Archive | February, 2014

Impeach Gruendl?

27 Feb

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When I was out doing some errands yesterday I saw this sign sitting in an empty lot over in South Chico. I’d heard about these signs from the gals over at Truth Matters, and I was so jealous, I wanted to get my hands on one.

http://truthmatterschico.com/?s=impeach+gruendl

I don’t know who made or distributed these signs. I’d say, if they were serious, they’d put some contact info on there.  Of course, we probably wouldn’t want to spend the money to impeach a guy we could just vote out, but it’s fun to talk about stuff.  Lately I do feel a groundswell of anger is about to overtake the assholes Downtown, and Gruendl is going to find himself out on his bum. 

There’s a great cover story in the News and Review today about the latest budget and contracts, which are a little too little, a little too late.

http://www.newsreview.com/chico/strong-arming-the-budget/content?oid=12851705

At last the whole story is getting out. It’s been out before – the late Dr. Richard Ek was all over the over compensation Downtown. He wrote article after article detailing not only the crazy spending, but the really enormous problem of salaries and benefits. Now Dave Waddell, who was Ek’s successor over at Chico State journalism department, is taking it up. Michael Jones and Kelly Skelton are taking it up. At last the dirty laundry has hit the air. 

Oh yeah, here’s a good one:

 

 

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Tea Party hosts City of Chico Fire Chief Bill Hack – find out how Fire Department will spend $5.3M grant – be sure to ask him how he will pay for those new boots when the grant runs out

25 Feb

Chico Tea Party meeting Tuesday 2/25/14 @ 7pm, Marie Callender restaurant at 1910 20th Street (at the Chico Mall)

“Fire Department Status and open questions with Bill Hack Division Chief Chico Fire”
 
Learn about the $5.3M Grant that just past City Council.

Sheesh, there’s just not enough time in the day to bitch about stuff.  NO, I’m not happy about the new grant for the fire department. First of all, that’s our money – why don’t people get that? Second, we don’t need more stupes in boots to sit down at the fire station breathing their own farts or endangering our lives using their sirens to run stop lights. And, last but hardly least – when this grant runs out, they will kick and scream that they need more funding from the city to pay the extra guys they hired with the grant. 

We’ve been here before – who keeps eating the bread crumbs? The city of Chico just keeps running in the same circles. 

I will not have a chance to attend, but these meetings are open to the public. I’d recommend being on time, they usually have an interesting program for 20 minutes or so, and then the speaker is given the floor, and will accept questions from the general audience. Also, they open the room at 5:30 for dinner, I believe, if you want to make an evening of it. The wait staff there is very professional, and you can have drinks during the program. Please be sure to tip nice, these guys and gals work hard on their feet all day.

Thanks for doing this Tea Party!  In future I will try to remember to post all their events, sorry to be so slow to get this up.

 

Fascist new committee meeting rules throw out free speech – it’s the END of public discourse in Chico

23 Feb

For years now, I’ve turned my attention toward the day meetings, where there has always been a more conversational tone between council/committee members and the public. Although it was sometimes testy, it was what you call “give and take.”  It was one of the few remaining factors that kept Chico’s “small town” atmosphere – the notion that elected officials were just members of the public who had been chosen by their peers to do a job, that they were never above us, and if they didn’t watch it, they might just end up under our feet. 

Unfortunately, we’ve had one mayor after another who has abused their privilege as elected “official.” Yeah, that’s right – starting with Ann Schwab, I’d say, they just started getting a little too officious. Our current mayor Scott Gruendl has become a regular Pinochet, using his position and his gavel to silence criticism while he empties the city coffers into the pockets of his friends – his developer friends and city employee unions who have financed his campaigns for city council.

Gruendl’s latest abuse of power is the institution of new rules for those daytime committee meetings. And it’s not just Gruendl’s idea – Brian Nakamura is chiefly behind it. Didn’t I tell you he was up to something when he started charging that too many members of the public got “off topic” during meetings, and that it was a violation of the Brown Act?   

