Make them carry a petition

4 Feb

In an e-mail I received January 30, ex-Chico city manager and sales tax increase proponent Tom Lando told me, “yes, we are funding a community survey.”

The question is, is this survey intended to “test the water” and tell him whether or not he wants to spend the money to float a petition, or will he try to use this survey to get council to go over the collective public head and place the issue on the ballot without a petition?   City Council makes that choice.

A typical survey, such as the General Plan survey conducted on behalf of the city of Chico, contacts between 400 and 600 residents, by phone, supposedly chosen randomly by “experts”.  A survey depends on the skill of the person(s) making the phone calls – the dialog and the questions are often times leading.  There have been complaints about the recent “business climate” survey conducted fairly loosely by the city, saying some of the questions were leading and inappropriate.   The Diversity Action survey was just “brainstormed” by a $taff member and a group of volunteers, including ME, and they used that survey to shove through items like mandatory diversity training for $taff and board members.

Council is also allowed to simply ignore the results they don’t like or agree with – such as an overwhelming finding in the General Plan survey that residents want big lots – the council chose to ignore this finding in favor of high density.  Council outrightly ridiculed a survey brought forward by the group Concerned Citizens of Chico,  even though CCC used students from the same department at Chico State that the city uses do to alot of their surveys. Council is allowed to interpret a survey any way they want, and use it to validate their vote whichever way they go.

Petitions, on the other hand, are required to be signed by a certain portion of the fixed population – in Chico that amounts to over 6500 signatures, I’m not sure of the exact number.  Petitions are approved by the city clerk, so that people are allowed to know what they’re signing and whether it’s legal.  Petitions are not subjective – it’s  a legal matter of math.

I’d like to believe Mr. Lando is just testing the water before he spends as much as $50,000 on a petition. That seems intelligent and prudent.  We need to let him know that.

I’d say, contact Mr. Lando, and ask him how you can participate in his survey. Ask him who is conducting this survey.

And then let him know, that regardless of the results of his survey, you will expect him to carry a petition and get the required number of signatures.

That’s Tom Lando, at Lando and Associates, 111 Mission Ranch Blvd, Chico, 95928, or

E-mail is convenient, but don’t forget to write those letters, get them in the mail. There’s something about snail mail that says, “I mean it, dammit.”

Katy Sweeny at the Enterprise Record is also conducting a simple poll – you can contact her at Twitter@KatySweeny or

And don’t forget – tomorrow at the Chico library, 11:30, hope to see you there.

3 Responses to “Make them carry a petition”

  1. Joseph February 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Why does Katy parrot whatever the local bureaucrats and politicians want?

    Why doesn’t the ER do some fact finding and hard hitting reporting to let the people of this city know the true economic condition of local government?

  2. Rick Clements February 5, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Katy is like David, they don’t investigate. They sit back and let everyone else do their jobs, excepting of course, the ritual of cashing their paychecks every other week. If it wasn’t for Juanita, NorCal Blogs would be useless drivel.

    • Juanita Sumner February 5, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      thanks Rick!

      I’m not sure what to think of Katy Sweeny, but at least she’s “covering” the story, so I want to encourage her to do so. Do you notice, her survey question implies the money will be used to pay salaries and redevelopment bills – I think she’s bringing up a good point, whatever her intentions.

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