Archive | May, 2012

Too late to vote by mail – take your ballots to Oroville, or to any polling place on Election Day

30 May


This Saturday, June 2,  the election office at 25 County Center Drive in Oroville, Suite 110, will be open to the public for voting from 8am to 5pm.

It is too late to mail your ballot securely, so be sure to turn it in at the election office this Saturday, or during business hours Monday or Tuesday. You can also take your ballot to ANY polling place on Tuesday by 8pm.

Can you believe it – Election Day is on us already.  I sent my mail-in ballot about a week ago, having hem-hawed around about a couple of items. Including, which candidate stands a rat’s patoot of a chance at beating Dianne Feinstein.  Sheesh – maybe we should just throw a bucket of water on her and see what happens! Although, we have to get by those flying monkeys…

I voted for Ron Paul for Prez. No, I have no illusions about Paul actually being elected, I got any notions of real Democracy  throttled out of me about six months ago.  But,  Romney wouldn’t say he’d repeal Obamacare, and that was the single most important issue to me in this election. I couldn’t vote for Obama, he SUCH an ASS!  So,  I simply stepped out of his way – four more years of Obama, and people will be running after Rand Paul like he was driving an ice cream truck. Gosh sakes, maybe even an Impeachment!  There’s more than one way to get your piggy over that stile, Bessie May.

Although I talked to some nice candidates for these positions, I stuck with Logue and Lamalfa. I just trust those guys, sorry about that. Logue is a straight talker, and LaMalfa has the Northern California mindset. Locally, voting is a gut thing. I like to vote for guys with big guts, shoot me. 

And then there were the measures. I’m not going to talk about the measures. Nobody is going to be happy with the results of those measures, and there’s nothing to be gained by fighting about it.

I’m sorry if none of my opinions are of help to you. I am not here to tell people how to vote. But, I would like to remind you TO VOTE, at all. Get those ballots turned in, Baby!  








Beat the Heat! Chico Taxpayers Association will meet at 9am next Sunday, Chico library

27 May

Next week we’ve moved our June 3 Chico Taxpayers Assoc. meeting to 9am.  I’ve asked Mark Sorensen to come in and give us his take on the phone tax and some other items before council. He asked that we get together a little earlier, so I notified the library and we have the room from 9 – 10.  

We want to get our facts straight regarding the phone tax so we can start writing letters. I want to remind everybody, it’s good to write to the council and the newspapers, but you might also be telling everybody you know who lives within the city limits. 

How do your friends react when y0u try to talk politics? I know, some of you might only have politically minded friends who stay well-informed. That isn’t always the case. A lot of our friends are busy in their lives, with their jobs, their kids, etc.  “The Real World,” where, if you don’t mind your business, your life ends up in a ditch.  Whenever I bring these “political”  issues up in the groups I swing with, I get almost exactly the same angry response every time: “When am I supposed to go to these meetings? I have a ( job/business) all day, and then when I get the chance, I’m at (one of my kids’ various activities).” One weekend I watched a kids’ sports tournament with a couple whose elderly father lay on his deathbed in Chico – they were chatting with him on the cell phone, it was heartbreaking. How do you bring up these issues when people are trying to live their lives? 

But, just recently, the father of one of my kid’s playmates came over to tell me, he reads my blog, and he writes letters to council. This is a man who does a job we all depend on, who has recently been transferred in his job to Oroville when he lives in Chico, and who has two active teenagers. His wife works too. But still they find time to stay on top of the issues. I really appreciate that – it’s like having somebody say, “I got your back Juanita!” 

We must all watch each others’ backs on these tax issues.  I think you can write a letter to the council or the newspaper in less than 30 minutes, or give a friend a simple explanation,  if you know what you want to say. Know the facts, and it’s easy to be prepared in a conversation. Please come in on Sunday and we will be going over the facts on this phone tax – just the facts, Ma’am. We need to keep it sweet and simple, let people know exactly what this tax will do. We have until November to let people know the truth. I  think we can do it. 

Mark will also try to explain to us what’s going on with this missing $255,000 that will be discussed Downtown Tuesday night. I’m not sure, but I think that’s still alot of money to misplace, and I’d like to watch $taff squiggle and scramble to explain this. Mark will try to give us the background. 

