Archive | April, 2016

When will the enablers see the link between transients and crime?

30 Apr

I think the biggest problem we have with the homeless here in Chico are the agencies and individuals who provide for them. That would include our local media. Read these excerpts from the Enterprise Record Hits and Misses column for today:

HIT >> There were two very impressive aspects to an extensive effort Wednesday to help homeless and low- income people in Butte County. One is that 675 people received help. The other is the dozens of people, organizations and agencies that chipped in to make it happen.

Project Homeless Connect managed to get the word out to hundreds of people who took advantage of the opportunity to get things most people take for granted — a shower, food, a haircut, a bicycle repair, a health screening, pet care and much more.

It took a lot of goodhearted people to organize the event and volunteer at it. We applaud them for doing what they can to help.

Well, isn’t that nice?  “Hundreds of people who took advantage…” Great choice of words.  This kind of enabling is what’s bringing the homeless flocking to Chico. Of course, Dave Little doesn’t live anywhere near the areas most heavily affected by this problem, Downtown, Bidwell Park, and the neighborhoods directly surrounding the creeks – that would include the campus neighborhoods.

MISS >> The statistics on crime in neighborhoods near Chico State University are alarming, even if they’re not surprising.

Most residents know that’s where most crime happens in Chico. But it was quantified at a public meeting last week. Chico Police Department statistics show that in a three- year period ending last Dec. 31, 636 homes and 482 cars were broken into in neighborhoods near the university, and 437 cars were stolen.

There’s hope, however. Increased attention and a new cooperative agreement between Chico police and university police will help. Students and non- students who live in the area can do their part by locking up items, not being so trusting and watching out for criminal activity.

Crime will never disappear in student neighborhoods, but the number is unacceptably high and can be reduced with attention to the issue.

First of all, I see the same old pattern here – blame the victim. That’s good, I hope plenty of parents read this and send their kids somewhere else for college. I know, a lot of people blame the students for everything, but imagine getting a call from your kid, describing the kind of stuff that’s been going on in Chico the last couple of years. 

They sure as hell wouldn’t be reporting any events where college students get free showers, food, a haircut, a bicycle repair, a health screening, or pet care.

How many blogs have I written about repeat offenders? You check, I’m busy. The pattern is hard to miss, but apparently the Editor does not read the police reports or follow them up on the county superior court index. I don’t know how many stories I’ve read in his paper about somebody waking up in the middle of the night to find a stranger in their bedroom, hands/arms full of stolen stuff. Less than a week ago a man over at Amanda Place came home to find a guy in his apartment in the middle of the day, and was stabbed by the creep.

 I’ve looked up the names on the court index, including the man involved in that break-in and stabbing, and found these people have been arrested and released – “OR”, “own recognizance” – again and again, for increasingly violent crimes. 

The pattern also shows most of them are listed without any permanent address – “homeless,” “transient,” whatever you want to call it. That last man was  “ward” of the county, “ a person or thing under guard, protection, or surveillance…” .   Oh really? Where exactly was Batman when his ward was breaking into another man’s apartment?  

Most of these people are able to disappear as soon as they are out of custody, and neither the county nor the city are doing anything to keep track of them. That is, until they are caught in another crime. 

County District Attorney Mike Ramsey excuses himself from prosecuting these people, blaming various legislative bills. I think the real problem is, he doesn’t see any money in it. He only seems to go after high-profile cases. 

Chico PD makes a lot of fuss – all these meetings they’ve been having lately – maybe  they need to form a circle and levitate the police station, shake out the dead beats, make them pay their own pensions, shower and shave at home before they come to work, etc.

Meanwhile, our mayor is busy revamping The Esplanade. 

And the media is congratulating the enablers. Good Job!

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Next time you see a Cal Water truck driving by give them your middle finger

27 Apr

I’m listening to the Reverend Horton Heat. He says, “I’m mad, I’m mad out to here! I’m mad!” 

Think he attended the water rate hearing last night? 

I didn’t – I’m done with those stupid hearings. Like I told Judge Jeanne McKinney – they aren’t “hearings,” she wasn’t there to hear what we thought. She was there to provide the legal notice required before her utility company friends raise the rates. 

