Bubble Bubble, Toil and Trouble: Chico City Staffers have been trying to foist their pension deficit off on the taxpayers for years now – are you going to bite the ice rink carrot?

18 Oct

Here’s a recent history lesson.

At a 2018 Chico Finance Committee discussion I attended regarding possible revenue measures, a consultant proposed a seasonal ice rink Downtown as a carrot to get the voters to pass a sales tax measure. He said he’d given a Tahoe town the same advice, they’d taken it, and their measure passed.

And so it goes. Council recently decided to spend $400,000 to install a seasonal ice rink at the Downtown Plaza. Just think what that money would look like on the street in front of your house.

The city of Chico funds Chico Chamber, and commissions the Chamber for various studies and reports. A 2018 Chamber of Commerce report recommended that city staff pursue a sales tax measure. Their recommendations for spending the revenues were $3 million to hire more cops, $90 million to fix roads, and $130 million to go toward the pension deficit. At present, council is not being forthcoming with a spending plan. They have proposed a simple majority measure, so they can spend this money any way they want.

A few years ago, the Finance Department staff, on the suggestion of another consultant, instituted a “Pension Stabilization Trust”. Funds are appropriated (embezzled) from each department based on a percentage of payroll into the PST. None of those department funds are restricted, meaning, they don’t have to be spent on sewer or streets or parks or whatever, they can be “allocated” away to pay for any whim of council. In fact, the PST is the only restricted fund the city has. Once the money is in the PST, it’s restricted for use in paying the pension deficit. Once a year the Finance Director makes a “side fund” or “extra” payment to CalPERS – the first year, about $8 million, this year $11.5 million. Staff and consultants have projected that the payment will reach $18 million by 2026. See where this is going? No matter how much they pay, given the ridiculous salaries, benefits, and employee shares – not to mention new hires – the deficit just keeps going up.

There is a faction that is trying to “defund” the police. Well, there you are folks. Make them pay their own benefits! I want good police, but I am uncomfortable with people who say they want to protect and serve as long as they are allowed to enrich themselves with mandatory overtime and an automatic “step increase” salary scale. Kasey Reynolds told me they need to offer these overly generous salaries and benefits to attract good employees, I think she’s got it upside down. Good people don’t hold a town hostage for their own enrichment. This is a racket.

Meanwhile, council has reinstituted the Shelter Crisis Designation, in order to kick children off of a public facility in favor of a tiny house village for transients who will not be served any other way. What ever happened to those days when the county opened the unused buildings at the fairgrounds during extreme hot or cold weather? Now we have a permanent homeless camp at a public property that at present constitutes one of our biggest tourist attractions? Including Andrew Coolidge’s Home and Garden shows – gee, while I’m perusing hot tubs I have to wonder who is breaking into/stealing my car? Screw that, I can buy a pretty spiffy tub online:

I actually owned one of these for years, it was incredible.

Keep those letters coming to the ER, and contact your council reps – remember, always cc the other six.

Mark Orme’s personal pension deficit is over $70,000 – hey little Piggy! Pay it yourself!

16 Oct

Dave (thanks Dave) put the numbers on the 1% sales tax measure proposed by Staff and Council –

That 180 million is going to cost us over a quarter billion. In other words, we will have to pay over 73 million in interest to get 180 million. In other words, the interest will cost us over 40% of the bond.”

That’s over 73 million that won’t go to roads, won’t even go for cops or fire or even the crazy pensions. It goes right to Wall Street. And not the Wall Street in Chico.

Dave added later, “One of those consulting firms the last city council hired said for an average family of four the 1% tax increase would cost them $800 in additional tax a year.

I’ll add, at the present time, the city has no other real debt except the pension deficit, also known as, the Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL). They have leases on equipment and vehicles, but nothing approaching the UAL. Last time I asked the Finance Dept for that figure, it was over $145 million. And growing, despite increasing “stabilization” payments.

Those “stabilization” payments are funded by “allocations” from every department, a percentage of payroll. The last payment was over $11.5 million, and the Finance Dept. and various consultants have said that payment will keep going up, projecting $18 million by 2026.

