Tag Archives: Juanita Sumner

I booked the library room for every first Sunday through April 2013 – Chico Taxpayers Association is here for the long haul.

19 Nov

I am still waiting, with coffee breath, for the final results of the election. I’ve noticed, more votes have been added at some point since election night, but the result remains the same – Measure J is a good 2,000 votes behind and at least 5% short of the 51% needed to pass. 

I think it was member Casey Aplanalp who said we should be thankful to Tom Lando and Ann Schwab and the other tax hike proponents – they gave us the nudge to create our group, and wow, it sure worked out. 

So, I went ahead and reserved the library meeting room for the next five months, first Sunday of every month, 9am to 10am. I will be there this December 2 to see if anybody can help me draft a letter to the city. I want to ask a  few questions, what happens now that Measure J has been defeated? Which companies are collecting the tax currently, and when will Jennifer Hennessy have a letter drafted to those companies, telling them to stop? 

Etc. 

I hope you can join me, but don’t worry, I’ll be sure to fill you in.

“NO on J” signs will be delivered soon – let me know if you want one!

8 Oct

I’m sorry I forgot to post this month’s “First Sunday” meeting – I was so excited about the signs I ordered, I wasn’t thinking. I just notified the usual suspects and we had a quick meeting to compare notes. We’ll have another meeting or two before the election, watch the skies. 

We have all been working in our own way to spread the word about Measure J. Sue and Stephanie walked out at the closing night of Thursday Market to hand out fliers about Measure J. They reported what I had suspected – people don’t know about Measure J, and when they find out, they are angry about it. “What?!!!!” was apparently the general reaction. 

It is always dumbfounding to me how little the public knows about their government. I’d bet my last five dollars most Chicoans couldn’t name the Mayor if they were given a shot of Vitamin B6.  In fact, some council candidates I’ve spoken to have demonstrated an alarming ignorance of the city code, the employee contracts, salaries and pensions.  One candidate I spoke too actually believed it was necessary to close Station 5.  

That’s why the only candidate I’ve endorsed or asked the other members of the CTA to endorse is Toby Schindelbeck. Schindelbeck has worked hard, familiarizing himself with the city charter, going to all the committee meetings for months now, finding his way around the maze Downtown. I know I won’t always agree pointblank with Schindelbeck, but he’s not going in there just to heat a seat cushion two nights a month. 

Another candidate asked for our endorsement, but I haven’t got any solid support from the rest of the members, and this candidate has not done anything lately that I can endorse him about. I’m not campaigning against anybody but Schwab – she’s the stinking fish head in this basket –  but if you want my endorsement, or my support in any way, you need to work for it. Schindelbeck is the only one I’ve seen consistently at meetings, and he’s spoken forcefully on our collective behalf to get finance records and other murky city affairs out in the public eye.  For example,  Scott Gruendl was on the committee that was to lay out the guidelines for  choosing a new city manager, as well as, the guidelines for replacing a council member when they stepped down before their term was up,  when he was himself a candidate for city manager. Schindelbeck pressured Gruendl to either step down from the oversight committee or remove himself as a candidate for city manager, and Gruendl was forced to do the latter. If it hadn’t been for Schindelbeck, Scott Gruendl would likely be our city manager right now, hand-picked by himself, and we’d watching his anointed appointee led to his chair on the dais. 

I’m still waiting for the signs to come back from the printer – sorry to wait til the last minute, but they will look really nice, I’ll promise you that! Let me know here if you want one – I won’t print your response, but I’ll keep track. Give me some address to deliver the sign, one per customer, as long as they last. I’ll post a picture of a sign when I get them, some time in the next couple of days. 

What can you do about Measure J? Please talk to one or more of your neighbors today. I know, it’s tough, neighbors aren’t as friendly as they were 10 years ago. But, for every asshole you encounter, I swear to gawd you’ll meet a nice person. 

Here’s the kind of butt-kissing that passes for “work” at the city of Chico – Linda Herman gets paid over $85,000 a year plus benies and pension premiums to pass around these back-scratching e-mails

3 Oct

I’m busy this morning, I check my mail, I get the stupidest kind of crap from the city of Chico. Here’s a snatch of a coversation between $85,000 a year plus Sustainability Task Force $taffer Linda Herman and Audrey Taylor of  Chabin Concepts – a consulting firm that bellies up to the bar for city funds.  This is what the city $taffers call “work”, and YOU pay for it. 

