And here’s why I voted for Matt Tennis, CUSD board

25 Oct

I’m glad to see so much interest in the school board election, but to tell the truth, there is only one candidate that I really feel good about – Matt Tennis.

The single most important issue to me right now is getting the schools back open for in-person instruction. I have a friend who is a board member in another small local district, and like he says – kids are not learning to read right now, they’re getting behind, and the farther behind they get, the less likely they are to catch up.

Sitting in front of a computer screen for a couple of hours a day is not an acceptable substitute. They’d be better off watching Sesame Street. 

I’m tired of hearing about teachers who expect to get paid for NOT WORKING, or who are using COVID to muscle more money out of school boards. I think that’s a sad indication of the kind of people we have in the schools today.  Afraid of germs? How about conjunctivitis? When was the last time a school was shut down for a case of pink-eye? How about MRSA? Remember the hysteria over MRSA? I knew two kids who got it, but their school was not shut down, even though nobody could tell them exactly how they got it, and the only thing they had in common was the school they attended for 6+ hours a day.

So hey teachers, get out there and get your COVID shot, and get your whiney asses back in the classroom. Cause you realize, there are going to be parents that like homeschooling, because they don’t have to deal with jerks like you. Every time you pull some bullshit like this you will lose students.  And that’s going to take a big whack at your ADA.

So here’s what Matt Tennis has to say about opening the schools. I’m glad I voted for him. But, we’ll see how much I like him when the subject of teachers’ contracts and district financing comes around. It’s hard to pick a perfect candidate, but I’m pretty sure he’s the best of this litter. 

An endorsement I’m sure of – Donald Trump for President

23 Oct

 

Thanks Jenna for this pic from a recent Trump rally in Nevada.  He looks very presidential, and that’s one reason I support him – he’s a leader, a motivator, not a tyrant or a taskmaster. 

I voted for Trump because I like the job he’s  done.  I like his immigration policies, his judicial appointments, and the trade tariffs. I think he’s handled COVID well enough, and if he’s elected the country will open faster and the hysteria will give in to better public health policies. The bottom line for me is, my family has just done better in the last four years under Trump/Pence than we did under Obama/Biden.  

Biden and Harris are horrible. Now Biden admits Obamacare is flawed? He wants to fix it? Bidencare? Change police policy? Investigate the Kremlin?  Like Trump pointed out very well last night, Biden had 8 years to correct the flaws in Obamacare, he had 8 years to bring about change in police policies, he had 8 years to investigate outside influence in our elections, but did nothing.

Obamacare is a disgrace, having made the insurance companies rich while failing to provide better, or even affordable, health care. COVID has shown us the flaws in the so-called “Affordable Care Act”.  Our health care system was in poor shape before Trump came along.

As for police policy, Obama actually signed an order allowing police to shoot a subject without prosecution if they said they feared for their lives. This has been called “the policeman’s bill of rights”. Obama and Biden also support the “no knock warrant”, while Trump has said it should not be allowed. 

The conversation and fear-mongering regarding outside influence in elections didn’t start until Trump had already won the 2016 election. 

So the Democrats, led by Biden, threw investigations and impeachment at the president, then COVID, then the California wildfires – what else will the Biden campaign blame on Trump? How much will we suffer in the meantime? 

Harris, as Attorney General of California, failed to prosecute Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey when he had obviously been taking bribes from energy providers and utility districts. She was slow to investigate, finally citing Statute of Limitations. So, people all over California, including low income households, are overpaying for their power and water because of corruption of oversight.  As AG and then as Senator, she failed to investigate cases of obvious corruption at the California Public Employees Retirement System, despite three scandals involving bribes or insider trading in the last 5 years. 

As San Francisco city attorney, she allowed the lawlessness of illegal immigration and transients camping in public areas, pushing for “sanctuary city”. Her policies helped turn the entire state into a sanctuary for the lawless individuals who predate on the rest of us. 

Another big difference I would note between the two campaigns is that Biden and Harris are determined to use divisiveness while Trump, who calls himself a cheerleader for America, tries to bring Americans together. I shudder at the thought of a Biden/Harris victory – I can’t believe they wouldn’t “punish” those cities, counties and states that support Trump. 