Staff has brought in paid consultants to talk about a Pension Obligation Bond, leasing city infrastructure such as streets – Sean Morgan wanted to lease the airport. They’ve discussed every jackass notion that skitters across their shallow brain pans, but they refuse to discuss raising the employee contributions.

Here are the topics that need further discussion: The California Rule, and Defined Contributions vs Defined Benefits.

The California Rule states that our public employees have been guaranteed certain benefits, and that we can’t go back on those agreements. But here’s the thing – the California Rule doesn’t say we can’t require higher contributions out of employees.

Defined Benefits are the current agreement. That means, no matter what happens with our city finances, we have to pay the pensions – 70-90% of the employees’ highest year’s earnings. A good laywer could easily make the argument that WE didn’t promise these benefits, CalPERS did. They told us they’d make enough on the market to cover the insane pensions. Instead, we keep getting reports of malfeasance and mismanagement – including bribe taking and self-serving investments. They’ve failed to make their target year after year, and raised the city’s contributions as a consequence. Right now, the taxpayers are footing over 30% of the pensions, with the employees limping along at 15% or less. Management, with the highest salaries, pays only 9%.

Defined Contributions – that is what it sounds like. That’s what private sector employees get – if anything. That means, wthe employer (us) promises to contribute a set amount, based on a percentage of their salary. And then they can contribute as much as they want. That’s how 401K’s work.

They have special 401K’s for public employees, called a 457 Plan. Are you ready to be pissed off? In addition to his CalPERS pension, our city manager Mark Orme has negotiated himself a 457 Plan. According to publicpay.ca.gov , in 2020, the city put over $18,000 into Orme’s 457, in addition to over $22,000 toward his CalPERS pension. According to Transparent California, even with Orme’s 9% contribution to CalPERS, that leaves a deficit, just for Orme, of over $70,000. Plus interest fees.

I feel Orme owns that deficit, and should pay it. Or just take less in benefits. With a total salary of over $220,000/year, and a $62,000 benefits package, this guy is greedy pig.

Which will be the subject of my next letter to the editor, stay tuned.

Stop a train wreck before it happens – email Chico City Council and tell them you won’t support a new tax measure until we have a conversation about the employee contributions

12 Oct

I was actually surprised to see this letter from former city councilor Karl Ory. I’m not surprised that Ory is still active with the local Democrats, but I’m kind of surprised he’d attack a sales tax increase measure that he himself proposed while on council. Sure, it’s partisanship – whenever we have a change in the council majority the losers sit along the sidelines throwing eggs.

Letter: Conservatives have bled the city dry

The council proposal for a general sales tax increase is DOA. Conservatives have bled the city dry for a decade and will oppose any tax increase. Just ask Juanita Sumner and the Chico Taxpayers Assoc. But worse, this council has alienated nearly every moderate voice in the city. On their agenda is denying climate change, steamrolling a 1,448 acre development, doing away with the Greenline, and generally kowtowing to their developer benefactors.

Councilmember Morgan’s KPAY broadcasts show he intends to ride liberal bashing all the way to Sacramento. Tax revenues will be used for salaries and benefits; no assurances any will go for roads and creekways. This is just a sham to make them look good.  Afterward they’ll wring their hands and say they tried. Maybe blame the loss on the previous council.

Karl Ory, Chico

Yeah, we all know, the liberals have done plenty of bleeding in their day. They’ve voted right along with the conservatives to approve every new subdivision that’s come before them. They’ve also unanimously approved the employee contracts with overgenerous salary and benefits and unrealistic employee contributions toward the UAL. They all get money from the unions at election time, and many of them continue to take donations from power players like PG&E and Franklin Construction. But Ory is spot on when he says, “Tax revenues will be used for salaries and benefits; no assurances any will go for roads and creekways. This is just a sham to make them look good.  Afterward they’ll wring their hands and say they tried.

