The state of our city is disgraceful

30 Jan

At yesterday’s “State of the City” address, Mayor Sorensen admitted that pension liability is the biggest problem we face, that only 51 of our 400 and something employees are under the new “post retirement reform” laws (meaning they pay 50 percent of  their own benefits instead of 9 percent like the others), but cried like a baby that we “have no control” over the situation.  Soon we will be paying 41 percent of their pensions, while most of our employees pay 9 percent. We’ll pay more next year, and the year after that. We don’t have the money – that’s why they call it a “liability.” 

Sorensen even had the nerve to say, the city is putting their “deficit” to bed soon. If you look over the meeting agendas of late, you will see how they have separated the pension deficit from the budget – a second set of books – to hide the millions we owe on pensions for long-gone city employees. 

Mayor Sorensen might be a master chef and book cooker, but his daddy must have been a glassmaker, cause we can see right through him.  Although, I don’t think Sorensen can see past the end of his own nose. He simply has to protect the pensions, because he’s going to get one when he retires from his job as city manager of the little town in the orchards, Biggs.

Knowing people in town are pissed off about the condition of city and neighborhood streets, letter after letter asking that the Esplanade be left alone, and just another letter this morning describing our City Plaza as a “refugee camp,” Sorensen apparently didn’t touch those subjects. Fair weather mayor. Instead he’s going to spend a bazillion more dollars on gadgets for the cop shop. 

Like Nextdoor, the website that was touted as a kind of “Neighborhood Watch” on the computer? A big crime fighting tool? I wouldn’t know, apparently I was held out of most conversations because I did not have a “neighborhood group.” None of my neighbors were joining, nor were they interested. When I asked to be added to another group they simple never responded.  So,  I was left out of most conversations, left with general postings like, yard  sales, ad for local services, now and then a report of a suspicious activity, and meandering chatterfests about what neighbors were doing that would come to a halt as soon as somebody got their nose out.

Frankly, I began to wonder – are there even 100 Chicoans signed up for this service?

Then, after I’d been signed on about a month,  they sent me the notice about their “privacy” practices, including this blurb about cookies:

Server Logs. We automatically collect information created by your visits to our website and use of our apps, your use of Nextdoor, and your interaction with the messages we send. This information may include the browser you are using, the URLs you came from and go to, the model of your computer or mobile device, the operating system version, IP address and protocol used by your computer or mobile device, your mobile device or app identifier, and usage and browsing habits. We use this information to provide and improve our Services, to diagnose and resolve problems, to analyze trends, to help target offers and other ads (if and where applicable), to monitor aggregate usage, and to gather broad (aggregate) demographic information.

You can configure your browser to reject cookies, but doing so will prevent you from logging into our website. Our systems are not configured to accept browsers’ Do Not Track signals.”

So, I realized, this was the entire idea behind Nextdoor – gathering data for advertising. Wow.  And, I never found any useful news – I know there are car break-ins and other property crimes going on within a mile of my house but nothing ever turned up on Nextdoor.  My husband and I are able to find out more about what’s going on in our neighborhood simply by taking a rake out to our front yard and puttering around for half an hour. We also walk the hood at different times of night and day, we try to stay in touch with our neighbors. Having face time with neighbors is probably the best way to keep your hood safe.

Chico PD has credited chatter on “social networking sites” with helping them solve certain crimes, but they’ve never named Nextdoor so I don’t know what sites they’re talking about. I’m sure they watch Facebook, I’m guessing it looks like a scene from “Batman Forever”.

Take a good look, this is what you look like to passersby when you’re texting. So much for technology and crime fighting.

I didn’t hear Sorensen’s whole speech, I had to rely on the media! I didn’t hear him talk about the crime rate. But I did read a back page story about a guy who was just arrested in October for stealing a car – grand theft auto – furthermore, assault on a “police animal” – and just got arrested for essentially the same thing again this week.

In fact, Anthony Raymond Beck seems to bust out and steal a car quite frequently. In 2013 he was arrested and convicted for stealing a  car under the influence of drugs and booze, causing injury and property damage, but let out on probation in January 2014. By March he had violated his probation, arrested again for obstructing a police officer. He was arrested three times within a week in April 2015, released “O/R” each time, even after found with burglary tools.

He was arrested a total of six times in 2015, found with drugs and needles, burglary tools, under the influence, with stolen cars, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And now another stolen car. This guy is a crime spree. Why is he still out there, endangering the public safety? 

The cops will tell you it’s because these crimes have been lowered to misdemeanors by the voters. The jail is overcrowded, and they are forced to release criminals without serving a sentence, because of the voters.