I think Biden’s overall health and mental condition are also important considerations – the thought of a Harris and Pelosi essentially taking over our country puts chills up my spine. 

Trump has been a good president the last four years and I’d like to stick with him and see what he can achieve in the next four. 

 

 

 

What will become of $30 million city surplus?

18 Oct

Dave Howell sent this right-on analysis of the Sept 23 Finance Committee Meeting:

That finance meeting WAS PACKED with crazy and outrageous information. And the local media DIDN’T MENTION ANY OF IT!

Here are some key takeaways the local media should have covered:

Last year at this time we thought the unfunded pension liability we were on the hook for was $128 million. Well, this year the bureaucrats and consultants say $146 million. AND NOW THEY TELL US WE OWE ANOTHER $140 MILLION IN INTEREST! But these numbers are low because they don’t include the 4.7% under performance from last year and also the prior year’s under performance. IT IS OBSCENE! WHERE THE HELL IS THE LOCAL MEDIA ON THIS?

UAL for CalPERs is 146.3 million which is a 43% increase over the last 5 years. UAL payments are now 9.9 million in 2021 and will grow to 13.2 in 2026. And remember this is assuming an unrealistic 7% CalPERs return. In all likelihood this number will be even worse as over the last 20 years CalPERs hasn’t come close to 7%. CalPERs return has only been 5.5%.

The City’s pensions are only 67% funded.

In addition to leasing the streets Morgan talked about the possibility of leasing the airport! WHAT A SCAMMER!

What was just as revealing was after the snake oil consultants left the meeting. Dowell went into the June and August financial statements. (What happened to July?) The city’s cash flow is up OVER $30 MILLION from last year resulting in an $8.8 million surplus! (You would think with a 30 million increase in cash flow the surplus would be even more.) And it sounds like these numbers will probably increase over the next few months. It turns out that despite the doom we were told the COVID crisis would have on the City’s finance, the crisis has generated a huge windfall for the City, similar to the Camp Fire situation.

Naturally, they didn’t even think of giving any of the surplus back to the taxpayers or using it to fix the streets. They are pigs at the trough and will take everything they can get, so even with millions in surplus you can bet they will be talking tax and fee increases next year! It just shows that no matter how much money they take, all of it and more will be devoured by pensions, other post employment benefits and raises. These people are parasites and they will bleed the people of this community dry! DON’T LET THEM DO THIS TO YOU!

Here was an interesting letter to the editor. How did the letter writer know about the surplus? I didn’t see it reported in any of the local media. Did the letter reader watch the video?

City budget surplus? How to help ALL city dwellers? Pave the streets and upgrade shoulders to sidewalks. Smooth pavement and safe routes help everyone. People can get moving: on foot, by bike, on skates or boards. Even in the car, the experience of quietly gliding over newly paved roads is a stress-reducer. Come on, council! Do what it takes: set money aside, get grants, and do it. Please!
— Kristi Ayars, Chico

Quiz: How much do you know about Chico’s pension deficit?

18 Oct

Here’s Part 1 of the quiz I was promising. These questions are all from the first 10 or 15 minutes of the video presentation posted here:

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2020/10/09/heres-the-video-from-that-sept-23-finance-comm-meeting-ever-wonder-what-people-are-saying-about-your-money-behind-your-back/

If you feel like it, send this video to your district representative/candidate, see how many of these questions he/she can answer.

  1. What is the city’s current Unfunded Actuarial Liability (aka “pension deficit”), not including interest?
  2. How much has that figure grown in the last 5 years?
  3. What are the two types of payments the city currently makes to CalPERS?
  4. How much are those payments projected to increase over the next 5 years?
  5. What is CalPERS investment return target, and what have they been averaging over the last 20 years?

Well, that ought to give you something to chew on, I’ll get more questions when I have a minute.

Mailed/delivered your ballot yet? You can check the status of your ballot at this link

17 Oct

Sorry to be a flake – have not had time to write that quiz, but yeah, it’s coming.