I was glad to see that Third District supervisor Maureen Kirk attended and spoke against the rate increase. She spoke very firmly, like your mom, my mom – she had that “I’m just about fed up” tone. 

But I didn’t hear much mention of the really important issue in this rate increase – they want to consolidate us with Willows, Marysville and Oroville – towns with major infrastructure repair needs. When Cal Water tried to raise rates a couple of years ago to cover their needs, the CPUC said the increase was way to onerous. So, they want to spread it over Chico too, and make us pay for improvements in those towns.

Not that I don’t feel for those towns, but I’d rather see them pick up torches and pitchforks and take care of their problems themselves. I’d like to see some folks riding out of Marysville on rails, covered in tar and feathers. 

Cal Water has not been taking care of infrastructure because they’ve been using ratepayer money to feather their retirement nests.  The ratepayers need to rise up. Next time you see a Cal Water employee, rise up your middle finger, wave it at them cheerfully and holler, “Pay your own pension, Leech!“. 

 

Do we really want to build more low-income housing?

26 Apr

I’m certainly glad Chico will not play host to a “sexually violent predator,” but I wonder how many other violent criminals we have in Chico. How about the story in this morning’s paper – a resident caught a burglar in his Amanda Way apartment, and while he was calling the cops the guy attacked and stabbed him with a knife. 

The attacker was identified as Darin J. Petty. According to Butte Superior Court index, this man is supposed to be under conservatorship, granted by the county of Butte. What is he doing robbing somebody’s apartment? 

According to our county administrator Paul Hahn, the county of Butte spend “over half the budget” on services for the mentally ill, indigent, and drug addicted. A new 15 unit low-income apartment facility to be located near the Torres Shelter will cost about $6 million, over a million of it coming out of the Behavioral Health budget, and more from the city of Chico and other public agencies. More of our taxes spent to bring in more of these people. How many will end up standing over a homeowner with a knife in the middle of the night? 

 

Jim Matthews: Esplanade needs a simpler fix

24 Apr

I’ve been so busy lately I have “blog stop” – aka, “writer’s block”.  I saw this letter from Jim Matthews in the paper this morning and it got me thinking.

On April 14, the Chico City Council voted for sweeping changes to The Esplanade. While roundabouts may reduce vehicle accidents, they are actually more dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists. Drivers often just don’t yield to pedestrians. This could open the city up to lawsuits when a child is injured there. Some European cities have removed roundabouts due to this safety issue. Other U.S. cities have been sued because roundabouts are very difficult for handicapped users. Signal lights really do work better.

The proposed bike path is well meaning, however cyclists will still need to deal with motor vehicle traffic at every block, just like they do now. That bike path will only give bike riders a false sense of security and may actually lead to more accidents. This could also expose the city to lawsuits.

These changes will also require the removal of many of the lovely trees that currently line our beautiful boulevard. We should preserve the attractiveness of Chico and save these trees.

The crosswalks work well on The Esplanade. The current light timing gives people plenty of time to cross. The problem at the high school is that too many kids are jaywalking. Why not try crossing guards?

Instead of such radical alterations, let’s go for simple incremental improvements first.

— Jim Matthews, Chico

Jim makes great points – this thing will be a tree slaughter. He also reminds me – the real issue with the Esplanade is the ADA – Adults with Disabilities Act. This act requiring that public infrastructure be safe for use by handicapped individuals was passed in 1990, but the City of Chico remains out of compliance all over town.  I don’t think the city is under any sort of order to fix Esplanade,  but they’ve been offered a bunch of grant money if they’ll do it. The more expensive they make the remodel, the more grant money they get.  

Yes we need safe sidewalks and crosswalks. As a cyclist and pedestrian, I’ve seen it all. A couple of weeks ago I watched a woman employee walk out of Wells Fargo Bank at Mangrove and Vallombrosa, trip over a large, many times repaired crack in the pavement, and fall to the ground. The sound of her head hitting the pavement was so sickening I wretched (don’t even get me going with the gagging, I can get everybody in the room going).  She got up and said she was okay, got in her car – but wow, she was walking funny. I told her she should call the city, but I don’t know what she did. 