No, it’s because their salaries and benefits eat the budget so that we can’t build a decent and sufficient jail. Now we are told we must pass a bond to pay for improvements at the jail or we will be at the mercy of criminals.

I feel like we’re at the mercy of the public workers. When will we get these people to do the right thing, pay their own way? 


9 Responses to “The state of our city is disgraceful”

  1. bob January 30, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Thanks for writing that. The state of this little corrupt city is disgraceful regardless of what Enterprise Wretched headlines scream. A lot of points I could comment on but I will just comment on a couple.

    Again the Enterprise Wretched just regurgitates what the politicians tell them. Sorensen has proven himself to be a career politician and a sneaky one at that. Look at how he implemented a new tax without any voter approval. Simply call it a “franchise fee” for garbage. He is a real rascal.

    And how about this howler from Orme:

    “The limited tax dollars aren’t ours. They’re being entrusted to the city by you, the public,” he said. “We need to build something this community deserves and make sure it can be sustained.”

    What a laugh. Taxes aren’t entrusted, they are taken. And they will spend the money they take any damn way they please to satisfy the special interests. They don’t give a rat’s @ss about people like you and me. You WILL pay every penny every politician and bureaucrat demand or they will send people with guns to put you in a cage with violent inmates. And if you will resist you will be killed. And to Orme all of that is entrustment.

  2. Jim January 30, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Did you see that they have decided to hire a new airport manager. They could hire another police officer or two, for the same money. Instead we will have another bureaucrat wasting his time sleeping in his office. The airport should be managed by general services, it doesn’t need a dedicated manager.

    • Juanita Sumner January 30, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      Well, I think you have more knowledge of the airport than a lot of people, you’ve used it, I’ve seen you at the commission meetings, so I’m glad to get your perspective on it.

      I think they need to address their tenants one way or another. Maybe you’re right, maybe the city manager should be able to handle that, given his salary and perks.

  3. bob January 30, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Well, Sorensen did say the city was “in a very good state.” So when the special interests, bureaucrats and politicians insist we must have tax increases this year I will ask why. After all, the city is already “in a very good state.”

    And what Orme said was almost has funny as Harry Reid several years ago saying that paying taxes is voluntary.

    After a new garbage tax, huge increases in water, sewer and PGE rates and the Obamacare fiasco (huge penalty increase this year and for those who submit the rates continue to skyrocket and the coverage is crappy with huge deductibles) will people actually vote to tax themselves even more so government employees can have salaries and pensions plus other benefits that those in the private sector can only dream of? Are the voters zombies?

    • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2016 at 6:39 am #

      Thanks Bob, you are brainstorming the arguments against the sales tax increase Mark Francis advocated at the State of the City affair.

      Keep it up, this is going to be a good fight.

      • bob January 31, 2016 at 11:40 am #

        It looks like there could be at least two tax increase measures on the ballot this year and maybe a bond measure (which is sooner or later a tax increase).

        Do you think they will shoot for the primary or general election for these tax increases? What are the deadlines for them to file? I think you said in an earlier post, February for the primary. Seems if that’s the case we’d know by know what the tax increasers are up to.

        My guess is they shoot for the general as that’s when the highest turnout is. And the conventional thinking is a higher voter turnout benefits Democrats who are more likely to favor ever higher taxes, spending and debt.

      • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

        I think you are correct, they will shoot for November. Laura Urseny said CARD is looking at November, thinking they will do better in a presidential election year, like you are saying.

        I’m already thinking about signs. “No Aquajets Tax!” “Drop the Pension Bomb!” “Just say ‘NO!’ to Entitlement!” And so forth.

      • bob January 31, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

        When you factor in the total compensation the taxpayers are expected to pay we are making millionaires many times over for these bureaucrats, cops and fire-fighters. Pensions alone are worth multi-millions considering these recipients or their spouses live between 20 or 30 years after retirement.

        So based on all that my slogan would be “Just say no to multi-millionaire bureaucrats.” Or “They can afford to retire in luxury. You can’t afford to retire at all.”

  4. Juanita Sumner February 1, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    My husband and I are essentially retired. My husband had a major health emergency and we found out just how much your employer cares when you get sick. He quit his job, and we moved into our smallest rental and “downsized” our lives. We don’t pay income tax, we pay very little sales tax, and our tenants pay most of our property tax.

    With a kid in college and the other only marginally employed, I don’t know how we afford it, but I know one thing – people like us are keeping their ship afloat, they better get that through their head.

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