Advisory – cars being predated at Peregrine Point Disc Golf Course on Hwy 32

16 Mar

About 10 years ago, my family joined a group of local disk golf enthusiasts to petition the city of Chico to legitimize a long-time “bootleg” disc golf course on Hwy 32 east of Chico – now Peregrine Point Disc Golf Course.  The course has since been managed by the Chico Outsiders, who have an agreement with the city of Chico taking responsibility for maintaining the trails and tees. But the extensive trails that lead out of the course are part of Upper Bidwell Park and the parking lot at Peregrine Point has long been used by hikers and mountain bikers and is owned by the city of Chico. 

About a year ago we noticed evidence that homeless people were camping in the parking lot – we found them sleeping in their cars. Increasingly we’ve also noticed evidence of cars being broken into.

There were piles of broken car window safety glass all over the ground.

There were obvious piles, like the one pictured above, but it was when I squatted down to tie my shoe that I realized how bad this problem really is. The sun came out for a brief moment, and all around me, the ground glittered with safety glass. I know the difference between safety glass and a shattered pop bottle. 

I don’t know who you would report to if your car was broken into at Peregrine Point. It’s city property, but I don’t know if it’s in the city limits. I do know, since it would be under $1,000, Chico PD would expect you to report it online – good luck with that. I think you can download a form to hand over to your insurance agency, if you are insured.  Neither of my kids’ cars are new, so we don’t have full coverage for them – too expensive. So, if something like that happened to one of our kids while they were shooting a round up there,  they’d be TSOL. 

My advice would be, don’t leave your car out of your sight anywhere in Bidwell Park.


Gas tax petitioners asking for more signatures to counter Governor Brown’s demand for full count delay

14 Mar

I got a notice from the Reform California people  – “leave it to Jerry Brown to pull another trick!  Gov. Brown plans to demand a full recount of all signatures to delay the process and potentially push us past November’s election.”

This is the kind of BS I expected – in Butte County, our lovely and unchallenged County Recorder, Candy Grubbs, can decide whether to take a sample or do a full count. I thought she made that decision based on her own politics – but apparently there’s a rule.

According to Reform California spokesman Carl Demaio, “Fortunately under the law, if we submit ten percent more signatures than we legally need, Brown can’t demand a full count and we qualify within 30 days on random sample!”

So they’re asking for more signatures, tell your friends – it’s easy to print out, sign, and send in the form. You will get follow-up emails, some of which ask for donations – you can opt out if those are annoying to you, but they will also send updates if you’re interested.


  • California registered voters only
  • be sure to fill out the form completely, including the “signature  gatherer” portion, even if your signature is the only one you gathered.

Water rates showdown hearing in Sacramento – SoCal water group to take on “four corporate monopoly providers” – get involved!

14 Mar

James Marvin Bouler

My friend Jim Bouler passed away last week, his funeral is today in Santa Rosa. 

I met Jim through the water rates coalition I worked with, trying to keep a check on Cal Water’s and other private for-profit water companies’ rapacious rate increases. He represented a group from Sonoma County, and drove hundreds of miles to meet with others, as well as to rate hearings all over the state. He worked very tirelessly trying to rally us all together, he was very motivating. He will be missed – he was just a darned nice man.

Jim was such a force in the water rates group I was afraid nobody would rise up to take his place. Then yesterday I got this announcement from the group in Lancaster – The Coalition for CPUC Water Rates Reform

A Showdown Hearing in Sacramento! These citizens are driving all the way up from SoCal to meet the CPUC and take on “four corporate monopoly providers”. 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Caught in the middle of a consumer rebellion against the state’s highest water prices and four corporate monopoly providers demanding more profits, the California Public Utilities Commission is faced with a showdown decision here Thursday, March 15.

The hearing is in response to an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to give San Jose Water, California Water Service, California-American and Golden State water companies lower cost of capitol increases than were sought in the consolidated case. The judge’s decision was supported by the CPUC’s Office of Ratepayer Advocate, which is tasked with protecting the public’s right to reasonably priced and affordable water. 

The decision to grant a lower amount didn’t satisfy either protesting consumers or the companies. But the California Water Association, the investor-owned water utilities’ trade association demanded that the five appointed commissioners take the unusual step of throwing out the judge’s findings and granting the full increase.