You know, the Brown Act he says does not need to be attended to when it comes to having staffers supervise the un-elected committees, namely the Sustainability Task Force. The STF can now have meetings with anybody they choose, make recommendations to council based on what their friends tell them in secret meetings,  without any oversight from the public.  But you and I need to put our name and address on a card to speak, and we’re limited to three minutes per agenda item?

From this week’s Finance and Economic Development committee agendas:

NOTE: Citizens and other interested parties are encouraged to participate in the public process and will be invited
to address the Committee regarding each item on the agenda. In order to maintain an accurate and complete
record, the following procedural guidelines are being implemented:

1. Speaker Cards – speakers will be asked to print his/her name on a speaker card to address the Committee and provide card to the Clerk prior to the completion of the Staff Report. 

2. Speak from the Podium – the Clerk will call speakers to the podium in the order the cards are received. 

3. Speakers may address the Committee one time per agenda item.

4. Speakers will have three minutes to address the Committee.

I’m sorry, that is not encouraging, that is discouraging. That is how they hold us off by the forehead. They have a conversation right in front of us, they say the most outrageous stuff, and then they tell us we only get to address them, from a podium, for three minutes, cramming every observation we have on their up to one hour long conversations into three minutes. 

For example, during the Internal Affairs discussion on the Social Host ordinance, a group of landlords came in to make it clear they would not tolerate being held financially responsible for tenants’ behavior, they’re landlords not babysitters. Sean Morgan, in an attempt to suck up, kept telling them, “don’t worry, the TENANTS will be held responsible…” He kept using the word “tenants.”  We’d just had a long discussion about how the only person who should be held responsible, is the person(s) who provided the alcohol to the underage drinker, and hey, that might be the landlord, or it might be the tenant, or it might be the under-age person’s parents, or a guy he/she met at the liquor store. I wanted to hear the legal lingo – dealing with these fuckers Downtown is a Repo-man grab – you have to get them to SAY IT, and you have to get them to say it in legal terms. Morgan is an ass, how he got a job as a professor at a college mystifies me – he just wasn’t getting it. We wanted to hear “responsible party,” which is what city attorney Roger Wilson finally gave us. There’s legal import to terminology, just like when you accuse somebody of LIBEL! But this idiot thought he had to tell us, they’d stick it to the TENANT, he was just trying to buy us off and shut us up. We had to demand, and that doesn’t happen in a three minute puke-up from the podium, it happens in a give-and-take conversation.

I’ll tell you why they did this – because the people have gotten a little too  tired and a little too wise to take any more of their illegal bullshit. People have been packing those little rooms to tell these fuckers where to stick it, and guess what – Brian Nakamure and Scott Gruendl and Mark Sorensen have got some kind of royalty complex – they think people are just supposed to do what they say without asking questions. They don’t like too many questions. And they have some kind of fatal allergy to THE TRUTH.

The people have been overthrown.  Long live King Gruendl and his jesters Morgan and Sorensen.  

Chico Taxpayers Association candidate speaker series

20 Feb

We have five speakers lined up  between now and the June 3 primary – thanks so much to these candidates, as well as Alan Petersen, Bob Evans, and Maureen Kirk,  for supporting our series. All the presentations will be at Chico library, located at the corner of First and Sherman Avenues in Chico, starting at noon and running until 1pm. The public is asked to come in and take this opportunity to learn something about the candidates who are asking to fill very important jobs.  I will be there at 11:30 to set up chairs. 

  • March 9, Dist 2 Supervisor Larry Wahl
  • March 30, Dist 3 Assembly candidate Ryan Schohr 
  • April 27, Chico city council candidate Andrew Coolidge
  • May 11, Dist 3 Assembly candidate James Gallagher
  • May 25, Chico city council candidate Joe Montes

What’s the use of sunshine if nobody’s paying attention?

17 Feb

I was glad to see Chris Constantin and his wife Angelique at our CTA meeting Sunday, they came early and helped Maureen Kirk and I set up chairs for Maureen’s presentation. 

