Do you know the rules about parcel taxes? Better get schooled

18 Jul
  1.      What is a parcel tax?  a) a fee charged for delivery of packages  from out of state   b) same as a bond   c) a form of property tax   d) a, b, and c
  2.      What is a parcel?  a) a commercial property   b)  a single family home  c) an apartment complex  d)  a, b, and c
  3.      A parcel tax is assessed   a)  based on the assessed value of the property   b) based on the characteristics of the parcel  c) neither  d) both
  4.      A parcel tax may be imposed by a) a city/county  b)  a special district  c)  a school district d) a, b, and c
  5.      True or False: Parcel tax revenues can be used for any type of spending, including salaries, benefits and pensions.


I’ll post the answers tomorrow.


  1. c) a form of property tax, very different from a bond. They are assessed differently, and bonds are actually tax deductible, while parcel taxes are not.
  2. d) a, b, and c – a parcel tax covers any privately owned property. But, according to Ballotpedia, different types of parcels can be assessed differently. ”  A parcel tax rate can differ based on the type of property. For instance, improved and unimproved properties may have different rates, and residential and commercial properties may also have different rates.”
  3.  b) based on the characteristics of the parcel –  parcel taxes are “assessed at a rate based on the characteristics of a parcel—or unit of property—rather than a rate based on the assessed value of the property, which is the standard method of levying property taxes,”  such as bonds. 
  4. d) a, b, and c – any special district, including Chico Area Recreation District. Look at your Butte County prop tax bill – did you know you’re already paying an assessment for the mosquito district? 
  5. True: Parcel tax revenues can be used for any type of spending, including salaries, benefits and pensions.

If you got less than three of these right you should probably study up, a good place to start is wikipedia:



Ridiculous Chico PD press release – did they arrest 114 people? or arrest the same perps over and over?

14 Jul
I got this press release from a Badge Bunny I know. Written by the cops, about the cops, for the cops. Wow, they sure like to polish their own apples – and yes, we pay the  guy who writes this crap, including pension and benefits. 
But read it, and ask yourself…
  1. 114 people? Do they mean “people” or “arrests”?  And you see several of those named have already been arrested within the past weeks – “ arrested for the same charges” What? So, arresting somebody doesn’t taking them off the streets or preventing them from committing more crimes.
  2. “from Chico”? Does that even mean anything anymore? These people aren’t “from Chico”, they’re brought in here not only through Behavioral Health Department transfers but through jail transfers.

The cops will continue to blow their own horns, and then watch – as soon as the students come back to town they will tell us they are canning the street crimes unit because they don’t have enough cops to watch the campus and the rest of us. They’ve been using this as an excuse for more money and more positions for 20 years. 

less of a deterrent for citizens to enjoy.”   What the hell does that mean? Every time I go out around town I see stolen shopping carts,  garbage dumped along waterways, people sleeping in piles of rags in public parks, and the other day I watched a group pass a pipe of who knows what at the “Devil’s Triangle”. My neighbors are reporting thefts of things like weed whackers (“I just went inside my house to use the bathroom and it was gone…”) A friend of ours recently reported that while he was at a local home improvement store somebody tried to pry open the tool box in the back of his truck. Now the lid won’t shut properly and he’s worried about his tools getting swamped in Winter. 

Quality of life? 


Chico P.D. Street Crimes “D” Unit Week seven

Chico, CA – The Chico Police Department’s Street Crimes D Unit completed its seventh week of operation. This week the unit seized more than an ounce and a half of Methamphetamine and another illegally possessed firearm during its 13 arrests. In total, the unit has arrested 114 people *, the majority of which were contacted in the East Avenue and Esplanade corridors. Besides these areas, the unit is still focusing on the Chico parks and other areas where the public enjoyment of the city has been affected by quality of life crimes.

Members of the SCU D Unit have been receiving input from citizens that their work in the city has been noticed. Areas where obvious criminal activity and disorderly conduct were visible, have cleaned up and become less of a deterrent for citizens to enjoy. With this in mind, the unit will continue to work hard as there is still much work to do.