<div “”=”” id=”mp0_recip”>To Linda Herman, Shawn Tillman, Ann Schwab, Ruben Martinez, Crystal Torres, Dwight Aitkens, falexander@csuchico.edu, Hannah Hepner, Jill Ortega, juanita sumner, Nichoel Farris, Scott Wolf, Stephanie Taber, Steve Rodowick, Tino Nava, Tom DiGiovanni, Toni Scott

Thanks Linda – Ann had asked me a while back if I could join the task force but we all agreed I might have a conflict of interest since I was contracted with NoRTEC at the time, I should have kept up on it better.

I look forward to any help I can provide and leveraging these opportunities for our businesses – it is all good and I think the time is right for greater collaboration and outreach on all fronts to assist our local businesses.

And thank you, Rubin and Erik for attending the Alternative Fuel & Vehicle meetings – that too is a key part of this which we may want to discuss further of how to leverage.

Audrey

From: Linda Herman [mailto:LHERMAN@ci.chico.ca.us] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2012 8:23 AM
To: Audrey Taylor; Shawn Tillman
Cc: Ann Schwab; Ruben Martinez; Crystal Torres; Dwight Aitkens; falexander@csuchico.edu; Hannah Hepner; Jill Ortega; juanita sumner; Linda Herman; Nichoel Farris; Scott Wolf; Stephanie Taber; Steve Rodowick; Tino Nava; Tom DiGiovanni; Toni Scott
Subject: Re: Great job

Thank you Audrey for your comments for I believe that they are spot on and exactly what the Sustainability Task Force and Ad-Hoc Committee have in mind.  We would love it if every business in Chico were recognized under this program and want to help them achieve this goal.  I also very much  appreciated your help last night.  I didn’t get a chance to say it, but we, too, had thought about possibly the Chamber taking this program on and Ann had approached Jolene Francis about this concept early on in the process.  I also agree that we should join forces with the Economic Development side of this and something we need to pursue. 

Attached is a copy of the Council agenda report with the Sustainable Business program materials.  Please note that due to the length of the staff report I only attached a copy of the Energy resource guide as a sample.  Please let me know if you would like to see the guides for the other five categories as well.  We also welcome any comments or suggestions you may have and it occurred to me last night that we should have solicited your input on this earlier.

Thanks again and I am sure we will be in touch in the future about this program.

Linda

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Linda Herman
General Services Administrative Manager
City of Chico
phone:  (530) 896-7241
fax:       (530) 895-4825
email:    lherman@ci.chico.ca.us
web:     www.ci.chico.ca.us
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>>> Audrey Taylor <audrey@chabinconcepts.com> 10/3/2012 7:20 AM >>>

Linda

Very good job on the sustainability program..I think it is a good thing and more and more is a great part of economic development which I think is a good thing.   

Certainly understand some of the concerns from business perspective – I certainly hope my comments were taken in the right context – I was not suggesting we move the program to the Chamber (I certainly cannot speak to them) but in many areas I know they are starting to take leadership roles in a collaborative setting to take pressure off of  cities.   

After I thought about it I should have commented that this might be just a positioning opportunity –  this as an assistance program to help those businesses interested in triple bottom line to get there through the guideline and resources available and which the City would recognize those businesses and working with partners would provide technical assistance to reach those goals.or something like that.    I think that is the intent and totally support the effort as it is shared value to everyone.   Know though that a lot of businesses react to “govt” as being received as “regulations” before even investigating…

With this and the PACE program think these are good tools for the Outreach program that Shawn was discussing – possible opportunity to collaborate and leverage the outreach for more impact utilizing the outreach team to deliver messages on tools and then referring interested companies to any of the sustainability team that could help a company.   Shawn’s team has been working on a Chico Business Services guide which would be a leave behind..the last page could be used to promote this assistance program.

Just my thoughts and if I can be of help more than glad too.   I recently had opportunity to work with City of Benicia  on the Sustainability Program and ran into some of the same issues brought up last night…they are fortunate though to have a Valero fund to tap to really assist businesses 

Audrey

 

PS Can you send me copy or link to access the full report/guide – thanks

Audrey Taylor, President & CEO

Chabin Concepts & CR Group

Audrey@chabinconcepts.com

TEL: 530.345.0364 Ext 27

MOBILE: 530.520.2521

2515 Ceanothus Avenue, Suite 100

Chico, CA 95973

www.chabinconcepts.com

twitter.com/AudreyCHABIN

 

Ann Schwab’s mismanagement – 21 top-paid retired employees get over $2 million a year in pension payments, plus benefits and COLA

2 Oct

 

Sometimes a bad thing is so bald-faced, so blatant, so obvious that you can’t believe it’s true. This is what I have found as I’ve dug and delved at the pension mess. It’s so simple it took me forever to figure it out.