Former Chico City Planning Commissioner Jonathan Studebaker died from bed sores at Enloe Hospital after a fall from his wheelchair on a Chico sidewalk. Described as an “advocate for the disabled,” Studebaker complained loudly about the lack of continuous, safe sidewalks in Chico. When the city remodeled Downtown with faux brick sidewalks, Studebaker lobbied for the introduction of what is now called “The Studebaker Strip” – a smooth strip down the middle of the sidewalk suitable for use by wheelchairs and easier for everybody from toddlers to centenarians. 

The job that’s proposed for The Esplanade is nothing but a pitch for grants to pay down the salaries, benefits and pensions Downtown. The city is in more trouble than they are admitting, at their next meeting they’re taking more money out of the General Fund to cover deficits in other funds. Again.  Why would the sewer fund be in deficit? My God, look at sewer rates, look at what they charge to hook up. But like Mark Sorensen reported in his now taken down blog – $taff looted the sewer fund to pay down the pension deficit, to pay salaries in other departments that don’t take in any revenue, etc. Now that Sorensen is mayor, he’s pretty mum about all that looting, but it goes on at every meeting – they call it “cost allocation.” Put some fancy words on “stealing” and it’s okay? I call it embezzlement, but I’m no lawyer.

So now this scheme to trash Esplanade. Like Jim Matthews says, roundabouts are not safe for pedestrians, I hate cycling through them. Mark Sorensen told me he loves them, and wants them all over Chico. After the Esplanade, he’s headed for Mangrove Avenue. He told me he wants a roundabout at Mangrove and Vallombrosa. 

Sorensen is the one you need to contact about this, he’s pushed roundabouts for every major intersection in town. He’s after the  grants. He’ll tell you, he uses them – yeah, I had him on his bike right in front of the F-150 one day in the Manzanita roundabout. He needs to see video of his worthless ass on a bike from the driver’s perspective, I don’t think he’d pull that stunt again.  He’ll tell you just because he can do it, your 8 year old should be able to do it.  Tell him you are sick of his machinations to pay down the pension monster.

This is not about the ADA, it’s about money for CalPERS. Remember, Sorensen is an employee in Biggs, where he makes almost $100,000 as their city manager. He needs CalPERS to stay afloat so he will get his pension. I think that colors alot of his thinking Downtown.

 

Chico is a mushroom patch

20 Apr

Of course we are all a-titter over the Esplanade. I’ll tell you what – it amazes me what gets people’s attention around here. Yeah, I  care about the Esplanade – I also care about the millions in tax dollars that would be squandered on such a project, and furthermore – I know they’re just doing it to get federal grants to help them feed their pension monster. I’m not hearing that in the conversation, I’m just hearing a bunch of idiots, many of whom moved here within the last 10 years, whining and crying about the city’s history. 

I’d be interested in hearing their versions  of Chico history.  I mean, I’ve lived here all my life, I know people who’ve been born and raised here in town, and I bet you wouldn’t get the same story twice. 

Can anybody tell me about the big head stone in the cemetery, marked “Moak”? Now there’s a story about a nice family, and they continue to be a real nice family around here today. Nuff said?

History. Sometimes it’s better not to turn that rock  over.

I’m more concerned with the present day, and I wish more people would be. I’m sorry to make fun, I won’t include the name, but I got a comment yesterday that illustrates how out of touch this little band of terrorists actually are. This person found an old post about Measure J,

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2012/08/07/thankyou-city-council-candidate-andrew-coolidge-for-taking-on-ann-schwabs-phone-tax-plan/

and posted two comments:

First – Stop the turn around on the esplande. Stop change things. You ruined the city park with cement took the tree and the homey fill our little town had. Now you you build to many house to close together on to narrow streets. You ruined our pioneer days now there is nothing about pioneer week. It sucks you allowed the students actions to effect us. In our wonderful little town. But you don’t listen to the tax paying adults who live here. Stop speeding on art project s that are ugle and bring back our comfortable small town feeling where everyone had fun and was proud of where we live.