Of course the liberals would do same if they had the majority, Ory himself proposed a 1-cent general sales tax increase when he was on council. If you haven’t noticed this pattern before, you just moved here, or you’re deaf, dumb and blind. But I’m not going to squabble over that – when the liberals get the majority again I’ll criticize their poor management. The common thread here is that the money is not going to the roads or any public services, it’s going to service a bond(s). Remember this bit from the 9/21/21 council staff report:

General Obligation Bond
If the City were to pass a general sales tax, the Council could also consider issuing bonds to fund infrastructure, facilities, and equipment. The debt would be repaid over time with anticipated increased
revenues. A general obligation bond would require a two-thirds vote of the electorate to pass.
If the electorate were to pass a bond for infrastructure in the amount of $180,000,000 with interest at a
rate of 3.5 percent over a twenty (20) year period, the annual payment would be $12,664,994
.”

They want to use the sales tax increase revenues to get us deeper into debt. Think about that – not only will they NOT be using the sales tax money toward infrastructure as Coolidge keeps saying, they will be taking another 12 and a half million dollars away from infrastructure to pay off the bonds.

And yes, “bonds”, plural. They want money to pay the pension deficit, having failed in their attempt to make an end-run around the voters with their proposed Pension Obligation Bond.

Read the reports people, don’t just allow yourself to be mesmerized by their moving lips. They are liars, and they will lie to get what they want. Coolidge is one of the most bald-faced liars I’ve ever heard. And the local media just eats it up without question.

I can’t just sit by and watch the insanity, I had to respond to Ory’s letter.

Karl Ory is right, (10/9/21) “Tax revenues will be used for salaries and benefits; no assurances any will go for roads and creekways.” Correct, council has approved a general sales tax increase measure, meaning revenues will go to the General Fund and be spent as council determines.

Ory, a two-time council member, knows that the pension deficit (Unfunded Actuarial Liability) is the city’s only real debt, created by unrealistically high salaries/benefits and unreasonably low employee contributions. He knows that council directed staff to establish a “Pension Stabilization Trust,” into which money is purloined from each department – money that should go toward city services – to pay down the UAL. Recently, council and Staff tried to establish a “Pension Obligation Bond” without voter approval, only the threat of a lawsuit from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association stopped them. They told us they’d spend the garbage tax on the roads, but as Ory has also pointed out, the money has gone to the General Fund every year, spent on salaries, benefits, and new positions.

Look at the city budget – the city’s biggest expense is staff, taking almost the entire budget. Where are the services? Last year over $11.5 million went to the pension deficit. But the deficit keeps going up, because council keeps approving unsustainable contracts. Mark Orme created three new positions last year, at salaries over $100,000.

Until we have a real conversation about who owns the UAL, Chico Taxpayers Association will definitely oppose any new tax increases.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

Here’s another blurb from that 9/21 report:

  • there will be costs associated with educating the public on the proposed measure (hiring a consultant to conduct such work) and costs associated with placing the measure on the 2022 ballot (such costs will be estimated by the City Clerk in working with the County Elections Office)
  • Yes, the rules for using taxpayer money to run political campaigns are foggy, the FPPC seems to be standing down on this. So, they will be going up your ass with your own money. Let’s try to stop this taxpayer-funded train wreck before it gets out of the station – email your district rep, and tell them not only will you not support this tax measure, but you might just be voting for somebody else when the time comes.

    Council to reconsider Shelter Crisis Designation

    5 Oct

    Tonight Chico City Council will discuss reinstatement of the Shelter Crisis Designation. Remarks made to me by Sean Morgan indicate the SCD will allow the city to suspend general health and safety code and allow “the unsheltered” to occupy just about any city property.

    So, you thought the “Occupy” movement was dead?

    While Morgan denies the SCD will come with new revenues to help deal with this problem, I don’t see anything about that in the report.

    Here’s what I suspect: Morgan and friends are going to set up camp at Commanche Creek and Teichert Ponds. And the report says they can make up their own health and safety code – “please shit in a bag and put it in the trash…” ?

    I feel this crisis has been created by the county and, in some part, by the city of Chico. And they continue to mishandle it. The airport resting site was a joke, and I think several council members knew that, and meant it that way. Jesus Center and Torres Shelter won’t cooperate and the city won’t make them cooperate. Consequently, there are empty beds at taxpayer supported shelters while these people are allowed to defile our public lands. Despite the fact that the city and county both give financial support to these shelters, these agencies refuse to hold the shelters up to their true purpose, which is “getting people off the street”.