In Sacramento there is a tug-o-war playing out between Governor Jerry Brown,  the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  The subject of this wrestling match is the billions – yes that’s BILLIONS –  promised to former and current public employees, and whether they should be paid now by the public entities (like the City of Chico) who signed their contracts, or whether the state should borrow money to pay them and hope that the stock market will recover enough to pay the money back.

State Controller John Chiang says we have a projected deficit of over $38 BILLION over the next 30 years. The interest to borrow the money to pay this is projected at $149 million.

“Thirty-eight BILLION?” you say. Well, let me explain how we got there.  In Chico, we have 21 retirees who make more than $100,000 a year,  in pension, including a former fire chief who makes more than $200,000 a year! 

Name Employer Warrant Amount Annual
ALEXANDER, THOMAS E CHICO $8,947.23 $107,366.76
BAPTISTE, ANTOINE G CHICO $10,409.65 $124,915.80
BEARDSLEY, DENNIS D CHICO $8,510.23 $102,122.76
BROWN, JOHN S CHICO $17,210.38 $206,524.56
CARRILLO, JOHN A CHICO $10,398.98 $124,787.76
DAVIS, FRED CHICO $12,467.78 $149,613.36
DUNLAP, PATRICIA CHICO $10,632.10 $127,585.20
FELL, JOHN G CHICO $9,209.35 $110,512.20
FRANK, DAVID R CHICO $14,830.05 $177,960.60
GARRISON, FRANK W CHICO $8,933.56 $107,202.72
JACK, JAMES F CHICO $9,095.09 $109,141.08
KOCH, ROBERT E CHICO $9,983.23 $119,798.76
LANDO, THOMAS J CHICO $11,236.48 $134,837.76
MCENESPY, BARBARA CHICO $12,573.40 $150,880.80
PIERCE, CYNTHIA CHICO $9,390.30 $112,683.60
ROSS, EARNEST C CHICO $9,496.60 $113,959.20
SCHOLAR, GARY P CHICO $8,755.69 $105,068.28
SELLERS, CLIFFORD R CHICO $9,511.11 $114,133.32
VONDERHAAR, JOHN F CHICO $8,488.07 $101,856.84
VORIS, TIMOTHY M CHICO $8,433.90 $101,206.80
WEBER, MICHAEL C CHICO $11,321.93 $135,863.16

That’s 20 pensions over $100,000 and one over $200,000 – over $2 million dollars a year, just those 21 pensions. These pensions were based on 70 – 90 percent of the employee’s highest year’s salary. We have over 100 city employees who make over $100,000 a year, meaning, they will retire at over $70,000/year-plus, many of them over $90,000, even over $100,000/year.

What pack of absolute ninnies would sign contracts with employees that guaranteed these pensions while requiring not one penny in premium payment on the part of the employee? Our city council, that’s who. They just signed another police contract – the city even pays the “employee share” of the pension premiums. Ann Schwab, your mayor, signed that contract.

So, am I the only non-public employee who thinks this is crazy?  Public employees get pensions based on their salaries. These pensions are  administered by CalPERS. But instead of requiring realistic pension premiums for these superCalifragilistic pensions, CalPERS and the SEIU hatched a plan to gamble on the stock market. CalPERS will tell you, without any shame, that they expect to fund our pension machine almost completely through gambling earnings, without any input from the recipients.  According to an article on their website,  Calpensions.com, “Most pension funds expect to get about two-thirds of their revenue from investment earnings, not annual employer or employee contributions,’ but they admit, “critics say the earnings forecasts are too optimistic.”

Yeah, way too optimistic – they’ve gotten dunked time and time again since 2003, including just this past couple of months. They’ve already lost over half their fund, a couple of times.  A July CalPERS press release reported a 1 percent annual gain – they need to make around 7.5 annually to stay on top of their, our, obligations.