In a strongly-worded six-page letter to commissioners on March 9, water association official John K. Hawks claimed the CPUC is unfairly favoring consumer interests over those of for-profit utilities, and stated, “CWA acknowledges that the Constitutionally Independent Commission is under political pressure from the legislature, the media, and certain activist groups (dominated by affluent and high-volume water users) to appear responsive to ratepayer interests.” He added, “The (proposed decision’s) stunning failure to apply the record in this proceeding suggests that external pressures played a large role in shaping this unjust outcome.”

Response to Hawks’ letter from leaders of the activist group was summed up by Lauren Karnstedt of Lancaster, who said: “Finally, we’re starting to get their attention after six months of trying to get people in authority to understand there are 6.2 million Californians who are being gouged on pricing with the full approval of the CPUC.”

The Coalition for CPUC Water Rates Reform was launched in Lancaster in early September 2017, and quickly aligned with its largest partner, Water Rate Advocates for Transparency, Equity and Sustainability (WRATES) in San Jose. Currently, the coalition claims supporters in nine California counties, all focused on not only their local issues, but on convincing their respective legislators to reform the CPUC’s methods in granting water rate increases to monopoly providers.

Thursday’s 3 to 4 p.m. public session of the Public Utilities Commissioners in the State Personnel Board Auditorium follows a series of private meetings between CPUC commissioners and their advisors and Class “A” water utility executives, attorneys and lobbyists.

Rita Benton of WRATES said the companies fighting the proposed decision on return rates for the Cost of Capital application requested an 80-minute oral argument meeting, but commissioners scheduled an all parties meeting. She said, “The commissioners have allowed the IOUs to turn this proceeding into a circus and disrespect the judge and the process by allowing these many ex parte meetings and letters after the presiding judge has rendered his decision.”

As to the California Water Association’s claim that the reform movement is led by “affluent, high-volume water users,” Benton said, “We, the ratepayers, do not have the benefit of high powered attorneys, lobbyists, special interest groups and/or executives to advocate for us. We rely on the CPUC and the ORA to advocate on behalf of the ratepayers and it is the statutory obligation of the CPUC to ensure the protection of the ratepayer and that rates are just and reasonable.”

Benton added, “There appears to be a double standard. It is OK if the water monopolies and their lobbyists influence the commission, but it’s not OK if the ratepayers speak out. The private water utilities are saying the administrative law judges should not be trusted to do their job.”

Karnstedt said, “This statewide coalition for reform started in a middle-income area of Lancaster, and includes partners in such communities as Chico, Bakersfield, Oroville, suburbs of Sacramento and Clear Lake. We met our 30-plus percent water conservation goals every month and continue to save water because we’re being charged more for using even less.”

She called the consumer uprising a classic David vs. Goliath rematch.

See  that, they named “Chico” as one of their partners!

So let’s give them some partnership – go to their website and Get Involved!

They’re working hard, and like Rita Benton says, it’s all volunteer, they don’t have a big lawyer to do their bidding.  When I wanted to mount a protest here, the CPUC rep advised me to get a lawyer, because, he said, the process is very complicated, and any mistakes will get your protest thrown out. I tried to get both the county of Butte and the city of Chico to mount formal protests but they wouldn’t do it. So this group is willing to make a stand – I say, stand behind them. Get  ready to write letters, write letters, write letters.





Council approves another $25,000 toward chambers remodel as Coolidge chuckles at complaints about street conditions

12 Mar

I’ve been seeing great letters to the Enterprise Record lately and decided to get back in the saddle. The media spin on the city chambers remodel really pissed me off – shills! So I wrote the following letter about the conversation I had with $taff regarding same – they just took another $25,000 for the project and council had the nerve to laugh about our complaints that they aren’t fixing roads.

Watch that here – jump ahead to Item 4.5 – and be sure to pay attention to comments made by Andrew Coolidge and laughter from other councilors at the end of Presson’s  report.

Here’s Presson’s written report:

Remember, this money came out of the pockets of everybody who uses Comcast. Isn’t that a SCREAM!?!