What I do have for you today is a link to check the status of your ballot – has it been received? Rejected or accepted?

https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

Be patient, I had to try it twice, because I have crappy internet. Follow the prompts, there’s a couple of pages to fill out. You’ll need your CDL and SSN, they ask for the last four digits of each. First they will confirm your status as a voter, then they will check for your ballot. When I checked for mine, they said it had been “accepted.”

My husband and I have voted by mail for about 20 years. The county clerk has always had some sort of mechanism by which to check ballot status, each ballot is recorded “received” electronically as her staff processes it. One year, when the online mechanism didn’t work, I contacted her staff and they checked it for me manually.

We mailed our ballots in within days of receiving them. We had already studied the voter pamphlet and done research at ballotpedia.com, we were ready to fill them out and get them back in.

I really don’t understand this push to allow people a longer period to register and vote. I think it’s desperation on the part of the Democratic party. I expect legitimate charges of fraud in this election, all the way around.

So whatever your preference for delivery, give it a week and check your ballot status. We have to be our own watchdogs folks, there’s a lot of weird stuff going on right now.

No on Measure E; and there will be a quiz later today about that Finance Committe meeting!

16 Oct

Wow, who would have guessed Measure E – city council districts – would be such a hot topic. Looking at the stats the last week or so, that’s what people have been hitting – “Measure E – Divide and Conquer”.

In the music business, they would call that a “throwaway piece.” I was just annoyed and frustrated over the response I got from the city clerk when I asked about this measure. The clerk is like a sphinx, you could know her 30 years, and I almost have, and never know what’s on her mind. She states the facts, she answers a question as you ask it. Never opines. But, this time she seemed genuinely confused – it’s a stupid measure. And it makes a person think, council pulled a fast one – like the cell phone tax they collected illegally for years – and they need the public to approve it.

I hope that’s what other people are thinking, and I hope it fails. Districts are not only unnecessary, they are a ploy by both the liberals and the conservatives, who both seem to think they can manipulate this system.

Prepare to be manipulated!

And if somebody feels like emailing city finance man Scott Dowell, scott.dowell@chicoca.gov, they could ask him how much it is going to cost to REDRAW THE DISTRICTS after the upcoming CENSUS.

I’m also shocked to see how interested people are in the school board race. I’m sure glad, and I’m sorry I don’t have anything better to offer than “vote for people who aren’t/haven’t ever been school district employees”, but that’s my story, and I’m standing by it.

But I’m sincerely grateful to those of you who have downloaded and watched the video I posted –

https://gofile.io/d/zqp5BI

with big THANKS to DAVE for that link. Since I posted that last Friday, almost 100 people have seen it, and, as committee member Sean Morgan agreed, that’s a helluva lot more people than actually attend those meetings.

So, after I finish my chores this morning, I’m going to make a QUIZ! We all love a quiz, don’t we? I’ll try to make it good and tough. And yeah, I’ll probably allow cheating. The teachers I learned the most from were the ones who allowed open book/notes tests. And that’s the point here, I want more people to see how the city operates behind closed doors.

SCOTUS appointments are like a dead fish left under the back seat – we need term limits on Supreme Court justices

13 Oct

I thought I should tune in to the senate hearings on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. As you get older, it’s good to challenge yourself with something beyond America’s Test Kitchen. This political stuff really makes me think.

What I think this time is, we need to get rid of the Supreme Court. Or at least give it a major overhaul.

The first problem that should seem obvious with all the stuff we’ve been hearing in this conversation is that a president with good luck can pack the court. So much for a non-partisan court.

And then those appointments can last forever, affecting generations. Like Emperor Palpatine. At least presidents get termed out. But SCOTUS appointments are like a dead fish left under the back seat of our collective car – the smell of these decisions may haunt us for the rest of our lives! We can’t get rid of these people once they get in there, look at Ginsberg. She reminds me of a really funny episode of “Tales from the Darkside” – “A Case of the Stubborns”. Pelosi and Feinstein too, watch it sometime.

SCOTUS also has too much power, especially for an unelected body. These people don’t represent us, they represent the major political parties. If you don’t believe me, watch the hearings for a half hour.

But eliminating the federal judicial branch of government is about as likely as the elimination of the Electoral College.