That’s Sunday, June 3, 9 – 10 am, Chico library at First and Sherman Avenues. Come on down! 

Sleep with your hand on your wallet/purse strap

25 May

I would certainly like to think we just landed a house on a witch, but I got another think coming.

“Self-imposed Chico tax supporters take a break”

Well, I’ll tell you right away, I got a problem with that headline. Lando and friends were not imposing a tax just on themselves, they were imposing a tax on all the rest of us as well. What’s with the ER, always trying to make this thing look so magnificent – those magnificent tax paying bastards!  They’re so community spirited!  Anybody who doesn’t want to pay this tax is just, well, NOT community spirited! Damn us!

Now, please note, Lando, who sent this article to Urseny as a press release – that’s some news reporting!  – Mr. Lando uses the word “hiatus”. That means, he isn’t quitting, he’s just taking a “break, or a pause, in a sequence, series or process…”

“We think it’s best to wait for another round of elections,” he says. Well, duh!

He can’t float this turd in the same pond in which his colleague Bob Evans must make his swim for re-election. I am afraid Evans might support this tax if he thought he could get away with it. Mr. Evans told me early on that he would not agendize a discussion of this tax because there was, as far as he saw it, nothing to discuss. He said he hadn’t seen any proposal and therefore didn’t want to talk about it. But come to find out, he’s been meeting with Lando over at the Chamber of Commerce, where both are longtime members, and the topic on the agenda has been the sales tax increase. So, Evans has heard something, and I’m afraid he’s not being completely honest about what he knows or what he intends.

I certainly don’t trust Ann Schwab. She’ll play it safe for now, sure. She’s already busted a bottle of bubbly on that leaky phone tax vessel – a sales tax increase would sink her battleship, and she knows it. When I asked her if she’d put this stinker on the ballot, she referred to Lando’s early proposal for a ballpark, and indicated she wouldn’t support a sales tax “for a ballpark,” that’s all she’d say. She wouldn’t say, “I won’t support a sales tax increase,” she qualified herself – she won’t support a ball park.  She just wants to distance herself from this thing until she can get her butt back in that chair, and then you’re going to see the biggest turn-around since George H. W. Bush told you to read his lips.

I fear either of these two would support a special election for November 2013, when they could put this sales tax increase measure on the ballot with a 5-2 majority, without any immediate retribution from the voters. Ah, how the voters forget!

Well, I’m a vindictive bitch, I never forget.  What I’d like to hear from Evans before I can support him in November is that he will not vote to put a sales tax increase on the ballot without the required number of signatures on a legal petition.

I’d want a petition because I want to know that a sufficient number of voters support an election. As we were told when we presented the legally required signatures for Measure A, a special election is expensive, and there’s absolutely no basis at this time on which to justify that kind of expenditure – I remember hearing estimates as high as $120,000.  They made the Measure A proponents spend over $50,000 gathering signatures, I will feel completely had if they do not require signatures of Lando and his friends.
This issue is not going away, in fact, I don’t think they will even slow down. They have a lot of money to raise to run their campaign, and lots of lies to spread to try to get it passed. We have to keep our ear to the ground, and be ready to pick up after the phone tax fight and go at it again.
Here in Chico, you must sleep with your hand on your wallet/purse strap.

These city committees have no accountability to the public

22 May

Yesterday I wrote a post about a Sustainability Task Force meeting that had been scheduled for yesterday afternoon. This special meeting had been scheduled at the May 7 meeting and noticed to me and others on the e-mail list May 14. I received the agenda for this meeting on May 16th.

Yesterday at 4:12, I received an e-mail stating that the 5:30 meeting had been cancelled due to an expected lack of quorum. $taff  liaison Linda Herman had waited until just a few hours before the meeting to notice  the e-mail list.

Well, for Pete’s sake. She could not get enough people, from a list of fifteen members of this committee, to make a quorum for a meeting that had been noticed at the last full meeting, three weeks previous? And she didn’t know this until an hour and fifteen minutes before the meeting?

