ER ran my letter, here’s a few comments from Faceblob

11 Sep

We’ve seen letters to the editor, the police seem to be pushing a sales tax increase “for public safety.” 

 

Folks, the cops get over $20 million a year and fire gets another $17 or so. Million. Our budget is only about $42 million, do the math. According to a recent revelation from Downtown, the cops [sorry – correction – I’m sorry I screwed this up –  cops and fire between them get 72 percent, over half of which goes to the cops] get about 72 percent [more like 42 percent] of the General Fund [almost half the total budget], and they still can’t do their jobs. While the college students seem to have been keeping the fire department off their butts lately, the cops have gone on vacation as our crime rate goes up, up, up. We had a fatal stabbing at Downtown 7-11 last week, and a tussle with a guy who was later found to have a knife at Rite Aid on Mangrove.  Compare that to the number of cops who have EVER died in Chico – one.  And those are just the incidents that made it into the press. Chico is becoming much more dangerous for the general population, while the cops, who eat half our budget, walk away from their duties saying they don’t get paid enough. 

 

Months ago, I sat in a meeting Downtown, with Chief Trostle and now-retired officer George Laver, and told them how bad the situation was getting at Mangrove Plaza. I told them how twice I’d been in the Payless Shoes store when shoplifters had just about run over customers getting out the door with shoes. Payless takes a responsible stance – their clerks are told to stay put, never follow anybody out of the store. Wise thinking, you can get dead so fast, over a radio or a pair of shoes? Forget it – that’s the cops’ job.

All it would take is an undercover cop at that shopping center for a week, just a guy in shabby clothes, or a woman dressed like a housewife, and you’d be able to figure out who’s who and what’s going on down there.  I think the cops could learn something by talking to the people who work in those businesses, but Trostle just sat there as I told that story, the muscles in the sides of his head moving like boiling milk. I told him about an encounter I’d seen between some customers and a screaming drunk in front of Rite Aid. I told them about a guy who stood in front of me in line, stinking drunk, and bought a bottle of whiskey at 10:00 in the morning. I got no response. I don’t even know if they approached the management of either business.

Our police problem is not financial, it’s mental. They think they’re too good to serve people. What they’re doing in “public service” is anybody’s guess. Oh, I’ll answer that – they know the money is  great, the benefits are unreal, they don’t have any illusions about doing society any favors.  As soon as they put on that uniform they start to breathe their own farts and their attitude goes right through the top of their silly little hats.

I sent the following letter to Chico Enterprise Record two days ago, we’ll see if they run it:

Any candidate or incumbent who wants to be elected to Chico city council in November should be quizzed extensively about the employee contracts which will be back on the table in December. So far none have discussed the contracts in detail, nor have promised to curtail excessive compensation.  They all complain that employee negotiations are complicated, and promise to save the city with cuts elsewhere, but won’t elaborate.  So far, cuts have resulted in the disgraceful deterioration of our streets, our parks, and public  safety in general. 

 

One provision of  the contracts that needs to be changed is the city’s collection  of union/political action committee dues, even from employees who do not want to be  union members. These same funds are channeled into every city election, throwing the odds ridiculously. 

 

And, as pointed out by former candidate and administrative law judge Joe Montes, it creates a terrific conflict of interest. The city councilors sign the contract that allows the money to be collected, at taxpayer expense, and handed over to PAC’s that turn right around and hand it back  to the council candidates of their choice, either through direct contribution or through “indirect” support such as mailers and billboards. 

 

This election will be a turning point for Chico. As the public safety unions become more powerful, the average citizen will see their influence over their locally elected leaders get weaker and weaker. Speak while you have a voice – join Chico Taxpayers Association. 

UPDATE:

The ER ran my letter yesterday. I noticed there were a few comments – I don’t participate in Faceblob, so I brought the comments here, where anybody who can use a keyboard is allowed to participate in the conversation, not just people who are mainlining their social life through a box.  I’d like to see this conversation go beyond “the usual suspects”. 

Juanita you are wrong about the power of “public safety” unions. The fire union is powerful, the police union is not. The fire union was taking raises when then the police union was giving money back to the city. The police department is losing officers to higher paying agencies where the fire department has hundreds if not thousands who would do the same job for half the pay. You should recognize the difference.

This woman is not speaking to my letter, she’s a cop groupie who attacks the fire department. That is so distressing – aren’t they all public safety workers? Why do they act like characters from Super Troopers or Gangs of New York? Aren’t they supposed to support each other? But you’ll hear this same rant from police Chief Kurt Trostle – “the firefighters get paid to sleep and play X-Box!” He said exactly that when Stephanie Taber and I were invited to meet with him at the police station one day. He is very juvenile, like a big pouting teenager.  Angela is also playing with the facts – look at the salary charts, the cops have continued to get salary increases despite the theatrics played out in city chambers. 