The mission of this Street Crimes “D” Unit is to impact the street level crime that affects the quality of life in this community. Robbery, burglary, gun and drug offenses, bike and other theft are all examples of the crime this team is tasked on addressing. The team is also focusing on keeping our public spaces safe.

*Last week’s total arrest number was erroneously reported to have been 98 total arrests. The actual number should have been 101.

Below are several examples of arrests made by the Street Crimes D Unit this week:

Richard Batham (61 years old from Chico) was arrested for challenging officers and resisting arrest. Batham is new to Chico, having recently arrived here from out of state.

Melissa Rawlings (38 years old from Chico) was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine for sales.

Andrew Kelley (31 years old from Oroville) was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine and for bringing a controlled substance into a jail. This is Kelley’s second arrest in two weeks by the SCU D Unit.

Derrick Crist (37 years old from Chico) was arrested for an outstanding warrant and Methamphetamine possession.

Gabriel Hernandez was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. This is Hernandez’s second arrest in three weeks by the SCU D Team. In week five, Hernandez was arrested for the same charges and an outstanding warrant.

Location: City of Chico

Supervisor: T. Tupper S11

Watch Commander: J. Struthers C8

Brown and Schwab want to take away your property rights

13 Jul

Part of the Big Lie being perpetuated by city of Chico council members and $taff is all these poor folks being “squeezed out” of housing because greedy landlords want to sell their rentals. Councillor Ann Schwab and Vice Mayor Alex Brown have brought up the subject of rent control. They call it, “eviction for good cause”.

“At the council’s July 2 meeting, the panel considered Schwab’s original proposal. In general, an eviction for good cause ordinance requires landlords to prove there is a “good cause” to terminate a lease, such as a tenant failing to pay rent or damaging property, or the landlord needing to make substantial repairs or move into the property. Some require landlords to provide tenants with financial assistance to relocate.”

Do they mean “eviction” or “termination of the lease”? These are very different terms, legally, but Brown, Schwab, and now the press, continue to use the words interchangeably.

FROM  –  When a landlord or tenant decides to terminate (or not renew) a lease or rental agreement, state law often requires one party to give written notice of his decision to the other party. This is sometimes known as a “notice to terminate”. An eviction is a legal proceeding in which a landlord asks a court to order the tenant to leave the property.

Yes there’s a big difference between “eviction” and “termination.” An eviction comes out on your court records. Forever. It’s called “unlawful detainer“. Here’s more information from Nolo Press.

 Before evicting a tenant, California law requires a landlord to legally terminate the tenancy. To do this, the landlord must first give the tenant written notice, as specified by state law. If the tenant does not move out or fix bad behavior—for example, by paying the rent or finding a new home for the dog (when the lease prohibits pets)—then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit (also called an unlawful detainer suit). For serious lease violations, the landlord does not need to give the tenant the option of correcting the problem behavior.  California law gives exact requirements to end a tenancy, with different types of termination notices and procedures required for different types of situations. 

Furthermore, “If a tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement and has lived in the rental unit for less than one year, then a landlord must give the tenant a written 30-day notice to end the tenancy. If the tenant has lived in the rental unit for over one year and is month-to-month, then the landlord must give the tenant a written 60-day notice to end the tenancy. Both notices must inform the tenant that the tenancy will expire at the end of the notice period and the tenant must move out of the rental unit by that time (see Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § § 1946 and 1946.1).”

So, landlords are already held to strict rules, and tenants can take their landlords to court if they violate any of these rules. I don’t see any reason to make such an ordinance for Chico. Proponents of this ordinance, mostly Brown and Schwab, have claimed they’ve heard from people who’ve been “evicted” by greedy landlords who wanted to sell their houses in the aftermath of the Camp Fire.  But Alex Brown, who has made this claim repeatedly since the Camp Fire, has not offered any names. So the News and Review plopped out this little story.

“After the Camp Fire, Chris Singleton and his two roommates invited a family who’d lost their home in Paradise to live with them for several months. That family found a home in Magalia in the spring and soon may be returning the favor.  Now, Singleton is losing his home in southwest Chico, too: His landlords want to sell. He’s been there for more than three years and has to be out by July 31.”