When I called her on it, Linda responded: “I am sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused for you.  This was a second extra meeting that was scheduled for this month and not the regular monthly meeting. That meeting was held on Monday May 7, 2012.  Yes, I did poll the members when I sent the agenda out on May 16 and sent an email at 8 am yesterday to reconfirm and left phone messages. Unfortunately things came up for some of the members that they didn’t plan on (flights and travel delayed, illness etc.). We are large committee so we need 8 members for a forum.  I was waiting on phone messages to hear back before I could cancel the meeting.”

Well, I’m on the list, but did not get the e-mails she mentions – nobody ever told me that this meeting was in question. And I’m on the mailing list – she didn’t post the cancellation on the website until after 4pm either, maybe later, I didn’t check. So, a member of the public who wanted to attend would have made their arrangements, for a dinnertime meeting, and then shown up — at what inconvenience who knows? — to find a locked door.

This morning when I arrived at 8am for the Finance Committee meeting, the Sustainability Task Force notice was still on the wall, as if the meeting actually happened.

The agenda for this meeting was further discussion of the “Sustainability Indicators Report.” This report has been drawn up by $taff, printed out with color illustrations and photos, and will be considered by council at a future meeting. But here, having a further chance to vet it before the public, this self-appointed “task force” can’t even come up with eight members. This is a recurring problem. When I attended a regular STF meeting regarding the plastic bag ban, two of the members skipped out at some point during the lengthy discussion, again leaving the group without a quorum. So,  the matter was scheduled again for a second meeting.

Here’s the commitee:  Ann Schwab, Chair; Dwight Aitkens;  BT Chapman; Robyn DiFalco; Tom DiGiovanni; Ken Grossman; Jon Luvaas; Jim Pushnik; Valerie Reddemann;  Toni Scott; Jon Stallman; Krystle Tonga; Tammy Wichman; Scott Wolf;  Julian Zener.

Ann Schwab and BT Chapman are the only members I have seen without fail at every meeting I have attended. I have never seen a couple of these people, at any meeting I’ve attended, but I’ll say, I don’t go to ALL the meetings.

Some of these people listed above actually get paid to sit in at these meetings, it’s part of their public job.

Finally I’ll say, the people I see at the ad hoc meetings, including PG&E and garbage company employees, are not on this list. The ad hoc committee meetings are where the real plotting and planning is done, these regular meetings are just the rubber stamp committee. If you really want to know what this “task force” is up to, you have to go to the ad hoc meetings, which are scheduled at any time the various attendees can agree to get together – sometimes with less than 72 hours notice.  These ad hoc meetings do not appear on the agendas list.

I feel most of the people listed on the committee are just there to get their name on the list. They want it for their various resumes, their company image.  But, the  ones who aren’t named on the above list who actually do all the work are doing it for their own benefit, not for Mother Earth. For example, the garbage haulers are vying for enterprise zones and the county dump wants a guarantee that all haulers will take their loads to  Neal Road instead of heading for lower tipping fees in Yuba City. PG&E has got the city running a program to install Real Time meters in people’s homes. Of course these companies pay their employees to sit in on these meetings.

And no wonder neither Ann Schwab nor $taffer Linda Herman is too concerned about our attendance.

Searching for accountability in local government – Good Luck!

21 May

At city meetings over the last few years, I have sat  through one after another “power point presentation” regarding the city budget mess. It’s like a kindergarten-level slide show, designed more to distract and confuse than inform. They always turn the lights down to make you sleepy. It’s maddening to sit through this insulting and condescending babble – I don’t even want to think about the hours of my life these people have stolen, in addition to my tax dollars.

These stupid reports and “PPP’s” add up to hours of $taff time and related expenses – the computer programs to produce this junk, and the paper and ink to print it for a cavalcade of $taffers and council. They say it’s for us, for our information – hah! What they could have done in a page and a half report, in plain language, they turn into a marketing extravaganza, complete with graphs, charts, little cartoons – color glossy photos!  I remember one whole page illustration, showing a sad, rather obese  man, looking quizzically at his surroundings, tentatively holding out his umbrella to a darkening, sinister sky. At the bottom of the graphic, the caption read, “How did we get here?” 