And here’s where she starts channeling Miss Emily Latella:

Is that women crazy? Phone tax so if you have a $350.00. Phone bill what pray tell more does she want us to pay. Family of four soon to be five. We can’t afford any dime for phone let alone what ever project she want to fund. I want to fight this all the way. This is Very upset citizen who can’t afford any tax or otherwise increases.

I won’t blame this person for being confused. I also tried to find contact information for the group who was threatening a referendum regarding the decision made last week, but all they have is Facebook. I don’t do Facebook – it’s exclusive to other people who do Facebook. When you want to get your message out there, how does it pay to be exclusive? 

So, I contacted Andrew Coolidge, because he was all over the local news, trying to put his name on this referendum. Same tactic he tried to use with Measure J, and even I fell for it. He calls the media and tells them he’s jumping on some popular movement. Then does nothing. He did nothing to oppose Measure J, he didn’t even take a sign for his front yard, or offer to distribute signs. Looks like he’s pulled the same thing with this Esplanade referendum thing – he never answered my inquiry, and I’m not expecting any response.  Coolidge is all yak, and no substance.

He’s a liar too. When he was running for office, he came to speak to a little group of us at the library, and one story he told was about him and a group of local candidates getting together to try to tell other candidates (like Dave Donnan and Joe Montes?) that they should drop  out of the race because they would be “stealing” votes from Coolidge and the other conservatives. Later he denied telling me that, and made lawyer-sounding threats, telling me I had to take that out of the blog. Well, I did, but I’m putting it back, lying bitch.  Montes told a story later that indicated he’d been one of the candidates, but when I pressed Montes, he wouldn’t tell me who it was who told him to drop out. They all stick together, like a big turd.

And the comments above illustrate the kind of voter we have in Chico – a regular mushroom, kept in the dark and fed regular doses of bullshit.

 

 

What ever happened to “our drinking problem” ?

17 Apr

After my last post, complaining about serial criminals in our town, Police Chief Mike O’Brien released his crime report – nothing surprising. What was weird was how it was viewed by the media.

http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20160414/chico-crime-rate-up-4-percent-in-2015-positive-signs-ahead-police-say

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/chico-crime-rate-drops-9-percent-in-first-quarter-of-2016/39028878

I  think it’s just funny how these two different media sources look at the story, one “glass half empty” and the other “glass half full.” I think the local editor paints a scarier picture because he’s stumping for a public safety tax, while the story out of Redding seems too optimistic. Somewhere between lies the truth.

The chief seems to be saying two things at once. While he says crime is down in the first quarter of 2016, he admits, “ I think if you were to ask anyone in the community whether crime was increasing or decreasing — or increased or decreased in 2015 — everyone would have said yes, it has increased…”

I have to wonder about these reports  – for example, according to Jerry Olenyn, “The report does not include an uptick in other types of crimes. For example, honey butane oil lab activity is on the rise.   ‘Not only is it a problem, it’s a public safety concern, because houses and apartment are being blown up,’ said O’Brien.”

Why aren’t all crimes included?

According to this week’s News and Review

https://www.newsreview.com/chico/losing-our-buzz/content?oid=20614263

Chico PD reports arrests are down on the infamous party days, like Halloween and Cesar Chavez Day, but Enloe reports alcohol related ER visits for the 18 – 23 age group are increasing every year. Just since January, there have already been 94 visits in that category. The 18 to 20 year olds, and whoever furnished them with the alcohol, are committing a crime, a very dangerous crime, and I have to wonder why this isn’t included in O’Brien’s report.

There have been a couple of high profile, very tragic alcohol related deaths every semester for the last couple of years. Endless staff time has been poured into symposiums about “our drinking problem” since Ann Schwab was mayor. What track did that little choo-choo train run off on? 

The party article mentions that many Downtown restaurants are changing their atmosphere – no more drink or pitcher specials. A more adult atmosphere, pricey drinks, pricey foods. They have priced out the party crowd Downtown. But at the same time, the city has permitted Bev Mo! and other discount liquor merchants around town. So what’s happened, I’m guessing, is the parties are moving underground, and I’m guessing there will be a lot more underage drinking, and more tragedy to come. 

