Only two months left til primary – Butte County assessor candidate Diane Brown coming in to library next Sunday, more speakers lined up

6 Apr

NOTE  10/24/14 – I notice Diane Brown has included this old post on her website – let me be clear – Chico Taxpayers Association does NOT endorse Brown for Assessor. I’m not endorsing Connelly either, but I voted for him because Brown came off as tax happy. She seems to look at the taxpayer/property owner as her adversary. She also seems to think she has the authority to go into people’s homes and use their personal decor in assessing the value of a property – no, it’s square feet Folks, and that’s something she can figure from the curb.  Brown thinks it’s her job to raise revenues to pay salaries and  benefits down at the county, not to protect the homeowner. 

I’m not thrilled with Bill, but knowing Brown’s philosophy I’m willing to give him a whack.


Next Sunday Chico Taxpayers Association will host Butte County assessor candidate Diane Brown at Chico Library, the usual time, noon to one pm.

There are six people running for the office of assessor. This may seem weird until you see the salary – over $120,000/year. Bill Connelly, who has yet to offer an qualification for the job or even any understanding of the duties,  has already stated the salary was a major consideration in his decision to run. 

The candidates filed:

  • Rudy Rindlisbacher, who lists himself as a real estate broker
  • Diane Brown, currently principal appraiser for the Butte County assessor’s office
  • Blake T. Bailey, undescribed
  • Bill Connelly, who describes himself as a contractor and county supervisor (District 1)
  • Al Petersen, currently chief appraiser for Sutter County, a former employee of the Butte County assessor
  • Virgle N. Gage,  “retired business executive”

Al Petersen was the first to announce, so I googled him and found him at Sutter County, contacted him and he got back to me right away. Al has supported our speaker series since the beginning. What I feel about Al is, he’s gone to a lot of trouble to contact the voters, it’s a logical stretch that he might be more accessible once he is in office. 

When I contacted Diane Brown, she actually told me she’d been trying to figure out how to get ahold of Chico Taxpayers, she’d read my letters in the paper and thought this forum was a good idea. We both wanted to get April 15, but that day was booked, so we settled for the usual Sunday date – I like consistency when I can have it. I’m hoping Al with come in, not for a debate, but both of these people as as well-informed as you can get about the function of the Butte County assessor’s office, between them, we should have a very interesting, educational and enlightening conversation. This isn’t just about the election for me, it’s about understanding the function of these highly paid employees who have a very direct impact on our lives.

I tried to get Bill Connelly to name a date, but he wouldn’t. Instead he came into Maureen Kirk’s date and  muscled himself into the conversation. But, he didn’t discuss the assessor’s job, just gave his take on issues before the Board of Supervisors. Which is where he belongs if you ask me. I can’t stand a jumper – somebody who runs for an office and then shags it halfway through. And Connelly is making no bones about the salary being twice as much! He’s got no qualifications for this office. And, Al told us – there are only two days of the year when an assessor is required to be in the office.   Is that how Connelly intends to run the assessor’s office? Show up the two days that he is required, then go home and collect that fat salary? And let’s not forget – pension and benefits, based on that $120,000 + salary.  

As for the others,  I will work on contacting them, at the very least, to tell them about Diane Brown coming in. I’m worried that this race will go to Connelly because he’s got name recognition (Sheesh Bill – think you put up enough signs?)  and because people don’t know what the assessor’s job is. And, he’s been raising money since way before he announced. It was pretty clear he wouldn’t commit to a date with us because he knew there was no money in it. Bill, could you wipe that slobber off your chin, you’re freaking me out.

Good questions to ask the assessor candidates are, how do you evaluate a property, where do you collect comps, do you actually physically view the property or use maps, etc. How do these folks feel about prop 13? Al has mentioned he’d like to see some analysis of how much money we’re losing to prop 13 – does that kind of talk turn you on or off? We need to talk about this stuff, come on down and bring your questions. 

Furthermore we have the following candidates lined up:

  • April 27 – Andrew Coolidge, city council, noon
  • May 11 – DOUBLE BILL – James Gallagher, 3rd dist assy, noon; Andrew Merkel, 2nd dist supe, 1 pm
  • May 25 – Joe Montes, city council, noon

And, I realize these things are at noon. Food is allowed in the library, so I’m going to try to bring sandwiches and bottled water, maybe a pot of coffee.



8 Responses to “Only two months left til primary – Butte County assessor candidate Diane Brown coming in to library next Sunday, more speakers lined up”

  1. Alan Petersen April 6, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    I am looking forward to seeing Diane Brown and all the other candidates listed. Diane has very strong knowledge of the office and she and i worked together for many years and continue to be friends. I support her efforts in the Assessor race especially as it brings knowledge to the public and supports a qualified candidate.

    Thinking back over my statements to the group, i don’t recall saying that i was concerned over the Proposition 13 numbers. I did say, that the assessors tend to think of Proposition 13 as a law that we follow rather than it being good or bad. I know that proposition 13 is a vital part of keeping government in check and the County Assessor has limited influence except in its implementation.