Oh here, let me field that question. As if it isn’t obvious – you people Downtown spend money like you were printing it in the basement, alongside all these glossy pamphlets and newsletters you hand around among yourselves. Not only do we have to pay your ridiculous salaries, we have to pay for something to keep you busy. 

I got an interesting e-mail newsletter from Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, who was kind enough to address our Chico Taxpayer’s Association meeting a few months ago. He says, Recent independent reports suggest that state government agencies and departments routinely spend on programs and projects with little accountability to taxpayers, failing to consider what is the most efficient and effective way to stretch tax dollars to the fullest. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in state government is essential to our efforts to solve California’s long-term budget problems once and for all.”

I think you could substitute “Chico” for “state”, and “California” throughout that passage.  An example of a program on which the city of Chico routinely spends with little accountability to taxpayers is the Sustainability Task Force. Talk about your “color glossy photos” – get a load of this pamphlet recently produced by  city $taff  as a “Sustainability Indicators Report”:

Yes, this is how they present a “report” to council – what the hell? I hate to see what they will do with anything REALLY important.

Hey, did you see the slick glossy pamphlet they produced to report about all the jobs they been bringing into town? TRICK QUESTION DAWG! You know they have not been bringing any jobs into town, look alive there!

This pamphlet mentions only two employers. They again mention, which has been here a few years now, as if they just got here and are hiring in droves.  B.c claims to “support” over 400 people, but I’m not sure if that means employees, or includes whole families. Also, I don’t know where their employees came from – did they move here to take these jobs? Placing more strain on everything from housing to groceries to roads and schools? And I realized – competes directly with Lowe’s, Home Depot, and a half dozen or so other small, locally owned hardware stores and suppliers. Sure they can sell goods outside Chico, but they will sell them inside Chico too, taking business away from other employers. I wonder if city $taff takes this into consideration when they write these “reports.” 

The only other business mentioned in the pamphlet is Springboard Biodiesel. The city apparently helped this developing company secure a $758,000 grant to start building it’s facility, but doesn’t say when they’ll start hiring people. I don’t know what “assisted in a grant submittal” means either – a lot of times, it means the city had to put up a certain amount of money to secure the grant. Nor any mention of who gave the grant – but I’ll guess, The Taxpayer! Thank Me Very Much! 

The $taffer who produced this report makes over $100,000 a year in salary with a $50,000 benefits package. You got to keep a guy like that occupied. 

At 5:30 this evening, Mayor Marie AnnShwabnette will be convening her court, the Sustainability Task Force, to give this “report” one last look-see before they present it to council on June 5.  Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend these meetings – Schwab and her committees are what my friend Casey refers to as “time vampires” – they will steal your life with their incessant clatter, suck your brain drier than a biscotti, and leave you thinking you participated in something. Something.

You don’t have to attend these meetings to keep up on them. Send an e-mail to  Linda Herman  at  and ask her to put you on the e-mail list, not only for the regular meetings but ALL the ad hoc committees. At least you’ll see the agendas – you will have to attend these ad hoc meetings if you want to know what’s really going on, and let me tell you, you’ll get an earful. 

We will, by the way, be having a meeting of the Chico Taxpayers Association on Sunday June 3 – WE MAY DO IT EARLIER THIS TIME, I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED! Our agenda will be a discussion of the phone tax facts and also some background on the $255,000 hole in the city budget. Geez, let’s hope it doesn’t get any bigger before then! 

POST-IT-NOTEAt 4:12, about an hour and 15 minutes before the meeting was to convene, I got a note from STF $taff liason Linda Herman.   “After polling members, today’s the Sustainability Task Force meeting has been cancelled due to a lack of a quorum.”

Well, that’s the way to keep the public out of your meetings – have them at inconveniently inconsistent times,  with little or no notice, and then cancel them at  the last minute! 

Chula Vistans beat the phone tax – now they’re suing to get back the money their city collected illegally!

16 May

Last night Ann Schwab, Mary Goloff, Andy Holcombe and Jim Walker moved forward with a resolution to tax “all forms of electronic communication imaginable, now or in the future…”

Lori Barker, who plays an attorney on TV,  defended her resolution, saying “it is impossible to include an exhaustive list of taxable services because we might leave something out…” Then they wouldn’t be able to tax that service too! So, she opted to leave an open-ended “description” that  any future Finance Director can add to without any input from the taxpayers.