So Governor Brown wants a premium rate increase, now!, meaning cities like Chico would be hit hard. Look at that list again.  But the SEIU says NO! Here’s the thing, again according to CalPERS, “Unions asked the [CalPERS] board to spread out higher pension costs mainly caused by a lower investment earnings forecast. Paying part of the new rate over two decades, instead of the full amount now, makes an extra $149 million available for worker pay and other programs next fiscal year.”  But it will cost at least that much to borrow the money to pay pensions we are already paying right now. See what a mess this is? 

The SEIU knows that if cities and counties had to pay more toward their pension obligations, things would change remarkably. First of all, Chico – along with towns all over the state – would have to lay off current employees in order to make those payments  – and those people would of course be union members. The union would lose those dues, and the union would start to shrink, and it’s power would start to diminish.  If you think our salaries are wild, you can just imagine what they get paid at CalPERS. Those people have not even begun to be laid off yet. 

Second, cities would be less eager to write the contracts that got us in to this mess in the first place – contracts that guaranteed overtime by which people could spike the salaries on which the pensions were based, and then allowed the employee to get out of paying for any of it.

Look at that list again – the red names are people I’m certain were either with the police or fire department. There are a couple of others I suspect to be retired “public safety” workers. The pensions they are receiving are more than the salaries they agreed to – they got them by spiking their regular salaries with overtime.  You’ll note, the biggest pension goes to former Fire Chief John Brown. I sat in at least three meetings listening to Brown declare that paying overtime was cheaper than hiring more firefighters, but he never had any proof, no figures, nothing. He just declared it as the truth and the idiots on council ate it up and rubber stamped contracts with structured-in overtime. Same with the cops – right now Chico Police Officers Association President Will Clark is hammering council for more structural overtime written into the city budget – he wants overtime budgeted for every three day weekend. Publicly Chico PD makes big talk about wanting more officers, for “public safety” –  but behind closed doors they’re howling for more overtime for themselves and their pensions.

The “public safety” contracts are the biggest problem. We need to get structural overtime out of the budget, completely. We also need to make employees pay their own benefits premiums. Look, if you paid all your adult children’s expenses, you’d look like an ASS, wouldn’t you? Why do we pay the “employee’s share” of benefits for people who make as much as four times the median income?

Ask Ann Schwab – that’s aschwab@ci.chico.ca.us.

Let’s take back our schools – starting with a solid NO! on the Chico Unified school bond, Measure E

29 Sep

 

I like the “shell game” analogy for public finance because it describes the use of multiple, sometimes dozens of designated funds to move money around and change it’s legally allowable uses. For example – years back, the Chico voters agreed to float a bond for Chico Unified School District for the specific purpose of building a third high school. The two existing high schools were, and still are, miserably inadequate. Families like mine were promised that if we all agreed to pay a bond on our property taxes there would be another school by the time our kids came of age.

My kids came and went, no new high school. Chico Unified used legal shenanigans to redirect the money toward various and sundry and undocumented uses, all over the district, fixing “this” and repairing “that”. The money on record doesn’t begin to add up when you do the rabbit math, but whatever. The public gets what the public is willing to swallow. 

What the public gets, specifically, is a $200,000/year plus Superintendent of Schools who totes a $taff of $100,000/year plus “assistants” who each tote their own $taff, etc, etc, til all the money’s gone. See, every time the public approves another bond, $taley and her $taff give themselves raises all the way around, and then  bake up another argument about how they need yet another bond just to run the schools.

Here’s how they get away with it – over recent years, the legislature has changed the wording of the rules for bonds. Here’s what the California Education Code currently allows for the use of bonds – borrowed money that costs $3 for every dollar borrowed:   “The construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities.”

According to political reporter Chris Reed in Cal Watchdog,  San Diego schools have interpreted that to mean laptops, iPads, “and the most routine maintenance, such as painting and minor repairs.”

Why not?” you might say.  You might be among those who can’t say no, based on your love of children. You might say, “No expense is too great for our kids!”  Well, I would say to you, stop and think before you step into that voting booth.

A whopping share of our property taxes already goes toward our schools –  over 40 percent of the state’s General Fund, in fact.  Why can’t they operate within that budget? Because on average, over 90 percent of a district’s budget goes toward “compensation” – salaries and health benefits. In Chico, with over  20 administrators making more than $100,000 a year, I guess you can imagine which salaries we’re talking about. 

The loose wording in these bond rules allows the district to pay for everything but salaries with bond money, leaving over $36 billion dollars – the schools’ share of the General Fund –  to spend on salaries, health benefits, and pension payments.  