Wow, where’s the crime here? Did his landlord give him 60 days, as required  by law? Here’s a better question – did he have his landlord’s permission to let “a family” move into his rental? Because if he didn’t, it’s legal for his landlord to give him a 3 day notice to get them out or have his lease terminated (which is followed by a 30 – 60 day notice period).  

Three-Day Unconditional Quit Notice: This type of notice is given to the tenant if the tenant commits specific, serious violations. The notice informs the tenant that the tenant must move out of the rental unit within three days of receiving the notice. The tenant is not allowed any time to fix the violation, and if the tenant does not move out within three days, the landlord can go to court to file an eviction lawsuit. The landlord can use a three-day unconditional quit notice only in the following situations:

  • the tenant has assigned or sublet the rental unit in violation of the lease or rental agreement
  • the tenant has caused substantial damage to the property
  • the tenant has permitted or created a nuisance at the rental unit, or
  • the tenant has been involved in illegal activity on the premises of the rental unit.

Most leases have a clause that says nobody is allowed to move in without written permission of the landlord. Also a clause that says no overnight guests for more than 10 days in a 60 day period. Why? Because a landlord has a right to know who is living in their property.

I’ve had many applicants fill out applications and lie about the number and identity of others that will live with them. An applicant even has to list minor children on a legal application, even though the landlord is not allowed to reject families with children. And, while a landlord is not allowed to restrict the number of tenants per room or rental, the landlord is still allowed to require the tenants to fully disclose who will live there on the application.

Here’s a reason right off the top of my head – landlords are supposed to do background checks on prospects, and my neighbors appreciate that. You might have to rent to a registered sex offender, but you’re supposed to know that. But when his or her friends rent a place and then just let the sex offender move in, who would know?

Here’s another reason – parking. Too many cars is one of the top causes of fighting and neighbor complaints.  And then there’s damage – who gets the bill, when you don’t even know who lived there? 

I have found, most applicants who lie about that have prospective roommates who for one reason or another have a bad rental history, and they’re afraid the prospective landlord won’t rent to them. Well, that’s a landlord’s right under California law, and why not? Why rent a house to somebody who has a record of refusing to pay rent or failure to respect a legal document after signing their name to it? 

We have corporate landlords in town, and they ALWAYS have vacancies. Corporate landlords can afford dead beats, Mom and Pop can’t. While I know there are predatory landlords in town, they are breaking laws that just need to be enforced, like keeping deposits without proper billing.  That’s a big scam in the Chico corporate rental market  – why doesn’t the city enforce the current laws?

Because scare tactics are always a good campaign tactic. Brown and Schwab are trying to get the college student vote – never too early to campaign. A local campaign consultant once told me he’d “run the numbers,” available through the county clerk’s office, and while a very small percentage of local college students are registered to vote (meaning, they put “student” as their occupation), there are usually more than enough to throw a council election. At that time my friend reported to me that a little over 600 hundred “students” were registered to vote in Chico. Yep, more than one council election has been determined by less than 600 votes.

And then there’s the local crowd of “feel good” liberals, among whom words speak louder than actions.

The scare tactic they are trying to run is that Chico doesn’t have “enough affordable housing.” That is a crock of shit, take a whiff. Look around you – new apartments, new apartments, new apartments. Including the “luxury” apartments being built at Cal Park, and some pretty high end apartments over on Nord (rented by the bedroom, at $700 a room). Gee, if city council so worried about “affordability,” why do they keep permitting “luxury apartments”? Because they want the property taxes, you silly moose!

The department of numbers says we have so much housing our vacancy rate is actually increasing.

Chico vacancy has more than tripled since 2006 and is more than double California vacancy rate. I realize there was a short-lived frenzy after the Camp Fire, but that is over. In fact, our vacancy rate has increase almost 2% over the last few years, to over 7%. That means 7 of 100 landlords have empty rentals, while they still have to pay mortgages, taxes, and upkeep.