Then she cited a word limit in the law – she is only allowed to use 77 words, and she was up to 75. Well, two more words would have fit – the words “texting” and “paging” – two services that will be taxed under this resolution but that Barker just couldn’t shoehorn in there! 

I think this dawg should be easy to put down – why would people vote to tax themselves when they don’t even know what they will be taxed on or how much they will pay? Barker wouldn’t answer that question either – she keeps insisting that this turkey will be “revenue neutral.” What? She’s adding cell phones that have never been taxed before, and she’s trying to tell us, the city won’t be making any extra money and we won’t be paying any more? 

This whole campaign is built on LIES.  We can and will defeat this tax.

This scenario has already played out in the little town of Chula Vista. I spent a Christmas in Chula Vista, when my dad was working on the freeway in San Diego. It was beautiful, 70 – 80 degrees.  We stayed in a motel with my dad’s coworkers and their families, and for Christmas dinner,  one of the moms made tamales in the motel kitchenette – what a scream, in that hot little kitchen!  I have never forgotten Chula Vista, and I never will. They are the town that stood up to the Utility Tax, and won.

In 2010, the city of Chula Vista put a similar proposition before their voters – making all the same lame threats about public safety, etc. The voters of Chula Vista not only put that resolution soundly in the toilet, there is currently an effort among Chula Vistans to SUE THE CITY! 

From the San Diego Metro Daily Business Report, Feb. 23, 2012:

Trial Date Set for Utility Tax Issue in Chula Vista

A trial date has been set for a class action suit seeking millions of dollars in restitution for allegedly illegal utility taxes levied by the city of Chula Vista on cell phone users within its boundaries. This follows a ruling by Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss dismissing a challenge brought by the city. The lawsuit stems from a now outdated tax — levied on users of telephones, electricity and other utilities — that was introduced in 1970 and generates more than $9 million in revenue for the city each year. An attempt by the city to amend the law with Proposition H in 2010 was defeated by voters. According to Thomas Penfield, a partner with San Diego-based Casey Gerry and co-lead counsel, the city of Chula Vista recently filed a legal objection to the suit.  “The city cited its local ordinance which said you cannot file a class action for a tax refund,” said Penfield. Penfield and co-counsel James Capretz of Orange County-based Capretz & Associates argued that municipalities are not permitted to enact their own patchwork means of claiming tax refunds. “The judge agreed with our argument and ruled in our favor – stating that state procedure overrules the local ordinance,” Penfield said. The case is now set to go to trial Jan. 18, 2013.

We’ve got some work ahead of us, but we must follow Chula Vista’s example and fight this tax.

New police contract up for review tonight – I smell PORK!

15 May

Tonight there are a couple of troublesome items on the council agenda. Besides the phone tax, Chico Police Departments contracts are up and open for discussion.

The materials they provided in the agenda are, as usual, convoluted and dense, but this deal looks bad to me. It looks like the cops are offering to give up pay increases for the next two years, but deeper into the paperwork, they ask for an across the board 5 percent increase. It’s very clear they are asking to pay LESS toward their pension and benefits – they want a MAXIMUM of 9 percent, and they’re only paying 4.5 percent now.  According to the city manager, their offer to pass up pay increases will only save about $500,000 over the next three years, but  the PERS contributions will cost the city over $900,000?  No, thank you, I’d like to see a better contract. 

Chico PD gets over half the city budget. They like to brag about being under budget – well, they’re OVER BUDGET ON WORKMAN’S COMP,  for about the third or fourth year in a row. Read the studies – too much overtime causes injuries. So, we the taxpayers get the double whammy of overtime-spiked pensions and a lifetime of disability payments.

Scuse me folks, but I guess that’s why they call them PIGS.

Phone tax resolution is not clear as to exactly which services are to be taxed

14 May

Tomorrow night the council will again take up the subject of the phone tax – they tried to slip it by in the  consent agenda, but I for one will be there to ask that it be “pulled” for discussion.