    Many of these people have drug or mental health problems. Drugs and drug use are illegal. But Chico PD claim they can’t arrest because Sheriff Kory Honea won’t hold arrestees, claiming the jail is overcrowded. Consequently, DA Mike Ramsey won’t prosecute, and these people are released on their own recognizance into our community. Even those convicted are not supervised – the “failure to appear” charges just stack up.

    This is kind of a fucked up mess. There are a lot of things wrong here. The simple solution is that Chico is not responsible for this problem – no city is required to provide social services.

    I don’t go to meetings anymore, I don’t go to Downtown Chico for ANYTHING anymore. What a shit hole they’ve made of our town. But, the clerk has left Engaged up and you can still join the conversation there. They only allow 500 characters – that’s not words, that’s letters, and even spaces! But I squeezed in the following comment, and I hope you’ll join me.

    https://chico-ca.granicusideas.com/meetings/369-10-slash-5-slash-21-city-council-meeting/agenda_items/6154f373f2b6705afb000624-5-dot-3-declaration-of-shelter-crisis-pursuant

    Butte County collects almost $100 million/year in fees for transfers of mental patients and jail/prison releases from other counties. Mental patients are held for 45 days and then released into our community. The jailer claims overcrowding and releases inmates. The county provides no follow up services or supervision of these people. Failure to Appear charges are ignored. County mental health service centers are only open M-F, 11:30 – 4:30. The county needs to do more, the city is not liable.

    Dan Walters: here’s the truth about Biden’s “infrastructure bill”

    3 Oct

    Sorry, the link loaded twice, but this is a good read. President Joe Biden wants us to believe his $3.5 TRILLION “infrastructure” package is about improving roads, utilities and quality of life for millions of people, but it’s really about undoing one of the good things Donald Trump did. In 2017, Trump got legislation passed that lowered taxes on working and middle income people while lowering deductions and therefore raised taxes on “the rich”.

    As the nation’s most populous state, California obviously has a major stake in what the ultimate package will contain, if there is one. But the state has another, less obvious stake in how it’s financed because of something called SALT.

    It stands for “state and local taxes” and four years ago, a Republican-controlled Congress and GOP President Donald Trump, as part of a major tax overhaul, imposed a $10,000 limit on how much SALT could be deducted on personal income tax forms.

    In a tradeoff, the 2017 tax legislation doubled the standard deduction. The two actions had the effect of increasing federal taxes on high-income residents of high-tax states such as California while lowering the federal bite on low- and middle-income taxpayers.

    The effect – “In California, that meant San Francisco and other Bay Area communities such as Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. In Santa Clara, for instance, the average tax return with itemized deductions reported outlays of $46,817.53 in state and local taxes, but could deduct just $8,931.28 due to the SALT limit.

    As you’d expect, “Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California have been trying ever since 2017 to undo the SALT limit, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has publicly supported repeal. That’s why California has a big stake in how Biden’s “human infrastructure” package would be financed.

    But how? Politically, it’s a tricky issue for Democrats, who want to change the limit without appearing to provide a windfall to the wealthy.

    Putnam Wealth Management has published a monologue on the potential ways the SALT limit could be modified or repealed, one of which would place an income limit on restoring deductibility so that those with the highest incomes would not benefit. Other alternatives include doubling or tripling the limit or changing the Alternative Minimum Tax.

    While singing “Eat the Rich,” they are actually planning to put the working and middle income population on the spit. Yet another reminder of The Road.

    Yeah, Lemmy is God.

    2 Oct

    Book in Common, The Road: Who needs fiction? City of Chico getting ready to redeclare Shelter Crisis Designation

    Well, I’ve enjoyed talking about “The Road”. I know it’s a dark book, but you know, I don’t stay interested if I don’t see some hope in a story. I will say, this book ends on a hopeful note. The few characters are very well written, and the plot is well-thought-out and believable. That’s all I will say.

    Cormac McCarthy is a really interesting author, I’d suggest checking out his wikipedia. In fact, I’ll probably read another of his books – “No Country For Old Men.” I’ve seen the movie, and now that I’ve read McCarthy, I’d like to see the book.