I had finally asked Chris, why is there such a need to waive the “sunshine” period for the cop contracts. He put it simply – because as soon as these contracts are  approved the city will start saving money. Chris assured me that this new contract cuts the cops’ pay and benefits by 12 percent. He said, very emphatically, that he doesn’t want to see the old contracts go for even another two weeks. 

And, I have to agree, the public has not exactly broken down the door to City Hall to comment on these contracts. Maybe I’m unaware – there’s been a blizzard of e-mails? At any rate, if you want to bitch about the contracts, you have tomorrow night, knock yourselves out.

What’s the use of sunshine if nobody’s paying attention? I’m willing to go with Constantin at his word, I hate math.

Maureen Kirk: “I think the county is headed in a really good direction”

17 Feb

Yesterday Maureen Kirk came down to the library to talk to a feisty little group. I know coming to the library on Sunday makes Maureen happy – she gets a real kick out of seeing all the people waiting for the doors to open. I know she will describe that scene every time the subject of library funding comes up in Oroville. 

Maureen and I were both anxious to talk about the county Behavioral Health department, a subject brought up previously by Bob Evans at our last get-together. Bob described what I had found over the last couple of years of snooping – this department is very important, a central piece in our current Downtown vagrancy problems, but over the last few years, underfunded and with a revolving door director position.

This department is responsible for taking charge of people who are found to “be a danger to themselves or others,” including everybody from suicidal teens to homeless people found incapacitated either by alcohol or mental infirmity. Most of the problem, from what I’ve seen, is alcohol. The police regularly deal with people who are too drunk to get up out of their own filth, and out of basic humanity, these people are picked up. During the weekday, regular business hours, they are transferred to the staff at the center on Rio Lindo. But, after 5pm and on weekends, they are taken to Enloe Hospital, and left with the nursing staff in the Emergency Room.

If you’ve been to the ER on a Friday or Saturday night, with your baby’s earache or your parent’s heart attack or whatever, you might have seen what I saw – a bunch of young nurses trying to deal with a pissed off old man covered in his own excrement. 

When we talked about this subject Downtown, the general consensus was that these folks are dangerous, too dangerous for Fire Department staff to handle. But okay to hand over to ER nurses at Enloe? Nurses who have to deal with everything from sick babies to elderly with breathing problems to drunken college students? 

So, I was anxious to hear what Maureen had to say about this situation. She had good news – the Behavioral Health department has received a grant, and they’re hiring a new director. What I found when I looked over this situation was a $58,000 director position that was often unfilled, supervising skads of interns, who made less than $10,000. I met one of those interns at the meeting Downtown, she was very young. She said there will be a meeting later this month in the Behavioral Health Department, “setting priorities.” I’ll try to get to that and let you know. 

While this news sounds good, I worry, what will happen when the grant runs out? We made it clear that this department needs to be fully funded in future, it’s not some kind of luxury, it’s a necessity.

Supervisor Kirk said she feels generally positive about the county, although, one of the biggest frustrations they’ve had is trying to fight the CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations. CARB’s mandate for retrofitting trucks, she feels,  is completely onerous for farmers and small trucking companies. She echoed Evan’s comments – these regulations are “job killers”. I agree, we don’t have nearly the bad air quality that necessitates these restrictions in places like Fresno. Whenever my family travels south, we notice – the air stinks like car exhaust. I’ll take dirt plumes and wood smoke any day of the week.

Kirk did not agree with Evans on the State of Jefferson issue. Although she understands the frustration of dealing with the rest of the state, she put her finger on a key problem – we don’t have the economy here to sustain ourselves independently of LA. Farming is important, sure, but it doesn’t compare with the tech and retail money that floats into the state by way of LA and Bay Area companies. While Evans felt we might rattle the idea around, get the rest of the state to give us a little more respect, Kirk feels the idea is impractical, and doesn’t see the board taking it up anytime soon. She says we need to work on our economy here.