Pull!   BOOOOOM!

We’ve already discussed the poor wording in the resolution. It was so bad that it was sent back for a rewrite. That’s how desperate Schwab and the other four are to pass this thing – it’s their life raft. If they don’t get us to swallow this hook, the city ship will begin to sink.   The last five years they have held their SS Titanic together with RDA glue.  Now that the RDA glue bottle has been taken away from them (I think they were sniffing it), they need a new revenue source. You know, like a vampire needs a fresh neck!

Oh yeah, that would be funny – everybody wear a string of garlic to council tomorrow! 

The resolution that $200,000-a-year city attorney Lori Barker brought back was no better than the first one – in fact, this one is more deceptive. She has continued to omit much of the pertinent information needed for the voters to make an informed decision.

At the first meeting, I distinctly heard Barker say, that she wasn’t even sure what would “happen” under this ordinance. That’s because, the ordinance provides for the Finance Director, currently Jennifer Hennessy, to add new technologies to the list of taxable services at her own prerogative, without any input from the voters. 

The definition of what can be taxed is so broad at this point, the city attorney says she doesn’t even know what might end up being taxable. Her ballot resolution describes the taxable services here:

2) modernize the definition of telephone communication services subject to the tax to include new technologies such as wireless and voice over internet services; 3) apply the tax to all telephone communications regardless of the technology used;

We are told, “new technologies such as…”, but she just lists two here. In the report she included texting and paging. It seems to me she has omitted those two from the ballot resolution  intentionally. And, in today’s ER, she says SCYPE can’t be taxed because it’s a free service, but “You could use a computer for telephone services”  What services could they include in this tax later? She isn’t telling us. She’s being as vague as possible. 

She says SCYPE is not included now because it is free. Well,  it will be included as soon as the phone companies get enough of you using it and start charging for it. Always be wary of FREE STUFF! It’s wrapped around a great big hook, my fine little fishes! 

Here’s something else they aren’t telling us. Right now, some carriers are collecting the tax ILLEGALLY. If we don’t pass this turkey, the city will lose a lot more than $9o0,000 a year.  They are this close to not being able to meet obligations they’ve made to $taff, and when that happens – oh oh! Bankruptcy! And then? None of them get paid until they go to court. 

Ever deal with an addict? Well we have a building full of them Downtown, hooked on the green stuff. And they’re about to get a serious case of the DT’s. 


$200,000 a year city attorney can’t (won’t?) answer my question regarding tax measure she wrote

11 May

In reading the report city attorney Lori Barker wrote about the telecommunications tax she’s proposed, I noticed this paragraph:

“During the discussion at the January meeting, there was a concern expressed in regard to the application of the tax because it is applied based on the billing address while it is possible that the phone may be used primarily elsewhere.”

Here it actually sounds like Barker is worried that she might be taxing phones that aren’t used in this area. But I don’t think that’s really her concern

“The application of the tax based on billing address is mandated by Federal law in the Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act of 2000. That Act was passed at the request of the telecommunications industry to simplify and provide uniformity in how local taxes are applied to wireless telecommunications industry to simplify and provide uniformity in how local taxes. The service providers are responsible under the Act for obtaining and maintaining their customers’ primary place of use.

I read that paragraph over and I asked myself, “what in the hell was THAT?” You know, everybody gets intimidated by that bureaucratic verbosity – it’s intended to work like many primitive, desperate animal defense mechanisms. You know, like those creatures that  take an enormous dump when they are threatened by a predator. That will make many predators back off. Not this predator. When I get a mouthful of excrement, I spit it out, and I say, “please give me a bite that doesn’t taste like shit.”

So, I wrote the city attorney’s office a note:


Subject: clarification of report – “update to telephone users’ tax”
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 17:59:09 -0700

 I wonder if someone could explain this comment from the city attorney’s May 1 report,  “update to telephone users’ tax” – page 3
“The service providers are responsible under the Act for obtaining and maintaining their customers’ place of primary use.” In other words, if the phone is billed to an address in LA, but used “primarily” here in town, can this city of Chico users tax be applied?  
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation – Juanita Sumner 
I have always received an immediate response from city $taffers – even when they are out of the office, they have an automatic feed that sends a note. Not this time. I waited three days, and then I sent another note.

