gut like a screaming newborn.

Surgery? I’m sorry, I don’t have an insurance policy paid by the taxpayers – I have the bronze plan, or I have Medi-Cal.  No surgeon would return my calls, EVEN IF I were stoooooopid enough to think surgery would fix it. Right now they’re playing a commercial on tv – call a lawyer if you received a certain hip implant. And then there’s that episode of Rockford Files, where Abe Vigoda plays this old mobster who is having his hit men knock off every person who was involved in his botched hip replacement surgery, from the pharmaceutical salesman to the nurses to the doctors who did the surgery. I had to laugh at that episode, but it’s not really funny – this stuff really happens. And Mary just dragged us into that scam – we paid for her surgery, now we have to pay to get her off the painkillers “necessitated” by the surgery?

The only comfort I get out of  Mary’s statement is that she “has no plans to run again.” If only that was a promise.  

What we should do is form a PAC and put an initiative or measure on the 2016 ballot, ending health insurance for city councilors. We should also institute term limits – that would probably also take a ballot initiative or measure. I mean, do you really think any of the people currently sitting up there would voluntarily institute either provision? You think Mark Sorensen is so squeaky clean? Ask him why he takes the most expensive insurance policy offered and pays about $100 for it. I’ve asked him point blank, and he won’t answer. 

 

 

Chico Tea Party to host councillors Sorensen and Morgan, ass city manager Orme – “Chico’s role in economic development and how Chico can grow it’s way out of debt.”

17 Apr

Chico Tea Party meeting Tuesday 4/22/14 @ 7pm.

The Chico Tea Party Patriots will be holding a symposium. The topic will be the city of Chico’s role in economic development and how Chico can grow its way out of debt.  Mark Orme assistant city manager along with Sean Morgan and Mark Sorensen will be guest speakers.

 
The meeting starts at 7PM– at Marie Callenders 1910 East  20th Street, Chico. Doors open at 5:45 for those who want to order Dinner and visit before the meeting.

chicoteaparty.ning.com/events/chico-tea-party-patriots-meeting-3

LIMITED GOVERNMENT, FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, FREE MARKETS

Check us out on Facebook at “Official Chico Tea Party”

Check out www.chicoteaparty.com for more details on what tea party patriots are doing today.

Chico Tea Party Patriots
chicoteapartypatriots@gmail.com

236 East Ave., Ste. A
PMB 112
Chico, CA 95926-7239

Utility Tax Refund forms now available on city website

17 Apr

Wow, I am surprised this year to find the finance department has already posted the Utility Tax Refund application. In years past, I’ve had to remind them, but this year they got it up at least two weeks early. 

http://www.chico.ca.us/documents/UUTRefundApplication2014.pdf

I hope you have all saved your bills – PG&E, and water for most people I assume, and if you still have a “land line” phone, they’ll get you there too. So, I save all my bills, and I march Downtown one day in June to collect. I usually get at least $50, even as low as we keep our bills here.

We’ve finally turned off our heater, so we can enjoy a few months of low bills before it gets hot enough to tip the air conditioner thermostat. But I’ve already heard air conditioners around our neighborhood. Save those bills!

 

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