On March 6 Chico City Council approved a Budget Modification and Supplemental Appropriation, transferring $25,000 in available PEG (Public Education and Government) funds to cover additional costs associated with the Council Chamber Technology upgrade. 

This project, a complete gutting of council chambers for replacement not only of “technology” but new seating, carpeting, paneling, etc, started late last year and has run over Staff’s original estimate of $343,287.67.       

 PEG fees are paid by Comcast customers as required by city ordinance 2368, passed by council in 2007,  a fee of one percent of  gross revenues added to our bills, in addition to the existing franchise fee also paid by Comcast  ratepayers.

According to Staff interpretation, PEG funding is restricted to  “equipment purchases, upgrades, or a capital project such as this current project…the city is responsible for ensuring the general public has access to the Public Access Channel…”  

The new seats, carpeting and wall paneling are included, according to clerk Debbie Presson, because “unexpected things came up …we didn’t even have a diagram of what was going on in there… once we started tearing into the wall…” 

Then council had a big laugh – the very idea that this money would be used to fix city streets had them all in titters. 

Yes, how funny – they passed an ordinance adding a fee to our Comcast bills, and now they spend it as they please. What next, a sales tax increase? 

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA


Is too much of your money is being spent at the “discretion” of others? Half the new gas tax to be spent “at the discretion of local municipalities…”

8 Mar

It looks like the gas tax repeal has made the ballot, and good for that.  Now we’re hearing, only half the money from the new gas tax was intended for road repairs, the rest could be spent “at the discretion of local municipalities…”   Ask yourself, when was the last time the road in front of your house was properly surfaced? How many sewer hook-ups with crappy patch jobs, how many crews pouring slobbers in pot holes that end up all over the underside of your car?

How about that $385,000 remodel on city of Chico council chambers? That was tacked on to your Comcast bill.  Are you sick of “discretionary spending” yet?

From the San Diego Union Tribune, January 18:

So where is the money going?

Roughly half of the revenue from the increased gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, about $26 billion in the next decade, would go to transportation infrastructure maintained by the state. That includes about $1.8 billion a year for the highway system.

The other half of the money would be spent largely at the discretion of local municipalities on a variety of projects, predominantly related to road maintenance but also improvements to transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. About $1.5 billion annually is projected for repairs to local streets and roads.

And get aload of the carrots they’re waving in front of us!

The state is also planning to roll out annually about $25 million for freeway patrols for stranded motorists on the most heavily congested freeways, $25 million in local planning grants and $5 million in workforce training.

Right – cops won’t even do traffic control or come to the scene of an accident unless there’s a major injury, you really believe they will do freeway patrols for stranded motorists? And here’s two more lies gas tax proponents just keep repeating:

With the taxes and fee hikes, Californians will pay an extra $10 a month on average, according to the state Department of Transportation. A legislative analysis found that drivers currently spend roughly $700 a year fixing their cars due to poor roads.

First of all, it will be more than $10 a month between increased gas prices and the hike in registration. Second, how many of you are paying $700 a year to fix road damage on your cars? 

Governor Moonbeam has lied to us before – for one thing, he told us he would not raise taxes without voter approval, and then he went right to the back door of the capital building with this gas and registration tax. He also told us the sales tax increase would be temporary, and that it would keep college tuition down – both lies.

Public workers have become The New One Percent, and they like it. They aren’t going to let go easily. 


Will the gas tax repeal make the ballot? Stay tuned!

2 Mar

Carl Demaio and Reform California are still working to put the gas tax repeal on the November ballot.  I believe (?) the deadline was Wednesday (Feb. 28) but have not heard whether they were able to gather the required number of signatures. 

Here’s what Ballotpedia has posted:

“The California Voter Approval for Gas and Vehicle Taxes Initiative (#17-0033) may appear on the ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 6, 2018.”

Scroll down and have a laugh – Jerry Brown says, “I can’t believe the proponents of this ballot measure really want Californians to keep driving on lousy roads and dangerous bridges. Taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair borders on insanity.”

Listen, Moonbeam, you should think before you speak. You can’t believe it because it’s not true – proponents of this ballot measure have repeatedly said the money for road repairs is available but being siphoned off for other purposes. You’ve also just acknowledged lousy roads and dangerous bridges, for which you, as Captain of our ship, are responsible, and therefore, liable!  And yes, taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair to fund your pension borders not only on insanity, it borders on corruption, Sweet Cheeks. Should we have a court martial? Maybe set up a plank? Ooooo – keeeeel haul!