    McCarthy has written screenplays for the films adapted from his books, including a 2009 production of The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, one of my favorite actors. Thanks Dude, for sending me that trailer, my husband and I watched the movie and felt it was a very good interpretation of the book. They even got Robert Duvall to play a short role, a very important part of the story.

    I enjoy reading, especially given the state of our world today, this book was very appropriate. But, so many friends and readers have contacted me lately, pissed off about the city’s tax measure, the skating rink, and now, council is reconsidering another Shelter Crisis Designation, on Tuesday’s agenda.

    http://chico-ca.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=369

    The report indicates that Staff is asking Council to redeclare this disaster. I wrote to my district rep Kasey Reynolds and included Sean Morgan because I have spoken to them before. I asked them simply, “So, will either of you be voting to extend the shelter crisis designation, or will this be the end of the shelter crisis designation? Thank you for your anticipated response.”

    Reynolds has not bothered to respond – she wants phone calls, goes all over the place, and then you have no record of what she babbled. At least Morgan responded.

    It’s not an extension. We already eliminated it (that’s my understanding). In any event, it did nothing while we had it, won’t do much if it comes back, but may be necessary for other strategic plans. The City Attorney’s reasoning will be interesting. I assume you’ve already made up your mind?

    I responded, “How much money does the city get for the declaration? No I haven’t made up my mind on this issue yet, because I don’t have all the details. You really shouldn’t assume that you know what people are thinking. I’m guessing you think there’s a mouse running around in my head!”

    Morgan: “No money. That’s not the point.” I questioned him further, and he told me, “So, in order to (hopefully) get the injunction prohibiting us from enforcing our anti-camping ordinances, we may have to do some things we might not normally approve (at least in my case). Some of these things may require the reinstatement of Shelter Crisis because it allows for use of structures, etc. that wouldn’t normally get past state code. A huge double standard you say? Absolutely. Unfortunately, I can only play the cards I’m dealt.

    Actually, there was more to the conversation – Morgan accused me at one point of “condensing”, I think he meant I was being “condescending”, and threatened not to “interact” with me anymore. Frankly, I was being perfectly businesslike, because I know how fast these people can cut you off. It’s not me, it’s him. He’s very defensive. What he’s saying is, they’re getting ready to expand services for the transients. He knows people are going to be pissed about that, and just when he’s asking for a tax increase!

    Frankly, Morgan’s mind may not be entirely made up on this issue. We might be able to reason with him.

    How do you feel? Well, don’t be “condensing,” but contact Mr. Morgan and tell him about it. Tell him what you think of the ice rink too. Don’t use profanities, don’t be threatening or insulting, just give it to him straight. Tell him you think he’s mistaken. Tell him you won’t support any tax increase for a council who spends money like that. Etc. Try your best to be polite, and let him know you realize he’s got a pretty nasty job. But whatever you do, be sincere, and tell him you’re being sincere.

    That’s sean.morgan@chicoca.gov

    Book In Common: The Road leads to paranoia and fear

    22 Sep

    No, I’m not going to talk about the sales tax increase that came before Chico City Council last night. I’ve been trying to tell people for years now, Orme has been pushing this tax. To the chirping of crickets. So, when you little crickets get an idea what we should do about the sales tax measure, you just let me know.

    In the meantime, I’m going to continue the discussion regarding my Halloween Book in Common, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

    Like I said in my last post, this is a very dark book. The subject matter is familiar – the world had been destroyed by war, and a man and his child wander through the wasteland, trying to survive. For what?

    In those first years the roads were peopled with refugees shrouded up in their clothing. Wearing masks and goggles, sitting in their rags by the side of the road like ruined aviators. Their barrows heaped with shoddy. Towing wagons or carts. Their eyes bright in their skulls. Creedless shells of men, tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland.

    Wow, sounds like Chico, California. From Woody Guthrie: “I never see a friend I know, as I go ramblin’ round…” It’s like an insane asylum.

    Years later, alone on the road most of the time, the man and boy move constantly. Driven by bitter cold and constant darkness, masked with filthy rags against the smoke and ash, they head south. They are looking for a way out of “Instant Winter” brought about by years of war and the subsequent natural disasters. I can actually relate to that, and so can most of you – on the day of the Camp Fire, a giant cloud of smoke and ash moved over Chico, choking out the sun. The temperatures dropped from nighttime lows in the 50’s to daytime temperatures in the low 30’s.