Kelly $taley is looking to raise another $78 million to feather her retirement nest, in addition to the millions she siphoned off our property taxes with her  third high school ruse. This woman’s greed knows no bounds. If we continue to allow her and her friends to run our school district  this way, our children will pay for it for the rest of their lives. 

In her request to the county clerk to add the measure to the November ballot, $taley asks  that “we not be assigned the letter ‘F'”.  In this case, ‘E’ is for ‘embezzlement.’  Please vote NO on Measure E. 

Read more at http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/09/24/what-school-bonds-pay-for-from-san-diego-to-burlingame-the-crime-is-whats-legal/

and http://clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/elections/archives/eln27/27_local_measures.html#a

 

 

Get those letters in to the ER – but remember, you only get one “election related” letter before November 6.

19 Sep

I think David Little makes a big mistake every year when he tries to limit people to one “election related letter” after Labor Day.  Instead of creating a discourse over a period of months, he gets a last minute bullshit storm. 

Right now, nobody is writing, because they want to get that last word in. That’s what happens. In the last few weeks, after about October 5, it will be standing room only. 

In future I wish Little would start encouraging discussion as soon as the candidates and the measures start popping up in the spring. The state ballot measures were posted way back in March or April. And the local ballot measures, like the cell phone tax, have been in the works since last spring too. But you don’t read anything in the ER or the News & Review until the last few weeks. That last minute scramble is never the best atmosphere for considering a ballot measure. 

But, if you have a mind to write a letter to the ER, it’s wide open. 

Schindelbeck is the only council candidate who’s been willing to take on $taff and Measure J

19 Sep

I got together the other day with some friends and talked about Measure J. We came up with a short analysis of this measure. These are FACTS that everybody should know about Measure J:

  • Measure J will add a 4.5 percent tax to cellular phone services and every form of electronic communication service existing now, as well as those yet to be invented.
  • Measure J allows the city Finance Director to add new forms of electronic communication to the list of those services taxed, without voter approval.  
  • Measure J revenues will be directed to the General Fund, which means there is no guarantee they will be used to fund public safety as proponents claim, but could be used for any purpose determined by council.
  • Measure J revenues can and will be used to pay the outstanding pension obligations of our city employees, more than 100 of whom make over $100,000/year and pay none of their own pension premiums. Only the fire employees pay any pension premium, and only 2 %. 

These can be typed or written onto a card or half sheet of paper and handed out or sent to anyone you know who receives a phone bill within the city of Chico. Or you can memorize them for enlightening conversations!

Here’s another list of facts –  these are the top 21 pension earners at  the city of Chico – those who get over a $100,000 a year, in pension. “Warrant Amount”, in case you didn’t guess, is how much they get a month.  John Brown, by the way, is our recently retired fire chief. Want to make a guess at what the new fire chief makes, the guy who shut down Station 5? 

Name Employer Warrant Amount Annual
ALEXANDER, THOMAS E CHICO $8,947.23 $107,366.76
BAPTISTE, ANTOINE G CHICO $10,409.65 $124,915.80
BEARDSLEY, DENNIS D CHICO $8,510.23 $102,122.76
BROWN, JOHN S CHICO $17,210.38 $206,524.56
CARRILLO, JOHN A CHICO $10,398.98 $124,787.76
DAVIS, FRED CHICO $12,467.78 $149,613.36
DUNLAP, PATRICIA CHICO $10,632.10 $127,585.20
FELL, JOHN G CHICO $9,209.35 $110,512.20
FRANK, DAVID R CHICO $14,830.05 $177,960.60
GARRISON, FRANK W CHICO $8,933.56 $107,202.72
JACK, JAMES F CHICO $9,095.09 $109,141.08
KOCH, ROBERT E CHICO $9,983.23 $119,798.76
LANDO, THOMAS J CHICO $11,236.48 $134,837.76
MCENESPY, BARBARA  CHICO $12,573.40 $150,880.80
PIERCE, CYNTHIA CHICO $9,390.30 $112,683.60
ROSS, EARNEST C CHICO $9,496.60 $113,959.20
SCHOLAR, GARY P CHICO $8,755.69 $105,068.28
SELLERS, CLIFFORD R CHICO $9,511.11 $114,133.32
VONDERHAAR, JOHN F CHICO $8,488.07 $101,856.84
VORIS, TIMOTHY M CHICO $8,433.90 $101,206.80
WEBER, MICHAEL C CHICO $11,321.93 $135,863.16

You not only pay these pensions, you pay the interest on the money we have to borrow to pay them. See, the California Public Employee Retirement System gambled it’s money on the stock market, and lost our ass. CalPERS officers still take huge salaries, and of course, get 70 percent of their salary as pension.