I sent the request below  and am wondering if I am going to get any answer. 
Thanks, Juanita Sumner
Later that day, I received this response from $taffer Susan Barrett:
Ms. Sumner:
Lori Barker is not available today but can talk to you tomorrow about this matter if you give our office a call at 896-7600.
Thank you.
I find that highly ironic – she wants me to call.  I only have a cell phone, and I have the cheapest plan available, for the sole purpose of keeping connected with my kids and calling for help when I need it.   I don’t use it for anything non-essential – one call can put me over on my minutes and then the charges increase dramatically. Of course, Barker makes her calls on my dime, and yours. Isn’t THAT ironic – most $taffers are given cell phones paid for by us, so we will also be paying their telecommunications tax! This is just a barrel of monkeys!
But, the real reason I won’t have phone conversations with these people is that I have no record of what was said. Verbal conversations go all over the place, and then SOME PEOPLE will play games and say they don’t remember what was said, they didn’t say that, you said this! Etc. So, I don’t engage in verbal conversations on important subjects, I get it in writing.
Infortunately, for whatever reason, Miss $200,000-a-year-plus-annual-benefits-package-of-roughly-$95,000  does not want to put it in writing!
So, I had to go online to get it. And I sure as hell got it!
Here’s the link to the Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act of 2000:

And it says,

‘‘§ 117. Sourcing rules
‘‘(a) TREATMENT OF CHARGES FOR MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES.—Notwithstanding the law of any State or political subdivision of any State, mobile telecommunications services
provided in a taxing jurisdiction to a customer, the charges for
which are billed by or for the customer’s home service provider,
shall be deemed to be provided by the customer’s home service
‘‘(b) JURISDICTION.—All charges for mobile telecommunications
services that are deemed to be provided by the customer’s home
service provider under sections 116 through 126 of this title are
authorized to be subjected to tax, charge, or fee by the taxing
jurisdictions whose territorial limits encompass the customer’s place
of primary use, regardless of where the mobile telecommunication
services originate, terminate, or pass through, and no other taxing
jurisdiction may impose taxes, charges, or fees on charges for such
mobile telecommunications services.”

Now, I’m no lawyer, but I think that’s pretty clear, albeit verbose. 

Yes, if you came here to go to school, and you have a cell phone that is part of your family’s phone package in LA, your phone company is responsible for identifying Chico as your “place of primary use,” and applying Lori Barker’s telecommunications tax to your calls. 

Yes, if you live in Oroville, or Red Bluff, or Forest Ranch,  but you work in Chico, you are about to be HAD! Like a fine piece of PORK!

And remember – city $taffers get free cellphones, paid for by us, and so their tax will also be paid by us.

Now, here’s the next question: will those of us who live in Chico but work outside the city get a break because our “primary place of use” happens to be Gridley or Vacaville? Will this Chico tax be applied on calls we make while travelling outside of Chico?   According to Barker’s proposal, this is up to your service provider, so if I were you, I’d be talking to my service provider about this. Or give Lori Barker at call at 896-7600. 


I got this note back from Susan Barrett after my last post:

Ms. Sumner:

 The City Attorney asked me to forward to you the following information:
Federal law makes the wireless carrier responsible for obtaining and maintaining each customer’s primary place of use for their phones.  If the primary place of use is in a city other than the city in which the billing address is located, the carrier should apply the applicable tax for the city which is the primary place of use.
Thank you.
Well, there she admits it – this tax will apply to:
  • college students whose phones are included on their parents’ bills, no matter where their parents live. 
  • people who live outside the city limits but work and do the bulk of their business in Chico 
  • people who live inside the city limits but work and do the bulk of their business outside of Chico (if you’re billed in Chico, you don’t actually believe your carrier is going to check into your place of primary use, do you?)

So, what about that family who lives in Orange, California. They have three kids. They have cell phones for each of their active kids and also for Dad and Mom. Because one kid goes to Chico State, they pay a local Chico tax on their entire phone bill? 