    Moving down the road at a speed of a mile or so a day, they scavenge what they can. Passing through abandoned towns long looted, the man manages to scavenge something, anything – discarded motor oil, dried up apples, seeds of grain from an old thresher. They don’t dare slow down, or spend too much time in the open, because the of trolling cannibal gangs. Afraid to talk to anyone, unable to trust out of fear, the man teaches the boy to hide like an animal for hours.

    Frankly, I can also relate to that. Between what’s happened to Chico, along with summer after summer of unabated wildfires, and then COVID, I feel pretty anti-social myself. I’ve developed an uncomfortable distrust of strangers, I don’t make new friends, and I avoid social gatherings. I have a pair of “throwaway” shoes that I wear out and about. I don’t trust government agencies anymore. I feel the need to become more resourceful and self-reliant. Frankly, we do our eating at home or take out, we don’t even go to coffee shops anymore.

    That bugs me, and it becomes increasingly uncomfortable for the boy, as he watches his father descend further into the darkness.

    Next time I’d like to talk more about Cormac McCarthy and other books he’s written.

    Book In Common: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

    18 Sep

    Every now and then I need to take a break and read a good book. As Halloween approaches, I try to read a scary book or story every year. This year my son handed me a book by Cormac McCarthy, a “post apocalyptic” story called “The Road”. He told me it was weirdly appropriate for the times, and he’s right.

    I’ll say, this book is scary, violent, and raises images of a world way beyond civilization. Makes Mad Max look like a children’s story. Very depressing as well. But, it’s well written, well thought out, and, frankly, who would expect the Apocalypse to be like a Disney movie?

    We don’t know what has happened, we don’t get names. We pick up “the man” and his child on the road, making their way through a burnt and destroyed landscape, ash and smoke from perpetual fires blocking out the sun. Scavengers, continually looking over their shoulders for “the bad guys”.

    With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent and godless. He thought the month was October but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving South. There’d be no surviving another winter here.

    The first thing that struck me was the vision of perpetual fire – is he describing the California of the future? “Burnt forests for miles… fire-blackened boulders like the shapes of bears on the starkly wooded slopes…The grainy air. The taste of it never left your mouth. The barren ridgeline trees raw and black in the rain.”

    And of course, they wear masks. That really made me laugh out loud. Masks are now an institution, I don’t know if Cormac saw that coming.

    What a world to raise a child. Well, look around yourself. What are children learning from the perpetual state of disaster we are enduring, the hysteria over disease, and the fascist edicts coming from the state capitol and the White House?

    The man repeatedly reminds his son that “we are the good guys,” and “we carry the fire“. I think he means, our culture, our civilization. Isn’t that what most parents expect to hand down to their children? The same values they were raised with, or at least, the values they consider to be important. But right now, right here in Chico, our values are being challenged, our sense of decency is being questioned, by our own government.

    You have to ask yourself – how did these people get elected? They don’t represent the community as a whole. I’ll blame the voters there, people don’t follow the issues, they just follow the hyperbole. They vote based on what others are saying, instead of doing the research. That’s the problem with Democracy, you get what you vote for.

    I don’t feel our state government reflects the values of our statewide community either. I don’t believe most California voters want to continue to shut down the schools and the economy with mask and vaccine mandates. I don’t think they’re happy with Newsom’s edicts or his blatant hypocrisy, based on his own science. I think most California voters are very unhappy with the state of our state.

    So why did the recall fail? Because there was no unified support behind it. The California Republican party is a total disaster. They didn’t support the recall petition, they didn’t endorse any candidate, they just stood by with their thumbs up their asses and let Larry Elder pull the cork out of the whole thing.

    So we are enjoying a similar post-apocalyptic scenario today. That’s why I’m declaring “The Road” our “Book In Common” for 2021. Hope you’ll join me! Here’s a link to a PDF copy. There are other sites that carry it for free.