Michael Jones answered:

I agree the Fire union members are more overpaid than police. And if it can be independently confirmed that Chico pays below market rates for police, then perhaps they’re not overpaid. But they make a lot more than the sheriff. Did you know that Dave Main Chico fire captain makes more then the Secretary of Defense? Is anybody really OK with that??

I don’t know what he bases this claim on, that fire fighters “are more overpaid” than police.   Maybe he will come around with the background on that. Does he mean they take more overtime? Also, he just showed a chart that blows the “Chico pays below market rate for police” out of the water – look at Chico Politics.  It is clear that both are fire and police are paid well above the average. 

http://chicopolitics.com/2014/09/10/ann-schwab-corrected/

I don’t really understand this entire remark, but I will say, no, it’s not okay with me that both our police and fire chiefs make more than the Secretary of Defense. Furthermore, they make more than four times the median income.  They are paid by people who live on less than a quarter of what they make, just in salary, then we pay their benefits. No, this is not okay with me.

 

 

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18 Responses to “ER ran my letter, here’s a few comments from Faceblob”

  1. Steve September 11, 2014 at 6:19 am #

    Wow! Your on a roll. My first question, what would be your priorities for policing? Yes, there is a lot of crime in Chico. But where do you start? How would you manage the police department? It’s a hard job. You make everything sound so easy by just complaining about $ and benefits. What is your plan?

    • Juanita Sumner September 11, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Thanks for asking Steve, I appreciate your respect for my ideas, I’m always glad to answer your questions.

      I saw an undercover bust yesterday, I know they have undercover, and they collaborate with Butte County sheriff. Read my post again, I said, I’d put undercover officers at Mangrove Plaza. I know they have the resources, why aren’t they doing stuff like that? There’s been a major problem with shoplifting transients at that shopping center for years, they just ignore it, the Safeway management won’t even talk about calling the cops. I’ve seen then chase shoplifters plenty of times, but I never see cops there.

      My other plan would be to take a pay cut, I’d cut the chief’s salary back down to about 90 grand, and I’d pay 50 percent of my own benefits.

      • hey jude September 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

        You make a lot of assumptions Juanita. What do you do for a living?

        Sorry, I’m done. these posts are a waste of time. You need to go back to college and take a communications class. This time pay attention to preconceived ideas, assumptions, etc.

      • Juanita Sumner September 16, 2014 at 4:44 am #

        If you are really a cop, you need to quit your job. It took you less than 10 minutes to get frustrated with my not being on line to respond to you, right in the middle of the dinner hour.

        If this was a physical confrontation, would I be dead already?

  2. Jim September 11, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    I think the problem with the police is the same problem that Americans are facing in general. Nobody really wants to do their job anymore everybody just wants to pick up their paycheck.

    • Juanita Sumner September 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      I just listened to my clerk in a retail store yesterday complaining that he had not had his 10 am break, and it was moving up on lunch time. I also listened recently to a melt-down from a store clerk who had just dealt with a completely wasted homeless person, wearing nothing but an oversized pair of pants, which he held onto with one hand, while he waved the other one around to punctuate his profanities.

      Meanwhile, the cops get paid to shower and change, they get overtime pay, they get health benefits and a pension of 90 percent of their highest year’s salary at age 50. They drive around in air conditioned cruisers, with guns to protect themselves, that is, if they even encounter a criminal in their shift. They can spike that pension with a last minute promotion, like George Laver and Linda Dye, who were promoted less that six months before they took their scheduled retirement.

      You’re right, a lot of people are slacking at their jobs, and sometimes attitude is really lacking, but it seems the bigger the salary, the less likely we get what we paid for.

      • Michael Jones September 15, 2014 at 5:24 am #

        Why do they send so many officers to suspected crime scenes. I saw about 5 officers interviewing a couple of girls in front of the train station, the girls had just been hanging out a half hour before. I understand if there is an armed robbery in progress or something.

        Also, apparently the technology at the police department is antiquated. Paper report by police officers who don’t much like writing, and so on. How about digital voice recognition, to free up the police to do policing?

        And I heard a rumor that morale is low in the police department. It’s kinda like when my fellow dentist are complaing; it’s hard to feel sorry for people who make over 150K a year in total compensation.

      • Juanita Sumner September 15, 2014 at 5:53 am #

        I want to talk about the salaries and benefits, “compensation.”

        I know you have the figures, so I will ask you to elaborate on your comment that the fire department is “more overpaid” than the police.

        It distresses me that this conversation always pits the police against the firefighters – we’ve set them in this position to vie for money. When Steve Bertagna was on council, he told me, “we play them against each other…” So, there you have it.

        Reanette Fillmer seems poised to go right on with business as usual, already stating her desire to pour more funding into the cop shop, with no mention of the fire department. Instead of a moderate with ideas for making our public safety departments more efficient, we end up with cheerleaders who widen the divide. My prediction is that “business as usual” is going to land us in bankruptcy.

