Archive | March, 2014

Oh no, nobody ever believes Juanita!

27 Mar

I saw this report on KRCR Ch 7 news the other night – “Chico Housing Market One of Nation’s Least Affordable”.

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/survey-chico-housing-market-1-of-nations-least-affordable/25144536

The survey mentioned was done by a conservative “think tank” (my description) owned and run by a guy named Wendell Cox. Looking into Cox’s background, what I see is, this guy was an early proponent of the stuff we now know as “new urban” and “smart growth,” where you shove all the people into densely packed inner cities, served by public transportation. Now, he has turned 180 degrees, saying that none of this stuff has helped, our cities and roadways are still a giant mess. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendell_Cox

Well, duh. I tried to tell people that a long time ago. Why do you have to have a bunch of money and some initials after your name to get people to listen? Back in the early 2000’s, I saw this happening in Chico. A building boom that necessitated the import of labor! We must provide starter housing for new families!, they said. “They” being our city council and staff.  They spoke in panic – painting a picture of whole families sitting on their suitcases out on the curb, unable to find a house to live in. I knew it was bullshit then, and I tried to say as much. 

http://www.newsreview.com/chico/housing-crisis-fueled-by-greed/content?oid=25836

Of course New Urban Builder Tom DiGiovanni, father of some of the biggest jokes in town (Doe Mill, Westside Green), said I made the whole thing up.

http://www.newsreview.com/chico/greed-screed-response/content?oid=25879

Wow, the laugh was on me – little did I know, at just about that time, city council was approving that MOU that linked city salaries “to revenue increases but not decreases“.  Wow, if you don’t get that, unscrew your head and put it in a bucket of pine tar.  That’s how they simultaneously drove up the cost of living and their salaries. By the time we figured that one out, City Manager Tom Lando’s salary had gone from around $65,000/year to about $190,000 a year. Just salary. At that time we didn’t know about the pensions scam.  And, when they dumped the MOU that tied salaries to revenue increases, they agreed to pay the lion’s share of pension premiums, and here we are today, well, you read the story in the paper.

Mark Sorensen went on his little swing about how it’s not his fault, he wasn’t on council when they did that stuff. Well, he sure as hell hired Brian Nakamura at $212,000/year plus 96 percent paid retirement and benefits, and tried to tell us it was for our own good. Yeah, that’s what they tell the victim – lay back and think of Mother England. 

Our housing market, after a boom that increased the size of our town by roughly a quarter, actually raised the price of housing. How does that happen? 

Read here, read it good. And then come back so I can say, “I told you so!”

http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf

I told you so! 

CARD has allowed our public swimming pools to sink into disgrace while they paid their own benefits, now propose a fantabulous gazillion dollar aquatic center

24 Mar

CARD is still promoting the idea of a gazillion dollar aquatic center, and they’ve got “news” reporter Laura Urseny running their propaganda.

I get a kick out of Urseny – when I don’t attend the meetings, it takes her a couple of days to get the story in the paper, but when she sees me there, she posts that story the night of! If I accomplish nothing more that putting a match to the seat of her oversize drawers, that’s enough for me.

Too bad I can’t make a real news reporter out of her. She’s a propaganda hag, at best. The story she popped into the paper might as well have been dictated to her by aquatic center committee chair Jan Sneed.  Urseny posted two stories last week about what rotten shape Shapiro Pool is in, without once  telling us why. As if, rust just happens, things just fall apart, there’s no stopping expensive equipment from deteriorating. For at least 20 years the staff at CARD has neglected the equipment at the two public swimming pools in town, and now it’s rusted and falling apart, leaking like a sieve. In fact, the pool at Pleasant Valley (next to Bidwell Junior High) has been leaking for about 20 years. I sat listening to a pool company rep telling a life guard it would cost about $2500 to fix it, but the CARD board rejected his bid and watched Aqua Jets go to In Motion Fitness as a result. 

For the last 20 years CARD has been nothing more than a salary trough. The Board of Directors is nothing but a “look at me!” position, these people don’t really run the agency. The director runs the agency, along with the Finance Director, and they’ve both managed to shovel themselves some pretty good bling – salaries in excess of $90,000 and $110,000 plus fully paid benefits packages. CARD employees do not pay ANYTHING toward their own pensions, but still collect 70 percent at age 55 like other public employees. Steve Visconti will retire soon, on 70 percent of $112,000/year, having paid NOTHING toward his own retirement or benefits. 