How would I fix it? For one thing, I’d establish term limits for these people. No more clinging to power with your cold, dead hand. I think that would lead to the appointments being more spread out, so no one president/senate/party could determine history for the next 30 or 40 years.

That said, I’ll add that probably the worst part is watching what amounts to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with every appointment. I just suffered through Amy Klobuchar – this woman wanted to be president! She was completely unprofessional, accusing Barrett of being a partisan puppet, without any basis in fact. And I thought Barrett handled Klobuchar very well, keeping her tone very even and her words on point, as Klobuchar’s voice rose to a hysterical rasp, and she struggled to re-word her questions to get the answer she wanted. I kept waiting for somebody to stuff Klobuchar in the tea pot but had to turn it off to take down the washing.

The Democrats are desperate, it’s almost frightening. Yes, I expect voter fraud. I already see and hear irrational behavior here in town. This week, some Democrat volunteers came down my driveway, 90 feet off the street, to leave a really disturbing flyer on my tenant’s door step. My tenants had thrown it in the trash, but described it to me. I saw it on this post at Chico First:

What disturbed me most about the flyer was that they had included a picture of a private home here in town, with an arrow pointing to the house, captioned, “Satan-worshipping pedophiles…”

Anyone with a good knowledge of Chico could identify that house. This seems like a case of defamation to me, but I’m not a lawyer. It also seems as though they’re trying to encourage people to do bad things to these people. Whether or not it’s legal, civilly or personally, I find it really cheap, dirty, and low.

That’s nothing new for Chico Democrats, who have paid FPPC fines in many local elections for illegal mailers. If you don’t believe me, go to the Butte County Superior Court case index and type in “Meagher, Kelly”, “Guzzetti, Dave,” and “Worley, Michael”.

Don’t even get me started on the illegal signs, I give up there. I contacted two candidates who posted signs illegally at Bruce and 32. One school board candidate told me she got permission from Cal TRANS, which is a lie, and the other woman, the head of a local PAC, just thanked me for my “input.” All over town signs flap in the public right-of-way, looking like garbage, but both sides are guilty here, so why bring it up?

One final note, slightly related – yesterday I saw two stories on the news that should have been linked, but weren’t. The first story was about ruined ballots – “a handful” of voters in Sacramento County brought in ballots that had been washed with hand sanitizer. The Sacramento Voter Registrar was very adamant – the virus can’t be spread that way, she said.

“Voters do not need to be wary of covid-19 exposure on their ballot paper or any of the contents inside their mailed envelope,” said Haynes. “Not only is the risk of exposure on a paper surface low, the ballot paper inside your mailer has been untouched for at least a week from the time it was stuffed, taken to USPS, and in transit to your mailbox.”

Just hours later, another story – a study shows that the COVID virus can live on a surface up to 28 days.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/10/12/study-covid-19-coronavirus-may-survive-for-28-days-on-these-surfaces/#57ea35dc2237

” A study just published in the Virology Journal found that the Covid-19 coronavirus can survive on common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel, and money for up to 28 days.

This I mention because of the absurdity of this “crisis” we’ve been enduring. A bureaucrat tells us the virus can’t be transmitted on our ballots because they’ve been in the envelope for “at least a week,” while a public health institute tells us the virus can survive for 28 days on paper money?

Just saying.

Voting is FUN-damental! Here are some thoughts on our local, state and national ballot

12 Oct

With the election just weeks away, I’ve already received, filled out, and mailed in my ballot. I believe mail in voting is at least as reliable as going to the polls on election day after the weird experiences I’ve had and heard about at polling stations.

But it looks like a lot of people are still scratching their heads – every day, I see searches here for “recommendations.” After my attempt at endorsing council candidates, I’m not telling anybody how to vote, but sure, I’ll tell you how I voted, and why.

My district council member is not up in this election, but I think Stone, Schwab and Morgan are the best bets in their districts. Stone has stood up twice to push back on bad tax measures intended to pay down our staggering CalPERS liability. While Schwab and Morgan want the bond measure, I don’t believe their challengers would not want same. Especially Kami Denlay, whose husband is a cop in another county. And I believe Stone’s challenger, Andrew Coolidge would also support the bond measure. So, I hope those three prevail in their districts. I don’t have any opinion in Dist 7, except good luck to all of you!