    15 Sep

    Some guy named Ryan came to the blog yesterday and said Sean Morgan is about to get us sued again. I can only guess – he’s talking about the city’s absolutely ridiculous handling of the bum situation. I know, they really blew that. Why do we need to set up a “resting site” on a piece of baking hot asphalt miles from town when we have shelters that are accepting tax money but turning people away when they have empty beds?

    A while back, I said the city should sue the county. If you read county board agendas, you see the transfers they accept, along with cash for each transfer. You will also see that most of it goes to cover law enforcement salaries, benefits and pension deficit.

    Ever tried checking in to the Torres Shelter?

    https://torresshelter.org/contact

    COVID-19 UPDATE: We are accepting new and returning guests who have a negative COVID-19 test. Please bring a copy of your negative test results with you to the shelter.

    • New guests: Please arrive between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to check in.
    • Returning guests: If you are seeking services and have stayed at the shelter before, please make an appointment with your case manager.

    The Torres Community Shelter is open for guests 24 hours a day. Guests leaving for the day can check back in prior to 3 p.m. Otherwise, check-in is between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. nightly for returning guests. New guests may check in at 2 p.m. to complete an intake. Please call and get prior approval for an alternate check-in time. If you are a guest, please review the shelter guidelines under services.

    Read their website further – the requirements are onerous, they aren’t getting people off the street, they’re sending them out to camp in the park and other public areas. You have to make an appointment just to be considered as a “guest”. You have to have a recent negative COVID test – whether or not you’ve been vax’d. The wait time for the results is approaching three days, during which time you could easily be exposed. And, while you wait for your test results and your appointment to be considered for a bed, where are you supposed to go? Self-quarantine at Commanche Creek? Teichert Ponds? Even though the Torres has empty beds?

    Meanwhile, the Jesus Center boasts a lot of different programs and shelters for various individuals, but is only housing about 60 people at this time. In fact, they only have one overnight shelter for men, and all their housing requires sobriety, enforced by drug testing.

    Anybody who is familiar with the local homeless population knows it’s over 50 percent drug addicted males. These shelters take money from the city and county (Torres is located on city land) but they cater to a fraction of the people that are living on Chico streets.

    You might remember “Project Room Key”, a program that handed out motel vouchers good at participating motels. That dried up when those motels would no longer take the vouchers because the guests were not properly vetted, were not supervised, and ended up trashing motel rooms, molesting other guests, and refusing to leave when their time was up. Nobody at Project Room Key would take responsibility. The county also tries to get local landlords to rent to these people – former BCBH staffer Dorian Kittrell wanted them to “make sure their tenants are being respectful and taking their meds…” Here’s what came of that.

    Ramsey said in the release that the assault victim was a 59-year-old CSUC science professor who had rented a room in his home to Muscat as a favor to a friend who was an employer of Muscat. The professor had begun to evict Muscat for his alcohol and drug use when Muscat attacked him during the early morning hours of Oct. 29, 2017. The professor suffered severe and permanently disabling injuries to his face, shoulder and brain.

    The County of Butte, City of Chico, Torres Shelter and Jesus Center get millions a year to “serve the homeless“, but anybody with a set of eyes can see they aren’t doing anything but paying 6-digit salaries and bringing more transients in for the money.

    Let me say it – most of the “homeless” belong in jails or mental hospitals. But, like I said, the money that comes with the transfers of prisoners and mental patients is spent on salaries, benefits and pension deficit. The highest salaries at Butte County are in Behavioral Health – shouldn’t that mean we shouldn’t be having this problem?

    But we have the Happy Wanderers, the folks who say we need to provide shelter other than jail or a mental hospital for these individuals. Until you have housed an indigent druggie under your roof, with your family, or spent a week living with them in your tent at Commanche Creek or Teichert Ponds, don’t even talk to me.

    How many of your civil liberties have your surrendered in the last 20 years?

    11 Sep

    Happy “9/11”! While the government reminds you how many people died on that day and in the days following, I’d like to remind you how many of your civil liberties you’ve surrendered since then. The following list, made five years after the incident, sounds a lot like the COVID shutdown!

    https://www.aclu.org/other/top-ten-abuses-power-911

    Here’s a memory of what America was like before 9/11. And yeah, I miss Tom Petty too.