While rentals here in Chico have always been more expensive than the county, we also have more a lot more to offer here than the rest of the county. People are always willing to pay more for services, like retail centers, nearby schools, public transportation, and silly stuff like sewer, water and garbage service.

The Department of Numbers also reports that Chico’s average rent is not only consistent with the US average but considerably lower than the average for all of California. 

I’ll admit, these are 2017 numbers. There are no more recent numbers. So where do Schwab and Brown get their information? Why don’t you ask them for names? Communications with council members are supposed to be public information. 

For some reason, council unanimously agreed to have the city attorney research and draw up a draft of an ordinance that basically strips landlords of their property rights.  Check out some of these doozies from around the country:

It seems these ordinances are usually backed with claims of “unscrupulous landlords” – but the behavior they describe is already covered by California law. For example, the mayor of Philadelphia says, “This Good Cause bill strengthens the Fair Housing Ordinance and will keep unscrupulous landlords from committing unfair rental practices and terminating leases simply because tenants request necessary repairs.” 

Let’s talk FACTS for a minute. Eviction or illegally terminating a lease because you don’t want to make repairs is against the law, especially if the items were in working condition, or if the landlord promised to fix them in writing, when the tenants moved in. All a tenant needs to stop a termination of lease is a record of written complaints about the items in question.

A fellow we met once told my husband and I a funny story – he had rented from infamous Chico landlord Mike Campos. Campos is a tough old bastard, but he knows the law. This fellow admitted, he and his friends had spent all their money “partying”, and were unable to come up with the rent for the month. They decided to complain about a faucet that had been leaking for weeks, telling Campos they were withholding the rent until the faucet was fixed.

That isn’t legal, they had no record of any written complaint, you’re only allowed to withhold rent when the landlord knows about but refuses or fails to fix the problem within a certain amount of time. They were shocked when Campos showed up that day, tool belt on, and demanded to be shown the leaky faucet. Fixing it within minutes, he then demanded the rent, which they had to admit they  didn’t have. I had to laugh – Campos was our neighbor for years, we knew his kids, and we would never have pulled such a stunt on that cranky old bastard.

Schwab and Brown are looking for a feel good measure that will help them get re-elected. That sounds harmless, but more cities across the country are passing these ordinances. This would have a major negative impact on the housing market in Chico. Just think – Mom and Pop selling out, rentals all over town being converted to owner occupied. Is that the kind of “help” renters need?

Contact Alex Brown at, and Ann Schwab at, and tell them what you think of this ordinance. 

Why let a lie stand just because the liar keeps repeating it?

9 Jul

Joseph Goebbels – “ If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Well, here it is, July, and looks just like the average Chico Summer. As soon as school gets out, the college students “go home,” the school employees take their kids on vacation, and this town looks pretty dead.

Even with those 19,000 extra residents!  What the heck has happened to all the Camp Fire evacuees? Remember last November? Traffic backed up, lines out the door at local grocery stores, laundromats overwhelmed. Now what? 

The city of Chico and local media still claim 19,000 evacuees have settled in Chico. That is a total crock of you-know-what. Look around you NOW folks, where the hell are they? 

So, when I read another false claim in the Chico News and Review, I had to say something. They’ve made all these claims, and all they have to base it on is a press release from the state. The State Department of Finance made ESTIMATES – look that word up, would you? They based these estimates, not on the number of displaced Camp Fire refugees,  but on “changes to the housing stock”. The press release cited “new  construction, demolitions, housing unit conversions, and annexations.”   Apparently, if you build it, demolish it, convert it, or annex it, they assume more people have moved to your town.  They don’t have census data, they just ASSUME. 

On this “science”, the city of Chico, with the help of a lazy local media, bases their claims that they need more tax money to deal with crapped out streets and a serious public safety crisis. 

The real problem with our streets, as Mark Orme admitted at a Finance Committee meeting earlier this year, is that $taff has “kicked the can down the road” on maintenance of our streets.  And, the biggest public safety problem are transients, who camp illegally in our public spaces, and then fan out into town during the day to illegally panhandle, shoplift, and predate our neighborhoods while we’re at work all day.

