Stephanie Taber answers Quentin Colgan’s letter to the News and Review

22 Jul

I get complaints from friends and strangers, and it has also been my own experience, that the editor of the  Chico News and Review is not always objective in deciding which letters received from the public will be printed in the paper and which ones won’t. Robert Speer has offered me excuses, but I have always found him to be disingenuous. For example – he told me he would only run letters that referenced an article or letter recently printed in the paper – untrue a million times over. He also told me he wouldn’t print letters that had already run in the Enterprise Record – also untrue a million times over. The man has his own reasons for running or not running letters.

David Little is more objective, but he’s got his faults too – once he threw out a letter from my husband and later admitted he had thought I’d written it and used my old man’s name. He just threw it out without even calling the phone number or e-mailing, just assumed I’d do something like that when I’d never done anything like that before, because he was mad at me over a snit we were having at the time.

I think Little gets his nose out at people personally, and Hell hath no fury, know what I mean? With Speer it can  personal but I think it’s most often political. Suffice to say, they both carry what my dad used to call a “Shit List,” and if you’re on it, you don’t get ink in their rag. 

Of course either paper is equally likely to print a total wad of lies or misinformation without so much as a google fact check. I will never forget the time Dave Little printed a letter saying the cops had been called to my house on a dog complaint. The letter writer insinuated that this was why I often wrote letters complaining about the cop contracts. I called Little and told him the letter was false, nothing like that had ever happened – but  he wouldn’t retract it. I had to look the old man up in the phone book and call him myself, tell him he had been misinformed, and ask him to write a retraction. He apologized profusely and the apology was in the paper within three days. He wouldn’t tell me where he got the information, but later I found out he was a member of VIPS, and he still is. I think that’s something Dave Little could have looked into before he printed a story like that about me and my family, not to mention my dogs, but he didn’t see it that way. Poor journalism, is how I see it, and that’s what I’ve come to expect out of both the daily and the weekly. 

So, pardon me if I was not surprised when my friend Stephanie mentioned to me that she didn’t think Speer would run her response to a letter from Quentin Colgan, regarding our current fiscal morass. QC made an argument he has been swinging around town lately – that Fire Station 5 had to be closed recently because the Tea Party forced the city to have a $150,000 election over Measure A. 

The first problem I have with this argument is, the city is out a heck of a lot more than $150,000. The second problem I have is, I happen to know that over 8,000 Chicoans signed that petition, and there’s not more than 600 active members of the Tea Party. I also know the Tea Party didn’t sponsor the petition drive, nor were they the only people that marched out with those petitions. Colgan’s argument doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s amazing what kind of “facts” the general populace will believe if you just keep repeating them.

Some folks are trying to use the Tea Party as a target to rile up their peanut gallery, using Measure A as their rally call. They keep banging the same old drum. They refuse to have a rational discussion about the situation we’re facing, because it’s going to mean some sour beans for them and their trough-dwelling friends. 

So, it’s up to a rational person like Stephanie Taber to lay it out straight for those who like facts. Stephanie attends the meetings, she reads the reports, she goes to the trouble of putting questions in writing for $taff, and then waiting persistently for an answer that practically has to be deciphered by a lawyer. She has followed this budget conversation since the day then-city-manager and first rat to jump, Greg Jones, expressed his grave concerns that we were headed straight for bankruptcy. She has followed the figures and checked the facts until she has forced these rats right to the wall – they have lately begun to dig their feet in and refuse to obey the sunshine laws, refusing to give the fiscal reports demanded by the city charter. Some people can try to run their little smokescreen of repetitive nonsense, but more rational people are finding out the truth. Thanks to Stephanie Taber for writing this letter below, which may or may not run in the Chico News and Review:

I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to Quentin Colgan’s letter of July 12th; primarily because the costs surrounding the Special Election held regarding Measure A have been distorted.  Yes, it did cost $150,000, but why?  That’s the elephant in the room. The progressives on the City Council chose the method by which the election would be held.  Per the City Charter (which is the City’s Constitution) Section 501 clearly states “The City Council may determine that any Special Election shall be held by mailed ballot” etc. That would have cut the cost by half, at least.  But the Council chose the most expensive means possible, voting at the precinct.   They were afraid that just telling the students they were being disenfranchised, which was an obvious lie, would not be sufficient to defeat it.