The salaries these Chico pensions were based on  were negotiated by people sitting on council now, including Ann Schwab. When Tom Lando  left the city of Chico he was making over $190,000 a year, largely because of a memo Ann signed that linked city worker pay to revenue increases but not decreases. 

That memo was really the last nail in our coffin. Like a little time-release bomb. The public salaries went up, up, up, and they took the cost of living in Chico with them, never to return. Unfortunately, at the same time, council, led by Ann Schwab and the liberals, went on a building permits spree to fund their salary increase, ruining the housing market and the construction industry in our town.  The contractors they brought in from towns like Fresno brought not only their own workers, but undocumented aliens, who took their paychecks out of town. Meanwhile long-time local contractors and workers were left unemployed. This had a long-term effect that is coming to fruition now – those folks are losing their homes, which are selling for much less than they were assessed at five years ago, and now the big stinking pigeon has come home to roost – the city is broke.

And that’s where the memo comes in again – revenue increases but not decreases – revenues went down, down, down, but salaries DOWNTOWN are still going up, up, up. I’ll never forget the time Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy was allowed to hire her own performance auditor, and when he gave her the expected favorable review, she gave herself a $14,000 a year raise. Wow – talk about your perks and benies – a job where you get to be in charge of your own pay! 

This hayride has to end, but when?  The only candidate I’ve seen in this election taking any of these people to task is Toby Schindelbeck, and that’s why he’s the only candidate who has the endorsement of the Chico Taxpayer’s Association.  I like Coolidge, but he hasn’t done much, and some of the stuff he’s said has left me wondering. And Morgan doesn’t know what he’s talking about –  he’s just a rubber stamp for the “public safety” unions. Meanwhile, Evans won’t admit he knows anything about Lando’s sales tax increase proposal, even though he’s been sitting in on the discussions. 

I‘m sick of the same old same old Downtown, I’m not voting for Fist Puppets. I want somebody different in there. Right now, most of them are public workers or ex public workers, including career military pensioner Bob Evans and Biggs city mangler Mark Sorensen.  I don’t think these people can stand up to $taff because they are blinded by self-interests – they know, pension reform could affect them! We need a small business owner, an employer, a person who does business with the general public – somebody who still has his feet planted firmly on the same dirt the rest of us are standing on. 

That’s why I’m supporting Schindelbeck. His future is more tied to Chico, and the rest of us. 

Ballot measures – today featuring state Proposition 30 and local Measure E

15 Sep

I thought I’d share this interesting link:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm

Look them over, some of them are tax increase measures.  There at the top you see Proposition 30 – that’s Jerry Browns’ pit bull disguised as a tea cup poodle. “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Gee, they make it sound so harmless – “Temporary” – oooo! “Fund Education” – ahhhh!  That’s like saying,  “well he’s just a little ol’ alligatah, Honey!”

They write these titles knowing how many people actually read the text of a measure. Sure, some of those people don’t bother to read it because they ritually vote NO! on anything smelling like a tax increase – that’s not a bad strategy as far as I’m concerned.

But, it’s not my strategy. I know we need taxes to fund public needs. It’s not like I’m just Anti-Tax – my family is full of teachers, I went to public school. I’ve driven my car, rode my bike and hoofed it on public roads for over 50 years.  I like public utilities, which are largely subsidized with taxes, and I like having some sort of police and fire protection, even if I have to take the ticks with the hound. 

On the other hand, I also know, it’s stupid to throw money at budget problems. We certainly do have a budget problem in the state of California, but it’s not a revenue problem, it’s  a spending problem.  Year after year the governor and the legislature have screamed that we are in deficit, need to “cut back,” but they just keep approving more spending. For the craziest stuff, I don’t even want to go there. Mostly for the lifestyle they’ve managed to make out of it for themselves – why do we allow these public servants to live like demi-gods? Alot of us could live on their wardrobe and dry-cleaning allowances, their cell phone allowances, their car and gas allowances. We have “allowanced” these people until they are so far removed from our everyday reality –  I guess, we’ve made our own monster, and we deserve to be destroyed by this creature.