And the 21 – 23 crowd will continue to patronize the bars, which sit right off campus like some kind  of Pleasure Island. Not just college students, but young people from all over the area are attracted to the alcohol scene Downtown every  weekend. These people are not only the perpetrators but the victims of crime – they drive drunk, they injure or kill themselves or others, they lose their wallets, get mugged, get sexually assaulted.  They go back to their apartments, leave their cars unlocked, their doors unlocked, their valuables laying around untended. 

Alcohol is  a crime problem in Chico.

Meanwhile, they had a symposium about it. This what these people do. 

http://www.orovillemr.com/general-news/20160415/butte-county-officials-community-groups-gather-for-summit-on-homelessness

 

 

Why are the same people being arrested again and again for increasingly violent crimes?

10 Apr

Concerned with the increasing presence of transients and crime in my neighborhood, I contacted Chico Chamber director Katie Simmons about Team Chico, a collaborative effort between the city of Chico and local businesses. I had seen Team Chico at Mangrove Plaza one morning, and I had a few questions about city staff time, and exactly what Team Chico was trying to accomplish. I related to her an incident I’d witnessed that morning, just before I’d seen her, involving a transient and the manager of a business located at the shopping center.

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2016/03/26/team-chico-city-still-spending-taff-time-on-economic-development/

Simmons responded

Thank you for your note. Yes, Team Chico and I walked the Mangrove corridor on Friday morning to invite businesses to our upcoming Community Safety Meeting at the CARD Center on April 5th from 10-11am. This is a free opportunity for businesses and residents to dialogue with the Chico PD about issues in the area, like the one you observed at Bubbles. In fact, the proprietor of Bubbles attended our last meeting and shared her concerns. While some businesses reported improvements since Team Chico checked in last Fall, there continue to be concerning activities which we will address in our report to the City and during our meeting with the PD on the 5th.  I hope you will attend.

One after another police chief has tried to use public meetings to mollify the public into thinking the city is doing something about this problem. Simmons said it herself in the above message – “…there continue to be concerning activities…”  These meetings aren’t dealing with the problem. 

The meeting went off on April 5th. I don’t know how many people attended, because the newspaper reporter only showed pictures of the speakers.  

http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20160405/NEWS/160409865

Take a good look at those pictures – this is what these people’s work day looks like.

The next day, less than a mile from Mangrove Plaza and the CARD center,  a man was assaulted by two others and his cell phone stolen.

http://www.actionnewsnow.com/news/two-men-arrested-for-bidwell-park-assault-robbery/

I recognized the name David Milliron right away, because I’ve seen it in the newspaper before. In 2012, Milliron had been arrested for a late night armed robbery at the Mangrove Plaza Safeway. 

http://www.chicoer.com/article/ZZ/20120726/NEWS/120729705

I don’t know how that case was resolved, but I see that it was handled by Butte County deputy district attorney Brent Redelsperger.  Redelsperger was still with Butte County DA at that time, despite a very embarrassing DUI conviction. 

http://www.paradisepost.com/article/ZZ/20100304/NEWS/100309973

http://www.orovillemr.com/article/ZZ/20100515/NEWS/100519909

http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20101015/deputy-da-gets-30-day-dui-sentence

Apparently given a second chance by the courts, Redelsperger was also reinstated at his job with Butte County DA.  About a year and a half later he supervised the case against Milliron. I wonder what kind of state Redelsperger was in, because just a year later, he was arrested for being really, really drunk again, a violation of his probation.

http://www.chicoer.com/article/ZZ/20131001/NEWS/131009610

http://www.chicoer.com/article/ZZ/20131211/NEWS/131219560

How many of these cases slipped through the fog of Brent Redelsperger’s career with Butte County DA? 

Milliron was free in 2012 when he was caught “accompanying” an 18 year old woman driving a stolen car – that 18 year old woman was Breanne Sharpe, who, about a year later, was gunned down by Chico PD in another stolen car.

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/update-suspect-shot-and-killed-by-chico-police-identified/22080100

How are these serial criminals finding their way right back onto our streets? Endangering innocent people. What in  the hell are meetings doing to stop this?