 As to “it’s all the Tea Party’s fault”; I was the only signature to the Measure.  I felt no need to consult the Tea Party before I took that action; but did enlist the help of many concerned citizens to gather the more than 8,000 signature required to put it on the ballot.

 Toby Schindelbeck has called upon our Finance Director to adhere to Section 908 of the City’s Charter which states “(the) Finance Director shall submit to the Council through the City Manager monthly statements of receipts, disbursements and balances in such form as to show the exact financial condition of the City”.  It does not state when you may want to or if you have time to; it says “shall”. No one on the Council or otherwise can remember when that may have happened last.  If it was being done as the Charter states it would have been recognize that the City was facing a financial Armageddon and steps could have been taken much earlier in the fiscal year to avoid the closing of Fire Station 5.

 Stephanie L. Taber

July 17, 2012

6 Responses to “Stephanie Taber answers Quentin Colgan’s letter to the News and Review”

  1. Joseph July 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    I don’t take anything Speer says seriously He is so politically brainwashed it’s pointless trying to make him consider reality. And of course he has never met a tax increase he didn’t love. And he loves Annie’s STF. Anything to increase our taxes and micromanage our lives he really loves.

    Little manages to get things right about half the time, maybe more. But when he’s off he’s like Speer. He refuses to even listen to the other side. And he is (ot at least was) conditionally for Lando’s sales tax increase.

    It’s not just letters that these two don’t publish that is a travesty. They never report on things like how the Gang of 5 made the election much more expensive than it had to be or the fact that the Finance Director has been breaking the law for years. We hear virtually nothing about the city’s legal problems and mismanagement. And the reporting on the City Council by little Katy what’s her name and her replacement is a joke.

    Both of these papers are a farce. Just read them for amusement only, like you read the comics.

  2. Joseph July 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Or what about the nepotism and corruption out at the airport? Not a word about it by either of the local rags. And of course they never mention Lando’s confict of interest with the sales tax increase. There’s a lot of corruption and mismanagement that never sees the light of days in the local media.

    And as far as Quetin Colgate…er…Colgan is concerned he seems politically confused at times…either that or he’s got a hidden agenda. I wonder if he’s any relation to that little regional airline that had that horrific crash a few years ago…what is it, Colgan Air?

    • Juanita Sumner July 23, 2012 at 5:25 am #

      I know journalism has never been a perfect industry, but I know there’s been times we’ve had better journalism here in Chico. David Little was better when he was new, I guess he’s gotten worn down. The N&R’s original editor, George Thurlow, was a lot better too. But of course he left for a higher paying job elsewhere. So have many of the better reporters we’ve had, like Ari Cohn. I guess people have their ambitions.

      But we shouldn’t rely on a newspaper to tell us what’s going on – I know people are busy, but I think if everybody tried to attend just one meeting, they’d see how things go, and it would pique their interest to attend more. I realize, a lot of people watch on tv, but I don’t think the council really gets that. They act as though they are behind closed doors. They act like the babysitter when your mom and dad are out! Better attendance at these meetings would change their tune.

      I’ll tell you what’s fun – take a video camera. I have done that in the past, and they act really weird. I’ll tell you what, anytime I’ve had personal business before council, I’ve taped the meeting, and it’s amazing how it influences the results!

  3. Sue Hubbard July 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I wanted you all to know the Quentin Colgan passed away yesterday at his home. His son found him not breathing. There will be an autopsy. You can read about it on

    • Juanita Sumner July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Well, I’m sorry to hear that – he was really a young man and the father of at least two sons that I know of. I heard there will be a memorial service Sunday at an art gallery on Park Ave, but that’s all I’ve heard. Maybe somebody has more details.

      I can argue with somebody, I can even get really mad at them, but I will miss Quentin – he certainly knew how to keep the conversation going.

  4. Juanita Sumner July 25, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    here’s the latest on QC’s memorial, ARC Pavillion on Park Ave, 3:00, this coming Sunday, July 29.

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