    I did bring up the Williamson Act “numbers” when Larry Wahl was the speaker because that is a program that can be continued or rejected by the county supervisors. The state agreed to reimburse the counties for property tax dollars lost by enrollment of agricultural land in the Williamson act but when the state went broke they stopped the repayment. The loss to our county is between $500,000 and $650,000 annually for the past 4 years or so. This is a major loss in my view considering our sheriff deputy shortage. I support continuing of the Williamson act and the insistence that the state provide subvention. Dan Logue is currently sponsoring a bill with this goal. I was hoping that Supervisor Wahl would have provided the CTA with more information but it was not a topic he had a lot of knowledge in. See Assembly bill 1729 for the current status.

    Thank you for keeping all of us involved.

    Al Petersen .

    • Juanita Sumner April 6, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks Al, I’m sorry if I got you wrong on that. I’m referring to a conversation we were having with Jim, regarding commercial properties. It was my impression that you think we are losing a lot of money on Prop 13 because we don’t reassess commercial properties more often, but maybe I misunderstood.

      The subvention thing bothers me. If we cut some of our management fat, we wouldn’t need that money. Most of the county management salaries are excessive, and we pay too much toward their benefits. We could afford more sheriff’s officers if the Sheriff wasn’t making $182,000, base pay, and paid more than 9% of his benefits and pension. It’s not that we don’t pay enough taxes, or get enough grants (tax money) out of the state, it’s that we SPEND too much money. I know, you say we need to elect better leaders to make better decisions – well, we need to cut them off their credit cards too.

      I’ve been thinking this over a lot, and here’s my basic feeling about the office of assessor. I don’t think anybody should be allowed to assess a property for taxes based on anything but what the current owner paid for it. The idea that a farm, or a home in town, or a business property, would be assessed on the basis of what the assessor (who is working to pay his own paycheck) thinks it should be worth to a developer makes my hair stand on end.

      Fred Holland told me personally, he felt his job was to raise money for the county. I think the assessor’s job is to protect the taxpayer from over-assessment. I don’t think Holland is being aggressive enough in re-assessing upside-down properties. What is your position on this?

  2. bob April 8, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Free food and politicans don’t mix. They will eat you out of house and home…and library!

    • Juanita Sumner April 9, 2014 at 6:06 am #

      I am anxious about having food, because we have a group directly after us, and I want to get out of the room for them. But, I have this need to break bread with the folks who’ve been supporting this thing, maybe you’ll come in and have a slice of a $5 footlong with us? I wanted to get a fancy sandwich, but have cost prohibitions, so I’m getting a couple of sandwiches from Subway and a case of bottled water. Loaves and fishes are too messy.

      Frankly, I’m more worried I’ll get those sandwiches and nobody will show up. But of course, I have a houseful here to take care of any leftovers.

  3. bob April 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    So is the Grundler going to come and do a show and tell? Or is he not up for re-election? I lose track of these things because to me it seems like they are in office forever.

    But dang, talk about Demoncrats gone wild…the Grundler said he is no hero for his 100+ mph speeding ticket…duh. And listen to his lame reason for going so fast, unbelievable. If he is that negligent what the hell is he doing running the city. They try to spin it like the Grundler is something special because he isn’t using his power to weasel out…yeah sure…he would if he could but he got caught dead to right so he can’t weasel out. The media sure treated him with kid gloves which is just what you would expect for a Demoncrat.

    And if you pause on the ticket you can see the Grundler is 49 years old….shees I’m older than him! I thought he was in his sixties or at least late fifties.

    • Juanita Sumner April 9, 2014 at 6:14 am #

      Right now, I am mainly concerned with county candidates – most of them will be out with the June primary.

      Thanks for reminding me to bitch about this – Lazy Girl Debbie Presson is still posting the information for 2012 – I have to laugh now, but when I pulled that page up and saw MEASURE J! I just about soiled my skivvies. When I contacted her weeks ago, she said she was “working on it.” Oh yeah Debbie, you mean “hardly working”! Still nothing. I know Andrew Coolidge and Joe Montes are running because the ER reporter apparently went to Presson’s office and asked. I don’t have time to go Downtown and play footsies with Debbie Presson, so I don’t know if Gruendl or Sorensen has declared. Worse – I don’t know what kind of measures might be on the ballot. Eeeek!

      I will invite any candidates to the library if and when they declare, even though I’ve told Gruendl he shouldn’t run. The best way to get a good look at a candidate is lure him out into the light, so I’ll invite them. We’ll see if they are desperate enough to follow a badger into her den.

  4. bob April 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Maybe the Grundler can give us a talk on how to drive so fast and survive.

    • Juanita Sumner April 9, 2014 at 6:25 am #

      I think it was road rage, and that’s just my theory. Gruendl told a strange story about seeing another car speeding just before he was pulled over, that he had not realized he was driving so fast because the other car passed him? What? I’m guessing, and this is just a theory, that somebody cut somebody off, and there was a little chase going on. What else could it be? Gruendl was falling asleep and his weight was crushing the pedal to the floor? How could you not be conscious of that kind of speed? The average car would be rattling like a tin can, knobs would be falling off. The driver would have to be in total control, or the car would spin out all over the place.

      I know, my dad raced a stock car at the Silver Dollar, I know what it feels like to be in a car, going really fast. The new cars aren’t even built for that kind of speed.

      Reminds me of that book by Al Franken, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” But of course, every mention of Gruendl reminds me of that book.

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