I tried to make an intelligent vote in the school board race. I think the incumbents need to be turned out, having approved too many raises for the teachers union. I voted for Matt Tennis – primarily because he is not a school district employee, and he has some political background, so, hopefully he won’t be a dupe for the unions. I voted for Michael Johnson, also because he is not a school district employee. The main difference between the two is that Tennis wants the schools open but Johnson has leaned toward remote learning.

For the CARD board, I feel Lando needs to go, so went with Worley, an incumbent, and John Merz, who at least attended those “informational” meetings that Ann Willmann ran to promote Measure A (parcel tax). Merz has had his dick in the local political scene for as long as I remember, and I wouldn’t trust him not to vote for another attempt at some sort of tax. Worley either. So, I’d say, we need to keep an eye on this board over the next few months. I can’t believe they’ve given up on a revenue measure. Judging from what I just found out about the city’s UAL (they weren’t telling us about the interest…) I bet CARD’s UAL is a lot bigger than it was last time I checked.

As for the state propositions, Prop 15 is sufficient reason to vote. A blatant snatch at Prop 13, this measure attempts to raises taxes on commercial properties, including apartment complexes – even family farms. This would raise the price of everything, starting with food and rent. And, I believe the proponents of this measure ultimately want Prop 13 completely gone, so the state can go about reassessing private homes.

If you don’t get it, you need to watch “Happy Gilmore”. Yes, they would put Grandma out of her house. And Newsom would tell her she’s better off in assisted living!

I voted a big NO on most of the propositions, with two exceptions – I voted YES on Prop 20, which undoes some of the damage of AB109, and Prop 22, which exempts “app-based drivers” from union membership. I hope Prop 20 passes, and that it will have some trickle down effect on our local courts and police policy. And, I think Prop 22 would beat back a strong-arm union tactic to bolster their membership and bring in more dues for their political machine.

The other important issue for me was the Presidency. A question you have to ask yourself is, have I/my family/my friends prospered under this incumbent? For me that’s a resounding YES. Obama was horrible for my family. The thing I remember most clearly is that the price of insurance and health care went through the roof. The cost of everything went up, up, up. Obama declared war not only on Republican politicians, he declared his hatred for the people who voted them in.

Biden also seems to hate America. And he says he will put even more restrictions on our behavior if he is elected. The Democrats are determined to use COVID to kill President Trump. That blew up in their faces – he looks healthy as a bull. I think it’s great that Trump got COVID, showing us what’s really going on here – this shut down is all about taking Trump out. Well, that didn’t work. What the Democrats have instead accomplished is massive unemployment and businesses going under in cities across the country.

I thought Donald Trump was a jackass as a private citizen, but I like the job he’s done as president, and I voted to give him four more years.

I also voted for LaMalfa and Gallagher, simply because of the work they did to make sure Paradise got money to rebuild. Governor Gavin Newsom cried crocodile tears, and then tried to deny state money to help Paradise Irrigation District restore their system.

I’m glad I voted. I do worry about fraud – I think “ballot harvesting” is a real phenomenon. I believe there is an active push to register non-citizens. I believe the Democrats have operatives at places like the college – watch the news, and ask yourself – what is Democratic operative Michael Worley doing at the college on Election Day? Ballot harvesting. It’s illegal to campaign at the polls, but it can be very subtle, and there’s nobody to stop it.

Something to remember when you look at your ballot and think of turning away in disgust is that lower voter turnout lowers the threshold for getting measures on the ballot – the number of signatures required is based on how many voted in the last election.

Enjoy!

Here’s the video from that Sept 23 Finance Comm meeting – ever wonder what people are saying about your money behind your back?

9 Oct

Oh yeah, I’m still talking about the September 23 Finance Committee meeting.