Urseny saw me at the meeting, so she tells her readers “[Maintenance Director Jake] Preston added that CARD doesn’t have the money to fix Shapiro or build an aquatics facility, although it looked at a tax measure but backed off the idea.”  Preston whined a lot about the Americans with Disabilities act, but it became clear, they’ve used that as an excuse not to update the pools at all.  The showers at Shapiro are not only not ADA compliant, they’re disgusting, get in there with some Comet and a scrub brush Jake.  The bathroom at PV only had one toilet stall for all those kids, and they’d use it to change their clothes. The line would back up to the front gate. 

CARD gets over $2.5 million a year, just from the county, our property taxes. Where does that money go? Well, last year they took $400,000 out of their General Fund and made a back-payment on their own pensions because CalPERS was threatening them with higher fees. That’s where the money has gone. 

And let’s not forget – both pools are owned by the school district, which has allowed CARD to run them into the ground. Here they’ve built all kinds of junk on the campuses with that Measure A money (promised to build a third high school), but not one word about the swimming pools they’ve allowed to rot. 

Laura Urseny is not interested in the truth, she’s just interested in keeping her byline. According to the aquatic center committee spokesman, they have not got any sponsors yet, all these months and they’re still “identifying partners.”   And, according to Preston, Shapiro Pool has been operating at a loss for years. It’s been a mess since my kids were little, we went once and never went back. 20 years ago it looked like they’d abandoned it. It was a popular target for vandalism. Most of the kids in both pools were there as participants in CARD daycare programs.  Maybe they should realize – the public doesn’t support the pools we have now, CARD does not maintain them – what will change if we invest millions into a fancy new aquatic center that will be dedicated to the use of a private club? 

I’ll try to keep an eye on this, I  can’t believe they’ve given up on floating a bond or assessment. The survey they floated last year should prove they are willing to lie and distort to get our money. 

Next Sunday we have Ryan Schohr, Dist 3 Assembly candidate, coming in to speak to voters, noon to 1pm, Chico library

23 Mar

This speaker series has been satisfying, every candidate has been cooperative and talkative, and the voters who’ve come in have had good questions.  Our last session with Larry Wahl was friendly but provocative, I’d say. 

I met our next speaker, Assembly candidate Ryan Schohr,  when he came in to hear our first speaker,  Assessor candidate Al Petersen. Schohr lives in Chico, so he’s attended almost every gathering, even helping to set up and put away chairs. I have not had much chance to talk to him, although we had an e-mail discussion about his support for water storage, and I’ve read over his website. The water storage issue has been pushed to the front of the conversation by everybody from Logue to LaMalfa. I don’t support water storage, water  transfers have to stop. They all look at water as a commodity they can sell to get us out of our pension disaster. 

We really should ask Assembly candidates Schohr and Gallagher (May 11, noon) more about the pension time bomb. I’ll try to remember to bring that up. Assemblymen get pensions.  Here’s an article that says our refusal to deal head-on with these teat suckers is going to ruin our state’s credit rating:

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/20/6254956/credit-firm-says-california-pension.html

As it should. If I were Moody’s, I’d pick Jerry Brown up by the feet and shake him until all his credit cards fell out of his pockets, and then I’d cut them up into confetti and put them in his underwear.   We can’t survive another  term under Brown. Remember that old legend about the earthquake that will drop California into the ocean? That story was figurative – they meant, Jerry Brown. 

So, I hope you will come over to the library next Sunday, and help us get a constructive conversation going, covering the issues that affect our quality of life. We’ll have Schohr’s opponent, James Gallagher of Sutter County, May 11. 

 

Library funding up in the air – staff recommends funding, but you might want to e-mail city council

21 Mar

I got the agendas for next week’s back-to-back Finance  and Economic Development Committee meetings.  These committees have not been combined, but Nakamura said it would save money to have them on the same afternoon, with about a short recess in between. For me, that’s like some kind of all afternoon jail sentence, I am so sick of these meetings, I can’t even spit.

But, I did notice, they’re kicking around the idea of cutting library funding, again, along with Community Organizations (like the Blue Room and the Cat Coalition) and Economic Development/Tourism (like Artoberfest and the “Chico Open Boards Art” ).  “In light of the City’s budgetary constraints, and the impacts that staffing reductions are having on the city organization...”  they will “restructure“.   

NOTE:  Staff is recommending that library funding remain at it’s current $100,000/year. But I’ll also say, we should be worried anyway, they’ve gone against staff recommendations before. I’d also expect the other groups to be coming in to bitch, that is, if they were notified. When I called the library the manager told me she didn’t get a copy of the agenda, although she’d been told about a month ago that this discussion would be coming around. If they noticed her about it at all, should they notice her about this meeting? I don’t like to tell her how to run our library, but maybe I should have suggested she sign up for notifications. She asked me how I got it, I should have scolded her there, for cripessake. 