I think Brown is privately shocked about the voter’s response, lots of people have signed. I’m guessing the petitions were turned in, but it will take a while to verify the signatures. 

We’ve been talking about hidden taxes, such as the “franchise fees” the city and county are allowed to collect from utility companies such as Comcast and PG&E. This gas tax was shoved on us by the governor and the legislature, without any input from the voters.  For years now they – including Jerry Brown – have siphoned their outrageous salaries, pensions and benefits out of the road funding. I’ve sat in meetings many times and watched the local agencies pilfer “restricted”  fund to pay down their pension deficit, while roads and other infrastructure in Chico have turned to absolute crap. 

The foxes are in charge of the henhouse People.  For example, Scott Dowell used to be the finance manager for Chico Area Recreation District before he got hired by the city of Chico. While CARD allowed two public swimming pools to deteriorate to sub-code and sub-ADA conditions, Dowell made a extra $400,000 “side fund pay-off” on CARD’s $1.7 million pension deficit, saying it would save the agency money on interest payments to CalPERS. Meanwhile, CARD management has only started paying toward their pensions within the last two years, “classic members” like CARD manager Ann Willmann are only paying 2 PERCENT.  That all happened on Dowell’s watch.  Now he’s running City of Chico finances.  Next Thursday I’d bet my last $5 he’s going to lay down a pretty wild argument for a sales tax increase. 

Cause taxes are their heroin. As long as they can get a fix, put off rehab for just one more fix, one more fix, one more fix…

Just look at Chico Unified School District – they’ve had a bond measure on almost every ballot since 1998, and the last three have passed. But they are getting ready to put another bond on the ballot, because they just got new demands from both CalPERS and CalSTRS for more money, more money, more money…

You probably think you hang around with a nice crowd, but if you send your kid to a Chico school – any Chico school – you are leaving them all day with a bunch of freaking junkies. Wake UP!

A friend of mine recently asked me if I knew city council member Randy Stone is running for Butte County Assessor. I was kinda bitchy – I told her I didn’t give a shit who was running for election, because elected offices don’t matter anymore – it’s $TAFF. And we don’t get to vote for them. 

But, voting is important, especially the initiatives. So I’ll gas up the old election buggy and try to get it out on the road, try to start posting some news about the local candidates, besides just…YECHHHHHHH!

cause we can’t and we won’t and we don’t stop…




Under CARD director Tom Lando’s watch, Feather River Rec and Park District audit finds “possible instances of fraud within its gymnastics program”

1 Mar

The latest news out of Oroville is fraud at the rec district.

Tom Lando, who is also a board member at Chico Area Recreation District, is interim director at Feather River Rec and Park District. They have not had a permanent director since the last director was fired by the board without much explanation. The director before that, Ann Willmann, left FRRPD to  come to CARD after an investigation into secret cameras placed in district toilet stalls.

How do we keep getting stuck with FRRPD rejects? Willmann got over $20,000 salary increase by moving to CARD, without answering any questions about those cameras hidden in a little girls’ bathroom.

Lando has a long history too – as former city manager of Chico, he introduced the M.O.U. (memo of understanding between Chico city council and staff) that tied salaries to revenue increases, but not decreases

That was during the building boom of the early 2000’s. Permit fees, property tax revenues, utility tax revenues – the money was flowing in like crazy.  The result was, Lando’s salary went from roughly $65,000/year to over $100,000/ year. He retired at about $135,000/year, just in salary, paying NOTHING toward his own benefits EVER. His latest replacement, Mark Orme, recently received a raise to cover the cost of his benefits share, now making $207,500 in salary, with total compensation (his benefits package is over $100,000) of $330,790/year.

Oink Oink Mark! $1,000/day! 

So Lando has left his mark on our town, and continues to leave his mark on our town.  City Assistant Manager Chris Constantin told me Lando still has a lot of influence with the city of Chico, I’m not surprised.

I don’t know what Orovillians will do about the continuing problems at FRRPD, but I wonder – is it time for a recall at CARD?