Well, not me. I’m going to fight. This “temporary” tax is another hike – add that onto the hike in the cost of housing, the cost of medical care, the cost of groceries and gas and everything else you need to live. Add that to the city’s utility tax hike and the state’s wood products tax and the proposed Chico art tax and a grocery bag tax – pending state legislation would allow retailers to charge the public for plastic grocery bags, currently illegal.  I’ll tell you what, it sure seems to me, the people of  California are being told to TAKE A HIKE!

First of all, “temporary” means, after the allotted time, the legislature can vote to extend it.  I don’t know if they need public approval for that. Like local Measure H, which would extend a “temporary fee” that was placed on our vehicle registration a few years back. Once you vote something like this in it’s like giving the vacuum salesman a foot in your door. 

And then there’s the WHY? of it. WHY? would we give the schools more money? Here in Chico, they just pad their behinds with the stuff. What does a school district the size of Chico need with all these $100,000 plus administrators, including Stuporintendent of Snooze, Kelly Staley, who makes well over $180,000 a year, plus benefits and pension paid by the taxpayers.

Furthermore, Chico Unified has foisted their own bond on the local ballot – how much money do they need down there? Are they making clothes out of it? Here’s the info on that:

http://clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/elections/archives/eln27/27_local_measures.html#a

Staley wants to issue $78 million in bonds, placing a $45 tax on your home for every $100,000 worth of value. Read Staley’s request here:

http://clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/elections/archives/eln27/measure_e_resolution.pdf

Staley only wants $78 mil. Jerry Brown is hoping to raise $6 billion annually. I can imagine Santa Claus, and maybe even the tooth fairy, but I can’t begin to imagine $6 billion.

He says his measure “bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are spent.” That is a loophole – everything after “but” .  Everybody who’s dealt with government types knows what the words “discretion” and “open meetings” mean – in other words, we listened to what the public said but we did what we wanted anyway. 

And there’s this line: “Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments.”   Let’s have a collective, “oh, sure!” on that one – which turnip truck does Governor Moonbeam think we fell off of? How many times have they just TAKEN money from local jurisdictions, saying, “make us give it back” ? And we’re supposed to fall for it? Fool me once, Shame on You! Fool me twice, well, I’ll probably buy it a third time too. But the fourth time, I’m not only not going to fall for it, I’m going to kick your ass for trying to pull it.

Oh, you know, I’m not advocating violence, oh geeshy sakes no! I’m asking everybody I know, everybody within blog-shot,  to bring in a LANDSLIDE against Prop 30 AND local Measure E, the school bond. We have to clean our financial house, and it’s going to be a lot of work. Lately, adding more money to the state of California engine is just like putting cheap gas in your Pinto.  Clunk-clunka-clunk-clunk-clunk!  Clunka-clunk!

 I read an article today, in which the author professed being in favor of Prop 30, and challenged opponents to come up with good alternatives to the “problem”. Of course, he thinks the “problem” is, teachers don’t get paid enough, and we don’t have enough money to hire adequate teachers. I feel the “problem” is, the school system is top-heavy with administrative salaries and drowning in benefits and pensions obligations that should be paid by the employees.  His answer is either raise taxes or watch the California schools fall further into the abyss. I say,  cut administration positions down to bare bones, and make Superintendent a publicly elected position. Then,  fire people, and rehire other qualified applicants at reasonable salaries. Finally, throw out the notion of “benefits packages” altogether – benefits packages are something you use to lure highly skilled candidates in an employee’s market. That is not how I’d describe the average employee of Chico Unified, and Chico is certainly not an “employee’s market,” with Chico State squeezing out Liberal Studies candidates like a sausage press.

 What the government isn’t admitting, is that these contracts come up for review every so many years – every year down at the school district –  and they have the alternative of NOT RENEWING. Instead, they hold the public out of the negotiations with BS about “collective bargaining rights” and renew even worse contracts than those expired. Why do we pay our public workers three, four, five times the median income, while also paying even the “employee share” of their benefits?

That has got to stop. If we really want to live within our means, we need candidates for public office who are willing to tackle the issues of salaries and benefits, not in some future “tiered” system, but NOW. When existing contracts come up for renegotiation, we need candidates who are not afraid to look unreasonable employees in the eye and tell them not to let the screen door hit them on the ass. We need council members who are not afraid to tell employees they need to pay MOST, if not ALL, of their own benefits. I’m sick of these cowards, people who are more interested in keeping their ass in the chair than working for the taxpayers. People who are afraid of $taff because they are too lazy or intimidated to do their own homework and depend on $taff to feed them like infants. 