The subject that makes me warm to the idea of state separation is water. Maureen thanked me for  bringing up the issue of the Cal Water rate hike to the board, and felt they were right to respond to the Department of Ratepayer Advocates. Bill Connelly had come in, and he added, the Oroville people had also contacted him about the same time, and because of their efforts, the DRA had recommended dropping the increase from about 30 percent to about two percent. I have to take Connelly’s word on this, I have not been able to get any info. I will get ahold of the Oroville people and ask them for the news. 

Water is considered a commodity by some, Connelly warned us, we need to keep an eye on our water deals.  I don’t understand the situation with Lake Oroville, except, we don’t own that water, it’s owned by a water district down south. Connelly and Kirk tried to explain that sitch, but it wouldn’t fit in a nutshell. They say some progress has been made in getting the Palmdale water district to pay more of the expenses for storing and pumping the water, but I don’t really understand. This is an issue we should all try harder to wrap our heads around, but it’s hard to get the information without sitting for hours in meetings.

We also talked Economic Development. The county has an economic development team, headed by Jennifer Macarthy. They’ve recently stopped giving consultant Debbie Lucero money for her financial wizardry, saving the county about $30,000. The city also dropped Lucero, who used to run Artoberfest, making outrageous claims about raising bed tax totals, etc. That was good news, I’m tired of these leaches. But, there’s no good news on the job front so far, we’re still sitting back waiting for employers to figure out what a great area we have here.

I tried to get a conversation going about what the problem is, but that went over like a Led Zeppelin.  I can think of a number of problems, starting with the cost of housing, especially in Chico.  The guy who owns Wizard Manufacturing came into a city meeting last year and asked the council to do what they can about keeping wages down. I don’t think he means, force people to live in poverty. I think he means, do something about the outrageous cost of living in this area, which is fed by the salaries in Downtown Chico. Nobody gets that, I get so frustrated. 

Another criticism we’ve had is the internet service is poor here, and companies like AT&T and Comcast are holding out for government money to fix their aging infrastructure. Yes, my AT&T service sucked, and they told me, my house is too far from their transfer station. My landline would go out too, and they’d have nothing but excuses. My Comcast service is better, but only compared to AT&T.  I say, tell them we won’t renew their licenses or permits to  operate here until they put some money into their sagging and neglected infrastructure, but I’m a bitch.

These are problems we will have to deal with before we get any jobs here, and it will have to be a joint effort between the county and city of Chico.

Maureen will be hosting Town Hall Meetings in Forest Ranch and Cohasset. At the Forest Ranch Community Center, on Feb. 26, from 3 – 4pm, she’ll be joined by Brian Dahle, District 1 Assembly, covering the foothills east of Chico. She’ll be in Cohassset on March 19, at the Community Association building, time to be announced (Maureen thinks 6pm). 

I’d like to thank Maureen Kirk and the other candidates who have supported this series, even coming in early to put out chairs. We had assessor candidate Alan Petersen and 3rd assembly candidate Ryan Schohr, Bob Evans, and Bill Connelly, all out there to engage the voters. Thanks All, for supporting Democracy.

Our next speaker will be Second District County Supervisor Larry Wahl, March 9, at noon, and then on March 30 at noon we will have Ryan Schohr, who wants to take up Dan Logue’s assembly seat. Please join me in welcoming these candidates who are working hard toward Election 2014.

Get informed – Republican Women to host candidates at Manzanita Place – series kicks off Thursday with Doug LaMalfa and Greg Cheadle

17 Feb

The Republican Women will be hosting luncheons at Manzanita Place over the coming months to introduce candidates for 2014. They’re opening this series on Thursday, Feb. 20 with congressman Doug LaMalfa and Greg Cheadle, a candidate for LaMalfa’s seat (1st District).

Tickets for the buffet luncheon are $15, doors open at 11:30. Public is welcome, and they’re asking that you RSVP today for the luncheon – call 852-1644 for more information.

I’ve met Greg Cheadle, don’t let that picture throw you, he’s a nice guy, very intelligent,  worth a listen. Doug’s a fun guy too, and will have an update from congress. Should be informative.