      • Rich Giddens September 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        call your reps and give them unmitigated hell. attend all local governing body meetings and give them a piece of your mind. Organize and direct all neighbors and friends to do the same.

    • hey jude September 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      Agree, so demand more of them. At the same time remember that quality costs money. Don’t expect good people to do a stressful screwed up job and then tell them that they going to make mediocre money. Good luck attracting anyone to do that. Law enforcement has ALWAYS had a problem recruiting quality people. If you’re that on the ball, the private sector offers much more (well, maybe not in Chico).

  3. Rich Giddens September 15, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Were in the same boat as you guys in so far as the bloated porker pig do-nothing cops are concerned. I compiled it all in a series of YouTube videos about Suisun City (just outside the Travis AFB in Solano County)—-I call the City “Sewer Soon City”.
    Here you can see the “good work” the porkers do (to us!)

    • Juanita Sumner September 15, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks for posting.

      I don’t know the whole story between you and your neighbors, but I think it’s weird the way the cops arrested you. I’d think there’d be more investigation, and then I would assume they’d come to your house. It really looks like they were out to humiliate and intimidate you because you have criticized them so vehemently. I read about your problem with the census worker, and I’m sorry this has all happened to you because you won’t lay down like a good dog and do what they say.

  4. hey jude September 15, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    You try being a cop for a while. Does it generally pay well in California, yes. Are the benefits good, yes. Is it at absolutely crappy job, yes. If you don’t like the way cops do stuff, then you try it for a while. If you think it is so easy and they don’t do anything, sign-up. If you think cops should be dying to protect you, then you’re going to have to pay them a LOT more money. And the pensions, they have given up raises in the past so that the cities and counties pay more toward pensions. This saves the agencies money because this is pretax money: the agency does not have to pay for soc sec, medicare, and there’s no actual pay raise so the retirement amount is actually lower in the long run.
    You can’t understand what and why cops do stuff until you experience it yourself. So quit being jealous and put yourself through an academy… That’s if you can qualify, which is doubtful based on all the garbage I’ve seen on this website. And if you call yourself conservatives, you shame me……

    • Publius September 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Hey Jude. You do a serious disservice to the Chico Police Department with your attitude. I would strongly encourage you keep an open mind when discussing the potential Chico bankruptcy. Most everyone I meet respects the Police Department, and appreciates the job it does, but, as citizens, we also have a responsibility to ensure that the city is solvent. It is a difficult question, and it is important that people remain calm while discussing the issue. I question whether you’d be able to keep a calm demeanor in a stressful situation, and hope that you are not a law enforcement officer.

      Every interaction I have had with the Butte County Sheriff’s department has been professional. If they make less compensation than the Chico Police Department, why do they seem to be competent?

      We will have a 10 million dollar a year deficit in two years based on the cities’ forecast. What is your solution to the problem? Do we as taxpayers only have a choice between bankruptcy or more taxes? Any other solutions? Why should the benefits of a few (Chico Public Safety), denigrate all of the services and benefits the citizens receive?

      • Juanita Sumner September 17, 2014 at 4:35 am #

        Thanks P – could you do me a further favor? Could you write a note to Chris Constantin and ask him what is the current pension liability figure. They used to mention a range of figures, anywhere from $48 million to 64 million. Very simply put, that’s the amount we owe CalPERS for our employee pensions.

    • Skeezix September 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      You are guaranteed a pension that is an extremely high percentage of your highest yearly salary, and medical benefits, yet you have the gall to mention no built in raises on your pension (for which I have paid). Do you realize people are working into their seventies to make ends meet. Enjoy your retirement at 55 with you 75k plus bennys income.

  5. Michael Jones September 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    from the E-R:

    Avatar

    dbski4it > Michael Jones • 5 hours ago

    Sorry Michael, with a huge amount of respect that you are due, any organization that supports Gruendl for City Council does not deserve the support of anyone.

    Avatar

    Michael Jones > dbski4it • 19 minutes ago

    Who else is there? Andrew Coolidge announces up front that he won’t consider contracting with CalFire or the Sheriff; giving away that information to monopoly unions that consume 67% of the General Fund negates his good intentions. Forough and Lupe won’t talk to us on orders from Bob Mulholland. Rodney proposed a 1/4% sales tax to further overpay public safety. While Gruendl voted to give the 3-year notice to the firefighters that we will be considering contracting out to CalFire, and he voted for deficit reduction plan that was too conservative even for Sean Morgan. You could certainly make the case to support only Sorensen and Fillmer. Our signs just arrived. Look for them around town soon. I think Gruendl is concerned that his association on our signs with Sorensen and Fillmer will hurt him with his base, but if that is true he should change his base. Ain’t freedom of speech great 😉 !!

    • Juanita Sumner September 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      thanks for the update Michael, I’ve been away all day.

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