Where’s $taff these days? Desaparecidos!

2 Sep

I was afraid our meeting yesterday would not be too well attended – I was afraid the gang would abandon me to take their tubes out to the Sac! But, we still managed to get a little group together, with a couple of new faces, and we had a very lively conversation.

I try to run these meetings orderly. Yes, I try to take charge, I’m the one who signs out the key. Yes, that lays the weight of responsibility on me, so I get to boss everybody around.

Hah! In my dreams! These meetings are a running yakfest. Yes, we interrupt each other, talk over each other, and even break into separate conversations among ourselves because the other guys are talking about something we’re not interested in.  But we have real conversations, and we exchange information, even if it’s just hearsay or suspicion. We exchange our fears and anxieties about  what’s going on in town. 

It started out pretty boring  with my report about the meetings I’ve attended. I realized, every detail of every meeting wasn’t important – I mainly wanted to tell everybody how council and staff were trying to “reorganize” the meetings. We  talked about the new format for the Economic Development committee, and why these meetings need to continue to be in the public.

I also tried to interest the group in joining the Marysville For Reasonable Water Rates folks in their September 21 rally, but that just didn’t seem to catch anybody’s interest. Sometimes I think I’m moving among boiled lobsters. Maybe I can make a stack of their boiled carcasses to climb out of this pot?

Unfortunately, sometimes the conversation just goes down the toilet, and yesterday’s meeting spiraled into an argument over Brian Nakamura. The ladies who came in yesterday were really concerned about what Nakamura is doing Downtown, but they didn’t seem to have any specific details. They just know, they don’t like him laying people off while he enjoys an inflated salary. They sense some sort of cover-up Downtown, but they don’t really have the goods on anybody. I can’t help it – I share their sense of dread, and I know a lot more stuff than either of them.

Others in our group support Nakamura,  trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ll agree on one point – cuts needed to be made. The main sticking point for me, is how he came right in here and enriched himself and his friends out of our coffers, taking a $50,000 raise for himself and $30,000 raises for two guys he brought in. One friend of mine justifies these salaries by saying, essentially, it’s what other similar jobs are paying around the state. We have to offer these salaries to get quality people – apparently a guy from Gilroy turned us down because we didn’t offer enough!  That’s what people are paying these days!

Well, that’s what they told us about the price of the housing they were building when they tied their salaries to revenue increases but not decreases. We screamed that the new housing they were permitting was too expensive – they said, “that’s what people are paying!” As if, that made it okay? And of course, our city manager’s salary went from around $60,000 to over $190,000.  But my husband’s and other construction wages stayed the same, and if he wanted more, he could just get in his truck and drive.

I can’t justify these city management salaries. They have ruined the economy in our town. Those salaries have raised the price of everything from eggs to housing, without bringing in better jobs or raising wages in the private sector. That is the truth, I don’t care what you think of “Save Chico Now.” I have to laugh at people like Tami Ritter, who answer criticism of their poor job performance by telling people it’s not nice to complain! “Eat your shit with a smile, or I’ll smack you!” is what I get out of Ritter.   Tami, if you insist on surfing the public trough, you better be ready for the raw sewage.  I predict you will be eating it within the next 365 days.

I got plenty to complain about. I use the park, almost daily, to commute, and it’s becoming a total disaster, has been falling into disrepair for some time now. The road is getting dangerously pot-holed – yes, from the huge garbage trucks that drive through lower park at least once a week to pick the black garbage bags out of those cans. The park maintenance crew used to do that, but they’re desaparecidos – the disappeared ones.

A huge tree limb that should have been cut just fell across the entrance we use to get in. Somebody cleared it after a couple of days – not the tree crew – they’re  desaparecidos!  I don’t feel the trees throughout the park are safe, I think they need to put a giant skull and cross bones over the entrances – ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK – OUR PARK IS UNMAINTAINED!  Meanwhile, Ruben Martinez has enjoyed at least one $30,000 pay raise and Dan Efseaf’s salary has gone up about $20,000.  They’ve done that by getting rid of all the workers who actually do the work – desaparecidos!

So, I will say, I am in agreement with Save Chico Now, and the ladies who came in yesterday – we’ve got a pile of stinking fish Downtown, and the head of that pile is Brian Nakamura.

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