Do your homework this election, tell your friends, get the word out – “change” is actually a wonderful word, we’re all allowed to use it. 

 

Outback Steakhouse hosting a fundraiser for Chico council candidate Toby Schindelbeck – steak and shrimp lunch!

11 Sep
Frank Kennemer and Outback Steakhouse will be hosting a
Toby Schindelbeck for Council Fundraiser and you are invited!

Outback Steakhouse

Please Join Toby Schindelbeck, Candidate for Chico City Council, for a delicious lunch hosted by Frank Kennemer, owner at Outback Steakhouse in Chico!

When: Thursday, September 13th from 11:30am to 1:30 pm- show up anytime between.

Where: 1990 E. 20th Street

Chico, CA 95928

Suggested Donation $30.00 per person, includes a steak and shrimp lunch!

Please RSVP to Lisa at (530) 519-9634 if you can, or just show up.

Join us  to get to know Toby, his passion for the issues, what he stands for and what he will bring to the City Council.

Additional donations are greatly appreciated up to $500. If you are unable to attend, your generous contributions can be mailed to: 1141 Forest Ave, #20, Chico, CA. 95928.

I received the above invitation from Toby Schindelbeck. I have attended Outback Steakhouse fundraisers before, including a really nice dinner at the Nature Center years ago, and really enjoyed the food. I’ve also given tickets to their fundraisers as gifts, and never gotten a complaint. 

Chico Taxpayers Association endorses Toby Schindelbeck because he has proven himself to be a hard worker, attending meetings, reading volumes of documents and weeding out discrepancies in the city’s book keeping, ah, er, let’s say “style.”  He’s also worked hard to get more citizens involved in their own government, raising issue with the closing of Station 5 and pressuring the city manager and council to uphold the city code and open the public finances to the scrutiny of the public. 

Schindelbeck has said that he believes city employees, particularly the public safety employees, should pay more of their own benefits, and this is a move in the right direction. I don’t expect we will always agree with Toby Schindelbeck on everything, but it’s not his words or promises we’re endorsing, it’s his actions. 

If you can’t make this fundraiser, keep posted, Toby has other fun events planned. 

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss! $217,000 a year, plus benefits. And he’s a liar, to boot.

19 Aug

I got a comment a couple of weeks ago from a person who identified themself as a resident of the town of Hemet, Ca, and said that our city was about to hire their city’s manager. And what do you know – our council went right ahead and did that the other night. And it was unanimous, so Sorensen and Evans went right along with it. 

This Nakamura dude only made it in Hemet for three years. And when their financial ship appeared to be on the rocks, he kept it a secret that he was looking for another job, here in Chico. 

http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/hemet/hemet-headlines-index/20120815-hemet-city-manager-accepts-chico-job.ece

In fact, according this story, he lied to his bosses about his intentions when they found out he had visited Chico – he told them it was just to “share with the council my experience on how we made our city a wonderful place, and that’s it.” For one thing, Hemet isn’t such a wonderful place, it’s a shithole with piles of problems. 

According to the story, “Two weeks ago, (Nakamura)  said he was no longer involved in talks with Chico, but on Wednesday said Chico officials contact [sic]  him last week and negotiations moved swiftly.”

Hemet lies in the middle of SoCal, out in the wasteland east of San Diego. It’s one of those towns that has grown by leaps and bounds over the boom years. In the 90’s, they actually allocated $800,000 in RDA money to begin building a LAKE, to draw tourism.  And now there Hemet sits, LAKESIDE! revenues dropping, and up to it’s ass in debt. In fact, if you scan over their agendas and records, you find Hemet is in the same kind of mess Chico is in  – they’ve  been using their RDA like a credit card too.

So, why are we hiring a guy to replace Dave Burkland that is just going to continue us down the same road to Perdition that Dave Burkland had us on? A guy who is jumping the ship he helped sail into the reef? Just like Burkland.

And, at 47, you know he’s just coming here to retire. Mark my words, in three years, this POS will retire at over $150,000 a year. 

Ask your mayor, Ann Schwab. You can e-mail her at aschwab@ci.chico.ca.us, or drop her some snail mail at 555 Vallombrosa Ave, #74, Chico CA 95926. Decisions this woman is making are killing our town. Write to the other council members too – they also voted to hire this man. You can get them through Debbie Presson at dpresson@ci.chico.ca.us. 

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