Many of these people are brought here by way of Butte County Behavioral Health Department “transfers” from other cities and counties all over California.  Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell told me the county gets $550 a day for each of these people, who are put on a 45 day involuntary hold at the county psychiatric hospital, and then turned out on their own recognizance in Oroville and Chico. 

I’m sick of the made-up numbers the city is using as an excuse to raise taxes, so when Melissa Daugherty over at the News and Review repeated the city’s fake numbers and opined we might need a revenue measure,  I had to write her a letter.

Wake up – real numbers don’t end “000”. 

Chico Police Chief claims Chico has grown by “19,000” since the Camp Fire, the editor uses the figure “almost 20,000”, but still no real numbers.

In April city manager Mark Orme was using his “10 – 15,000″ number, based on ” nonregistration, couch-living, trailers parked on streets”.  But to date, there is still no actual count, only “estimates”.

According to the state press release, these numbers are based not on actual population  but on new construction.  “Changes to the housing stock are used in the preparation of the annual city population estimates.  Estimated occupancy of housing units and the number of persons per household further determine population levels. Changes in city housing stock result from new  construction, demolitions, housing unit conversions, and annexations.”  Everything’s “estimated”. Then they even “adjust” the numbers “to be consistent with independently produced county estimates.”

I don’t support the recall either, but I’m tired of hearing the city and the media make claims based on fake numbers. Our town is a mess right now because people are not doing their jobs, but expecting to be paid into perpetuity.


I originally sent this letter June 28. I used a figure I’d heard police chief O’Brien use on the Ch 7 news – he said “16,000,” whether it was a mistake on his part or not. Daugherty, who is very argumentative, thin skinned, and unable to take the slightest hint of criticism, immediately came back at me saying the chief had told council “19,000”. I told her I disagreed, but since I couldn’t find a clip of the story I’d seen, I edited the figure to please her and sent it back. She neither responded nor printed my letter. 

So I just resent it yesterday. We’ll see if Little Miss Thin Skin will remember she’s a “journalist” and print it.  

Those letters don’t write themselves

5 Jul

Reno celebrates the 4th

I’m on the road for the holiday. Spent the 4th in Reno where the casinos do rooftop displays and the university does a big show at their stadium.

Nevada’s nice, gas is cheaper ($3.19/gal), but there’s no place like home. California is where I was born and I don’t believe in running from a fight.

Do you realize,  former Chico city manager Tom Lando has been trying to get a tax measure on the ballot since 2012? Why? Because he gets over $135,000/year in pension, and if CalPERS fails he loses it. He knows CalPERS is in deep financial trouble, so he has been trying to get a tax transfusion. He has not only lobbied the city to put a full cent tax measure on the ballot, but as a board member of Chico Area Recreation District  (CARD) he’s trying to talk the other board members into a parcel tax measure.

Both measures would be general measures that only require 51% voter approval,  meaning they would go into the general fund to be used for salaries,  benefits,  and the “pension stabilization trust. “

I know, you hear the city saying they will fix the streets and hire more cops, but that’s a lie. Not only did the city establish a “pension stabilization trust” and commit over a million dollars a year to it, but top management now recieve a special 401K in addition to having 90% of their pension paid by the taxpayers. Read their contracts,  available at the city website (Human Resources page).

CARD tried to use a new “aquatic center” as bait originally,  but after their recent consultant survey,  they promise cleaner parks and more security.  See how they change their tune, say whatever the voters want to hear? Well look at their budget, available on their website,  and see how much money they siphon into their pensions while they tell us they didn’t have enough money to maintain Shapiro Pool. They ignored a local contractor’s report and instead of doing much needed maintenance to save the pool they dumped $400,000 into their pension deficit fund. According to the contractor’s report,  they could have saved Shapiro Pool for about $500,000. And he made it clear the problems were due to years of neglecting simple maintenance.

Good lesson in civics for your kids, eh?