After I went to so much trouble to get the video on flash drive, I asked the clerk why it isn’t just posted on the website, like council meetings, her response:

“I can provide it on an USB but we can’t post it to the website. If we started it with this one meeting we couldn’t sustain it because the video only exists because we used WebEx.  Once we go back to in person meetings, those meetings won’t be recorded. Does that make sense?  “

I’m not sure how to respond. I’ve been asking them to record and post the morning meetings for years, and now that they’ve got Chico Engaged I really don’t understand why they don’t record and post all the meetings. They just created a new, management level, position – “Public Information Officer” at over $100,000/year in salary, just to create a new city website, and I assume, manage it. But they still can’t record and post videos of the meetings?

Well, Dave sent me a link to a website where you can load just about any file you want and make it public – FOR FREE. It’s called “Go File”

https://gofile.io

So, I copied the USB the clerk gave me onto my laptop, and I uploaded it at Go File. Wham, bam, thanks for nothin’, Ma’am. Here’s the link they created for me.

https://gofile.io/d/zqp5BI

Hit the link and there it is, the meeting. It’s a must watch, because they are talking about YOU, and YOUR MONEY, as if you weren’t there.

Oh yeah, there’s going to be a quiz.

Chico taxpayers are guaranteeing the stock and bond market returns of the well heeled, well paid city officials.

8 Oct

I got a great comment from BC today, I didn’t want it buried in the comments section. Thanks BC, for this spot-on analysis of what they’re trying to pull Downtown.

From BC:

As a general rule, I don’t spend much time worrying about how the failures of municipal government affect rich people. If you are rich, you are far less effected by the bad decisions of a ineffective and thoughtless municipal governing structure,

If you hit a pot hole, you simply go out and lease a new $125,000 BMW or Mercedes, or at least have your $1200 dollar alloy wheel straightened. ( And detail the car while you are at it) If they raise a use tax or add a bond interest, you just write the check-electronic bill pay is painless. It doesn’t matter that the One-Mile is a poorly maintained, unsafe, drug infested crime area, because you avoid it by taking your family to a private swim and tennis club. And why worry about the homeless camping in the park, when you vacation in Italy/Florida/Hawaii/Colorado/etc.

The folks I worry about are the population most effected by expensive municipal decisions. While municipal rule making predominately serves the civic employees who write the rules, the most significant negative impacts of poor municipal government are felt by minorities, people of color, the poor and disabled, and those who depend on City Services. Its not a stretch to say that in Chico (as in Sacramento and Washington) the political class makes decisions that impoverish the most vulnerable while insulating themselves from the impact of their decisions.

Which brings us to the inequity of municipal pensions.

One of the most important benefits of a municipal pension, is that the taxpayers insulate the pensioner from CalPers Investment loss. Start with the assumption that the city makes a “full” pension contribution to CalPers each year. (They don’t) A full contribution would be defined as that contribution, which if it earns the CalPers projected rate of return, would grow into a large enough sum to pay the retirement benefits earned by the employees for that initial year of contribution. And CalPers says that they will earn 7% per year, net to the fund, after fees and charges. And if they fall short, who pays? The taxpayers, that’s who! Chico taxpayers are guaranteeing the stock and bond market returns of the well heeled, well paid city officials. Chico taxpayers with an average income of $24,900, who dont own a stock or a bond and live paycheck to paycheck, are guaranteeing pensions for the city’s privileged employees.

If that makes your eyes glaze over, try this: Im going to take $100 million dollars ($100,000,000) go over to the local Indian Casino. Im going to gamble it in the hopes of making a $7 million dollar profit. If Im lucky, I get to keep the $7 million. If I lose, the taxpayers in the City of Chico will borrow that money, give it to me, and pay off their indebtedness over the next 30 years.

To use a credit card example: The City has run up so much credit card debt, that they cant even make the minimum payment. So while they keep spending at the same or greater rate, they mortgage the house to pay down the credit cards. It ends when you lose the house-Bankruptcy. Along the way the can’t pay to keep the house up (deteriorating municipal facilities), cant fix the driveway (potholes and streets), cant afford a security system (fire and police), and eventually can not afford to put food on the table for the family (homeless).

And the folks who will suffer are the people who depend the most on city cervices which can never be adequately funded because the spending on entitlements for the rich folks just never stop.