And what about a gal who works at my bank here in Chico, but lives in O-ville? Will she and her husband pay this tax on their whole bill? Barker certainly doesn’t expect us to believe the carriers will scan over our monthly usage, picking and choosing individual calls? If your “primary usage” is in Chico – and that might just mean, between 7am and 5pm – will you pay the Chico phone tax on your entire bill?

And then there’s the transplants who moved here but kept their job and the bulk of their lifestyle (including kids school and sport teams, after school programs, etc) in Vallejo, or Vacaville, or Pleasanton. The carrier won’t even question their “primary place of use,” because their billing address is in Chico.

I certainly hope to see some pissed off taxpayers at Tuesday’s meeting.

“to ensure that all taxpayers are treated equally…” – oh yeah, let’s make sure EVERYBODY gets stuck!

10 May

Yesterday evening I received the city council agenda packet for next Tuesday, and wow, Lori Barker has already come up with a new version of the phone tax resolution. I’m sorry, I hadn’t even gotten around to discussing how deceitful the first version was, and she’s already re-done it.

Like I say, evil never sleeps.

She didn’t really fix it, is what I’d say right off the bat – it’s worse than the dawg she dragged in last week. 

AND, they’ve agendized it in the “2’s”, meaning, they just expect to vote on it without discussion. Either a council member or a member of the public needs to request that the item is pulled for discussion. I recommend people WRITE LETTERS NOW. To think they’d try to yank this by us without discussion – WHO DO THEY THINK THEY’RE DEALING WITH HERE? A BUNCH OF SUCKERS?! 

Here’s the ballot resolution Barker brought in last week:

“Shall the City’s current Telephone Users’ Tax be amended to reduce the tax on telecommunications users from 5% to 4.5% and to modernize the definitions of telephone communications services to keep current with changes in technology and federal and state laws. “

Please note, there is not one word in there about expanding the tax to take in our cell phones, not one f-ing word. Lori Barker is a duplicitous bitch. 

So, Sorensen and Evans and some other loud mouths, myself included, rammed and railed for her to rewrite the resolution to reflect, well, The Truth.

So, here’s what she flopped out:

“Shall an ordinance be adopted to amend the City’s Telephone Users’ Tax in order to: 1) reduce the tax from 5% to 4.5%; 2) modernize the definition of telephone communication services subject to the tax to include new technologies such as wireless and voice over internet services; 3) apply the tax to all telephone communications regardless of the technology used; 4) reflect changes to federal and state law? “

Take a good look at  #2 – “2) modernize the definition of telephone communication services subject to the tax to include new technologies such as wireless and voice over internet services”

She isn’t including the whole list of new services that are being made taxable by this resolution. Here’s what she says in her report from May 1:

“They generally capture interstate and international calls, voice over internet protocol, text messaging and paging.”

Duplicitous Bitch needs to add the above bold-faced services to the ballot resolution. Her failure to do so is obviously intended. Gee, who cares if they have to pay a tax on every text message they send? Nobody uses text messages! 

And here’s a question to ask – are they going to tax the Tweeters? Tweet Tweet my ass! 

And then we have #3, where they pit citizen against citizen:  “3) apply the tax to all telephone communications regardless of the technology used.”

She actually took the opportunity to put politics IN the resolution. She is trying to put this notion in  the voter’s head that not everybody is paying their fair share. How cute – you know their PAC is going to hammer this point for the next five months.  Cause frankly, that’s all they got. 

Well, it doesn’t belong in the resolution unless they’re going to explain that this resolution will FORCE EVERYBODY TO PAY MORE, including the pawns that pay the land line tax now. 

We need to expose Duplicitous Bitch. For one thing, I wish people would write to council now and complain about the agendizing of this issue onto the 2’s, and tell them we want it pulled for discussion. Also, I’d like to point out to them, it needs to be rewritten to include ALL the services they’re adding now, and the ones that the city finance director can choose to include in future. 

Yes, that is part of the resolution to – read it online. The finance diretor, and right now, that’s the same woman who’s driven us into this ravine, can decide which new services that come available in future can be added to this tax, without a squeak from the public. 

And finally, #3 needs to be stricken unless it explains that EVERYBODY will be paying a tax they do not currently pay.

Get mad now, it saves time later.