So now’s the time to write letters to council  and the CARD board, tell them they will have to get that money out of $taffers like city manager Mark Orme, who makes almost $300,000 a year in total compensation but pays less than $20,000 toward 70% of his $225,000 salary at age 55.

Speak now, or forever hold your hands over the seat of your pants.


How long will we put up with $taff insubordination?

2 Jul

Illegal camper at Peregrine Point disc golf course.

This morning my husband and I went up to walk our dogs at the city disc golf course on hwy 32. As we pulled in we noticed a pretty entrenched camper, looked like he’d made himself quite at home! Why not – the city has a portable toilet there, and a trash can emptied regularly by city staff. There are no signs saying camping is illegal – the city is almost inviting transient campers.

When we encountered a city employee one morning, he told us all the trails were closed. When we asked WHY? he got rude fast.  “Get the hell out,” he told us, and proceeded to threaten us as we walked to our truck.

The city closed the trails, claiming the burned trees were dangerous.  Well how come the course is open now, burned trees still standing?

I  wanted to remind Mr. “Get the hell out” that we had reported illegal campers in the parking lot less than a week before the “Stoney Fire” destroyed much of the course. We had informed park manager Linda Herman that we found a still smoking cigarette butt in the post at the trailhead. The camper had been there for weeks, and was using the metal post as an ashtray on his way in and out of the portajohn.

Herman did nothing. The cause of that resulting fire, according to investigators, was an illegal campfire. In fact, first responders essentially rescued a man who was camping ON THE COURSE at the time of the fire.

And now, a year later, here we are again. July, and the non-native oat grass along the Upper Park trails, all open, is as high as my head. Three foot tall star thistle.

“Stupid” is making the same  mistake again and again.  But this I would chalk up to willful insubordination.  That, according to Herman’s contract, is sufficient cause for termination.

Off with her head!

So I sent Herman this picture, we’ll see what her raggedy-ass excuse is this time.



So you thought we dumped the king in ’76?

1 Jul

Already July!  Fourth of July travelers are on the highway – I wonder if they noticed, the gas tax went up today. 

Something nobody seemed to get about SB 1 – the gas tax increase instituted by the state legislature in January 2018 – is that it allows the legislature to raise it at will, no input from the voters. 


It could get worse – in May, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 was ordered for a third reading, not yet scheduled.  ACA1 lowers the voter threshold for [the following italicized portions have been added to the original text] “Bonded indebtedness incurred by a city, county, or city and county city and county, or special district for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing for persons at risk of chronic homelessness, including persons with mental illness, or the acquisition or lease of real property for public infrastructure or infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing for persons at risk of chronic homelessness, including persons with mental illness, ”  from 2/3’s to 55 percent voter approval.  

Why? Because it was hard to get 2/3’s approval from the taxpayers. So they are changing the rule. What kind of crap is that? Should the legislature be able to just change the constitution without a vote of the people?

Furthermore, do you really think it’s okay for 55 people to tell the other 45 that they must pay a tax for programs they don’t want to support? I think that’s mob rule, and it’s divisive. A community should agree on stuff, not be subject to the loudest bullies in the group. 

Here’s the text of ACA 1

The bar at the top of the page includes the history of the bill, current status (waiting for a third reading), and who voted how. So far it’s been through the Assembly Local Government Committee, and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. I don’t know where it goes next, but I’m watching this page. 

So, this week, when you are trying to enjoy various events, try to remember why we celebrate this holiday. Do some homework, learn something about the process by which they steal your money and ruin your community. 

I’ll tell you what my family did to start the week off right – we watched “Vice”, the 2018 movie about Dick Cheney. Sure, it’s silly and fantastic in places, but it tells, factually, how our government works, and why we have to be on top of our politicians. 

And then we watched the Nixon movie, “Dick,”  which is the best telling of the Watergate story I have ever seen.  I was 12 years old when the Watergate story broke in the newspapers, I remember that was the first time my parents didn’t know all the answers. People were stunned, because they knew nothing about how much power the president really had.  They thought we dumped the king back in ’76, but they were wrong.

Happy Independence Day Everybody!