So, I’d say write a letter. It’s not worth your time or mine to attend these meetings anymore, they’ve restricted the public to speaker cards and three minutes, on subject. No more discussion, just an audience like a king gives.  In fact, I’d say, DON’T attend these meetings, you are just providing your tacit consent, they need to be able to say, “we told people!”. And your remarks will be put into the public record if and as the clerk or her staff see fit.  Those gals have attributed comments to me I never even said, while leaving out whole conversations about questions I’d asked. But if you write an e-mail or letter and ask that it be put into the record, there it is, for anybody who wants to see it.

After the Finance Committee meeting the Economic Develoment Committee will discuss dissolving itself. Again, “In light of the city’s budgetary constraints…”  I’m tired of hearing that. The budget is constrained because our council hired a bunch of overpaid junk and pays for it by laying off staffers hand over fist. They haven’t reduced our debt, we’re in as much trouble as ever, but we’re receiving little or no service for what we’re paying. They’re serving themselves, is what’s happening. 

If this committee is dissolved, the business they conduct will go completely behind closed doors. My biggest concern is that they are giving away city staff time to private businesses. That’s what TEAM is all about. While I hate these meetings, at least they are on the record. If this committee is dissolved, we’ll never know what’s going on in Nakamura’s office. 

Again, I’d say, e-mail or write a letter. 

 

 

 

 

District 3 Assembly candidates lined up to speak to Chico Taxpayers – Chico’s own Ryan Schohr March 30, noon to one pm

20 Mar

A week from this coming Sunday we will have Ryan Schohr, Chico candidate for Third District Assembly, speaking to voters at Chico library. That’s March 30, noon to 1 pm, bring your questions and concerns. This seat currently belongs to Dan Logue, but Logue is termed out. Schohr’s opponent, James Gallagher, will be our guest on May 11. June 3 is the primary, and this race may well be decided then and there. So get yourself down to the library and get informed.

So far, the only outrageous difference between these candidates is that Schohr is from Chico and Gallagher is from Sutter County.  They are both from rice farm families and they both favor the plans for the Sites Reservoir, storage for water transfers to urban areas. It’s frustrating, all the state legislators are supporting this idea, which I find to be completely bonkers. Like Ice Cube says, everythang’s corrupt. I will have to listen hard to these guys to see if I can slip a piece of tissue paper between their philosophies. At least Schohr is from Chico, and these guys always seem to favor their home over the rest of the district.

 

 

 

Still time to write to CPUC about Cal Water’s proposed 38 percent rate increase

17 Mar

I sent the letter below to the Enterprise Record a few days ago. I had sent them a letter over a week previous to Larry Wahl’s presentation, but David Little apologized to me that he’s just had soooo many letters he was unable to print it. He promised to print this one, omigod, sometime over the next two weeks.

Such an ebullient outpouring of letters from the community – how about making the letters section bigger, duh? It’s one of the most popular sections of the paper, I know people who admit they only read that section, and maybe the comics, or the classifieds.

News? What news? Oh yeah, that building project on Salem is such a community success! Oh sure Heather Hacking, cheerleader in charge. I rode my bike over to that project Saturday afternoon, there were less than a dozen people there, all college students getting credit. And those houses look like toothpick crappers. The ER isn’t a newspaper, it’s a propaganda rag for the city of Chico. They should probably get ceebeegeebee money. 

Meanwhile, I did have an interesting conversation with David Little over my campaign to get that pulp mailer, Market Value Place, out of my mailbox. I was successful, and I told people how I did it – I e-mailed him and bitched about it. He was the one who had my name removed from the list, because I bitched his pants off. Only when I took the issue to the Sustainability Task Force and sic’ed commissioner BT Chapman on them did we get an opt-out contact for an ER staffer named Jenny Jurdana (jjurdana@chicoer.com).   Jurdana also told Chapman, according to him,  that the opt-out  information would be printed on the front of the MVP, but this has never been done. 

So now I get an e-mail from Little, a year or so later, wondering why I would give his e-mail out to people who don’t want MVP, as if he is not connected with this mailer in any way. He even acted as though Jurdana is not employed by the newspaper. I  tried to explain to him, when those posts were written, there was no contact for Jenny Jurdana. I reminded him that when I called the number on the mailer, the woman who answered repeatedly hung up on me, even laughing out loud at my request.  He acted completely ignorant of all that, as if it never happened.

I have since given out Jenny Jurdana’s information again and again – I even recently contacted her to make sure the contact was still good, and received her cheerful reply, which I posted at worldofjuanita.   I wrote a post saying, “leave Dave Little alone” less than a week ago, again posting Jurdana’s contact info. But, like I told David Little, who feels he should not have to be bothered with  these people and their petty complaints of mailbox stuffing – if he would print that opt-out info on the front of his ad-rag, that would be the end of it. People would no longer google “how to opt-out of Market Value Place,” and land on my year old blogs with his contact info. In fact, I googled it myself, and I landed on the recent posts with the up-to-date info. 

