Happy Election Day! Time to join Chico Taxpayers Association, get ready for the tax blitz!

3 Nov

Gotta love this modern world – today, my cell phone reminded me, is Election Day, “all day.” 

The second Tuesday in November is reserved for elections, whether or not there are any issues to put on the ballot. Elections are usually held in even years, but “special elections” can be called in the event of a vacancy on a board or maybe somebody gathered enough signatures to put a measure up. I’m not sure what the rules are. There’s also an opportunity for “special elections” in June.

What I do know is we have a year before next Election Day, and things are going to start happening over the next six months. People are going to announce their candidacies, and I’d bet my last five dollars at least two tax initiatives will pop up – I’m guessing, Chico PD will go for a sales tax increase and CARD will pursue a bond or assessment on our homes.

There are different ways this can happen. For the sales tax increase, I believe Chico City Council could just vote to put it on the ballot, or they could require some local group to go out and get the signatures on petitions. Measure J, the cell phone tax measure, was placed on the ballot by city councilors, although I can’t remember the vote, it wasn’t unanimous. I don’t know if it takes a simple or super majority to place a measure on the ballot. 

The elected board at CARD could also decide to put an assessment or bond on the ballot, or, failing to get the required votes, refuse to place it on the ballot, necessitating the collection of signatures on petitions by some local group. 

One group that has mentioned raising the sales tax specifically for Chico Police is local realtor Jack Van Rossum, who is also with an organization called “Chico Police Department Business Support Team”.  Interviewed by Alan Chamberlain on his podcast “Chico Currents,” Van Rossum said he would like to have a sales tax increase that is devoted to hiring more staff for the police department. 

I have not seen anything in the agendas about this issue, but I know this man, or member of his group, or the police chief, the president of the CPOA – anybody can lobby members of council separately. Under the toothless Brown Act, he can speak to each and every one of them, and as long as there aren’t four of them in the room together, the public is out of the conversation.  I sat at one meeting where our mayor Mark Sorensen went on at length about the ways council members can kibitz city issues privately without violating the Brown Act.  I know neither Sorensen, Coolidge nor Fillmer are stupid enough to get caught there – and they can check with Debbie Presson, who councils them in the ways in which they can circumvent the Brown Act. 

Morgan is stupid enough, but he knows he’s being watched.

So, I’m guessing there has been a lively conversation about raising sales tax, here and there, snitch and snatch, but we won’t hear about it until they’ve figured out how to get it on the ballot without getting kicked out in the 2018 election.   My prediction is, if they pass this tax, Morgan, Coolidge and Fillmer will toss Sorensen to the taxpayers like a spring lamb and then throw down over who gets the mayor’s chair. 

As for CARD, I’d bet they will also throw a bond or assessment on the ballot without much discussion. I think they’ve already decided to do it, they’re obviously trying to figure out how to frame it for the public.

Imagine my surprise when I read David Little’s editorial this morning:

“CARD promises at least one more of these wish-list meetings, which get people excited about the possibilities. But even though there’s an obvious need for a facility and the site is chosen, CARD continues to ignore for now a key component: money.”

Tough Guy, eh? 

“The consultant says the financing question will be addressed later, but it seems backward. It’s useless to do studies, gather stakeholders and invite the community to public meetings — all of which costs taxpayer money — before figuring out what the community can afford.”

Oh, I forgot – Little did not attend nor did he send any reporter to the 4pm committee meeting that preceded the 7pm public meeting. He would have heard the consultants both telling the committee the same thing. I could tell both consultants were getting frustrated – this group wants all the bells and whistles, they want to sell a pie-in-the-sky to the voters, without showing the price tag right up front. That is exactly what CARD and the Chico Area Swim Association people are trying to do – get us drunk and then tell us to get out our check books.

Even Little is going along with the notion that “user groups” will pay for this turkey.

“CARD has already said it doesn’t have the millions for an aquatic center just sitting around. So any multimilliondollar project would require financial support from swim teams, businesses and taxpayers, probably in the form of a tax.”

The lady consultant flat said it – “user groups” come to the table with their palms up, hands empty. The editor whispers into his shirtsleeve, “probably in the form of a tax.”  Probably? Again, he didn’t attend the meetings, any of them. I wonder if he saw CARD consultant Greg Melton’s three design proposals, the cheapest of which was $10 million. 

It’s easy to see where the Enterprise Record sits on this thing – that’s a pretty limp-wristed protest. I’m guessing they will back the sales tax increase as well.

So, we have our work cut out for us. It’s time to join Chico Taxpayers Association. What does that involve? Stay tuned here. Attend meetings and write a report for me to post. Write letters to the city council and CARD. I’ll keep posting the information and the links, it’s up to you to act.

Like Arlo Guthrie said in Alice’s Restaurant ramble, “One guy is crazy, two guys are (politically incorrect), but three guys – that’s a movement…”





4 Responses to “Happy Election Day! Time to join Chico Taxpayers Association, get ready for the tax blitz!”

  1. Jim November 4, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    I’m thinking that they learned from the defeat of measure J and will be much better prepared to sell the taxes in the next election. That’s why they have brought in consultants.

    We will see a well funded campaign to convince us to increase taxes.

    • Juanita Sumner November 4, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      Oh yeah, they won’t take an ass-kicking like that again.

      Let’s face it, they’re already on the defensive.

    • bob November 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      We will see a well funded campaign to convince us to increase taxes.

      Look for them to promise all sorts of goodies for the tax suckers…er…taxpayers. That’s why they are talking pie in the sky with this aquatic center, all the bells and whistles.

      I would think Lando would team up with the cops and fire and use the carrot and stick approach, The cops and fire saying, “Better vote for tax increases or we won’t be able to stop your house from burning down or you getting mugged” and Lando promising everyone everything including free ice cream on the weekends.

      The reality being that even if all their tax increases and bond measures pass there won’t even be enough money to pay for the unfunded pension liabilities.

      • Juanita Sumner November 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

        Yes – even though three consultants (total about $85,000) have told them they need to do a project that the community can support, be realistic. Instead they actually tell people to “dream big!” That’s so misleading, it ought to be criminal.

        Thanks Bob, you and Jim are good to have around. Omg, that’s three guys. We’re a movement.

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