“Super Troopers” starring Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle

5 Aug

I attended the first Internal Affairs discussion a couple of weeks ago regarding Kirk Trostle’s request to fabricate a city licensing procedure for bars and restaurants, based on land use regulation, or “zoning.”   This is one of those conversations where almost nobody is saying what they really mean.

As I reported earlier, various people in the discussion have different motivations. The bar owners are all pretty afraid to express themselves. They seemed to be mouthing a line for the city’s satisfaction – don’t bite the hand, and all that.  The committee members, Sean Morgan, Ann Schwab and Tammi Ritter, were all in their separate corners on this, with Schwab doing her best Annie Bidwell impersonation, Ritter seeming to be dragging her feet against over-regulation, and Morgan acting like the moderator of this debate, trying to make sure everybody gets in on the conversation, even if the conversation goes on in perpetuity.

Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle started this conversation, originally wanting an ordinance to go before the public, requiring bars, restaurants, and “any business having to do with liquor”, to pay a fee, based on square footage of the establishment, that would go to the police department.  When Lori Barker  popped his ACE ordinance balloon, telling him it would be an illegal tax on alcohol, Scott Gruendl came to the rescue with an order that staff come up with some kind of zoning regulation that could be applied with no input from the public. 

Yes, this would also generate fees – Mark Wolfe from the planning department said such an ordinance would add “$5,000 – $6,000” to the licensing procedure for each business. I asked where that money would go, but nobody answered. I noticed, Kirk Trostle stiffened up and his face turned red. I didn’t make any friends at the cop shop that day. 

Mark Wolfe also reported that when council ordered him to come up with some kind of marijuana ordinance, he kept track of his time and that of his limited staff. He said they used at least $30,000 worth of staff time on that sinker. I asked him to repeat that figure. Ann Schwab later made fun of me, saying, essentially, that $30,000 is nothing. I hate to tell her, but most of the families in this town live on very little more than $30,000, and many live on less. She makes $80,000+ in a fluff position at the college, a salary that is stapled onto your college kid’s butt. Then she has the nerve to take a salary of around $7,000 from the city of Chico, plus a $21,000 insurance package.  

Ann, you need to step down, you are completely out of touch. Or, at least, please stop wearing shorts to meetings with open front tables. Don’t make me take a picture of what those ham hocks of yours look like under that table. 

But, I digress. 

I told the council I thought they were simply duplicating the duties of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. This really got Trostle’s back up, sheesh he was pissed off. He said, the ABC “has staffing levels from the 1950’s,” claiming they have only two agents for sixteen counties. I’m sure that’s what he said, I wrote it in my notebook right then and there. 

I sensed a case of “Super Troopers.” “Super Troopers” is a very off-color and tasteless comedy movie about a medium sized New England town in which the local police compete with the state highway cops for revenues. Yes, there’s sex, drugs, and inappropriate stuff all the way through, I do not recommend this movie to stodgy buttheads with no sense of humor (“who’s up for mustache rides!”).  But the plot line is still good: the police lie, cheat and steal to get rid of the state troopers all together so they can get their hands on all the law enforcement budget. 

So, I wrote to the ABC office in Redding, where Trostle claimed there’s only two guys sitting around a phone. I just told the guy what I’d heard at the meeting, and he came back with this:

Dear Ms. Sumner,

I apologize for the delay in returning your email.  The Redding District Office covers nine counties (Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Shasta, Lassen, Siskiyou, Trinity, Plumas, and Modoc).  The Redding Office staffing levels in July of 2013 were 3 Agents, 1 Licensing Representative, and 2 front office staff.  The Redding District Office is a satellite Office of the Sacramento District Office.  In July of 2013 the Redding District Office was overseen by a Supervising Agent from the Sacramento District Office.  That Supervising Agent was overseen by a Supervising Agent in Charge who was based out of the Sacramento District Office.  Additionally, ABC has two Special Operation Units, one for Northern California and one for Southern California.  These units are available to assist District Offices with enforcement efforts, whether problematic locations, special events, or assisting district offices with handling complaints of ABC licensed locations. 

 If you have any additional questions, please let me know.



I thought about forwarding this to the council, Trostle, etc, asking for some explanation. What do you think? I think it’s “Super Troopers.” 


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