But he won’t do the right thing, the legal thing, and I know he’s in a snit about it. The whole concept of “total saturation advertising,” is to reach everybody in your town. If he prints that opt-out info where his advertisers can see it, that’s probably a breach of contract. So, he will continue to break the law that says he has to put it on there, because the postmaster won’t enforce it. When I contacted the postmaster, he told me I could just bring them to the post office and put them in the recycling bins. Yeah, our postmaster is out to lunch too, I guess you knew that. 

So, I figured, since I’ve pissed off Mr. Editor, I might as well run my own letters to the editor from now on. If I had more time I’d have my own newspaper, but I do have a life, sorry.

Now, back to the real subject at hand – write to the CPUC and tell them you’re sick of being a cash cow! By the way, I cc’d commissioner Michael Peevey, be sure to write to him at the address provided below. In fact, you could do like I did – write your letter to the ER, and cc commissioner Michael Peevey at the address listed below. I also cc’d the board of supervisors and County Administrative Officer Paul Hahn. 

(thanks, at your convenience, for running this letter sometime by March 30) 

 

Chico Taxpayers Association has been hosting a candidate speaker series at Chico library.   We’ve scheduled two candidates for State Assembly District 3 – Ryan Schohr on March 30, and James Gallagher for May 11, both from noon to 1 pm. This is an opportunity to discuss policies before the assembly, including policies that affect the quality and affordability of our water supply. The public is encouraged to attend.  

 

Both candidates favor a reservoir at Sites, that would draw water from the Sacramento River near Red Bluff. According to the Department of Water Resources the first priority of a reservoir is, “Enhanced water supply reliability for urban uses…” Water storage is for transfers, and transfers only benefit developers in Southern California. 

 

Instead I wish these candidates would focus their efforts on investigating the private water companies that are gouging us for our own water. In 2011, Golden State Water Company was not only denied a rate increase but ordered to lower their rates and pay refunds to their Sacramento area customers because of discrepancies in their books.  They were also ordered to do further audits. This is what we should be demanding of Cal Water, and we need to ask these two candidates how they will help us. 

 

Cal Water customers who are unhappy with the 38 percent increase currently sought by Cal Water to pay employee pensions can write to California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey at michael.peevey@cpuc.ca.gov

 

Juanita Sumner, Chico Ca

State of Jefferson Committee meets today, Chico library, 3:30 pm

16 Mar
Approaching Mt. Shasta from the North, I felt relieved - there's no place like home, The State of Jefferson.

Returning from Oregon on a recent road trip, here we are in the heart of what some hopefuls call The State of Jefferson.  Every time I see Mt. Shasta it’s like I’ve never seen it before. 

 

Sorry for the last minute notice, but I will try to keep up on these meetings in future. I think they are held third Sunday of every month, same time – 3:30.  I will probably not be able to attend today, but I’ve been getting plenty of inquiries about the SOJ movement, here’s your opportunity to find out more.

Looking for Sasquatch - we wanted to get his opinion on this state separation business, but he wasn't available for an interview.

Hot on the trail of Sasquatch – we wanted to get his opinion on this state separation business, but he wasn’t available for an interview.

 

There is a lot of confusion. One thing I found out recently – it’s not a secession – that means, you want out of the USA.  We are talking here about State Separation, a split between North and South. 

The first dumb comment I have, and this is pretty central to the conversation for me – why Jefferson? Have you read “John Adams” by David McCullough? Wow, he paints Jefferson, through the personal diaries and letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail, as a complete idiot savant. Look at the details of his life – constant money problems due to a major spending habit – he didn’t know how to stop! 

And I’m not even going to touch his marital life. Not with a 10 foot pole – that whole sitch was really freaking weird. 

So, there’s my first criticism – needs a new name. How about, something that has a rat’s ass to do with California, maybe? Thomas Jefferson never even made it past the Mississippi.

How about, Northern California? I know, lacks imagination, like most solid plans. If you want imaginative, I’d say, choose from the myriad of names we have from the old people – the Yana and the Modoc often  being described as the biggest badasses.  I guess it might be nice to have some sort of badass name, show those Surenos  a thing or two. Nya nya!

I’d suggest “Sasquatch,” but that word comes from British Columbia. I don’t know what the local people called the creature we know as Bigfoot. The state of Bigfoot? Naaaaaah!

This is definitely something we should mull over. Along with all the really important details, like how to pay the bills, state song, state color, state bird, etc. I hope to get to a meeting, will keep you posted.