Fund Raiders: City of Chico still using the same old walnut shell finance scam – watch that pea!

17 Mar

Today I notice, in the stats information provided by Word Press, people have been reading old posts where I bitched about the way Dave Burkland and Jennifer Hennessy were managing business Downtown, and how council was following right along like Hansel, Hansel, Hansel, Hansel, Gretel, Gretel, and Gretel.

For instance, somebody read 

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2012/08/29/hennessy-is-using-city-funds-like-walnut-shells-to-hide-and-move-money/

I bitched about the way they were transferring money from one fund to the other so they could get around spending rules. Some funds were being completely emptied into the General Fund, which has pretty lax rules about how it is spent. Every report Hennessy gave was full of assumptions and allocations – “assumptions” that we would be getting all this money to spend, and then “allocations” to cover when their ASS-umptions fell through.  Most of that money went to salaries, benefits and pensions for “public safety” and management, who paid zero to four percent of their own packages. 

Council went along right up until Burkland’s retirement, and the finger pointing and back stabbing began. All heads turned toward Hennessy, who made a well-timed exit to Temecula. The public turned kind of ugly, asking about criminal prosecution. Council members made veiled comments – AFTER the fact, how corn-venient. I almost felt sorry for Hennessy – council sat there through all of it, the public sat through it, with their fingers in their noses, but as soon as the shit hit the fan everybody was ready to string her up!

So now we have Mark Orme, Chris Constantin and Frank Fields essentially doing the same thing – how is what they are doing any different that what Hennessy was doing?  

Look at current agendas – almost every two weeks, Frank Fields asks for another budget allocation – meaning, the city is over budget, and they need to move  money from one or another “dedicated” fund (rules about spending)  to prop up the General Fund kitty. Chris Contantin’s report on the cop raises is full of assumptions about property tax and sales tax revenues going up. I think we should start calling him Chris “Pollyanna” Constantin. 

They will approve the cop contracts tonight. (NOTE: Excuse me here, I forgot, they have to wait for the two-week sunshine period to be over, so write those e-mails).The cops will get another $2 million added to their budget, which is already more than half the city pie, all based on assumptions. The fire department gets almost as much, I don’t know how much longer Constantin can work his voodoo to  fund everything. When he leaves I predict we will have major problems. 

Did you ever see spit disappear on a hot griddle any faster than that $4.8 million they scraped out of the car seats? That was some slight of hand, Bruddah. 

Well, I wonder if Gandalf is available, because our next city manager is going to have to be a regular wizard.

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7 Responses to “Fund Raiders: City of Chico still using the same old walnut shell finance scam – watch that pea!”

  1. Michael Jones March 17, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    I’m disappointed in the Republican majority on Council. I think it would be healthy for Chico to continue to have them running the City, but they would have to be on their best behavior, since Chico is naturally more on the Progressive side. But what Republicans are usually superior on is fiscal responsibility, but when guys in public safety uniforms are involved they go all pro-union, big spending. So why support them? If we’re going to throw our publics funds away it might as well be for warm humanitarian, artsy purposes, not propping up a warrior class elite.

    • Juanita Sumner March 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

      If “if” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

      No, I did not appreciate the liberals insane spending any more than I like the conservatives insane spending. We’re talking about DEBT here, OUR debt. We’re talking about an economy where you can’t live in a decent house, can’t afford decent food, can’t afford an education for your kids because your elected leaders have run up the public credit card. And here, they take it for themselves, enrich themselves with these salaries, and pay their bills out of our General Fund. Their salaries make the cost of living higher for everybody, their benefits make it impossible for a working class family to get a decent health policy, and their pensions make it impossible to save for retirement. We have to compete with these over-fed bluejays for everything. And they just get fatter and fatter.

      You want to see a guy with some work ethic?

  2. bob March 17, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    All these people are cut from the same cloth. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Or use whatever saying you want.

    They all come from the political and bureaucratic world and are all part of the special interest web. They never have and never will represent us. They look at taxpayers as a fox would look at a chicken.

    As long as there is a city government there will be politicians and bureaucrats playing these games at our expense. The best that can be done is to expose them as you are doing and hopefully to shame them.

    • Juanita Sumner March 17, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      Thanks Bob! I’ve been trying to work on a letter to the editor. I’ll get on it.

      • bob March 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

        Feel free to use whatever words I may have posted here if you want.

        I dream of a day when politicians and bureaucrats are treated as outcasts and are completely shunned.

  3. Jim March 18, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    “We’re talking about DEBT here, OUR debt.” Sure enough, courts have ruled that the residents of the City are responsible for the debts they run up.

    I feel that the root of the problem is hiring professional management. This has been a disaster for many cities. However I’m not sure what the alternatives would be. Something has got to change.

    • Juanita Sumner March 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

      Wow, funny you should say that. My cousin (now 94) was on Vallejo City Council in the 1960’s, and he told me, that’s where it started – they gave their city manager “executive powers,” enabling him to do a lot of things that had previously been done by council – meaning, they had to have discussions in front of the public and take public comment. That’s what my cousin says led to Vallejo’s current situation, and that’s what’s happening here.

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